My morning routine before the Covid-ian era was pretty mundane and set in its ways. I’d wake up, shower, use a hydrating moisturiser, put on bare minimum makeup and head to work. My skincare regimen wasn’t about self-care or luxury, instead, more like the tasks and chores that were a part of my daily grind. But a few weeks into lockdown, I looked in the mirror and realised what I was missing. Staying indoors improved the health of my skin and hair in a way I never knew was possible. It wasn’t just about avoiding the sun and dirt, but I saved so much time (because I didn’t have to commute to work and back) that I could finally invest time in self-care using heavy-duty skin and hair essentials. In the past two years, everything has worked in my skin’s favour— home-cooked food, DIY facials, body care, much-needed downtime with sheet masks and other deeply hydrating products. Coming to think of it, the beauty industry evolved too, making me feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin.
But now we’ve switched back to our pre-covid routines with commuting to work every day (meh, I was not excited about this one),the world is triggering my skin and hair all over again. I travel by train, which means by the time I’ve boarded, found a seat and settled, my hair is already a tangled, haywire mess—think Miss Havisham (Charles Dickens fans, anyone?)—my skin buried under a sheet of sweat, oil and dirt, and my arms and legs (because I usually wear dresses to work) burning due to all the sun exposure. Within a week of working from the office, I had a massive breakout with multiple acne on my face and back. The quality of my hair was deteriorating and I even noticed more greys than usual.
This got me to dive right into some R&D. I ended up trying and testing a whole lot of products, dedicated a few extra minutes (about half an hour) to my morning ritual and shortlisted a bunch of them that made the cut. Scroll down to check out six essentials that travel with me from a.m to pm.
Sunny State Of Mind
Everything about sunshine is positive and fun, except its effect on our skin. It’s not just about the tan or burns, but the overall health of the skin. The moment you start protecting your skin from the sun’s rays, you will notice an immense improvement in your skin’s texture, tone, and glow. After I apply sunblock before heading to work in the morning, I also carry the tube in my bag for re-application. Look for one that soothes your skin and is also lightweight. The Minimalist Multi-Vitamin SPF 50 sunscreen works perfectly well for me, as it is powered with nourishing vitamins and provides broad-spectrum protection. Most dermatologists recommend an SPF over 30 for Indian skin.
So Fresh, So Clean
I am the kind of person who truly believes that a good hair day directly defines one’s mood. But when you’re out and about all the time, especially in the heat, your hair is bound to get a little messy and dirty. My go-to product for a quick hair refresh is a travel-sized dry shampoo and a hair serum that detangles, smoothens, and repairs damaged hair. With coconut protein and ceramides, the Bare Anatomy Expert Damage Hair Serum always stays in my bag for an instant boost of hydration.
This Will Come In Handy
Keeping my hands soft and cuticles cared for may not have been my number one priority a few years ago, but now I literally cannot go anywhere without my trusty hand and nail cream. My preferred hand care products usually include natural butters infused with hyaluronic acid. The Nykaa Mandarin & Honey Hand & Nail Cream is what I recommend for anyone who fancies something more citrusy. Enriched with jojoba oil, avocado and hyaluronic acid, the formulation keeps my fingers happy all day long.
A Trip To Hawaii, Right In Your Purse
Nothing comes close to a product that instantly teleports you to a beachy holiday or to the mountains in seconds like a good perfume. That said, carrying the right scent or mist in your handbag is crucial, especially when you’re commuting in the heat. My favourite summer mist is the Plum BodyLovin’ Hawaiian Rumba Body Mist. Just a quick spritz on my neck and pulse points and I’m good to go for another few hours (day-dreaming of beaches, to be specific).
Rise And (Don’t) Shine
Nothing comes close to a handy beauty product than the perfect shade of matte compact powder, especially during the hotter months. I’m not a big fan of putting on a full face (makeup) every day, but I do have oily skin and a history of acne blemishes. An easy-to-carry compact powder that syncs with my skin tone and lightly mattifies my skin is all I need to power through the entire day and combat my concerns. I carry the Kay Beauty Matte Compact because of the skin-loving ingredients like avocado and mango butter along with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. It’s a heat and sweat-proof formula too!
Three Products In One
Raise your hand if you hate carrying a heavy, loaded bag. I don’t know about you but I love stocking up on multi-functioning products that can double up to keep my makeup pouch as light and minimal as possible. One fabulous (also earth-friendly) product is the Love Earth Multipot Lip And Cheek Tint. The coolest part about this tiny little tin is that it works as a lip tint, blush, and a creamy eyeshadow. The hydrating formula includes jojoba oil and vitamin E as well. I usually dab a tiny amount on my lips and cheeks during the day and layer it up further on the lips and also use it as an eyeshadow for the night.