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It's no secret that we love a good morning routine. We've come to learn, however, that the rituals we do to wind down before bed are just as important. Whether you take 10 minutes or a few hours, it's precious time that you have set aside at the end of the day to take care of yourself. Our series Weekend Wind-Down highlights the nightly routines of the people we admire.
At the top of every episode of Forever35, a popular podcast about the things we do to take care of ourselves, Kate Spencer and co-host Doree Shafrir always begin with this disclaimer: “They’re not experts. They’re just two friends who like to talk about serums.” After over 150 episodes and countless mini-episodes where the duo delves into topics ranging from beauty to friendships to mental health and more, it’s safe to say that Spencer and Shafrir have become experts in their own right.
As a longtime fan of the pod, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the real-life self-care practices of Spencer, one half of the team who talks about self-care practices for a living. Since serums are always hotly debated on the show, you'll know Spencer has some stellar skincare recommendations to share. Keep scrolling to see all the wellness rituals that help this L.A.-based writer, podcast host, and mom of two to wind down.
One thing I’ve realized as a parent is that I have to help my kids wind down in the evenings to get them ready for bedtime. Even though they’d rather listen to Ariana Grande, I try to play calm music during dinner and while cleaning up the kitchen to try to send everyone a message: It’s time to chill the eff out.
Does it always work? No. Do my kids ask why I am playing “sad music”? Indeed they do. But I care not! I love the French radio station TSF Jazz and the Pandora station called French Cooking. Both were recommended by Forever35 listeners.
Getting my space somewhat clean and organized is a tedious but important part of my nighttime routine. I feel like I can finally ease into my bedtime routine after we’ve done the dishes, tidied up our kitchen, and, most importantly, prepped the coffee machine! We grind beans at night and set the coffee maker to go off early in the morning.
I love smelling those freshly ground beans each evening. It gets me excited for that first cup I know awaits me in the morning. If I cannot wander out of my bedroom half asleep and immediately pour myself a cup of coffee at 6:30 a.m., my day gets off on the wrong foot.
On most nights, my husband and I tag-team cleanup, walking the dog, and putting our two daughters to bed. We normally finish up around 8:30 p.m. But on Sunday evenings, he handles the entire shebang, and I head off to take a bath. It helps me to chill out mentally. I love a good soak ‘n’ scrub. I am a big fan of Herbivore’s Coco Rose Exfoliating Body Scrub. It’s soft on the skin and smells amazing, and most importantly, it gets the job done. Because I enjoy the illusion of multitasking (let’s be real, the only place I do it well is in the bath), I’ll do a face mask, too. I love Josh Rosebrook’s Advanced Hydration Mask in the winter.
Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Exfoliating Body Scrub ($36)
Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask ($65)
After some soaking and exfoliating, I scrub every part of my body with Korean scrub bath mittens like these. I often pick them up at Olympic Spa here in L.A., a favorite spot of mine that is currently closed due to COVID.
Songwol Towel Korean Exfoliating Scrub Bath Mitten ($8)
When I’m really going all in on my skincare routine, I slather my face in aloe vera gel and use my NuFace microcurrent device. It takes a few minutes, but I do love how it brightens my face. I use aloe vera gel as a cheaper alternative to NuFace’s primer gel because while I love beauty products, staying within my budget is also part of my self-care. When I’m done, I wipe the aloe off and then wash with Klur’s Gentle Matter Cleanser. I am evangelical about this cleanser, and I love the justice- and community-focused philosophy and mission Klur’s founder Lesley Thornton brings to her products and company.
NuFace Mini ($199)
Klur Gentle Matter Cleanser ($40)
54 Thrones Osun African Beauty Water Hydrating Glow Mist ($42)
I also love a face mist, and my current favorite is 54 Thrones’ Osun African Beauty Water Hydrating Glow Mist. My podcast co-host, Doree Shafrir, gave it to me as a gift! Thank you, Doree, for knowing me so well and honoring my passion for hydrated skin.
I follow up with a hyaluronic acid (I’m liking The Plant Base’s Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100) and then either Jan Marini’s Bioclear Face Cream or SkinCeuticals's Retinol 0.3. I switch it up every night.
The Plant Base Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100 ($17)
Jan Marini Skin Research Bioclear Face Cream ($80)
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 ($67)
When I’m doing my nighttime skincare routine, I like to play music or a podcast on my phone and try to slow down, enjoy the sensation of massaging and touching my face, and just feel present and grounded. It’s a ritual that’s become more about how I feel than how I look, and I really look forward to doing it every night. I finish up with Skinfix’s Triple Lipid Peptide Cream, or I’ll mist again and press some oil into my face (Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Oil is a fave). Lanshin recently sent us its beautiful Pro Gua Sha Tool to try, so I’ve been following along with Sandra Lanshin Chiu’s videos on Instagram to learn how to do it. She’s an amazing follow.
Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream ($50)
Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil ($108)
Lanshin Pro Gua Sha Tool ($125)
Do I love to crawl into bed and stare at my phone? You know it. I’m trying to make peace with the fact that, for now, that’s just going to be part of my wind-down routine. I crave a solid scroll through Instagram before lights out. It’s wintertime, so some soft, cozy pj's truly make me feel better when I get into bed. I also put my heating pad by my feet to warm things up. I’ve essentially morphed into my mother, and I’m not mad about it.
Aimee Chase One Question a Day ($12)
I pop my Prozac and get under the covers. I then grab my One Question a Day: A Five-Year Journal and answer whatever is asked of me. It is the easiest and quickest way to journal, which is something I wish I had the patience to do regularly—but alas, I do not. My bookshelf is quite literally a graveyard of half-used notebooks and barely-started journals. I’m really hoping I stick with this one.
54 Thrones Egyptian Lavender + Moroccan Mint Beauty Butter ($24)
I read every night for a bit on my Kindle, and right now, I am enjoying the cozy mysteries of Louise Penny. Once I can’t keep my eyes open anymore, I grab my Lunya sleep mask and set my alarm. I bought myself a Loftie clock recently. The brand's motto is, “Break up with your smartphone alarm.” It’s helping… I think? It’s not perfect, but I love that it doubles as a white-noise machine (a must for me for sleep) and that you can turn it off completely so there’s no clock light shining in your eyes all night.
Lunya Washable Silk Sleep Mask ($48)
Loftie Clock ($165)
I try to close my eyes by 11 p.m., and I’ll add Aquaphor to my lips and cheeks right before I fall asleep just to lock in moisture and keep everything sealed. The final step to getting settled at night is making sure my dog Lucy is in the bed with me. I know sleeping with pets is not everyone’s cup of tea, but having her cuddled next to me is my favorite thing.
Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Ointment Body Spray ($15)
This article originally appeared on The Thirty
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