How you can use skincare to 'spark joy,' according to beauty experts

Shani Hillian
·6 min read
Black woman moisturizing her face
Using the best skincare products can help make any daily beauty ritual something to look forward to. (Photo: Getty)

I don't think any of us could fathom the thought of being quarantined at home for months on end. Many people live their lives maskless and unafraid to stand within six feet of one another without the worry of contracting a potentially deadly virus.

Although necessary, our movement of fluidity has become forcefully restricted since COVID-19. With shelter-in-place mandates, we have been limited to working from the kitchen table and performing in-home workouts. More harshly, the lockdown has authored financial instability, uncertainty in education, shuttering businesses, increasing anxiety and civil unrest.

As a holistic esthetician and a new small business owner with over 13 years in the beauty industry, I've felt every emotion imaginable whilst living through the pandemic — from sadness to fear, with a little sprinkle of joy in between. Anxiety began to invade my body without warning, but I knew it was imperative to shift my perspective to one that best suits a healthy mind, body and spirit. So I begged the question, “How can we, both collectively and individually, spark joy to guide ourselves and our community to uplift our souls to get through a global crisis as soundly as possible?” The answer: rituals.

Practicing self-care through skincare is a lovely way to shower yourself with love and affection while at home. Shani Hillian

Our rituals are an extension of the love we show ourselves and now more than ever, self-care is vital, which is why establishing rituals can be a transformational duty to help you preserve constancy and joy. In a 2016 study by Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, it states “a ritual is critical for reducing anxiety and improving performance through several mechanisms such as concentration, perceived control, and boosts motivation.” Shifting perspectives can allow for better understanding of what rituals we should travel back to or ones we actually perform daily without consciously thinking of it as a ritual, such as skincare.

Skincare is more than just a beauty routine; it's a lifestyle that encourages you to keep good health internally, as well as externally, and can be treated in many different forms. It can also create a sense of normalcy during this time where everything seems uncertain.

“Every day I either, self-perform acupuncture, facial gua sha, massage or moxa (a TCM infrared heat treatment), as this ritual keeps me committed to relieving my body of excess tension and aids the mind and body down a path of healing, which is the ultimate act of beauty,” says Sandra Lanshin Chiu, beauty expert and founder of Brooklyn healing studio Treatment by Lanshin.

Practicing self-care through skincare is a lovely way to shower yourself with love and affection while at home, and using the best products can help make any daily beauty ritual something to look forward to. Below is a list of beauty products guaranteed to soothe the skin and soul for some much-deserved TLC.

This balm-to-oil cleanser is a great way to begin any skincare ritual, as the citrus scent melts your worries away. It also helps remove grime, makeup and excess sebum without stripping the skin while balancing moisture levels to leave your face feeling smooth, supple and glowing. Added bonus: it’s free of alcohol, artificial color, mineral oil, parabens, silicones and phthalates.

This power-packed cleansing duo caters to your skincare needs from morning to night. The Non-Negotiables Green Tea + Mint Cleanser is designed for A.M. use and contains lavender oil to calm your skin and senses; and the green tea and mint provide purification and refreshment to the pores. The Olive & Enzyme Cleanser + Purifying Creme Facial Wash is for P.M. use and contains more active ingredients to treat the skin, yet soothe simultaneously. This citrus-infused cleanser gently exfoliates with fruit enzymes while the natural, non-comedogenic oils of prickly pear, olive, safflower and sunflower provide moisture to the skin.

“My acne seemed to flare during the pandemic — even before I was going out and wearing a mask daily, so I began using BalmLabs ClearBalm 3-step acne system, which is a plant-based CBD infused system formulated to calm and treat acne prone skin like mine.” says board-certified dermatologist Dina Strachan, MD. This system includes a gentle foaming cleanser containing antioxidants to gently purify pores, CBD-infused power elixir that reduces inflammation and treats blemishes calmly and a serum that boosts hydration and moisturizes skin nicely.

With travel at a minimum this year, you can still give yourself a pleasurable holiday by taking a “time-out” to activate your sense of smell. Taking in the beautiful aroma of something that you love is a powerful way to bliss out. “The Petal Mask is one of my favorite ways to escape because it smells like the dreamy embrace of the most nurturing and sensual feminine being,” says Lanshin Chiu. Its 28 active ingredients nourish skin with active enzymes and replenishing nutrients with organic essential oils known for their therapeutic properties. This mask also has mineral-rich amazonian white clay, which is known for its skin toning and revitalizing abilities, that sinks deep into the dermis to deliver intense hydration.

Exfoliation is a great way to wash your worries away and start anew. This lovely face scrub is formulated with goat milk, activated charcoal, real sugar crystals and bilberry to deeply cleanse, absorb excess oils and impurities while ridding skin of dead skin cells. Your skin will feel smooth, supple and renewed after each application.

This clinically proven eye gel provides a quick tightening beauty benefit that softens the skin around the eye area to visually reduce the appearance of undereye bags, dark circles and puffiness. It contains extracts of caffeine, centella asiatica, birch bark, green/white tea; algae and antioxidants that cater to depuffing, soothing and lifting. Defying gravity one application at a time.

This product is a personal favorite of mine as an esthetician and consumer. It’s 100 percent natural, free of harsh chemicals and contains 25 active herbs/plants that caters to aging, pigmentation, acne and firmness. The Serum I is pregnancy safe and contains aloe vera that provides hydration, lavender to calm, thyme to combat blemishes and carrot seed oil that's packed with Vitamin C to brighten skin and give an all-around even tone. This serum is heaven and pure magic in a bottle that's helped me feel more confident and relaxed about my skin while making this transition into motherhood.

“Multiple showers a day requires a great moisturizer,” says Dr. Dina Strachan. Indulging in a good moisturizer is vital and this Hydro Boost Body Gel can definitely supply all of your needs. It contains hyaluronic acid designed to improve the hydration in your skin leaving the sticky film behind.

Far too often we neglect to treat our lips. That stops now with this wonderful all-day and all-night lip treatment that nurtures and repairs the delicate skin on the lips with intensity. It’s loaded with oils, including moringa, babassu, cocoa and shea, and its star ingredient is skin-protecting ximenia, an African plum oil that is as rich as it is rare which makes the application of this balm seamless.