A Day of Beauty and Scents

For as long as I can remember, Mondays have been my mom’s “days of beauty and health.” Instead of viewing it as the painful start of a working week, she prefers to think of Monday as a day when she carves out some time for herself. A day of beauty instantly conjures up visions of spas and expensive procedures, but nothing of the sort is part of my mom’s routine. She simply does a few face treatments at home, makes sure to leave time for a proper breakfast–green tea, oatmeal with berries and yogurt, instead of her usual coffee and croissant, and in the evening, she takes a bath with scented oils or salts.

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When the most expensive cosmetics she could afford were Polish face cream or Yugoslavian mascara, she made face masks at home. Strawberries, apricots, honey, sour cream, and oat bran feature prominently in her recipes. “It’s too early for you to use masks, wait till you get older,” she’d say, as I watched her apply thick creamy concoctions and relax with Georges Simenon’s novels. I couldn’t wait to grow into that marvelous old age when I too could plaster my face with fruit and tell others, “I need 15 minutes of peace and quiet.” My mom must have been 27 at the time.

These days my mom continues her Monday traditions, while I’m much less organized and simply fit in my favorite beauty rituals whenever I find it convenient. On most mornings I do a 3 minute mask by applying a thick layer of moisturizing toner and a damp cotton cloth on top. A pack of 100 plain gauze masks goes for less than $6 on Ebay, and I keep a steady supply on hand. To add a dose of aromatherapy, I spray the mask with rosewater. Damp fabric sticks well to skin, and while I brush my teeth and get ready, the mask works its magic. By the time I’m dressed, my skin is soft and glowing.

Perfume is such a natural part of my routine that I don’t think of it as a separate step. On the other hand, there is a group of scents that feel especially uplifting on these early spring days, when the weather alternates between sunshine and rain. My perfume shelf explodes with blooms, interspersed with leafy greens and citrus fruits. I crave the soft violets of Guerlain Après L’Ondée, the hyacinths of Jacomo Silences, the lilacs of Frédéric Malle En Passant, and the orange blossoms of Bottega Veneta Knot. These fragrances have different characters, but they share a bright, effervescent aura that fits the springtime mood.

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If not petals, then leaves. Some of my favorite perfumes with a wholesome, clean presence are colognes, especially the modern variations on this classical genre. Hermès Brin de Réglisse mixes lavender with licorice and brown sugar for a fresh but intriguing effect. The Different Company White Zagora recasts a zesty orange flower as velvety and musky. Tocca Colette takes a gin & tonic idea and spices it up with amber. If you shy away from big perfumes during daytime, such light, second skin like fragrances might be ideal. I usually keep a couple of  samples or decants of my favorite statement perfumes in my purse, but they don’t come out until later in the day.

Among other things you might find in my purse on any given day are facial mists and a small bar of chocolate. A spritz with orange blossom mist whenever my eyes get dry from staring too much into the computer screen does wonders; an instant spa treatment, if you will. Even if all you can get is a beverage resembling coffee from the office cafeteria, a square of dark chocolate makes it all better. I firmly believe that chocolate is an indispensable part of a healthy diet.

If you like the idea of changing perfume later in the day, then the collection of samples in your purse will come in handy. Working with fragrances leaves me smelling like a Macy’s perfume department by the end of the afternoon, so if I want to wear a scent for pleasure, I wait till I get home and take a shower. On the other hand, there are days when I want nothing less than a statement, a bold perfume that will make me forget about the daily grind. Out come such bombshells as Guerlain Nahéma, Chopard Casmir, Yves Saint Laurent Opium, and Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire. Sometimes, a pale orange flower just won’t do.

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The best part of the day to indulge in beauty treatments is the evening. That’s when I can finally wind down–draw a bath with vetiver salts, try a new facial treatment or just brew a pot of linden tisane and lose myself in a book. If nothing else, I do an oil massage. Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, explains the process on her blog, and what I do is similar. I usually use DHC Cleansing Oil, almond or camellia nut oil, but even olive oil will do. I follow the massage with my regular cleanser, La Roche-Posay Toleriane, and a final spray of rosewater. Something this enjoyable is too good to be confined to one day a week.

Do you have your favorite beauty rituals? What is your favorite skincare product or treatment?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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113 Comments

  • Cornelia Blimber: I smiled on ”15 minutes of peace and quiet” and that marvellous old age of 27. And I love the selections of the perfumes. And I wonder how big your purse may be!
    Do I have beauty rituals? No. My cream is Kruidvat Eigen Merk or, when I want something special, Nivea. Never a ”mask” since I cannot find my Dr. De Hoog anymore. My grandfather and my mother both had a smooth skin, it’s my heritage. Very easy.
    On the other side, I am very interested in make-up. April 6, 2015 at 7:25am Reply

    • Victoria: My purse is actually quite small, but I played Tetris well as a child, and I can fit in many things. 🙂

      What is your favorite makeup item? April 6, 2015 at 12:38pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Funny answer! 🙂

        I love the fond de teint of the Body Shop.
        And The Bobbi Brown Rouge Pot.
        And Les meteorites powder Guerlain.
        And Hema’s black and brown eye pencils
        As I have green eyes, so I like mauve eyeshadows.
        And I love the YSL lipgloss.
        The Lancôme , Chanel and Bourjois lipsticks.
        My trick: blush on the laps of my ears
        And more!
        Many years ago, I was complimented by Olivier Echaudemaison on my maquillge. I am still proud of it! April 6, 2015 at 2:30pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: sorry, maquillage! April 6, 2015 at 2:31pm Reply

        • Victoria: I had no idea Hema makes makeup, and I will definitely look for their pencils. How much do I love that store!

          Do you use the YSL Glossy stains or something else? I’m addicted to those stains, and if they were available in more colors, I’d give up other lipsticks. April 6, 2015 at 4:58pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: The YSL lipgloss is called ”Vernis à lèvres”. It comes in many colours.
            Hema carries good eyeshadows as well, and I use their loose face powder.
            I had a Dior black pencil for the interior of my eyes, but to my surprise, the Hema had a deeper colour! April 6, 2015 at 5:25pm Reply

            • Victoria: It might be the same one. In a bottle that looks like that of a nail polish? April 6, 2015 at 5:40pm Reply

              • Cornelia Blimber: Yes, a very small bottle of nail polish. It’s great stuff. April 7, 2015 at 4:22am Reply

                • Victoria: I’m wearing No 31 today, a peachy rose shade. April 7, 2015 at 11:08am Reply

                  • Cornelia Blimber: I wear most of the time No. 106, a rosy beige, goes well with that lavender smokey eye from the fabulous make up blog! April 7, 2015 at 11:39am Reply

                    • Victoria: I don’t remember that shade, but I noticed that most of their beiges are surprisingly wearable (most beiges leave me looking sallow). I love the idea of pairing rosy beige with lavender smoke. April 7, 2015 at 1:19pm

                  • Aisha: I’m addicted to No 7 Corail Aquatique. I usually save the peach/coral/orange-red tones for early summer, but I just can’t help myself this year. 🙂 April 18, 2015 at 2:35pm Reply

                    • Victoria: I’m in the mood for peaches and roses, so these kind of colors come up throughout the year for me. 🙂 April 19, 2015 at 8:33am

        • Michaela: Impressive! April 7, 2015 at 3:32am Reply

      • Hamamelis: Dear Victoria and Cornelia, Hema has a new lipproduct: Soft Matt Lipbalm, 3,50 euro’s, in 8 shades. They are a bit like the ‘famous’ Clarins lipcrayons, just a lot cheaper! The colours are quite pink (only one is suitable for me) but if you can carry bright colour on your lips I think it is worthwhile to try them!
        Another favourite lipproduct is the Catrice lipcrayon, also very cheap! April 7, 2015 at 3:15pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Hamamelis, thank you! Maybe these bright colours can be layered with lipstick?
          The Catrice lip pencils don’t work for me, but the eyebrow pencils are excellent.
          One of my friends love Catrice nailpolish, very nice. But I am addicted to Chanel nail polish…what can I say! April 7, 2015 at 3:57pm Reply

        • Victoria: I like bright but sheer colors, so this sounds great. Thank you! April 8, 2015 at 8:48am Reply

  • sandra: Happy Monday Victoria! I usually work Mondays or every other Monday (the joys of working in the health care field) and I have a baby, but I still manage to take care of my skin when I can. Scrubs, masks & creams. Its dry skin that I believe makes your skin show its age. So lots of skin hydrating products are in order!
    I have sensitive skin and suffer from dermatitis. Though I can’t seem to get rid of this dry skin on my eye lids! Gross and sometimes annoying! April 6, 2015 at 8:44am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re so well organized, Sandra! I’m always impressed with how much you manage, and I’m sure it takes effort.

      Dermatitis is such a frustrating condition, and you really have to be carefully what skincare you use. April 6, 2015 at 1:46pm Reply

      • sandra: True!
        I was thinking about my Husbands skin. He has great skin. He uses Ponds cream from the drug store. Sometimes that is all that you need! April 6, 2015 at 1:53pm Reply

        • Victoria: I love trying new things, but I also find that keeping skincare down to a few trusted products works better for me. Getting enough sleep and eating well also help tremendously, but as a young mother, you know how hard the former can be in achieving. April 6, 2015 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Kat: I haven’t any specific rituals yet but I’m planning to add them to my routines. So I’m about to order those gauze masks on amazon. I love Camellia oil for both face and hair but I’m currently looking for a new supplier since my go-to brand recently sent me a bottle with a very odd scent. Any ideas? I’m currently trying Golden Silk but I’m not a big fan of their dispenser. April 6, 2015 at 8:47am Reply

    • Victoria: I buy camellia oil at my local bio store, which is made by an organic German brand (11 euros for 100ml). I don’t have a bottle with me right now, so I don’t recall the name of the line. It’s certainly more affordable than anything at a department store. April 6, 2015 at 1:48pm Reply

      • Kat: That sounds like it’s the brand I want to get away from (if the bottle is green). I’m normally very happy with their products but I was really thrown with the scent of the last delivery. April 6, 2015 at 2:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: The bottle is black, with a white label. April 6, 2015 at 2:49pm Reply

        • rainboweyes: It sounds like Primavera, which normally has a very good product quality. I have their camellia oil too and it smells ok. Have you tried to contact them? They normally send a replacement in such cases.
          I’ve been using Sensisana camellia oil caps recently and I’m very satisfied with the product but it’s a bit more pricey: http://www.sensisana.de/de/produkte/gesichtsoel/kameliensamen/
          Aroma Zone has camellia oil too but I’ve no idea about the quality. April 6, 2015 at 2:56pm Reply

          • Kat: Yep, that’s the one. I should probably contact them (for some arcane reason I hate ‘bothering’ people). Thanks for the Aroma Zone tip – that shop looks like I could lose a lot of money there! April 6, 2015 at 4:35pm Reply

  • The Scented Salon: Beauty rituals are very worth it, not only for the health of skin but for spiritual health. No wonder ablutions are a part of almost every religion. There is something tied to water that rejuvenates the spirit.

    I like that your mom does her rituals on Monday. It never occurred to me to do it on a day when we are most stressed. I prefer the weekend since I know I am about to begin relaxing times.

    My favorite products are Guerlain’s Super Aqua line (especially the toner) and Fresh Rose and Black Tea masks. They feel really refreshing. Some good cooling eye creams are also awesome.

    I plan to find a bottle that I can take with me to spray my face during the day with a rosewater mist like you do. As for perfume, Hermes’ Rose Ikebana is light and fresh, perfect for rainy and sunny mixture days. April 6, 2015 at 8:49am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s such a great idea, because it really take the stressful edge of Monday. Also, I agree, there is something so uplifting and rejuvenating about water. I sometimes do a warm water massage in a bath. You take a squirt bottle, fill it with water and basically do the same massage movements, but with water. April 6, 2015 at 1:51pm Reply

      • The Scented Salon: How inventive, I never thought of it. I won’t be taking many baths with this hot weather but maybe I could do it in the shower too.

        I like cooling products like gels and creams for the face and the feeling of washing off the stress of the day with scented toners and waters. Using a special small towel to blot my face finishes the ritual. April 6, 2015 at 3:13pm Reply

        • Victoria: Aloe vera gel is a great product to use in the summer, because it feels cool on skin. You can even do a simple massage with it, while the surface remains wet. April 6, 2015 at 5:36pm Reply

  • Michaela: That was funny: old mother of 27!
    Your face mask reminds me a bit of my favorite hair mask, gelatine dissolved in a little water, applied over damp clean hair and covered with a damp hot towel for 30 – 45 minutes, then rinsed well. It works wonders for my wiry curly hair. I only make it once a month.
    As for my face… no ritual for the moment. I think I’ll try some clay masks. April 6, 2015 at 9:19am Reply

    • Victoria: I wrote a “novel” at the age of 12 (at least, that’s what I called it), my 15 year old character was referred to as “a mature adult” and “of an advanced age.” 🙂

      What effect does the gelatine mask have? Does it define your curls? April 6, 2015 at 1:54pm Reply

      • Karen: Too hysterical! (15 year old character, not hair masks!!) April 6, 2015 at 4:49pm Reply

        • Victoria: The phrase in my “novel” I recall was “she began to settle into her mature age.” Or something like it. I wish I still had it, but when we moved to the US, all of my writings were thrown out by a woman who briefly took over our house. Only one notebook survived, miraculously. April 6, 2015 at 5:34pm Reply

      • Michaela: Hahahahahahahahahahahhaha.
        Sorry, I can’t stop.

        It feeds the hair with protein, basically, it becomes soft and manageable. It’s a sort of hair lamination. See more here: http://mybeautiness.com/lamination-is-the-best-homemade-hair-treatments-for-damaged-hair/#.VSOJdNyUeZs.
        I only make this once a month, it’s enough for my hair (too much protein breaks it). Strange, but it works very well for straight and curly hair. April 7, 2015 at 3:43am Reply

        • Victoria: I will have to try it, just because it sounds so interesting. Thank you! April 7, 2015 at 11:07am Reply

          • Michaela: You’re welcome! 🙂 Please let me know how you like it if you do it. I find it simple and very effective. April 8, 2015 at 3:20am Reply

  • Ari: At last, we get the secret to your exquisite skin! What are the tablets? Are those the vetiver salts?

    My beauty ritual: I put on an episode of something light-hearted (usually Parks and Rec or Bob’s Burgers) and paint my nails. The painting motion is very relaxing. I’ve built up an embarrassingly large collection of nail polishes (mostly by telling myself that they’re so much cheaper than perfume!)- my favorites are by Jin Soon or Illamasqua. April 6, 2015 at 9:20am Reply

    • Annikky: I like Illamasqua in general – because they are not afraid of being dramatic and different. One of my favourite blushes is from them and I love the effect of Fragile nail polish. April 6, 2015 at 10:11am Reply

    • Patricia: I have two shoeboxes full of nail polish, though I think many of them are old and should be thrown out. I have one Illamasqua polish (purple!) and haven’t heard of Jin Soon. My favorite polish company is Zoya. I really like their formula and mauvey-nude colors, which suit my coloring.

      I agree with you, Ari, on the relaxing nature of painting nails. It’s very Zen-like in some strange way. I just wish the polish would last longer without chipping! April 6, 2015 at 11:25am Reply

      • anastasia: Have you tried Sally Hansen Diamond Flash Fast Dry Top Coat? (Cool black bottle) You can use it over any nail polish gives it a nice shiny finish and if I do my nails on Sunday, they still look great till Friday/Saturday as opposed to chipping within 2-3 days. April 6, 2015 at 1:39pm Reply

        • Patricia: I will try this. Thanks, anastasia! April 7, 2015 at 9:51am Reply

          • Surbhi: I am using deboran lipmann top coat. And I just looked at my nails. A week and no chips. I have done dishes, hair wash and lot of other things which painted nails don’t like. January 14, 2016 at 7:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: Those tablets are the face masks! You soak them in water and they unfold into sheets with holes for eyes, nose and mouth. Such a terrific invention. 🙂

      I love your beauty ritual, Ari! I don’t paint my hands, since I work with my hands so much that it all comes off instantly, but I love painting my toe nails. Like you, I can’t resist a fun color, and I have quite a collection. April 6, 2015 at 1:56pm Reply

  • Patricia: I’d have to say that my only regular beauty ritual is painting my nails while watching beauty videos on YouTube. I love Lisa Eldridge. Her voice is so calming and her advice so practical. I’ll have to check out her blog now! April 6, 2015 at 9:24am Reply

    • Annikky: I do this, too (although I don’t do my nails often, as I’m rubbish at it). And I listen to/half-watch beauty videos also when I go through my evening routine. In addition to Lisa I like Sali Hughes, but her videos have unfortunately become a rare event. April 6, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

      • Patricia: I saw two of Sali Hughes’ videos on her perfume collection. I wish she would upload more often! April 6, 2015 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Lisa’s advice is great, because it’s sensible, and I love her recommendations from all price ranges. April 6, 2015 at 1:59pm Reply

      • Courant Masque: I love Lisa. I’ve always had dry skin so I search out the blended oils. My current favourite is Sukin Botanical Booster although Trilogy is good too, as is Josie Maran. They are lovely for a face massage mixed with my Gatineau masque. April 7, 2015 at 9:00pm Reply

        • Victoria: My skin is combination, but oils really made a big difference. Also, there are so many interesting oil based products today. April 8, 2015 at 8:55am Reply

  • Karen: Since Korean face masks are super inexpensive here off of Amazon, I’ve been using one a day lately. They “force” you to sit or lie down and do nothing – or sometimes I will do the rejuvenating yoga pose legs up the wall. It’s also a good time to put some rich hand cream on and let it soak in, this winter was brutal on my hands.

    I love the idea of carving out some time later in the day to spritz some rose, lavender or other flower water on, and refresh or apply a new fragrance. April 6, 2015 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: My mom brought me a pack of Korean masks, and I have been using them time to time. Some are very good.

      The idea of carving out some space in the middle of the day came to me when I had one particularly stressful job and almost no lunch hour. I had to do something to stay sane, and the habit stuck. April 6, 2015 at 2:01pm Reply

      • Karen: I’m going to get the plain masks and some toner – mix it up a bit. The brand I bought, Hey Pinko Girl, I got simply for the name – of course all the writing is in Korean, so it’s a bit of a moot point. But I’ve been happy with their rose and hydrating one. April 6, 2015 at 4:51pm Reply

        • limegreen: A friend gave me a popular japanese one: Snail mask, as in mask with snail.
          I can’t get over the idea of it, so have not tried it. April 6, 2015 at 5:01pm Reply

          • Victoria: I have one too! I haven’t used it yet, but I’m intrigued. Many Korean skincare products use curious ingredients, but this one is especially so. My grandmother shrugged her shoulders and said that if I want snails, she has a garden full of them. April 6, 2015 at 5:42pm Reply

            • Kat: Snail creams are all the rage at the moment. My mother has offered to collect some from our garden for me but I politely declined. April 6, 2015 at 6:31pm Reply

              • Victoria: 🙂 I also politely declined my grandmother’s offer. But I’m sure I will get plenty of snail spa when we clean our garden later this spring. April 7, 2015 at 3:43am Reply

            • limegreen: I love your grandmother’s “homemade” approach! If you try it (the mask, not her garden snails), let us know! 🙂 I’m skittish about it. The other “flavors” my friend gave me were nice — crushed pearl, CoQ10, “herbal nutrients” April 6, 2015 at 11:01pm Reply

              • Victoria: Just checked and I also have crushed pearls, acacia honey, and milk. April 7, 2015 at 11:05am Reply

  • rainboweyes: Facial oil massage is one of my favourite beauty rituals and I do it almost every evening. I don’t know if Lisa mentions it in her tutorial but I always hydrate my face with some facial mist before beginning the massage. This enables you to seal some of the moisture under the oil.
    I have plenty of oils – some of them just straight from the kitchen – such as avocado, argan, borage, nigella, hemp seed, plum kernel (I love the marzipan smell!) and evening primrose but also some special oils for cosmetic use only. I think my favourite is prickly pear which makes your face fabulously soft. I also love to explore some more exotic oils like moringa seed, marula or chia seed. And of course there are these fantastic, scented blends which I cannot resist – De Mamiel’s seasonal oils loaded with plant extracts or the Odacite Pure Elements concentrates… April 6, 2015 at 9:51am Reply

    • elisa p: I’m a big fan of borage oil for skin care! Has definitely made a difference in hydration and skin clarity for me. More so than other oils I’ve tried. I’ve used it on my cats for skin irritations and “hot spots” and those things clear up so much more quickly than with presciption meds. And it’s much cheaper. I’ve mixed a bit of bulgarian rose absolute in for a calming aromatherapy experience (not for the cats ). April 6, 2015 at 11:46am Reply

      • rainboweyes: Borage oil is very popular in France, I think for good reasons. It has a very high content of gamma linolenic acid which has various benefits for the skin. April 6, 2015 at 12:39pm Reply

        • anastasia: Prickly pear oil? What does that smell like? Is the borage oil better than rosehip? I sometimes use rosehip oil as a moisturizer in the evening. April 6, 2015 at 1:35pm Reply

          • rainboweyes: Prickly pear (or barbarie fig) oil has no distinctive smell but it’s a very smooth and gentle oil. According to Kahina (one of the brands) it smells of hay.
            It’s difficult to say if borage is better compare to rosehip, they are different. I use Pai rosehip oil and I’m very satisfied with this product. April 6, 2015 at 3:05pm Reply

      • Victoria: I heard that cats find orange blossom water calming, although I myself never experimented. April 6, 2015 at 3:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just realized that I ran out of my cleansing oil, and I had to pilfer a bit of sunflower seed oil from my grandmother’s cabinet. It worked really well!

      Prickly pear oil sounds exotic to me. Does it have any scent? April 6, 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Annikky: I had the same thing with my mom, she seemed so grown-up, but was in fact 22 when she had me.

    I usually take a couple of hours on Sunday to have a bath (often a scented one, the trick I learned from this blog) and apply face masks – first a cleansing/exfoliating one (like Glamglow or Aesop Parsley Seed) and then a hydrating one afterwards (I have recently used Bio-Essence Aqua Droplet one a lot).

    When it comes to daily routine, I have become surprisingly diligent with my cleansing and am now actually enjoying it. I do a double cleanse every evening and a quick refreshing one every morning. I’ve got an indecent amount of cleansers with the original Eve Lom, Omorovicza balm, Tatcha camellia oil and Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip being top favourites.

    And then every weekday at 2PM I come here 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 9:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I started double-cleansing a few years ago when I started wearing heavier Japanese sunscreens, and I realized how great this procedure works. I combine my massage with the first cleansing when I use oil, and it feels wonderful. In the morning, I just use Toleriane cleanser, but in the evening, I also add the oil cleanser or just oil.

      Thank you! 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 2:04pm Reply

  • Aurora: I love this story of your mother’s rituals and yours. I agree, evenings are best to focus on skin.

    While in the morning I quickly splash my face and wash it with Cleanance, in the evening I cleanse with Botanics (by Boots) hot cloth cleansing balm which I apply with a muslin cloth, it is a less expensive version of Eve Lom or Liz Earle’s balms (it contains similar ingredients: olive oil, jojoba seed oil, shea butter sweet almond oil…etc, and is 97% organic) and I use it as massage oil as well.

    Then, I use either a rosewater toner like you (my rosewater is from Iran I get it at the Turkish market) or a homemade one I prepare using lavender, geranium and rose ess. oils with a teaspoon of organic cider vinegar which I use on the T-zone only.

    Twice a week I exfoliate usually with Clarins gentle exfoliator.

    For masks, once a week, I am not faithful to one brand in particular nor do I make my own (I probably should) at the moment I have the Body Shop smoothing mask (with clay, babassu oil, olive oil and sugar).

    For serum and nightcream, again I’m not faithful, and at the moment using Vichy. But I must shamefully admit there are occasional nights when I’ll just use a cleansing wipe (Botanics) and roll into bed. April 6, 2015 at 10:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Since I wear sunscreen, it forces me to be more diligent, but believe me, there are many days when I feel like rolling into bed without even washing my face. 🙂

      Iranian rosewater is one of my favorites, especially the brands from Shiraz. They smells of warm honey! April 6, 2015 at 2:35pm Reply

  • limegreen: (Taking 15 minutes of peace and quiet reading this blog, sipping coffee.)
    Lovely ideas especially for a Monday — I always have decants/vials in my bag, and may add the chocolate. 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 10:21am Reply

    • limegreen: Inspired by today’s post, I exfoliated with Lush Ocean Salt (sea salt, lime juice and avocado oil) in the shower. What a treat. 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 12:28pm Reply

      • Victoria: That sounds like a treat! 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 3:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t recommend a chocolate break highly enough! 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 2:40pm Reply

      • rainboweyes: A chocolate break (black coffee + dark chocolate) is a very important part of my daily routine too 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 3:14pm Reply

        • Victoria: I like that you call it a chocolate break, rather than a coffee break. April 6, 2015 at 5:38pm Reply

  • Edna: I have worked all my life and am getting nearer to retirement, yay! My ‘beauty’ secret happens at work, but when I retire, I will be sure to add in extra time at home. Here are my work secrets: 1) keep my desk orderly, it’s more peaceful to work at a desk when everything is in order 2) keep a good lotion at work, especially one with a lovely scent 3) keep a few decants at work, it’s a great pick-me-up in the middle of the day April 6, 2015 at 11:12am Reply

    • The Scented Salon: I am just like you: I have a clean desk with some decants and a scented lotion tucked away in a drawer. It makes the day more beautiful. April 6, 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such a good advice! Keeping a desk clean makes a great difference. My grandfather always said that “an orderly desks shows an orderly mind.” Although, I admit that my desk is rarely orderly, more like creatively chaotic. April 6, 2015 at 3:25pm Reply

      • Kat: As someone who just can’t keep her desk in that pristine order she dreams of I take comfort in Einsteins’s words on the matter: ‘If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?’ My apologies to all who manage to keep their desks uncluttered – I envy you (and maybe so did Einstein). April 6, 2015 at 3:31pm Reply

        • Victoria: That makes a messy person like myself feel a little better, but I still aspire to a neatly organized, clean desk. 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 5:43pm Reply

  • Ann: Such a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding us that we all need a treat. April 6, 2015 at 11:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you liked it, Ann! April 6, 2015 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: I used to give myself a facial mask on a Saturday morning, but haven’t done so in a long time. Thanks for reminding me to start up the ritual again. Yesterday for Easter I wore EL ‘s Tuberose & Gardenia. Today I have on only a light spray of Misia as fragrance is frowned upon in my office. April 6, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Having these mask tablets in my bathroom basket really is a good reminder to do masks, and I really think that they make a difference. But above all, it’s such an easy, enjoyable ritual. April 6, 2015 at 4:39pm Reply

  • anastasia: Love this post! I normally take Sunday as my beauty ritual day. Depending on how much time I have I’ll grind some coffee beans and use them as a body scrub. Light a jasmine vanilla scented candle from BBW, pour a BIG glass of wine and draw a bath either using scented Epsom salts, powdered milk or even just plain olive oil. I’ll give myself a hair mask with coconut oil while I’m relaxing in the bath. I also cleanse my face with olive oil and use either rose water or orange blossom water after washing my face to get rid of any oily residue.

    Curious what does the gauze do in a facial mask, I usually just splat some yogurt with honey or any other mashed up fruity concoction on my face..does the gauze prevent it from sliding off my face? April 6, 2015 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: This sounds wonderful, Anastasia! You’re inspiring me to try the coffee scrub. I even imagine adding some vanilla to it and maybe brown sugar. Or rose and patchouli essential oils for a Cafe Rose kind of theme. 🙂 April 6, 2015 at 4:52pm Reply

      • Anastasia: It’s very invigorating, and you do get a jolt from the caffeine. Just make it the same way as a sugar scrub…you really want bang for your buck make a pot of coffee and then use the grinds for the scrub.

        I love your idea with the vanilla and sugar I’m going to have to try it!

        p.s. what does the cotton do when you apply it over a mask? April 6, 2015 at 7:55pm Reply

        • Karen: Interesting that you also do a coffee scrub! A while ago, I thought that the espresso grounds from my latte should work as the base for a scrub, so I mixed them with some oil and lotion. Other than the mess (!!), they work great as part of a home made scrub, use instead of salt or sugar. April 7, 2015 at 6:40am Reply

          • anastasia: Hi Karen,

            That’s how I got the idea too, after making a pot of coffee. Did you find that you were more energized as opposed to using just a sugar or salt scrub? I prefer the sugar to the salt scrub, I find the salt stings on small little shaving cuts. April 8, 2015 at 10:17am Reply

        • Victoria: A damp cotton mask keeps whatever you put on your face in place. For instance, even a layer of toner or lotion applied under a mask has a better effect. April 7, 2015 at 10:54am Reply

          • Karen: Oh, I use the coffee scrub for my body, not face. My face would rise up in rebellion! If I do any exfoliating on my face, it is just a very very gentle application with a slight rocking motion of my hands. April 7, 2015 at 1:28pm Reply

            • Victoria: I also don’t use scrubs on my face, only on my body. My skin isn’t that sensitive, but I imagine it wouldn’t like granular exfoliators. On the other hand, I imagine it would great on legs and arms. April 7, 2015 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Rebecca: So much information in one post! I love the idea of beauty rituals. Everyone should make time for one.

    I enjoy scrubs and have incorporated your sugar scrub recipe into my routine. Now I”m going to search for the gauze masks. Thank you, Victoria. April 6, 2015 at 2:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t done the sugar scrub in a while, since I’ve been at my grandmother’s and her bathroom is 45F these days. So my showering takes places very fast. But once it warms up, I will try them again.

      My pleasure! I’m glad I could share some of these ideas. April 6, 2015 at 5:35pm Reply

  • Danaki: Rituals!! Rituals!! Well…I’m very regimented, I’m a scientist so there must be a method and methodology. Oh yeah!

    Daily, my morning routine consists of face wash (usually Clinique, but I try others as well) day serum (I use Clarins hydrating usually (the blue one)), moisturizer (any), spf (any) then make-up. Evening, its make-up removal, my gorgeous REN rosa centifolia hot cloth cleanser which is great for my dry skin and the rose smell is both gorgeous and relaxing.

    This sounds a bit cliche and silly, but these routines are important and relaxing, even the make-up. I feel they are equivalent to my partner’s meditation. Not the same, of course. Honestly, when I’m in them, I’m thinking of nothing else, and I need that.

    I’m mostly stressed during the middle of the week, and so I use an exfoliating treatment for my face (a glycolic or fruit acid lotion), followed by a hydrating treatment. Takes me about 5 minutes. It is an important 5 minutes in my week.

    Nails to, i second and agree with a lot of the discussion on painting nails and how it can be a nice relaxing thing.

    Ah! Modern life! April 6, 2015 at 6:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re the second person today to mention REN, and you had me at rose centifolia. I completely agree with you that these routines are important. Over the past year, as I’ve going through a challenging period, I found them also comforting. On days when there was nothing I could control, selecting a new face mist or perfume made me feel better, in a small but important way. That these routines also make you look better is a bonus point. April 7, 2015 at 3:40am Reply

  • marlene: Great piece on beauty rituals and your memories of your mother. My own mother and I would experiment with different soaps and lotions when I was young. Mom had nice skin all of her life. I have my own rituals of daily skin care. I exfoliate my whole body once a week with a loofah and moisturize daily. Oh,and I am a big fan of Georges Simenon and his “Inspector Maigret.” April 7, 2015 at 12:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Women in my family have great skin, especially my great-grandmother. She really had a wonderful peaches and cream complexion. She always used creams and lotions, and she also protected her skin from the sun by wearing hats.

      Do you have a favorite Simenon novel? I also love Inspector Maigret. April 7, 2015 at 11:06am Reply

  • Wendy: I love using face masks at home, and this article is reminding me that I am way overdue for one. A couple of weeks ago I did treat myself to a professional facial and it left me feeling so relaxed and centered. April 7, 2015 at 9:54am Reply

    • Victoria: A professional facial must be great, but I admit that I’ve never had one. On the other hand, masking is super easy to do. April 7, 2015 at 11:11am Reply

  • Therése: Ah, how I wish I was more glamourous! I keep my “beauty” ritual minimal: I use an olive oil soap and the I+M unsencented Freisteil Schampoo. Sometimes I’ll take an epsom salt bath. Watermelon seed oil for my face, almond oil for the rest of my body. I don’t usually wear make up, but if I think I look tired I’ll wear a mineral blush and mascara.

    And then I shower myself in perfume 🙂 April 8, 2015 at 3:39am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds plenty glamorous to me! 🙂 And I learned about a new oil, watermelon seed. Once I run out of almond and camellia oils, I need to look for it in addition to some others mentioned in this thread. April 8, 2015 at 8:57am Reply

      • Therése: I buy the watermelon seed oil from an Etsyseller called TeliaNaturale (She has a wonderful Camellia oil as well). April 8, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you! Good to know. 🙂 April 9, 2015 at 6:19am Reply

  • Iva: Hey now, nothing wrong with Yugoslavian mascara! I spent my teen years in Yugoslavia, hence my first mascara was Yugoslavian. That stuff really stuck like crazy glue to the lashes 🙂 April 8, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

    • Victoria: My mom says it was considered top of the line, and since it was expensive on her student budget, it was quite a treat. April 8, 2015 at 9:38am Reply

  • Andy: So many great takeaways in this article. For practicality, I try to keep my skincare simple, but the products I use always have to fulfill certain requirements of feeling nice even if it’s just something I slather on without thinking much about it. At certain times of the year, my skin too is sort of combination, and for that particular state I really like Hemp Seed oil, though it might be a little too sheer for drier skin types. When I have time, though, there is nothing like a rose, sandalwood, and yogurt mask (saw it in a thread many months ago, had to try it). I don’t really like anything scented on my face, but that is one notable exception, there is simply nothing that smells like it for me! April 8, 2015 at 6:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, sometimes simplifying the routine is the best thing. On at least one day a week, I apply nothing at all in the evening.
      The mask sounds great! April 9, 2015 at 6:24am Reply

  • marlene: Oh,I like “Pietr,The Latvian.” Such a complicated plot and interesting characters. Not to mention all the brain work on the part of Maigret. Great British movie series of this detective with Michael Gambon playing the part. It is a few years old,but still great. Lots of beautiful scenes of Paris. I love that you give time to comments. I find your blog so interesting. By the way,my Ukranian friend loved your Christmas music piece. April 9, 2015 at 12:12am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t read that one, so I’m adding it onto my list asap. 🙂
      Happy to know that your friend likes the piece. There are so many interesting traditions here, and although many have been lost, some do still flourish. April 9, 2015 at 6:27am Reply

  • Sabrina: Thank you for such a lovely post, I certainly shared some of your zen just from reading 🙂
    If I have some time I would incorporate some dry brushing all over body followed by a hot then cold shower, then do some massage with oil (I have coconut at the moment) and a massage tool, I have one from Muji and it seems to do the trick. All of this makes the skin firm and toned and kick starts it as a detoxifier.
    Hands get my new favourite hand cream, creme des mains by Durance with extracts of oilve leaf.
    I like to make my own face mask with green clay, sweet almond, mint and eucalyptus oil, and a bit of water.
    After a day of this I am calm and energised.
    Merci! April 7, 2016 at 10:33am Reply

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