There are two things I’m well versed in: chronic fatigue and skincare.
I’m not a professional at all, but since working in a department store as your local beauty girl I’ve had an interest in skincare. Even more exciting, I’ve been suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, AKA myalgic encephalomyelitis (or ME/CFS) since I was 18, something I feel like I’m an actual professional on!
While my chronic fatigue has fluctuated over the years, chronic illness and pain have entered the arena in the past few, complicating my life, so when someone says they suffer from any of these, I understand immediately.
To get to the point, if you have low energy, chronic pain and illness, low spoons, and/or executive dysfunction, I’m hoping to help you now. Some of these tips you might already do or know about, but I hope to bring you a bit more knowledge or give you an extra tip!
The Only Two Essential Products For Everyone
I’m going to tell you one thing that’s very important, you ready?
There are only two products that every skin needs: one that cleans and one that moisturises.
That’s it. Anything extra is to prevent or treat skin issues like acne, rosacea, aging prevention or more regular exfoliation. This is where you would put your own customisation but, ultimately, it’s about a cleanser that doesn’t strip the skins natural oils and dry it out, and a moisturiser that hydrates and keeps your skin comfortable, and preferably, SPF!
Assess Your Own Energy
The next part is a bit more about your own energy expenditure, so it’s harder for me to dictate as it’s personal to you. However, it’s safe to say you want something easy to use and effective. A lot of people – including myself – are very environmentally conscious and want to be as low waste as we can. You’ll find out pretty quickly (but not necessarily easily) where your sacrificial point is, i.e. sacrificing convenience for less waste. There is no right or wrong answer and don’t guilt-trip yourself into it like I’ve done for years. You are working at low energy, it’s not the time or place to add extra stress (this is a subject I hope to cover more in the future).
Assess Your Own Triggers and Sensitivities
Tying into the above is also your personal triggers, skin sensitivities or sensory overloads. If you need a skincare spray at the end of moisturising, do it. If you’re like me and hate having dry hands, but loathe the feeling of goop in between your fingers and all over your palms even more, find another way to apply. This is how I do it:
1. Squeeze some product onto the back of your hand. You really don’t need much if it’s good stuff.
2. Place the back of your hands together and rub!
3. If there’s still a bit left over I brush over my palms and blot dry with a hand towel.
Morning Routine, Night Routine…
While it’s best to get your face clean after you’ve woken up and before you sleep, sometimes that isn’t realistic for a lot of people. There’s also been a lot of discussions recently about if washing your face in the morning is good for your skin or even doing anything. Personally, I don’t wash my face with a cleanser in the morning and have been doing that for almost a year. I do cleanse it if I have night sweats (but in that case, I go have a shower), feel a bit greasy, but most of the time I ‘wash’ my face with warm water, pat dry, apply a little mix of SPF and a touch of moisturiser and that’s it. I’ve noticed that after a little adjustment period at the start my skin has balanced out a bit from the very combination skin I did have). Simple but effective.
Nighttime is when I do my cleansing, treatments and moisturising. It’s absolutely important to get that sunscreen, sebum, dirt and grime from the day off before applying fresh stuff.
This will be entirely up to what your skin needs and your own preference, however, if you ask me what time I think is important, I believe the nighttime.
- The easiest way to clean your face no matter where you are is using makeup wipes or micellar water with pads. I personally find makeup wipes usually too dry and rough for my skin to use all the time so I suggest adding a bit of makeup remover or micellar to the wipes before applying.
If you’re wanting to be more environmentally conscious, opt for natural fibers like 100% (or close to) cotton or muslin pads and wipes. Also, anything that’s biodegradable. Unfortunately while handy and reuseable, microfiber materials have been shown to be not that great for the environment, but again, if this works for you and is the only soft thing your skin can handle, use it.
- If you find a flocked natural fiber or cotton cloth with short fibers, give it a go! I managed to find one here years ago and it’s incredible as it acts like a microfiber but is 100% cotton. Just remember to look for shorter fibers as they hold onto debris more effectively without dragging the skin too much.
- If all of this is too overwhelming for you, one trick I’ve used time and time again is slapping a small film of simple moisturiser on my face (stay away from your eyes) and wiping it off with some big pads. Hell, a great toner can do the same thing.
- SPF. SPF? SPF. Ultraviolet rays don’t stop raining down on… well… rainy days. It’s always around and if you are inside all the time, still get into the habit of wearing it. CeraVe’s Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF15 is my favourite moisturiser with SPF, period. It’s cost-effective, lightweight, has never disrupted my skin, hydrating, and gives me some protection.
- If you find it overwhelming to wash your neck and it makes a mess and drives you insane, leave it for micellar or toner part as it’s still cleansing but making minimal to no mess.
- Sheet masks are a great way to get some quick moisturisation onto the skin as well as a nice time-out.
- If you want to incorporate exfoliation into your routine, look to chemical exfoliants! Also known as acids, like AHAs, BHAs and salicylic (and many more), chemical exfoliants only need to be applied with your fingers with no manual or physical scrubbing required. If this is of interest to you, I highly suggest looking at these videos from Dr Davin Lim and Lab Muffin Beauty Science as there are a few things to keep in mind when using them.
Remember, it’s all about cleaning the skin well and moisturising effectively.
Teeth are necessary but costly things, so it’s very important to look after them for your overall wellbeing and long-term health. As someone who has a family history of crappy oral health and actually reversed pre-cavity spots through flossing.
- Get an electric toothbrush! They all have auto-timers so you just need to move it around your mouth and the batteries can last off the handle for a crazy amount of time (I took my years-old Oral-B one away with me for 4 days and it still had charge).
- If you can’t afford an electric toothbrush or have an issue using it, invest in toothpaste tablets (like Lush’s Toothy Tabs, now just called Toothpaste Tabs) or use a short-fiber or muslin cloth.
- FLOSS STICKS! Something like Caredent Eeziflossers are always at my side.
- Like gum? Get something with xylitol like Pur gum, as xylitol has been proven to disrupt plaque production and incidences of cavities.
Hair and Body
I hate the process of showers. The shower itself and feeling clean is great, sometimes exhausting, but great feeling. But the idea of getting motivated to have one? Blood out of a stone stuff. I’m sure you do too.
- You absolutely don’t need to shower every day unless you are dirty or greasy or need to in any other capacity. Don’t let anyone bully or harass you into anything otherwise.
- Consider alternating your cleaning i.e. washing hair in the sink today, body washing in the shower tomorrow.
- Speaking of: sink showers! Otherwise known as sink baths, and other ones that might not be for all ages! The idea is using a cloth and cleaning your body – usually cleaning the less dirty/smell areas before going to the Funky Zones known as the armpits and groin.
- If it’s good for baby, it’s good for you! Baby products are always good as there is usually more emphasis on gentleness and scents.
When it comes to body products it’s the same as the face, however I doubt any of us have the energy for applying lotion ever, let alone every day.
- Keep it to something like a 2-in-1, like a hydrating body wash or one with emollients. I like keeping it either simple with Dr. Bronners Unscented Liquid Soap as it gives me an unscented option but is cleanses really well and you only need a little bit but seriously, I use it all over and never dries my skin out. For something that smells good, I stick with citrusy scents because I love them and they’re uplifting, like Origins Ginger Burst but here in Australia there’s a brand called MooGoo who have a wash that is so delicious it actually tempts me to eat it. I don’t!!!! But… I mean it does smell good.
In terms of lotion I don’t really do it (again, exhausting and the weather where I live is mostly humid), but I do recommend a spray option like Vaseline’s or a body gel as gel is lighter, absorbs faster, is great for humid climates and doesn’t leave as much greasiness – if any. I like Sephora Collection’s Body Jelly (which seems to be unavailable here now so :() and Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Body Lotion Gel seems to be a fan favourite.
- My biggest, bestest tip: Keep multiple items in different places you frequent in your home. Use sample pots full of moisturiser or hand cream as well as nail files and lip balm in a box or tray. I have a small H&M box like to the one above in the lounge room with a nail file and clipper, lip balm, floss sticks, hair ties, gum, medications I take around dinner time, eye drops and a few other things. Keeping them in a box or on a tray makes it stylish to how you like it, kept together but also easily recognisable to you (your object permeance will thank you). Additionally, keep multiples in bathrooms if you have more than one since nothing is worse than being at one end of the house, in pain, exhausted and needing something from the other end.