Face Mind Lift
By Danny Silvestri
Wake up, wake up, wake up! I've regularly been woken up by my alarm ringing and the feeling of being stolen away from a dreamy slumber. Those initial waking moments can feel peaceful, calm and even inspired, but it doesn't often last.
My mind begin to rush into spiralling thoughts around the preoccupations of the day ahead. Have I overslept? Can I squeeze in an extra 5 minutes of snoozing? What needs doing today? What shall I wear? Without noticing, I can become so far removed from feeling centred and calm. My head spins endlessly with ‘things’ to do, to be or to look at becoming.
Does it have to feel like this? For years I’ve been pondering this question, and more broadly, I’ve been searching for ways to better understand myself. It’s challenged me to unpack uncomfortable experiences - the aftermath of which have lingered in me for far too long. I’ve met some inspirational people who have supported me to articulate my experiences and empower me to view my health holistically - caring about my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social needs.
From this perspective, I’ve been inspired to let my passion for making my Barbershop clients look and feel great on the outside, meet alongside my curiosity to shift attention and awareness into the present moment, to help inspire us to feel great from the inside too.
So here is my daily Mind Cleansing Face Wash routine - and I promise it’s as simple as putting on your socks!
Read on for my take on the most effective ways to give this a go, why I think it could be beneficial, and what I’ve taken from leading industry experts.
WHY FACE WASH?
We will all wash our face, one way or another. Some will most likely be washing their face regularly, seeing it as an important daily habit and part of a self-care routine.
Whilst others may not give it a second thought as they splash water about the place, thinking of it as a chore to get done as quickly as possible so they can get on with their day.
Our skin is our biggest organ and without attempting to look after it properly, we may end up with conditions that could have been prevented, simply by washing well with clean water and some good quality product. Paying closer attention to our skin may also help us to see and prevent, or at least act upon sooner, any changes happening which might lead to a negative impact further as we age.
The value of regular face washing is to help us wash away our skin's impurities. Washing in the morning helps to rid us of our overnight shedding. It may also benefit by waking up those tired eyes before getting on with the day. In the evening, it’s just as important. It’s when we wash away the sweat and grime and pollution after all our daily activities. Washing in the evening helps ensure our skin is clean, balanced and comfortable before settling into a peaceful night’s rest where our bodies and minds begin their deep recharge and recovery.
BUT WHY MIND CLEANSE?
Like cleansing your face, cleansing your mind is all about taking care of you! Inspired by the Mindfulness, I began a self care routine to really feel what is happening instead of what my mind thinks is happening, and as a way to gain a closer connection to myself; to see my stresses and my worries for what they are and ultimately feel happier.
I began practicing whilst washing my face, allowing any thoughts, feelings, images and perceptions to take a back seat so I am genuinely enjoying every moment of my face washing experience - I’d literally be washing my mind’s thoughts away down the plughole with the dirty water!
By applying better quality face wash products to my face, I began to feel fresher, cleaner and better prepared for the day - I felt my skin start to glow. But deeper than this, in adopting ‘a mind cleansing practice’ with face washing, I felt the benefits go further. This practice began having a positive impact on my thought process, and this led to tackling my stresses and anxieties too. I began to find extra moments of happiness in all the little things I often overlooked!
It became infectious. When facing bigger challenges I began noticing my thoughts in this same way. I am simply being present with them instead of forcing them away, running or distracting myself from them. For me, pointless thoughts and feelings become boring and dull, whilst challenging thoughts and feelings become clearer and simpler to deal with.
I’ve found that developing a deeper connection to my attention and awareness is quite magical, even though it took some practice to grasp. It may initially take time and effort and a lot of catching yourself on the runaway train of thought. But any moment I caught myself on a first class ticket to who knows where, I’d hop off and bring myself back to the very present moment. Being aware of the senses - what I’m smelling, hearing, tasting, seeing or touching - with a conscious awareness of breathing would help ground me, bring me out of the noise in my head and back into the moment. I have found the more you practice it, the more empowering the experience becomes.
If you’d like to give it a go, my suggestion would be to begin by being gentle and kind with yourself. Remember, persistence is key. Introduce it into your daily facial washes at the beginning and end of your day and see what unfolds for you.
If you find you’re enjoying the self-care ritual and the infectious spirit of a mind cleanse takes hold, you could begin slowly introducing this same practice into other areas of your daily life too.
A step-by-step guide to your mind-cleansing-face wash routine
You can take as little or as long as you like over each step, do what feels comfortable for you. Before you start, have whatever products (see below for my recommendations) you're using to hand, plus a clean flannel.
Spend a moment to settle in front of your sink. With your eyes closed or partly open, begin to start noticing your breathing.
Try to experience your breathing fully - notice how it feels to inhale slowly through your nose, and exhale gently through your mouth. If you notice your mind starting to wander, bring your awareness back to your breath.
Run a tap of tepid water.
Focus on the sound of the running water, perhaps take your hand and feel the temperature or pressure of the water as it’s falling through your fingers.
With clean hands, wet your face.
When your hands meet your face, how do they feel against your skin?
Using small circular motion, apply a small amount of facial wash and rub it around your face. Don’t miss out the neck and behind the ears, and be careful of sensitive areas around the eyes and mouth.
Take your time to take in the smell and sensation of the product. Is the smell woody or herbal? Is it smooth or gritty? Spend a few moments here.
Dampen a clean flannel with warm water and use it to wash residual product off your face. You can be gentle here, try to ease off from scrubbing too hard. You know when you’ve finished when you can see a dirt-free flannel as you rinse it.
Listen to and be gentle with your skin. It’s totally unique to you, so be kind to it. This is a time to ‘tune into’ you.
With your face still damp, dab small amounts of moisturiser on cheeks, forehead, chin and neck. Begin gently massaging the product into your skin using the tips of your fingers.
Pay attention to the areas just above your eyebrows, the crease of your jaw line, and the skin between your top lip and below your nose. Experiment with different motions in these areas. You might also notice different sensations on the surface of the skin as the moisturiser is absorbed.
Thank yourself for taking care. Let your work do it’s thing.
Notice your own reflection, wish yourself well and celebrate yourself for taking the time to slow down, tune in, and be present.
Move forward with the rest of your day, from a place of calm and gratitude.
If you enjoyed the experience, invite moments of awareness and presence into other parts of your day. Become receptive to your surroundings and others within it.
FACE WASHING FUNDAMENTALS
1. Keep it fun, keep it simple and make it part of your daily routine.
2. Be sure to give your skin the proper wash it deserves before applying any moisturiser. You need to wash off the dirt first to allow the moisturiser to do its job.
Cleanse using a product like a natural wash, milk or balm. Products that provide a mild and natural exfoliation are best.
Face washing in the shower can often mean that we’re exposing our skin to too much heat, particularly if you like really hot showers! If you are set to face wash in the shower DO turn down the water temperature, and before cleansing make sure to have rinsed off any shampoo that may have run onto your face.
Moisturise straight from your wash! No need to pat dry; you want to lock and seal in all that moisture.
Looking to implement this into your daily routine? Check out our Skincare Duo here to aid you on your journey.