I have tried a lot of skincare products.
Many of which have caused my skin to break out in hives, exacerbate my breakouts, and even create nasty burns (see the picture below from February 2017).
Because of my experiences, I have done a lot of research on how to calm my skin when I've put it through too much (which seems to be at least once every couple of months).
One staple that I keep in my sensitive skin survival kit is an $18 French product that many skincare gurus and dermatologist recommend — Avène's Thermal Spring Water.
You may be thinking why on earth would anyone spend $18 on a can of water? I had the same thought until I gave it a try after I looked in the mirror at my red, raw, over-exfoliated skin. I was trying to get rid of one pimple and instead stripped my skin of its moisture and balance. As the researcher I am, I went straight to Google and typed in "How to soothe over-exfoliated skin".
I have been a long-time user of rose water, but I wanted a new remedy.
Avène's Thermal Spring Water
One of the articles confirmed what I already knew--that I had sensitive skin--and recommended I give up the physical exfoliants and make the switch to chemical exfoliation once a week with an AHA product like The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.
Then after another hour of scrolling through beauty advice and reviews, I found an article on French skincare that listed products you could purchase from the drugstore and the thermal water was on the list. While some reviewers said the spray did nothing for their skin, other reviewers were praising it for soothing their eczema, calming their sensitive skin, or just giving their skin a post-flight or afternoon pick-me-up.
I went to Walgreens and picked up a can. I had nothing to lose since my skin was already a mess.
I washed my face with an oil cleanser, sprayed the thermal water on my damp skin, and moisturized with rosehip oil. Since my skin was still feeling irritated, I sprayed a little more of the water on before I fell asleep. My guess is that the trace elements (antioxidant minerals), lipopolysaccharides and amino acids (helps reduce irritation), and the neutral pH of the water helped the redness and burning sensation calm as I slept. While my skin wasn't back to normal, it looked and felt so much better than it had the night before.
I popped it in my work bag and misted my face anytime my skin felt or looked dry since my skin was peeling.
Since that over-exfoliation moment, I have had more (Why am I like this?) because I can't pass up a chance to try a new product even if that potentially means a skincare meltdown. I'm not saying this mist is going to cure your acne or other skincare concerns, but this water is a cult-favorite for a reason and in my opinion, worth the coin.
And aside from soothing the skin, I use it as a makeup primer, especially on days when my skin is too matte because of my foundation, or I've overdone it on the powder.
No matter your skincare concerns, you should have this product nearby. Do you believe in the power of a bomb face mist? Let us know in the comments down below.
Featured image by Giphy
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Bianca Lambert is a proud Atlanta native soaking up the Los Angeles sun. She is the founder of Mae B: a stationery company for women of color and a digital content creator on a mission to elevate the voices of women of color everywhere.
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
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Release Stress & Restore Harmony In Your Body With Shaking Meditation
When we reflect on our own path as women in light of the women who came before us, it’s easy to see that the loads we’ve carried haven’t always been the lightest. From everyday stresses to generational trauma with roots that are difficult to trace, one must ask where all that weight goes if we never release it.
The body holds the score for all the anxieties, worries, and unease that we’ve endured over time. Family and society often tell us to quiet our emotions, maintain a brave face, and keep our emotions bottled up within. But as we know, anything with too much pressure will eventually burst.
And while we are steadily discovering self-care methods like meditation to shed this emotional baggage, it may take a little more than sitting still in the quiet of our mind to let go of our deep-rooted tension. Fortunately, mindful movement could be an unexpected way for you to let go of worry and anxiety while building emotional resiliency, and such is the case with shaking meditation.
What Is Shaking Meditation?
Shaking meditation is a form of tension and trauma-releasing exercises or TRE that “assists the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension, and trauma.” This series of exercises of muscular shaking and vibrating activates a natural reflex mechanism that releases muscular tension, thus calming down the nervous system and encouraging your body to return back to a state of balance.
“Shaking meditation can be powerful because it moves your body — and in Eastern medicine, we say that moves your chi,” says Jenelle Kim, DACM, L.Ac, a ninth-generation doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and author of Myung Sung: The Korean Art of Living Meditation.
According to Dr. Kim, understanding chi helps us understand our bodies and how we're feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chi is known to represent your life force; it is the energy that flows through you and everything, and in many cultures, plays an essential role in our health.
“We have chi that moves in our blood and throughout our entire body; connecting our organ systems, muscles, and joints,” she tells xoNecole. “It allows everything to function and to be nourished. We know blood travels throughout our body through our circulatory system, but chi also travels through our body — much in the same way — through the meridian system. If you picture chi as vital energy, it moves the blood.”
It’s important for our body’s chi to stay in flow. When we go about our daily life with stress, trauma, or even mental injuries, our energy becomes stagnant. But various movement practices like Qigong or shaking meditation encourage your chi to circulate through your body which activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which “is in charge of telling our brain and body to calm down, relax, ultimately, let go,” Dr. Kim says.
As Black women, there are times in life when it feels like we bear the weight of the world on our shoulders, with few spaces to go when we need to lighten the load. But as Dr. Kim explains, because women are “naturally yin beings,” we take on more because we can handle more. “According to the energies of nature that have been passed down for thousands of years, women are more complex. And what that almost always means is that we can think a lot more.” And while that speaks to the resiliency of our being, it can have a negative effect on our bodies when we store more than we release.
“If we don't have ways of releasing this, it will ultimately affect our lives physically, mentally, and spiritually. Then it passes on to our children, and that's where we get generational trauma,” she says.
Although shaking meditation may be a new and unfamiliar practice, it’s one that could prove to be beneficial to those who have experienced trauma on an individual and communal level. The movements are simple to follow and accessible, and in a matter of minutes, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed, while relieving any anxiety, frustration, and tension inside of you.
So if you’re ready to restore harmony within your body, here are the steps to perform shaking meditation on your own.
How To Incorporate Shaking Meditation Into Your Daily Routine:
Step 1: “Stand with your feet hip-width apart. You can do this while sitting or standing — depending on your comfort level. Make sure all of your joints are soft, so nothing's locked.
Step 2: “Begin raising onto your tiptoes and falling back onto your heels. Not so hard to where you're shocking your spine, but enough to just kind of wake up your body. Repeat three to five times, dropping down onto your heels.”
Step 3: “Next, start with your hands first and shake them. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Shake them and go up to your arms, to your elbows, and then up to your shoulders. Now your whole arms should be moving.”
Step 4: “Then you can start your legs, repeating the same shaking movement. You then move your feet moving, go up through your core, and then shake everything out through your head.”
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Featured image by Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images