Timely Tips to Help You Relax, Refresh and Reboot

May 11th 2020, 11:00 pm

To say that our regular lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic would be an understatement. As the country slowly reopens and we cautiously emerge from lockdown, we still need to take moments to pause, center ourselves, and prioritize self-care.

We’ve enjoyed reading over the last several weeks the varying methods that MUAers are using to care for themselves. In moments of stress and uncertainty, keeping our minds and bodies healthy is vital. While some may see beauty as frivolous in the best of times, we think true beauty is more than skin deep, and in this vein we hope to provide some inner-facing respite from the outside world.

Thus, we’re going beyond the usual BestOfMakeupAlley curated list of potions, lotions, and creams (though never fear…we’ve got those, too!) to provide some tips, tricks and inspiration to go along with the best products on MUA as rated by you.


If you’ve never had a scalp massage, we’re here to tell you it can be quite cathartic. It’s a great way to relax and release pent up tension. For devotees of this pate-relaxing ritual, ten minutes of scalp massage can be more satisfying than a one hour body shiatsu.

Approach it as if you were getting a luxe facial:

  • First, prep your scalp with steam to open up the hair follicles (if you don’t have access to a steam bonnet, try this DIY tip: wrap your head with a hot, wet towel, then cover your wrapped head with a plastic shower cap, and blast with your hairdryer).

  • Then, vigorously rub in a scalp scrub to remove buildup and impurities.

  • Next, meticulously cleanse your hair with a detoxifying shampoo using light, rhythmic motions.

  • Apply your favorite conditioner and rinse out.

  • Finally, using your preferred aromatic hair oils, place your hands in a L-shape and using gentle yet firm pressure, massage your head with circular motions from the forehead down towards your neck. This will stimulate circulation and help your entire body to unwind.

  • If you’re short on time, skip the wash and go straight to the hair oil massage.

Hair Collage
Shampoo & Conditioner: John Frieda Detox & Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

“[I've] tried many high end shampoo and conditioners that have not been worth the money! I have had the detox and conditioner for nearly 6 months. It’s lasted well, good price, and it makes my hair look luscious and feel amazing. Would definitely recommend and buy again.”

Scalp Scrub: dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

"It blooms into the loveliest, creamiest lather…My hair and scalp feel so great after using this—super clean and refreshed—and my hair is shiny and fluffy-clean. I use it once every week or two…(it is the ultimate clarifier)…if you have scalp issues or use a lot of styling products or just want a refreshing scalp scrub, this is the best…”

Hair Oil: Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Hair Oil

“This product is fantastic; after shampooing just a couple of drops works for all my hair from tips to roots. Nice and healthy too! One bottle has lasted one year (washing once per week) and I'm no longer beholden to silicone heavy slick conditioners with too much perfume :) Will definitely repurchase.”

Hair Oil: Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil

“…[this] has a fresh, lemony scent that is pleasant and doesn't linger for too long. It does an excellent job of controlling frizz and softening my hair. You can use it as a pre-poo or leave in treatment. It is so conditioning and makes my hair look healthy. I honestly feel like this beats Moroccan oil in performance."


We believe good skin is always a mood-improver! Skin flare ups can have a detrimental effect on your mood, so pampering your skin with a soothing face mask is a good idea to both calm your skin and settle your senses.

Sheet masks are a great way to moisturize, clarify, or brighten your complexion. Hydrogel options packed with hyaluronic acid are perfect for plumping up tired or dry-looking visages, while charcoal or clay-based masks can purge your pores of impurities.  A long-term investment option is an LED mask. These futuristic devices might temporarily make you look like Jason from the Friday the 13th franchise—but at least one MUAer thinks it has merit! Moreover, most allow you to customize your treatment according to your skincare needs (the ones with blue light, for instance, are said to work wonders on acne-prone skin types). 

We can’t think of a better way to emerge from self-isolation than with glowing, clear skin.

Clay: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

“This mask does not leave my skin dehydrated and does the job! My skin doesn’t feel dry and somehow this mask doesn’t crack and pull at my skin after it dries! As an oily skin type, it is critical to keep it hydrated so it doesn’t go into oil production overdrive and this is a life-saver!“

LED: CurentBody Skin LED Light Therapy Mask

“...the vertical lines around my mouth are improved - maybe by about 20%. That does not seem a lot but [they are the] wrinkles that really bother me so the reduction is very welcome….I didn't have unrealistic expectations before this purchase so I think that is weighing into my positive review. This is a lot of money so if you have the extra cash and are ok with small results, I would say it us worth it.”

Hydrogel Sheet: Erno Laszlo Soothe & Calm Hydrogel Mask

“These are very high quality masks and I felt the results lasted for at least a week, comparable to a facial done at a salon. There was a noticeable difference in my skin. Pores looked smaller, skin felt super hydrated and soft. It's the best sheet mask I've tried yet.”

Charcoal: Bioré Charcoal Self Heating One Minute Mask

“…Usually I can feel my breakouts coming on and I found that if I used this…right when pores start to clog up and skin becomes bumpy, then I could avoid a breakout altogether…I finished the [5] I bought…and I didn't break out once. Would recommend to those with oily/combination skin.”


Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and boost your body’s natural endorphins.  Just because your usual gym or fitness studio is closed is no reason to be idle. Go for a quick jog in your neighborhood or do Sun Salutations in your backyard. The fresh air will do you some good. If you live in a crowded cityscape and that’s not possible, there are a myriad of virtual fitness regimens available that allow you to work up a great sweat from your living room, bedroom, or wherever you have the space—no equipment needed. Box + Flow offers a side of daily inspiration using their method of high-intensity boxing followed by a fast vinyasa flow via Zoom. For those who are up for the challenge, the cult-favorite AARMY, beloved by Ashley Graham, Karlie Kloss and Maria Sharapova, offers up demanding bootcamps, ab workouts and cycling sessions free of charge. If you're looking for an energetic romp, try downloading Body by Simone’s workout app. Whatever workout you choose, you’re bound to feel refreshed physically and mentally afterwards.

Foundation + SPF: CliniqueFIT Workout Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 40

“Holy grail foundation...You know how we always complain that no matter what primer we use our foundation always has faded or budged at the end of the day. {This lasts] until I wash it off at night. It’s runny but I think that formulation is needed for its longevity.”

Body Wash: Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash

“Only a few body products I use help keep my chest and back free from acne and this is one of them...Now when I hit the gym I keep a bottle of Clear body wash in my locker. It's a gentle non-drying SLS-free formula and lasts me roughly 2-3 months at a time.”

Moisturizer: Lululemon SelfCare - Sweat Reset Face Moisturizer

“...Many other moisturizers can leave my face feeling and looking like a sticky, sweaty, gooey-goopy mess.  The Sweat Reset doesn't.  After a workout I just wipe the sweat off with a towel and it seems to set back onto my face."        

Deodorant: Schmidt's Natural Deodorant - Lavender + Sage

“[The] majority of natural aluminum-free deodorants leave me smelling like a filthy gas station, but not this one. Also...I haven't developed any rash due to baking soda and I haven't developed any boils/cysts when wearing deodorants."


Sleep is vital to your well-being, and the lack of it can make you irritable, affect your concentration, and wreak havoc on your appearance. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 7 to 8 hours of sleep is the optimum amount for adults.

So what to do if you’re having fits during the night that are blocking you from getting a restful repose? For sweet dreams while you slumber, try these tips: 

  • Shut off your lights. Light helps regulate your circadian rhythm (your sleep/wake cycle). Nighttime light exposure can disrupt your snooze.

  • Maintain a cool bedroom environment. Room temps between 60 and 68 Fahrenheit are ideal. 

  • Limit bedroom noise as much as possible. 

  • Try meditation. Deep breathing exercises can help calm your mind so that you fall asleep more quickly.  

  • Partake in aromatherapy if that’s your thing: light a candle or spritz your pillow with a lavender scent to help you wind down.

  • Establish a bedtime routine: going to bed at the same time each evening is key. 

  • Turn off your electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep pattern. Also, avoid watching the news at least 30 minutes before turning in (all of those coronavirus updates can be stressful).  

  • Cut out coffee and caffeinated drinks at least six hours before heading to bed (research has shown that caffeine can take up to eight hours to wear off) to avoid a case of evening jitters. 

  • If you need help powering down, avoid night caps. Having an alcoholic drink before bedtime causes disturbances in sleep and represses rapid eye movement (REM). Try a healthier sleep aid like melatonin instead. Be sure to take melatonin-based supplements about 90 minutes before your intended bed time for them to be effective.

Aromatherapy: Byredo Bibliothèque Candle

“It's warm and comforting, slightly plummy but never fruity with a woody haze of rich vanilla and tobacco. It makes me feel like I'm wrapped in the creamiest, coziest cashmere blanket while sitting near the fireplace on a snowy winter night.” 

Sleep Mask: Aveeno MaxGlow No-Mess Sleep Mask

“I enjoyed this product. It really hydrates my skin well overnight and gave me a nice plumped look in the morning. It has that typical Aveeno scent to it, which I enjoy but just want to point it out.”

Bath Soak: Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Foam Bath Relaxing Lavender

“The natural scent of this product is divine. I am a huge fan of natural lavender fragrance. Aura Cacia blends three different species of lavender to create this scent.”

Supplement: Melatonin

“This used to be the only thing that would get me to sleep. I had tried a lot of things including prescriptions and this did it. Your body naturally produces it...” 

What are you doing to help yourself unwind in these difficult times? Weigh in here!