I don't know about you, but I am absolutely useless when it comes to taking vitamins.
I can do a whole world of other things according to routine - my fortnightly, like-clockwork manicure, my weekly car wash, my daily jade rolling skin session (hi there, I'm proudly high maintenance). But when it comes to the very simple habit of taking a vitamin, I have always been useless. UNTIL.
I recently discovered the beauty of the bedside locker, and let me tell you - my skin, hair, brows and nails have never been in better shape. How?
A very simple but very consistent nighttime routine. As with many difficult things in life (exercise and diet being the immediate two I think of), being consistent is key. You have to do something as a habit before it'll take proper effect.
For the routine I adopted, all the things I need for them are housed in my bedside locker. The beauty of that is, I get into bed, I turn my phone onto Do Not Disturb and I start the routine when I'm comfy and ready to sleep. There's no excuse not to complete the routine because everything is to hand, and all I need to bring with me to bed is a glass of water (which many people do anyway). Here's what I do. But bear in mind that every step is interchangeable and you could add in your own things - journaling, teeth whitening, putting on a retainer - whatever it is that you need to do regularly.
Step 1: Lip balm
After you cleanse and then brush your teeth, your lips will be towel dried and will benefit from some overnight hydration. I haven't had chapped lips in winter in about five years and I swear my nightly lip balm application is to thank for that. Right now, I'm obsessed with Burt's Bees Coconut and Pear lip balm and have bulk bought it in case they ever discontinue it.
Step 2: Cuticle oil
I am basically terrified that my manicurist will give out to me if I don't use cuticle oil religiously, so I make sure to apply some nightly and spend some time rubbing it in. My nails have grown so much stronger and healthier as a result, and my manicurist has less to be mad at me for. I alternate between a few, but right now I'm using CND Solar Oil.
Step 3: Take vitamins
Whatever they are, whether you're taking folic acid pre-pregnancy, a hair and nails supplement or just a multi-vitamin to keep on top of your general health. Keep them next to your bed, bring some water up every night, and make taking them a consistent thing. I took Viviscal in the past after having hair extensions out, but only saw results once I'd committed to taking them every single day.
Step 4: Lash serum
If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that you can spend all the money in the world on lash and brow serums, but they will not show one bit of difference until you use them daily. After you've cleansed your face is the best time to use them, too. So making applying one part of your bed time routine will ensure you get value for your money. My favourite one (that I know works!) is the Image Skincare Lash and Brow Serum
Step 5: Hand cream
It might seem like overkill, what with the cuticle oil already being used. But there's something lovely about applying a nice thick hand cream and leaving it there overnight, not to be rubbed off by the actions of the day. Any will do, at the moment I really like the Alpha H Age Delay Hand and Cuticle Cream.
Step 6: Eye drops
As someone who has had laser eye surgery, I got into the habit of using eye drops regularly a few years back after the procedure and have grown to enjoy the refreshing, cleansing effect they have on my eyes. But, before you sleep, to freshen your eyes before you close them for seven or eight hours seems to me to be a sensible thing to do. Again, any drops will do.
Step 7: The 4-7-8 Technique
This is probably my favourite part of the night routine, although it's not strictly beauty related. If I can't get to sleep, or if I'm wound up over something, or if I can't stop my mind wandering and keeping me alert, I'll do the 4-7-8 breathing routine and be asleep within minutes. You lie on the flat of your back, to start (this is derived from yoga, so on your back is best - ask your doctor about the best way to do it if you're pregnant). Inhale through your nose only for four seconds. Hold your breath for seven seconds. And exhale through your mouth making an audible 'whooshing' sound for eight seconds. Repeat that three or four times and you'll be calmer, at the very least, and asleep at best.