Depending on how much time and energy I have left on any given weekday, my shower routine varies considerably from a three-minute haphazard rinse—my absolute bare minimum to feel clean— to 15-minute cleanses with whichever shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are within reach. But for the past few months, I’ve committed to setting aside at least half an hour every Sunday evening to indulge in a more luxurious and rejuvenating shower ritual that begins and continues after the actual shower, thanks to some of my most cherished body care offerings from Keys Soulcare.
Founded by Alicia Keys and developed in partnership with Renée Snyder, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, the products in the line are intentionally referred to as “offerings” to encourage combining skincare routines with self-care practices. Each is printed with a different affirmation, like “I let go of what doesn’t serve me,” “I cherish all that I am,” and “I love myself as I am.” By repeating these self-affirming mantras as I indulge in each product, this weekly self-care ritual of mine not only leaves me emerging with softer and more supple skin but also feeling more calm and ready about taking on the week ahead.
My at-home spa experience begins by physically exfoliating my skin with the Energizing Dry Body Brush ($22) while standing in the tub. Though there isn’t much research and data to support dry brushing yet, the practice is hypothesized to provide a host of benefits to the skin, from boosting circulation and lymphatic drainage to improving the appearance of cellulite, says Sara Perkins, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and advisor for Hims & Hers.
Made with firm, vegan bristles that gently massage, I start sloughing off dead skin with the brush, starting at my ankles and moving up through each area of my body. In circular motions, I apply pressure that’s just firm enough to exfoliate, but not so firm that it’s abrasive. “It’s very important to avoid brushing too hard or scrubbing. This can cause microtrauma, itching or inflammation of the skin, which can actually result in skin thickening, eczema or even pigmentation,” says Dr. Perkins. Once I got the pressure and rhythm down, the repetitive motions of dry brushing became a relaxing part of the routine.
To gently cleanse the skin and rinse off all the dead skin cells, I reach for the creamy Renewing Body + Hand Wash With Manuka Honey ($26), which gives a light and foamy lather. This gel cleanser is formulated with shea butter, cocoa butter, and manuka honey, which cleanses my skin while providing moisture to it.
“Manuka honey is best known, and studied, for its anti-bacterial and wound healing properties. It helps draw water into the skin, making it an effective moisturizer, and it also possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” explains Dr. Perkins. I especially like to reach for this body wash when colder weather leaves my skin feeling drier. Plus, its subtle notes of sage and oat milk provide a light and soothing scent that isn’t overpowering, making it suitable for all skin types.
When my skin is looking extra dull, I follow the body wash with the Mind-Clearing Body Polish With Glycolic and Lactic Acids ($25) to revive it. “Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like glycolic acid and lactic acid, can smoothen and brighten the skin, improving texture and appearance,” says Dr. Perkins, noting chemical exfoliation is especially helpful for those with keratosis pilaris. AHAs can also help reduce hyperpigmentation and signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. In this body polish, the fine granules of bamboo charcoal also work to physically exfoliate the skin while the sunflower seed and coconut oils replenish moisture and soothe the skin. On wet skin, I apply a generous amount of polish to my body, then slowly rub in circular motions, focusing on rough spots like elbows, knees, and the bottom of my feet to smooth and soften them.
Though I rinse off at this point, my shower ritual doesn’t just end in the shower. Patting down with a towel and leaving my skin damp, I moisturize my body with the Rich Nourishing Body Cream with Shea Butter ($36), a velvety and luxurious blend of shea and cocoa butter that calms and soothes. “Shea butter is an excellent emollient containing several vitamins and fatty acids which can help support a healthy skin barrier. It can help to soften and plump the skin,” says Dr. Perkins. Thick without feeling heavy, the formula also combines rose of Jericho, ceramides and oats, all of which are ultra-moisturizing ingredients.
Intentionally indulging in a more time-intensive shower ritual each week gives me the opportunity to reconnect with myself. And as its name suggests, these offerings from Keys Soulcare have also encouraged me to nourish my mind and soul in addition to pampering my body.
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