I've lost count of the number of stories I've written these past few years that start off with a line about how stressed out we all are—and for this one, it seems like a waste of space. At this point, we're all well aware of how the chaos of 2020 and beyond has impacted our emotional well-being, and the fact that the number of Americans dealing with anxiety and depression spiked from 11 percent in 2019 to 40 percent just one year later serves as proof.
With that in mind, it makes sense that we're all looking for ways to feel better in every facet of our lives—and that includes our beauty routines.
Such was the inspiration behind Selfmade, a psychodermatology brand dedicated to helping people prioritize the care part of their self-care routines. In the latest episode of Well+Good's new beauty podcast, Routine Rundown, I sat down with founder and CEO Stephanie Lee to talk about how we can all do exactly that.
Listen to the episode here:
"Psychodermatology is a newer study that has happened in the last 10-20 years, and it’s really about that brain-skin connection," says Lee in the episode. "It’s really about your mind, your mental health, and your emotional well-being, and how that shows up in your skin and body functions." In other words, psychodermatology explains why you break out when you're stressed or blush when you're nervous, and gives us the language to describe the idea that beauty really is more than skin deep.
Lee launched Selfmade in 2020 (as she likes to say, "It's a pandemic baby"), and the brand's approach to holistic skin care couldn't have come at a better time. "With the onset of COVID, and isolating, and all the things that have happened over the last three years, we’re over stressed, out of tools, and we’re finally as a population speaking about It and embracing it,” says Lee. "[And in creating the brand], I had the question of 'How do we take those really important lessons and turn them into a lifestyle?' They shouldn't live in a [therapist's] office or in a mental health app or in conversations with your girlfriends—these reminders should live on our vanities, in our showers, and on our nightstands, because that's how often we should be thinking about our emotional wellbeing."
With Selfmade, Lee is giving us ways to add those oh-so-important "reminders" into every step of our routines. "The best way I could do that was to inject as much mental health as possible into the time we're already taking care of ourselves—which means using the times we're already taking care of ourselves by putting on makeup or skin care for mindfulness and self-reflection," says Lee. "We want to be a touchpoint throughout your whole day’s ritual of how you care for yourself—caring shouldn’t exist just within a doctor's office or your vanity … it should exist throughout your whole entire day in different areas of your life."
Below, shop the products that will help inject mindfulness into every part of your day-to-day—but know that you don't necessarily need products to get the job done. "Self touch serves as self care," says Lee. "Our skin hungers to be touched, so giving yourself a hug, touching yourself, or giving yourself a scalp massage are all things you can do to meet your own needs, and that's really powerful."
Once you've filled your basket, be sure to listen to Lee's Routine Rundown episode on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your Podcasts—trust me when I say this is a conversation that you (and your stressed-out skin) won't want to miss.
In your skin-care routine
Selfmade’s duo of skin-care products, which includes the Secure Attachment Serum Comfort+ ($36) and Corrective Experience Comfort Cream ($30), does a whole lot more than simply hydrate and nourish your skin (though they happen to do those things exceedingly well thanks to their neurocosmetic ingredients, which lower stress when applied topically).
The serum is all about developing a secure attachment to yourself via your daily skin-care routine, while “The Comfort Cream is based on creating corrective emotional experiences, which is having a new perspective on an old story and choosing to do something different to heal yourself,” says Lee. Layer them on for a dewy glow you’ll notice both inside and out.
In your hair-care routine
Sure, scrubbing your scalp can dislodge buildup and stimulate hair growth, but it’s also just a really good way to take a moment connecting with yourself. This jelly-textured scrub is made with adaptogens and anti-inflammatory ingredients, and is pretty much guaranteed to make you look forward to your next DIY head massage.
In your sexual wellness routine
The “self touch is self care” mantra comes into play with this intimacy serum, which is made with aphrodesiac ingredients that help soothe the nervous system and reduce stress. Before the serum hit the market, Lee asked a group of gen-Zers to take it for a test drive over the course of a month, and afterward many reported that it helped them learn to touch themselves more lovingly. Use it with a partner or on your own, and enjoy.
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