Indulge in some overnight nourishment. Lisa Haynes reveals the power of beauty sleep.
By Lisa Haynes
As the clocks turn back, once again night-times have become longer and darker. If you're feeling glum about the official onset of winter, why not reap the benefits with a little hibernation?
A good night's sleep is highly underrated, and can work wonders for radiant skin and glossy hair.
"Sleep is when your body does more of its repair work, and not getting enough shows up both physically and emotionally," explains sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski.
"An undisturbed and restful night offers an abundance of beauty benefits and can be enhanced further by deep conditioning treatments for your skin and hair."
Aim for dreamy looks when you wake up with our guide to good Zzz's.
No matter how snuggly your duvet is, if your bedroom doesn't provide the optimum conditions, you may struggle to reach your beauty sleep potential.
Regulate the temperature of your room. Ramping up the central heating at night can lead to dried-out skin and frizzy, brittle hair.
Dr Idzikowski advises: "When the central heating is on and the room is hot and dry, we can toss and turn to cool down. Either use a humidifier or place a bowl of water by the radiator. This will help to make your skin and hair less arid."
Sleeping on your back in a slightly raised position aids the body's natural drainage process to avoid puffy eyes and a bloated face.
Industry experts also swear by silk pillow cases to boost your beauty at night. "Silk is much more gentle on the skin and hair," Dr Idzikowski explains.
"Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can prevent hair thinning and split ends. The weave in a cotton pillow can be quite harsh on hair, pulling it in different directions resulting in breakage."
Eight hours is the magic optimal amount of sleep but it can be elusive.
If you have trouble nodding off, indulge in some snooze-enhancing activities, like a luxurious bubble bath. Lavender oil also has calming properties to help you drift off when applied to your pulse points. Alternatively, dot under your pillow or add a few drops to your bath.
Avoid a night of disrupted sleep by calming your senses before bedtime. This Works has developed a Deep Sleep range, from £12 (selected Boots stores), specifically designed to help you relax with pre-bedtime pampering.
"Try and get into the habit of a pre-sleep routine," suggests Sleep Patch-It creator Amy Wong.
"Soak your feet in warm to hot water for about 10 minutes. A good foot massage can also promote sleep because our feet have the highest concentration of reflexology zones."
Beware sleepy heads, there is such a thing as too much shut-eye. Aesthetic nurse practitioner Kerrie-Jayne Salcedo warns that over-snoozing can leave you bleary-eyed in the morning.
She says: "Skin repairs itself when you're at rest, so the more 'quality' sleep you get the better but the result of a really heavy sleep is often puffy eyes."
If you're too busy for treatments, try a product that works overtime throughout the night. Here's our pick of the best sleeping beauties:
:: Aromatherapy Associates Overnight Repair Mask, £48.50 (www.aromatherapyassociates.com): Wake up with plumper, firmer skin as the rejuvenating rose and frankincense get to work while you grab 40 winks. Use two or three times a week and apply over a layer of face oil if your skin is extra-dry.
:: No7 Beautiful Skin Overnight Radiance Boost, £16 (Boots): Open your eyes to brighter, radiant skin with this hydrating pre-bedtime serum that simultaneously optimises skin renewal and mildly exfoliates.
:: This Works No Wrinkles Night Repair, £45 (www.thisworks.com): Cheat eight hours' sleep and give nightmare fine lines the elbow with this rich night serum that revitalises tired and ageing skin.
:: Charles Worthington Salon at Home Secrets Collection Moisture Seal Overnight Ultimate Hair Healer, £14.99 (Boots): Say goodnight to split ends by smoothing this nourishing Argan Oil-packed cream through your locks. You'll wake up with no residue on your pillow and dreamy, strengthened hair.
:: Mavala Repairing Night Cream, £30.25 (www.feelunique.com): Give dry winter paws a treat with Mavala's intensive hand treatment. The cotton gloves intensify the effects of the hyaluronic acid for silky smooth hands.
Tried & Tested
Sam Wylie-Harris boosts her brow power with semi-permanent make-up.
Even though I was blessed with thick eyebrows and a natural arch, I raged war against them with a pair of tweezers long before the fashion for bold, defined brows a la Kate Middleton. They never grew back and I became a slave to pencils to help define my brows. I decided to end the laborious task of colouring in every morning with the help of semi-permanent make-up. Tracie Giles uses hypoallergenic pure mineral pigments which are colour blended to suit your skin tone and hair colour. My technician matched me to a medium blonde II. The first two-hour procedure is all about tweezing, shaping and defining the brow with a pencil before using a digital cosmetic tattoo device to apply the mineral pigment. Once happy with the shape ("Eyebrows should be sisters, not twins," says Pauline), she then spent half an hour on each brow scratching in the pigment and tracing it over the pencil. The first application is without local anaesthetic and the pin pricks are painful, but repeated strokes are then swabbed to relieve the pain. A moisturising balm is applied, which I have to repeat four times daily for five days, as well as avoiding getting my eyebrows wet. The redness lasted 36 hours, my browbone was slightly swollen and tender, but the results were already impressive. Three weeks later, I return for the second appointment (approx 45 minutes), by which time my brows had become gradually lighter. Pauline tweezed and pencilled them in again with a pencil before repeating the same scratching procedure to intensify, sharpen and define. The pain threshold was the same, but much quicker as Pauline was simply building on the colour. The results are so impressive, the pin pricks quickly become a distant memory. My new brows have opened up my eyes, framed my face and I wake up bright-eyed and bushy-browed with an extra, pencil-free 10 minutes in my day.
:: Tracie Giles Original 3D Hair By Hair Brows, from £495, Knightsbridge, London (www.traciegiles.co.uk)
:: For a semi-permanent brow treatment near you, visit www.wahanda.com/treatment/permanent-and-semi-permanent-makeup-treatments/
Buy it now
Get Bond Girl-worthy nails with OPI. Featuring four limited edition lacquers, the OPI Bond Collection marks 50 years of 007. The kit is available in commemorative Skyfall box, £27.55, exclusive to QVC (www.qvcuk.com).
:: Beauty queen
The Duchess of Cambridge has been crowned the UK's most naturally beautiful woman. Kate Middleton's English rose looks earned her first place in the top 10 list, ahead of Kelly Brook, Holly Willoughby, Cheryl Cole and Kate's younger sibling, Pippa Middleton. The survey, commissioned by St Ives, polled more than 1,000 British women and men to cast their beauty vote with the Duchess of Cambridge coming out on top with 16%.
:: Recessionista alert
Skincare brand Korres is celebrating an amazing 2012 with 20% off the top 12 best-selling products. The hot list features favourites such as Korres Guava Body Butter and Korres Jasmine Shower Gel. The 20% off promotion is available until December 24 at Lloyds Pharmacy.