Once upon a time, Allure ran advice columns by our favorite beauty pros. In celebration of our 30th anniversary, we're bringing back the tradition — but this time the expert is: us (we've learned a lot over the years). Send your burning (or itching, or otherwise inflamed) questions to email@example.com, and we might answer them in an upcoming story.
I'm in a seasonal slump, and my light-therapy lamp isn't cutting it. I've read about mood-boosting beauty products. Are they legit?
It's funny you should ask. Just last night, I was in one of those sour moods that usually gets resolved only by going to sleep and starting anew the next day. But I resisted the urge to crawl into bed and instead applied the bells-and-whistles version of my nightly skin-care routine. I patted on my essence with intention; I followed my moisturizer with a little massage. Lo and behold, I felt better!
According to dermatologist and psychiatrist Evan Rieder, M.D., that's because taking the time to apply skin care is an act of mindfulness. There are few studies on the psychological benefits of practicing a skin-care routine, but, Dr. Rieder says, there's plenty of literature that links mindfulness to optimal mental health.
There are also beauty products that claim to boost one's mood in and of themselves. I first heard about crystal-infused skin care three or four years ago: The idea is that by incorporating crystals into the formulation process, the blends will hold the same energy as, say, rose quartz, which is said to promote self-love and kindness. Mazz Hanna, a certified crystal healer, goes a step further for her eponymous line: There's a cuticle oil with an amethyst rollerball applicator, a face mist with a chunk of clear quartz floating inside, and bath salts with finely milled citrine.
Cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos sees no harm, no foul. "It's unlikely the use [of crystals in skin care]
is harmful," she says. "If it makes you feel happy, and you're not expecting miracles, then go for it."
But not all mood-boosting skin-care products are so benign. Products that claim to improve spirits through scent often use essential oils. While the majority of people can tolerate these formulas just fine, "I do not recommend these at all in people with sensitive skin, allergies, or known inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis," says Dr. Rieder.