The introduction I didn’t want to write 

Kadiya Qasem

It’s 2pm. I’m at my desk. My laptop lies open but somewhat ignored in front of me. I’m wearing a Starskin ‘VIP Gold Bio-Cellulose’ Mask. My hair is wrapped up soaking in a Maria Nila ‘Head Hair Heal’ Masque. And I’m thinking about moving into the garden. Just in sight and calling to me already is the bar, the requirements of a Negroni are in full stock (grapefruit too). And why not? I’m not on set today and might as well enjoy this decadent afternoon. But in fact, I’m not on set for a reason. For one thing, it’s almost a month since I left my home for anything but a run. As a working makeup artist, it seems crazy that I’m discussing what is new in beauty and wellness, while not having been on set for almost a month and a half. Life certainly has taken a turn for the surreal.

December and January are a time for big reflection in my business. I look ahead, setting goals for the year. I strategise to mitigate any potential future problems, like changes in the industry or to the economic climate. I map out historically quiet periods. If I can’t change them, I simply book a holiday. Whilst foremost an artist, an unfortunate part of my life is being a businesswoman. I’d rather just play all day and have the rest fall into place, but life doesn’t work like that. And it all takes planning. Being asked to join The Review was an early highlight for 2020.

Starskin VIP Gold Bio-Cellulose Mask

Starskin ‘VIP Gold Bio-Cellulose’ Mask

The global impact of the current pandemic was something that even the most astute ‘2020 Risk Assessment’ couldn’t have foreseen. And so, it’s from here I share some of my first words with you, which were somewhat hard to find, for fear of any sense of crass disregard of our new-found day-to-day.

While this chapter of the world’s history presents problems in abundance, it also offers time, something that we always crave more of. The notion of ‘I wish there were more hours in the day’ has been put on pause. Let us embark on a journey of self-discovery and mindfulness, whilst learning how to make the most of this time in our own company.

When was your last first? The last couple of weeks have been full of them for me, including my first time having a bath in the middle of the day. Just because. With the help of Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath Shower Oil, it was indulgent and sustaining, with an aroma that lifts you with the rising steam. Start by using the oil before stepping into the water. When you choose to step out, essential oils of juniper, neroli and grapefruit leave you feeling fortified to face the day ahead, even if this is from the safety your bedroom.

Scent is so much more important than we realise. A week or two had passed and I still wasn’t quite feeling ‘myself’. I realised on a particularly nondescript morning on my commute from bedroom to desk, that I hadn’t been wearing perfume during this time. The final step in my usual morning routine had been missing: Thameen Fragrance – Regent Leather, Extrait de Parfum. It was an instant favourite from the first time I tried it, with soft notes of musk, lingering vanilla and delicate patchouli, all expertly balanced with a pop of lemon. It’s the aura that stays with me all day, and its reintroduction has created an instant and very welcome feeling of normalcy.

When a grocery shop and daily exercise are the only reasons we can leave the house, I’m putting on something that feels and looks great. My ‘WFH’ vibe falls under PJs only, so this is almost the only time I’m properly getting dressed. For my run it’s Perff Studio – Get Ready Capri. With high performance recycled fabrics, mesh panels and cutaway detailing, it puts a spring into my step when the monotony starts to hit.

Not forgetting the guys, add Fast and Free – Track Pant to your order. When you’re squeezing in a workout between Zoom meetings, only half of you needs to be dressed for the office.

Whilst on the topic of exercise, drinking plenty of water is one thing we all seem to be terrible at. Enter Life Rocks – Copper Bottle, the easiest way to track your daily water intake whilst reaping further rewards from the properties of the bottle itself. The benefits of copper on the body are well-known already, from its anti-inflammatories to its help with cell renewal.

Want to pep up your refreshment further? Add in one of their Crystal Pods to your water and leave overnight. Their ‘Energy and Clarity’ blend contains citrine, carnelian and clear quartz, the properties of which help increase clarity of thought and creativity.

Hand washing has become the new norm. With it comes the requirement of regular applications of something to soothe your damaged skin. Regenerating Hand Cream – Dr Hauschka is the remedy. Richness in the texture comes from shea butter, along with olive and avocado oils, to instantly relieve dryness. The plant extracts in the blend may be new to you. They are expertly selected: red clover has anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties, kalanchoe is becoming widely researched following its use in traditional medicines in Madagascar for skin healing. While quince seed reduces irritation. It’s a delicately balanced wonder.

Though it’s easy to remedy the damage from over-washing my hands, it’s not as easily to rectify the effects of time on my manicure. My usual schedule of appointments has been disrupted and, after so many years of regular attendance, I’ve found myself with nothing more than a file at home to tend to them myself. Luckily Peacci have stepped up to provide the necessities with fool-proof instructions in their Nail Removal & Care Kit. Perfect for just such an emergency. Swift relief until I meet my nail tech again. I will surely wither under her look of disappointment on realising the amount of work she holds in her hands. I’m sorry in advance, and I miss you dearly.

Your skin: now is the time to invest. Maybe you reap the rewards of having more time for your routine. Or maybe you benefit from less time exposed to the pollution and grime of the daily commute. Make a new rule: take your cocktails in the morning instead of after work. But keep them skincare. Beautybio – The Daily boasts an intensive vitamin infusion in serum form, the perfect introduction to your skincare system to emerge with glowing skin post-lockdown. The light texture sinks in almost instantly and can be used independently or with a moisturiser. Top of the ingredients list after water is one of the best forms of stable Vitamin C, providing clarification and hydration. This combines with the calming benefits of mallow and the antibacterial properties of peppermint leaf extract (low enough down the ingredients list to keep it gentle). Cheers, here’s to keeping your skincare as malleable as your new-found routine, or lack thereof, on this perpetual Sunday.

Sunday may be your usual day to lie in, but ensuring the quality of your sleep throughout the week is key to the structure of your day. Here to help is This Is Silk, with 22 momme weight silk crafted into, amongst other luxuries, Pillowcases and Hair Wraps. Further to the opulent feel and cooling properties of silk against the skin, the reduction in friction reduces ageing inducing stress to the skin and hair. I’m sure we can all agree this is welcome help ensuring your hair lasts that little longer before your next trim and that your nightly skincare routine isn’t disrupted by a cotton pillow’s absorptive qualities. I was fascinated to learn another unique quality of Silk from Sonal, the owner of This Is Silk. “What is less well-known is that unusually, for fabric production, cultivating Silk creates a ‘carbon sink’. The Mulberry trees needed to produce Silk remove more carbon from the air than the output of Silk production. On top of that, silkworms are fussy little creatures and will only eat pesticide-free Mulberry leaves.”

Eco-sensitive products are never unwelcome in my home, especially those that help beautify.

The benefits of your home space being calming, safe and inspiring are really felt at this time. Maybe it’s time to refresh your mind by refreshing your view within your four walls. The work of Kadiya Qasem, specifically her series New Wave Order (ii), is what I crave for in my home. Shot in the UK during the riotous storms of Gareth, Brendan and Ciara, I look at the crashing waves and emotive colour tones and somehow feel calmer within their image. A moment of time held, helping us to remember that our present times are clouds that will pass. The high tides will retreat, and we will weather the storm. Just as long as we support each other and take care of those around us.

Naomi Lake

Lake is a Makeup Artist, Hair Stylist, Model and Creative Director. As the Beauty & Wellness Editor, she comes to the table with over a decade of knowledge in the industry. When she's not on set or writing, she's in a yoga class, checking out a new restaurant or exploring the menu of a cocktail bar, in the pursuit of the perfect Negroni.

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