Long Reads

Stylist Sleep Diaries: a vegan creative shares her 11-step eco-friendly bedtime beauty regime

How well do you sleep? In a series of diary entries from women across the UK, Stylist is exploring one of our most prolific obsessions…

Here, Stylist’s picture editor talks us through her eco-friendly skincare regime, how she winds down before bed and the best ways to avoid waste. 

Name: Alessia Armenise 

Age: 28

Profession: Picture editor at Stylist and stylist.co.uk

Ideal amount of sleep: 8 hours

Actual amount of sleep: 7 hours 

Describe your sleep quality in three words: Procrastinating (who wants to get to bed when they’ve spent all day at work?), heavy, irregular

Rate your sleep out of 10: 8/10

If I could choose not to sleep, I would. Think of how much you could do in eight hours! I enjoy sleeping because, obviously, I’m tired but if I could cut something out of my life, sleep would probably be it.

My fiancé is a journalist and works a mix of 7am-3pm and 3pm-11pm shifts. On a normal day, I’ll get up at 7am but, when he’s on the early shift, I get up with him at 6am and make him coffee. At first, when I get up that early I’m really tired but, as the day goes on, I actually feel better for it. By the time the coffee’s brewed, I’m usually alert – the smell just wakes me right up! When my partner’s on the late shift, he gets up and makes me coffee before I go to work (I start at 9am).

On his early days, it’s nice to have a bit of time to do other things and not to feel rushed before going into work. I recently spent two weeks getting up at 5.30am every day like Oprah and it was actually great. I don’t remember the last time I read a magazine and, with that extra hour and a half, I was able to enjoy my coffee with a magazine.

Even at the weekend, I’m not a fan of lie-ins – I just want to get on and do things. If I sleep in till 11am, I feel like all my time’s gone and it stresses me out. To be honest, since moving to London two years ago, I haven’t had a big night out where I get in at 5am, I’m more likely to get home around midnight or 1am. I used to do that when I was younger, but not really now. 

7.30pm: As soon as I get home, I take my make-up off straightaway and put on my comfy clothes. I rub coconut oil into my skin (you can buy it anywhere, but I tend to go with an organic extra virgin one) and then use either a konjac sponge (£12 for two, John Lewis) or an organic cotton cloth and hot water to clean my face. 

I don’t use make-up wipes. Partly because I find they scratch my skin and make it go red, but also because I try to avoid waste where I can – especially beauty waste which, to me, is one of the least necessary kinds. I’d never claim to be 100% ‘on it’ with the environment, but I try to do what I can, especially in cases when it won’t impact my life to make an eco-friendly substitution. Even when I’m travelling, I have a travel-sized oil I take with me, and then I just use it with water. 

7.45pm: Our flatmate, who’s one of my best friends, gets home before us and cooks dinner for the three of us, which is lovely. It tends to be a vegetable-based meal – as I’m vegan – usually something like curry or a salad, and then we pack up leftovers for lunch for the following day. 

8.30pm: We usually watch something on Netflix. We’ve just finished Money Heist, which I was obsessed with.   

Once we’re done watching TV, I’ll settle down on the sofa and read a book. Right now, I’m reading A Classical Education by Caroline Taggart, which is all about Greek mythology. While I’m reading, I like to have a cup of tea. We grow lemon balm in our little front yard, so sometimes I’ll have a homegrown lemon tea. Afterwards, I’ll have a scroll on Instagram.

“Right now, I’m reading A Classical Education by Caroline Taggart, which is all about Greek mythology”

10.00pm: I’ll brush my teeth with a bamboo brush and a coconut-based toothpaste. It’s not like your usual toothpaste, it’s completely black, and gets all over your face and the sink!

After that, I’ll need to wash my face again, and this time I just use water as my make-up is already off. Afterwards, I apply some rose tonic water using a reusable organic cotton pad, which feels nice and fresh on my skin. Then I’ll use an eye cream, like Gold contour eye serum with hyaluronic acid for tired eyes, £36. 

Alessia brushes her teeth with a bamboo brush

If I’m washing my hair the next day, I put coconut oil in my hair before bed. I find London water really hard and as my hair’s quite curly, it really dries it out. My hair has quite a lot of volume, and if it’s dry it can become quite frizzy. Using the oil helps it keep its shape.

Once a week, I’ll also use Fresh’s Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask, £77. It’s great because you don’t even look like you have a mask on, it just sinks in. At first it’s a bit sticky, but by the morning you can’t feel it at all. When you wash your face, you kind of feel like you’re removing something but it’s not heavy, and your skin feels hydrated the next day.

“Once a week, I will put Fresh’s Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask”

On my face, I also apply some vitamin C essence (Lumene Nordic C Glow Boost Essence, £29.90, Feel Unique) and a facial oil (Elemis Superfood Facial Oil, £45, John Lewis). 

On my arms, I use Clarins Relax Body Treatment Oil (£40, John Lewis), which helps you sleep. Most of the products I use come in glass pots, which is more widely recyclable than plastic.

“Most of the products I use come in glass pots, which is more widely-recyclable than plastic”

Right before I go to bed, I spray a lavender mist on my pillow (Deep Slumber Amethyst Crystal Infused Pillow Mist, £17, Wild Plant Products), which is a lovely relaxing smell.

11.00pm: I’ll get into bed and spend some time chatting to my fiancé about his day.

11.30pm: The lights go out and I actually try to sleep. It takes me around 15 minutes to get to sleep, partly because I just can’t shut up!

You can read more Sleep Diaries here.

Eye mask courtesy of Oliver Bonas 

Images: Alessia Armenise