Walk into the airy, light-filled Take Care Spa in Venice, with its muted wood and skylights, and your stress levels plummet; its serene NYC location has a similar effect. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tess (left) and Sadie Adams, the LA-based sisters behind the spa, rarely have trouble sleeping. Maybe it’s genetic, but their wind-down routines—from leg inversions and probiotic toner to rose quartz rollers and Reiki self-treatment—involve some skin- and self-care rituals we’re definitely going to try.
Every evening, Sadie, who founded the spa in 2009, practices what she calls “active rest”—physical and energetic rituals that can help transition her body into full-on rest mode. “As we’re getting ready for bed, it’s important to actively unwind so that we’re not just throwing ourselves from wake to sleep to wake to sleep,” she says.
Tess focuses on skin-care rituals in the evenings, with tools like a rose quartz roller and a paper fan to make the process more mindful. Sadie, on the other hand, likes to lie on the floor with her legs resting in a chair and massage her upper arms, shoulders, and jaw: “If I don’t do this before I go to sleep, I’m more likely to clench my jaw and point my toes while sleeping, which makes my neck, head, and legs very tense in the days following,” she says.
Before Bed: Tess
Wash My Face
“Since the pandemic, I haven’t been wearing too much makeup—and I barely wear anything in the summer anyway, except for a little tinted moisturizer and some mascara. I tie my hair up first with a silk scrunchie and start cleansing my face with Naturopathica’s honey cleansing balm. Then, with a damp muslin cloth, I slowly wipe it away. This gives a super gentle exfoliating effect. Instead of using a towel to dry my face, I use a paper fan instead. It just feels so soothing—I do it after toner, too.”
Toner and Serum
“To balance my skin (I tend to break out) and help all the products absorb better, I use a toner with probiotics in it. I give myself a quick fan, then apply Barrier Restore Serum from Marie Veronique. ”
“My rose quartz roller helps my products penetrate deeper, and the ritual is soothing, almost like a meditation. As my eyes start to get heavy, I use my ring finger to dab on a cooling eye gel, then roll along my brow bone and under-eyes. I finish with a light layer of face cream, gently patting around my face, neck, and décolletage.”
“At this point, I’m ready to say my prayers and self-administer Reiki. As a Reiki practitioner, you can harness energy for other people and also for yourself. It’s a super healing energy that I can conduct myself. I usually do that for about fifteen minutes. Then I’m ready to lay my head down on a silk pillowcase (they’re good for the skin and the hair). Sometimes I’ll repeat my mantra as I hold mala beads if I’m really having a hard time getting to sleep. Either way, before I know it, it’s 6 a.m.”
Before Bed: Sadie
Go Outside at Dusk
“In Ayurveda, we’re taught about the rhythms of the day and changes of the seasons. I always feel better if I acknowledge that night is falling by stepping outside, even just for five minutes. Seeing the changing of the light, my body sort of adjusts accordingly. I’m never up early enough to do it in the morning, but if I don’t do it at night, I feel agitated.”
Wash Away the Day
“Since the pandemic started, I’ve been trying to do more oil massages to calm my nervous system. I start with light dry brushing to clear away dead skin cells, then apply body oil. I shower afterward—the steam really helps the oil penetrate. (That’s an old Ayurveda trick that I’ve known for twenty years, but I’ve been more diligent about it in the past few months.) As I shower, I set an intention that any energy I may have taken on during the day be washed away.”
“For about fifteen to twenty minutes before I meditate, I lie with my torso on the floor and my legs raised and resting on a chair. Gravity from this inversion is really helpful for moving lymph in the legs. The lymphatic system and the fascia are really closely connected, and a lot of the tensions that people feel in their bodies are fascia spasms. Doing this gives me a chance to check in with myself, do a body scan, breathe, and go in and massage my upper arms, armpits, and jaw (this is all lymphatic stuff, too). This helps me get into a relaxed but not tired state so that when I meditate afterward, I’m comfortable enough to sit for a few minutes.”
“When I pull a tarot card before I meditate, it prompts a connection with my intention, as well as the natural world, even if I didn’t get to step outside for a walk during the day. The cards can inform the meditation, as well as some deep insightful processing—I just go in and see what arises from my imagination.”
“I practice embodiment meditation, which focuses on specific physiological sensations in the body. This helps me get inside my body and ground—which I feel is a primary aspect of self-care. In this process, I’m not focusing exclusively on my breath or reciting a mantra, I am allowing what is happening in my body on a cellular level to inform my experience.”