Ethical Self Care for At Home During Lockdown, by the Cruelty Free Makeup Artist, Michelle McHugh of Shepherds Purse

self care at home during coronavirus

Well my darlings, how are you? I hope that you might be settled into some kind of rhythm or routine that’s working for you – doesn’t matter what that is at all, as long as it supports you.

Whatever you are doing to get you through this lockdown period, please be kind to yourself and don’t overlook the concept of ‘self care’. I know it’s an overused term these days but at times like this, it couldn’t be more important.  For me, self care means finding time for the things that help to keep my spirits lifted; music, walking, movies, er, chocolate….. 😉

There are gentle and inexpensive ways you can really treat yourself to a soothing self care experience at home however and I’ve invited our friend Michelle McHugh of The Shepherds Purse to explain how.

The Shepherds Purse is a wonderful, and multifacted little business located in Whitby, North Yorkshire, which Michelle run along with her sister Sophie. The Shepherds Purse not only provide romantic guesthouse accommodation, they also create the most sublime silk flower accessories and Michelle is an award winning ethical makeup artist and facialist, working exclusively with vegan and ethical beauty products.

The Shepherds Purse is also a member of our  Little Book Wedding Directory, and so we’re delighted to be sharing this feature with you today. It contains two simple little acts of self care you can easily undertake at home, and that might help you through this strange and challenging lockdown period. I encourage you to take some time to enjoy Michelles nourishing and ethical suggestions below, and as always, I’m sending a tonne of love. Here’s to brighter times for us all.

Over to you Michelle!

An At-Home Floral Face Steam

Hello everyone! I’m delighted to be sharing something lovely with you today and hope those of you who have been struggling a little with the claustrophobia and anxiety of lockdown will enjoy experimenting.

A floral face steam is a beautiful way to indulge yourself at home and here, I’ve used items from my home as I can’t visit my workshop – a flan dish, pink sea salt and petals from my garden.

Steaming is an underused skincare regimen that has some amazing benefits; face steaming is known to help improve circulation within the skin, clear pores, and soften the skin, which all contribute to a more glowing complexion. I use this practice a lot at home and in my work, it is a beautiful way to use aromatherapy, connect with nature and really treat yourself to a five star spa treatment for little or no money.

Firstly, I cleanse my skin and remove any makeup and then I find my favourite essential oil, depending on my mood. If I want to feel feminine I use Rose Geranium, to help alleviate anxiety I’d choose Neroli, and today, I have chosen Lavender for stress relief and its antiseptic properties. Steaming not only helps your skin but also your wellbeing so if you have a cold or stuffy nose you might like to choose Eucalyptus or Rosemary.

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You will need

  1. A bowl
  2. Essential oil
  3. Himalayan pink sea salt or bath salts
  4. Dried or fresh flowers heads
  5. A towel
  6. Your favourite skin cleanser, moisturiser and toner
  7. Lip balm


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Place in a bowl away from the stove on a flat surface.
  3. Add the chamomile, lavender, rose petals, or mint leaves and 6 drops of your chosen essential oil.
  4. Place your face at least 12-18 inches away from the steam so as not to burn your skin.
  5. You can place a towel behind your head as you steam to get a stronger steaming effect.
  6. Steam for no longer than 5 minutes.
  7. Discard the steam mixture after use.
  8. Gentle spritz your face with cool water or a toner.
  9. Apply moisturiser and lip balm to finish.

I recommend steaming about 1-2 times per week. It will just help to keep your skin refreshed and glowing and give you some much-needed time out.


Creating a meditation space at home

Meditation has been shown to reduce our levels of stress and emotional disturbance with as little as 10 minutes of practice per day. This is the perfect self-care practise for brides whom have sadly had to change their wedding plans this year – it’s also a simple way for us all to cope a little better through lockdown.

As a cruelty free makeup artist, I love makeup but equally I’m enjoying this time to forget about makeup and concentrate on my skincare routine and self-care for my mental wellbeing.

Lockdown days can be long and challenging so I hope everyone is finding their own little ways of getting through. We are all worried about friends and family so I find taking 10 to 20 minutes out of the day to really clear my mind is helping with stress levels and worries about the world.

You will need

  1. Yoga mat or blanket
  2. Meditation cushion or home cushion
  3. Essential oils, incense or scented flowers
  4. Favourite face oil
  5. Calming music
  6. Crystals or something collected from nature
  7. Herbal tea or hot water with lemon
  8. Lip balm

Choose a quite space in your home away from distractions – I tend to meditate in my bedroom as the light is pretty in the mornings and traffic noise pollution is low or, sometimes, I’ll go into my garden where natural sounds can be extra soothing.

If sitting on a pillow or a mat with an upright posture causes you discomfort, use a chair or prop your back against a wall.

I start my meditation by washing hands and face and make a cup of herbal tea, I make sure I’m sitting comfortably and use my favourite face oil by gently massage my face using my Gua Sha tool. If you don’t have one of these, use your hands hand give yourself a gorgeous face and head massage. This will relieve any tension in the face and neck, help with lymphatic drainage and boost blood circulation.

I am also a big lover of scent, from essential oils such as Jasmine, Lavender and Neroli to the scent of a freshly picked flower from my garden and I also burn incense. I find this all helps me with my breathing and creates the magical atmosphere for your sacred little space.

You’ve already made the commitment to yourself then all you have to do is clear your mind or just be still. I place little treasures I have collected, from a small buddha, crystal or something collected from nature to really set the tone of my space.

This is a good opportunity to use a mantra: one powerful word or short phrase that encompasses the most positive state you could imagine, such as ‘love’, ‘peace’ or ‘breathe’. If you’re comfortable chanting aloud, take an inhalation, and speak on the exhalation; if you choose to use your mantra silently, think of your word as you release each breath.

Using a mala (a sacred loop of 108 beads), is another powerful way to incorporate mantra into meditation. Hold the mala beads in your right hand or rest your beads lightly on your lap, between the first finger and thumb, and repeat the word or phrase with the passing of each bead until you’ve completed the full cycle. Your Mantra might be ‘I am worthy, I am at peace’ or simply ‘I am love’.

If you don’t have Mala beads and simply want stillness, play your favourite relaxing music, I like to remember my time in Bali so I listen to Balinese music because it instantly fills me with love and beautiful memories. Choose your favourite playlist or download one of the many free apps. There are many guided meditations available on YouTube and Spotify.

If I start to feel uncomfortable, I take a sip of my herbal tea, realign my body or inhale the scent of essential oil or flower. Then, I get back to concentrating on my breathing and at the end of the session, I apply lip balm as I find my lips can dry and it’s a lovely way to finish your practice.

Before you know it you have taken time out for yourself, given yourself a beautiful massage, connected to nature and nourished your skin.

In these uncertain times, it is important to create a designated space in your home where you can take time to connect with yourself. If you do this every day, you will really find that your little sacred spaces energy will really build and it can be a real turning point in your practice. I hope you all find some peace and self-care at this time.



The Shepherds Purse is a family business located in Whitby North Yorkshire, providing romantic seaside accommodation, silk floral accessories and vegan/ethical bridal beauty services.


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.