My Feel Good Routine with Stephy Kim of Moonlit Skincare

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By Elizabeth Villa with Stephy Kim of Moonlit Skincare

This week I got to hang out with Stephy Kim, co-founder and CEO of Moonlit Skincare, and ask her all about her self-care practices and the tips and tools she's using to make them happen.

Moonlit Skincare is a company dedicated to overnight skincare and sleep wellness. Keep reading for Stephy's tips for skincare and sleep!

EV: What’s one part of your health and wellness that feels good right now?

SK: Right now I’m trying to cut back on drinking. I’m not completely cutting it out, but just being a little more conscious of the mindless drinking or why I’m having a glass of wine with every meal. If there is a reason to celebrate, then so be it, but I’m trying to be a little more aware and that has obviously affected–in a positive way–my sleep.

EV: Did you notice that drinking alcohol was affecting your sleep in a negative way and decide to make a change?

SK: Not only am I losing proper sleep, but it affects the next day so dramatically. My body can’t bounce back as quickly as it used to!

EV: Have you noticed the impact as you’ve started to make the change?

SK: Not right away. One night isn’t going to be that big of a difference, but I cut out drinking for about 25 days and noticed a huge shift in energy. The energy we put into drinking is a lot! We carve out the time, the money, the head space for it. So just me saying no to that for 25 days allowed me to review my entire calendar and my social drinking habit.

EV: Will you talk a little bit about what you do and why having energy is important in the first place?

SK: I’m co-founder of CEO of Moonlit Skincare. We do skincare for sleep. Nighttime really is primetime for skincare. It’s when your skin regenerates and recovers and we thought why not merge the two together – skin and sleep? We offer silk pillowcases, silk eye masks, overnight oils, and our newest product which is a mask!

 Photo by Bree McCool Photo

Photo by Bree McCool Photo

EV: What does your day-to-day look like?

SK: Working on Moonlit is a constant reminder of how important sleep is which is wonderful to have. I think for me, the day really begins with my morning routine. I know I’m an evening gal, but the morning is so important. It’s important for me to not be hungover and have my morning meditation, my smoothie, and just be in a good mood. It really sets the tone for the rest of the day.

I also find that the older I’m getting, the more important my morning routine is. When I was younger I could travel back to back and now I want to stay home, I don’t want to leave for a week. I’m certainly not a homebody but I think it just takes longer for me to recover now. So it means saying no to a lot of things. If I’m on the road I can’t do my smoothie or my normal exercise routine.

EV: What is exactly is your morning routine?

SK: It’s taken a while! I wake up around 7:30/8AM. The first thing I do is say three things I’m grateful for. In the beginning it’s weird. It’s very hokey. It’s a bit uncomfortable. But the more you do it, the more you realize how nice it is to start the day that way.

From there I start my meditation while my coffee is brewing and then I’ll head to bootcamp or yoga. Come back to the house and make a smoothie or egg scramble. Then a quick shower and it’s off to the Moonlit offices!

EV: How did you come across this combination for your morning routine?

SK: I used to work out at night in New York just because there was no way I was getting up at 5AM to work out, but now I work out at 8 or 9ish. So that freedom has obviously allowed me to have more of a morning routine. I do start working a bit later in the day, but I work past 6 now.

EV: When you decided that you wanted to cut back on drinking, how’d you go about doing that?

SK: Cold turkey. The hardest part for me was realizing that there are so many things in my calendar that are correlated to drinking and I didn’t even realize it. It’s a lot of friends who want to catch up over a drink, but why are we drinking? Or it’s a birthday party and you’re mindlessly consuming. Just looking at your calendar and realizing that you’re drinking this many times and for what? Of course if it’s your birthday, do your thing. If you’re having a celebratory toast, do your thing. But to me I realized I’m having two glasses of wine every other night and for what?

EV: So you went cold turkey for 25 days and decided to ease back in making sure it was more intentional?

SK: Yes. I was a little worried that there would be social pressures, but a lot of people were very understanding. I found that really encouraging as well.

EV: Do you have any tips or products you recommend for getting better sleep outside of cutting back on drinking?

SK: The first product that I love is a silk pillowcase, just because it’s a really inviting place to lay my head down on. I also have really long hair and it cuts down on time brushing your hair every day. The silk fibers are really smoothe. Unlike cotton it’s not irritating or frizzing up your hair, so they won’t tangle up.

I also love a sound machine. That white noise allows your brain just to focus on the white noise instead of any creeks in the night, so your brain is lulled to sleep.

EV: Do you have any other rituals or routines that help you feel good throughout the day?

SK: The other thing I do is journal. I’m a sporadic journaler. I don’t do it everyday, but if I’m feeling restless at night, I force myself to grab a pen and paper and jot everything down. I feel like that gives my mind permission to finally go to sleep and not have everything swirl around.

Another tip I would love to share is that nighttime routine is precious so you have to block it off. I know it’s the last thing you do in your day, but it should be the first thing on your priority list.

EV: What tips do you have for someone who doesn’t have a nighttime routine?

SK: The biggest thing that made a difference was not sleeping with my phone. It transformed my life–anxiety-wise, being able to fall asleep, you’re not scrolling at 2AM. I don’t even keep it in my bedroom. For me that was the biggest game changer.

The second one is start going to bed earlier. I find that reading helps because your brain has that transition time to go on another plane and kind of escape, and then go to sleep. Rather than go from the craziness of your day to sleep which is really really hard. It’s a lovely transition time. It’s something to do for yourself and I recommend fiction, easy reading or revisiting books.

EV: Revisiting books is such a great idea. What books do you revisit?

SK: I reread Little Fires Everywhere. I also reread my favorites from when I was younger. I’ve been reading Stargirl and Holes. You know what’s going to happen. It’s so easy, but it’s still interesting.

EV: So true! What products are you loving and recommending right now?

SK: Of course our star product, Midnight Shift Overnight Facial Oil and that one has lavender so you do have that aromatherapy component as well as locking in the moisture overnight. Your skin’s membrane actually thins at night so you’re more susceptible to losing moisture and your oil glands just aren’t going into overdrive, so you really want to lock in overnight especially in the winter.

Second, the silk pillowcase. Cotton is a plant and silk is a protein. Cotton–because it’s a plant–will soak up water, moisture, and your product where as silk allows your product to rest on your face. Silk glides across your skin and doesn’t snag or irritate your hair and skin.

There are so many skin care tools I use and love, but I right now love micro-rolling at night. It’s not something you want to do during the day because it will get your blood flowing and leave you a little red, but before bed it’s a wonderful thing to do. Then I apply a little Midnight Shift and am good to go!

EV: Do you have any apps that you use?

SK: I use 10% Happier by Dan Harris. It’s for busy people so all the meditations are really short and they’re guided. It goes by like that. It’s 5 minutes, I think they’re going on for 45 seconds and they’re done. If I have a Lyft ride in the morning, I just pop one on.

Another app I love is Moment which tracks all your usage on the phone. I think one time I got up to 6 ½ hours on the phone and I was horrified so that was great to just be aware of my habits.

The last one I really love is Refrain is blocks out websites. I’ve noticed myself just typing in random sites that I usually routinely check and it blocks it.