It goes without saying that the first quarter of 2020 has been a dumpster fire of trash. It’s… hard to wrap my brain around. But I’m trying to push forward! These times are not conducive whatsoever to mental health, and for any of you struggling, I see you, I feel for you, and my DM’s are always open if you need to chat.
To show my vanity for a moment, the stress of all this has definetly been manifesting as a BITCH to my skin and hair. Acne, split-ends, dry skin, world-is-on-fire-stress-induced-wrinkles-and-nail-biting, seasonal depression, all of these wonderful things have culminated to a less than shiny me. And I get it, external beauty is a social construct based in patriarchal ideation and corporate greed that preys on female insecurities… but I also just really like it when I have a good hair day, ya feel? Even staying home and social-distancing as much as possible, it’s nice to set some time aside to treat myself to some TLC.
Sometimes, even doing the smallest things for myself can make me feel pampered and cared for. Below are some of my easiest tricks to easily indulge in that feeling.
Go-To Skincare’s Transformazing sheet mask— I first learned about these amazing face masks from Sally Thorne and Julia Quinn (we all stan the queens). Both miraculous ladies gave these masks the thumbs up on their IG’s, and they aren’t wrong. Slap a sheet on that lovely pre-washed face, dance around for ten minutes, remove, and bask in the glory of your gorgeous, luminous, luscious skin.
While letting these sweet sheets work their magic, I recommend diving into Sally Thorne’s hilarious home makeover masterpiece 99 Percent Mine. Darcy is as spicy as a habanero and Tom is the giant, handsome cinnamon-roll of my dreams. I’m also a slut for house renovations, so this book checks all my boxes.
Olive oil and honey hair mask—I’ve been drenching my hair in this goopy concoction since I was twelve and I will not be stopped. It’s so easy, it’s pretty messy, but the results are worth it. All you have to do is mix 1Tbsp of honey with 3Tbsps of extra virgin (how I like my heroes) olive oil, heat in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and let it cool until it’s warm but touchable, then work through your hair from root to tip. If this amount isn’t enough for the length of your hair, double or triple as needed. Wrap your hair in a towel, and let it sit for 30-45 minutes (maybe read a book while you wait!). Wash and condition as normal.
On a total side note, honey is an all around miracle cure-all. It has antimicrobial, antifungal, and enhanced healing properties. Dollop it on a zit, canker sore, burn, or cut for a quick fix. (save the bees, please!)
Massage— Listen, if I could sell my soul and become elasta-girl so I could stretch my arms behind my back and massage that tension away, I would. Sadly, I can’t. But this doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in a little rub down. Feet, hands, calves, shoulders, whatever you can reach, squeeze out some lotion and get rubbing away, letting that tension go. Bonus points if you are quarantined in with a partner that you can convince to do the massage for you. While you’re at it, give Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners a read or listen. I know I’ve already recommend this book a few times, but the massage scene in there makes me giggle like a maniac and the whole thing is just a feel-good masterpiece.
Epsom salt baths—Now, I will be transparent and say that there was a time when I didn’t know Epsom salt was different from regular salt. Did I dump a bunch of table salt into a bath and prune up like sundried starfish? Yes. Have I learned? Yes. Am I now making it a personal mission to let the world know of my folly so no one else makes such a ridiculous mistake and has to live with that embarrassment for the rest of their life? Yes.
When Epsom salt dissolves in warm water, it releases magnesium and sulfate ions, both of which have excellent healing properties, and are believed to be absorbed through the skin. Most people don’t consume enough magnesium, but it’s crucial for optimal heart and nervous system health. It’s also known to promote sleep and stress reduction (plus the whole bath thing is relaxing af), and helps reduce muscle pain and swelling. Add some essential oils, maybe some bubbles, and you have the healing miracle of a warm tub.
While having a soak, I suggest diving in to Amalie Howard’s The Beast of Beswick. This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with an ultimate grump-pot hero, Thane. And Thane takes a lot of steamy baths. Naked. For his injuries. Obviously. No other activity happens in the bath tubs. Don’t be gross. (Just kidding, they totally get it on in the tub).
If all else fails, wash that gorgeous face, slap some polish on those nails, and cuddle in a nest of blankets with a relaxing glass of wine (or milk and cookies, or scotch, or tea, or anything else that tickles you pink).