Self care is a hot topic and its made its way from jargon to a household term. In case you’re totally unfamiliar with the concept of self care, let me break it down simply: Self care includes the decisions you make and actions you take in order to keep yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. For this reason, it really looks different for everyone.
First up, we’re talking femme stuff. If you’re not into it, feel free to skip to the next section.
Self Care and Femme Pursuits
No doubt, face masks are among my top 10 favorite things. Whatever ails you, I’ve got a face mask for it. There is no faster way for me to achieve peak decadence than washing my face and applying my choice of mask.
Pictured above in the little boxes are the Sephora Sleeping Masks in Honey, Pearl, and Rose. While they say that these are single-use, they’re lying. When you open one, don’t tear the flap the whole way off. If you apply them in a thin layer with clean hands and close the flap when you’re done, you can get at least 5 masks out of one container. I like to pop mine in the fridge between uses because the cooling sensation is tops.
Also pictured is the much-hyped, very pricey GlamGlow Supermud mask and spot treatment. I will say that it does tend to draw my breakouts to the surface and minimize the appearance of my pores (temporarily). I feel super fancy using it, which is a nice treat. But I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t know if this is worth the splurge. It was a gift, along with the Glamglow Youthmud, and I love having the opportunity to try them out. It may be worth nothing that they’re both the small “sample” size; the full size still isn’t a lot of product for the amount of cash you’re splashin’.
I keep my nails naturally and I don’t have them done professionally. Now, I’m no Caitlin, but I think I got a good nail game. I insist that the vast majority of the time, they’re coated in a pretty lacquer. Very important: I’ve been consistently doing my nails for about 4 years now, and I’ve found that price is not necessarily an indicator of quality nail polish.
The two polishes pictured above are both from Essence. The light baby ballet pink is called Sweet As Candy (no. 05) and the mint is called Play With My Mint (no. 40). Aside from the latter’s deeply puzzling name choice, there’s really nothing I don’t like about these polishes. The mint goes on opaque with two coats, while the pink looks delicate after 2 and mostly opaque after 3. The brush is perfection – it’s wide and rounded, and it feels much more expensive than the €1.55 price tag would suggest. And hey, good news: You can get them in Ulta in the US!
I go back and forth between two fragrances: Flora by Gucci Glamorous Magnolia (pictured) and NEST Midnight Fleur. Since the weather’s been warming up, I’m drawn to the light sweetness of the Gucci scent. I’m not a fragrance buff, so attempts to explain its notes are going to be laughable. Essentially, it’s a fruity floral. It has decent staying power, but I like my fragrance to be subtle so I don’t really mind when it fades. (I’m trying to smell good without triggering anyone’s migraines, ya feel?)
So, I have keratosis pilaris, and those little red and white bumps make me kind of anxious. Maybe it’s an appearance thing or maybe it’s a texture thing, I don’t know. What I do know is that a good exfoliating body lotion or cream tends to help. Pictured above is the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Body Cream, although I’ve also used AmLactin.
I don’t buy into the idea that we need to “fix” things that are “wrong” with our bodies. At least, I try not to buy into that. And my skin condition isn’t harming my body, it doesn’t hurt, it’s not a symptom of an underlying problem. It’s actually so common that I’m guessing more than a few of my readers have it too. But I won’t say “You need to try this!” Instead, if this bothers you, it’s an option.
If I want to just reach a baseline level of looking alive and awake – something that I find generally lifts my spirits – I have a few products that I reach for. Pictured above is the NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Brunette. It’s similar to Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz but it’s about half the price. This is the easiest brow product in that it allows me to quickly fill in gaps and bald spots but isn’t so precise that I have to spend 15 minutes making my brows perfectly even. It’s kind of a lazy feathered brow situation.
Not pictured is my current favorite slapdash concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in 03 Fair. Now, the shade range sucks. If you’re a person of color, you will probably not find a shade that works for you. But if your skin tone is similar to mine (fair-light neutral), this is a great concealer for the under eye and also works over redness around the rest of the face. Usually, I cover the darkness under my eyes, the redness around my nostrils, and any blemishes that are poppin’ up, while leaving the rest of my face bare.
Lifestyle Self Care
Of course, I’m not always practicing my self care at peak femme. Often, I choose small moments throughout the day to refuel. I’ve also made some lifestyle changes in the last few months that have made a huge difference in how well kept I feel.
For me, reading is a beloved hobby and also an anti-anxiety tool. Before I even knew I had anxiety, I was using reading to cope. It’s easy for me to fall into a book, and particularly with novels, I find it’s almost meditative in its ability to take me outside of my mind while calming my body. Some of my recent favorites have been The Nightingale, The Boss series 1, The Girl in 6e, and Hidden Bodies.
To a certain extent, I like to be mildly disturbed on a regular basis. Keeps me grounded. If you’ve read something good and creepy lately, please let me know.
Cooking is one of my all-time favorite things to do, especially because it leads to eating. I’ve been cooking since I was very little because my parents subscribed to some kind of philosophy that said ‘Go ahead and hand your kid a knife, it’ll be fine!’ (It was totally fine.)
Despite my obsessive fondness for Sephora, grocery shopping is still my favorite kind of shopping. The anticipation! And then, you get to turn everything into something else. I’m going to start to sound like a Food Network asshole, but like, assembling a good-looking dish is really high up there on my personal happiness scale.
Lately, I’ve been really enjoying making peanut butter and banana oatmeal in the morning, which takes more time than my previous avocado toast but does way more for my digestion. And since the season with all the good vegetables is finally revving up, we’ve been eating dinners that about 1/2 veggies by volume and it’s amazing. Germans are wild about asparagus (or spargel), and I guess that’s one thing we have in common right now.
Somehow, a couple of months ago, I started exercising. I finally found some things that I like to do that are safe for my mobility challenges, and I’ve actually reached a point where I’m enjoying it. I feel kind of weird if I don’t get to exercise a few times a week. Not guilty, mind you – more like restless and bored.
Hands down, my favorite exercise is waist hooping with a weighted beginner’s hula hoop. I like to start with some body weight and dumbbell circuits for my upper body and legs, and then hula hoop for 15-30 minutes while watching some upbeat beauty vloggers2.
One more thing: It’s fucking hard to exercise when you’re depressed. Despite this fact, many people will tell you to do it. It can help, but we also need to be realistic. It’s fucking hard to drag yourself to a yoga mat when you can barely drag yourself out of bed.
So why am I writing about this?
I’ve been writing this post for 3 days, and questioning every bit of it, because the imposter gremlins are strong.
I’m homesick. I’m having kind of a hard time right now, and it’s affecting my productivity when it comes to school, blogging, and freelancing. I’m doing my best, but it’s a challenge right now. At least when I’m able to get some self care done, I reach a level of acceptable functioning.
Comment below with some of your favorite self care strategies and let me know if any of my practices work for you.