Skin Care

Smoothing Things Out

 
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My relationship to my body is one that is complicated and hard to navigate which is why I never put a lot of thought into body care products. I recently read Hunger by Roxane Gay and it was so interesting to read about someone else’s messy relationship with their body, especially when said body is fat. I have missed out on so many things, strictly because I was fat and was made to feel undeserving and ashamed. Reading Hunger forced me to reckon with the ways I have punished myself for not meeting expectations that weren’t even mine to begin with; furthermore, it reaffirmed the importance of taking care of myself for myself. I have to live in this body until the day that I don’t, shouldn’t I feel ok about it? Or at the very least, indifferent? Despite all of my misgivings about my body, I’ve realized that it is still deserving of attention and care (aka quality products and a compliment every once and awhile). I have to start making a conscious effort to care for my body no matter what size it’s at because it’s what I deserve!

My first course of action was to step up my body care routine, that’s where these products come in: a dry body brush, Nécessaire body lotion, and Everyday Oil. I started dry brushing last year, but had to give it up when my old brush met an unfortunate end (it fell in the toilet and then immediately went into the trash!). I picked the practice back up recently and I feel reborn…almost. Dry brushing is something you do prior to taking a shower; you brush in broad upward strokes towards your heart, starting from the tops of your feet. I use a body scrub in the shower, but there’s something about the brush that provides the smoothest of skin and leaves me feeling so invigorated. Dry body brushing exfoliates, removes clogged pores, eliminates ingrown hair, increases circulation, and is beneficial for the lymphatic system. In a small spray bottle, I’ve mixed filtered water with a few drops of tea tree oil to sanitize my brush in between uses; once a week, I wash the brush with soap and water and then let it air dry. Part of the dry brushing process is moisturizing really well after you shower and have removed all of the dead skin cells. I choose to moisturize with both an oil and a lotion, I have found that this works the best for my skin and it makes me feel luxurious.

 
 

Nécessaire is a brand I’ve seen again and again on Instagram and I was intrigued by the ingredient list and the chic packaging — I’m happy to report that the body lotion is, in fact, amazing. Being drawn in by really great marketing only to be met with a subpar product is frustrating and I am so glad that isn’t the case here. I put the lotion on all over after my shower after my body oil has soaked in. A major plus is that it layers well on top of body oil, which is not something all lotions do! It’s perfecting, nourishing, leaves the skin with a nice glow, and is unscented so there’s no fragrance to mess with your perfume. What I love the most about it is the long lasting hydration — my skin feels moisturized all day! Dry brushing alone changed my skin tremendously, but adding this particular body lotion to my routine is really *chef’s kiss*.

Everyday Oil is a multipurpose product made from organic ingredients we’ve all heard of (see photo). The blend makes for a really light, easily absorbed oil that makes my skin feel soft right out of the shower. I’ve only used it on my body, usually mixed with Bio-Oil, because my hair doesn’t like coconut oil and neither does my face; with that said, it’s wonderful otherwise. It’s a blend of basic oils, something you could make yourself if you wanted to, but I like the company and I like the idea of having this cool bottle to refill with my own mixture of oils.

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I feel more connected to my body, more familiar with it now that I’ve been taking the time to actually care for it more. I don’t believe that exfoliating and rubbing on lotion is going to fix your life or make you love your body, but I do think it works as a great reminder that you are deserving of good things. Feeling cared for is so vital and so necessary especially if you’re a marginalized member of society and feel crushed by the weight of the current social / political / economic climate. Frankly, this little routine of mine is the closest I’ve gotten to actual therapy in a long time (living without health insurance is wild)! Although, I still struggle with accepting my body as it is now, it’s a comfort to know that this body is smooth and moisturized. Anyway, I highly recommend adding elements to your daily routine that make you feel really wonderful and energized even if you don’t think you deserve it (you do).  

Seeing Spots

 

I started getting acne when I was a junior in high school and ever since then it’s been non-stop. I’ve probably spent $10k on skin care products in the last six years and I’m just now finding products that really work for me. Hyperpigmentation (discoloration of skin due to excess of melanin production post pimple), almost more so than acne, has been the hardest to deal with. I get a pimple, the pimple dies down, and what’s left is a dark spot. It all feels very disrespectful – I spend copious amounts of money on skin care products and my skin refuses to behave. The other day my boyfriend used my rose scented hand lotion all over his face and he’s pimple free; meanwhile, I’m struggling to get rid of two unrelenting cystic pimples. Where’s the justice?

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The two products that I swear by – they’re slowly getting me to the clear skin of my dreams (hopefully) – are Odacité’s Pa+G Serum Concentrate ($39 / 0.17 oz) and Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum ($80/ 1 oz). Even as someone that swears by these products, I cringe at the price; however, the Drunk Elephant serum lasts a long time. I’ve been working my way through my first bottle since August of last year – you’re only supposed to use it every three days because it has a reservoir effect (it stays active for up to 72 hours and can’t be washed or rubbed off). On the other hand, the Odacité serum concentrate lasts maybe a month tops. I run out of this product as quickly as I run out of money in my bank account (very quickly). On the bright side, it really works. My skin appears brighter after a few uses and I can no longer imagine my life without it. Consistent use of these products has lightened some of the toughest dark spots on my face; I’m hoping by the time summer graces us with her warmth, my skin will be Glossier campaign worthy. 

(Originally published June 2018)