Taking care of ourselves is usually the last thing on our minds during chaotic times. I’m extremely guilty of deprioritizing self-care in situations that call for it most. I would often fall asleep with a full face of makeup on after a long day, skip bathroom breaks because I was too “busy” (um, hello chronic UTIs), and substitute meals with junk food to save time. I was barely keeping myself together and eventually realized that I couldn’t bring my best self to the people and things that mattered most if I didn’t make it a point to take moments for myself.
To encourage sticking to a self-care routine each day, I started introducing products into my regimen from sustainable brands with missions that I feel good about supporting. As a result, mundane tasks that used to be chores turned into indulgences that I looked forward to. Here are some of my favorite all-natural products that I’ve been using lately.
I’ve tried dozens of deodorant brands and never found one that I liked until I used Coconut Matter, a vegan beauty brand that uses fair-trade, organic virgin coconut oil, and plastic-free packaging for its products. There was a period of time when I avoided deodorants altogether after reading about the motley of chemicals that the industry used, so I was excited to see that Coconut Matter is made without toxins and allergens commonly found in other deodorants. The stick is housed in matte biodegradable cardboard that feels soft to the touch and downright luxurious. When I uncapped and glided it on for the first time, I knew I finally found my deodorant for life. It smelled amazing and made my skin feel moisturized without any residue. The Lemongrass Lime scent is fresh and crisp, while Lavender Lime is mellow with a hint of sweetness. Both are light, yet leave me smelling great all day. I’ve actually stopped using scented lotions and perfume. Not gonna lie, I shamelessly sniff my armpits throughout the day because they smell so good after I use this. The brand is based in Hong Kong, which makes shipping expensive if you’re ordering from their website in the U.S., but lucky for us, their products are now offered on Amazon.
Washing my hair used to be another chore that I avoided as much as possible. I had a stacked lineup of dry shampoos that I’d dust onto my scalp to extend the time between washes. I think the longest I’ve gone without washing my hair is a full seven days, which is either very impressive or appallingly gross, depending on where you stand. I always had residue that left me feeling unclean no matter how many times I shampooed, so I honestly just didn’t see the point. But when I learned about Function of Beauty’s customizable shampoo and conditioner, I had to try it and see if it could solve my hair woes. Their products are 100% vegan, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and paraben-free. I took a short quiz to share my unique hair profile and goals, where I selected “sooth scalp, nourish roots, replenish hair, oil control,” then picked my colors and scent. When my personal haircare set arrived, it was so fun to see my name printed right on the sleek bottle with “function of–jenny” complete with a pack of adorable stickers. As for my hair, it was finally reinvigorated after just one wash and never felt cleaner. It made washing my hair something I enjoyed doing and saved the mop on my head.
Candles can instantly turn any space into a cozy haven if you just take the minute to strike a match and light one. It’s a quick way to elevate your workspace or create a relaxing atmosphere when it’s time to wind down. But they can also be incredibly homogenous. Lavender, vanilla, and patchouli are fine, but there are times when I’d like to surround myself in something that doesn’t resemble all the ghosts of candles past. Cue Purple Kush, a candle by Boy Smells that will change your life, or at least how your life smells. I came across Boy Smells while window shopping in New York City. I spotted a matte pastel box with BOY SMELLS printed on it featured in a window display and immediately needed to find out what it was. It took maybe two minutes tops for me to discover it was an all-natural candle, read the unique scent concoction (Cannabis! Violet! Vetiver! Suede!) and buy it on the spot. Started by co-founders and real-life partners Matthew Herman and David Kien, Boy Smells products are designed to be gender fluid, which is a nice departure from the confines of scents that are “made” specifically for men or women.
Am I the only one who feels like my menstrual cycle is something I deal with daily? Periods are typically considered a monthly issue for women, but for me, the hormonal pimples that frequently make themselves at home around my chin line beg to differ. Rael, a brand that launched with organic period care products (which are excellent, by the way), has since expanded into daily skincare, and I am here for it. Rael takes a holistic approach to women’s menstrual health and wellbeing with natural, sustainable products that include acne treatments, toothpastes, face masks, and serums meant to be used proactively before and after your period. Instead of waiting until my next cycle starts to deal with my horrid skin, I can manage it on an ongoing basis. The miracle spot patches calm even the angriest of pimples, and the tea tree sheet mask is peak luxury self-care, without the luxury price tag. The mask soothes my face and makes it look noticeably refreshed and moisturized after I take it off.