I care a great deal about my appearance and personal well-being. I also work a Monday-through-Friday desk job. These two truths are in direct disagreement with each other because being beautiful and happy usually means having low cortisol levels and copious amounts of free time (see: Sophia, the robot). In conflict, maintaining long-term employment means routine decision making for a majority of your waking hours at the direct cost of your youth and beauty (see also: Gary Busey).
Determined to merge the two factions, I made a plan. I will treat myself to a life-or-appearance-enhancing treatment every day for a week. Even if they’re minute. Why? Firstly, sheer desperation. Secondly, to show that a sense of posterity for people who work is achievable through small additions to your day.
The only rule is that the treatment must take very little time and effort so I can do them with whatever remaining energy I have after evacuating my human costume at the end of each day. Onward!
All one has to do to understand the universal trauma that Monday can cause is read a Garfield comic or make small talk with literally anyone. I subvert my looming dread with Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermès. This scent converted me from a staunch no-fragrance wearer to a believer! Initially, I bought it to lift me out of the trenches post-breakup, but now I just wear it anytime I need general uplifting. Its notes are almost exclusively citrus, with some green, damp earthiness. Not unlike what I imagine an orange grove to smell like. What makes it unique is that it lacks a woody, musky, or oud-y base to weigh it down. I furtively sniff my wrists all day.
Upon arriving back to my apartment, I immediately change out of work clothes and into some genuinely hideous pajamas. I wash my face and rub an edamame-sized blob of Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Overnight Transformation Gel onto my face. It has glycolic and lactic acid (my favorite AHAs) which make my face tingle lightly as I fill with optimism. I follow up with Herbivore’s Pink Cloud, which smells like rosewater and is my go-to moisturizer for calming.
The next morning, I use a dry washcloth to brush little flecks of dead skin off my face. Not to toot my own horn, but I look radiant.
For reasons I have yet to discuss with my therapist, I change my pillowcases once a week. (Sometimes more!) I justify this behavior by thinking that it prevents me from getting breakouts along the sides of my face. I have several pillowcases of varying qualities and have even (regretfully) been known to use a t-shirt in a pinch. I’ve read that silk pillowcases can help tame frizz, but I like these cotton Crane & Canopy pillowcases just the same—there’s really just something about falling asleep on pink pillows.
After four days of staring at a computer screen, I treat myself to this heated eye mask. I first purchased these because my ophthalmologist recommended warm compresses to relieve my chronic dry eyes. While their efficacy remains questionable, I continue to use them because I sleep better with the sensation of freshly baked dinner rolls seated inside my sad, hollow eye sockets. They’re lavender-scented, too.
TGIF! I don’t do much to my hair. I might tweeze a rogue gray hair out of my hairline and make a doink! sound while I do it. I might blow dry my hair if I shower in the morning. I might even try bangs. But, even with little thermal styling, I’m convinced that my hair takes the same beating that my skin does from overactive indoor heating and truly terrible winter weather. In lieu of social engagement, I use Olaplex No. 3 in the shower and leave it in for 10 minutes. Olaplex isn’t a conditioner (it’s a bond rebuilder), and my hair is naturally unruly as hell to begin with, but when I run my hands through my hair it feels noticeably better. Like, just-got-a-trim better.
Saturday morning is an optimal time for productivity—24 hours of rampant freedom, cushioned by two days of descending importance. I crack my windows, load the dishwasher, Swiffer the perimeter of my apartment, and light what I like to call a “morning candle.” They differ from “evening candles” in that they are more sunny than they are sexy. L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Interieur Figuier Candle is an archetypal morning candle—it smells like fresh air inside the cinematography of Call Me By Your Name.
No one is texting me because everyone I know is hungover. I slip in and out of moments of harrowing self-reflection. I ban myself from introspective music and skip any spooky Lana del Rey songs that come on shuffle. Sometime around 5PM, I smear Grown Alchemist Hydra+ Intensive Treatment Cream Masque on my face. It is a leave-on mask about as thick as margarine and feels like a solid facial oil. It’s also transparent, so it can be worn while doing laundry or running to the bodega. I banish any remaining Sunday Scaries by lying prone in bed and trolling my friends on Instagram.
Come Monday morning, I catch my reflection and notice my skin looks plump and happy. Two sprays of Eau d’Orange Verte and I’m out the door.
Photo via ITG.
This is Or’s glamorous routine. Now read about his secret unglamorous routine.