My body, by most benchmarks, is in terrible condition. It’s at least four different colors (Bosc pear, burnt umber, mouse pelt, and manila folder) at any given time. It’s rife with keratosis pilaris and stretch marks from a growth spurt I’m not even sure I had. And, its body hair patterns—chilling. It is for these reasons I commonly take extra care to remind my body that I love it just the way it is. Why should my face get all the servicing?
I begin every beauty regimen by lighting a candle. An olfactory cue is the first way my body knows to chill the hell out. Chef’s choice tonight is Otherland’s Extra Hour. It’s ripe, green, and sweet, like mint and shisho leaves smashed with a pestle. My bathroom smells crisp and dewy. I am a puddle.
I cleanse with orange blossom scented cream body wash that I’m pretty sure is made for French babies. If the Women of Into The Gloss use products intended for babies, so do I.
I no longer use physical exfoliants. I know this is dramatic, but I have this irrational fear of routinely creating deep micro-tears, having them heal, and my skin inadvertently building up a thick layer of scar tissue. Someone in the comments would call me Keloid Boy. It would catch on and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in heavy prosthetic makeup, would be cast to play me in my made-for-TV biopic, The Keloid That Could. Anyway, I’m all about acid peels these days. I use the Tan-Luxe Glyco Water in the shower. It’s glycolic acid in a bottle the size of Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar body splash meant to dissolve spray tans, but it’s excellent for an off-label body exfoliant. I douse my entire body (minus my groin) in the mist and stand in my bathtub for five minutes. A damp muslin wipes off the spray, followed by a quick rinse. I am dramatically smoother—my thigh skin almost looks reflective.
I’ve been using the NuBody microcurrent device for a few weeks. Second only to the time B.D. Wong blocked me on Twitter, using this is the ritziest thing to happen to me. The tool itself looks like travel iron, with four metallic nodes. These lumps send electricity into my skin (and muscles?) in the hopes of tightening and firming. It requires you to slather a conductive gel the texture of KY jelly on areas of concern and run the machine over the jelly, five minutes at a time. I spend a solid 20 minutes on my stomach and butt. Both tingle slightly after use. With daily use, the results are supposed to appear after a month. Remind me to keep you posted.
Lotion isn’t rich enough post acid peel. I haven’t fully committed to body oils, mostly in fear of bacne and assne. A body butter is a happy medium. (Remember body butters? If you lived through 2004 and have ever walked past a Body Shop, you should.) Caudalie’s Vine Butter is whipped so it doesn’t require coercion to spread across your body, like a balm would. I coat my entire body in it and emerge lightly lemon scented and manageably slick, leaving the ashen wraith I used to be behind in the Sunken Place.
It doesn’t end there. You don’t get a pedicure and slip your half-dry gel polish back into your gardening Crocs and you definitely don’t get a facial and pile makeup back on top of freshly loved, but vulnerable skin. The same goes for full body indulging. Get into bed, because you earned it. I recently switched from a drool-laden 30 thread count bedspread from Amazon to silky Glossier Pink linens from Snowe that are always cool to the touch. I consider this to be an extension of my bodily well being because if my body is a temple, it most definitely has pink sheets.
Photo via Getty.