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AM/PM: Sometimes a Shower and a Mask Is All You Need

Welcome to AM/PM, where Autostraddle team members break down and share their skincare routines, makeup looks and more!


A photo of Sa'iyda on a textured green background

Hello! I’m Sa’iyda, and I’m a contributing writer here at Autostraddle[dot]com. I’m a mom of one, fur mom of 3, and a partner to an amazing lady! I live in Los Angeles, I love to cook, read, and buy things I don’t need.

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I’ve always been concerned with having the best skin I possibly can, especially because I have fairly oily skin and always have. I remember in high school I was the only one of my friends with a skincare routine. Even though it was just some overly powerful astringent, St. Ives apricot scrub, and an Oxy pad.

It’s amazing that my face survived that.

But having a routine and taking care of my skin are even more important to me now that I’m older. Even though I find it annoying, people never believe me when I say I’m in my mid-30s, and I attribute a lot of that to how good my skin looks. I don’t want to look like I’m 60 when I’m 40, so doing my due diligence now will ensure that I won’t have to undo damage later.

This is my pretty standard nightly routine. Since becoming a mom, I shower at night so no one interrupts me. I love to just stand there taking a scalding hot shower and just have a few minutes of quiet to think. It’s hard to take time for yourself when you’re a parent — I don’t consider showering “self-care” because it’s a necessity, but it’s nice to have that time to myself where no one wants anything from me. So my nighttime shower and mask are a way to relax and wind down from the day by spending a little time with myself.

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The Products

A collage of skincare products on a textured green background

1. Raw Sugar Waterlemon and Fresh Mint Body Wash ($7.99) 2. OleHenriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser ($32) 3. Fenty Skin Cookies N Clean Whipped Detox Face Mask ($32) 4. Sephora Collection Hemp Night Face Serum ($5) 5. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil ($9.80) 6. Sephora Collection All Day Body Hydrator ($17) 7. Up & Up Baby Petroleum Jelly ($3.19)

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The Routine

Okay, so firstly — I take a scalding hot shower. Like, surface of the sun hot. I usually let the water run for a few minutes before I get in just to make sure it’s hot enough. Then I legit just stand under the shower head for as many minutes as I need to feel relaxed. I like letting the hot water beat down on my muscles and when I’m ready, I get to washing up with my shower pouf.

After my body is clean, it’s time for the face. I dampen my face and neck before squeezing out about a dime-sized drop of face wash, starting with my forehead and cheeks and making sure I reach every corner of my face, chin, and neck. Even though it’s a wash for oily skin, it doesn’t make my face feel overly dry like others I’ve used in the past, which is why it’s been my favorite for so long.

Once my face is rinsed, I pat it lightly with my towel and set to drying off my body. I have a weirdly specific drying pattern: first my chest and arms, then my legs, and then my back. I dry my feet on the way out of the shower. I love stepping out of the shower into a steamy bathroom; it’s so satisfying. We’re talking mirrors so foggy I have to wipe off a small section to see myself kind of fog. It feels like a sauna, but I didn’t have to spend any money to go to it

I always throw on whatever sleep top I have on before I put my mask on. I hate sitting in a towel after I’ve showered, and I can’t sit around naked because one of my pets will absolutely lick my body and — ick. With this particular Fenty mask, you really have to rub it in to mix the charcoal and the clay. While it dries — takes about 10 minutes — I usually sit on my couch and scroll my phone to cool down. I have always loved a mask, they are luxurious AND functional. I don’t always have the time (or money) to pamper myself, but when I put on a face mask and sit in a steamy bathroom and scroll through Instagram — it feels like a perfect little spa moment.

Once my mask is dry, I head back to my bathroom and hope the mirrors aren’t foggy anymore and it is always a crapshoot  I wash my face with warm water, pat dry and then immediately apply my hemp face serum. It’s thin and dries relatively quickly, so once it’s dry, I will apply five drops of rosehip oil to my face and neck. If there’s any leftover, I rub it into my hands.

Lastly, it’s time for my body butter — I start at my legs and work up. Sometimes I do this step while I wait for my mask to dry, but that depends on if it’s hot outside or not. After I finish getting dressed, I sit on my toilet and slather my feet in the petroleum jelly before I put on socks.

Then right before bed, before I get under the sheets, off come the socks and that’s it. I can slip off to sleep feeling a little more relaxed and a lot more soft!

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Two images of Sa'iyda side by side, one in a face mask, one without

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At the end of a long day, it feels good to jump into a hot shower and scrub off the grime and stress. My nightly routine gives me time to just shut my brain off. That’s why I like to shower in the evening — it feels like hitting the reset button so I can wake up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to start the day. Masks are one of my favorite types of skincare, and I have a few in my rotation depending on my skin needs. They are really great for a skin pick-me-up and to help stick to your routine — but also a great way to be still for 10 minutes and just relax.


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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 14 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. I’ve been a queer Autostraddle reader for several years and work at an ad agency where I’m on the Olay business! I have a limited say in who they partner with, but I could potentially make some connections if desired. If that’s interesting to y’all, let me know – I love bringing organic queer representation into advertising.

  2. I first misread the headline and thought this was gonna be as short as my pandemic-introduced routine of shower and face mask and go (i imagine that if you can’t see the lower half of my face you can’t see the top of it either).

    But now that I’ve read it in going to try a night shower and mask right as soon as I’m done typing.

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