This Shit Rules: Fabulous (and Squeaky Clean) as F*ck

Welcome to This Shit Rules, wherein members of the Autostraddle team open up to you about the beauty products they couldn’t live without.

I kind of can’t leave the house without feeling fabulous, which means I allot myself time in the morning to lay about in a laissez-faire fashion with my dog and I’ve got all the products I use before, during, and after my morning shower down to a science. This is the stuff that makes it possible for me to face another day in the cruel, harsh, unforgiving world. Oh, and it leaves me feeling super-duper full of light. Inner peace is fundamental, people.

Photo on 1-10-15 at 1.22 PM #2

Naturelle HEMP Shampoo and Conditioner


I was drawn to Naturelle’s HEMP shampoo and conditioner for three equally important and valid reasons: it’s cheap, it’s au naturale, and it has a huge weed leaf on it. I originally tried it out because other brands were weighing down my mane when I wore an afro, but I never looked back. The bonus is that it has a super-fresh smell that is not explicitly gendered! Fist bump, amirite.

Buy It on Amazon: 1L Hydrating Shampoo ($14.01) / 1L Hydrating Conditioner ($16.95)

Neutrogena Shampoo


Once a week, in order to observe the majesty of my own hair, I use Neutrogena’s anti-residue formula shampoo to clear the dirt and oil out of it from the previous week real good. It puts the bounce back that even the most well-washed head of hair loses from any products you’re regularly tossin’ up there. It’s the kind of tough love your hair is yearning for.

Buy It on Amazon: 6oz ($7.72)

White (Unscented) Dove Beauty Bar


I really like bar soap, and I like keeping it simple. A white beauty bar is my everything.

Buy It on Amazon: 6 pack($11.56)

Liquid Neutrogena Face Soap


For some reason unbeknownst to even myself, I fucking love this shit. I travel with a small bar, but the liquid version is the best for everyday use and slapping it on really makes a person feel like wealth.

Buy It on Amazon: 8 oz ($7.02)

Neutrogena Oil-Free Daily Scrub


I’m aware that by now you’re tired of me talking about Neutrogena, so let me just say that I switch between Neutrogena and CVS brand daily scrubs, each being orange in nature and kind of similarly citrus-scented, and have been known to travel with the infamous trial-size St. Ives peach scrub. It’s not Neutrogena, per se. I just like a scrub. They really wake you up, y’know? That, and they help you slough off all that dead skin and shit.

Buy It on Amazon: 4.2oz ($4.74)

Marc Jacobs Daisy


Every morning I douse myself in the stuff. (5 spritzes.)

Buy It on Amazon: 3.4oz ($52.99)

Urban Decay Prep Spray


If you wear makeup, this will be awesome for sealing off your pores before you invade them callously with a bunch of chemicals not legal for distribution in other countries. I like it because it keeps my face a little more oil-free. I’d be lying if I told you I actually use it every day, and would also be lying if I told you the one I’m using isn’t one I got for free and that me pledging to continue to use it for all of time is something I can fully commit to at this time, but I definitely keep it around for any time where I need a little extra squeaky in my clean.

Buy It from Urban Decay: 4oz ($33.00)

HealthySexyHair Soy Paste Pomade


People at hair salons are always talking about product. Do you use product? You should really use product. Lemme just throw some product in there. This product is for sale in the front. I hate product, and always have, because when I devoted myself to going natural I went hard. But when I got my hair super super short a new problem in my life emerged in which the buzzed part would get a little stand-offish before the top was so long it begged me to actually get it cut. This pomade, which I use because I found it laying around in my room, is the perfect solution. It keeps everything in place, but there’s no weird texture after a little while and your hair remains malleable and able to be touched up easily throughout the day.

Buy It on Amazon: 1.8oz ($16.42)

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. I wanna know what ya’ll are wearing deoderant wise…? There are a million options and I want the freshest smellin pits around.

    • I right now wear Axe White Label in the “Air” scent. Works really well, and smells great in that not-explicitly-gendered, goes-well-with-my-Nautica way.

  2. Those beauty bars aren’t unscented fyi if you look at the ingredients on amazon.

    It makes me sad that an AS editor would recommend “dousing” one’s self with perfume. Perfume and products containing fragrance creates a barrier to access for people with disabilities like chemical sensitivities, asthma, and other chronic illnesses.

    Your ability to douse yourself with perfume limits my interactions in public, workplace and social situations.

    I don’t think that the creators of this column realized this accessibility issue, or their own privilege as being able-bodied (or to the extent of not becoming ill by the products they use). I hope that this is considered in future articles on AS.

    • For real. I have a high sensitivity to smell as well. Perfumes give me an instaheadache. I’ve been really appreciative of the increasing frequency of venues that specify no fragrance (though folks are still learning how to comply.)

      That said, maybe folks who work from their home can use all the perfumes?

      • Nice to know I’m not the only one!

        Yes I’m happy for more fragrance-free spaces too. I just hope the queer community can get on board because it makes dating & relationships really difficult. It’s such a small thing you can change that makes a world of difference.

        • I don’t think that the word ‘dousing’ was meant to be taken seriously, although I do 100% understand and agree with what your saying. Personally I find some perfumes better or worse than others in terms of irritating people with sensitivity. A lot of my family have serious asthma or allergies to some scents, so I’m always really careful when I’m buying perfume to check the ingredients/scents to make sure it’s okay. I find some Coco Chanel perfumes don’t bother my family, so that works for me. I try to avoid the fruity-scented ones because they bother me also. The musky spicy ones seem to be okay though. :)

  3. I could also recommend Phyto shampoos and conditioners. Its a French hair care line and it is derived from plants for all of you all-naturals. Also, unisex fragrances and no silicones or parabens.

  4. Totally. I work in the beauty industry – online business, we’re a small company but we sell fragrance. I don’t have sensory issues but I am prone to headaches and migraines and even things that I normally love can make me very sick. I always tell customers to keep it simple, like with makeup (actually makeup is different because it’s an art, but if you just want to look naturally better…)

    Please for the love of all things beautiful do not overspray perfume. One spray is plenty. Just because you can’t smell it anymore doesn’t mean other people can’t tell you’re wearing it.

    I have a soft spot for Serge Lutens, and I’m not sure if you’ve smelled much from that perfume house but OMG it is not subtle. Beautiful. But not subtle. Completely gorgeous but like a slap in the face.

    If I’m to wear any fragrance, I only wear it around people who I know don’t have issues and I don’t spray it on immeediately before I see them. I put it on hours before hand. Makes the perfume smell better anyway. I want to smell like a sweet, subtly spicy version of myself ideally.

  5. How do I sign up for whichever service leaves random hair products you might like lying around in your room?

    • i think you have to become friends with someone in beauty school. it worked out for me, though. #livethedream

  6. Does the Neutrogena Oil-Free Daily Scrub contain microbeads? Because microbeads are sooo baaaad for sea life and the environment.

  7. I am very disappointed to see that companies such as Neutrogena (Johnson & Johnson) and Dove (Unilever) were promoted in this post. Both are on PETA’s “companies that do test on animals” list. Maybe I am misguided but I expected better of Autostraddle’s contributors.

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