Welcome to This Shit Rules, wherein members of the Autostraddle team open up to you about the beauty products they can’t live without.
I work from home and often go days without leaving my apartment, which is great because I can wear things that reek of honey without offending co-workers. But even though many days the only person who sees me is me, I still like to feel fresh and clean and ready to leave at any moment even if I’m not going to.
Now Foods Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a semi-recent favourite for moisturizing any body part below my neck. I have had an ambivalent relationship with pure shea butter for years – I love the way it smells but hate how long it takes to soften before use and how long it takes to absorb after – and though coconut oil is a much milder scent I find my skin likes it a lot more.
It’s also an anti-fungal (so it can help with yeast infections or weird skin things) and, if you are not practising sex with barriers, is an excellent lube.
Buy it on Amazon: 7 oz ($7)
Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Cream
Above my neck I use Burt’s Bees day cream, which feels light and absorbs easily and doesn’t cause any trouble, especially on days I feel like getting fancy and using foundation. It’s not quite strong enough to use alone all the time though, so at night I cut it with (diluted) shea and honey butter.
Buy it on Amazon: 2 oz ($13)
Burt’s Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream
This stuff smells really really good. It’s not particularly long lasting, so at night when I don’t need to touch my keyboard any more I use coconut oil instead, but it smells really good so reapplication is a joy. Side note: I did not even realize how many Burt’s Bees products I use until writing this post, I am not being sponsored (though Burt’s Bees people: I’m open to it) but my mom definitely bought this for me. I like it a lot but I do not have the disposable income for $36 hand cream.
Buy it on Amazon: 55 g ($36)
Burt’s Bees Shimmer Lipstick
I love wearing lipstick at all hours and this, though it’s called “lipstick,” is like the lovechild of a lipstick and a lip balm. It’s creamy and light enough to put on without necessarily needing to look in the mirror, it seems to last for a few hours if you don’t eat or drink or make out, and it has a minty tingle when you put it on.
Also unlike lip chap, I don’t find my lips getting more chapped with frequent use – I can use this for days in a row and totally forget about it and not notice with no ill effects.
Buy it on Amazon: 0.09 oz ($7)
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
I use this as body wash. I use it as face wash. I use it as sex toy cleaner. (Pair with something to sterilize if sharing between partners or just every so often as a matter of course.) It gets the job done, is scent free (for someone who likes things that smell like milk and honey so much I really hate when soap smells like anything besides soap or nothing), and comes in many sizes including travel sizes, which is just convenient. When I’m out of shampoo or am feeling extra filthy I also use it as shampoo and my hair seems to approve.
Buy it on Amazon: 16 oz ($16)
Aveda Be Curly Shampoo and Conditioner
The first time I ever got a hair cut in a salon it was an Aveda salon (which was also when I was informed my hair was curly and not — as I had previously and naively imagined from pulling it into tight buns all the time —straight), and so I have an especial fondness for the company’s products. These smell just strong enough to notice but not strong enough to be bothersome unless you stick your face in my hair, and do a better job than other curly shampoo/conditioner combos I have tried, and for the most part don’t make my hair feel greasy or weighed down.
Sometimes I switch up my shampoo during periods of brokeness or distance from a salon, and there seems to be only a tiny change, but if I use any other conditioner more than once my hair is a ruin. Luckily I don’t use a lot of either so they usually last me for about 10 months.
L’Oreal Nutri-Sleek Argan Oil
It doesn’t matter what happens to my hair as long as I use this oil. It can be windy or blowy or full of dirt or not get washed forever or get washed three times a day and using argan oil (this particular argan oil) makes everything silky and curly and bright again.
I love this stuff so much I’m including it even though it’s not on any of our affiliate sites. I am sure there are other oils that may work for you, and please go forth and investigate them. My hair and I will be over here feeling soft and sleek and not greasy and perfectly curled three days after a shampoo and stockpiling this stuff — which lasts forever anyway, though I have short hair — against the apocalypse.
Buy a poor replica on Amazon: You should really just go to your drugstore for the original, though ($6).