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.
Buy them on Amazon: 8.5 oz of shampoo ($25) and 6.7 oz of conditioner ($23)
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).
I never thought I would enjoy a beauty column. But as usual, Autostraddle has proved me wrong and made me very happy in one fell swoop. Thanks Carolyn!!
Fun fact on regular lip chap like ChapStick etc., the petroleum just creates a thin film over your lips that helps them feel moisturized, but when it wears off, leaves your lips more dehydrated than before. Oh joy. Anyway, great recommendations!
Any tips on how to keep lips truly moist? D: I must know.
Eh..only thing budget friendly is moisturize moisturize moisturize. Meaning reapply over and over even when you don’t yet feel you need to. I think if you apply whatever before bed like three times in the space of like 20 minutes when you wake up you’ll have enough of a head start on things that you’re lips won’t get dehydrated during the day and you won’t have to reapply as much. I do that overnight whenever I have any sort of major issue and it tends to work. I should do it more in general though. I actualy do use vanilla mint chapstick (to tide me over till I can get honey and or vanilla bean Burts Bees!).Last time my lips were hella dry I used Baby Lips.
That’s a very helpful tip! I’m sure it would make a huge difference. And yes, Burts Bees is awesome.
Thank you for taking the time to respond!
Also you should drink a lot water and/or other liquids that aren’t caffeine or alcohol which further dehydrate you. At least that is what keeps my lips and skin hydrated and I rarely use chapstick. But when I do I use Burt Bee’s- the pomegranate one. I swear it’s the holy grail.
Good thing I’m actually not into alcohol, or caffeinated drinks in general! But I definitely don’t drink enough water, so that would probably help a lot.
Thank you, Arika! I dunno how to reply to you directly, so I hope you see this message. c:
+1 on the coconut oil! We have an enormous 3qt tub from Costco that we’re about half-way through.
Haha yes, I’ve seen those! I must get one.
Love this article. Coconut oil has been a wonder for my skin. And cuticles. If using as a lube, take care with toys though! The Doxy for instance will disintegrate when used with oil-based lube.
Burt’s Bees is brilliant but – how on earth is the almond hand cream $36? I got mine for the equivalent of $14. That was in Ireland, but I bet it pays to shop around!
You’re absolutely right about not using it with certain toys! It would also be rubbish with any safer sex barrier situation.
Which other toys can you not use it with? It disintegrates latex? I don’t know anything about this. Can coconut oil be used as a lube with a vixskin dildo? Say the Babeland Mustang dildo? Maybe you’ve answered this question already, but I can’t find an answer. Anyway, THAAAANKS!
Coconut oil and latex don’t mix – all oil-based lubes affect the integrity of the latex. (See Scarleteen for details.) It’s totally fine (and awesome) with silicone (vixskin) though!
You may have just convinced me to finally try argan oil.
YES DO IT YES
Howww exactly do you use it? Wet hair? Dry? Wash off? Leave in? Ahhh
Carolyn how fine is your hair? I want to use hair oil but my curly hair is v. fine and I am worried will just get super weighed down and flat.
My hair is neither fine nor especially thick. I use literally three drops, warm it up with my hands and scrunch into damp (not wet) hair. If it feels like maybe I used too much I scrunch (carefully) with a clean towel to take some of it off. Generally I only do it every few days/after I shampoo.
Then do you use product after or just the oil? (sorry for the questions. curly hair problems, ya know).
Yeah! But generally a lot than I would use without the oil. (But also sometimes I use only oil, and sometimes I go days without using any, just depending on how my hair feels/how dry it is.)
(!argan oil smells like men!)
Hello, you are beautiful and apparently smell amazing. I want to smell like coconuts, almonds, and honey too! You have convinced me to go buy most of these products.
Also I never thought to use Cetaphil as a body wash! I love it as a face wash and sex toy cleaner
Hello um thank you. Also Cetaphil as an everything wash has been life changing.
I’m a huge fan of “This Shit Rules”. It…rules. :p Hahaaa. But for real, I really enjoy these? Although I never do much to pamper-up or anything. I guess, for little stuff I do use, I want it to be top-notch. So as usual, thank you for the post!
I used to use the almond and milk hand crème. I don’t remember it being no fowdeh dollars! It was like 9.99 or something.
As a matter of fact I just looked it up on the internets, 57 grams is about 10 bucks. I guess you’re either outside the US or the one you got was super huge. Cuz baby damn.
Is there a specific reason you don’t use coconut oil on your face? Maybe your face is naturally oily..? Just curious. It’s my favorite to use as a facial moisturizer.
I am not especially oily but it makes me break out like a teenager.
Ughhhh me too. Coconut oil is kryptonite when I let it touch my face.
Coconut oil is comedogenic so not good for face.
Man I love this column. And I co-sign like everything in this post. Coconut oil? Yes. That Burt’s Bees lipstick stuff? Yes. Cetaphil? Cetaphil is my JAMMM and the only thing my sensitive face-skin can handle! (And I’m just about to try argan oil too!)