As someone who grew up very poor with the idea that self-sacrifice is the most important virtual, it took me a long time to learn that even the little things in life can be a treat and bring a sense of joy. As an ex-codependent, I also used external things as a way to measure my self-worth. At the same time, I thought that I was only allowed to buy the lowest-priced items and that it wasn’t okay to care about myself or my looks. It felt very discombobulating to be me and to be in my head — to think that I have to live menially but that I would only be acceptable to society if I owned grand things from luxury brands like Chanel.
Through a lot of internal self-work and inner examination, I now see these things as a way to care for myself instead of caring for my vanity. That shift in mindset allowed me to care for myself more instead of judging myself. More importantly, I now buy things that I like and that actually work for me. Some things might be lower priced than others and some things may be considered a luxury item. While the judgments of others still hurt, they no longer prevent me from making choices that work for me nor do they prevent me from living the life that I want to live.
Below is a list of my favorite bathroom products. As someone with sensitive skin, these products work the best for me. Waking up and going to sleep using these products is like a little treat. Every part of life, even grooming, can bring an element of joy if you’re willing to invest in yourself, what you actually like, and your happiness.
Buying things is okay.
- Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser is my favorite face wash. It’s light and refreshing. It smells and feels natural and it doesn’t make my face feel too dry afterward. They market the product towards men but as a woman, I really love it. It doesn’t smell artificial and just feels like a natural product for my skin.
- I also love Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash. I went through an Ursa Major phase where I wanted to use all of their products because I love the smell. This face wash is by far my favorite, especially for the summer. It’s really refreshing on a hot day and feels like you’re cleaning all the sweat and gunk off of your face and body. Their products are and smell very natural. I love natural smelling things, especially more herbal or essential oil smells so this is great. I prefer the Jack Black face wash for year-round and this one for hot days or a day when I need something to wake me up. I find most natural products to be overly drying but the Jack Black and Ursa Major facial cleansers provide natural moisture and give you that clean feel without drying out your skin.
- My third favorite face wash is the Simple Micellar Water. I learned about micellar water through beauty blogs that mostly recommend the French brand Bioderma. Since Bioderma is more expensive and difficult to get in the states, I bought the Simple Micellar Water on Amazon and LOVED IT. I don’t wear make-up very often but when I do, I use this face wash. It cleans off all the dirt and oil from my face in a few easy swipes.
- This electronic toothbrush is saving my life and my teeth. As someone who has always had bad teeth, I LOVE using an electronic toothbrush. Growing up, I always wanted one because I had a lot of cavities. As a kid, no matter how much I brushed my teeth, I seemed to always end up with problems. They were also much more expensive. Now, they’re much more affordable, especially the older models, which sell at a more discounted price. I know that many people have issues with the internet age and online sellers like Amazon, but they’ve also made certain products more accessible and affordable.
- The Solimo Therapeutic Dandruff Shampoo is saving my scalp. Ever since moving to NYC about a decade ago, my scalp has been getting worse and worse. It gets gunky and flaky all the time, especially after swimming at the public pool. Worse, because of the dry heat during the winter, I now get dandruff year-round. This shampoo doesn’t smell great but it works so well, I now wash my hair about every two to three days instead of having to wash it every day. It’s also much more affordable compared to the Neutrogena T Gel shampoo.
- I also use the hair scalp massager sometimes when I shampoo my hair. It feels like it cleans my scalp better and evenly distributes the shampoo so that I clean everything evenly.
- As someone with thin hair, I love using wooden combs. Regular hairbrushes seem to tear out my hair. I also dislike cleaning regular hairbrushes — there’s hair everywhere. Wooden combs massage my scalp and also runs smoothly through my hair. I’m also able to brush out knots more easily. It never gets gunky and it’s easy to pack for trips.
- Oud Wood by Tom Ford is easily my favorite perfume. It’s also the most expensive item on the list. I spent years saving up for this perfume and finally got it for myself as a treat. I love the depth and the sophistication of this smell. I think it’s more of a unisex smell and I love it. I don’t wear it all the time but will spray it once in a while. At the same time, I’m trying not to hoard it, which is a tendency I have.
- I don’t use too many face creams but I tried The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% and really like it. My face looks brighter and fresher the next day. I heard about this brand from a friend who is South Korean. South Korea is well known for its beauty products so I trusted her recommendation more than others. There’s a regimen builder on the site, which is nice to use because you can input your issues such as signs of congestion, and it’ll give you a list of products to try. I tried the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% but I didn’t like it compared to the azelaic acid, so it’s important to find a product that works for you. This brand also sells vitamin c and retinol at very affordable prices.
- The last item is eye drops. Because I have very thin hair, sometimes it can get into my eye and poke it. If an eyelash falls out, it sometimes stays in my eye instead of actually falling out. I have to use eye drops to wash out the eyelash or use it to soothe my eyes. Either way, I need eye drops more than I thought I would. Sometimes the codependent part of me comes out and even buying something little like this makes me hesitate. Part of me still feels guilty or odd about spending money on myself, and I still struggle with categorizing what’s a necessity and what’s not. Sometimes I have to force myself to buy something but hopefully, it becomes easier.
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