Since entering this current and hopefully brief period of underemployment, I’ve had good days, not so good days, and, frankly, totally low and awful days. But one truly excellent realization I had about a month after I left my job was that there are actually some major beauty-related bonuses to having lots of free time and not a lot of money.
Don’t have to get up early to head to the office? Turn off that alarm and get your eight (or 10, or 12--I’m not judging you) hours nightly. No joke, I can’t remember the last time I regularly got this much sleep.
Besides all of the other wonderful benefits of sleep, which I’m sure you know intimately at this point, given how often the media crams all the latest data down our throats, it’s done wonders for my face.
When I was still at my old job, I used to wake up (slowly, with much difficulty) in the morning--after getting maybe six hours if I was lucky, preparing to head into another 12-hour day of work--and recoil from my own appearance. Who is that sad, old hag with sallow skin and tired eyes in the mirror killing my vibe? Christ.
Well, I just turned 30 a few weeks ago, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t looked this young in years. The dark circles under my eyes are nearly nonexistent, which is incredible, given my long history of both A) never getting enough sleep, ever and B) always having dark circles under my eyes, forever.
NO MORE BOOZY NIGHTS (OR FEWER, AT LEAST)
With a dwindling bank account forcing me to live on a miniscule budget, I just can’t go out as often as I used to. Is it turning me into a bit of a hermit? Yes. Is it helping me get more sleep and drink less booze? ALSO YES. There’s always a tradeoff!
Drinking less often, and less of it when I do, I am sure, has also contributed to feeling a bit happier about my reflection. Sure, there are all kinds of products and quick fixes out there dedicated to helping us get through the morning after looking fresher than we feel, but nothing beats the real thing.
Now, my beau does treat me to a couple of drinks when we go out, but it makes me feel a bit like a kept woman, so I usually try to shoo his wallet away, with varying levels of success. And of course, I can drink at home much more cheaply. But I can’t deny that it’s helped bring my intake down.
TIME TO EXPERIMENT
When you’re underemployed, there’s a lot of, uh, “me time” to go around. Yeah, that’s what we’ll call it.
So you have this extra time, which gives you the opportunity to try out new looks that you might not have otherwise spent your valuable time on. For instance, I’ve managed to incorporate a new way to do a heavily lined eye (previously thought forbidden for my face!) as well as perfected winged liner. I’ve also experimented with blush placement, concealer techniques, and different shades of brown for my brows for day and night.
Also: more time for masks and other treatments! I tried a brightening mask I got in a months-ago Birchbox and started a new routine with the wonderful, inexpensive Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.
Endless, productivity-killing meetings--who has patience for those? They used to prevent me from grabbing all that water I was supposed to be drinking, but these days, there’s nothing holding me back.
I drink more water now than I ever did in the office; the seltzer bottle and the Brita pitcher are only a few steps away. (Eating is another issue, however. I’ve basically given up on lunch. Just throw a bunch of snacks together and call it a meal. That’s a grown-up thing to do, right?)
Proper hydration is good for just about every bodily function, including your skin and all that regenerating it’s meant to do, and I think it shows.
I will say that all that extra peeing forces me to replenish our toilet paper supply with a pretty significantly increased frequency, however.
OK, you got me: there are some downsides
Mostly it’s that I keep running out of my not-at-all-cheap beauty products and can’t afford to replace them. That $50 Korres moisturizer I accidentally bought in February with the help of a Christmas giftcard? Definitely no room in my budget for that guy now.
I’m making do with my boyfriend’s moisturizer from Whole Foods for now, which definitely works fine, but I daydream about returning to Sephora to replenish my supply or, better yet, trying something new. Soon!
The corresponding upside to this downside, though, is a good excuse to try drugstore brands I might not have otherwise given a second glance. Much like Olga, I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to this stuff, so I’ve managed to broaden my horizons a little.
While shopping for cheap sunscreen last week at Target, I also picked up some L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream on a whim after seeing it on Sarah Lewitinn's Instagram feed. (Verdict: really not bad at all, especially for $9, but missing the vital sunscreen element, which makes it less than perfect.)
In the end, I’m thankful for the extra time to do all of these things (and more), but I’m also looking forward to being fully employed, with a steady salary to match, in the near future.
Have you come across any other great but unexpected bonuses of underemployment? Beauty tips for a miniscule budget? Job leads for yours truly?