These Beauty Routines and Products Make Me Feel Like a Grown-Ass Woman

When I feel like my life's a joke, I'm broke, my love life's LOL, I turn to these to make me feel like an Actual Person again.
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Rachel
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When I feel like my life's a joke, I'm broke, my love life's LOL, I turn to these to make me feel like an Actual Person again.

You know what I truly, madly, deeply enjoy? Being a millennial. Yeah, it rules! 

As tradition goes, millennials are the generation du jour, and anyone born even one moon outside the MiLlEnIaL deadline is contractually required to complain about us millennials and our lack of a work ethic, our phone addiction, and our breakfast habits. (Sorry we're the first generation smart enough to realize cereal is a DINNER food.)

I like my generation, and I'm glad to be a part of it. We're outspoken, socially progressive, hardworking, educated, and quietly making a difference. Most of my peers are doing a good job and being good people. There are assholes born every minute, in every generation, so I'm not sure millennials are better or worse than any gen before or after us. If there is one thing I feel entitled to, though, it's definitely at least a few more think pieces from an angry 38-year-old about how entitled I am. Please!

There is one criticism often made of my generation that I do take some umbrage with, and that's the claim that we "refuse to grow up" or something. It might be because I think it's bullshit, but it also might be because I'm sometimes insecure about my status as a person in this world. I mean, I'm 25. It's par for the course, no?

Being a person and existing is difficult sometimes. Being in your twenties is difficult sometimes. There's a lot to do and it just never ends. Some days I'm just like, "Oh, okay. I guess I'll just keep paying bills and sending emails until one day I die." It's bleak, I know. 

It's easy to feel like I'm not a "grownup" with her life together, though I definitely am. I pay taxes. I pay rent. I pay bills. I pay for my own Spotify and Tidal subscriptions. (Thanks, Kanye.) I own my own car and I always refill the water in the office Keurig after I use it.  

But sometimes, I spill red wine on my new rug and I have to Google what to do next. Or I eat nothing but Oreos all day and then go to the gym and almost pass out. Or, like, last week I got a really bad sinus infection and was so sick and basically just called my mom crying because I didn't have anyone to take care of me and I just felt like the world's most pathetic blob. 

On days like that, when I feel like my life's a joke, I'm broke, my love life's LOL, I turn to routines and products to make me feel like an Actual Person again. Here are the various life things I rely on to keep me feeling sane, even when everything around me is driving me crazy. 

Getting My Nails Done Every Two Weeks

I got acrylics a few months ago, and I love them. My nails have always been a point of insecurity for me. They're weak and somehow always gross-looking, even though I wash my hands a thousand times a day. Because my job often requires working directly with customers (and sometimes, photographing my own hands), acrylics just made sense to me. 

This color is called "Pretty Ugly," which is basically my whole thing in this life.

This color is called "Pretty Ugly," which is basically my whole thing in this life.

Now, my nails are always photo-ready. Every other Sunday, I sit down with my nail lady and get a fill. Having nice-looking nails is awesome, but just the routine of getting my nails done is very calming for me. It's an hour where I can't check my phone and I can just zone out a little.

Washing My Delicates By Hand

I don't have a washer and dryer in my new apartment, for the first time in my life. I usually go to my aunt and uncle's house about 45 minutes south to do laundry, or I reluctantly head to the laundromat and cough up several dollars just to sit there for a few hours. 

But I always, ALWAYS, wash my delicates by hand at home. 

First of all, I'm very nervous about the idea of leaving behind a pair of panties at the laundromat and some creepo getting his grubby little paws on my silky drawers. Second of all, machine washing is much too forceful for all my lacy little things. 

Florence smells like bergamot, gardenia, and literal heaven.

Florence smells like bergamot, gardenia, and literal heaven.

I looooove Tocca Laundry Delicate. (My favorite scent is Florence.) I fill up my sink with room-temperature water and squeeze just a little bit of this detergent in to create a small lather and gently hand-wash everything from bras and panties to my cashmere sweaters and expensive yoga pants. I hang everything on a drying rack, and it all smells heavenly for days afterwards. 

Getting Regular Haircuts

I've been writing about beauty professionally for several years now, but I often feel like a total fraud. I rarely wear makeup (not wearing any in these pics, because I honestly forgot to put it on), I don't really buy into the cultish hype of the various brands other beauty writers fawn over. And worst of all, until recently, I hadn't had my hair cut professionally in, like, two years. 

I just kept avoiding it because I hate spending money, and I convinced myself that my DIY trims were good enough. Well, recently, I got sick of myself and my split ends and booked an appointment at a local salon here in Northampton. When I confessed how long it had been since my last real cut, my stylist (an actual saint named Marisol) pretended to be surprised. 

"Nooooo, that long? Really?

My new look.

My new look.

She gave me this super-fun, layered shag and set up an appointment for me to come back six weeks later. Which is an APPROPRIATE amount of time. 

My hair immediately felt healthier than it had in years. A haircut can cure woes that no texturizer or deep conditioner can fix. Never again will I go even more than a couple of months between cuts. 

Scented Candles

This is the tobacco and patchouli candle from Target's archaeology collection. It's only $15 and it's a chic all-black candle, with the perfect warm, wintery scent. 

This is the tobacco and patchouli candle from Target's archaeology collection. It's only $15 and it's a chic all-black candle, with the perfect warm, wintery scent. 

I'm a clean person, and I keep my apartment tidy, so I never worry about my home smelling bad. I do like to make sure it always smells exceptionally good, though. That's why I always make sure I have at least a few scented candles around. I burn them all the time, whether I have company over or not. A pleasant-smelling home makes for a more pleasant-feeling life. 

My Perfume Collection

Heeeere's some of it.

Heeeere's some of it.

Speaking of scents, I'm just really into smelling great in general. I've been building up my collection for years. I hope to one day have a scent to match each of my moods. I'm maybe a third of the way there. (I'm very moody.) 

Smelling great makes me feel more put-together. I seriously don't even feel like I'm all-the-way dressed until I spritz something on. 

And just seeing all these perfumes, housed in their pretty little glass bottles, brings me joy every day. I love the way light reflects off of them and that they almost double as home decor. 

Fancy Soaps and Bath Products

It's no secret that I treasure bathtime. It's a near daily tradition for me and one of my most sacred rituals. Soaking in the bath is how I find my peace. 

Various bath products help a lot with that peace finding process. Having a constant supply of nice soaps, soaks, and bath bombs makes my mind feel a little calmer. I also like to make sure I always have plenty of bath and shower supplies, in case guests come to stay. 

This is a fancy block of soap my friend Joshua brought me back from France, and Sisley's Eau du Soir shower gel, which smells like a very wealthy old lady, which is who I hope to one day be.

This is a fancy block of soap my friend Joshua brought me back from France, and Sisley's Eau du Soir shower gel, which smells like a very wealthy old lady, which is who I hope to one day be.

There's nothing worse than showering at someone else's place and being like, "Uhhh... what do I do?" (Have you ever stayed at a dude's apartment? One time, when I stayed at a certain guy's place for the first time, I hopped in the shower and there was nothing in there except baking soda. We don't date anymore.)

I always keep a supply of Lush's bath bombs and bubble bars on hand, in case of emergency.

I always keep a supply of Lush's bath bombs and bubble bars on hand, in case of emergency.

I like to make sure I always have plenty of soaps, as well as bath bombs and nice things in case guests want to relax. It's just a nice touch, and it makes me feel like a gracious host, which is very grownup. 

Keeping Blotting Sheets in my Bag

I am not a very oily person, but oil-blotting sheets still come in super-handy sometimes. I'll use them to freshen up my hairline or mattify my T-zone if I work up a bit of a sweat putting together a particularly killer Google doc during the workday. 

As my dad would say, "That's pretty dope."

As my dad would say, "That's pretty dope."

Milk Makeup (the cool-girl brand of the moment) has these Roll + Blot sheets, which are fun. Selling them as blotting sheets that also work as rolling papers is a genius marketing move, but really any oil blotting sheet would work as a rolling paper, or vise versa. So, rolling/blotting sheets are very helpful for dealing with all the various stressors of adulthood, in all the various ways I deal with stress. (Insert angel emoji here.)

A Well-Stocked Medicine Cabinet 

My top shelf and my bottom shelf.

My top shelf and my bottom shelf.

I've only just started taking my skincare seriously over the past few years, but now I take it very seriously. I love trying new products and seeing what works, though I have to be careful because my skin is so sensitive. I'm slowly learning which ingredients and things work for me and what definitely doesn't. 

My cabinet now reflects all the products I've tried and loved. While they're not all a part of my everyday routine, I use them all on the regular. Maintaining a stocked cabinet and a regular cleansing/moisturizing routine goes a long way towards making me feel like a productive member of society, even if all I did that day was binge another season of Always Sunny

  • We're all grownups here (unless you're, like, literally a teenager, which some of you are. Hi teens! Ignore that part about rolling papers!) but what routines, products or habits make you genuinely feel grown-up?
  • Are you a MILLENNIAL too? Prove it. Show me the secret millennial handshake in the comments below. No olds allowed. (JK, my mom and her 37 sisters make up half our readership. Hi, Mom!)