flower essences

My Experience Trying Flower Essences for the First Time

The first time I heard about flower essences, I thought, “this is crap.” My well-trained, western scientific brain read “vibrational energy of plants” and wrote it off immediately. 

But then I fell under the spell of some amazing plant-based skincare. Skincare that, when I smelled it, when I massaged it into my face, and when I rinsed it off, made me appreciate the beauty of the plants that went into it.

This built on my pre-existing appreciation for plants in the form of vegetables. There is such a beautiful and diverse array of plants that taste great and provide nourishment to the body! If plants can do that, and make for the most relaxing and enjoyable skincare, I thought, what else can they do?

Inspired by this newfound appreciation for plants, I began The Modern Herbal Dispensatory by Thomas Easley and Steven Horne and learned a bit about western herbalism. 

Herbalism resonates with me in the same way that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda do. According to my limited understanding, western herbalism, TCM, and Ayurveda are all health systems that address a wider range of things than western medicine, including emotional health and non-severe imbalances.

And, these health systems have been around for thousands of years. If they’ve lasted that long, there must be something to them, right? And interestingly, it seems like every time I bring this up to friends, either they or someone they know has had a problem fixed by a traditional system that they could not fix with western medicine. (I’m not discounting western medicine, of course. I’m interested in learning from both systems.)

Anyway, herbalism is fascinating to me, and the book is quite the thorough guide (from my beginner’s perspective). It explains general methods for working with types of herbs, including drying, extraction, usage, and more. And it has a short chapter on essences. The presence of the chapter in a seemingly well-researched book opened up my mind enough to not write them off.

The timing also coincided with a challenging period at work. The combination of work challenges and reading about essences in the well-researched book brought me over the edge and back to the original website where I first heard of essences. (The website is a sister site to the skincare I had enjoyed.)

The instructions on the site said to either pick flower essences based on my attraction to the photo of the flower from which it is made, or based on reading the descriptions. So, I went ahead and scrolled through photos and read descriptions. Before I knew it, I had made it through all the essences on the site. (Did I have too much time on my hands? Maybe.)

Three stood out to me:

  • Canada Goldenrod Essence, for the person who needs some perseverance and determination to do the work that needs to be done. I wondered if this would help me complete a looming milestone. 
  • Ponderosa Pine Essence, for the perfectionist who could use a little more self-forgiveness. I wondered if this would help with me being hard on myself due to the work situation. I also love ponderosa pine trees.
  • Shooting Star Essence, for the person who wants lightness and freedom from worldly problems. I wondered if this would help me get over my tendency to let work challenges overshadow my life outside of work. I also adore the way this dainty and magical flower looks.

I also learned more about how essences are made and how they’re supposed to work.

A flower essence is made by infusing picked flowers in spring water outdoors in the sunlight, then straining out the flowers and preserving (with alcohol) and diluting the remaining liquid for use at home. This is said to capture the vibrational energy of the flowers, which is absorbed by the user at home.

Essences can be digested in small quantities (3-4 drops, 3-4 times a day, not with food), or sprayed above the head or in a workspace. The ones I got were only available in drop (digestion) form.

When I was a kid I had a hippie babysitter that told me you can eat up to one rose petal per day, and if you eat more, it’s bad for you. I have no idea if that’s true, but I figured if I have literally eaten rose petals, flower-infused spring water could not be that bad.

I figured trying essences couldn’t hurt.

So I bought the three mentioned above and have been using them for a few weeks. I keep them on my desk and use them when I’m not snacking (though I snack a lot, so I don’t always get in the 3-4 times a day). 

And I’ve been feeling better in both life and work. Work had been bringing down life (which sucks) but I picked up some side projects I had dropped, which improved life. I had some nice side conversations at work about cool moonshot ideas. And I took some steps to reduce the worry I felt about the work milestone.

Was it because of the essences? I don’t know. It could, of course, be the placebo effect.

It’s also possible that I bought them at a particularly low point, and because emotions vary, I’m feeling better because I’m regressing towards the mean

Another possibility is that the ritual of doing something 3-4 times a day (which I especially remember to do when I’m feeling down) is good for me. Supposedly even 5-minute meditation sessions are good, so maybe this is too.

My other idea is that it seems the flowers have an energy that herbalists can intuit, which maybe normal people can subconsciously intuit also, and in the same way that you become like the people you spend time around, you become like the flowers you make regular contact with through essences. (I know, this one’s a bit of a stretch.)

Anyway, I’m not totally sure if it’s the essences at work or something else, but either way I’m enjoying the process so far and I look forward to trying more. Who knows, I might need to keep a shooting star essence around permanently to inspire me to keep seeing out interesting things.

Note: Links are not affiliated.

loneliness title photo: man sitting on rock looking at misty water

Let’s talk about loneliness: the three dimensions, why you should see your friends in person, and more

Loneliness should be at the forefront of health and self-care conversations. This is because:

Loneliness is everywhere. According to a 2018 study, 43% of Americans sometimes or always feel that they are isolated from others, and 1 in 4 Americans feel like they can rarely or never find companionship when they want it (source).

Loneliness is unhealthy. Loneliness corresponds to a 26% increased likelihood of mortality (source), the same impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In terms of mortality, it’s more dangerous than obesity. In addition, adults with a mental health condition (1 in 6 adults in the U.S.) consistently also suffer from loneliness (source).

Social interaction is a basic human need, just like eating or sleeping. While individual people may need different amounts of social interaction (for example, an introvert may need less than an extrovert), the fact remains: we are all hardwired to be social.

Let’s start with a quick refresher on loneliness before diving into the three dimensions, why you should see your friends in person, and more.

What is loneliness? It’s not the same as being alone

Loneliness is a feeling of being alone, but it’s not the same as being physically alone. And being physically alone is not the same thing as feeling lonely. For example:

  • One might feel lonely while physically alone
  • One might feel engaged in a solitary hobby while physically alone
  • One might feel lonely in the presence of others
  • One might feel engaged with others around them

I imagine most of us are familiar with the “lonely in a crowded room” situation, but I think the “engaged in a solitary hobby and not lonely” situation is a less well-known one. We often think that physical aloneness corresponds to loneliness, but that’s not always the case. Instead, comfort with solitude can make physical aloneness not feel lonely. 

When we look at loneliness this way, we see two ways to reduce it. One is the classic way of decreasing physical aloneness by calling a friend or dropping by their house. The other is increasing comfort with solitude by picking up meditation or working on a hobby.

But that doesn’t tell us all we need to know about loneliness. Next up, we’ll learn about its three dimensions.

The three dimensions of loneliness

Research shows that there are three dimensions of loneliness: intimate, social, and affiliate.

Intimate relationships are relationships we have with close confidants like significant others or best friends. Social relationships are those with regular friends outside of our intimate relationships. And affiliate relationships are what we have when we belong to a community, such as an interest group, church, or sports team.

We need relationships along each dimension to ward off loneliness, which is why a person with a perfect best friend but no community, or someone with lots of friends but no close confidants, might still feel lonely.

Loneliness in younger generations: are we missing community?

When I first read about the three dimensions of loneliness in Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, the community belonging dimension really hit me. I looked around and noticed that I and lots of people around me – including coworkers, neighbors, and friends from college – don’t really belong to communities. I grew up belonging to a few communities but somehow had moved on in life without preserving them or finding new ones. I suddenly realized a big hole in my life.

One of the communities I grew up with but no longer participate in is a religious community. This appears to be a generational pattern: as many as 9 in 10 Americans identified with a religion up to 1990, but in 2016, only two-thirds of young adults (age 18-24) did. Older generations are also more likely to regularly attend religious services than younger generations (source). The pros and cons of religion aside, there’s no question that religion is a source for community for many people, and with the decline of religion, there is also a decline in a source for community.

Is participation in other such communities declining as well? Maybe. That’s what I think I see around me, but I need to see some more data to be sure. What we do know, though, is that younger generations are lonelier than older generations (source). Is it because younger people are lacking intimate relationships, social relationships, affiliate/community relationships, or perhaps some of each?

Hey, wait! Aren’t younger people the most connected of all due to technology? Shouldn’t they have all of these relationships, and shouldn’t they be more convenient, with social media, instant communication, and more?

The impact of in-person interactions on loneliness

As it turns out, people who have daily in-person interactions are the least lonely, while people who have the least in-person interactions are the most lonely (source). In addition, in-person social interaction is linked to more happiness in teens, while texting and social networking websites are linked to more unhappiness (source).

This means that greater reliance on virtual communication, especially among younger generations, does not seem to make us happier or less lonely.

But do in-person interactions cause decreased loneliness, or does decreased loneliness cause increased in-person interactions? While I haven’t seen a study specific to loneliness, studies have shown that increased social media use causes unhappiness (source), not the other way around. Since loneliness is an unhappy feeling, I think it’s fair to conjecture that increased social media use can cause loneliness.

TL;DR? See people in person when you can. Instead of texting your friends, go get a coffee together. Or play tennis together. Or go to the grocery store together. Or swing by their house with some cookies.

What you can do about loneliness, and further reading

In summary, loneliness is super prevalent, partially because it’s not widely recognized as a basic human need. There are three dimensions to satisfy to ward off loneliness: intimate or close confidants, social, and affiliate/communal. In-person interactions, when they’re possible, are much better for health and happiness than virtual ones.

Given all of the above, you probably already have a bunch of ideas about what you can do about loneliness, but just in case it’s helpful, here are a few more:

  1. Loneliness is a basic human need, so treat it like one! If you’re thirsty, you get a drink of water. If you’re feeling lonely, do something about it! Also recognize that when a friend wants to talk to you, they may not have anything to say but may be feeling the need for companionship.
  2. Have a hobby. This helps in two ways: it can reduce the amount that you feel alone while you’re working on your hobby because you become more comfortable with solitude. And, it can be a way to connect to a community of people with similar hobbies.
  3. Join or start a community, ideally one that has a regular in-person component. This can take many forms: befriending your neighbors, volunteering somewhere regularly, taking an art class, or going on group bike rides organized by a bike shop. If you don’t know where to start, just start somewhere
  4. See your friends in person. And, when you do, be fully present; put your phone away and enjoy every moment. And don’t feel pressured to come up with a perfect activity to do together, a simple walk in the park is just fine!

Further reading:

self care, relaxation

How to take control of your own self care

We’ve all been there, where we question whether or not we should keep working at a task or take a break. Sometimes that little voice in our head tells us that we need to keep being productive, to just finish that last bit, to power through. That’s guilt talking. Don’t let that control you. Learn how to take control of guilt and improve your own self care.

It may seem like we can’t afford a break in the fast-paced lives we live. Not if you want to stay in the game. Your peers around you work overtime, that girl in the gym does two hour workouts, and that guy does philanthropic work three times a week! What?! How can you even compete?

This brings us to lesson number one…

Don’t compare yourself to others

You’ll never hear the end of it from that tiny voice. We are all people with our own problems and own stories to tell. Some people are naturally better at us at things when we’re better than them at others. Sometimes people have better foundations at tasks than we do, and that’s okay. It’s about finding your own place in this world and developing your own mind. It’s having the confidence to be yourself, sometimes alone. It is easier said than done, but if you’re interested in finding your confidence, check out this article here

All self care means is taking time to be nicer to yourself. It means that yes, you can have another helping of ice cream. It means that you don’t have to workout today. It means you can spend more time at your friend’s house.

This leads us to lesson number two…

Self care means different things to different people

And for that, we should not judge.

Personally, I think social media has misrepresented what self care is. Sure, it can be your classic girls night doing face masks, eating popcorn, and watching movies. This image, of what self care looks like, is just what is perpetuated throughout social. However, as previously mentioned, that’s not all it is. It could be an allocated amount of time every week or every day that you use for yourself. It could also be the atmosphere you build around your workplace to make it more calming. Or, it could be the simple fact that you don’t punish yourself for not being “more productive”.

I should also note that self care isn’t a feminine task; self care is for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re female, male, or non-binary, because at the end of the day, we are all people. We all struggle. We all have vices. We all need to allow ourselves to have a mental and emotional break so that we can be the best performing individuals we can be.

calmness, self care

And here’s our lesson number three…

Stop guilting yourself for taking time to care for yourself

I think women may face this issue more often due to the social climate we’re in. Be a strong, independent woman. Work your way to the top. Be that woman in STEM. Defy gender norms. 

It’s a lot of pressure, and while the feminist in me whole-heartedly agrees, I’m no stranger to the fact that I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. I completely advocate fighting against stereotypes, but being wrapped up in this hectic, 21st century lifestyle has made me forget that I am a human being, not human doing. And so are you.

When it came to self care, I didn’t know how to do it because I’ve truly never done it. So when I tried, I felt guilty. I know all too well that guilt is no small beast. Every time I used to have a break in my schedule, I’d get anxious because there was nothing to do. On the flip side, every time I felt I needed a break, I couldn’t allow myself to take one because there was so much left to do.

I was sleep deprived, low on energy, unmotivated, and was quite frankly at the point where I didn’t give a f*ck about anything anymore, really. Fitness used to be a big part of my week and that began to slip. I also wasn’t disciplined enough to eat healthy anymore, which was also a huge part of my everyday. The list goes on. So, how can you combat guilt then?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to suddenly get rid of it. But it starts with being kinder to ourselves. It starts by saying, Sania, it’s okay that you didn’t work out today because guess what, you needed the break. Tomorrow is only a day away, utilize tomorrow instead.

It’s called empathy.

And that leads us to our final lesson number four..

Have empathy for yourself

Nobody else is going to give yourself a break, so you need to. Remember that taking a break does not make you weak. Certainly, taking a break does not make you unproductive. Use whatever break you have in your day and fill it with peace or fill it with an activity that brings you joy. 

The options are endless; you can meditate, take a walk, make comfort food, call up a friend, rekindle family relations, find a puppy playground, put makeup on even if you’re not going out. Or, you can take your makeup off and be a bare-faced, beauty! Check out more ideas on how to take control of your self care.

Conclusion

Again, self care does not always have to be an allocated time for yourself. It won’t always look the same for you as it does to others. It is simply reflecting on the times you can be nicer to yourself, because sometimes the world around us is not. If that sounds like something you need, look into how you can embed self care into your life.

hot girl walk, city, walking

A How-To: Hot Girl Walk This Summer

If you’ve never heard of TikTok, you’re probably one of two things: either you’re older than a millennial or you may, unfortunately, be living under a rock. If you do have a TikTok, you might have heard of Mia aka @exactlyliketheothergirls and the phrase she’s coined off of Megan Thee Stallion “Hot Girl Walk”.  

Hot girl walk playlist by Mia

What is this hot girl walk?

Hot girl walk, for those who don’t know, is a way for you to realign your thinking this summer. Mia says in her TikTok that in order to successfully hot girl walk, you need to do a few of things. The first thing to do is walk. Find your favorite coffee shop, farmers market, or thrift shop, walk two miles there and two miles back. Second, listen to some upbeat songs that make you feel good (check out her playlist here). Third, exercise your mind. On this walk, you’re only allowed to think of three things: how hot you are, what you’re grateful for, and the visions for your future self. That’s right girl, it’s a walking mediation! 

@exactlyliketheothergirls

Reply to @666mjcksn666 follow to stay on non-toxic tik tok! There are a lot of new friends so this needed a redo #hotgirlwalk #fitness

♬ original sound – Mia

Girls from all over the nation have been trying out Mia’s Hot Girl Walk. She says the purpose of this practice is not to lose weight or exercise your physical. Instead, it’s to exercise your mind and sort through your thoughts. Thus, you will notice not only the transformations coming from the body but from the mind as well.

After all, can you really be the happiest person if your inner thoughts about yourself and wishes for yourself are out of alignment? They say you can’t make someone else happy if you’re not happy yourself.

Some Inspo for Your Walk

How hot am I? What things am I grateful for? What do I envision for myself? 
Very Clean drinking water Doing service work 
Extremely Fluffy animals Being a foster parent to dogs 
Insanely  Coffee Getting my dream job  
Indubitably  Sunshine Staying/ becoming healthy 
Will Smith hot Companionship  Traveling the world 

If this is intimidating to you, let it intimidate you. Then remember, the intimidation doesn’t have to control you if you don’t let it. It’s not always easy telling yourself you look hot or amazing when you don’t personally agree. It’s not always easy to express gratitude if you had a hard upbringing. It’s not always easy to know what to want in your life if you don’t know what the near future holds. However, take a moment to see this exercise as an opportunity to better yourself rather than an obstacle. Take a look at our article How to Succeed at Anything New for more inspiration!

The point is that you take time for yourself to really reflect on a couple crucial things. Studies have shown that expressing more gratitude leads to more happiness. The reason for is the more you are grateful for, the more you realize you have, the more you realize just how good your life is where it’s at, which leads to happiness.

In addition, taking time to reflect and manifest about the person you want to be in the future, just makes your vision that much clearer. Focusing on these goals allows you to find paths to these goals. Lastly, practice some positive affirmations: tell yourself that you look HOT AF! People WISH they could be you. You are so hot you’d melt ice cream. You are so hot even Volcán Mombacho would erupt again. You are so hot the sun WISHES it could emit as much flame as you.  

Coming to Terms

It is also completely fine not to know who you want to be in the future. You can also think of your future self in terms of traits: being open minded, charismatic, punctual, respectful, happy, etc. Let your brain take you on a journey of self-discovery for four miles and enjoy it!  

Do this because you want to learn more about yourself, feel better, and glow from the inside out! 

boats on calm water

Meditation: Learn to Live in the Moment

If you’ve ever heard of David Foster Wallace, you will probably find familiarity in “this is water”. Wallace gave a commencement speech to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005. When two fish were swimming in the ocean, meandering the corals and floating algaes, one asked the other, “what do you think about the water?”. The other thought, and replied, “what is water?”

Wallace describes this as the blatantly obvious reality that is in front of us. Yet, what is right in front of us is sometimes the hardest thing to see. When we let our default, unconscious mind makes the decisions for us, we forget that we have the autonomy to think for ourselves. We forget to practice choosing what we think about, how we think about it, and why we put energy towards those things. Our realities don’t lie directly in front of us, in our abilities to utilize the expansive neurological messaging that happens every moment we are alive. 

Andy Puddicombe presented in a 2013 TedTalk, about a Harvard study that said our minds are lost in thought 47 percent of the time. Meaning, we spend nearly half our lives confused or with our minds adrift. 47 percent of the time, we are not living in the present moment and focusing on the reality in front of us. This consistent mind wandering is also a direct result of unhappiness. Why?

Let’s do a thought experiment.

Think to yourself…

  1. Do I get distracted easily when I try to do work?
  2. Am I often stressed out for a deadline, even if I know I have time to complete it?
  3. Do I feel anxious about being anxious?
  4. Do I overthink past conversations or past doings?
  5. Do I often forget what I was planning on doing?
  6. Do I simply just forget what the next word was going to be out of my mouth?

If you answered yes to most of these, it is a sign that you probably struggle keeping your mind in the present. It is also a sign that you may be unhappy for these reasons: lack of productivity, forgetfulness, rework, etc. 

But we get it, life is hard. One of the most common talked about issues in health is depression and mental illness among young people. Mintel Insights reported that millennials are one of the most stressed generations of our time. Job market competition is ever-increasing, couples are getting married later, women are prioritizing careers over motherhood, and stresses of taking care of parents reside on their shoulders. Gen Y and Gen Z are the most technologically advanced generations. They’re growing up with daily exposure to media influencers, videographers, and other socialites. The Social Dilemma documentary relays the harm social media can do to adolescent minds, with many teenagers facing issues of self-doubt, false identity, and depression. But none of this is new information. So, what is there to do?

Let’s begin with science.

Research has shown the positive correlations between stress reduction and mindfulness exercises. This is no kale eating, smoothie drinking, yoga instructor with an over enthusiastic “hi!” type nonsense. Mindfulness trains the mind to decompress in high-stress situations. It enacts the parasympathetic nervous system for not only solution-based benefits but also conducted for preventative measures. It requires guidance and training just like any other new learned skill or hobby. 

Andy Puddicombe’s TedTalk on mindfulness, balance, and utilizing the present moment.

Many people hold a misconception about what meditation actually is. It’s not trying to envision a blank slate – to see or feel nothing. Our brain is a running machine that receives messages even when we’re not aware. But, meditation helps train the awareness of the present. It helps train your ability to focus. When thoughts or feelings enter the sphere of stillness, they do not corrupt that stillness, but rather exist and then go away. The practice is not in combatting thoughts and feelings that pop up in our heads, because it’s bound to happen no matter what. The practice is in acknowledging them but not putting energy towards them, so that they can move on. Meanwhile, your breathing remains calm and your body and mind remain relaxed.

Here’s what you can do.

In practicing meditation, you can unlearn old habits and relearn how to live more attentively, calmly, and in the present. Ten minutes a day serves not just that day but a lifetime ahead. We can’t keep things from happening in our lives, and we can’t change the past. However, we can use meditation as a tool to help us change the way we experience what happens in our lives. And with that, hopefully we can begin to see our lives in the reality in front of us with a mind that knows that this is water.

woman smiling in mirror

Low-Effort, High-Reward Beauty: How To Look Great Every Day

Looking to simplify your beauty routine so you look great with less effort? Or want a refresh, but already have too many clothes and beauty products–or want something so easy it can replace your work-from-home sweatpants?

Look no further. This is your guide to low-effort, high-reward beauty, or how to look great every day.

Beauty is how you look, but it’s also how you feel, because how you feel dictates the way you look. Thus, below is a combination of strategies for feeling good (so you can look good) and looking good.

My routines have always been minimal. I cared how I looked, but I never had the patience to spend much time on it. What follows are the strategies I’ve been using for years to get around that impatience and achieve (outer) beauty with minimal effort.

Beauty Sleep

Seriously, how effortless is sleep? Getting enough uninterrupted sleep is one of the best ways to take care of your mind, your health, and yes, how you look.

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting that, don’t buy another eye cream that promises to diminish dark circles! Invest in yourself in a more meaningful way: make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, you might:

  • Put your phone in a different room 📵
  • Go to bed around the same time each night
  • Experiment with temperature and air flow in your bedroom. I prefer cool and fresh air, when possible.

Self Care

Just as tiredness shows on your face, your mood and emotions show on your face. Humans are the only animals with prominent eye whites, making our emotions easier to read. This means other people can see how you feel, which means your emotions are on display just like your hairstyle. They may not be as obvious, but they’re still part of what you’re bringing to the world.

There’s not really a “beautiful” emotion, but one can intuit more-beautiful and less-beautiful emotions.

More BeautifulLess Beautiful
ContentmentStress
JoyFrustration
ExcitementTension

In summary: if you feel good, you look good*. So, take care of yourself. Infuse some joy into your day by taking some time to enjoy a pot of tea, dance to your favorite song, sit out in the sun, or whatever makes you enjoy your day a little more.

*This is a theory. I cannot find any science to back this up, but I hope you find it intuitive. Another way to look at it is: if you don’t feel good, you may not look good.

Skincare

Beware skincare! If your skin is clear and not irritated, a skincare routine is going to be the opposite of low-effort, high-reward beauty. It is high-effort, delayed-reward, because products have to be used consistently and for a long time to, say, lighten pigmentation or reduce wrinkles. Probably the lowest-effort, highest-reward skincare is wearing a face sunscreen every day. Whether this is worth it or not is dependent you and your skin.

The exception to this is lip balm. Chapped lips are not cute. A quick swipe of Vaseline (my favorite!) for hydrated, evenly-colored, and plump lips is always worth the effort. Plus, it won’t stain the inside of your mask if you’re out and about.

If your skin is not clear or it is irritated, a simple skincare routine as advised by a specialist or a dermatologist will be high-reward. It will also be high-effort because, again, products have to be used consistently. If this effort is worth it to you (it is for me – the cystic acne I get is painful!), you can still keep the effort down by keeping your routine simple.

(All this being said, I personally love skincare, but for me it’s about self-care, not about beauty. I love taking the time to massage nice things into my face; it’s just an enjoyable part of my day.)

Minimal Makeup

Black Makeup Brush With Palette

A fast makeup routine frees up time for more important things, like self-care, learning new things, and sleep! Below are some ideas for quick but complete routines. The 2- and 4-minute routines might be daily options, while the 6-minute routine might be for special occasions.

2-minute routine4-minute routine6-minute routine
Eyeliner (a single line on the top lid)2-minute routine, plus:4-minute routine, plus:
MascaraBlushLight eyeshadow on the eyelid
Dab of concealer as neededLip colorDark eyeshadow on the crease

Nowadays it is so easy to accumulate way too many beauty products. Between constant sales, deals, and subscriptions (my personal pitfall), many beauty enthusiasts have massive stashes. That’s great if it’s your hobby! But for the rest of us – let’s not hang onto stuff we don’t use or need. If you love unboxing, but don’t always use what you buy, watching unboxing videos is a great way to get the fix without buying extras.

The above complete routines require a total of 7 products, or 6 if you have a combined blush-lip color. This is an achievable makeup-box size! I have 8 products: eyeliner, concealer, two lip colors (one which doubles as blush), a dark and a light eyeshadow, and two brow products (RapidBrow and a color pencil). I don’t have mascara, not because I have long and luxurious eyelashes (I don’t) but because it’s such a hassle to clean completely. I don’t wear makeup all that often, but when I do, I have everything I need.

It may take some time to find what works for you, but play with it and see what you can do to keep it simple. French makeup routines are typically minimal, and are a great source of inspiration.

And of course, be sure to remove your makeup every day!

Trim Clothing

Wear trim, neat clothing. The key to making this low-effort and high-reward is to strategically make trim clothing your go-to clothing. But first, what even is trim clothing?

Basic characteristics of low-effort trim clothing:

  • No holes or stains (mend or recycle these pieces!)
  • Fits well
    • Is the right size (this includes bras!)
    • Is generally not oversized or shapeless, unless it’s got structure and is balanced (see below).
  • Fits comfortably
    • Is not too tight
    • Feels nice to wear

Advanced characteristics of trim clothing:

  • Simplicity: Basic shapes and colors that go with everything. The more things match, the less effort is required to put together a trim outfit.
  • Structure: A collar on an oversized shirt or a less-slouchy fabric like linen on comfy wide-leg pants can further clean up an outfit.
  • Balance: Consider balancing an oversized top with a fitted bottom, or vice versa.

Don’t go out and buy new clothing just yet – remember, this is supposed to be low-effort! Start by selecting a few go-to pieces for the next few days: comfortable items in simple colors that match (no need to go for the advanced stuff right now—it’s more important to start somewhere). Then, ignore your regular closet and pick only from what you’ve set aside. This is an exercise in making trim clothing your go-to clothing. See what you think!

Many of us have large closets of things we mostly never wear. You can reduce your effort and mental burden by filtering out just the stuff you need to be trim and comfortable, and default to picking from this pile every day.

Worried about wearing the same thing twice? Don’t be. As long as you’re not smelly or something (which you probably aren’t), there’s no reason to not wear the same thing twice if you love it and look great in it!

Conclusion

Low-effort, high-reward beauty is a combination of how you look and how you feel. Keeping it simple and taking care of yourself will go a long, long way. In many ways, this kind of simple, low-effort beauty is self-care. It’s like nourishing your outer self in addition to nourishing your brain and inner self.

Further reading: