Shannon's 24-Hour Product Diary: Decolonization Through Exfoliation 


I have a blue ukulele. His name is Marty, after my favorite former Ranger, Martin St. Louis. This information has no bearing on any products that I use, but I feel like you should know this about me because it makes me seem cool. I do a really dope rendition of Make You Feel my Love on this ukulele. It jams.

But alas, I’m writing this on Sunday and Marty and I don’t jam on Sundays. Instead, he sits on my makeshift altar next to a photo of my father, my tiny collection of crystals, six rocks I took from Cuba, one rock I took from the Amalfi coast, my Quran, a bundle of sage, and several sticks of palo santo. If you’re curious about the rocks, I have exactly six from Cuba because my friend took me to meet her Padrino, who is a high priest, and he told me that if I wanted to create stability in my life I needed to get six rocks and put them in a cup of water as an offering St. Jude.

Anyway, my alarm is set to go off at 10 on Sundays but I don’t roll out of bed until 11:30. I immediately regret this as I wanted to make some sort of breakfast before I leave to yoga but we’re out of eggs and I NEVER go to the local grocery store unattended by another human being. My neighborhood sucks. My fiancé is still sleeping so I can’t ask him to go get the eggs. I decide to make farina.

There are two types of farina in the world. The first is Farina with a capital F which is an actual brand of wheat meal in a box, and then there’s lowercase farina, which is a yellow oatmeal substitute that my grandma used to make. She would feed this to my cousin and me specifically with the goal of getting us to poop in the morning. My grandmother really cared about our bowel movements.

My grandmother really cared about our bowel movements.

Farina has zero nutritional value whatsoever. But it tastes good and it’s hot so that’s good enough for me. I recreate my grandma’s farina by heating up some almond milk and stirring in harina de mais, butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Once my farina no longer has the texture of sand, I sit on the couch and start shoveling it into my gob. Not as good as my grandma’s.

After breakfast, it’s time to rush to my hot yoga class at Bodē Upper East Side. I cannot wear the very tiny yoga shorts that real yogis wear because I have a lot going on in the back end, if you know what I’m saying, so I wear Adidas Alphaskin Sport Short Tights. These shorts are fantastic! They’re long enough to hide my business but short enough that I don’t feel like I’m suffocating in the hot room. The waistline also comes up just a bit so I can tuck my pooch in. They’re also just generally comfortable and don’t limit my movement.

Class is amazing and I’m actually able to get into camel pose which has been pretty difficult for me. Still can’t get it together with some of the standing poses but that’s why it’s called a practice.

Misandry as a phone app? I think I’m onto something here.

After class, I decide to stop at Victoria’s Secret to look for sports bras. Being a small-chested woman, I can play pretty fast and loose, so I grab two bras that are labeled “minimal support” and figure they’ll work perfectly for my next yoga classes.

At home, I watch a few hours of Narcos: Mexico (which is amazing) and play Fallout Shelter on my phone. This product is actually a great mood booster for me because, in one of the vaults that I have, I’m slowly killing off all the male dwellers by not providing them with medicine. My plan is to have an all-female vault and watch it thrive. Misandry as a phone app? I think I’m onto something here. My fiancé hopes this experiment fails and refers to me as a cruel overlord. Whatever.

After I’m done playing goddess, it’s time to begin my long ass beauty routine. I get into the shower and shampoo my scalp with I Love Juicy from LUSH. I strongly believe in the no-poo method that the internet swears by, so this shampoo session happens about twice a month. I used to have really nice curly hair but I spent my high school and college years dyeing and flat ironing it to kingdom come, so I’m trying to undo years of damage. It’s a whole thing. I’ve also watched one too many docs and comedy specials about how white people distorted the idea of beauty over hundreds of years of oppression, so I feel like trying to rebuild my natural hair is a big middle finger to the system.

Next, I grab my Buffy body bar—also by LUSH—and I exfoliate my entire body. I really like Buffy because as it’s exfoliating, it’s melting this really nice butter into my skin. I also like it because the saleswoman told me that after a few uses it helped diminish the appearance of her cellulite. The jury is still out on the cellulite benefits but my skin generally always looks good and not dry after a Buffy session. Be warned though, it leaves an incredibly slippery residue on the tub floor and you can slip and die if you’re not careful.

Next, I transition to the sink for the next stage of becoming beautiful. Normally a hair mask is not part of my usual routine but I have a big party next Friday and I want my hair to be on her A-game. I drain some of the excess moisture out of my hair and start to coat it in the Dead Sea Repair Seaweed Strengthening Mask from DevaCurl. I use prayer hands to get the initial layer on and then I take a wide-toothed comb to detangle my hair. I DO NOT EVER brush my hair when it’s dry. NEVER.

After masking and detangling I toss my hair up in a turban towel thing that I got from Walmart a while ago. Can’t use terrycloth on this mane. I have to let the mask sit so I go back to the living room and work on a baby blanket that I’m crocheting. The bottle says to let it sit for 15 minutes and I normally stick to that but I get caught up in what I’m doing and sit on my couch for an hour.

To remove the mask I just stick my head under my tub faucet and stay there until the water runs clean. I do my best not to touch my hair during this process to avoid creating knots or frizz. Once my hair is product-free I put it back into the turban towel for another round of drying.

While the prelim drying is happening I attack my face. First I clean it with 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion from LUSH. Then I take three drops of Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Essence and pat it onto my face. This is an exfoliating product that uses glycolic acid to gently remove dead skin. It’s a relatively new part of my regimen but I’m really liking it especially because the bottle is huge and I was able to justify the $42 price tag to myself when I realized how little I needed to use. Shout out to Pam from Sephora for recommending this.

When I feel like my face is free of dead skin, I apply exactly two pumps of Youth to the People Kale Serum. This serum has hyaluronic acid which I really need because my skin is fully dehydrated and I’m pretty lazy about moisturizing on a daily basis. To seal everything in I finish with Purity Made Simple Moisturizer from Philosophy. This doesn’t have any SPF in it so I only use it as night time moisturizer when I remember to apply.

The last face step is to slather on Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. This mask is the second best thing I have ever purchased from Sephora (the first is the makeup eraser towel). It doesn’t have any strong smell or flavoring so it’s really easy to sleep with and when I wake up my lips are not cracked or weird looking. More importantly, my lips are ready for me to apply the amount of matte lipstick that I require to feel pretty.

My face is fully covered in acids and creme which means it’s time to deal with my hair. I take it out of the turban and leave it to air dry for about 45 minutes. I use this time to continue my crochet project. Finally, I squeeze some WaveMaker from DevaCurl into my palm and very gingerly scrunch it into my hair being sure to maintain the definition that I have. I spend another 30 minutes letting my hair dry loosely before pulling it into a pineapple. For those who don’t know, pineappleing is when you gather all your hair at the top of your head in a loose pony situation to maintain volume and curls while you sleep.

As I lie down with my pineapple, I dream about my hair becoming healthy enough that I don’t have to spend half a day caring for it.

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