I Tried To Live Like Shailene Woodley For A Week — & It Was Not Easy

Photographed by Rachel Cabitt.
This story was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated.
I’m not the first person to attempt Shailene Woodley’s beauty routine. It’s batshit crazy — and people, like me, are attracted to that sort of thing. Unlike the routines of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Marie Antoinette, and Cleopatra, there’s nothing decadent about it. There’s no luxury, no gold-infused skin care, no Chanel. Instead, it’s like Emma Watson's medicine cabinet met Goop and the two had an eco-conscious hippie baby who enjoys oil-pulling.
Before starting Shailene's routine, I had high hopes. After all, it was reported that the actress' skin is so radiant, her makeup artist has to actually make her look tired — what a dream to not look as exhausted as I usually feel. There must be something to her philosophy of reconnecting to your roots, living life to the fullest, and not taking yourself too seriously. Turns out, it wasn't that simple.
First, let's start with what I could manage:
Wearing natural, powdered deodorant made from baking soda, clay, and essential oils was surprisingly easy, and when the B.O. arrived midday, I didn’t even mind it. Dare I even say, I actually enjoyed my ~natural musk~. This wasn’t the first time I passed on real deodorant and it won’t be the last.
Woodley’s choice for a lip stain can be found in your fridge's fruit and vegetable drawer, so that was easy. I have a strong aversion toward beets, so I tried Woodley’s red carpet trick with pomegranates, raspberries, and anything else red and juicy I had on hand. (Fun fact: If you drink enough red wine, you will also get a pretty stain on your lips.)
Not washing my hair wasn’t so bad, either. In fact, I tried washing my hair less last summer and the results were similar. This time, I skipped the dry shampoo most days, threw some olive oil in my ends for a DIY treatment, and pulled my hair back in such a way that made me look like a second-rate Kardashian. Regardless, I enjoy sleeping in to the last possible minute before my day must become productive, so cutting down on shower time always gets a thumbs up in my book.
Now, for the big question: Did I sun my vagina? (And did it decrease my likelihood of getting a yeast infection?) Yes and no, not really. Woodley once told Into the Gloss, “Another thing I like to do is give my vagina a little vitamin D. [Laughs] I was reading an article written by an herbalist I studied about yeast infections and other genital issues. She said there’s nothing better than vitamin D. If you’re feeling depleted, go in the sun for an hour and see how much energy you get. Or, if you live in a place that has heavy winters, when the sun finally comes out, spread your legs and get some sunshine. [Laughs]”
My gynecologist recently told me that my estrogen and progesterone hormones are imbalanced, which can often lead to chronic yeast infections, so sunning down there didn’t sound that crazy to me. But even though some weird shit happens in NYC, I still didn't feel like I could sit spread-eagle in Central Park. However, my bedroom gets great lighting (that’s a hot pickup line, take note), so I spread out my yoga mat every morning, lifted my legs up on the sill for about 10-20 minutes, and basked in the beams as I meditated (only because I assume Shailene loves to meditate, too). I didn't get a yeast infection this week, but I'm hesitant to connect the two.
The least out-there part of her routine includes the (little) makeup she uses. A lot of the brands are ones I own, so rocking a Tarte mascara or an 100% Pure primer wasn’t hard at all. Moving on.
Two things I couldn’t bring myself to try more than once:
Oil-pulling is the kind of punishment Satan makes sinners repeat for all of eternity in Hell. Do you know what it’s like to swish oil in your mouth for 20 minutes? It's effing exhausting. You don’t know patience until you’ve tried this task Woodley swears by.
Full disclosure: Eating clay is not recommended by most nutritionists, physicians, or even companies that make powdered clay. Shocker. But I did it anyways because a taxi driver Woodley met once recommended it. Clay tastes exactly as good as it sounds, which is to say horrible — and I eat a lot of beauty powders and elixirs in my regular life as is. The amount of time it took me to figure out how to eat a tablespoon of clay was far longer than it took me to actually swallow it, and that took a very long time.
So while I'll be holding on tightly to my Crest and limiting my clay usage to clarifying masks, natural beauty products and morning meditation are here to stay. And hey, if I don't get any infections for the rest of the year, I'll be the first to credit Woodley.
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