As a beauty editor, I've tried some pretty extreme self-care practices in the name of serviceable journalism ("We Tried [insert unheard-of beauty treatment here], So You Don't Have To"). So, when Crabtree & Evelyn recently tasked me with approaching self-care through a simpler lens — one that only required a mere shift in my perspective — I was intrigued.
The challenge? Channel each of the five senses — sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch — with my self-care practices throughout the week to see how it affected my overall mood and if it breathed any new life into my regular routine.
Would paying more attention to the feel of each skin-care product I used change my application of it? Would being more intentional about the scents I sought out help me better de-stress? Equipped with a fresh mindset and beauty products from Crabtree & Evelyn, a brand that prides itself on using special ingredients to create these unique, transformative textures (and its new look — a major rebranding done with the intention to return to its naturalistic roots — is so chic), I sought to find out. See how it all went down, below.
As someone who tends to speed through her skin-care routine in the morning (anything to get to my first cup of coffee quicker), I decided to slow down and appreciate the different textures and consistencies of all my various steps — like the way my toner forms a thin puddle in my palm before I press it into my skin or how my moisturizer, which is more viscous in consistency, spreads across my face like warm butter. Allowing myself time to appreciate the various textures, I was also allowing more time for absorption.
When I think of the type of product that lends itself most to an indulgent application experience, however, I think of a rich body crème. So, I grabbed my Crabtree & Evelyn Velvet Body Melt and mentally transported myself to the spa (physically, my bathroom). Upon opening the jar, I was hit with the fresh scent of roses, lemon, and vetiver. I dug my fingers into the tub, leaving behind a very satisfying imprint in the thick balm. When I spread the cream onto my legs, it melted into a silky oil, effortlessly gliding across my skin (I credit the soothing murumuru butter and softening mallow in the formula for that). Transforming from a rich, indulgent cream into a slippery-smooth oil, this unique hydrator left my skin feeling thirst-quenched and thoroughly pampered, from head to toe.
Takeaway: When it comes to application order, there's a general rule that you start with lightweight products and work your way towards the heaviest, which allows for each one to properly sink in. Paying more attention to the consistencies of my products forced me to adopt a leisurely pace. It felt like I was making the most out of each one, and it made for a more relaxing, spa-like experience.
Whether it's a news podcast, a pop album, or a viral video, I am constantly listening to something. So much so, that it's often hard for me to turn my brain off at night. In an attempt to be more mindful about the sounds I surround myself with, I decided to retire the headphones for the day and listen to the natural sounds of the world around me, instead — by going on a nature walk. I swiped on a hydrating lip balm (since my lips are always chapped), lathered on the SPF 50 (because, always), and headed out to a tree-lined dirt road a few minutes away.
As I wandered down the path, I paid extra attention to every little sound. I listened to the twigs snap and leaves crunch beneath my feet. I noticed the way my shoes sunk ever so slightly into the damp ground from the previous night's rain storm. I listened to the birds singing their many medleys, from sharp, staccato chirps to sweet, singsongy whistles. I heard the tall marsh plants brush against each other in the breeze and the soft lapping of the water in the nearby pond. It was a full-on symphony.
Takeaway: Getting fresh air and listening to the natural sounds around me, as obvious as it sounds, was such an effective way to feel immediately present. It left me with a feeling of mindfulness that lingered long after I returned home. Not to mention, my screen time for the day plummeted, which always feels like a win.
There is no rhyme or reason to my skin-care storage. I keep my most-used products randomly spread out around my sink in whatever position I last left them, with no designated parking spot to return to after each use. So today, I decided to tap into my inner beauty influencer and arrange my skin-care collection in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible — which, after scrolling through a mere fraction of the 2.4 million #TopShelf posts on IG, I decided was color-coordination.
Upon starting this endeavor, it became immediately clear to me that most of my skin-care products fall into two color categories: earthy tones and millennial pink (save a few outliers, of course). In order to make the most of this organizational method, I decided to store the products that didn't fit into either category and highlighted only those that did. After arranging the black bottles by similar shape and by height order, and mirroring the same placements with the pink products, I was left with a satisfyingly chic arrangement. Honestly, it was harder than it looked!
Takeaway: While the end result was certainly a visual upgrade, this was probably the least practical experiment of the challenge thus far. Color-coordinating my products meant having to table a few essentials that I would normally keep close at hand. So unless your skin-care collection conveniently hits the full spectrum of a rainbow palette, I'd say stick to organizing by product type or in order of your routine, instead.
Skin-care and nutrition are, understandably, very tied: If you're conscious of what you put in your body, you're likely conscious of what you put on your skin, as well. Many who seek out things like free radical-fighting antioxidants in skin-care products will do the same with the foods they ingest, too (dark berries, leafy greens, etc.). So, I decided to treat my tastebuds to a triple-berry smoothie, swapping out my usual bowl of cereal for more nutrient-based energy in the a.m., instead. Dark-berry fruits are high in fiber and packed with antioxidants and vitamins, and I felt much more energized — and satisfyingly full — after finishing it.
For my morning caffeine fix, I poured myself some iced coffee. To make my cold brew slightly sweeter — and give it an autumn-inspired spin — I added a dash of Crabtree & Evelyn's Fresh Harvest Syrup, a thick, cozy, sweet-but-spicy blend of maple and ginger derived from a Vermont-based maple syrup farm that served as a perfect, more special alternative to regular table sugar (plus, ginger has a ton of proven health benefits). derived from local maple syrup farm in Vermont
Finally, to make the most of the day's theme, I applied a gourmand-inspired face mask to energize my skin: Crabtree & Evelyn's Revitalise + Pulp Polish Face Mask. The bouncy, marmalade-like formula is jam-packed with fruit to help restore skin's natural glow, featuring apple complex to exfoliate and moisturize, apricot seed powder to gently polish, and blackcurrant seed oil to keep soften skin with protective Omega-6s. It smelled so good that I was tempted to eat it. (I didn't.) I massaged the gel-like mask onto my skin, activating the apple complex and allowing the finely milled apricot seed powder to gently buff away dead skin cells. After washing it off 15 minutes later, my skin felt noticeably smoother and appeared extra plump.
Takeaway: If today taught me anything, it's that if your skin-care ingredient list reads like a smoothie recipe, you're probably onto something good. I felt much more refreshed after focusing on nourishing myself from the inside out.
Scent — along with being extremely subjective (one whiff of my first-ever fragrance sends me right back to middle school) — is a powerful way to influence your mood. So for the final leg of this challenge, I decided to dabble in the world of aromatherapy and seek out scents that would help me feel more productive, relaxed, or awake.
I started the day by spritzing on an earthy, uplifting scent: Crabtree & Evelyn's Raw Instinct Scent has notes of zingy apple, natural eucalyptus, and a smoky, wood base that gives it depth and longevity to last — and evolve — throughout the day. I misted the subtly sweet, airy scent onto my wrists and let it settle into my skin.
While working, I sprinkled cinnamon (improves concentration!) on top of my coffee and broke out the peppermint tea (stimulates mind!) to pick me up out of my midday slump. By the end of the day, I was ready to fully wind down. I curled up in my bed, grabbed my book, and broke out a massive candle to set the vibe. Featuring ginger flower, eucalyptus, and cedar wood, this particular candle was just spicy enough to keep me alert as I read, but calming, as well, to help me drift off to sleep soon after.
Takeaway: I'm so used to associating smell with nostalgia and memories that it was fascinating to try scents in a much more proactive way. My next challenge? Expanding my essential oil collection.