Think of your daily routine. If you’re like us, it involves a lot of rushing—through bites and coffee breaks, morning commutes, beauty and skincare routines, and more. Sometimes it seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day, especially when you’re trying to carve out precious time for yourself. But little indulgences and acts of self-care can make all the difference when it comes to your well-being and mental health. While we all love a day at the spa or a little shopping spree, our day-to-days can get pretty busy, and we don’t always have time for activities that go beyond answering emails with a face mask on—and that’s OK. Treating yourself doesn’t always have to involve a grand gesture. Think of it as a little reward for all the things you do just being you. Whether you made it through a to-do list, aced an exam, or just want to show yourself some love, there are lots of ways to add moments of self-care to your day.
We’re not talking about a full-blown manifesto, but taking a few minutes to jot down any thoughts, intentions, affirmations, frustrations, or things you’re thankful for is a great way to express and put your immediate feelings into perspective, and help you navigate them throughout your day. The best thing about journaling? It’s 100% entirely yours. This means you don’t have to do it daily, or even weekly. Keep it on your desk, in your handbag—wherever you can easily reach it. It’s the perfect little tool for self-reflection and self-expression.
Some of us go weeks without time for a professional mani. Making time for the salon is hard! You don’t need a pro tool kit to give your nails (and yourself) a little pick-me-up. Opt for a simple nail kit (we love MISCHO BEAUTY Manicure Kit), and set five minutes aside to refresh your nails—whether that’s simply changing your polish color for something that fits your mood, filing and shaping away any rough edges, or massaging on some cuticle oil to soften them. A mini mani can go a long way to make you feel confident, refreshed, and pulled together.
The first time we got our hands on one of these, we were hooked. It brought back all the joy we felt coloring as kids, but this time—it was also relaxing. Coloring books are the perfect way to get a little creative during your down time, and they’re so buzzy that you’ll easily find one that fits your style. Need a boost? Create something bold, fun, and funky. Want a moment to chill? Pour your favorite tea and color in something dreamy. The sky’s the limit.
Fun fact: You can practice self-care while you sleep! A sleeping mask is an easy way to treat yourself that takes no extra time at all. (We love LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask.) Consider your skincare goals: Is your skin feeling dry, looking stressed, or just in need of some glow? Choose a face mask that suits your skin type, then smooth it on right before you go to sleep. You’ll be showing your skin extra love and working on your skincare goals while you snooze.
Morning is often the most stressful time of day. You’re likely multitasking like no one’s business, trying to make it out the door or to your WFH desk on time. It’s easy to skip out on parts of your routine that make you feel prepared for the day. Create a mental list of things you enjoy, things you’ve accomplished, or simply set intentions for how you want your day to go. While you’re brushing your teeth, showering, brewing your first cup of joe, think through it. It’s a simple form of mental “me time” that will give you space from all your tasks at hand before you dive in.
You’ve probably spotted rosemary hair hacks all over TikTok, but this ingredient has been around for ages. Rosemary is a super healthy ingredient for promoting hair growth and a balanced scalp. It boosts circulation in your scalp, nourishes hair follicles, strengthens strands, reduces dandruff and itching, and so much more. Just pour it into a spray bottle and apply it all over your scalp and hair, massaging it into your scalp and onto your ends. Leave it on as an overnight scalp treatment, or wash after a few hours. It doesn’t feel greasy and smells ah-mazing. Want to DIY a rosemary spray? Here’s the recipe:
Bring two to three cups of water to a boil and remove from heat.
Add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and steep for at least one hour.
Pour water (it should have cooled by now) into a spray bottle.
Add a few drops of essential oils—sage, lavender, whatever you like.
Shake well to mix.
Store in a refrigerator or a cool, dark place.
If work-from-home life has limited your after-work happy hour game, set aside some time to de-stress with a little at-home, five p.m. fun. Mix up your favorite cocktail or mocktail, set out some quick snacks, and shed away the stress of the day by chatting with your friends and loved ones, or catching up on your favorite Netflix TV show. It’s a fun way to treat yourself without planning a get-together.
Have a movie that makes you laugh every time you watch it? Or one that gives you all the warm and fuzzy feels? We’re here to tell you there’s no limit to how many times you watch your favorite film, so press play and enjoy it freely. Sometimes, the best thing to do when you need a pick-me-up is something you know you love. It takes the stress out of planning your next activity so you can settle in and relax—no surprises, no twists and turns, just a guaranteed good time.
The one problem we have with weekends? They are entirely too short. Scrambling to fit fun, chores, and life things into two days can be unintentionally stressful. Choose one weekend every other month, or as often as you can, and try to plan a staycation. Treat yourself the way you would if you had hopped a plane to another destination. Try a DIY spa day (more on that below), cook up something decadent, or do absolutely nothing. It’s the best, budget-friendly way to reset and recharge without lifting a finger or planning a thing.
A quick and easy way to give yourself a boost? Adding an essential oil mist to your shower routine. Whether it’s eucalyptus, warm vanilla, lavender, or citrus, shower mists instantly transform your everyday routine into something spa-like. Just let your shower steam up a bit and add one or two spiritzes of your favorite mist. Once it disperses, take a breath and let the scent transport you somewhere soothing.
If you’ve managed to squeeze in time for a hair mask into your weekly routine—good on you. Most of the time, we’re scrambling to get in and out of the shower before our Monday morning, all-hands-on-deck meeting. So when we’re looking to treat ourselves—and our hair—we pop on our favorite hair mask, tie our hair up, and cover it with a wrap (we love ETTITUDE Waffle Hair Towel) to let it work its magic for a few hours (or even overnight). When you rinse it out afterward, your hair will never feel softer. If you can’t commit to the full-on treatment, try K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask, which helps repair damage in less than five minutes.
When’s the last time you gave your muscles a good stretch? No, we’re not talking about the two-minute cool down after your Pilates class. We mean a full-body reset. According to a study by the Physical Fitness Research Institute, low-intensity stretching and exercises can lead to better quality of sleep and less overall stress. So roll out your yoga mat, find a stretching video on YouTube (our at-home workout platform of choice at the moment), and enjoy. To further set the mood, mist on DEFINEME FRAGRANCE Crystal Infused Natural Perfume Mist in Kahana Aquamarine. The calming scent is infused with aquamarine crystals to promote well-being.
Take note of how we said intentions and not resolutions. Resolutions have a tendency to look far into the future and therefore can be continuously put off or delayed for some false future date, but setting intentions is a great way for you to take control and ownership of your present life. Take a few moments in the morning to jot down your intentions for the week, or even better, give them a good run-through while you’re doing your aforementioned stretches.
When it comes to relaxing, there is nothing more soothing for your body and mind than a massage. If you don’t have time for a spa day, an at-home facial massage can be just as calming. Facial massages do more than feel amazing, they come with all kinds of benefits. A facial massage can help relieve tension from stress and tone up facial muscles when done regularly, and they also help to boost blood circulation to reduce puffiness and improve your overall glow. And the best part? You don’t need any pro-level tools (if you own a Gua Sha, check out our guide to a DIY Gua Sha facial);you just need your hands, a simple-to-follow tutorial, and a facial oil you love.
Our pick: HERBIVORE BOTANICALS Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil will soothe your skin and leave you radiant, thanks to omega and fatty acid-rich hemp seed oil and adaptogens.
Turning your ordinary shower or bath time into a DIY spa moment is easier than you think. Just grab some candles (because ambiance is everything), pop on your most relaxing playlist, and reach for the bubbles—champs counts, too. Pour in your favorite bubble bath formula and mix in some soothing bath salts or soaks. Then kick back with a good book and let your skin soak up the goodness. Trust us, nothing beats the cozy, calm feeling you get after a bubble bath. It’s the best.
If your go-to manicurist has been as busy as ours post-quarantine, chances are your nails are showing it. Don’t just give yourself a five-minute pedicure and call it quits. A few easy additions will take your polish sesh to spa-worthy pedicure levels. First, create a DIY foot soak with some warm water and essential oils. Then, DIY an easy exfoliator with olive oil and sugar to smooth things over and get rid of dead surface skin. Moisturize your feet and pop on some cozy, warm socks while you take care of your to-dos or relax on the couch. Before adding polish, give yourself a mini foot rub by stretching back your toes and massaging the arches and soles of your feet. You’ll never resort to a regular five-minute pedi again.
If you’re usually rushing through your skincare routine, a face mask is the perfect way to pause and give your skin some extra TLC. Sheet masks, clay masks, cream masks—they all have their own amazing benefits. Our favorite for a wind-down sesh? A skin-purifying mask like GLOW RECIPE Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial is a non-drying, pore-detoxifying face mask made with hyaluronic acid-infused kaolin clay to instantly minimize the look of pores, even skin tone, and hydrate all skin types. Bonus: The refreshing watermelon extract means it smells like a treat, too.
Between walking, running, dancing, and carrying you through life, your feet deserve a break just as much as the rest of you. An easy way to treat your feet is with an overnight mask that’ll soothe and soften them. Just massage your favorite rich cream all over your feet (like BAREFOOT SCIENTIST™ High Dive Intensive Hydration Cream) and sleep in a pair of thick socks so that the heat will help your feet soak up the hydration. Remove the socks and rinse in the a.m. to reveal your silkiest, softest feet ever.
Stress can sometimes get the best of us, so when we need a moment to refresh, refocus, and regain our inner peace, we often look to meditation. Even if you have five minutes, a quick meditation session can go a long way in boosting your energy levels and calming your active mind. If you’re new to meditation, there are apps to guide you through the process, such as Calm. You don’t have to save mediation for tough days; just a few minutes a day, every day, can help you feel more grounded and mindful from the inside-out.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but lighting a few candles instantly changes up the ambience of a room. The soft glow of a candle can transform a stressful space and give it spa-like qualities—and when you throw scents into the mix, the effects are next-level. It’s no secret, scent is one of our strongest senses. Opt for bright aromas like citrus when you need a little zing of energy, or calming florals like jasmine or lavender to help melt the day’s stress away.
Sometimes, self-care is as simple as ordering your favorite take-out three days in a row, without guilt. And sometimes, self-care is cooking for yourself like you would the people you love. Too often, when we’re cooking for one, we opt for quick and easy recipes. If you have some extra time, treat yourself to a mouthwatering meal and enjoy it solo, slowly, because you deserve to be spoiled, too.
We love this as a soothing pre- or post-meditation ritual. A little steam is so good for your skin—it can help open up your pores so your skincare can get to work, help get rid of dirt and toxins, and boost your overall glow. All you need is a big bowl, some essential oils or real flower petals, and a large towel. Take a bowl of steaming (not too hot) water and add 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) or just as many flower petals, then hover your face about a foot away from the bowl, being careful not to get too close, and drape the towel over the back of your head so that it hangs over the bowl on both sides of your face. Breathe in the steam while it gets to work opening up your pores and giving you all-over spa vibes.
We could go on and on about the benefits of scalp massages, from helping to boost circulation and hair growth to its instantly relaxing effects—scalp massages are just too good to skip. Plus, they help improve overall scalp health, which means healthier hair. Use a hair oil or scalp serum depending on your hair type and the condition of your scalp. If you’re short on time, a multitasking product like OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub helps remove product buildup, hydrate and nourish from head-to-toe, and smells like a dream.
This one’s a winner because it fits into almost any self-care routine. While you’re making your morning coffee, brushing your teeth, or just running through your daily Insta feed, pop on a cooling eye mask to help soothe, refresh, and brighten up your under-eye area. It’s an easy way to instantly wake up tired eyes, and it feels so fresh and satisfying.
OK, sometimes buying yourself something you really, really want is the ultimate mood booster. Splurging on something a little luxe like a fancy face serum or that gorgeous face oil (we’re obsessed with this BREAD BEAUTY Macadamia Oil 100% Concentrate for Face & Body) that you’ve been eyeing means you’re treating yourself to something new and giving your skin some extra love—a win-win, if you ask us!
A fun way to treat yourself is doing something to brighten up your living space, and subsequently, your mood. Maybe that’s bringing home a beautiful new plant to spruce up a sunny corner, or simply picking up a bouquet of your favorite flowers. Throw in some chocolates while you're at it to make the moment all about you.
Our spas and salons are back in full swing (finally), and our skin’s been craving an appointment with our favorite facialist. While we’ve gotten pretty good at DIY-ing in a pinch, you just can’t beat the pampering and pro-level treatments you get at the spa. Everything from the soothing ambiance to the fact that you literally have to do nothing but relax makes booking a professional facial the perfect treat.
Nothing makes us smile more than a new makeup haul (and pizza, definitely pizza). Whether it’s stocking up on a fresh batch of your daily essentials, or splurging on that gorgeous lipstick you’ve been lusting after, shopping for makeup, hair, or skincare is a surefire way to show yourself some love and have fun. Tip: If you’re already a member, in addition to your Glam Bag, Glam Bag Plus, or Glam Bag X, IPSY’s Add-Ons, Pop-Up Shops, and Flash Sales have amazing deals on your beauty must-haves.
A day where we get to do nothing? Yes, please! Go ahead and put in that PTO if you have it. Spend your normal working hours doing something just for you—lounging with your pup, watching your favorite shows, painting your nails every color you own—spend time giving your mind and body space to just be.
Hit with that sleepy, sluggish 3pm feeling you can’t shake? We’ve been there. And although this took some convincing (because who has time to sleep?), we’re now firm believers in the cat nap. A short daytime repose (anywhere from 15-30 minutes) can go a long way to reduce afternoon sleepiness and give your body a reset. It also helps improve focus and boosts your mood. Looking for a dose of joy? Cat naps just might be the perfect treat.
You don’t need to shell out hundreds of bucks to blow off a little steam—or bask in it. With THE WORD Woke Cool Steam Eye Mask, you can have a sauna-like session for your eyes without leaving your home. If the words steam and cooling together confuse you, stay with me here. This silk eye mask comes with gel packets that either heat up or cool down, depending on what you’re after. Once you choose, slide the packets into the mask and get lost in a steamy sauna for your face, or an ultra-cool cucumber-like session for your eyes.
Ice cube facials are trending, but why not make life easier for yourself and pick up this tool that you can reuse whenever you need instant cooling therapy and hydration for your face. VANITY PLANET Revive Facial Ice Roller stays cold for up to two hours, thanks to the stainless steel construction, so you can have a “me” moment for a longer duration.
You didn’t think we’d write an entire self-care list without mentioning CBD, did you? TRULY BEAUTY Unicorn CBD Whipped Body Polish includes 300 mg of CBD which is purported to naturally help hydrate the skin, in addition to being ultra-relaxing for sore muscles.
Got no one around to kiss? That’s okay, now’s the perfect time to give some TLC to your lips so they can be ready for the next time you have a date. Did you know you can get fuller lips without needles? REVIVE reVive Light Therapy® Lip Care works to increase circulation, therefore cultivating the new, healthier cells that give you fuller lips and the reduced look of wrinkles. Bonus points: it’s shaped like a pair of lips and totally easy to use.
While not quite a crystal, obsidian is made from naturally occurring volcanic glass that is said to stimulate the skin upon contact to help improve skin tone, texture, and overall softness. Add the KEYS SOULCARE Obsidian Facial Roller to your skincare routine for even more benefits.
A spa day isn’t complete without the little things, like a fluffy robe and a GLOW ON 5TH Plush Skincare Headband to keep loose hairs out of your face as you paint on a clay mask. Why not even add some fuzzy slippers if you’re feeling up to it? Pay attention to these little accessories to create an overall indulgent experience.
IDK about you but when I’m home alone with no one to talk to, a glass of wine makes me more sleepy than relaxed. Why not experiment with festive mocktail recipes so you can feel extra special and indulgent while basking in your “treat yourself” day, sober? There are so many summer mocktail mixes and combinations to experiment with, and picking up the ingredients won’t cost a fortune.
No, I don’t mean going to the gym. I mean, when was the last time you actually exfoliated your strawberry legs and promoted healthier looking skin and hair growth for the summertime? After all, this is the season for your legs to shine. TRULY BEAUTY makes it easy by curating shave kits that exfoliate, promote a healthy shave, and moisturize your legs afterward.
Sometimes taking care of yourself means taking care of the things you love the most. If you’re a makeup junkie like we are,, give your makeup brushes and sponges a deep cleanse so they’ll continue to last you for years to come. We won’t mention all the bacteria and gunk hiding on those fibers, but just know, giving things a deep clean can only help promote clearer skin for you.
Did you know you can get quality shoulder massages for life for just $30? There are so many at-home massagers on the market these days, and some even have heating capabilities for extra relaxation.
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