Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Weekly Self-Care Spa Time

I've been trying my best to take time out once every week and get in the habit of self-care. It's difficult sometimes to put down the various half-done projects and take a break specifically with the goal of relaxing, but I'm starting to get used to it.

This week I'm enjoying some products from a small vegan business based out of Gresham Oregon, which is near Portland. They're called Haus of Gloi, and they make some of the most spectacularly scented bath and beauty items. I have a variety of their scented hair oils that I use in rotation, one every week. I also am a sucker for their limited edition seasonal "butterbombs" for the bath. These little scoops are a bit different from your average bath bomb, in that they are loaded with cocoa butter and mango butter, so they leave your skin feeling soft and moisturized instead of just foaming and smelling up the bath.

This week, I chose a butterbomb from their recent Fall release, in the Burnishing Amber scent. It's described on their website as "A warm incense laden amber. Frankincense, golden opium, nag champa." Burnishing Amber certainly delivered what it promised. I've been on a real frankincense kick lately, mostly wearing a fragrance called "Scrying Smoke" from another indie house which I'll have to talk more about later.

Burnishing Amber Butterbomb

I recently got a new bath pillow after my first few weeks of spa nights, and I have to say it's one of the greatest things I've added to this ritual. I picked it up off of Amazon for around $10, it's the Epica Luxury Foam Spa Pillow. It seems like such a simple thing, but it really makes the bath tub much more comfortable.

In addition to the smell-goods and pillows for the tub, I build myself a nice bathside table out of an overturned laundry hamper and a bath towel. This week, bath time included a nice hot thermos full of Twinings Four Red Fruits tea, my iPad playing a Genius mix that turned out better than expected with how little music is actually on that thing, and the book I'm currently making my way through - Contemporary Gothic by Catherine Spooner. I saw a snippet of this book linked somewhere online and was so intrigued I had to read it for myself. The description on its Amazon page does a better job than I could of summarizing what it's about:

In Contemporary Gothic, Catherine Spooner probes the reasons behind the prevalence of the Gothic in popular culture and how it has inspired innovative new work in film, literature, music, and art. In an engaging way, Contemporary Gothic argues that this style ultimately balances a number of contradictions—the grotesque and incorporeal, authentic self-expression and campiness, mass popularity and cult appeal, comfort and outrage—and these contradictions make the Gothic a crucial expression of contemporary cultural currents.  

Rogue Wave's MySpace Transmissions, Twinings Four Red Fruits tea, and some light reading.
After my bath, I give my hair its weekly wash, and part of my advanced hair care routine these days includes a little bit of hair oil on the ends of my wet strands before they go up to dry for a while in a cotton handkerchief. This week's scent is keeping with the fall theme, another product from Haus of Gloi - Scarecrow scented hair oil. They describe the scent as "Dried corn husks, dust, straw, weathered wood and a ruffle of inky black feathers." When I first smelled it, I thought all of the "dry" elements would make me dislike it, but for some reason the first whiff always smells a bit like fresh carrots to me, followed by a surprisingly pleasant straw and amber scent that reminds me of a warm autumn day waiting for a hayride at one of the local orchards. I love it, and I put a little in my body lotion during the same week I use this on my hair. It blends wonderfully with the frankincense scent I mentioned earlier too.

These bottles are much bigger than this looks.

I'll admit, my hair routine has gotten a little more advanced than I ever thought it could. My hair is also the healthiest and possibly the longest it's ever been now. I managed to extend the time between washings gradually to once per week, which has really improved the natural body of my hair quite a bit. I use products free of sulfates, pthalates, silicones, and currently everything I'm using for my entire routine is also vegan, and cruelty free. I didn't necessarily choose the products for those values but I like that it's a side effect of caring which ingredients I opt to put on my skin and hair.

This year I started up a regular habit of having my hair trimmed every three-ish months as well, and I'm due for another visit this month. I feel like for the first time in my life, I have gained the confidence and understanding to ask for exactly what I want when getting my hair trimmed, which is something that has eluded me most of my life until now. It's really empowering considering all of the nightmare salon visits I've had before, to know that when I leave after a quick trim, I'm not going to be upset and plotting my recovery plan from yet another bad haircut by the time I get home. I'll likely be heading in for my next trim around the middle of the month, and I'm weirdly looking forward to it.


  1. Maybe you can suggest something for my tresses. I finally have grown my hair out and I know washing it as often as I do has left me with dry hair. Since I run almost daily, I don't want my head to stink of sweat and sebum, maybe an oil for my hair after washing it will help bring some life back to it.

    Glad to read you are taking care of yourself, I am taking on that task as well. It's a lot harder that it sounds to take time out for yourself.

    1. I'm not a doctor or a hair scientist but I'd say the first thing to do is make sure your shampoo and conditioner don't have SLS or silicones in them. Ideally you'd be using something really gentle to clean your head every day, that way it won't trigger your skin to produce extra oil to combat the chemicals removing all the oil from your scalp. SLS is pretty strong stuff and I found that when I cut it out of my hair care routine my scalp gradually stopped getting oily as fast.

      I say no silicone (which is typically in conditioner) because the gentle soap won't be able to get some silicones out of your hair so it'll gradually build up and get gross.

      If you change those things and you still feel like your hair is dry, then definitely try a hair oil. Just start small and aim to get the oil on the very ends of your hair, not your scalp. Start with a drop or two rubbed between your palms and then rub them over the tips of your hair, add more a couple hours later if you think you need it.

      The stuff from Haus of Gloi has been the best hair oil I've tried so far. I have quite a few different scents, but I think they also make an unscented one.

      I'm sure it's hard to find time for yourself with the kiddo around too. I could send you home with some samples of my hair oil if we get together some time! Do you still do fun colors in your hair?


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