We’ve still got a few days left before it’s officially winter, but in advance of the season, and in acknowledgement that we’re closing in on the darkest day of the year, here’s a little antidote for dark days. This is the first post in a much-requested series I’m calling shake the wintertime blues, but which might also be called treat yourself. Just in case anyone else out there needs a little lifter-upper in the face of freezing temps and broody skies, I’ll be offering my own best rituals for keeping the spirits up all winter long.
First up? A warming sugar scrub (and some dancing in your underwear).
I’ll be first to admit that I can let myself go a little bit in the wintertime. My legs go unshaven. The state of my armpits sometimes shocks me. It can feel like summer’s hardly gone before I feel prickly and dry and, would miserable be too strong a word? Personal preferences around personal hygiene aside, I think it’s safe to say that all of the layering up and hunkering down that we do in the winter means we can forget a bit about nourishing the skin that felt so fresh and vibrant just a few months ago.
Warming Sugar Scrub
What you need:
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
10 drops cinnamon essential oil
5 drops vanilla extract (yes the kind you bake with)
What you need to do with it:
Melt your coconut oil if it’s hardened at room temp (you can do this in a double boiler, or do what I did and put the jar on top of the steam radiator for 10 minutes or until liquid).
In a small bowl, mix sugar, coconut oil, essential oil and vanilla extract. Transfer the mixture to a small, sterile jar (which would last for months if it weren’t guaranteed to be used up before that).
While it might sound like I just gave you the start to a christmas cookie dough recipe, belive me when I say that this scrub won’t make you smell like a sugar cookie. It’ll make you smell so much better than a sugar cookie. Warming, spicy, and—yes, I’m going there—sexy. The combination of cinnamon and vanilla in this scrub is less baked good and more hot mama. In a word: it’s amazing.
I like to use a small glass weck jar to store mine, but you can use anything old or new. (If you’re afraid of the glass breaking in the shower, you could reuse a small plastic jar with a lid, or do what I do, and let it rest on the bathroom sink.) For me, getting through winter is all about creating tiny rituals of self care like this one. So, forgive me being pushy, but this is what I think you should do next. Light a candle. Turn off the bathroom light. Make the shower just a little steamier than usual. Open a cold beer (or ginger beer, if that’s more your speed). When you’ve got all that in place, hop in the shower and scoop a small handful of scrub into the palm of our hand, and massage it into your skin. Rub it over your shoulders, down your rib cage, into your belly. Reach what you can of your back. Scrub at your neck and in circular motions on your chest. It’s a literal sloughing off of the old, dead skin, to reveal something bright and fresh and renewed underneath. And it should feel refreshing in the best way. When you have scrubbed every last inch, climb out of the shower. Wrap yourself in your towel and drink up the last of the steam (and beer). Now slip on your underwear, turn on a favorite tune, and have yourself a little dance before needing to get all buttoned up again. It’s basically guaranteed to make you feel better. And if you want to share your newfound ritual with someone else (and you will), I think that a little jar of the scrub plus a pair or two of special underwear might just make the perfect present for a sister, mother, friend, on your list. (Sisters, pay no attention to this post.)
This post was sponsored by Brook There, a sustainable lingerie company based in Portland, Maine. Made with organic cotton, super soft bamboo rayon, and silk, their simple and beautiful designs are all designed, cut, and sewn in the United States. This post featured the black organic cotton bra and underwear set and black striped set, which I can personally vouch for being precisely the brand of comfortable and sexy that I love best. I hope you give them a try.
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