19 Beauty Products We Reach For When We Just Need A Minute

So, things are pretty fucked up right now. We don't need to rehash why that is — you already know. You already wake up in the morning and go straight to Twitter, check in with worried friends and family multiple times a day, and keep one eye on the news and one eye on... well, whatever it is you're actually supposed to be doing.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review identified the universal discomfort hanging in the air, the collective sense of anxiety and fear, as grief. Self-isolating at home — while so many people, including nurses and other health-care workers, are on the front lines — is a privilege, but that's not to say it can't be incredibly stressful to feel these feelings without our usual support systems, hobbies, and routines to see us through.

As time goes on, however, we find new ways to cope. As grief expert David Kessler recounted in HBR, finding your place in the present and focusing on what you can control is essential to healing — and part of that is taking care of yourself. Right now, that might mean busying ourselves with puzzles, at-home workouts, Zoom parties, or Animal Crossing. We'll make the case that beauty and self-care are never frivolous, but they're especially important right now, when so many of the things that make us "us" — the people we spend time with, the restaurants we go to, the clothes we wear to work — feel like a weird, distant memory.

Ahead, Refinery29 editors share the beauty products and little luxuries they reach for when they need to feel grounded in times of chaos. Fancy face masks can't fix everything, and that's okay — but if they can make us feel a little less unmoored for 10 minutes, then they've done their job just fine.

we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team.

Le Labo Thé Noir 29 Body Lotion


"My one beauty indulgence for a mental escape during quarantine is the Thé Noir 29 fragrance range. It's what they use in the Edition Hotels — I'm obsessed with the scent and it always leaves me feeling fresh AF. I apply it post-shower and then literally sit around my apartment sniffing myself, thinking about a time I was staying at a nice hotel far, far away. Sometimes a scent can unlock an entirely different world, even if momentarily." — Annie Georgia Greenberg, supervising creative producer

Le Labo Thé Noir 29 Body Lotion, $, available at Le Labo

Innisfree Nourishing Hand Butter with Canola Honey


"This is the most soothing, moisturizing hand cream ever." — Leora Yashari, trending editor

Innisfree Nourishing hand butter with canola honey, $, available at Innisfree

Youth To The People Superfood Air Whip Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer


"This moisturizer feels like dunking my face in a cloud: It's so moisturizing but still light and doesn't feel like it's clogging my acne-prone skin. I would swim in it, I'm so obsessed." — Hannah Rimm, Money Diaries editorial assistant

Youth To The People Superfood Air Whip Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer, $, available at Sephora

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask


"I've put myself on a strict masking schedule where I use one exfoliating mask and one hydrating mask per week. This resurfacing one leaves my skin so clean and soft afterwards. It makes me feel like I have some semblance of control over this situation, even though, um, I don't." — Anabel Pasarow, tech writer

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, $, available at Follain

Essie Nail Polish in Bikini So Teeny


"When my life feels like it’s about to fall apart, nothing sends me into a quicker spiral than a chipped manicure and half-chewed cuticles. Every time I look down at my hands — which is 99% of the time now that I live my life on a laptop — all I can see is a physical manifestation of all my internal stress. But when my nails are painted this soothing shade of pale blue, it’s like 10 mini spa days on my fingernails. The blend of sky blue and creamy lilac feels like a breath of fresh air." — Cat Quinn, beauty director

Essie Nail Polish in Bikini So Teeny, $, available at Kohl's

Rael Moisture Melt Snowball Hyaluronic Acid Concentrate


"I'm obsessed with these hyaluronic acid
'snowballs' from Rael, which you melt in your hand using your favorite serum. It's an added boost of moisture and nutrients that makes my skin feel the way it does after I get a nice facial." — Sarah Midkiff, contributing writer

Rael Moisture Melt Snowball Hyaluronic Acid Concentrate, $, available at Revolve

NARS Lipstick in Erotic Adventure


"This is the lipstick I put on for Zoom meetings to make me feel like a person again." — Rimm

NARS Lipstick, $, available at NARS

Bynacht Perfect Nacht Sleeping Balm


"Growing up, my mom would douse our beds in a lavender-scented 'sleep mist' every night to the point that the sheets would still be kind of cold and damp by the time you got in. I didn't understand it then, but now I can't sleep without the aid of aromatherapy (and a little help from pharmaceuticals, to be fair). This shea butter-based salve, made with pure essential oils of lavender, ylang ylang, and lemon balm, is so very, very soothing. Before I get in bed but after I turn off the lights, I warm up a tiny bit between my palms and breathe in deeply a few times before rubbing it on my wrists, temples, and neck. I love the ritual of it, and I really feel like it helps calm down the bees in my brain." — Rachel Krause, deputy beauty director

Bynacht Perfect Nacht Sleeping Balm, $, available at Shen Beauty

AHAVA Dunaliella Peel Off Mask


"This charcoal mask makes me look kind of scary — it basically hardens around my face, and then peels off super clean and easily. Lately, I love painting it on and letting it harden while watching Love Is Blind and diffusing essential oils after a long day of social distancing." — Molly Longman, wellness writer

AHAVA Dunaliella Peel Off Mask, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Susanne Kaufmann Hand Cream Nourishing


"Usually, I need hand lotions to be quick to apply, dry, and move on from. But these days, my hands (and my entire self, if I'm being honest) need a little more TLC. This product is a built-in ritual — luxuriating in how it feels becomes an activity. I usually toss application spoons immediately, but given my new normal, I've been using it every time. The scent is light, bright, and uplifting; the cream is thick and beautiful; and I keep it right next to my work station to apply any time I need a break from what I'm doing, reading, and thinking about. Since using this product so often, my hands are actually more hydrated than they are normally, despite washing them more frequently. It's a little blessing these days, and I'm grateful for it." — Connie Wang, senior features writer

Susanne Kaufmann Hand Cream Nourishing, $, available at DermStore

OLEHENRIKSEN Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser


“Never in a million years did I think I would have something in common with the goddess that is Halle Berry, but as it turns out, we both turn to the same skin-care line when we need a moment of self care: Ole Henriksen Balance. She likes the sauna scrub, and I prefer the cleanser — but they both share the same soothing eucalyptus scent. The founder, Ole, taught me to rub it between my hands, hold it up to my nose, and take three large deep breaths before washing my face, and it really centers me for the day ahead.” — Quinn

OLEHENRIKSEN Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser, $, available at Sephora

GlamGlow SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment Mask


"All the stress I get from reading the news and things going on in life is making me break out, and I never break out. I've been putting GlamGlow's Supermud Clearing Treatment on my pimples: It has to be better than picking at them and it's so heavy and effective that I feel like I'm doing something. Also, I look much prettier when I wash it off, so it's a lovely reveal." — Courtney Smith, weekend editor

GlamGlow SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment Mask, $, available at Nordstrom

OSEA Vagus Nerve Oil


"This chamomile, juniper, and lavender-infused oil doesn’t just smell nice: The vagus nerve can help activate the body’s relaxation response and help regulate stress, all of which sounds pretty good right about now. I like to dispense a drop or two in my palm and massage it along the sides of my neck and on my wrists before bed to help me feel blissed-out before hitting the pillow. Honestly, I’d buy this stuff by the case for the aromatherapeutic benefits alone." — Karina Hoshikawa, beauty and wellness market writer

OSEA Vagus Nerve Oil, $, available at OSEA

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick


"This lipstick-balm hybrid is more than makeup — it’s an activity. The twist-up bullet itself is a crazy green-apple color, but on my lips, the formula turns the same shade as the tube’s outer packaging: a pretty, flushed pink. I don’t understand the science behind the pH shift that happens, or why it pleasantly surprises me every time I look in the mirror after I’ve put it on despite the fact that the sheer tint always gives the same shiny, your-lips-but-pinker effect. But I’ve found, in these stressful times, it’s a fun little game I like to play with myself.” — Megan Decker, beauty writer

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick, $, available at Birchbox

Dr. Bronner's Lavender Hand Sanitizer


"I bought this hand sanitizer to hit a credit card minimum at a grocery store about six months ago, blissfully unaware of how much it would come in handy this spring. The USDA-certified organic formula is, in my opinion, the best hand sanitizer, and not just because it's the only one I have — it's really gentle, doesn't leave my hands at all dry, and the subtle lavender scent is genuinely calming in a time where I really, really need to be calmed." — Krause

Dr. Bronner's Lavender Hand Sanitizer, $, available at Target

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque


"Once I quell the voice in my head telling me to ration lest I run out during these very strange times, this is my fancy go-to for when I feel I deserve a treat, particularly to wind down and breathe through a stressful day/week/moment. It doesn't leave my face feeling dry, which is more than I can say about my thoroughly washed hands, and the sensation of moving my face once it's dried never fails to make me and my BF laugh. When I'm feeling extra bedraggled, i.e. now, I'll follow with the Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask overnight." — Mary Fletcher, senior photo editor


Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque, $, available at Aesop

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask


"I rarely find face masks relaxing. You can't even sit down and watch a movie because you're going to have to get up and wash the thing off in 15 minutes anyway! This one, though, is my favorite — it's packed with sweet almond oil, aloe vera, chamomile, and the brand's signature purslane. But the real reason I'm so obsessed with it is because you can leave it on for... a while. I'm talking the entire run time of The Invisible Man, a while. Once it's completely dry (or the movie's over), I rub it off in gentle circular motions over the sink, no rinsing necessary — my skin is visibly softer, clearer, and dewier every time. The technique is Dr. Sturm-recommended, movie-watcher-in-a-fugue-state-approved." — Krause

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask, $, available at Molecular Cosmetics

Huda Beauty Kayali Musk


Whenever I'm stressed, I reach for this scent, which somehow reminds me of both a good date during one of the last warm evenings of summer and Christmas. It's the fragrance I get complimented on the most, but when no one is around to smell it — let alone compliment it — during these self-isolation times, it still makes me feel normal. I may be wearing sweatpants every single day, but the simple act of spraying perfume on is the little luxury that helps me get through my day." — Rebecca Smith, VP, editorial operations & strategy

Huda Beauty Kayali Musk, $, available at Sephora

Caudalie Beauty Elixir


"I’ve used this stuff for years, and even as face mists galore hit the market, I always come back to this French favorite. The atomizer dispenses a mist so fine you feel like you’re walking through an especially invigorating cloud, and my skin instantly feels hydrated and soothed. I have a bottle at my desk at the office (which I'll return to someday), on my bedside table, and on my desk in my apartment for mid-day WFH refreshes." — Hoshikawa

Caudalie Beauty Elixir, $, available at DermStore





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19 Beauty Products We Reach For When We Just Need A Minute 19 Beauty Products We Reach For When We Just Need A Minute Reviewed by streakoggi on March 30, 2020 Rating: 5
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