What Are Your Grooming Routines?

By: Jen Shoop

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What are your grooming routines? Which ones are non-negotiables and which are a little squibblier and more haphazard? This is a nosy post – but I am so curious about this. Back in my start-up days in Chicago, there was a bright and impressive female founder in my incubator who had the most incredible lashes — long, full, but they didn’t appear to be extensions or faux, especially since she seemed otherwise light-handed and natural with makeup. I finally asked her about them one day at the photocopy machine, and she said: “Jen, I don’t do nails, I don’t do hair, I don’t do much makeup — eyelash extensions are my one beauty splurge. I’m never without them.” I asked where she had them done and immediately set up an appointment. It turned out she had “an eyelash girl” who drove to downtown Chicago once every few weeks from her home out of state (I believe Wisconsin) and serviced a handful of clients. I was one such for a year in Chicago, and I loved the way I looked. I’d roll out of bed and feel put-together, finished, glam without a stitch of makeup on. The key (IMO) is asking for the most natural (lowest volume) extensions of the highest quality material they carry (usually mink). Unfortunately, I found they absolutely destroyed my natural lashes over time, and I ended up having to call it quits. I don’t know whether other women have stronger lashes, or use various strengthening treatments about which I know nothing, but nowadays, I treat myself to lash extensions once every year or two (whenever I’m in Manhattan — I love this one spot called Beau that was around the corner from my second UWS apartment), and that’s about as much as my lashes can handle. But I know there are women who are religious about their extensions. I also know a few women who have their hair blown out once a week and try to make that blow out stretch for three or four days, others who insist on regular facials and peels of various kinds, and some who are devotees of particular waxing regimens.

What about you?

The only grooming routine to which I’m fully committed are my nails. I get them done weekly unless I have a gel, with which I try to be sparing (e.g., only on vacations or if I have a particularly packed social agenda), as last year, a technician destroyed my nails with a bad gel to the point that I had to use a nail strengthener for nearly two months before getting a regular manicure again. Lesson learned: stick with my trusted crew. My mom and I both go to the same salon and request the same two women, week in and week out. I try to overlap my appointments with my mother’s whenever possible, and I treasure the reminder that such path-crossings can be so easily coordinated after living far from her for nearly ten years. It seems kismet to share this routine because I fully inherited it from her. Growing up, my mother had a standing Thursday morning appointment with a technician named Gloria who worked out of the now-shuttered Salon Jean-Paul on Yuma St in NW D.C. She never missed this small window to treat herself, and she deserved it. She was raising five children and if she indulged in anything else, I cannot recall it. I followed suit with weekly manicures when I started my first full-time job out of college. I was working in Tyson’s and living in Georgetown, and the weekly appointments at Vicky’s on Wisconsin Avenue made me feel like I’d made it in some way. This habit has persisted across decades and multiple metropolises, and I now feel half-baked without my nails done, even if I am entirely predictable with my polish selection: always bright red (Essie Really Red or Russian Roulette, OPI Big Apple Red) or white-pink (OPI Lisbon Wants Moor or Let’s Be Friends). Just after I’d moved from Chicago to New York, my best friend invited me over for cocktails at her Chelsea apartment and I arrived with bare nails. “Oh my God, Jen, is everything OK?” she asked, eyeing my hands. In short, for some time now, polished nails have read like shorthand for Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”: every little thing is going to be alright. I also love the small square of thirty or forty minutes to read my Kindle or just sit, captive, with nothing to do but space out. We all need time to do nothing at all.

Besides the nails, I get my eyebrows done whenever I feel like I really need it — which is to say, not enough. Most times, I tweeze myself and make do. The ladies at European Wax Center routinely scold me for my delinquency. (EWC is so-so, but perfectly fine for my needs, which is just to clean up, not to re-shape. I appreciate that you can schedule, cancel, shift appointments online, and that they have lots of convenient locations. I do wish, like most children of the 80s, that I’d not plucked so much in my youth! I was having my makeup done a few weeks ago, and the makeup artist said: “You have beautiful brows — but then again, I’m old school. I like them on the thinner side.” I wasn’t sure what to think of that! Do my brows date me?! Ha! That particular artist also said: “Brows are sisters, not twins,” and I thought that was a clever phrasing, and so true! Mine are definitely asymmetrical, and require some manipulation with an eyebrow pencil every single day. So I suppose the daily penciling is a part of my grooming routine, too.)

The one splurge I’ve made in this category is having laser hair removal on my bikini line. After we moved to D.C. and joined a club with a pool, the summer months became a tedium of shaving. I screwed up my courage and went to Capital Laser and Skin Care in Chevy Chase — if you’re local, strongly recommend. A beautiful, immaculate facility with attentive technicians/staff/doctors. The hair removal process is painful but quick — the sharp sensation immediately subsides. I believe I have a fairly high tolerance for pain (?) and would rate it about a 4/10. You can get laughing gas if you’re nervous, but I went without and felt it was totally worth the 10 minutes of pain to be able to jump into a suit at a moment’s notice. I had three treatments a few weeks apart last spring/summer and haven’t need any touch ups yet. I note this because some clients need to go back once a season, and others go for years without needing any touch-ups. Several of the staff at CLSC insisted that the MVP of laser hair removal is underarms. They added it’s the most painful (!) but then you never need to shave your underarms again. I will admit I’m intrigued, but shaving the underarms has never once struck me as a burden, so I’ll defer that for a future time in my life.

I’ve already shared my fairly involved haircare routine, including the fact that I find myself gradually migrating towards more frequent professional blowouts. In my 20s and early 30s, I was a bit more lax on styling and blow-drying my hair, but I routinely felt unkempt, especially given how often I’d wind up tying my hair back in a pony tail. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve cared a lot more about my hair being “done” — it’s a shortcut to feeling pulled-together, even when I’m being pulled in 20 different directions.

I will admit that I am lazy about getting my hair cut and colored. I should probably go once a quarter, but I stretch my visits to 3x a year, and sometimes even 2x (yikes!). This has become easier as I’ve retreated towards my natural brunette coloring. Brighter blond hair requires so much more maintenance! I can’t put my finger on this hair care indolence, because it can be relaxing to check out for a morning of beautification. Part of it is that I go all the way into Georgetown for hair cut and color with Ismail at George Salon at the Four Seasons, which is a bit of a schlep and kind of parking nightmare. You can have your car valeted at the hotel, but they’ve just jacked the prices to north of $30, plus tip, for even a two hour visit, which feels wanton. (It used to be $20, which felt more forgivable.) Now, I face the routine parking roulette of Georgetown — an inconvenience I do not miss from my years living in that area. (The frustration of driving home with a trunk full of groceries or a full bladder only to circle around your neighborhood for 10 minutes, or wind up parking eight blocks away…!) Anyhow, I get it done when I can, but I’m not prompt about it.

On a skincare level, I’ve never once had a facial (!) which I realize is strangely inconsistent with my willingness to try countless at-home beauty products. For some reason, I’d rather spend my money a million other ways over having a facial. I can’t explain my disinterest? It doesn’t compute. I’m going to a spa with my mother in a few weeks, and I didn’t even look at the facial menu. Any time I’m presented with the opportunity to visit a spa, though, I sprint to request a massage — there is nothing more relaxing or rewarding for me, especially as a frequent runner and persistent worrier.

At home, I apply a suite of different masks and scrubs whenever I feel I need it, but I’m not scheduled about any of them. Lately, I’ve been sleeping in Chantecaille’s Jasmine and Lily repairing mask (so has Mr. Magpie!), but my go-to, holy grail mask for before I go out for an evening is Clarins’ V-Facial Depuffing Mask. It is so good — unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. It chisels your features and also leaves skin soft and fresh. Strongly rec. A beauty brand called Newa just reached out and offered to send me one of their radio frequency wrinkle reducing devices. I’ve read about these, and also the LED masks that so many beauty cognoscenti rave about, with piqued interest for some time now, and I jumped on the opportunity to give it a whirl. I’ll report back with thoughts. If you want to test it alongside me, they offered us 15% off with code JEN15.

OK, how about you? Please share your routines, your non-negotiables, and how you arrived at them! I’m willing to be convinced…!

Post Scripts.

+How do you fill your cup in under an hour?

+I won’t soon forget. (A love note to Mr. Magpie.)

+”Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.”

+On the people who supported me early in my career as a writer.

Shopping Break.

+HHH re-released its Cosima nap dress in a blue stripe — you might remember this was one of my most-worn dresses last summer. I love the elongated smocking and high neckline. Feel fresh!

+Sweetest Zara finds for littles: this blockprint canvas hat, this sailboat sweatsuit.

+Fun hair accessory for summer.

+After all the Magpie upvotes for silk pillowcases, I discovered this silk travel neck pillow

+Love these Hermes-esque sandals from Margaux. A perfect summer heel if you might be attending events on grass. Also — Margaux just offered us $35 off orders $200+ with code MAGPIE35 (must be a first-time shopper).

+My favorite Vitamin C product.

+Cute quilted blockprint jackets for a steal.

+If you liked the La Ligne striped knit shorts set but not the price tag, consider this Zara.

+A reader asked for Juliet Dunn style dresses for less — this Tuckernuck fits the bill! Another great look for less find: this tile-print Mango (under $100!) feels like something by Cara Cara or D&G.

+For your best boho mama summer vibes. Think bare feet, loose hair, misty English rose gardens…

+COS has some killer accessories out right now — this bag feels very Khaite, and these mesh/woven/net flats are major The Row vibes for less.

+Gorgeous statement clutch for summer weddings.

+I swear by DryBar hair spray and this pomade (my son has a recalcitrant cow lick) for taming my children’s hair in the morning. Just ordered some of these fun-colored hair ties for my daughter.

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69 thoughts on “What Are Your Grooming Routines?

  1. Fascinating and fun to read! Looks like I fall on the lower-maintenance end of the spectrum. I have my hair cut 2-3x times a year (never had it colored). No brows (I’m curious, but currently too nervous that the shaping would go terribly wrong!), no massages, facials, teeth whitening, Botox, blow-outs, manicures, pedicures, etc. I do get a bikini wax monthly-ish in the summer and as-needed the rest of the year – I have seriously considered laser removal and will likely get it at some point in the future! My indulgences are the Dyson Airwrap and Elta MD sunscreen 🙂

  2. Jen, I love this community of wise, witty, compassionate women you’ve cultivated! I’m 67, old enough to be the mother or grandmother of most of your readers. I went pretty low maintenance during COVID when everything shut down and have found I actually feel prettier/ more myself with less effort. After 25 years of getting my nails done every two weeks, I love just wearing my natural nails short with clear polish. I stopped getting highlights/haircut every 10 weeks and grew out my gray hair (which has gorgeous natural highlights, who knew!) so I can wear it in a twist, chignon or low pony. I’m blessed with almost wrinkle-free skin thanks to many years of Cerave facial wash, prescription Retin A cream at night and daily Supergoop or Ulta sunscreen. I’ve pared my makeup down to just Mac lipstick, a cat eye or mascara and brow pencil. (In my case, the older I get, less is more flattering). I dermaplane my face with a Twinkle razor several times a week and no longer need to shave my body hair since it’s stopped growing! Dry brushing and using an in-shower moisturizer complete my laid-back routine, but thanks to your readers comments, I plan to seek out a good facialist. The only procedure I’ve ever had was a blethroplasty (under eye bag removal) in my early 50s. Expensive but worth every penny to not look exhausted all the time! My workout goal has shifted from aesthetics to maintaining a strong, flexible body for as long as I can. I do weights/cardio as well as pray/meditate/do yoga stretches daily. I also smile a lot! It is such a privilege to grow older, and I wish that for you and all your readers. ❤️

    1. Hi Andrea! What a lovely note – thanks for chiming in, and for being here! Loved reading about your routine, especially your thoughts on how to stay wrinkle free. I might just need to get on the Cerave wash routine…


  3. I fully believe that if your hair looks good, you feel good so I prioritize my hair in my self-care routine. I get Keratin treatments 2x a year and they are truly the best money I have ever spent. I have gone from not even being able to wear my hair down in the summer because of frizz to being able to blow-dry my hair myself and leave it down all summer while looking like I have had a professional blowout! I will say that the airwrap helped tremendously in that regard, I wash my hair 1-2x a week and then touch up my hair in the mornings by dampening any pieces that have gotten crinkled in my sleep and redrying and voila! a great blowout. I get highlights 4x a year and haircuts 2-4x a year depending on my mood. I used to always have my nails done (Lisbon Wants Moor every.single.time.) but after having a child making a nail appt felt like more of a burden than a treat. This is making me want to get back to regular manicures as I love the look and always feel more put together. Pre-pandemic (and pre-child) my husband and I used to belong to Equinox in NYC and have “spa Sundays.” We would go to one of the locations that had a coed hot tub, sauna, cold plunge pool and steam room and spend HOURS post workout going in between all of these treatments. Such fond memories of time spent together relaxing and enjoying the unlimited free time!

    1. Love those Equinox memories – sounds divine, and so special. Glad you have that bank of memories.

      Agree 100% with you on the hair — I just feel different when my hair looks good!


  4. I religiously drive 2.5 hours each direction to get my hair cut and colored once every 4-6 weeks. A little crazy but I get to have lunch with my parents while in town. I love Briogeo’s scalp scrub and repair mask and use every couple of weeks. I use Virtue Labs Healing Oil every other night.

    I get my nails done once every couple weeks. Recently an American/soft French on shortish oval shaped nails.

    I’ve used GrandeLash consistently for going on 6 years at this point and my lashes have never looked better.

    I go to chiropractor and get a massage every other week. Chiropractor mostly because my insurance then pays for half my massage.

    I use Philosphy Microdelivery face wash twice a week. I like to do a duo of masks once every couple weeks: Fresh Umbrian Clay and Fresh Rose. I have both an ice roller and an ice face mask that I use as needed.

    1. I also did Invisalign a couple years ago and wear my retainer every night without fail.

      I recently got Botox in my jaw to help with muscle tightness/grinding/TMJ. Worth every penny.

      Looking into professional whitening before my wedding next May.

      1. I also did invisalign — best investment ever. Had no idea how much I pinned my sense of self confidence to straight teeth!


    2. PS – The 2.5 hour-each-way commute for hair is LEGIT! But I get it. Once you find your person / stylist, it’s hard to go anywhere else!

  5. Turns out, my beauty/self-care routine is more high-maintenance than I originally thought it was. I’m choosing to blame it, at least partially, on the fact that I work in the aesthetic industry and have access to products and treatments and providers.

    Hair: I got extensions about 1.5 years ago and am never turning back. It’s a single row that adds incredible volume to my incredibly fine hair. I go every 8 weeks to have them moved up. At every other appointment (so every 16 weeks), we do some color and a trim. I get new ‘hair’ every 1-1.5 years. I had shoulder surgery that failed several years ago, so I have a DryBar membership and don’t wash my own hair. I have trained my hair and only go every 2-3 weeks. I have learned how to make a blowout LAST and also don’t have to buy shampoo/conditioner. I only need minimal styling/care products.

    Nails: I go every couple of months for a pedicure but taught myself to do my nails at home during the pandemic. If I have a special event, I would go to the salon, but manicures are not an enjoyable appointment for me. They always chip and I have a bad shoulder (failed surgery) and wind up in pain. The Dr. Dana nail kit is great if you love shiny nails and don’t want to deal with chipped polish. It takes about ten minutes at home each week. I will occasionally do polish at home also.

    Brows: I tweeze and tint them at home, another pandemic skill I learned. It saves time and money. I also figured out how to tint my lashes. I don’t do it often but each time I do it, I always question why I waited so long.

    Skin Treatments: Diamond Glow facials every 1-2 months, sometimes with dermaplane and/or jelly mask. Botox every 3 months. I am doing everything in my power to avoid a facelift as long as possible and will likely start incorporating some filler within the next year or so. Prejuvenation and prevention is key!

    Skincare: Cerave cleanser (x2 morning and x2 night), Vitamin C serum (am), Cerave baby moisturizer (am + pm- it’s SO much more luxurious feeling than you would expect with HA & Ceramides), Tretinoin (pm), colorescience spf always and forever. I also make sure to get my skin check every year with my dermatologist.

    Body Hair Maintenance: laser hair removal pretty much from the neck down. I have had enough treatments that my hair growth is significantly slowed but not gone. When I find the time, I’ll book more sessions and get a longer-lasting result.

    Dental: I am very cavity-prone, so I pay extra to get my teeth cleaned every 3 months along with fluoride varnish and prescription fluoride toothpaste. I still get cavities but they are caught much earlier. I floss at least 2x daily, use my high-quality electric toothbrush at least 2x daily for at least 3min each time, and never rinse after spitting out my toothpaste. I’d love to get whitening, but every time I have tried it, I cry and stop because of how sensitive my teeth are.

    I do get samples, free, and discounted products that I occasionally will test and try but very rarely does something become a permanent part of my routine.

    All-in, this equates to approximately 12 skincare appointments each year, 4 hair appointments, 20 DryBar appointments, 6 pedicures, and then the occasional bonus appointment/treatment.

    Sidenote to Jen- if you are interested in trying Radiofrequency Microneedling and/or a custom PRP Skincare product, let me know. I oversee Marketing for my company and would love to have you try our treatments and products 🙂

    1. Wow! So impressed with how well you take care of yourself in each and every avenue — this is incredible! Thanks for sharing your rundown.


  6. Hi Jenn,
    As always, thank you for sharing with all of us. I was intrigued about other people’s regimens but your article actually touched on something I’ve been wondering about. I recently ordered the caffeine eye cream you recommended and then offered it to my husband one morning to try out. He was completely puzzled and walked away. So here’s my question; how often do you share products with your partner and how did that start. We are a pretty divided household here with our grooming products.

    1. Hi! We haven’t really shared skincare products until maybe a year ago. He usually buys his own products — not sure how he finds and decides what he needs! — but one day, he asked if I had any face wash, or could buy him some, and I said “Oh yes, I have a huge back log,” and now we are testing them alongside one another each night. From that point one, I just started shuffling other products his way. He’s a willing guinea pig, but wouldn’t proactively seek them out himself!


  7. Gosh, this is all making me want to take better care of myself! Before moving to my rural hometown and having a baby, I would have my brows shaped and tinted monthly (always when I got paid, like a little pat on the back), and my hair cut every ten weeks. Now, I have a nine month old and have only had one haircut since he was born, and haven’t had my brows done since well before he was born. Partially it’s because of the time commitment, but also because I haven’t found the energy to try different beauty therapists. I have to admit that I feel sloppy – I wear make up much less frequently, rarely blow dry my hair, and pregnancy and postpartum has gifted me with volatile, sensitive skin, so my once-loved six step morning skincare routine has been reduced to Cerave, basic moisturiser, and sunscreen.
    I can also attribute the pivot in my beauty routines to a total change in lifestyle: from bustling metropolitan life, to a quiet country pace. From working for a creative company in a creative but corporate office, to mothering at home. Now my big self care indulgence is weekly reformer pilates classes.

    That all said, I do have a great new local hair stylist, so this post may serve as a reminder to book the cut and colour I badly need! Perhaps then I’ll work up the energy (and the courage!) to find a new brow expert.

    1. Hi Amy! Your note, and another Magpie’s comment below, reminded me of how life moves in seasons. There have been times where I’ve also been far more minimal, and times where I’ve had the latitude to do more, in the self-grooming department. It makes me feel reassured that nothing is forever. Everything is a phase! I love that you’re leaning into this current season!

      Also LOVE the idea of getting your brows done when you get paid! Such a clever micro-reward / way to celebrate hard work done!


    2. Hi Amy,

      I used to have a brow girl right by my office and would pop by on a break. During the pandemic, I taught myself to tint them and it’s incredibly easy! I now do my mom’s brows too, We use the RefectoCil and originally bought a starter kit. We use the light brown color and I have black for tinting my lashes, I have the developer, small glass mixing cup, and brush. They have videos on YouTube and it’s very easy to learn if you struggle to find a brow artist in your new town.

      Best of luck!

      1. Thank you! I may need to investigate this as literal decades of shaping means I can fairly well maintain my brow shape by myself, but it’s the tint that scares me! Thanks for the intel and vote of confidence x

  8. Wow loved this post!! Bookmarked and added several comments to my Notes app for future thought!

    It took me a long time to get back into taking care of myself. A few of your posts on allowing life to happen, even in the mundane tasks actually helped me shake my routine to make it easier. For example, I love to start the week with an everything shower but Sundays are always tough to carve out a pocket of time for myself: football Sundays, beach Sundays, running errands/meal prepping Sundays and I also just love to cook a “feast” of a meal and spend time with my family before starting the week. I started waking up a little earlier on Monday mornings (I WFH so it’s not too stressful), I start the masks/oils/potions part and after dropping my daughter to school, I finish off with the shower, I LOVE this new routine but it took me a long time to change it just bc I felt like this had to be done on a Sunday! Sometimes I am so rigid with myself for no reason ha!

    On another note – I would LOVE a similar post on how do you/Magpies get things done (inspired by your latest reel that showed a snapshot of your to-do lists and notebooks!) How do we all manage all of the life administration that comes with being home owners/parents/scheduling meaningful time/keeping on time of any new items/ remembering to change the air filters and then adding that as a yearly reminder on whatever app, etc etc etc etc!!! I would love to gather the wisdom from this fabulous and knowledgable group!!

    1. I love that idea, Rayna!! Personally I use Google calendar for recurring things (not the tasks settings, just as normal events) and I am meticulous about proper subject lines for easy searchability. So my recurring things are tax stuff, cleaning the washing machine, making force of nature, paying bills the first Monday of the month (total list is in the event title so I don’t miss any) and quartermaster tasks (ordering diapers and household cleaners, big grocery delivery to restock drinks, beer delivery, selling old baby clothes and buying new ones). I restock: our coffee cupboard, the bin our occasional housekeeper uses, office supplies. I like to keep stocks low and rely on a recurring “reorder point” because we have a small space. My college supply chain class comes in handy!

      I’ve used Evernote as a paid user for well over a decade, and I use the notes and web clipper a ton. Pinned at the top is my buy list/in search of/incoming packages/outbox list. I track stuff I want or need to buy (Christmas gifts get their own note every year until stuff is actually ordered). And the top has alternatives to purchase when I feel the itch: reorganize the Tupperware drawer or linen closet, do a face mask, get a blowout. It’s helped reduce my impulse purchases. That, and seeing the tasks in terms of getting rid of stuff in the same place helps be thoughtful about the flow.

      Other running list: “Lastnane Talking Points,” shamelessly cribbed from Jen!

      I use Trello for project managing our ongoing short term:long term projects. The family (kids/health/paperwork/goals)have a board and so does our apartment.

      I use Paprika 3 recipe manager for storing all recipes I use, and Bring! As our grocery list (though my brother uses the same manager with it’s built-in AnyList integration).I change my favorites in order to highlight what I’m going to make next. Before that, u used two Safari tab groups on my phone (Recipes and Food This Week) and just moved tabs between them.

      I’m a huge Pinterest user just to save every single image/item with a source, it’s been over a decade,

      1. I knew you’d have some great insights and ideas here!! Love that STPs made the cut 🙂


    2. Rayna, I so relate to you making a rule about self-care Sundays and then having a hard time breaking it / changing it up. Can’t tell you how often I imagine rules for myself that literally no one else knows or cares about! I guess a product of being disciplined!

      Love the suggested post on getting things done. I’ll share my process in an upcoming post!


  9. My routines have ebbed and flowed with early motherhood but I prioritize hair cuts, balayage and brows every 12 weeks. Rarely do I get manicures but pedicures every 4 weeks in summer (I live in the Midwest). Massages and facials maybe twice a year each and just started Botox a few months ago, I’ve never done laser hair removal or bikini waxing out of fear but I might just be brave after reading some of these posts!

    1. I think you’ll love the laser if you go that direction! Thanks for sharing this rundown!


  10. So fun reading about the routines and must-dos of others. A good massage is top of my list. Botox 2x a year (I was having to go a lot more until I found Foxhall Derm). Clear and Brilliant Laser (it’s so gentle as lasers go, but effective) in the fall. Sunscreen on my face always. I wish I was better with a nighttime routine, but if I have a clean face, I call it good. I mostly do my own nails and pedicures. Highlights every 12 plus weeks. Toner in between appointments. I get cuts every 6 weeks (with color appointments) as my hair grows so quickly.

    1. Cuts every six weeks! I’m so impressed, and sort of chastised?, by that! I think I need to revisit my indolence on the hair cuts…maybe why hair would just generally look better if I had more frequent trims.


  11. Love these comments! I wish I enjoyed the nail salon more, as a I love having my nails painted but can never seem to relax in there. I’ve given myself at home manicures since high school, and I’ve started doing Dazzle Dry manicures at home, as regular polish just chips so quickly. Rarely get my hair cut (2-3x a year). I did splurge on laser for my bikini, stomach (was self conscious about hair on my “happy trail” for EVER) and full legs and I can’t believe I spent so much money and TIME getting bikini waxes when I could have done this years ago! Not “grooming” but my two other self-care non-negotiables are therapy and acupuncture.

    1. Acupuncture! Tell me more? I’m so curious about this.

      Strongly agree on the laser for bikini line – wish I’d done a lot sooner!


  12. Oh this is so fun!

    I get bikini waxes on a monthly basis and have since my senior year of high school. I will go more frequently in the summer months. At this point I’ve definitely spent more than what laser would cost, but I just haven’t found the time to commit to it. A “task” for next winter! I also will always spend money on my nails — I do SNS dip and go about 1x month, depending on my travel/events schedule.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty low maintenance: half balayage 1x year to blend a streak of grey & turn my dark brown hair into a more summery brown. One splurge that I think is all the way worth it is the Farmacy brand makeup remover balm. It’s expensive, but nothing truly gets my face clean like that!

  13. Fun question and I’m interested in hearing what your readers say. I’m much older than you at 61, and require a lot of maintenance. I get a mani every 2 weeks and a pedi every 4-6 weeks depending on the time of the year.
    Hair color and highlights every 6 weeks. Professional
    blow-outs whenever I can justify it. I started getting them for special occasions during the 80s when I was in my 20s. Waxing, I go as needed for lip, jaw, and bikini.
    Finally, I started doing Botox about 3 years go and get it done 4 times a year. I feel like I have some type of beauty appt every single week.

    1. “I feel like I have some type of beauty appt every single week” — yes! A lot of maintenance!!

      Thanks for sharing your routine.


  14. I am really enjoying reading these comments! Wellness/self-care icebreakers. I would say I am a minimalist. No manis or pedis. A career in healthcare and interests in painting, printmaking and running preclude any sort of nail upkeep. I get my hair cut 4x/year; it’s strawberry blonde and I have never colored it, so upkeep is pretty simple. My husband is an artist; I am lucky in that he can wield scissors as well as paintbrushes, so he is in charge of bang trims. My brows are pale and I have never fussed with them. I do spend time, energy and $ on skincare (great derm!), cryotherapy, infrared saunas, and Pilates. I was a licensed massage therapist for many years (gave up my license during COVID) but still do weekly massage swaps with my massage friends.

    1. Love this insight – so amazing that you were a massage therapist and have a community to “swap” with! Wow! Your husband must be thrilled by this talent of yours!


  15. Loved reading this! It’s so interesting to me what other people do for “upkeep” and also to just feel good about themselves. I love the fact that you inherited your weekly manicure love from your mom! I’m a minimalist with hair and makeup, but I am devoted to my skincare routine, which, though not complicated, is a must in my book. My husband calls it “greasing my face”;-) I also invested in the Lumi laser hair removal device, with which I’ve had success. I don’t know if dry brushing is a gimmick, but I’ve been doing it for years and feel my skin has never been softer, and it has a sort of defining effect, too, which I like. Though this is not grooming, per se, one of my most treasured self-care rituals is half an hour alone in the morning to do Pilates or go for a walk. It’s for my body, yes, but for my mind, too. Writing this out, I feel I may be more high maintenance than I thought…

    1. Agree! I have been eagerly awaiting the comments – so interesting to learn about how and why we prioritize certain parts of self-maintenance, you know?

      I’ve had a dry brush in my drawer for years now and this might be the push to finally integrate it into my routine! How often do you use? When? Before or after shower?


      1. I try to use it daily (2 minutes) before I shower. I was skeptical at first, having seen endless people promoting it on social media, but it really is a nice ritual and I like the effect. Hope you do, too, if you try!

  16. I’m more of a minimalist with makeup and nails but I absolutely LOVE massages. I started getting monthly prenatal massages when I was pregnant with my daughter 7 years ago (I still find it so interesting how they can massage you so well while you are laying on your side instead of face down!). On average I now get them maybe every 2 months rather than monthly. I could skip a facial anytime in favor of a massage if I had to choose. There’s something about a facial that is somehow more… intimate (?) than a massage. The aesthetician’s face is so close to yours and she’s really scrutinizing your pores! It can be so unnerving for some reason. But yes I will lay on a massage table practically naked, haha!

    1. So with you on the massage and wish I did it more often! I am generally pretty self-conscious but something about laying on a massage table makes me feel completely comfortable, almost like I’m by myself?! I have a helpful mental block around this that enables me to really enjoy a massage.


  17. I do a lot of “external” maintenance mainly because I am so busy at home with three kids that I am horrible at keeping up with any sort of routine. I do have time when they are in school during the day, so I set myself up to not have to do much at home, if that makes sense. I have very thick dark brown hair that I have colored every 5 weeks, and adding express salon keratin treatments a few years ago absolutely changed my hair. It blow dries super fast and I only wash once a week. I have dip done on my
    nails about every two weeks, but a natural color so if I need to let them go longer I can and the growth isn’t noticeable. I get lots (lots!!) of Botox because I am just naturally wrinkly but I like to think no one can tell. Hyrdafacial every 6 weeks or so and Retin A and sunscreen & Cerave for skincare. I pluck my own brows after being burned by wax for once; I’ve never recovered!

    1. Ahh! Were you literally burned or did they mess with your brow shape?! Both would be traumatizing. Also, more natural brows are in so I feel like we have a lot of leeway in that grooming category…

      I’ve heard such good things about keratin and am mesmerized by the promise of a fast blow dry and once-a-week wash. Wow! That sounds worth it.

      Thanks for sharing your routine! So interesting!


  18. Love this! The maintenance has gotten terribly tedious as I’ve inched closer to 50. My hair became fully grey early on (stress?) and now must be colored every five (!) weeks. Who has that kind of time? Me, apparently. This means I have had to sadly let my manicure routine go as I do not have time and $$$ for both. Manis are now for special occasions only and I am grateful that naked nails seem to be on trend at the moment, I treat myself to blowouts a few times a month and I’m not precious about where I go. I have VERY difficult curly hair and can walk into any Hair Cuttery and still leave with a better blowout that I can do at home. Great use of $35 and it’s such a pick me up. I love brow laminating but I never seem to make time for it, ditto for brow grooming. I will not allow myself a brow wax after too many bad experiences so I insist on having them plucked when I get them groomed/shapped. Painful but less prone a surprisingly bad result. After bikini waxing every six weeks for all of my adult life, I have finally gotten on the laser and train and ladies, please be aware that laser hair removal does not work on, ahem, grey hair. I am full of regret that I didn’t do this sooner. JUST DO IT NOW. I have a fantasy that there is one place – like a grooming supercenter – I could go every month and just get everything done at once……

    1. The grooming supercenter is brilliant! Love that idea. I think if a reputable brow spot was next door to my nail salon, I’d go much more frequently. It just feels like another chore / errand to eat up part of my day — vs. nails, which feels like a non-negotiable part of my weekly routine. So odd how we develop these allegiances and priorities.


    2. Dysport injections every 3 months (since age 39), hair color touch up every 4-6 wks, hair trim 3-4x/yr, facials with dermaplane every 6-10 wks, pedis every couple of weeks during sandal season/before beach vacations only, manis reserved for the most special occasions: 1-2x yr max, brow wax every 6-8 wks. Minimal daily routine at home: moisturizer twice daily, 5 min. makeup routine, showers with hair wash, shaving as needed, and no blow dry or styling products. Have and need to regularly use retinol and teeth whitener.

      The regular facial has become a self care practice and was added because it made sense in context of the dermaplane expense and time…, I do not like having hair on my jawline. I find facials more relaxing than a massage— I’m not thinking about where I’m being touched— I’m just in bliss. I hold a lot of tension in my face. I do not have the patience for regular manicures at this point in my life, but I plan to make it part of the routine when I have more time on my hands!

      1. Teeth whitening — need to get into a more regular routine with that. Thanks for the reminder. Do you have a favorite brand? Also so intrigued by no blow dry or styling products! Tell me more! Does your hair naturally dry well, or do you find hot tools harms the hair, or?

  19. I’m a grooming minimalist (never get manicures, pedicures maybe once a year, don’t touch my brows, usually just wear mascara only, no facials). A lot of this stems from privilege- my brows are so light in color they aren’t even really visible, hence no need to groom them. My skin is generally clear without much intervention. Instead I focus most of my money and attention on body function maintenance, by which I mean regular massages and physical therapy. They aren’t cheap both in terms of money and time, but they are what I need to feel good in my body. If I feel good on the inside, then I feel good on the outside.

    1. Love this routine and all of the talk about massages is making me want to invest more regularly in it. It does make me feel like a better version of myself, and it’s heaven on my sore muscles!


  20. This is such a timely post for me! We moved cross country a few months ago and between settling everyone into our new home and environment (schools, pediatricians, dentists oh my!), comforting my eldest child who had a lot of difficulty with the move and worrying about an ailing father far away (sandwich generation here!) all of my grooming and personal care went straight to the bottom of the list. I finally made an appointment to get my hair cut and colored last week and it gave me such a psychological lift! It is the cliche we all know – put on your air mask first – but how many of us do it? My appointment last week, coupled with this post has inspired me to seek out a new manicurist, and botox (I enjoy inherited marionette lines!) which were my staples before moving. Being a shadow of myself can’t be of service to anyone.

    1. Deirdre, this statement stopped me in my tracks: “Being a shadow of myself can’t be of service to anyone.” Adding to my iPhone Notes (where I keep a list of affirmations, a-ha statements and such). Thank you for this!

        1. Yes! For me it worked well. Initially I went every three months (just once), then 6 months and eventually annually. It really made a difference for me and I need to find a new provider to resume my schedule. I previously just used my regular dermatologist. I spent a long time hating mine before I went for it and no regrets whatsoever!

  21. Something I started four years ago(I’m much older) is having Botox on the area beside my eyes. Just a bit keeps my eyes from squinting shut when I smile. It is pretty amazing the difference it makes. I was not a Botox user for other things, But this turned out great! Another thing I do every six weeks or so is microdermabrasion. My skin looks brighter and feels softer. Plus I’m convinced skin accepts products better when regularly tended.

    1. “I’m convinced skin accepts products better when regularly tended” — so fascinating, and has me reflecting on my own skincare. Thanks for sharing your regimen!


    2. Seconding microdermabrasion! My husband and I got it regularly before our wedding, it reduced big lines and we absolutely glowed. It was a “medical” dermatology nurse, not a facial, and it was the tiny spinning machine kind, not a flat blade.

      1. Kelly, I bet you were a beautiful bride! I forgot to mention that the microdermabrasion I get is multi step. After the exfoliation, there is a serum infusion with a little sucking device. Actually, it feels like the device first sucks every spot on my face, then goes back and reverses itself injecting the good stuff into my skin. She also does that last part on my hands. It does not hurt at all, but feels funny, Like a tiny, powerful, elephant is sucking your skin. Hard to explain. The results are good.

        1. That’s so sweet Marsha, thank you! I felt beautiful and like myself, which was my hope. It’s somehow been nearly 7 years, which is how long we were together before we got married, and yet somehow this phase has flown by.

          If anyone in Austin or LA is seeking microdermabrasion, this is who we used:
          We actually didn’t use any serums at the same time since my skin is incredibly sensitive, just applied Timeless squalane when we got home.

      2. Color me intrigued…I feel like I need to step up my game in the facial skincare treatment department.


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