With the first very cool morning of autumn, came the reminder and inspiration to slather my body, including my flip-flop wearing feet, in the richness of Nivea. My skin soaked in the luxury and has been thanking me since. Today was day 3 of the post-shower ritual and already I feel different. My routines are far from routine, and yet this simple and quick practice makes such a difference. I wouldn’t dream of or be able to skip this step on my face, and yet I neglect the rest of my skin on a regular basis. An eye doctor recently told me that I had the kind of complexion that loves and responds well to exfoliation. In his view, I would look so much more attractive if I remembered that small truth. After many laughs about this salient advice, not from my dermatologist but from an eye surgeon whom I hadn’t before met, I pulled my exfoliant from the linen closet and have been using it since. He was right, my skin does indeed look healthier and more vibrant after a season in the sun. And so, as I considered myself from the neck down, I pulled the almost-new pump bottle of lotion from the archives of the very same linen closet.
Like my shower curtains and linens, I like to change my bathrobes and lotions with the seasons. I reach for the lightness of a citrus scented, silky lotion and a cool cotton short robe for the post-day-at-the-beach shower. In the fall and winter months, I veer more towards the thick and healing formulae of the Nivea and Keri labels, donning the more fleecy, full length robe. By springtime, I dapple with the comfort of a spa style waffle and sesame oil, the nutty base sensual in an Asian cuisine kind of way.

As I slipped into the coziness of my bathrobe this morning, I enjoyed the scented hint left from the balm of yesterday’s Nivea treat. That simple smell urged me on and I felt compelled to hit the pump again today. Years ago during an Auyervedic cleanse, I learned that the skin, a partner of the lungs, is one of our largest and most important organs for detox and health. At that time, I regularly used a body brush on my dry skin before stepping into tepid water and bathing with a wonderfully light lavender castile soap. All of that dusty knowledge is now reemerging into my days. It all started with a squirt of lotion. Perhaps it’s time to buy myself a fresh new brush. I’ll surely remember to direct the long arm of the scrubber towards my heart so that as I slough the dead skin, the energy and lymph systems will be manipulated and massaged by the strong bristles of the head, offering an extra bonus.

Each time I bathe my boys and dress their delicious little selves into pjs, I savor the smells of the lotions and oils that seal in their innocence, purity and loveliness. Memories of our lives together float by as I steal a whiff of the familiar. The marriage between nose and scent is powerful and even, at times, transcendent. One afternoon years ago, I crossed paths with an older woman in an elevator. I was immediately transported back to my grandmother’s side and home, even though she had died when I was but a rising seven year old. When I thanked the stranger for the sensory gift, she smiled and in her Irish brogue told me that she had been using Ponds and Jergens since she was a young girl. And so a bridge to my grandmother was built in a single, unexpected moment.

This October, and ideally beyond, I will allow myself the luxury of rejuvenating my skin. I once heard that it takes a mere few days to solidify a habit. In that case, may this renewed discipline be unforgettable by month’s end. May I enjoy those extra few moments in my bathrobe as my body drinks in the added moisture. The forced pause that insinuates no force. Interesting, isn’t it? That body lotion could actually be linked to the speed at which we travel through our days?
Whatever the mood, the skin type or the age, let a lotion of choice offer some youth, some relaxation and, ultimately, some comfort as you acknowledge yet another call to action from your body.

-Carol

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