There’s only so far I’m willing to go to manage my aesthetic. In fact, I think “aesthetic” is probably too extravagant a word for the minimalist, reluctant regimen that I force myself to do every day.

My day starts with my phone alarm going off and me calling it a “fucking tyrant” while I drag myself out of bed. I don’t do snoozing, like some people—I find it just makes me angrier in the long run.

I disrobe in the bathroom and hang my clothes on hooks so I can just decide later what to wash and what to re-wear (like my pajama pants, that go on two seconds after I get home from work).

I shower in about 10-15 minutes, if I’m not dragging ass. Sometimes I’ll just sit in the shower and waste like 10 minutes in the water being sleepy and ornery. If I have to shave my legs, then I don’t have time to dawdle, but it still takes like 15 minutes longer than it normally would. I use Barbasol as my shaving cream because it’s like two bucks, and I’m currently using a Venus razor. I thought the Venus was dumb at first because stuff designed “just for women!” is sometimes a superfluous companion to the original version, but someone gave me one, and it works pretty darn well for me. As for the lady jungle, I try to keep my junk buzzed low with an electric razor so I can just do my bikini line and such when I feel like it. I used to try and keep it all smooth as often as possible, but that mess is way too much work.

I wash my hair, then my face, then condition my hair, and while the conditioner sits, I wash my body. I use Tresemme shampoo, Suave conditioner, Oil of Olay sensitive face wash (with a plain ol’ washcloth for exfoliation; it’s embarrassing how long it took me to figure that out) and whatever soap or body wash we happen to have. I will admit that the way I buy products makes little sense. I never want to spend real money on anything, and I just assume nothing will work the way it’s advertised. I also hate standing in the product aisle for 20 stupid minutes while trying to pick out something to cater to my hair and skin, which, relatively speaking, is not fussy in the first place. I usually wind up buying a brand I trust that’s on sale and does not have an overwhelming smell. That last part is really important, because smelly beauty products make me gag, especially in the morning when I’m slightly queasy from hunger.

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After the shower, I dry off with a single towel and then towel my hair until it’s damp, rather than soaking wet. I put on deodorant; Dove is my favorite. Then I brush my teeth, put on vanilla mint Chapstick (love it), rub a little witch hazel on my face (most days), then get dressed while my face dries a bit. Next, I put some Aveeno lotion on my face; I use this on my face because it has SPF 15 in it. Unfortunately, it’s a tad too greasy for me, and I sometimes have to skip my forehead, or else it makes my bangs stringy and gross halfway through the day. The final “getting ready” step is my hair. I basically just put some Fructis argan hair oil on it (except my bangs), then part it and comb it. It air dries, and I have to comb it again in like 90 minutes as it dries, but it’s not difficult. I have a shoulder-length layer cut with side-sweeping bangs, so it’s like easy mode.

Throughout the day, I sometimes have to put lotion on my elbows, my hands (after every bathroom trip), and, weirdly, on my toes. My toes are dry and they peel. I do not understand it. Maybe it’s because I always wear flats and no socks? I don’t know. I only wear tennis shoes to the gym. (Me and the gym are temporarily on hiatus because I just moved, but I plan to correct that soon).

As for diet and exercise, that stuff is kind of a struggle for me. During the weekends, I usually don’t follow any kind of routine, because I have crappy self-control. During the week, however, I try to keep things consistent. I drink some kind of breakfast drink in the morning (usually Atkins), I eat a meal bar around noon (again, usually Atkins), then I eat whatever is available for dinner. Sometimes it’s a frozen meal, sometimes I cook, but usually it’s just an assortment of things on a plate: some spinach leaves, some garbanzo beans, a few slices of cheese, some tomato juice, bits of avocado. It’s like foraging, only I have no excuse because I’m a grown, 30-yr-old chick. If there’s anything remotely like dessert in the house, such as ice cream bars or spoonfuls of honey and peanut butter, I will have that afterwards.

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For exercise, I do some moderate working out during my lunch break at work every day. It’s not like I go out or anything, and I have an hour to kill, so I find an empty conference room and just do some exercises in my jeans: stretches, jumping jacks, crunches, leg lifts, squats, pushups, etc. It only takes like 20-25 minutes and I get a light sweat on.

After work, I don’t do much in the way of maintenance. Sometimes after a workout or if I don’t have anything better to do, I will do a mask of crushed aspirin, honey and a dash of lemon juice (leave on for 15 minutes and then scrub off). I also keep telling myself I will wash my face every night and use one of the two night creams that I talked myself into buying, but it almost never happens. Some nights I even forget to brush my teeth before bed. Just awful.

Sometimes I wear makeup, but not terribly often. Usually, it’s too time-consuming and not worth the bother. My boyfriend even prefers that I don’t wear makeup, so I just put some on when I’m feeling it. I usually wear eyeliner, eye shadow, liptstick or gloss, and a bit of concealer and powder here and there if needed. Very occasionally, I will use stuff like mascara, lip liner or blush (I have naturally rosy cheeks anyway). I’m pretty lucky as far as my skin goes, and I hate the feeling of too much makeup, so I never wear foundation. Every foundation I’ve ever tried has either felt gross, or looked so eerily unnatural that I just don’t bother anymore. I use drug-store cosmetics because I’m not willing to spend decent money on something I don’t use very often. L’oreal True Match is my favorite concealer, but I’m willing to bend on other types of makeup. I found out the hard way that stuff like Wet ‘n’ Wild is such poor quality as not to be worth it in the long run. I also try to keep my toenails painted, but I’m not terribly picky about those brands either. I’ve tried to keep my fingernails painted in the past, because it’s the only thing that stops me biting them, but once it starts to wear off, I find myself getting right back in the habit again, and I wind up getting into a cycle. The struggle with my habits is real.

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The most hilarious thing to me about this routine I have for myself is that it seems really simple and spartan to me (in comparison to what other ladies do), but when I take time to think about it (or worse, try to explain it to a dude), it actually becomes plain that I do spend a lot of time and effort on this crap—more than I really want to. C’est la vie. When I die, I want to come back as a queen, so other people will do this stuff for me. (Yeah, right.)