Is the wellness category a bunch of BS? Founder Cassandra Grey shares her guide to feeling good inside, outside, and everywhere.
What the fu&k does wellness mean anyway? When I Googled it, the first thing that came up was Goop’s LA Wellness Weekend Itinerary which is very thorough and worth the read if you want to spa and sweat in LA. Wikipedia defines it as “an umbrella term for pseudoscientific health interventions.” Huh? When I hear wellness, it immediately conjures up Yoga Mom dangling around the bar at Erewhon. Then I think to myself, Should I be doing more yoga? (Gasp.) Do I need to give up Diet Coke? (Eh, unlikely.) Fast Company says wellness is a $4.2 trillion global industry. The largest segment of the category: You guessed it—beauty, personal care, and anti-aging products and services. Which brings us to why I’m writing today.
When our VIOLET GREY editors told me we had to curate wellness, I was a little resistant. “Isn’t wellness just a made-up marketing term used to capitalize on the popular trend of taking better care of ourselves? Isn’t that world oversaturated already?”
It turns out this is exactly why we needed a wellness edit—to weed out the BS and approve only the stuff that truly delivers goodness. Enter our first wellness edit, just eight months ago. It quickly became the most searched category on violetgrey.com, and we now get new wellness product submissions daily. I’ve come to learn this isn’t just a trend; it’s a lifestyle. And not an all-or-nothing one. At VIOLET GREY, we’ve come to identify this world as Wellness Flex, as Millennials call it. Basically, this means we take care of ourselves, we feel (and look!) great, but we don’t feel bad if we have the occasional Diet Coke or eat an entire bag of salt and vinegar potato chips.
Because let’s face it: Maintaining a wellness lifestyle can be overwhelming, expensive, and, at times, even unsexy. I personally find wellness extremists unlikable. I know we think we want to be that person who meditates every day, always recycles, and never drinks from plastic straws or uses a disposable diaper. Someone who does hot yoga, pilates, and yogalates, sips celery juice, gets regular colonics, cryo, acupuncture, and hyperbaric chamber treatments, and frequents wellness retreats where lunch consists of six raw almonds. And, of course, doesn’t eat gluten, sugar, or meat unless it was grass-fed on a farm next to the restaurant. But does anyone want to hang out with this person? Not me.
So how does the person who drinks black coffee and spends days in bed eating popcorn and Junior Mints watching Law & Order (aka ME) do wellness? Baby steps. This well-balanced life you imagine for yourself all starts in bed with an effective sleep routine. Here’s how I’m doing it:
I read somewhere that Tom Ford bathes three times a day and likes to sip on a tall glass of iced espresso while in his morning bath (he apparently doesn’t like warm drinks). This kind of imagined glamour is what motivates me to get in the bath every night. While I don’t suggest espresso at night, I do like the idea of drinking a tall glass of iced cucumber water. Add Susanne Kaufman’s St. John’s Wort bath for a natural mild sedative effect (no prescription required). St. John’s wort extract is calming, helps with anxiety and insomnia, and also soothes sore muscles and stomach cramps. Oh, and I like to meditate for 20 minutes while in the bath. My shrink, Dr. Stutz (expensive but worth it) recommends the golden light meditation.
This pro device for home use is invented by Dr. Dennis Gross, the guy I call can’t-get-an-appointment-Dr.Gross. But this thing is like an appointment at home. It delivers micro-steam technology which infuses skin with hydration while it detoxifies, leaving an immediate healthy, dewey “wellness” glow that I am obsessed with.
Fact: Technology kills your sleep. Avoid a restless night from blue light and overstimulation by setting your devices in another room. It’s hard at first, but it really is revolutionary. Arianna Huffington wrote an entire book about it titled The Sleep Revolution.
As legend has it, Diana Vreeland injected perfume in her pillows with a syringe. I love this so much. My take on it is misting The Nue Co.’s Functional Fragrance in my black Slip pillowcase. It’s a woody, spicy, smoky blend designed specifically to reduce stress-and it works. Stress is what keeps me up at night.
Dr. Barbara Sturm’s skin care is a necessity in my wardrobe, and her Sleep Food supplement is no exception. Take two capsules with water an hour before bed and reap the benefits of deep sleep. You’ll wake up looking well-rested which, when you are over 30 and/or have children, is hard to achieve without a little help.
Hollywood has skin guru Joanna Czech on speed dial. Fortunately, her face-massaging instrument gives you comparable results at home-she recommends just three to seven minutes with it at night. I like to apply a few drops of Dr. Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum and use the roller to help it penetrate deep into my skin.
Dry ashy feet aren’t cute. My feet get dry real quick if I don’t pay attention to them every single day. I suggest using African Botanics’ Revitalizing Therapy Gel. The formula promotes circulation, reduces swelling, and delivers a cooling feeling.