Beauty for Burnouts

This series is not for people who feel at home on Instagram. It is also not for people who own a beauty blender—and use it. This series is especially not for people with a healthy, well-rested glow.

“Beauty for Burnouts” is for people who are tired. These people—my people—have bags under their eyes. They might even own a designer bag or two, but that doesn’t matter. They habitually work overtime. These people have scrolled too long on the timeline and have seen soul-numbing news, and somehow they still have responsibilities toward which they drag their listless limbs.

This series introduces Japanese beauty products that keep the exhaustion at bay for 10 to 20 minutes. Inherently affordable, these products cost no more than a cocktail. Indulge in the Japanese art of kaimono (買い物), the traditional practice of exchanging money for goods. Even burnouts deserve brief moments of beauty.

Kao MegRhythm Steam Eye Mask (めぐりズム 蒸気でホットアイマスク)

The Kao MegRhythm Steam Eye Mask offers 20 minutes of relief after a long day of staring at screens. Simply open the package, tear along the perforated line, and place the ear straps around the ears with the colored side facing outwards. Instantly, the soothing, 40°C steam relaxes the eyes as the scent of essential oils wafts through the air.

While spending 20 sublime minutes not staring at a screen, I enjoy listening to a meditation app that tells me how to breathe. I have long suspected that I have known how to breathe since birth, but I purchased this app because I had a few yen left on a gift card and it was cheaper than an mp3. Listening to a calm voice tell me bland nothings as space music plays seems virtuous and modern. Will I achieve enlightenment from this sham spiritual practice? No. Will I forget about politics and the pandemic for a few minutes as synths zoom around my ears and lavender fills my lungs? Absolutely.

The eye mask comes in five scents: lavender, rose, chamomile, yuzu, and unscented. They all smell appropriately calming and are available at most convenience stores and drug stores in Japan. Set aside up to 20 minutes for yourself and even your partner to relax and luxuriously stare at nothing.

Note: Do not use while wearing makeup. While advanced burnouts might fall asleep in their makeup, take a few seconds to wash your face and get rid of that gunk. In addition, do not use immediately after administering eye drops.

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