Come to Your Senses

There is an instant boost lurking in your beauty stash.
Come to Your Senses
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Vain as it may sound, when you look good, you feel good—but cultivating that beauty is an often-forgotten way of improving your mood. If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance you reach for potato chips over perfume when you need an attitude adjustment.

“Eating things that taste good releases the feel-good chemical serotonin in our brains,” says Georgianna Donadio, Ph.D., program director for the National Institute for Whole Health in Wellesley Hills, Mass. “If we could realize that’s the end result we’re after, we could find healthier ways of getting there through our other senses.”

So, instead of rummaging through your pantry, see what’s hiding in your vanity. Indulging your senses of touch, smell and sight with the right beauty products can transform the way you look and feel—and keep you from finishing that bag of chips.

Smooth, steady strokes and silky sensations have a remarkably calming effect on the mind. If you’re feeling stressed or down, have a loved one give you a slow massage with moisturizing oils or an emollient lotion. “The touch of another living being normalizes all of your vital signs,” says Donadio, and also releases the “love hormone” oxytocin in the brain, reducing anxiety and lifting depression. If you want to feel energized, stimulate your body with lots of texture, says Bill Di Stanisloa, director of the spa at Amelia Island Plantation in Florida. Dry brushing with a vegetablefiber loofah encourages lymph flow and helps the body dump toxins. If you start your morning in the shower, use a salt or sugar scrub to slough off dead skin and jump-start circulation. For a more intense awakening, a textured shower mat massages reflexology pressure points in your feet to energize you from toe to head.

Glowology Opulent Body Butter ($18; glowologyskincare .com) is an über-rich cream for parched skin. It’s the perfect consistency for a heavenly massage.
Burt’s Bees Cranberry & Pomegranate Sugar Scrub ($13; is a delicious blend of pomegranate oil and cranberry seeds that will leave your skin soft and glowing.
SpaRitual Infinitely Loving Oil ($28; relieves muscle aches and pains with soothing jasmine extract.
Jurlique Lavender Body Oil ($31; calms and hydrates skin with chamomile, vitamin E and lavender oil. Use in place of your usual moisturizer before you go to sleep.
Pratima Love Oil ($24; pratimaskincare .com) is a sweet and spicy combo of cinnamon and cloves that can be used as a romantic massage oil or for a sensual-smelling soak in your tub.
Noah’s Naturals Natural Age Repair Moisturizing Body Scrub ($11; walmart .com) sloughs off dead cells with brown sugar and leaves skin silky with coconut oil.