A few months ago, I stopped drinking coffee. It's not that I don't love the morning ritual, it's that my baseline anxiety is so high I can essentially run on pure adrenaline from the moment I wake up until around 1 a.m., when I will then drift in and out of consciousness mentally reviewing my to-do list for the next day. Stress is my modus operandi — I could fuel a train with the stuff.
Between the deadlines, the crowded subways, and a propensity to get lost in the throes of WebMD hypochondria, I'm willing to try just about anything to curb it. Acupuncture? Sign me up. Yoga? I'm there. A sugar scrub? Get me a bucket. So the Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief Eucalyptus Spearmint Sugar Scrub was first on my to-try list after a particularly stressful day (and a glass or two of wine, but that's neither here nor there). I really, really wanted it to work, so I went all in. I dimmed the lights, lit candles — whatever I could do to help the process.
When you crack open the jar, the first thing that hits you is the fragrance, and here's the thing: I love the smell of eucalyptus, and I love the smell of spearmint. Separately. Together, however, they're a bit like that body-spray-slash-deodorant your high school boyfriend wore. But I'm a firm believer in the power of essential oils, so if the combo of the two scents is going to shave off even 10 percent of my anxiety I will inhale it until I pass out from the fumes or, God willing, drift into deep relaxation. In my defense, the instructions do say to "Breathe deeply for best results."
The scrub felt great. Every rough patch on my body — knees, elbows — was smoothed by the coarse sugar. It left a bit of an oily film on my body (and all over my tub, so if you live alone and don't have Life Alert make sure you have something to grab onto when you climb out of the shower), but the oil was absorbed within half an hour and left my skin feeling silky and hydrated — no different from applying body oil after bathing. The smell definitely lingered for a few hours after my shower, but it was actually kind of relaxing while I was drifting off to sleep. Was I able to totally de-stress and find nirvana? No. But I definitely had a much better sense of well-being. My muscles were relaxed and I was able to close my eyes and breathe, if only for a minute or two.
The Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Body Scrub is a 2020 Allure Readers' Choice Award winner. See the complete list of this year's winners here.