A Culture Editor’s Impulse Buys: $200 of Potions, Swedish Sweets, and More

It wasn’t so much that I wanted to hibernate in December (and spend all the dollars on quilts, coats, and pillow forts that would have made that happen) as much as I wanted to slather. The weather on the East Coast has been temperate, but the palpable shift in season hit me like a Nor’easter storm. Then it made me crave moisture.

Let me just kick off this tale of ceramides with a disclaimer: I’m in fact not much of an impulse clothes shopper. As the staff of Glamour can attest, I show up to work each week in the same Everlane GoWeave pants, cast of Demylee, AYR, and Vince sweaters, and three Ganni dresses. (I like to repeat outfits so much that 90 percent of photos of me on social media look as though I had them taken on the same afternoon.) But whatever restraint I have when it comes to clothes evaporates in the face of creams, tonics, serums, pastes, and potions of all manner. With a much-anticipated trip to Rome between Christmas and New Year’s, I managed to resist most non–skin-care temptations this month. It is, I think, most chic to indulge on the other side of the Atlantic. But what did I give into? Overpriced oils from Aesop, creams from Ole Henriksen, and a cone of hot roasted chestnuts in half a dozen piazzas in Rome.

Demylee x J.Crew sweater, $138, at jcrew.com

The Sweater I Snapped Up to Wear on the Banks of the Tiber: $138
I’m no influencer, but even I can’t resist the charms of a vacation outfit. I spotted this Demylee x J.Crew sweater while I browsed the retailer’s site in a doctor’s office. Do I know on some level that I look jaundiced in marigold? Yes. But could I resist this adorable balloon-sleeve sweater? No. Before I could overthink it, it was paid for and I had a full photoshoot planned in the shadow of the Pantheon.

The Clutch That I’m Convinced Will Get My Life in Order: $89
Listen, I could draw up a firm budget, become a batch-cooker, clean the bathroom, and organize all the books I own…or I could skip all that and just invest in this “Grand Slim Zip Clutch” that I found on sale at Of a Kind and have since become convinced will transform me, in one brilliant blue instant, into a woman who never forgets to stock up on toilet paper. I picked the clutch.

The Roll-on Oil That’s Supposed to Cure All That Ails Me: $31
I think we’ve established that I’m a sucker for serums and lotions of all kinds, but I have a particular affection for niche products. Think lip plumpers. Bubble masks. Balm cleansers. I had walked into Aesop to pick up a scrub for a friend (her Christmas gift) when I spied a tube labeled “Ginger Flight Therapy.” Packed with ginger, lavender, and geranium, it’s meant to be applied to “neck, temples, wrists, and abdomen in times of stress, nausea, or weariness.” It’s America in 2019! All times are stressful. I had to have it. Weeks later, I’m not quite sure if it has fixed our democratic institutions or the persistent headache I just can’t kick, but it smells delicious.

The Book I’ve Bought for Three Different Friends: $16.80 x 4 = $67.20
I read Educated by Tara Westover in one sublime week in November and gifted it to four friends in December. It’s a beautiful memoir about Westover’s childhood in rural Idaho, her survivalist parents, and what we mean when we talk about the value of an “education.” I’ve never read another book like it, and each time a friend has asked me for a recommendation since, I just order another one from Amazon and have it shipped to her front door.

Of a Kind Gram Slim Zip Clutch, $89, ofakind.com

A Banana-Laced Brightener (and Four More Cosmetic Enhancements I Became Convinced I Needed): $226.47
Until the second I purchased this cheerful Ole Henriksen “crème”, I would have insisted I didn’t believe in the concept. I’ve tended to believe that creams aimed at “fine lines” and “puffed lids” are nice-scented scams. Minuscule quantities of moisture, marked up at an outrageous price! I didn’t want to fall for them. But then I started to see this adorable cream heralded on websites, positioned on store shelves, and hiding in friends’ medicine cabinets. (I peeked! I couldn’t help it.) It’s supposed to brighten dour complexions and make concealer glide over dark circles like a dream. I had to have it. So while I had intended just to restock the liquid liner I’ve used since high school (Stila’s Stay All Day), I somehow ended up at checkout with Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo, my ‘gram-bait Ole Henriksen cream, Tatcha Silk Canvas Protective Primer, Tatcha Water Cream, and a free sample of the Milk Makeup Blur Stick.

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