Trigger Warning: This piece contains discussion of depression and anxiety.
The idea facial spray is to help de-stress your skin, calm yourself and also help balance your skin through hydration, with a combination of essential oils and fancy French water.
The cheapest item I found was ‘Solace Aromatherapy Body Mist’ from Priceline. It contains lavender and chamomile for sleep but lavender is good for headaches and it smelt better than the other options. This bad boy was $3.00 from Priceline. I have decanted the larger bottle (150ml) in a little bottle that’s now in my bag and I have another on my desk. This was the most pungent of the sprays I trialled, by the smell isn’t bad by any means. It doesn’t make me drowsy and it helps me focus – especially when I feel panicky (exam time) or like crying (all the time). It feels refreshing on the skin and the smell calms me, or at the very least gives the two seconds of “ooh, lavender”. And it’s enough to get me to soldier on for a little longer. It’s cost effective, but it contains alcohol, which dries out the skin.
I also thought I’d give the well-known ‘Avène Eau Thermale’ a try. It’s water. Fancy French water. In a can. I paid money for it. I’d definitely bust this bad boy out for summer; festivals, road trips, etc. It also helped with longer term skin dryness, and calmed my skin down after a hot shower.
The ‘Sukin’ Hydrating Mist Toner contains rose water and chamomile. Sukin is an all-natural range, so I was surprised and disappointed when it caused skin irritation. And I don’t even have super sensitive skin. I wouldn’t use this on exposed or just-out-of-shower skin, however it has a nice, (extremely) floral scent. Spray away the blues. I would also maybe just spritz this onto a pillow when you cry at night – might help getting some snoozes. Retails for $9.95 at Priceline.
So this is my favourite, I’m so excited I can barely type. Puretopia Refresh and Balance Hydrating and Soothing Facial Mist and Toner. Yes, that is the name of this thing. Puretopia is another natural range of skincare, a bit pricier than Sukin. It was $14.95 but 40 per cent off when I purchased mine. It contains aloe, witch hazel, orange, lime and mandarin. It has that nice citrus scent, so it’s not as overpowering as other floral scents. I use this twice a day after my showers; it helps reduce redness and I think it is also helping to clear up my skin. Witch hazel is known for helping skin. The spray definitely felt like a boost when I needed a mid-two-hour-seminar kick – when the walls are closing in, your coffee has gone cold and the lecturer has forgotten to give you a goddamn break. Out of all the products the Puretopia spray has more use rather than just a scented spray. I would highly recommend it as a daily toner as well as a secret weapon for when you need to refocus your mind after a shit day.
And lastly, a similar product, not intended to calm you down, but in my opinion the best travel de-stresser thingy is the ‘MiGrastick’. I had it with me during my exams last semester and I was sitting right in front of an exam invigilator. Every time I used it, I think she thought I was doing drugs or inhaling answers. Awkward.
It is less invasive than a spray because you can roll it onto your temples, neck and wrists rather than assault other people with its blast radius. We all have experiences of having our olfactory sense slightly deadened by someone else’s Lynx or Impulse or some other heavily manufactured shit. Back to the point! The MiGrastick uses peppermint and lavender essential oils. I mostly pick up peppermint. I have found this helps with on-coming headaches; it does help centre you when you begin to feel flustered as well. I will not be going to another exam or test without it. MiGrastick retails for $10, with 100 rolls.
There is no miracle cure for anxiety or depression or panic attacks. Having panic attacks in the middle of work, or an exam really sucks.
We can talk to psychologists and be recommended medication, but sometimes that split second of crumbling, soul destroying panic and anxiety warrants something immediate – something to help refocus. Our sense of smell is very powerful; we know it is our strongest attachment to memory.
Monash University provide services if you have more concerns or need a chat with someone.
Counselling and Emergency service line 1800 350 359 (5pm-9am weeknight and 24 hours weekends)
To make an appointment for free counselling sessions 9905 3020 (all campuses) or drop in, open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
If you wish to seek emergency help outside the university please call
Lifeline 131 114 (24 hour service)