Advice From The Aisles: 18 Things I've Learned as a Wellness Stocker (and I want you to know!)

Hailey Neal, Wellness Department


Hello all! Usually I don’t write these in the first person but since this will be my last one I wanted to add a more personal note. This is the last week of my tenure in the City Market Wellness Department (over two years!) and while it’s been a pleasure to serve our fabulous customers and be a part of this unparalleled co-op community, I’m off to the Big Apple for a new adventure! In my time here, I’ve heard every kind of question (“Does this work?” “What price are the tomatoes?”) but most frequently it seems to boil down to, what works, what’s the best deal, and how can I up my wellness routine? 

The reason we make ourselves available to you from 8am (and sometimes earlier) till 10pm is because we really know our stuff and we know you want candid, reliable advice on your wellness decisions. There’s almost always someone to tell you if that one Vitamin D3 is a better buy or what shelf-stable probiotics are the most potent. Unfortunately, however, there’s not always time to impart two years’ worth of wisdom in the time it takes to snag a shampoo. That’s why I’ve come up with 18 things I consider useful information for a wellness consumer. Consider it a manifesto. Consider it a parting gift. And, of course wherever you go, whatever you do, be well, and I will too!

1. Oil cleansing is literally face magic. Take it from someone who has tried every kind of acne treatment. This stuff helps your face naturally regulate its oil production and helps break down all that gunk that’s clogging up your beautiful pores. I don’t know how everybody’s not doing it. Try the Badger face cleansing oils, or, just good old fashioned jojoba oil and try steaming your face first for the full spa treatment. 

2. You don’t need to buy fancy eye creams or dry-spot treatments. We have some pretty fabulous eye treatments (i.e. Suki’s ‘eye lift renewal’) but really, I’ve found that an all-purpose healing salve or body butter can work in much the same way. I’m totally in love with Nourish’s Argan Body Butter which is a mixture of argan and shea and smells like an ice cream cone. Basically rub it anywhere where you could use a little extra moisture, from your dry feet to your eyelids. 

3. When it comes to soap buy it clean, simple, and buy a lot of it. I never understood why soap would need to have a thousand ingredients in it. If you apply water to it and it cleans your body, I feel like it’s doing its job, which I usually like to go for something simple, that I don’t have to relace too often, and I know is made with natural ingredients. Done, and done. I had a bottle of Alaffia’s Lavender Body Wash for a whole year before it ran out and I loved using it every time knowing that the proceeds from my purchase went to supporting women’s shea cooperatives in Togo, Africa. 

4. Scrubs will destroy your razor burn.  Immediately after you shave try scrubbing the area with a scrub. It will exfoliate and moisturize at the same time leaving your skin, arguably, softer than it’s ever been before. This has been my secret weapon since middle school and it’s still going strong. Just make sure not to apply it first as the oil will clog up your razor blade. 

5. Try a Himalayan Salt Lamp instead of candles for a safer, cheaper alternative. Himalayan salt lamps are a low-maintenance alternative to candles which need to be monitored and replaced often, plus they make your room feel like a magical mermaid cavern. It’s basically a dream. 

6. Do not use henna over chemical dye! And vice versa. Henna and chemical dye don’t mix. They will literally burn your hair and the color is not going to be what you expected. You have been warned.

7. Bubble baths are more fun. Why go through all the effort of drawing a bath, and, let’s be honest, cleaning the tub, if you’re not going to get bubbles in the end. Choose bubbles, not bath salts? 

8. Olbas Oil will wake you up. Rubbing a little bit of this under my nose has been my number one secret on sluggish nights. It’s just as good as a shot of expresso. OK, I’m exaggerating, but it’s still pretty good. 

9. Dry shampoo will make you feel like a person again. Don’t use owning dry shampoo as an excuse not to shower as much. OK, do. Hey, it’s eco-friendly?

10. You can basically throw out everything for a big tub of coconut oil. Coconut oil can be a great face wash, face moisturizer, body moisturizer, hair mask, personal lubricant, and cooking staple. And that is just naming a few. 

11. Himalayan tea light holders are the best birthday presents. They’re only 4.99 but they are super hefty and beautiful and look way more expensive! Your friend will be like, “whoa, you shouldn’t have,” and you’ll be like, “that’s just how much I love you.”

12. If you buy one of those African baskets you will use it (and it will make your shopping better). I like the tactile feel of these and the fact that I can lay my food out all nice in the bottom and gaze at it as I stand in-line. It’s definitely an incentive to use less plastic bags if you have something to carry your groceries that’s actually fun to use!

13. The best product by Suki is by far and away the foaming exfoliating cleanser. Go. If you buy nothing else for the rest of your life, go and buy it. Use it. Love it. Be fabulous. 

14. Dr. Hauschka is a slippery slope into divinity (and bankruptcy). Everything you buy from Dr. Hauschka will be worth the money and you’ll be ruined for everything else from there on after. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

15. John Masters is the only hair-care line you need. Their hair spray can do instant wonders for a flat do and their bourbon-vanilla hair cream is basically like a stiff drink for an uninspired do. Don’t know what I mean? You will. 

16. Men and women do not need to use different products. They’re all made from the same stuff, basically. Just sayin’. There’s a whole world of lavender out there that you gents have been missing out on. 

17. The five most important supplements you can be taking are fish oil, probiotics, wheat grass, bitters, and turmeric. You thought I was going to say multi-vitamin, didn’t you. I’m not allowed to make claims about any of the products but buy these and take them for a month, I dare you. 

18. Seriously, go to the doctor.  We love that we can offer you a space where you can access the wonderful power of natural medicinal, but just remember, our wellness staff, while super knowledgeable about the products, are not medical professionals. We’re legally restricted from saying anything, basically, that isn’t already printed on the box. So, if you’re not sure if mug wort is going to fix that weird foot thing you’ve got going on, neither are we.