A Dad’s Reaction to a Self-Care Pampering Session


Father’s Day isn’t just a day to celebrate Dad; it’s a day to celebrate all of the men in our lives—uncles, stepdads, father figures, dads that may not be our own. For me, personally, I try to do a little something special for my older brother, Ali, not only for the role he has played in my life, but also since he became a dad himself a little over four years ago (and has a second baby on the way!).

I’ve always valued experiential gifts more than material ones, and this year, I wanted to do something a little different. Work-life balance can seem impossible for parents, resulting in them overlooking the idea of self-care. So this year, as a Father’s Day gift for Ali, I planned our very own pampering sesh at home! A little self-care never hurts, especially when it comes with spending valuable time together, sharing a bit about my routine and getting him out of his comfort zone—sibling bonding at its finest!

Taking his normal routine into consideration, I chose a few products that I knew he’d be familiar with and picked a few new ones for him to experiment with. Here’s what our at-home spa day looked like.

Moon Juice Spirit Dust

What better way to kick off the day than giving his go-to cup of coffee an unexpected, secret wellness ingredient? I’ve recently started incorporating adaptogens into my routine and wanted to introduce him to the concept. So, we started with Spirit Dust aka edible joy, an adaptogenic blend of uplifting super herbs and super mushrooms meant to combat stress, expand peaceful awareness and ultimately, align us with bliss. The perfect way to get us in the proper headspace for a self-care day, right? The sachets were the perfectly exact serving size, and the Spirit Dust mixed into the coffee instantly. Honestly, Ali wouldn’t even have noticed that I added anything had I not mentioned it.

  • His experience with similar products: None
  • His initial thoughts: Mixed into the coffee pretty well, and added a slightly earthy, bitter taste that he didn’t mind.
  • Would he do it again? Hard to say if the mood boost was the Spirit Dust or caffeine, but he’s “down to try it again”.

Boscia Pore Purifying Charcoal Strips

After getting our caffeine fix, we moved on to something we’re both familiar with, so no surprises here. Applying the strips was all too familiar. We wet our noses to ensure the strips adhered to our skin. Because I use nose strips frequently, I noticed Boscia’s are much softer and more comfortable than others I’ve used in the past. Since the charcoal strips are dark in color, I can’t speak to blackheads, but we both got rid of tons of white heads. Definitely much-needed!

  • His experience with similar products: Intermediate
  • His initial thoughts: “Ew,” Ali said right after getting a glimpse of the white heads removed by the strips. “Definitely needed this!”
  • Would he do it again? “I need to, please remind me.”

Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Eye Patches

Full disclosure: Ali has never used any eye treatments in the past—creams, masks, and patches included. One of my favorites, these gel-like patches are easy to apply to skin and are meant to remain on for about 15-20 minutes to reap the full benefits.

  • His experience with similar products: None
  • His initial thoughts: “Feels cool.” Very insightful, as men usually are. He noticed a cold, refreshing feeling when applied. After removing, his under eyes seemed hydrated, smoother, and less inflamed.
  • Would he do it again? “Sure.” He admitted that men usually overlook the under eye area, but the patches felt nice and he would do this again.

Farmacy Brightening Coconut Sheet Mask

Another one of my favorites: Farmacy’s Coconut Sheet Mask. I opted for the brightening mask as it holds so much moisture that I feel like I get both brightening and hydrating benefits. Since the Farmacy sheet masks stay well on the face without any slipping, we multitasked and played a quick game of Guess Who with his daughter/my niece. To be fair, Ali really only reaped half the benefits, since the mask didn’t fully stick due to his facial hair.

  • Experience with similar products: None. The concept of a sheet mask especially was brand new to him.
  • Initial thoughts: “It feels cool, a little minty, really wet” (he means hydrating).
  • Would he do it again? “Maybe.” He agreed to once a week, but realistically, maybe once or twice a month.

And just for fun, a direct quote from his 4 year-old daughter: “You look scary when you wear that.”

Good Molecules Squalane Facial Oil

This came as a surprise to me, but it turns out Ali doesn’t use a facial moisturizer… at all, ever. I know, shocking that he has survived 30+ years without the need to moisturize his face. As you can imagine, this was long overdue. I picked Good Molecules’ Squalane Facial Oil, as it’s lightweight and super moisturizing without the greasy residue. Plus, I wanted the right facial oil that could also double as a beard oil for Ali. I expected that would be his preferred use.

  • Experience with similar products: None (!)
  • Initial thoughts: “It’s nice. My face feels soft,” Ali said right after application. But, he’s definitely more likely to use it as a beard oil to condition his beard for softer and more gentle hair.
  • Would he do it again? Yeah.

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream

Initially, Ali told me that he has indeed used hand creams before, but upon further investigation, I came to realize that he has used lotion on his hands before, not hand cream. Smh, there’s obviously a clear distinction. I selected this one for him to try, because it’s moisturizing without leaving an oily residue and has a nice scent without being strong and overpowering.

  • Experience with similar products: Beginners
  • Initial thoughts: “It’s nice. I like that the smell isn’t too strong, and my hands feel softer.” We also noticed that his nails seemed a little shinier, and it even helped reduce the calluses on his hands from lifting weights—definitely a strong selling point!
  • Would he do it again? He immediately agreed that this hand cream is an easy addition to his routine.

Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Face Mist

Next up: a cool, refreshing face mist. Since this one’s essentially mineral water without a lot of added fragrance, I figured this would be a good introduction to mists. Eau Thermale Avène’s Thermal Spring Face Mist really just feels like you’re spraying water on to skin rather than a skincare product, perfect for anyone sensitive to strong smells (i.e. both me and Ali).

  • Experience with similar products: None
  • Initial thoughts: “It feels refreshing at first, but then, I just wanna wipe it off,” but in my opinion, the mist dries pretty quickly and absorbs well into skin. Take my word for it, this is a must-have, especially during the warm summer months.
  • Would he do it again? Unlikely.

The Sacred Ritual Happy Place Bath Salt

Tying it back to how we started the day, I wanted to end the day on a similar, relaxing, and peaceful note. I convinced Ali to take a bath with the Happy Place bath salts, featuring stress and anxiety-relieving bergamot and mood-boosting citrus for an uplifting experience. For me, baths are me-time; they help me relax and de-stress. Ali, on the other hand, has only taken a handful of baths as an adult in an attempt to soothe an injury and never as a self-care ritual. To ensure he was truly disconnected and worry-free, I imposed a no-phone policy and entertained his four-year-old during his 30 minute bath. That’s right, absolutely no distractions.

  • Experience with similar products: Beginner
  • His thoughts: At first, he was a little hesitant due to the greenish-brown color the skin-brightening matcha in the salts gives off. He also didn’t care for the dried cornflower and jasmine, which of course, happens to be one of my favorite parts of these bath salts. However, post-bath, his muscles felt more relaxed, and he felt much more calm, almost enough to head straight to bed.
  • Would he do it again? While he responded that “it would be nice”, I have a feeling it won’t happen too often. Most of the other products we tried only take a few minutes to apply or can be used while multitasking, but this one requires a real time commitment—one that I doubt will make it to the top of this dad’s priority list.

At the end of our self-care spa day, Ali and I both felt more relaxed and calm. Not only was this much needed for our skin, but the time spent together was invaluable. While he may not make self-care a priority right away, he discovered some products he likes and is more open to trying others. As for me, I won’t wait a whole year to do this again—there’s no reason I can’t include Ali in my self-care Sundays.

Illustrations by Megan Badilla