Joan Higginbotham, Former NASA Astronaut, Shares Her Skincare Routine

Blasting off into house is a very out-of-this-world expertise just a few astronauts (and a handful of billionaires and celebs) get to expertise. But, the little routines from Earth are nonetheless necessary whereas exploring the galaxy. (Eating wholesome and figuring out usually are non-negotiables for astronauts on lengthy house stays.) Another should on missions for astronauts is caring for their pores and skin.Former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham is aware of all concerning the quirks of outer house skincare routines. She turned the third Black girl to go to house when she spent simply shy of 13 days outdoors of the Earth’s environment in 2006. She additionally discovered some shocking classes in cleanliness sans gravity alongside the way in which.

Here’s precisely what her skincare and wonder routines appeared like in house:Astronauts can take common skincare merchandise on a mission.But the burden of your private objects is tightly regulated. “We solely have been allotted a lot house for our private objects and then you definately needed to embody your clothes,” she recollects.

Higginbotham prioritized her merchandise and some “get you out the door” requirements made the reduce. “I took simply the naked minimal,” she says. “I took a face cleaning soap, moisturizer, basis—which you’ll by no means see me with out besides in a single clip on a mission—blush, mascara, and lipstick.”She opted for bar cleaning soap as a substitute of a liquid facial cleanser. “I would not have to fret concerning the liquid in some way getting out of the dispenser and releasing a bubble of cleaning soap that I needed to go chase,” she says.She did not put on SPF, although.That’s one remorse Higginbotham shared. “Shame on me,” she says. “That was one thing I did not actually take into consideration on the time.”

She actually noticed and felt the solar, although. “We get to see 16 sunrises every single day. It is sizzling, and it’s so shiny that you simply really must put your sun shades on. I can’t think about how a lot solar was coming, simply baking my pores and skin.”Products actually keep on with your face.No gravity, no drawback for skincare. Moisturizer, basis, powder, and just about all merchandise apply and keep on as standard within the house station “so long as you did not have something that was sheer liquid, like actually light-weight like water or a beverage,” she says. “Everything else is type of sticky like it’s right here on Earth; it was no drawback adhering to my pores and skin.”

Applying her make-up every day went as standard, however she was intentional about holding onto every product. “The solely factor that I actually had to consider was once I took a prime off and the place I used to be going to place it. If you simply let it float round, God solely is aware of the place it was going to go, and then you definately’d have to seek out it.” FYI: Astronauts use a ton of Velcro to safe stuff down. Washing your face in house requires a “choreographed” routine.Higginbotham defined how she coordinated her personal “hygiene routine” along with her allotted two washcloths a day. “I needed to choreograph my complete routine. First, I might wash my face. I put in my contact lenses, and wiped down if I used to be going to mattress. I might brush my enamel final, in order that I may spit the toothpaste out into the washcloth.”

Washing her face took some finesse, too. “There are little holes that we needed to dispense water. We needed to really put the washcloth as much as the holes and let the water soak into it. Otherwise, you’d get little bubbles of water that may float across the cabin—that is not likely good.” Higginbotham added her bar cleaning soap to the saturated washcloth earlier than scrubbing her face.
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She missed splashing her face with water (skincare commercial-style) probably the most. “I missed water an entire bunch. When you are up in house, these have been creature comforts that you simply take with no consideration.”Showers have been nonexistent and extra like a “chicken bathtub” scenario, in keeping with Higginbotham. She used her washcloth to wipe herself down for 12 days straight. That was all any of the astronauts may do, even after their every day sweaty exercises. “I do not glow once I work out; I simply full-on sweat and get my garments moist,” she recollects. “You can think about after I’m finished exercising and I’ve to hold my garments to dry, after which six of the crewmates doing the identical, it will get slightly gamey.” That’s why she’s stoked concerning the new Tide and NASA partnership to make cleansing in a resource-constrained setting simple and efficient. Astronauts are testing Tide To Go Wipes and To Go Pens on the International Space Station as a part of Mission PGTide to study laundry options in house and extra sustainable laundry again on Earth. “It could be an absolute game-changer as we take into consideration the long run and long-duration missions to the moon and Mars,” Higginbotham says. “Mars is true now could be 9 months a method. Not solely does it have implications for house missions, however it additionally has implications for the way we use our water right here on Earth and it is only a complete large sustainability factor.”It’s a lot drier within the house station.That environmental shift did not happen to Higginbotham till she was floating round within the International Space Station. “One factor that I did not understand that was going to occur is that we management the humidity (about 70%) on the shuttle and the house station and so it’s kind of drier than what I used to be used to once I was dwelling in Houston, the place every single day you get up at 5 within the morning it is 100% humidity,” she says.

As a end result, her pores and skin felt and appeared drier. “I needed to take that into consideration and moisturize extra typically,” she provides.She received a large pimple on her brow after liftoff.And it grew and grew whereas she was within the rocket heading to house. “I had a small breakout on my brow,” she recollects. “As you are laying in your again for 3 hours able to launch, your fluids shift upward. By the time I received to house, everybody has what I name the ‘Charlie Brown head.’ Everyone’s head will get slightly bit bigger. Along with that bigger head, the pimple erupted right into a goiter on my brow. That was actually enticing.”

Higginbotham got here ready. “I did even have some zit cream with me,” she says. “I put slightly bit on there and in a few days it dried up. The lack of humidity did assist to dry out my pores and skin slightly bit and the pimple.””You do not know this stuff till you get to house,” she says. Well, now you do.

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