If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked singer-songwriter Tei Shi — who just released a new EP, Bad Premonition — about her tough, packable tote bag, the face oil she “craves,” and the humidifier she discovered from comedian Kate Berlant.
Before I got this, I was really bad at using sunscreen regularly. I know it’s like the No. 1 thing I’m supposed to do, especially since I live in Los Angeles where it’s sunny most of the time. I’m just super-picky about sunscreen because I hate the smell of most of them. I was on the hunt for one and a friend introduced this to me. It has a nice neutral smell, but it also just feels great on my skin. It isn’t greasy like other sunscreens. I’ll mix it with my moisturizer, and it doesn’t feel like there’s much on my face. When I wear makeup over it, there’s never any whitecast or residue. It is a bit on the pricier side, but I bought this over a year ago and am still on the same bottle.
My sister, who really likes this brand, gave me a tester of this. I love it and use it almost every day now. Before, I wasn’t very into face oils and didn’t know how to use them, but this is a great everyday oil for day or night. It absorbs fast and doesn’t leave a filminess. It definitely does good things for my skin, but it’s mainly a comforting moment in my routine. It warms up my skin, and the smell is just delicious. I crave the scent. It’s hard to pinpoint, but it has a sweet citrus, almost orangey scent. It’s refreshing and light and very unique.
About four years ago, I was struggling to find a hairbrush that could actually detangle my curly hair. My niece, who was probably 9 at the time, let me borrow hers — this Tangle Teaser. She specifically had the mini one without a handle on it, and it worked so well that she let me keep it. Now it’s my absolute favorite brush. It detangles my hair whether it’s wet or dry, it’s cheap, and you can find it at CVS or Walgreens. It’s small and lightweight, so I can throw it in my purse. I use it religiously and have it in different sizes for at home and when I’m traveling.
I actually bought this about a year ago, when I had longer hair. I didn’t like it because I had too much hair to work with. I returned it, and then maybe six months ago, I chopped my hair off and tried this again. This time, I loved it. I do my hair with it almost every day. It’s light and easy to travel with, very affordable, and super-easy to use. I can do my hair in like 15 minutes with this thing. I love flipping my ends out and doing my bangs big, kind of like ’90s style. I never did my hair before buying this because I couldn’t figure out how to maneuver a blow dryer and a brush. This is all-in-one, so it’s perfect for me.
I’m pretty picky with my incense. There’s a lot out there that has that incense-y smell that reminds me of a gift shop in a touristy place. This is more artisanal and has a much more complex smell. I found it while I was talking to this producer in his studio and listening to his work. He had it burning, and I was like, “I need to know exactly what this is and buy it immediately.” I just fell in love with the smell and always have it with me. I light it on the tour bus, in green rooms, and in the studio. The smell immediately brings me back home to a soothing environment. I also like that the sticks are much shorter than other incense sticks, because my partner can’t stand incense burning for too long. This burns in like ten minutes. It’s a short and sweet experience.
I actually got this for tour because I knew I was gonna need a big tote bag. I have a giant laptop that I use every single day on tour, so I was looking for a shoulder bag that could actually fit it. This has lots of room, so I can take it to yoga class and throw my dirty clothes in it or put my lunch and laptop in it. It’s made out of a lightweight but tough puffy material that I can roll up and pack into a suitcase. It takes up no space. It basically fills the role of a tote bag while still being a cute day bag.
This is the most basic item, but I have them in all of my bags. In the past few years, my sinuses have gotten very runny. I kind of feel like it’s genetic: I remember when I was little, my dad always had Kleenex in his pockets or was wiping his nose. Now that I’m an adult, I’m like becoming him. So these are a necessity for me, especially when I’m on tour singing every night and have to clear my sinuses. The travel packs are easy to throw in my bag and they don’t irritate my nose too much.
I needed a humidifier because I was getting sick on tour. At first I was using a facial humidifier from the drugstore. It wasn’t very effective, it was kind of clunky, and I had to plug it in every time I needed to use it. I heard about this one from the podcast Poog. I love that podcast because it’s hosted by two touring comedians — Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak — so I get a lot of helpful tips about touring. This was something Kate said she uses before shows. I bought one for myself and love that it’s cordless, so I can use it on the go before and after shows. It’s helped so much on tour, especially when I’m on a bus that’s super-dry with barely any ventilation. I do a 15-minute session with this, and it’s like being in a steam room. It opens up my throat and gives me the moisture I need for my voice to be loose and flexible. I love it so much. I can’t recommend it enough.
There’s a song on my last album with challenging vocals that I was having some trouble with, so I worked with a vocal producer for the first time ever. When I went in, he had all these sprays and teas laid out for me to use. This spray was one of those things, and I feel like it really helped. I ended up getting the vocals I needed that session, and they ended up making it into the song. After that, I bought the spray immediately, and it became a part of my regular routine before recording and before shows. It’s all natural, gives my throat a nice warm coat of honey, and tastes pretty good.
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