A Beginner’s Field Guide to Tech Week

While I wouldn’t dare claim that I’m an expert in theatre, I have endured tech week or two in my time and have learned a lot along the way. Tech week is the week leading up to the opening of a production when all the tech elements are layered in. It can really bring out the best and worst in a person. If you don’t up your self-care game for the week before opening night, it could result in meltdowns, a face full of fresh acne, or just general exhaustion. Whether it’s tech week or my body just needs a little more love, these are a few of my favorite things to pamper myself with.


Neti Pot

I used to despise the Neti Pot and now I use it all the time, so proceed with an open heart and mind for the sake of your poor clogged sinus system. This little contraption originated long before tech was even a figment of anyone’s imagination. Ancient yogis used the Neti Pot for nasal irrigation, or to put it simply, poured warm water through their noses to ward off the sniffles. My favorite time to use it is during allergy season to rinse out any pollen that I’ve inhaled.

To use this teapot-shaped gadget, fill it with warm, sterile water and the provided powder, bend over a sink, tip your head to one side and pour the water into the nostril that’s closer to the ceiling. Make sure to keep your mouth open and breathe normally.

At first, using the Neti Pot sort of feels like accidentally swallowing pool water, but it’s not bad after a couple tries. It’s important to read the manufacturer-provided directions before using a Neti Pot because I’m not a doctor and don’t know all potential risks or rewards of  it.

Medicine ball at Starbucks (the ACTUAL one not the sham they have on their menu)

I have a very strong opinion on the Starbucks recipe for the medicine ball. Could you tell? Before the drink was officially on the menu, my extra friends and I (yes, we were those girls) would order this custom recipe that was wildly popular at a musical theatre intensive I attended: steamed apple juice, two jade citrus mint tea bags, and two packets of honey. I prefer this recipe to the lemonade-based version on the menu because it is richer and sometimes too much citrus and sugar (from the lemonade) can irritate a sore throat. Different strokes work for different folks, so drink whichever you prefer and I’ll only judge you a little.

Epsom salt bath w/ lavender

I. Love. Baths. Taking a bath with Epsom salt is the perfect cure for achey muscles. The lavender, aside from smelling amazing, can also relieve tension and calm the mind for a restful night’s sleep. Plenty of brands sell lavender-scented Epsom salt, but adding a drop or two of lavender essential oil does the trick just as well, if not better.

Vick’s Steamer

The vocal steamer has saved me time and again from having a dry and scratchy throat the morning of a singing performance. Before I was adventurous enough to try the Neti pot, but had still had horrible congestion, inhaling the steam from this blessed device got the job done. I like to steam right after breakfast before the rest of my day.

Pro-tip: use the steamer after you take off the stage makeup to avoid icky residue sliding off your face. Wow, great segue, Helen, let’s get onto makeup.



I have a lot of fun doing my makeup for shows, but my biggest qualm with the piling on of products is the toll it takes on my eyelashes. I was not blessed with the thickest or longest lashes, so it takes an inordinate amount of mascara to get the darn things to be visible. I use these lashes in lieu of mascara for shows. There is such a specific pain to getting lash glue in your eye, so I make sure to trim them to the size of my lid and let the glue sit for thirty. whole. seconds. before placing them. I reuse mine about three times, give or take, before throwing them out.

Ultrabland makeup remover

To use this makeup remover, I spread it across my face like moisturizer then wipe it off with a warm washcloth or cotton pad. I like to let it sit for a few minutes before I rinse it off. Who knows if that does anything extra, but I like to think it does. It’s great for my sensitive skin and is truly the only product I’ve ever used that didn’t leave me with raccoon circles when I inevitably rub my eyes five minutes later.

Angels on Bare Skin face wash

All I have to say is that if you can get past the fact that it’s a solid that you mix into a paste in your hand, you’ll want to wash your face six times a day. It’s main ingredients are almonds and lavender, both of which reduce inflammation, which I think we all can agree is a positive.

Coconut oil/Organix sulfate-free conditioner

Coconut oil is really my saving grace. I use it for everything from making my matcha creamier to protecting my hair. Somehow I keep ending up in shows where I need to tease my hair to a borderline dangerous point. Through many a trial and error, the best method to detangle my hair is applying generous amounts of coconut oil to it, root to tip, and letting it sit for 30 min to an hour. Go steam or have a snack while you wait.


-Ricola Sugar Free Mountain Herb Throat Drops (for sore throat)

-Ginger Kombucha (for tummy nerves and a little boost of energy)

-Some favorite foods because treat yoself 2k18

What are your tech week survival tips? Comment below!

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  1. i literally cannot believe there’s a medicine ball on starbucks menu now. rip showing up to loyola saturday rehearsals w ventis and settling in for the long haul

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