Like most have expressed in their diaries, skincare can be a calming moment of control in our wildly unpredictable news cycle. But it’s also a lot to keep up with and I’m falling behind.
Since I was a child, the only two steadfast rules my mother imposed upon my face were to wear sunscreen and moisturize. Though I have rebelled against almost all of her advice, these two demands stuck with me. And I’m so glad! Please, wear sunscreen. Mom is right. Eat vegetables. Drink water. This is the best skincare advice you can get. But also, here are all my little jars of ointments that make my skin dewy. I am almost out of all of them. This is causing some anxiety.
So, I have two modes to starting my day. I either get up at 7 and go to the gym or I don’t. The gym changes how I start my face care routine, because it means a shower. If you want to know what that version of the day would look like, skip ahead and read the shower part. But I am going to detail the more common routine of waking up to the sound of cats wailing from their personal hell of wanting wet food and not immediately having it.
I wake up, and do nothing to my skin. I drink several glasses of water before I do anything else. I love water. When people say, “I can’t get myself to drink water,” I think, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Your body is mostly water. You must refill the tank; for your skin, your heart, your butthole. Everything needs it. I do drink straight from the tap, and worry I am slowly killing myself with plastic bits, and weird pipe lead, and lightly filtered birth control urine. But who cares. Give. Me. Water!!
I have been online for a few hours. I work from home. I am antsy. I stroke my neck and feel the incipient beard coming in.
I go stand at the windowsill and look at myself in the tiny fractured mirror where I check my pores and pluck my hairs. They have become increasingly bad in the last few years and I’m considering electrolysis or laser, but am also told that does nothing for chin hairs. Thoughts, readers? Anyway, life is a constant battle with facial hair I don’t want to admit to having, but frankly, with a head of hair like mine, you’re gonna have it elsewhere on your body. Each quadrant has its system: shave, wax, ignore, pluck, condition.
If I go crazy and start removing blackheads I will go wash my face, but usually not.
Sometimes, mostly on Fridays when I’m starting to feel frisky, I’ll put on a bold lip. I just wear it around the house, or I post a selfie. I think of Instagram as a repository for pics of me looking cute, and if people don’t want to see that, I understand and don’t care. Follow your heart and unfollow me! I have a tiny bottle of Sweet Orange Neroli oil from Meow Meow Tweet that I got in a swag bag. Sometimes I put some on to smell it for approximately four seconds before my skin absorbs it.
I go to the gym! Hopefully! Before I leave the house, I apply sunscreen. In Winter, or if I’m mostly covered, I use Eucerin Daily Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 30. In summer, I’ll soak my bare shoulders and chest with NO-AD SPF 45 sunscreen. I wish I’d been so thoughtful as a younger woman, my neck is now aged disproportionately to my face.
Home and SHOWER TIME. I buy a lot of products from Whole Foods because I hate online shopping—nothing ever comes in time, there’s so much packaging, and I’m a moron who buys things in the wrong size. Whole Foods has a lot of affordable, gentle skin care products. I generally wash my face with Acure Facial Cleansing Creme (that’s French for cream).
I also use Acure’s Brightening Facial Scrub, but usually only every other day. If I’m wearing a lot of make-up or feel particularly filthy, I will use Avalon Organic Intense Defense with Vitamin C Cleansing Gel, which I bought by accident. I don’t like gels. I like creams. Gels are too harsh. I wash my hair maybe once a week, and get it dyed by a hair color genius every six to eight weeks. I have some fancy hair products to help my curls, like Aveda Be Curly Style Prep, but You’ll be shocked to hear I just ran out.
I use bar soap, usually the Good Whole Foods brand because you get three hefty bars for $6. Again, no shower gels, thanks! They make my skin feel residue-y. I was having some back acne issues, so I bought Black African Soap just for that part, which supposedly clears it up. I don’t know if it has, but the skin between my back pimples is very soft. As the shower ends, I make the water freezing and run it over my body and face. It may be an old wives’ tale that cold water “closes” pores, but I don’t feel clean without my punishing, frigid rinse.
I’d like to moisturize my body before it’s creased all over, but I can’t find the right product. I tried to order a body oil from Laura Mercier online, but it never arrived! Lotion always makes me feel gross, like I’m wearing thin bodysuit that dissolves as I sweat. Anyone have oil recs?
After drying a bit, I use COSRX Alcohol-Free Toner. Can we just all admit that toner does nothing? Yet, I am diligent about it. Under my eyes goes SHISEIDO Benefiance WrinkleResist 24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream, which I am almost out of. Then it depends: am I staying in? If so, I’ll apply Derma-E Hydrating Serum Hyaluronic Acid. Of all the scary-sounding face potions women are being encouraged to put on these days, this is the one that has most convinced me it’s actually doing something. Very hydrating, as promised. I also sometimes use Derma E: Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A & E Treatment on my face, but now mostly on my neck (lol).
If I’m going out, I put on Drunk Elephant C-Firma Face Serum. The closer I get to the end of this overpriced bottle, the more convinced I am there must be a better way. I have some Kiehl’s samples of their Daily Reviving Concentrate that I think does the exact same thing—they both briefly make me feel in control of my life as I gently pat my cheeks. When the Drunk Elephant is done, I think I am done with it entirely. On top of my serum goes moisturizer, usually something light, but I’m in between a specific bottle right now. My mom likes to steal samples, so I have a huge stash of tiny packets I go through until I get it together to go buy some.
7 p.m. (?)
The vast majority of the time, if I’m going out I wear mascara, lipstick, and brush my eyebrows into a shape with Gimme Brow. The tube is pretty much empty, but it has a nice smell. The mascara I have now is something a friend left behind at my house, but it smudges on my deeply moisturized under-eye skin. I need to get a new Smashbox Indecent Exposure mascara, it was really good.
My lipstick collection is vast, but I usually wear Sephora’s Luster Matte Long-Wearing Lip Color in Mulberry. Got two of those for some reason. I also still have the first tube of lipstick I ever bought as a teen—a dark (almost black) red Chanel. The label has fallen off and now I can’t remember what it was called, but the color is in vogue again (someone please know what this is! Cordelia Chase mentions it in the Buffy pilot). It now has the consistency of tar and stinks worse.
If I know I’m going to have my photo taken at a show or fancy party, I will sometimes put on full face make-up; my skin flakes, and I just think it looks bad as daily casual wear.
But in a photo, you’ll be glad the red spots are covered up. My routine has been detailed here, but I’ll say I like to think of make-up as painting on a weird-shaped canvas. I even apply eye shadow with a dirty ole paintbrush. For me, it’s either smoky eyes or bright lips, very rarely both.
When I get home, I do the whole face wash nonsense over again and put on my face acid. Then I crawl into bed and dream of the water I’ll drink when I wake up.