I, like every other 20-something on the planet, got really into skincare over the last couple of years. It’s not like I didn’t care about my skin before then—I’ve suffered from acne and congested skin since I was a teenager, I didn’t have the luxury not to care—but now I care enough to buy overpriced serum, read 65 reviews before buying a face wash, and die whenever I see someone on Twitter act like coconut oil and lemon juice is the key to perfect skin. Hell, I wear SPF now! Who am I, Hedwig???
I know that people call skincare a scam, which I think is a bit... much. That said, I do think that it’s easy to get caught up in a cult-like fervor and blindly buy products without knowing what’s right for your skin, or taking the words of r/skincareaddiction as gospel instead of a helpful guide (for example, that subreddit made me believe that physical exfoliants were the worst thing on the planet, but honestly my skin likes a super gentle physical exfoliant from time to time, and that’s... OK).
Also, I’m gonna keep it 100: I’m 27-years-old now and am getting nervous about signs of aging. I’m not relying on black don’t crack.
I like makeup too—I feel naked without eyeliner and lipstick—but skincare is my big love right now.
It was a snow day when I documented all of this, a day that would normally be spent lounging around doing absolutely zero beauty routines and not brushing my teeth until noon. But just for product diary, I acted like I wasn’t snowbound... and still ended up brushing my teeth at like noon anyway. Please clap.
Normally, my morning would proceed as follows: Get up at 8 something, roll over and grab my laptop at 8:30, find a thing to blog about so I can quickly shower and get dressed in time to be at the office at around noon to do more blogs. But, it’s snowing like crazy out and the team is told to just stay home. So I get up and do absolutely nothing on the routine front for hours.
But doing doing this product diary forced me to confront a realization that has been starring me in the face for months, and I’ve continued to ignore it because a) that was easier, and b) I have fucking ADHD: My medicine cabinet was in SHAMBLES.
Like, what the fuck is this shit? I don’t even use most of the shit that’s in here. And yet, here it was, festering in old toothpaste and half used Sephora samples that have spilled gunk everywhere. So I decide to deal with it.
Here are the results:
Not too bad, right? It’ll look like garbage by next week, but at least it’s more presentable to the internet now.
I decide to shower very quickly at around 1 p.m. I use Trader Joe’s Refresh Citrus Body Wash because I love smelling like an orange. But if I’m feeling fancy, I use this warm scented Morris & Co Enriching Body Wash stuff that my boyfriend’s mom got me for Christmas. I don’t shampoo my hair very often, so I’m usually going through conditioner like crazy. I really like Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner, but I ran out and got Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner instead. It serves my needs and it’s less than $4.
The razor is not mine, it is my boyfriend’s, though I now only use “men’s razors” because I really do think they work better than ones marketed toward women. The bar of Dove soap isn’t mine either; it, too, belongs to my boyfriend who is single handedly keeping the bar soap industry alive.
I squeeze as much water out of my hair as possible and, while still a little damp, apply some Maui Moisture Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Smoothie. I also like Cantu Leave in Conditioning Repair Cream. If I took better care of my hair, I’d do some twists and slap on a bonnet. But I’m low maintenance as fuuuuck and just put it in a ponytail. I usually just go for a wash-n-go.
If I decide I want a more gravity defying fro, I’ll usually apply a little bit of heat to it with an EVA NYC Almighty Pro-Power Ionic Dryer. It gets the job done quickly but I should probably get a diffuser instead???
Now, onto SKINCARE!!! I alternate between Clinique City Block Purifying Charcoal Cleansing Gel and Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash on the face wash front, usually the former when my face isn’t feeling too greasy (I’m combo-oily), and the latter when I think my skin needs a deeper clean. I also bit the bullet and copped a Foreo Luna Mini 2 back in December because it was on sale. I did a lot of research first, and it seems like people either love it or they don’t think it does anything. Personally, I love it and I’m not entirely sure it actually does much of anything. But it makes washing my face more enjoyable and it forces me to be a little more thorough than I would otherwise. I didn’t want a Clarisonic because you have to be more thorough about washing it and you have to buy a bunch of replacement brush heads. LOL, pass.
When I remember to do it, I use a pump or two of Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster. It’s packed with vitamin C, which is great for your skin, but again... I’m not really sure if it does much of anything. But I like to use it anyway. This also smells like a fucking orange so, yeah I’m gonna still use it.
Next up, some moisturizer. I’m incredibly picky about moisturizer and haven’t done much research on the best daytime moisturizer for me. But I got desperate and was short on cash, so I bought The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. I like it fine, I might buy it again because it’s such a bargain, but I’m not calling home about it. On the SPF front, I use Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15. I hate the way most SPFs feel and smell, and while this one kind of smells like glue, it’s the only one with a texture I can tolerate and it absorbs quickly. PLUS, it doesn’t leave a white cast, which is incredibly important since I’M BLACK and don’t want to be out in these streets looking ashy.
I throw on some deodorant before getting dressed, and these days I’m using Secret Clinical Strength Invisible Solid Deodorant BUT IT IS NOT MY HOLY GRAIL DEODORANT. My holy grail is Mitchum Smart Solid Clinical Performance Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick. Unfortunately, this lil fucker is damn near impossible to find these days in stores. And I’m not really into buying beauty products on Amazon because I’m afraid of getting scammed with an expired or bootleg product. Literally no other drug stores or grocery stores carry this shit besides CVS. It’s a travesty TBH. Its carcass resides in the cabinet, still, to remind me of better days.
The only makeup I really keep in the medicine cabinet is my eyeliner and foundation. I pretty much do the same generic cat eye every single day. So here’s the thing: I have trichotillomania, an impulsive hair pulling disorder. It’s a lot better now than it used to be, like back in college when an entire section of the left side of my head was completely bald and I’d joke that I was trying to pull a Rihanna (it was 2012, the joke worked). But I’ve had this condition since I was a kid, and it’s something I’m probably going to have to fight for the rest of my life. The latest casualty were some eyelashes on my right eye, so I fill in the little bald spot with NYX Slim Eye Pencil. Then, I use a trusty angle brush and Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner. I was using liquid eyeliner for a while, and while it still holds a special place in my heart, I’m glad I finally took the plunge and made good on a friend’s Bobbi recommendation. The application is thicc and creamy, which I love! It’s not cheap, but it lasts a long time and is better quality than drugstore gel liner that I’ve used so I think it’s absolutely worth the splurge.
I really don’t wear foundation these days. It usually feels too heavy (especially in the summertime), and I don’t have the patience to apply it super diligently for the ultimate coverage. But if I had to pick my favorite foundation, it would be Becca Ever-Matte Shine Proof Foundation. It’s the one foundation I keep going back to. I did buy The Ordinary Coverage Foundation recently on a whim, and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet? I mean, it’s fine. But, again, nothing to call home about. But it’s a decent budget foundation.
Right after my shower, I usually waddle over to my room to slather on my lotion. I’m currently using Trader Joe’s Moisturizing Cream Extra Dry Formula. It comes in a huge ass bottle! It’s great! Also, it’s got “a midsummer night’s cream” written on it, which is too cornball not to love.
I was never really one to wear a lot of makeup. I watched my mom put on her full face every morning growing up—foundation, lipstick, eyeliner—but I didn’t really become interested in makeup until college. This was when doing makeup tutorials on YouTube was just starting to become a thing, and the only ones who made it big at that point were fuckin PixiWoo. I bought a ton of eye shadow and went wild for a year or two. I still have the long discontinued Urban Decay Deluxe Palette from 2009 or something as a reminder of that era. But I never really kept up with it (or the makeup YouTubing). Sure, I have a highlighting palette here and some eyeshadows there, but my regular schmegular arsenal is pretty light. Here’s what I usually end up wearing on any given day:
From left to right: The Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner I was gassing up before; Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam, which I think is the perfect blush for people who are afraid of blush, like me; MY HOLY GRAIL NUDE LIP COLOR, Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Undercover, usually paired with an ultra light dabbing of Buxom Full On Lip Cream in Moscow Mule; MY EVEN HOLY GRAILIER RED LIPSTICK, Sephora Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Always Red (not to toot my own horn but lissen... I’ve been getting compliments on this lipstick for literal years, so stop sleeping on this shit); Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita II, which I love, but I always find Kat’s liquid lipsticks to be drying as hell; Glossier Boy Brow in black, which I love because it’s really easy to use and just adds a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ to some sparse bits of my brows; NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Walnut, the only concealer I stan because the texture is perfect and the coverage is A+, and Colour Pop Super Shock Shadow in Game Face. Today, I decide to just rock the eyeliner, the Buxom lip products, and Cloud Paint. For the record, I kind of agree that Glossier is just Supreme for minimalist makeup gyals, but I stand by the products I mentioned lol.
I decide to try on a new dress I got from ASOS because it looks like a ‘60s mod threw up all over it and I’m very here for that aesthetic.
To feel as springtime as I look, I decide to douse myself in my favorite perfume combination. I say “favorite perfume combination” as if I didn’t just start caring about perfume a few months ago. But whatever: I’ve been layering Marc Jacobs Daisy underneath in Atelier Cologne in Orange Sanguine. The orange sanguine literally smells like someone just peeled an orange and—holy shit I really didn’t realize how obsessed I was with smelling like an orange until writing this post. I barely even eat oranges, what the fuck is going on? Er, anyway, unfortunately—as happens with most citrus fragrances, I learned—the scent starts to disappear after an hour or so, so I’m reluctant to buy a full bottle unless I really want to flex after my next paycheck.
Then, I get back to fucking work, literally laying around the apartment in my new dress and probably getting it mad wrinkled because I’m a MONSTER.
After making dinner at damn near 9 p.m. and watching a few episodes of The Sopranos (I ship Furio and Carmella!), I decide to finally wind it down and get ready for bed around midnight.
I brush my teeth with my Oral-B Vitality Electric Toothbrush at morning and at night (of course). It has a timer for optimal brushing teeth time which I just started using after having this damn thing for years. On the plus side, my teeth are probably getting cleaner. On the down side, BRUSHING MY TEETH TAKES SO FUCKING LONG NOW THIS SHIT IS TORTURE.
For makeup removal, I’ve been using a Magic Makeup Eraser, and while it works pretty well, it gets disgusting and stains really badly. So even when I wash it it looks gross! I repeat my face wash routine of the Origins cleanser with my Foreo Luna. I use the Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleaning Lotion as a toner sometimes. NOW, ONTO THE ACIDS.
I actually waiting for a prescription for Tazorac, a retinoid, to show up at the pharmacy. I’m a little worried about the purging process, but I’m willing to suffer if it means that my whiteheads will go away. Plus, I know I’ll be well moisturized, because I use Dr. Jart Ceramidin Gel Cream, my holy grail nighttime moisturizer that isn’t too heavy but is ultra moisturizing. Oh, just kidding, I WON’T BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. FUCK. RIP to the MVP. Keeping the ultra unhygienic jars for the memories tho.
For a while, I used Stridex 2% Salicylic Acid Pads, which I actually prefer to the Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid (which is another popular one), but Ima keep it real with you chief: I don’t really know if BHAs do much for my skin. I’ve seen more results with AHAs, which is why I’ve been using The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%. My skin seems to prefer lactic acid to glycolic. That said, I also like Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.
I need to find a new nighttime moisturizer, but I skip it tonight and instead just use toner and go for a mask. Frankly, because I’m doing a product diary, I decide to wear my Dr. Jart Clear Skin Lover Rubber Mask. The packaging is creepy, but this mask is the TRUTH. I swear by it, especially if you have problem skin and are prone to breakouts. I look gr8. I put some more Maui product in my hair, let the serum absorb into my skin, and head to bed.
I stay up on my phone until, like, 1:30 a.m. looking at (and making) trash tweets because I’ve convinced myself that I don’t need more than much more than six hours of sleep and I love making poor life choices, apparently. Hey, at least my skin is supple???