Photos: Esther Wang

A few months ago, I started noticing that whenever I washed or combed my hair, huge clumps of it would fall out. I ignored it—I have (had?) a lot of hair, and I figured I was maybe just going through a stressful time in my life, or that my body was getting used to a new medication I’d started taking.

But recently, I’ve started seriously panicking. A friend of mine recommended that I take biotin supplements, which I did. What my friend neglected to tell me however, is that one common side effect of biotin is that zits will start exploding all over your face.

So this is my life right now—I’m rapidly losing my hair and constantly breaking out. I feel like an old hag and a hormonal pre-teen all at once! (This is not necessarily a bad thing except for the fact that I have neither the perspective that comes with age nor the effervescence of youth.)

As a result, my “beauty” routine now is undergirded by a low-grade yet omnipresent feeling of doom. What once felt like soothing rituals or at the very least mindless habits that gave some semblance of order and structure to my days now feel like futile battles against the ravages of time, every strand of hair I find on my pillowcase each morning just another reminder that one day I too will shuffle off this mortal coil.

Anyway, enjoy!!!

7 a.m.

I wake up around 7, which gives me time to leisurely make coffee and skim the news. I am a night showerer, especially during the summer when the last thing I want to do is crawl into my bed covered in the grime that is New York City. So don’t worry, my body is clean(ish) each morning!

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A close-up of my chin acne. Chacne? Chits? :(

I get my day started by washing my face with the Cosrx Low PH Good Morning gel facewash that many people love, which I got from a bookstore/beauty shop in Koreatown. I like it because it smells vaguely medicinal, which makes me think that it must be working based on my limited knowledge of science. If I have cotton balls, I’ll dab on some Thayer’s witch hazel, which I similarly love for its medicinal scent, like gin but good for your skin. Once a week, I rub about a dime-size amount of Dr. G’s Brightening Peeling Gel onto my wet skin and watch as little balls of dead skin cells appear as if by magic. Get it, it works!

I then slather on one of a variety of serums that I own from The Ordinary as well as Cosrx’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, all of which I purchased earlier this year during my short-lived if enthusiastic quest for perfect skin. Now I recognize it for what it was—a rational response to existential panic and fear of death.

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Some of the slimes I enjoy putting on my face

I have no idea what any of these products actually do, but there is something soothing about rubbing very slimy liquids onto my skin. Maybe you can relate. I’ve never really used any sort of moisturizer (should I?), so this is usually the last step before I frown sadly at my biotin-induced acne :( and plop in front of my computer to write some blogs.

10:30-ish a.m.

Blogs are written, and now it’s time to put on my face and head into the office! I am in general overwhelmed by all of the life options presented to us by cApiTAlisM, so I prefer to stick to an easy, five-minute routine with products that, if I don’t love, I’m at least intimately familiar with (this is, incidentally, also my guiding philosophy for relationships haha). Like Barack Obama, I try to limit the number of decisions I have to make every day, so I’ve used the same make-up for years. I start by smearing some Kiehl’s BB Cream in Medium all over my face, which is nice because it also includes sunscreen. While the shade is slightly darker than my skin tone, no one has mentioned the fact that my face is weirdly orange so I’m going to stick with it for now. Then I swipe some Glossier’s Boy Brow in Black on my eyebrows, and finish by smudging a Make Up For Ever eyeshadow that is... brown? Taupe? over my eyelids and under my eyes. Some days, I’ll dab on a bareMinerals concealer with my fingers, and if I’m feeling especially ambitious, I’ll dot some Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff on my cheeks.

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As with my skincare regimen, I don’t really know what to do with my hair, which I usually resolve by buying expensive products that I don’t really know how to use. A while ago, I bought some Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, which I spray randomly and wildly through my hair to give it some volume. In case you’re still interested in my hair journey, I recently bought Women’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam to help prevent and reverse my slow but steady balding, but I have no idea what it will do, as I have yet to open the box out of fear that 1) it won’t work or 2) it will work but I will then be compelled to keep using it until I die or else turn into a horrifying clone of Stephen Miller.

Before I leave the house, I’ll dab on the perfume oil I’ve been using for the past two years, Maison Louis Marie’s No.02 Le Long Fond, a woodsy, musky scent that I love as it’s not too sweet and not too overpowering and makes me smell like I live in a forest where all I do is wear caftans and light incense and howl at the moon.

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Sometime between 7 p.m. and midnight

On the rare occasions that my evening plans don’t involve eating greasy food objects or *finally* powering through every single season of Monk (summer 2018 has been exciting!!), I’ll dab on some lipstick, which is either the orangey-red NARS Heat Wave or a beautifully bloody classic red by Make Up For Ever.

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And then it’s home and Shower Time—my daily date with Dr. Bronner’s Lavender bar soap, which I use because it’s fairly cheap and not body wash, something that I don’t understand the appeal of of as it just seems wasteful to me and also requires the purchase of a sponge or a pouf? For my hair, I use yet another cursed biotin-infused product, TRESemme’s Repair + Protect shampoo and conditioner. All of these products are fine!

I then clean the drain of the 10 pounds of my hair that has collected there during the seven or so minutes I’ve been showering, put on a robe, wash my face with my forever fave DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, slap on some Cosrx pimple patches, and go to bed, wondering if the next day will be the one in which I wake up refreshed, my skin clear, my hair full.