Kiran's 24-Hour Product Diary: Live Like A Merman

Photo: Kiran Chitanvis

A wise merman once said: Moisture is the essence of wetness. And wetness is the essence of beauty. And he was right. I am obsessed with retaining water, but like, in a cute way (not a glandular way). So let’s talk about hydration. First, from the inside out: I understand the importance of drinking water and have seen firsthand the difference between when I get enough and when I don’t.

Hydration Station
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I also hate to sip water and prefer to chug it in .5L intervals at designated times. One of my favorite times to do this is right before bed, when I atone for (often) not meeting my daily water consumption goals. There’s nothing like waking up with a full bladder, taking down another .5L of water and... rushing to start the day.

I am a morning shower-er but not hair washer (more on that later), which keeps my morning bathroom routine to exactly seven minutes. I cleanse with a block of whatever bougie soap I have at the time and follow up with Aleavia Lavender Enzymatic Body Cleanse, since at some point I decided I needed a prebiotic for my dermis to help encourage my skin’s natural microbiome. Is it working? Only time will tell.

I cleanse my face with DHC cleansing oil unless I’m having a breakout in which case I go old school on it with some Proactive cleanser. And then begins the phase dedicated to hydrating from the outside, in. First: lotion. From neck to toe. Every. Day. Sometimes in between. Next, the face: I wipe with a cotton pad and some Garnier Micellar water, spritz with Organic Rose Water Toner, so my face feels like it’s in an English garden, and then pat in some The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics, The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG under the eyes, and some moisturizer—right now I alternate between Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrator and Belif the True Cream Aqua Bomb.

Toothpaste so smol
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Then I break for absorption while I brush my teeth with my Oral B Electric Toothbrush and whatever toothpaste I have in a sample size because apparently I always forget to buy toothpaste, but travel a lot so I have lots of minis.

I finish up by patting in some Di Laurén Acacia Silk Face Oil or The Ordinary. EUK 134 0.1% on my cheeks, so they don’t wither in this winter air. It’s probably clear from all this that I ascribe to some version of a multi-step Korean skin care routine. I am allergic to so many ingredients in multipurpose products and was not entirely sure which ones, so i broke it down and am sorting that out by process of elimination. Fun times.

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Anyway, at this point I run around frantically layering on clothes, spritz on a bunch of Weleda Citrus Deodorant (because I am afraid of regular deodorant) and my everyday perfume Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black, and rush to take my dog out for a walk. If I’m lucky I will remember both his carrier and my wallet when we go out, so I can sneak him into the coffee shop for 30 seconds to get a cup of coffee that I didn’t make time to brew at home in one of seven coffee apparatuses. Then, I will bring home my freshly evacuated pup and said coffee, which I top off with my own oat milk and maple syrup. Just because I’m buying coffee out does not mean that I’m trying to spend $6 on a single beverage before 10am. This internal caffeine jolt ensures that I make it through the next phase of getting ready: makeup!

Good ColourPops
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I operate with a hi-low balance of product fanciness. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in my makeup. My favorite non-creasing concealer is Revlon PhotoReady Concealer, then I use Clinique Even Better Makeup. Pause. In summer I would precede all of this with some sunblock, I like Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk, but I’m tryna get in my vitamin D through these long, dark days and the makeup has SPF 15. Back to it: a wing eyeliner with my all time favorite Wet n Wild Megaliner Liquid Eyeliner, applied with the brush they used to come with before they switched to a stupid sponge tip applicator, Clinique High Impact Mascara, NYX professional 3-in-1 brow pencil, Jouer Hilighter in Tiare, and a sweep of NARS bronzing powder in Casino. I’m really into ColourPop lipsticks and I hear they’re made by the same manufacturer that does Kylie’s LipKit, which I’m not trying to buy. They are so affordable (plus free shipping when you buy too many!) that I have a fistfull of them that I alternate each day. This looks crazy written out, but I swear this takes me 3 minutes to apply, usually hovering next to my dining table while my dog finishes his breakfast. Because getting ready using the table-mirror setup you bought explicitly for this purpose makes far too much sense.

Makeup where it’s supposed to live
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Now it’s time to run back to my room and the afore mentioned table-mirror, where I speed style my hair. First, I rub through some Bronner Bro’s. BB Super Grow with Vitamin E. I don’t care what anyone says, this is the single best hairstyling product for me, at any price point. I have been using it for years and every time I replace it with something chicer, bad things happen. For the record, my hair grows super. Next, I wave it out with a HotTools 1" Curling Iron (curling from the root, down) and create irreverent volume so it looks like I tried but didn’t, which is accurate because I only half-tried. And then I run out the door.

At work, to maintain this lewk, I... do nothing! Allowing all of this to gradually melt off my face—I look like a desert strewn Dali clock by 6 p.m. on the days when I spend hours sweating on set—is one of life’s simple pleasures. I will, however, reapply my lipstick at the end of the day if I’m going out after work...

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...and today I am going out! It’s the annual GMG holiday party. The theme is vaguely aquatic and as luck would have it, I already own a dress that is reminiscent of structural kelp. How convenient. I’m trying to exercise more consistently, even when I get really busy, so I’m dashing out for a muscle shredding pilates workout at BodyRok Studio at the end of the day. Workout = circulation = glowing skin, so this counts as a product. No time to run home, I pop back to the office to get ready. I reapply all of the morning makeup, adding Iconic London Illuminator in Glow, for a casual strobe, NYX Prismatic Shadow and NYX Glitter Goals Liquid Eyeshadow to create a budget version of Mother’s look, and swipe on a different lipstick color. I retouch the hair with the same curling iron and use some Kenra Medium hairspray to keep things together.

As you have likely noticed by now, I recently decided to dye my hair the closest I will ever get to going a non-natural colora silvery shark-grey balayage. Yes i balayaged myself. Let’s just say Olaplex is a godsend and blessings to Guy Tang’s YouTube channel, which I watched an excessive amount of before embarking on this hair journey. But friend, let me tell you: doing it was the easy part, maintenance is a struggle.

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Home from the party at the end of a long week, I lock myself in the bathroom for some self care. I do some Body Brushing with a natural fiber brush because it’s supposed to be good for lymphatic drainage and because someone told me it prevents/get’s rid of cellulite and that is a lie I’m choosing to believe. But really though, it feels good and seems to promote circulation.

That’s my dog’s shampoo in the back right corner, but we’re not talking about that... this is not his product diary.
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I hop in the shower and slather on some Trader Joe’s Exfoliating Sea Salt Scrub in Ylang-Ylang. Next I use a SheaMoisture shampoo and add a splash of Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo (it’s too drying on its own), then once a week I do a 5-minute Redken CAT Protein treatment between shampoo and conditioner. Why not do it today. I don’t believe in regular conditioner for my hair so I only use deep conditioner. I try to rotate what kind to trick my hair into thinking it’s always working. Currently I’m using Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Marula Oil Deep Conditioner. To this I add a healthy dollop of Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids Pastels in Luscious Lavender, wide tooth comb it all through my hair, and let it sit while I do something like shave my legs with a Cheap two-blade razor. So far, this system appears to be maintaining the color and condition of my hair. Do you see now why I could not do this in the morning before work? Time to lotion, of course.

The favorites
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After a good party and a face of makeup, I hear it’s important to get it all off your face. Like, all of it. I do this by removing the top layer of my skin! I get nervous about microtears on my face from using physical exfoliants, so I often opt for a weekly chemical exfoliant in the form of a mask. I love masks. my two favorites for doing this are Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask and The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA 30% + BHA 2%, the latter of which burns like a million tiny needles stabbing you in the face for the first 3 minutes after application... but it’s 1/10th the cost of the first option. I follow this up with my favorite moisturizing mask, Nature Republic Real Nature Royal Jelly Sheet Mask. Runner up mask for alternate usage is the Origins RitualiTea Feeling Rosy Comforting Powder Face Mask.

While these masks are working, I take care of my hair. I massage in some Organic Argan Oil and brush through. Sometimes I add other things but not today.

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If this were a normal non-mask evening, I would have followed the morning routine but swapped out the micellar water for The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution on some days. On the days I don’t do this swap, I would add Skinceuticals Retinol .5 or Sunday Riley Good Genes and then also swap out the finishing oils for the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I like options. I also like the travel size bottles of my most expensive products. Because the only thing I like more than hydration is savings. Speaking of savings, the best night lip treatment is good old Vaseline. Now it’s time to drink too much water and go to bed.

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