I am hesitant to reveal my secrets here. I am nervous that once this product diary is finished, I will have shattered the illusion of effortless glamour that I like to pretend I project. (Please, just let me have this.)
In reality, my beauty routine is wholly inconsistent. I would like to tell you that I hopped on the skincare bandwagon and take excellent care of myself and drink enough water and think carefully about the products I am putting in and on my body, but that would be a lie. Instead, I turn to the most accessible (cheapest) version of whatever tools I require in order to attain my aspirational aesthetic of knockoff Winona Ryder. I often forget to use many of the products for days, if not weeks at a time.
That said, I don’t see that changing anytime soon, so I might as well own it. Perhaps I will be ashamed enough after publishing this to turn over a new leaf, but probably not. Oh well!
I begrudgingly emerge from my crypt and start my morning.
More often than not, my first step is to wipe off the makeup I forgot to remove last night. Sometimes I even wake up with my glasses still on my face from when I fell asleep watching TV the night before, but luckily today is not one of those days.
I wash my face with Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser, which I certainly do not remember to use on a daily basis. I brush my teeth with Crest Baking Soda & Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste and throw on some Degree Motion Sense Deodorant. I have no scientific reason for choosing these products. When I stood dumbfounded in the aisles of CVS, they called out to me spiritually. They were also probably on sale.
After I put my contacts in, it’s time for the fun part: makeup.
By no means am I a beauty guru—I’m not even sure that I use all my products the way they are intended to be used—but this has always been my favorite part of getting ready. I love the routine of putting my face on every morning and watching myself transform from a babyfaced girl into a woman who can occasionally pass for her actual age. I almost never leave the house without some makeup on. Another victory for the patriarchy.
I start with Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer, which I remember to put on 1 out of every 10 times I do my makeup. Then I apply Fenty ProFiltr Foundation in 150 and cover that with itCosmetics CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder in Tan, so that I look slightly less like a wintertime ghost.
In The House Bunny, Anna Faris’s character posits that “eyes are the nipples of the face.” I believe this to be true. After I fill in my brows with Benefit Ka-Brow! Cream Gel in 4, I draw on winged liner as best as I can with Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner and line my waterline with NYX Waterproof Extreme Shine Eyeliner. Yesterday, I couldn’t find this pencil and used a black lipliner instead. Oops! After that, it’s two coats of L’Oréal Voluminous Feline Noir Mascara.
Once I’ve cycled through several thousand outfit options and settled on The One (a daring white t-shirt and black pants), I decide to add lipstick to create the illusion of professionalism. I use Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink in Visionary. I own this lipstick in several colors and feel confident that it could be used to identify my remains after a nuclear war, or at the very least stay on reliably during my many coffee breaks throughout the day. Then I top it all off with Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, which I remember to use about as often as the primer.
I would describe my hair’s natural texture as moderately wavy, if not pseudo-curly. Typically, I do absolutely nothing to it but this morning I have some time and I commit to the curl with a Conair 1” curling iron that I’ve had since I was 13. I wait a few minutes for the curls to settle and shake them out while dancing to Weezer’s cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” at 8:30 a.m., much to my roommates’ chagrin, before spraying it with Aussie Hairspray in Flexible Hold. And we’re out the door.
I come home a little late and a little wine drunk, but that’s okay. It’s Thursday (Friday now, I guess).
I resist the urge to immediately jump into bed and instead wipe away my makeup with Beauty 360 Cleansing Makeup Remover Towelettes. (Two days in a row? The shame must already be working.) It takes me a couple extra minutes and some elbow grease to take off the lipstick, which still looks relatively untouched after 16 hours.
I hop in the shower and wash my body with one of the 15 artisanal bar soaps my mother gifts me every birthday, Hanukkah, and Valentine’s Day. I prefer the ones with oatmeal for extra exfoliation. I have no idea what the other ingredients are but this one smells like chai, which is nice. I shave with a Gillette Men’s Razor because I refuse to pay an extra $3 for a pink one.
I don’t wash my hair every day or even every other day, so I skip that step tonight. However, when I do wash it, I use Herbal Essences Body Envy Shampoo and Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner. I always shower at night, because my pseudo-curly hair takes hours to dry but does not react well to blow-drying and therefore must dry overnight.
Tonight I’m feeling fancy, so I take out my contacts and do a face mask. I bought a pack of 40 masks from the Japanese market near the GMG office. While I have zero idea what is in them because I cannot read Japanese, they were recommended to me by a friend who also does not speak Japanese but does know a lot about skincare. It’s fine.
Ten minutes later I remove the mask and finish the show that I started when I put it on. This time, I do fall asleep with my glasses on.
What can I say? I did my best.