Me and my sparkle children. All photos Phoebe Bradford.

I’ll be honest, I think I wear more makeup than my genetically blessed and baby-skinned coworkers. I have rampant adult acne, y’all! It’s OK, I’m not that bitter. Not everyone can radiate sunshine out of their pores. And while I’m not over here wearing a dramatically contoured face everyday (because really who has the time), to me Glossier’s Skin Tint is more of a punchline than a viable make-up product.

I love the ritual of make-up and, for similar reasons, I’ve recently fallen in love with skincare. It’s quickly becoming the only hobby I have: I’m a member of three group chats and an entire work Slack channel dedicated to it (not to mention the 80 Instagram accounts I follow), and my obsession has a lot to do with my troubled skin. Ever since I awkwardly stepped into acne-riddled puberty (and entered a multi-decade awkward phase I’m really hoping ends sometime soon) I’d lock myself in a bathroom with a Seventeen Magazine, some sad array of reject makeup I stole from my sister, and get to work. I’ve since progressed in my ~*skills*~—eyeshadow is still my nemesis—but the stress of a Trump presidency and the trashfire we call life—maybe it’s just my mid-20s? Maybe it’s Maybelline—has led me, like everyone else, to become a freaking skin chemist.

Much credit goes to Adele, my endlessly patient dermatologist, who works to contain the cystic delights my Polycystic Ovary Syndrome peppers my face with near-constantly. Abnormal hormones are hell. But with a solid routine, topical meds, and a heaping tablespoon of Spironolactone I’m finally reaching a balance (and confidence) I never thought would happen. Adele, girl, I wouldn’t be here without you! ❤️ If you think you need a dermatologist this is your sign—go do it!

7 a.m.

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Unlike my blogging coworkers, I can’t work from home in the morning and skip the specific NYC hell we call rush hour. There are videos to be made and I’ve gotta get my butt to Manhattan to make ‘em. I flop out of bed, curse the gods for forcing me to wake, and crawl to my bathroom to hop in the shower. I have thick, dyed blonde hair with a frizz-wave-curl texture so odd that it’s caused more that one hair stylist to ask “How?” So once a week I’ll wash it with a gentle, general, color-safe shampoo like amika Keep Your Color Shampoo, and once a week I’ll wash it with Kristen Ess Purple Shampoo to nix the brass. I always use the Kristin Ess Purple Conditioner and lob on a dollop of DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture that I let soak in for bit before washing out. I love a frou-frou-smelling, hydrating body wash and use Love Beauty and Planet Murumuru Butter and Rose, and I knock out a skin care step by washing my face with NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash—which is a godsend for anyone with dark marks from acne. This is actually my holy grail product for ANYONE with PCOS-related acne. If my skin feels sensitive though I’ll swap it out for Cosrx Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, and when I get out of the shower I rub my bod with Jergens Ultra Healing Lotion, which is hydrating and great for fresh tattoos!

For toner, I use a cotton pad to apply HERBIVORE Jasmine Green Tea Balancing Toner, which Jezebel’s Managing Editor Madeleine Davies recommended and is awesome. Calms down redness and blasts away cystic junk. If my skin is feeling peely and dry—a common side effect of using drying acne meds—I’ll swap this step out for a NEOGEN DERMALOGY Lemon Bio-Peel Gauze Peel, which smells awesome and leaves your skin baby soft. If I need to bring out the big guns I use boscia’s Exfoliating Peel Gel, which is unsettling to use, but fully molts you.

8:20 a.m.

Feel free to tell your single friends how low maintenance I am ;-)

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I putz around letting the toner set for a bit after my shower and let my hair dry in towel. While I wait, I mist myself with Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater because it feels fancy, not because I’m convinced I’m doing anything real. Once my skin dries I wipe it with a Clindamycin Topical Solution pad and try not to yelp in pain because Stridex pads ain’t got nothing on these fuckers—this is a doctor-prescribed step, so please speak with one about it before you try this. Then I apply a healthy (read: massive) amount of KIEHL’S Ultra Facial Moisturizer Sunscreen because SPF is important, please wear it everyday especially if you’re blasting off layers of skin with acne products or peels. I love this moisturizer/sunscreen because it’s so rich and it leaves my skin glossy which, as Katie Jane Hughes has taught me, is great for make-up application.

If I’m still not shiny enough I’ll rub on a small squirt of Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, which is another godsend product for the flaky and acne-prone. I hydrate my glimmering orbs with Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter™ Eye Treatment, which the folks in the GMG Beauty Slack know is the product I consistently stan for because we actually have eye cream non-believers. When my creams set I rub a little Murad Invisiblur™ Perfecting Shield for primer, but I also love Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For Filter Mattifying Primer. I love primer because, as Jezebel Staff Writer Megan Reynolds once put it, “It’s like skin spackle.” Isn’t this fun? I’m now done with skin. We’re HALFWAY THROUGH. Hahahahaha, no, but seriously.

This is what makes me look alive.

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Depending on how broken out I am, I’ll use one of two foundations: L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation in C1 or NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Finland. Today my skin is like “OK fine, it’s your birthday, I’ll sort of behave,” so I go with the NARS because it’s significantly lighter, but provides amazing, hydrated coverage. I want to look like I drink the recommended eight cups of water daily without actually doing it, people!!! Similarly, I’ll choose between MILK MAKEUP Flex Concealer in Fair or MAKE UP FOREVER Full Cover Concealer in Pink Porcelain. I go with the MILK product even though I don’t love it. It dries really powdery if I’m not as greased up as I am right now, but it has pretty solid coverage. I find this brand’s products are super hit or miss for me. Then I swipe on Glossier Boy Brow in Brown. I hate/love this product because I have pretty solid, big brows and don’t need to do much to them, but this product runs out SO quickly and dries out before finishing. Whatever. I haven’t found something better so this is what I use.

On my EYES, I rub on NUDESTIX Magnetic Matte Lip Color in Boho, because I got it free as a sample and I loved the pinky brown color and said, “fuck it to the rules and the man.” And then of course a terrifyingly specific targeted Instagram ad informed me they make eye makeup in the same color. OH WELL! Then, I squeeze out the teensiest drops of Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam and Puff, mixed together, and apply to the apples of my cheeks and blend up to my cheekbones with my fingers (TY again Katie Jane Hughes for this lesson—blush is hard!). I love highlighter so much, but I usually keep it tame in the AM with the OG highlight: Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! and tap it onto my cheek bones, brow bone, and the bridge of my nose with my finger. This product is 200 percent better than Glossier’s Haloscope (please don’t @ me), which made me break out and one could argue is too subtle (like, just don’t wear highlighter then?). On my lashes, I swipe on Covergirl LashBlast Volume Mascara, which I have been using since I was 14 because it’s great and, fun fact, a staple of every makeup department of every set I have ever worked. Finally, I use some easy lip color, BITE BEAUTY’s Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Glacé and throw some Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia in my bag for later.

A metaphorical glass of water for my thirsty hair

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All that for this?! Sorry folks I’m actually a demon under all this ~product~.

Ok we are almost done, I freaking swear. But my hair! It’s wet and only getting frizzier by the second. So I take a blob of Kristen Ess Weightless Shine Air Dry Crème and work it through my hair and shake it out. Then I kind of mix the Kristen Ess Weightless Shine Working Serum (Notice a theme? I love Kristen Ess except for her dumb “temporary” pink dye which real-time dyed my hair for four frickin’ months) and Moroccanoil Treatment in Light together (fight me) and apply to parched ends, working it up from there. Ok. Now I’m done and ready to embrace the world with wet hair and a glossy face, folks.

You ready to do this dance all over again? I’m half kidding.

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7 p.m.

Usually I come home and immediately strip off my makeup with Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes—no brand loyalty, they were just on sale and work—and slap on a clay mask like Glossier’s Mega Greens Galaxy Pack or a brightening tingly one like First Aid Beauty’s Hello FAB Ginger & Turmeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask. But tonight is my birthday and my folks are taking me out so I start with a fresh face, re-moisturize, re-primer, and opt for the L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation in C1 foundation which I apply with a beauty blender from E.L.F. I bring out the big guns and use the MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover Concealer, which is as concealing as stage makeup. I decide to do a bolder eye using a small eye shadow palette whose brand has since rubbed off, but use a medium brown to shade and a sparkly pink to highlight the corners of my eye—props again to Katie Jane Hughes for being my eyeshadow guru and, now that I’m noticing it, the love of my life? ANYWAY, I apply liquid black liner to just the ends of my lash line with the tiniest little cat eye for a thickening lash line effect with Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen—the greatest liner in the world. I watched a lot of E4's Skins growing up and used to go nuts with eyeliner (I ❤️ Effy), so this subtle application shows a lot of growth. Then I swirl on Pacifica Coconut Infused Blush/Bronzer in Beaming and Tenderheart, which was a hand-me-down from a friend and are the prettiest glowy colors. After that, I attempt to gently contour with the bronzer, but I truly have no idea what I’m doing.

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Then, my favorite part: HIGHLIGHTER!!!! I use a narrow but fluffy brush to apply some Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Gilded Honey to my cheek bones and nose, and an eyeshadow brush to tap on the peach and pink colors from the MILK MAKEUP Holographic Powder Quad to my brown bone and cupids bow. Then, because I’m craaazy, I take the smallest finger pat of FENTY BEAUTY Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife (a Jez staff favorite) and just tap it here and there for some sparkle. For a little color, I layer on some Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara and blot on NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Cruella (a GMG Beauty Slack favorite). I also zhoosh my hair with a L’ANGE Ondulé Curling Wand, which every man who has entered my bathroom thinks is an aerodynamic sex toy I’ve left out, and lock it in with L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray. I spray myself with whatever sample perfume my Sephora Play Box has sent me and I am ready to be awkwardly sung at in a crowded NYC restaurant. It is 6,000 percent humidity outside so then I immediately sweat off all of my efforts.

Before the rain ruined everything immediately

11 p.m.

I return home, soaked from the rain and celebrated. I wish at this moment, more than anything, that I could fall right into bed, but that’s some clear skin folks nonsense . I use the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes to remove my make up and the NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash to wash my skin. Again if my skin is sensitive, I’ll swap this for Neogen Real Fresh Cleansing Stick Green Tea, which I originally bought for traveling but is so nice! I apply a pea-size amount of Epiduo—again doctor prescribed—to my whole face. I add drops of ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Serum, which is a dope and an underrated serum that isn’t just for old folks, to my face and let that soak in for five minutes. I switch between this and Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (I have two sample sizes) when I need some heavy-duty shit (I never pair with my Glycolic Face wash because I want to wake up with skin still on my face). I scoop up a big blob of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, which is a great hyaluronic acid moisturizer that is a perfect dupe for Peter Thomas Roth’s much pricier “Water Drench.” I apply my same Tarte eye cream and layer on some Glossier Balm Dot Com like a lip mask and get my butt to bed.

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I will presumably spend the next eight hours contemplating how much money I have spent on my new product hobby (read: addiction), whether or not I could have bought a house by now, if my hoarder product tendencies have made me unmarryable, if anything I’m doing to my face is actually working, how many hours I have lost trying to reverse age-myself, and then have some sort of night terror about the Deciem Instagram page. Then, I flop outta bed at 7 a.m. and do the whole damn thing over again.