The other day, as I was stirring a cube of beeswax with some coconut oil and honey inside a glass jar, submerged in a pot of water over a lit stove, it suddenly occurred to me that I have become my own worst nightmare. “Who am I?” I asked myself in a sad, doltish, Derek Zoolander voice, as i began to hack away at this stubborn beeswax with a bread knife. Throughout all of college I used to relish the smudged-eye-makeup-because-I-never-washed-my-face look. I used to stumble to Potbellys and work a two-day-old eye makeup smudge so well — and the twitching eyelid that typically accompanied it — you’d think I was getting a PhD in hangovers and not a Bachelor’s degree in English. And yet, here I somehow was, four years after college, trying desperately to melt this cube of beeswax so that I might at least have the option of smearing it on my face and assuming the identity of a Bougie Parfumée (first name Bougie).
Of course, this dwelling is worthless now. I have officially crossed over to the lamentable side of my 20s; I now have not one, but four different pairs of slacks to my name in addition to an entire drawer in my apartment dedicated to cleaning supplies. Whereas 50 Cent once said, in all his braggadocio, that we could find him in the club, I can now say with full certainty that, more times than not, you can find me in the tub.
I like giving myself at-home facials. I like sashaying through my front door as if it belonged to Elizabeth Arden — as if it were red and much, much larger — kicking off my shoes and mismatched socks, and holding my nose while I take a sip of my Odwalla — pretending with all my might that it’s a fresh berry concoction just handed to me in the waiting room of a luxurious spa and not a 5-day-expired juice I just excavated from the innards of my fridge. But most of all, I like trying out face masks and then rolling my back on one of those foam rollers until my ears can no longer take the sound of Ariana Grande’s “Break Free” and I must, for the sake of my own sanity, get up. I like to take mask selfies, throw them all into an 8-way pic-stitch, and then send them to my friends with the following text: “What quarter-life crisis?” They’ll usually respond with, “We never said you were having one,” but by that point I’m usually too high on Ariana to care. If Scandal just so happens to be playing in the background during all of this, so be it.
My point being: it comes with much research that I present to you my latest finding in plump-my-skin-like-your-newborn-baby skincare techniques. At this point I’ve tried just about everything — and, might I add, am still flummoxed as to how one could possibly make a banana and avocado face mask without it looking like this:
And at this point, I can also say with full certainty that skin serums confuse me. They’ve been touted as skincare “necessities,” but in my experience have not done much aside from prolonging my nightly skincare regimen and making it very easy for all the products I have applied to flake off my skin. So it was with pure joy that I stumbled on an alternate use for the inordinate number of serums I have stocked in my cabinet that, up until now, served virtually no purpose. And although I can no longer recall where I read about it — spending hours on end reading Amazon’s and Sephora’s customer reviews sections tend to do that to you — the gist was as follows: apply your serums under your nightly face mask. To use The Princess and the Pea metaphor, pretend your face is the pea and the serums the numerous mattresses and featherbeds. Pile them on; go wild. And the best part is you don’t even have to wait for them to dry. The source in question also recommended piling on your daily toner with the serums, and perhaps this would be useful to people with rougher, more acne-prone skin, but as someone with fairly sensitive skin — I don’t even use toner in the winter — I swapped this out for my favorite salad ingredient of all time: olive oil. Don’t hold back on the olive oil either; make it rain, Colavita style, all over that punim. And for the final step: apply a sheet mask.
My only precaution would be to make sure the serum(s) and sheet mask don’t contain any potentially harmful or toxic ingredients, a comprehensive list of which can be found here.
And I’ve found the benefits of this skincare routine to be manifold. Normally sheet masks dry out in ten-to-thirty minutes, but with these extra layers underneath, you can sit with this sheet mask for as long as you’d like. You might even want to capitalize on this free time and use this opportunity to knock on your neighbor’s door to tell her that you’ve been watching Empire and, well, she does not have a future in the music industry. There’s just something about this mask that will inspire audacity. You know she saw you waltz right back into 2b, but with a mask like this on, the whole encounter managed to feel incognito.
Then when you’ve had enough, wash it all off and apply your usual products.