Okay, so have you guys ever read that brilliant Nora Ephron essay “On Maintenance”? She goes into great detail about her beauty routine — her hair dyes, her skin creams, her nail care regimen — and how it takes a small village slash fortune just so she doesn’t resemble a homeless person when she walks out her door in the morning.
Well, at the ripe young age of 26, I can sadly already relate to Ephron’s struggles. Since, in most circles, my attractiveness barely registers as a “cute” or an occasional “adorable” (Unless I take my glasses off. Then I undergo a She’s All That transformation and people are like “OMG, who knew?”) I have to work extra hard just to look presentable each and every day. I don’t have glorious bone structure or sinewy muscles to fall back on. I must dress cute, do my hair, and moisturize before I leave the house in the futile hopes that I don’t frighten small children on my way to work. (I’m JK! I’m certain that the only people I scare are Evangelical Christians and ex-boyfriends.) You get what I’m saying though. People with classic good looks don’t have to stress too much when they’re putting themselves together because their foundation is always solid. Meanwhile, average-looking folk have to go above and beyond, investing in the best lotions and potions and flattering clothing, just so they can register on the good-looking scale. Let me tell you, it’s exhausting and expensive being a “6.”
Have no fear though because I have some tips for which products you should use. This stuff is BARE BASICS, PEOPLE. Everyone — gay, straight, hot, not-so-hot, penis owner, vagina owner — should have these beauty items. Treat them all like a second skin, hon!
1. Decent shampoo
My whole life, I used the worst, cheap-y drugstore shampoo. You know which ones I’m talking about here — the kind of stuff that, despite smelling like gardenias and lavender, completely dries out your hair and leaves it looking like shit. Afterwards, you feel like you just lathered it in some raspberry-scented lotion from Bath & Body Works instead of getting it clean and shiny, like shampoos are supposed to do. I was a fan of these types of products for so long until I used Jurlique, an all-natural skin and haircare line from Australia. I remember the first time I washed my hair with their sandalwood shampoo, I was so shocked by how nice my hair felt. I was like one of those people in an Herbal Essences commercial screaming, “YES YES ORGANIC ORGASMIC NO CHEMICALS AUSTRALIA SOLD AT WHOLE FOODS OMG!” in the shower. After that, I never looked back. Well, actually that’s not true. When I was 22, I was diagnosed with psoriasis of the scalp and had to switch to using this prescription shampoo that’s as strong as an H-bomb. I seriously can’t go three days without using it. If I do, my hair resembles an a capella rendition of “White Christmas.” It’s devastating.
2. Eye cream
If you’re not using eye cream already, you should start because your eye muscles are notoriously weak and the first part of your bod to age! While your skin may remain taut and smooth in other areas, your eyes could start to resemble Anne Ramsey’s in Don’t Throw Momma Off The Train. The first time I ever bought eye cream, I was blacked out at Sak’s Fifth Avenue and purchased La Mer, which you should only do if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow and/or own a small country. Honestly, the tiny jar of La Mer haunts me to this day because it cost a small fortune and I have yet to see any difference in my eyes. Screw that. You shouldn’t have to fork over so much cash for something as simple as eye cream. Instead, I WAS going to recommend Cetaphil for all of your eye maintenance needs but then a bunch of articles popped up that were like, “No.” So now let’s go to plan C: Retin-A. My roommate uses this stuff and SWEARS by it. It can be used to treat acne as well as an under-the-eye cream. The New York Times claims it’s one of the only creams that has been proven to work, which is CHIC and SWAG. I might even have to get an RX. HELLO DOCTOR, DOCTOR.
3. Shit for your hair
In high school and most of college, my version of styling my hair involved matting it down with water and hoping for the best. Occasionally, I’d try hair gel or pomade but it always left things looking like a damn hurricane + super greasy and sick. Then the lady who cuts my hair recommended Bumble + Bumble’s Sumo Wax and I’ve been sold on it ever since. Simply put, this wax is strong as hell and will make your disobedient hair its bitch. I should know, my mane is such a brat it could have its own slot on VH1’s Divas Live!, so when I saw it cower into submission, I knew I had a keeper on my hands.
4. A signature scent
I’ve written so much about perfumes in the past but I feel like I need to push this more into your skull: YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH TOM FORD EVER. I started with Tuscan Leather, which smells like an eight ball of coke, and ventured onto Tobacco Vanille, which is reminiscent of cigarettes and, well, vanilla. Now I’m done with smelling like Tom Ford’s drug binge and have moved on to cleaner scents like Grey Vetiver and Black Orchid. They’re all SO GOOD. Wear them and watch people want to have sex with you — or at the very least want to strip you of your nice smelling skin and wear it as their own a la Leatherface.
5. A good moisturizer
Moisturizing is so crucial, especially in the winter when the weather makes everyone’s skin dry and scaly. Now, as I mentioned before, I have psoriasis (just so I can be on-trend with Kim Kardashian, natch) and have to use this prescription-stength shit that turns my skin into a water park. But before I became a human freakshow, I used Burt’s Bee’s moisturizer. Seriously, you guys, this stuff is good. During Hurricane Sandy, I was without my skin prescriptions so my friend literally brought samples of Burt Bee’s moisturizer to brunch and we just lathered our faces in it. People were giving us weird looks because we looked like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest but I know they were just jealous of us.