I am three weeks into my 27-day challenge of Cosmetic Withdrawal.
My mom thinks I broke my face.
“I’m worried about your skin,” she declares over speakerphone. I’m in the van, having just dropped off the kids at school.
“Ma, it’s okay.” I glance in the rearview mirror. Well, maybe not totally spot on.
“You’re not twenty anymore….”
Really? Did the muffin top and gray hairs give it away?
“…and you’ve always had that beautiful skin.”
She has a point. It was kind of a selling feature. I say was because it’s definitely more of a bargain-basement trait at present.
“Now you’re putting all that stuff on it,” she continues.
By “stuff” my mom means food and homemade cosmetics. Yep, anything from the kitchen is ripe for the smearing (banana, avocado, cucumber, rice milk, yogurt, eggs, coconut, edible oils, ground oats). Anything I concoct from raw ingredients (beeswax, essential oils, clay, shea or cocoa butter etc.) is also good to go.
“It’s only another week, then I’ll get a facial,” I assure her. “It’ll be fine.”
She sighs: “Are you sure?”
It’s not really a question. And, frankly, it’s not fine.
Problem is, since my teens I have practiced a skin care routine. As a little girl I watched my mom (who is still gorgeous, btw) cleanse, tone and moisturize every morning and evening. She has good habits, which she passed on to me. I can count the number of times I partied and passed out with my makeup on while in university. Ever seen a drunk girl remove waterproof mascara in a co-ed bathroom? It’s like watching an astronaut tie shoelaces in zero gravity, while all the other astronauts try to keep her from floating away. Just call me Ellen Ripley.
My mom also knows ingredients and even sold cosmetics for a few years. It was all litmus papers and PH-balanced around our house. She’s a teacher by education (and a kick-ass businesswoman.) Need I say more?
Why it this an issue now? Because 1) I am replacing ingrained discipline with crappy crap and likely overdoing it. 2) My skin is used to being cared for like a newborn babe. It’s rebelling. How do you go from cashmere to homespun without getting the heebie jeebies?
By the end of week one I know I can’t just rub plain old oil on my face as a moisturizer. It’s helpful at dissolving makeup, and I’ll probably continue to use it as a pre-cleanser. As for actual face cleanser, “soapy” is not in my arsenal, but a Light Cleansing Oil and Lavender Sugar Scrub are. See the problem here? Oil followed by oil followed by sugar followed by more oil (?). I am a walking Chicken Waffle on a Stick (that’s real, follow the link).
I need cream. Light, non-comedogenic cream (not pore-clogging for all you beauty-product novices). So I make two, which immediately become foot balms due to consistency issues. I recently discover one of them has turned into a Petri dish. Mold happens.
So I turn to serums and make Night Oil and Sensitive Skin Anti Aging Serum. The second smells like Thai food. I even make a Basic Chamomile Toner for sensitive skin. Tea that heals stomach ailments and smells like a meadow can’t be bad–other than an efficacy rate of zero in terms of toning. For my eyes I use Rosemary Coconut Oil Eye Cream. Even as it smothers that thin eye-skin, I persevere in the name of….Well, I don’t really know.
Still, all of week two my skin vascillates between desiccated and viscous goo. Maybe because I use all these products? All the time? Routine.
Time to pull out the big guns. Over the weekend and early into week three, I go mask-crazy in a desperate attempt to feed my skin: Egg White Firming Mask, Banana Yogurt Honey Mask, Avocado Face Mask. They all feel fine while I’m wearing them but may signal an allergy to topically-applied foods. Is that a thing?
Nonetheless, my daughter thinks I’m off my rocker, and my son has a horror movie cameo when I ask him to take a photo while I try out the avocado mask. (See video).
When I send my family a pic of my guacamole face, they text back:
By Wednesday of week three, while serving lunch at school, a friend remarks that I have seen better days. No argument there. My cheeks look like the surface of the moon.
I think I may have to abort this skin-care mission.
Tune in next time for operation rescue.