Maintenance, Moisturizer, Personal

I Don’t Think I Can Spare the Moisture

I’m super excited to be introducing you to my first guest writer!

We used to be small town alterna-teens at a dark riverbed, and we turned out great.

I don’t know about him, but I hardly ever go to dark riverbeds anymore… 

He always compliments me on the way I do my corn….

I think he’s awfully good….

Jono Nelson, COME ON DOWN!!!!

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I hesitate to reveal my deepest darkest secret because I know it’ll horrify the Editor-in-chief here at Lab Bunny, but I must be honest and admit my faults if I hope to grow as a writer and a person.

I don’t moisturize.

It’s a commonly held belief that gay men hold the key to everything beautiful, glamorous and creative. Historically we have been innovators and taste-makers. Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde and Andy Warhol were all gay men that changed the course of human evolution in innumerable ways.

While I may have possessed this key at one point, I lost it probably around the time I started buying drugs from a Mexican gangbanger that I was never allowed to talk to. Basically, I’m bad at being gay.

Sure, in my youth I was running around southern California in skin-tight designer jeans and vintage band shirts worn to hell but then shit got real. In my mid-twenties, as a survival mechanism, I was forced to get sober. The good thing about early sobriety was that I was free of drugs and booze and no longer hurting the people I loved. The bad part was I realized how much I fucking hated my life, especially my day job.

After being clean for about a year I decided to finish up my BA in journalism. The more I focused on school and other things, the less energy I had to put forth in the aesthetics department.

Cut to today: I’ve relocated from Bakersfield to Los Angeles for school and academics have taken over my life. I pretty much wear the same four band shirts on a loop. My teenage, punk rock self would be happy to report that I couldn’t pinpoint the last time I washed my only pair of jeans that fit.This isn’t necessarily what I wanted, it’s just a byproduct of trying to make my dreams come true. I would love to be shopping for vintage leather but paying the bills and getting an internship are higher on the list at the moment.

My beauty regimen has also deteriorated to almost nothing. I put on sunscreen before I go to work but that’s about it. If I’m feeling fancy or have the time and energy to spare, I might put on a squirt of Lush’s Dirty body spray or slather on one of the zillion Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab oils I own (another addiction I should go to rehab for).

It’s not that I’m against moisturizing or even that I don’t own moisturizer (I have a pot of Lush’s Cosmetic Lad staring me in the face as I type this). My main problem is that I can never seem to make it a habit. I’ll apply it every morning for a few days and then forget about it or be too busy for it and then the cycle is broken. Cthulhu help us all if I don’t make coffee every morning but I can’t seem to find an extra thirty seconds to put something on my face to make it look better.

The other problem I have with moisturizing is that my skin is insanely temperamental. I’m not talking the occasional blemish during finals week. My skin routinely breaks out when the weather changes, when I try a new product or any time I leave my apartment. This situation is understandable in your teens and maybe even early twenties but I just turned 30 and shit has gotten embarrassing. I’m always anxious that if I use the wrong moisturizer, it’ll somehow make my condition worse.

I know that I’m not getting any younger. I’m also at a slight disadvantage seeing as how I spent a decade chain smoking. I need to start moisturizing and I need to start today, otherwise I’m going to end up with patchy skin and crow’s feet six inches deep.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the genetics I cannot change, the courage to change the skin I can, and the wisdom to moisturize on the daily.

Amen.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

 

(Ed. note: AMEN.)

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Maintenance

What gross magic is this?

babyfootfrontI have the roughest little hooves. Thanks, Dad’s f’ed up foot genes and my 30 year barefoot lifestyle!

I just ran across this disgusting foot peel, Baby Foot, and I WANT IT!!

I mean, look at this:

babyfoot

THAT IS FUCKING SICK! I want to do that!! I know I’m a freak, but I didn’t become an esthetician because I like seeing strangers in their underwear. I became an esthetician because I like to pick zits and tweeze ingrown hairs. That whole strangers in their underwear thing was a lucky bonus.

If it works, this peeling foot skin thing is a dream come true! Gross skin to pick and soft feet?! YES!! Sign me up forever!

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Cleansers, Fresh, Maintenance

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

fresh soy cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, $15-$38

As I’ve previously bragged, I’ve never really had a lot of skin problems. When I was a kid, I had the usual smattering of hormone induced pimples and overall oiliness; the perfect compliment to my bushy eyebrows and “tree trunk thighs” (thanks, super clever kids on the bus). But, as an adult, I only ever had the occasional random zit (eyebrows are now so fly, tree trunk thighs are still in full effect).

I was so used to basking in my beautiful, problem free skin, that when it went haywire in The Great Kiehl’s Disaster of 2010, I was totally fucked. I frantically cycled through cleanser after cleanser, desperately trying to bring some order back to my skin. I mean, when you got dem tree trunk thighs, you gotta keep that face, right? I tried all my usual esthetician tricks; I was oiling and lotioning, lotioning and oiling, but nothing worked.

This is a battle I’ve been fighting, with various degrees of success, up until two weeks ago.

After yet another less than satisfying run with a piece of strange cleanser, I finally got around to giving Fresh Soy Face Cleanser a shot.

From Sephora’s site:

“Rich in amino acids, soy proteins promote moisture retention, elasticity, and firmness. Rosewater balances and tones the skin. Fragrance-free and soap-free, calming cucumber extract and nourishing borage seed oil enriches its formula.”

This is a gel cleanser, and a little bit goes a very long way, which is great if the price tag is scaring you away. I’ve been using this cleanser, along with my Clarisonic brush and Pore Cleansing Pad (not at the same time, or in the same day. NEVER in the same day), and my skin was better, literally, overnight. Seriously. After the first time I used it, I was impressed, but skeptical. I’ve been through the old “first time using a new cleanser” song and dance a lot over the past few years, and nothing has held up past the the first few uses. Well, that was two weeks ago, and every time I wash my face, I’m still impressed. Even though it is a very gentle cleanser that is appropriate for all skin types, it effectively removes my full face of makeup, mascara and all, while clearing out my pores, without drying or irritating my very tender, usually dry cheeks. I’m not crazy about the cucumber/soy scent, but it’s a small hurdle to overcome.

I could have had my nice skin back a long time ago. But no, I refused to buy into the hype of one of SEPHORA’S TOP RATED, BEST SELLING CLEANSERS (I’m so dumb), choosing instead to trek through the skincare wilderness all alone. See, kids? This is why peer pressure is a good thing. If you give into peer pressure, you’ll be smoking, and blow j’ing, and your skin will look great, and everyone will love you! You’ll be the coolest!

Look at me! Since I started using this cleanser, my skin has become smoother, clearer, more hydrated, AND I got invited to all the best graduation pool parties. NO PARENTS, YOU GUYS.

That last part was a lie. I’ve never in my life been invited to a cool, unchaperoned graduation party.

The first part though? That part about how much better my skin is now that I’ve been using this cleanser? That part is the truth.

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Lips, Maintenance

Lip Prep School

I was 15 or 16 the first time I wore bright red lipstick out in public. I felt really ostentatious and awkward, like I might be doing something dumb, and I felt like for sure everyone was looking at me. It was the same sort of scary feeling I’d experienced the day I debuted my rhinestoned cat eyed white sunglasses into the world.

Scary, but SO RIGHT.

I’ve been in love with bright lip colors ever since then. There is no better way to insure that I will spend lots of time pouting at myself in the mirror than to hand me a tube of red lipstick. I will stand there, making erotic mouths at myself, all day.

selflip

(Photo of my own sexymouth that was already on my phone.)

(I should be embarrassed.)

I like to wear bright lipstick as often as I can. Unfortunately, I also like to sometimes gnaw my lips into a shredded disaster area. Luckily, these two hobbies of mine CAN coexist thanks to my ultra effective lip repair regimen. I do these steps almost every time I decide to wear a bright or creamy lipstick.

STEP ONE – We can have lots of fun. Moisturizing.

For day to day wear, not all lip balms are created equal. But for this, you can use anything that will moisturize your lips. The goal is to get all that dead skin and gross crud really soft and ready to be sloughed. Get that Chapstick, butter, or whatever and apply a generous amount – really pile it on. Now, go do something else for at least ten minutes.

STEP TWO – There’s so much we can do…to exfoliate your lips.

OK. We let our mouths get a good soak in all that grease. It’s time to scrub it all off! You can use a wet, warm washcloth, your toothbrush, or one of the many available lip exfoliants. I prefer to use LUSH’s Mint Julips Sugar Lip Scrub; it’s good and scrubby, it doesn’t dissolve right away, and it’s zero Weight Watchers points. I mean, probably, right? That’s what I tell myself when I’m eating it off my own mouth anyways.

Take your exfoliator, a little bit of warm water, and gently scrub your lips in circular motions. Scrub them until they feel nice and smooth. Sometimes, if my lips are especially chewed up, I’ll apply more lip balm and come back and exfoliate again a few hours later.

STEP THREE – It’s just you and me. (Me, in this case, is your chapstick.)

After you’ve given your lips a rough, but loving exfoliation, you need to apply more moisturizer. They’ll be super soft and pillowy, so now is when you want to use something good, and not something that dries out your lips. My very favorite lip moisturizer is Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. It’s a little higher priced, but since I started using it, my lips have never been so consistently soft, even when I’m not wearing it. Smith’s Rosebud Salve is also a really great product. It’s only $6, and you can use it on your cuticles too. Whatever you use, slather it on those smooth kissy lips!

STEP FOUR – I can give you more…opportunities to wear dramatic lip colors!

I do this moisturize/exfoliate thing about once a week. Sometimes, in the shower, I’ll just run whatever face exfoliator I’m using over my lips while they’re soft from the warm water. The trick is to make it a part of your regular routine. The couple of minutes of hands on time is worth it for how good it makes your lips feel, and for the joy of putting on a hot lip color and having it not look like shit.

STEP FIVE – Don’t you know that the time has arrived.

FOR ME TO STOP WITH THIS TERRIBLE NEW KIDS THING I STARTED.

HUHHH!

NKOTB

(L to R: my boyfriend, Jordan, Monkeyface, poor Jonathan, Ugh. Donnie)

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BODY-ODY-ODY, Maintenance

Trader Joe’s Prenatal Vitamins

I am not pregnant. In fact, I’m drunk right now!

Just kidding!

I’m high.

On life.

And drugs.

And these vitamins*!

I learned about them from Mindy Kaling. My good, personal, imaginary friend, Mindy Kaling.

Mindy says:

“Not only will they scare the shit out of your boyfriend if he visits your house, it will make your hair grow faster, thicker, and keep your skin glow-y and smooth.”

Beautiful hair AND a funny prank all in one bottle? Yes, please!

Before I started taking these, I had never finished a bottle of vitamins in my life. After I started taking them, and found out she was right on all counts, plus they do great things for your nails, AND they helped with my chronic anemia (I’m so precious and delicate, like an antique Taylor Swift doll), I gulped them down and bought more!

Thanks, my so-close-we’re-actually-more-like-sisters friend, Mindy! See you at brunch on Sunday with our other best friends; Tina Fey, Poehlcat, Julie Klausner, RuPaul and Adele.

 

*These vitamins won’t actually get you high. Sorry.

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Maintenance, Nails

Cynthia Rowley Band-Aids

I wasn’t joking about showing you the Band-Aids I use to cover my poor fingers. The one with the gold chains is my favorite! I wish I could get a whole box of just those.

When I was a kid, my mom made a deal with me that if I quit chewing my nails, she’d take me to get them professionally done. So, I moved on from gnawing on my nails and started picking at my cuticles instead. My fingies have hurt a lot over these last 20-something years, but I got my manicure, dammit. Neon green. Because it was the muthafuckin’ 80s, and I was 8, and I was RAD.

P.S. Please resist the urge to photoshop dicks into my hands.

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Maintenance

Faster Beauty School

Beauty School Dorm

“Hazel. Your hair isn’t big enough and you know it. This is beauty school, not nursing school, dammit!”

I’ve been a bad, bad girl.

I’ve been careless with your delicate faces.

In my frenzy to share the good news about the Sephora Pore Cleansing Pad, I failed to warn all of you about the dangers of over exfoliating. Thankfully, it’s only been a few days, so there shouldn’t be too much damage done.

Please forgive me. You know I gets excited!

To make amends, let’s go over some basic skincare. We’ll put that esthetics license* to work!

Hey, man. I didn’t spend all those months locked in a room with bad teenagers** for nothing.

Cleanse

Before you can choose an effective cleanser, you have to be realistic with yourself about the strengths and weaknesses of your skin. Not your perceived weaknesses. The actual weaknesses. Just because you always had oily skin while you were a teenager, that doesn’t mean you’ll still have oily skin in your 20s, or 30s. You can’t keep using the same types of cleansers forever. I learned that lesson the hard way. I legit blame my own inability to follow this rule for the nearly two year struggle I’ve had with my skin.

A couple years ago, I was in the market for a new face wash. I’d always heard good things about Kiehl’s, and since we were living in LA, there was a Kiehl’s counter in a Bloomingdale’s close by. Practically fate, right?! Wrong. WRONG.

I went over there and had a whole conversation with the girl at the counter about their cleansers and masks. Purposely letting it drop that I was a licensed beauty professional, and not so purposely letting it drop that I was a huge asshole. I just really hate sitting through the whole fancy spiel about products. I don’t need to be sold to that way, it’s better for everyone if we don’t go through it, and I start to get bitchy immediately if we do.

Ugh. I’m totally just excusing my rampant self-importance right now. SOMEBODY HELP/STOP ME.

Anyways (GOOD LORD), when she asked what my skin was like, I told her the usual story: I’m pretty oily, I don’t get a lot of zits, but I battle with dullness. False. True. True. At this point, I was already most of the way through my 30th year, and I had been doing the same old routine for so long, I hadn’t realized that my skin had changed as I got older. I wasn’t that oily anymore. I think I was confusing “oily” with “sweaty.”

That’s so fucking gross. You’ll have to excuse me, I’m feeling particularly candid this morning.

Our skin tends to get drier as we age. Your skin changes a lot from your 20s to your 30s, I was out of my 20s, and not noticing the real reason why my skin care products had stopped working. This is the exact reason why, once a year or so, it’s so important to take stock of where your skin actually is. I think we sometimes get so hung up on what we’ve always thought our problems were, that we don’t see anything else. If you keep using products that address problems you don’t actually have anymore, your skin will only get worse. Cleansers for oily skin can over dry and cause oil production to increase. Acne cleansers can do the same thing, if you don’t need them anymore, leading to more acne. What a fucked up cycle, right?

I should have stopped using clarifying products, and started using combination or normal products. Instead, I bought another oil fighting cleanser and a fucking clay mask. Like an idiot. Horrifyingly, the combination of those two products totally demolished my skin. Both of my cheeks became giant, scaly surfaces. I mean, cheeks so dry and rough, they felt like scar tissue. It’s taken me nearly all of the time since then to repair the damage.

Find a good cleanser that will suit your specific skin care problems, and you have a good foundation.

Get that good cleanser and wash that face! Every day! It completely boggles my mind when people tell me they don’t have a face wash. Like, what the fuck are you doing with your life?! How do you take off your makeup? How do you clean away all the sweat and grime that lands on your face while you’re out being a person in the world? What else don’t you have?! Toothpaste?! Conventional wisdom says you should wash your face twice a day, in the morning and the evening. Personally, I usually only wash my face with cleanser in the evenings. In the mornings, if I’m not showering, I just use water.

Exfoliation

I woke up in the middle of the night, last night, and had a near meltdown when I realized I had condoned daily exfoliation to literally dozens of people. DOZENS! That was totally irresponsible of me. Especially since one of the first things I usually tell people is to stop exfoliating every day. Those cleansers with exfoliating beads in them bug the shit out of me. They’re usually too harsh and abrasive for daily use, and to make matters worse, they’re frequently used in acne cleansers. Exfoliating acne prone skin every day can cause an overproduction in oil, more irritation to the skin, and it can spread bacteria all around. If you have acne prone skin, you can gently exfoliate maybe once or twice a week.

That’s a good place to start for everyone.

If you want to get into an exfoliation routine, start out slowly, with a gentle exfoliating tool or scrub, once or twice a week. Then, if you feel like your skin can take more, increase the frequency. If your skin starts to feel tight, or tender, or bumpier than usual, you’re exfoliating too much. If you start getting more zits, you might be exfoliating too much. It’s really, really important that you don’t overwork your skin. Scale it back, and you’ll see good results. Cleaner, smoother, brighter skin.

Moisturize

Everyone should be moisturizing. EVERYONE. A lot of oily skinned people think they don’t need to, or shouldn’t moisturize. Not true! Moisturizing can help to balance out the oil production, and calm your skin. And most importantly, daily moisturizing is one of the most effective ways to combat aging.

Who wants dry, wrinkly old lady skin? Not fucking me. That’s for sure.

aubrey

In my experience, simple moisturizers work best. Things with too much perfume can be drying and irritating and that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Apply your moisturizer after you wash your face. Every time. WATER can be drying too. Especially if you have crazy hard water, or you love hot showers. Those hot showers feel good, but they’ll dry your skin out soooooo bad. Worth it? The answer should be “no,” but I’m going to say “sometimes.” I’m not going to begrudge anyone the occasional super hot shower. Use a moisturizer with an SPF 15 for day to day, and one without for evenings, or any time you’ll be photographed with flash. SPFs show up white under flash. Eww! Don’t get caught looking busted like you can’t match your face to your neck.

*****

So, my skin care basics come in at over 1,000 words. You’re welcome? Sorry? I don’t know. I’m just so passionate about all of us being as good looking as possible!

*License only valid in CA

**Not all of those teenagers were bad. Some were completely adorable.

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