The best time to be single in New York City, or any place where the temperature has the audacity to go below zero, is in the winter. While all my friends devote these unbearably cold times to getting hot, steamy, and sexed with a temporary lover, I prefer to get wine-drunk and antisocial and obsess over my skin. Sex is great, but have you taken a bath in Herbivore Coconut Soak lying in a Joanna Vargas Dawn Sheet Mask with a simmering Byredo Burning Rose candle?
About two winters ago, I stumbled into the holy grail secret of poreless, luminous skin: exfoliating, specifically chemical exfoliation. It’s actually the best thing you can do for and to your body in the winter when your skin usually gets dry and flaky. A friend came into town toting a bag full of beauty goodies she didn’t want, and in it was the dream product I didn’t know I needed — M-61’s PowerGlow Peel pads, individual exfoliating pads saturated with glycolic and salicylic acids promising to immediately resurface your skin. A continuous stroke over my forehead, cheeks, chin, and neck, and I was a brand-new woman who had the dead skin cells to prove it — I could see them on the wipe immediately after I used it.
Underneath was a new layer of skin: velvety, smooth, plump, and beaming. The products I applied after (a vitamin-C serum, a rose-hip oil, moisturizer, and a sunscreen) seeped into my skin with ease, and after about a month of using the peel pads, I started to see my hyperpigmentation fade into the abyss. This is what people mean when they say beauty comes from the inside out. This is how I know every celebrity who says they just drink lots of water is lying.
I needed to know more about exfoliation — I needed to know everything, and what drastic measures I needed to take to afford it all (seriously, skin care can be expensive as hell; don’t let it suck you into feeling obligated to buy everything).
I became a skin-care mad woman, limiting interactions to my mail person, my roommates, and my mother (because if not, she’d kill me).
How much information could I read before I went to bed? (Caroline Hirons and the Cut’s Ashley Weatherford are my saviors.) What’s the difference between AHA and BHA? (Alpha hydroxy acid, which includes glycolic and lactic acids, works on the skin’s surface and is better for dry skin due to its moisturizing properties, and beta hydroxy acid, which includes salicylic acids, has the ability to penetrate pores, so it works well for oily and acne-prone skin. But together, they make a dynamic duo.) How many products could I try at once? (In hindsight and because I care about you, it’s definitely one at a time.) How often should I be exfoliating? (Start with two times per week.) Can I overdo it? (Yes, please don’t be like me and get excited and over-exfoliate. Take it slow.)
And then: Did I really need to go on a date and split the bill when I could just buy more products? How often is this guy washing his pillowcases? Why do my friends want to talk about other stuff? Am I really supposed to lug ten products around in my bag for mediocre sex? Would my friends actually be mad if I flaked on dinner because it’s mask night? Going to Sephora is technically quality time spent, right?
Finally: Why would I even leave my house? Why do I even need to see anyone at all? Is overnight shipping really that ridiculous?