This will come as a surprise to no one, but on many occasions, my vanity and love of beauty have lead me to do stupid things. Probably the first really dumb thing I ever did in the name of my appearance was in the seventh grade, when I let two girls “wax” my newly hairy legs with strips of Scotch tape while we watched the Joe Millionaire finale in a finished basement. Since then, I’ve cut my bangs in a middle school bathroom, given myself a giraffe-like drippy spray tan the day before a job interview, stained a brand new pair of Sperry’s with permanent hair dye, and given my friend Josh a “fade” with a pair of safety scissors, because I thought it might make him look cooler. I’ve been on the receiving end of TWO eyebrow interventions, the first to stop shaping them into weird little Amy Fisher sperm brows, and the second a few years later to please, for the love of God, start plucking them again. The point is, you never learn lessons. You think everything is a good idea and you charge boldly forward with the hopes that this drastic measure you are undertaking is going to make you look fresh to death. Why hasn’t Malcolm Gladwell written an op-ed on the failure rate of beauty risks? Call me!
But anyways, I’m afraid I’ve done something really stupid again. About a week ago, I noticed a patch of really nasty zits on both of my cheeks. I decided the best option would be to kill them with fire. BAD IDEA. Taking care of acne is a lot like parenting. You have to be careful! If you are too gentle in your style, your kids will end up majoring in weaving baskets from their own hair at Hampshire College, but if you are too harsh you are going to end up a pregnant teenager and a son-in-law who looks like Justin Theroux if he were addicted to meth. One way or another, feathers are going to wind up in your daughter’s hair.
Much the same way with skin! Be too gentle with it, baby it with Cetaphil, and try to let it just breathe and you are going to end up a splotchy oil slick. If you are too harsh with it, washing it three times a day and treating it with a “vintage” Stridex pad you found at the bottom of your gym locker, your face is going to look like a sunburned corn husk. I am guilty of the latter offense. When I noticed the onslaught of acne, I began an immediate and proactive offense, treating it every few hours with a dose of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, purported by many beauty bloggers to be the holy grail of acne products. Don’t get me wrong! This stuff works like a charm. But with great power comes great responsibility. The active ingredient in the Effaclar is 5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide, a strong acne combatant that will bleach you sheets, your hair, and even your skin if you aren’t careful with it. Normally I take a lot of precautions when I used benzoyl peroxide: I only apply it after I put on my pajamas so I don’t accidentally get it on my clothes when changing, I don’t use it with wash clothes, and I wash my hands immediately after using it, all so that I won’t inadvertently bleach my belongings, or my worst nightmare, my cats. I’m also careful to use it with a strong moisturizer and only once a day as to not dry my skin out. But this time, I got too cocky. I was so desperate to eradicate this breakout that I started applying it willy-nilly, basically every time I used the bathroom sink. In a few days, my breakout was gone, and I rejoiced! In another few days, my face was peeling like a lizard and I had only myself to blame.
Both of my cheeks had become dry, flaky, scaly, and gross. I applied all the moisturizer I could but I was afraid of exfoliating off the flakes worrying that it would be too harsh on my delicate skin. I used a combination of my old staple jojoba oil, Embryolisse Lait Cream Concentrate as my moisturizer, and a sample of First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask, which is quite soothing and made my face smell like an oatmeal cookie, to attack the problem. All of these guys were great contributing players to the cause of getting my face back in shape, but there was one surprising All Star, in that what saved my skin was a blush instead of a skincare product. Behold: Tarte Cheek Stain in Flush:
I received a mini-size of this product in a Sephora variety box. It comes in a pushup stick kind of like a deodorant, and you are supposed to apply it to the cheeks either directly from the stick or with your fingers. At first the texture kind of wigged me out: it’s rather wet and slippery, and the sensation of putting it on your face is kind of like rubbing your cheeks in popsicle juice (it doesn’t help that it’s strawberry lemonade scented). I declared it a dud, and moved on.
However, for some reason during my dry cheek debacle I found myself reaching for this product, as I felt like any powder product I put on my cheeks was going to dry them out. To my surprise, this was better at keeping my cheeks moist than any moisturizer or oil I had been using! Its greasy feel makes it so that it only partially sinks into the skin; some of the product sits on the top of the skin until the end of the day, creating a barrier between you and the harsh winter air. I was surprised by how supple my face began to feel, even after the color had mostly faded. This isn’t a product that I’d use every day, especially in the summer, but it’s unique formula makes it the perfect blush for parched skin, living you with a rosy glow and surprisingly nourishing the skin more than a regular moisturizer! I would definitely recommend it for your next round of skin related stupidity!