Old Faithful: Reliable Products for Your Pared-Down Pandemic Life
Like everyone else, I've been enjoying a pared-down pandemic beauty routine. Not that I really have a huge routine to begin with, but somehow even my minimalist ways seem too "done" for our current situation. This week I realized that nowadays, I only wear mascara when I have to go somewhere (which is basically to work and back), and I didn't even catch the fact that I no longer own a proper eyeliner pencil until I needed to make an audition video a few weeks ago. I still haven't gotten around to ordering a new one (I went with my last pair of 3/4 length false lashes instead, which worked quite well, actually).
That said, I want to be very clear that I haven't completely jettisoned makeup, beauty routines, or fun little bells and whistles like the occasional fake lashes or a midnight inky-blue pedicure (my current toe status). No, I'm not throwing it all away...I'm just using everything I have now. Literally everything. Every bar of soap, every tube of lotion, I use everything until it's gone, and not just because not to do so means a trip to the store. Really, I think that focusing on our habits as modern humans is The Great Cosmic Lesson of this whole pandemic, for those who are willing to shut up, sit still for a minute and listen. The Universe is telling us in no uncertain terms that we need to change the way we live; from the way we treat the Earth as a resource to be exploited instead of a habitat to be preserved and honored, to our endless consumptive, toilet paper-hoarding consumerism. We cannot continue to exploit our world and each other like it is something we are owed. We need to become better stewards of our world, and of each other.
To apply this, which all seems very high-concept, to one's beauty routine is actually pretty easy. Most of us have endless little tubes and jars of stuff lying around in our caches. Use them. You will be shocked at how much play you can get out of these things. It's a small thing that can have a big impact. During the last few months, I've completely stopped buying shower gel or pump-style hand soap in favor of bar soap. There simply is no need for all those plastic bottles, there are tons of soap choices on the market to suit your needs, and the bar variety lasts so much longer and literally leaves no trace once it's gone. That's the sort of stuff I'm talking about. Adjustments that are small, but because they're easy, will eventually lead to real change in the way you approach your own personal consumption.
That said, in all my assessing and using and emptying-out of various products in my cache, a few have stood out. These are the quiet, stalwart products that are just somehow always there, at the back of the cabinet, ready to go, and they never let me down. They last a long time, they travel fairly well (not exactly a problem at the moment), and most importantly, they work.
While I still usually lazily use bar soap when I'm in the shower, this DHC oil cleanser is remarkably effective at getting makeup off and leaving your face squeaky-clean without tightness. I use it at the end of the day when I wash my face, or before getting into the shower if I'm not feeling too lazy. It's not the cheapest, nor is it the most expensive, but one single pump is all you need. No fragrance other than the natural oils it is created with, and it does not leave your skin greasy or clogged. It's simple, effective, and it works.
I know I've spoken about this lotion before back on the old platform, so I'm not going to repeat myself with a review of how it makes my skin feel and whatnot, which you can read in the archive if you like. What I will say is that when I'm looking to get ready in a pinch, and just need to put something on my face to give it a bit of moisture, this is my go-to. I'm on my third (fourth?) tube now. Supposedly it protects against environmental assaults, including blue light, and moisturizes for 24 hours. I've not actually put either of those claims through any serious or rigorous testing, because I don't really feel I need to. This lotion has a really nice finish that doubles as a primer, and it sort of blurs your pores. It's great for the fine lines in the undereye area, and I often use it to get my eyes ready for concealer...which reminds me...
This is one of the best brightening concealers I've used. I'd been dithering about with those wand-style "brightening" concealers like Touche Eclat, L'oreal Magi-Lumi, and Revlon Photoready, but I always found that they were thin (which I initially liked for spreadability and a natural finish) and didn't last. This concealer has managed to combine the moisturizing spreadability of the thinner-consistency wand concealers with the more opaque coverage of the cremes, and the result is a long-lasting, brightened look. This product also comes with its own setting powder, which I also happened to purchase at the time, and I think it is worth the investment. You need just a tiny amount, and the powder is milled so finely if never sinks into my fine lines. The concealer lasts all day, or all night if I'm on night shift. This product, in addition to the setting powder, also has a moisturizing base product that they sell to go on before the concealer and powder, but I just use my own moisturizer to achieve the same effect. I can wear this without any other makeup and it looks natural! This is certainly not an inexpensive concealer (however, it lasts and lasts), but once you try it you'll likely never go back.
Yes, it's true I'm not blonde, but I have gone through a few bottles of this stuff now, and I love it. It has a bit of a violet tint to it to prevent yellowing of blonde and silver hair, and it leaves my coarse, wavy hair really silky. I pretty much always need to put a leave-in product in my hair, even after an intensive conditioner, and this one is easy to get in there, smells lovely, and really keeps things tamed, even when I'm in the Florida heat (at least, that's how I remember it...goodness knows when we'll get to get back there again.) I find that when I have a bottle of this on hand, it really doesn't matter so much which shampoo or conditioner I use. I feel like this is one of my "safety net" products; it will always get my hair back to a manageable standard, no matter what I may have done or what products I've been experimenting with. That works pretty well when you've decided to use-up all of your aforementioned little trial-sized bottles in your beauty cache.