Anna's 24-Hour Product Diary, Plus Some Ruminations on Death

In Depth

We start working around 8:30 at Jezebel. By that time, for my own emotional well-being, I need to have had a cup of coffee, done some yoga, showered, dressed, and, at the very least, have my face and eye makeup on. I feel more pulled together mentally when I’m clothed and the bed is made and with all my chemical-laden magic jizz in place on my face and head. So after I dump coffee down my throat here are the things that go on my body:

7 a.m.

Not Soap, Radio body wash in The Stuff Cupid Dips His Arrows In

Yeah, this is a “pheromone-activating” body wash that’s supposed to make you smell irresistibly sexy, and I did not mean to buy it. I have a Birchbox subscription, which I love, and one of my samples was the Not Soap, Radio body wash in a lemony scent. I tried to re-order that one and scrolled down without noticing and now I have a pheromone-activating body wash, which is funny, because I love nothing more than being left alone.

I also use shaving cream and a prescription facewash, and Shea butter lotion, but you don’t care about those. You’re just here to find out if the pheromone body wash gets you laid, you perverts. Here’s what I know: it smells very sweet, like blackberry, and it’s a really pretty dark purple. I haven’t yet noticed anyone irresistibly attracted to my bod — not any more so than usual, anyway, she says, elbowing you in the ribs just a tad too hard and shoving her glasses up her nose — but it does seem to work on other people! I lent it to a friend and she started sleeping with her ex-boyfriend again a day later, so that’s something, anyway. Here’s an actual picture of my half-empty body wash, because we’re committed to realness around here:

I’ll make sure to alert you if I wake up with Ryan Gosling in my bed after my next shower or anything.

7:30 a.m.

After I get showered and dressed the Serious Business begins: First, I spray It’s a 10 Leave-In Conditioner on my hair. It’s softening, de-frizzing, heat-protecting — shit’s amazing. And it’s good for someone like me who likes to straighten her hair and then re-curl it pretty much every damn day, because I am Sisyphus in womanly form.

After that I put Clarins Beauty Flash Balm on my skin, which I started using it after seeing it in a makeup video from Lisa Eldridge, who is the best. This stuff will make you look confusingly good. For example! I started using it this summer, in the midst of a rather shitty time, and everyone close to me knew I felt like hell. But Beauty Flash Balm brightens your skin and gives you an extremely noticeable glow, like a pregnant lady lit from behind by one of those fancy pink lightbulbs. I had lunch with my uncle the day I started using it and he was very, very confused; we’re talking about all this heavy stuff, and he suddenly stops and says, “But, you know, you look like you’re taking it well, you seem rested, your skin looks great.” LITTLE DID HE KNOW.

It’s also a good replacement for moisturizer for people like me who are basically human oil slicks. In the winter I just dab on a little moisturizer on any scaly spots.

Next thing is Dr. Jart Dis-a-Pore. I never got into the whole BB cream thing, because they mostly just make your red spots and zits look blurry. But Dis-a-Pore is meant to get rid of — you guessed it — enlarged pores and it really, really does. I use like a quarter sized amount over my whole face, focusing especially on wherever anything is uneven, porous or acne scarred. But it’s very, very pale, so I emerge looking even more like I faceplanted in flour than usual. So over the top I use some L’Oreal True Match foundation to get me back to my usual ghost shade, instead of Ghost with Tuberculosis. (I’m not linking to that, you get it at the drugstore, whatever.) On my zits, undereye circles and chickenpox scars I use Makeup Forever Full Cover concealer, which is the aforementioned Heavy Artillery. This shit is weapons-grade. It’s very very thick and a tube typically lasts me six months. The tiniest dab will Cover. Your. Shit. UP.

On top of that I use Revlon Photoready Blush in Pinched. This stuff is like $14, which is a lot for a drugstore blush. But it’s a lovely, sheer, not-too pink pink, and it’s very easy to build. I force a ghastly smile and put it on the apples of my cheeks. It comes in a little pot and I very much like the size and shape:

Under my eyes and along my cheekbones I use BareMineral’s Well-Rested, which is a “face and eye brightener,” because it makes me look more awake and less like a damp corpse. I like it because it brightens up my face but doesn’t have any glitter in it or extra concealer because by now I have way more than enough of that.

I always draw a cat-eye, every single day of my life, within an hour of waking up. Lately I started using liquid liner to get a more precise line. I’ve been using Sephora’s liquid stuff, which is good and cheapish. My left eye always turns out fine; I usually have to re-draw the right one like three times before I’m satisfied. On my lid I use a pencil liner because I’m insanely picky and because liquid liner doesn’t look great on lids, I don’t think — it’s too straight, like someone’s drawn on you with a ballpoint pen. My go-to pencil is from Noir and I have an unhealthy obsession with it. (Lest there be any confusion: this post isn’t product placement; nor is the previous time I mentioned Noir, in the Man Hater’s Gift Guide. I just really really like it. My makeup addiction only sucks money from my coffers, it doesn’t bring it in. Seriously, we do not get paid for this shit.)

For eyeshadow I really like the Revlon Shadow Links that link together; they’re like three dollars and the color is always very deep and beautiful. I use an orange one (“Copper,” I think?) on my lid, a brown one in my crease, and a white one on my brow bone. I also use a black one on the outer corners of my eyelids to make my eyeliner smokier. I do this every day. For someone who owns two pairs of pants and wears the same four shirts over and over, I have a weirdly fussy makeup routine? For lipstick I use Clinique Black Honey a lot; lately I’ve been layering a cherry-red Cynthia Rowley lip stain under it, because I got a sample in my Birchbox and a Revlon Colorburst lip pencil over it in “Coy.” It ends up being reddish-brown.

I also use mascara, typically something by Makeup Forever because their shit is flawless. And I draw my eyebrows on with an Anastasia Brow Wiz eyebrow pencil, because my eyebrows are freakishly short. They’re like little stubs on my face. The day I discovered that you could buy a stencil to pencil on eyebrows was a momentous day. I remember the exact moment I saw what it looked like to have normal eyebrows attached to my face. I”m getting emotional right now all over again as I think about it.

Typically my eyebrows go on last, so there’s a time where I have a facefull of makeup and deranged-looking brows. That’s always when a delivery guy or someone knocks on the door and stares at my forehead uneasily. I also spritz on some Jasmine & Bergamote perfume, which is fine. It’s not as jasminey as I’d like, but it smells better than nothing.

8:00 or so

I have insanely curly hair that I straighten every day and then curl again in more aesthetically pleasing patterns and then put it up in a weird poof, for some reason. I usually put argan oil on it first as a heat protector and then spray it with coconut oil after to make it shiny and smell better. I’ve been using a sample of this non-aersol hairspray I got from Birchbox, by a brand called Number Four. When my hair is dirty I also use a dry shampoo; the Amika Perk Up one is lovely and it smells nice and a bottle lasts for a thousand years.

Fuck, I’m tired writing all this out. I know I don’t have to do any of this, and I’d hate to indicate that I don’t like it, because my makeup routine truly does bring me joy. It’s really one of the best parts of my day: I drink all the coffee and make my face look better and hum along tunelessly to old country songs or Nick Cave or something. But Jesus God, I use a lot of shit. I’m leaving out some stuff too, I think, and this certainly isn’t every beauty product I own, because we’d be here forever.

Here’s how my makeup works out, on a normal day (meaning today, just now). Vanity makes me want to wait to take this photo until I get my hair re-dyed and I don’t have two-inch brown roots, or at least take a photo where I’m not making such a stupid face. But, you know, whatever. This face pretty clearly indicates where I’m at by this time: ready to go, impatient, feeling very much over the beautifying portion of my day.

11:00 a.m.

After a couple hours of work I’m usually ready to head to the office and my face is shiny; I wipe it down with some of those oil wipes, put on some more foundation, use some pressed powder — also L’Oreal, it’s really pretty good — fix my lipstick and wander out into the cold to die.

11:00 to like 4:30

That’s really it, until like the mid to late afternoon, when I go into one of Gawker Media’s weirdly tiny and poorly lit bathrooms and try to de-grease my face and put back on more makeup, because it’s balls hot in the office and all of it seems to slide right off. The mirrors in the Gawker bathrooms are lit from below, guaranteeing that you look like 100% shit at all times, and also making it super, super hard to color-correct your face. Sometimes I get home or wherever and take a look at what I’ve done and am like, “Oh, no, that’s not right at all.”

7 p.m.

If I’m going out somewhere (I am never going out anywhere, who the fuck am I kidding), I put on red lipstick, but I still don’t have a good one. I’m always looking for the platonic ideal shade of red with a lot of blue in it, really matte, doesn’t make me look like a bloodied ghost, and I have never found it. Help me, please. Please help. This is an actual cry for help.

I went to trivia at a bar last night and decided that called for a lot of makeup; this is my night look, roughly — my eyeliner is wonky and my eyebrows are drawn way too long, but again, I did all this and thought GOOD ENOUGH and off I went. And indeed, it was good enough to sit in a dark bar with my friends:

God these photos are huge. Look at my huge goddamn face. Lord. I’m also incapable of taking a photo of myself without making that dumb lip-pursing duck face, maybe I should look into hypnosis or something.

If I’m not doing anything, I get home and cook dinner and let myself slide into sort of a state of entropy over the evening. But sometimes at like 10:00, I decide to try out a new lipstick or some hairstyle I see and then can’t really replicate, or a dress I haven’t worn in forever, and then I wander around my apartment looking like Miss Havisham 2015.

Like one o’clock in the morning or some shit

I go to bed way, way too late on work nights, even if I’m not doing anything, even if I’ve been home since 7:00 reading or Interneting or catching up on Nashville (that show’s gotten gloriously trashy and I am For It). But my big goddamn thing these days is taking off alllll my makeup. Every bit of it. Every fucking particle. For years I didn’t do that and wondered why my skin sucked. That coincides with the same period of time that I box-dyed my hair constantly and wondered why it was so brittle, and when I used bad makeup and never went to the dermatologist and, again, wondered why my skin sucked.

In the past six months I’ve started taking actual, good care of my hair and skin, using better products — Redken shampoo is nice, and I use a Davines conditioner that rules — and getting my hair dyed professionally (Head Chop in Brooklyn, they’re amazing).

It costs more. All of this costs more. I spend more money than I ever have on Personal Upkeep, and I wouldn’t have always had the money to do it, when I was, say, 19 and working retail. It’s money I could spend on something else. But also, my skin also no longer looks like the surface of the moon. I have horrendous, pitted acne scars on one cheek from years of neglect and I’m not trying to get any more. Also, my hair is longer than shoulder-length for the first time since I was 22. All this feels like a tremendous personal achievement.

To get all that makeup off I use some kind of makeup removing wipe (I like the Simple oil-balancing ones) and then wash my face with Cetaphil. Sometimes if I’m getting wild I exfoliate (sentences you write when you’re almost 30 and sliding headlong into the grave). Another Birchbox sample — again, I swear I’m not a Birchbox shill — was this Vasanti Brighten up! facewash. It really does make my skin look brighter.

And then I put on some chapstick and go to bed. In the morning the whole cycle begins anew each day, until finally the welcoming maw of the tomb envelops me.

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