One Small Thing: How to Clean Your Face If You've Given Up

One-step skincare for people in their 30s who strive for good enough

One Small Thing: How to Clean Your Face If You've Given Up

Several years ago, swept up in the cult of the 10-step skincare routine with its promises that it could keep your outsides looking fresh while your internal organs continue to rot and decay, I filled my medicine cabinet with products that I only vaguely knew how to use. Snail mucin? Why not! Acids? Okay! Something called an essence that isn’t a serum but is also not a moisturizer, nor a toner? Sure! That all sounds good to me! For a time, I diligently washed and then slathered my face with a variety of liquid potions in both the morning and in the evening. But eventually, exhausted and not exactly thrilled by the prospect of spending a not-insignificant amount of money on skincare products on a regular basis until I die, I gave up and returned to my natural, most comfortable state—and that’s being a lazy 30-something who doesn’t really care about her skin, aside from trying to avoid skin cancer.

And the single product that has most enabled this lifestyle of freedom is the humble face wipe, usually this exfoliating wipe, or “wet cleansing towelette,” by Target’s house brand. I started using these while camping, and one day had an epiphany: Why not use them all the time? Not only do they clean my skin and give my face a nice gentle scrub, but the process also takes a total of 20 seconds. An easy one-step skincare routine for those among us who are tired and overwhelmed.

One caveat—around the same time, I also stopped wearing what had been my go-to sunscreen, an SPF 30 BB cream, and switched to the much-beloved Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence on the recommendation of basically everyone I know. A regular user of foundation may find that a cleansing wipe isn’t powerful enough to remove all traces of makeup. But for my purposes—again, someone who has given up—a wipe more than does the job.

Is my skin wrinkle-free? No. Do I continue to get hormonal acne? Yes. Do I look lit from within by the power of a thousand tiny suns? Absolutely not. Would I prefer this all to not be the case? Of course! I look at my nieces and nephews and weep to think I was once that dewy. But I think I look somewhere in the range of middling to fine. Children and small animals do not (usually) run away from me screeching in terror. That’s enough for me.

One Small Thing only features products we paid for ourselves. We have not been sent samples or otherwise bribed.

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