When I first started this newsletter, I knew that it was never a matter of if I might one day highlight skincare products so much a matter of when. Don’t get me wrong, clothes and art are great, but even Rick Owens himself has been quoted as saying “buy less clothing and go to the gym instead”, which I’m going to stretch to apply to one’s skin as well. Because what are skincare products if not the squat rack of the face?
As for my personal skincare routine, I can assure you it’s only gotten more complex and arcane since actively starting my skincare journey a few years ago. Sometimes I feel like an Iron Chef whilst improvisationally dabbing some chia seed oil after a scalding Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial, or taking it relatively easier with a light schmear of retinol from The Ordinary following a particularly vigorous exfoliation. Please keep in mind, I’m no dermatologist - and for the record I don’t even particularly trust my own dermatologist1 - I’m simply sharing two products that I sincerely cherish. After less than a month of taking an active, daily role in caring for my face, my skin was visibly firmer, brighter, less crusty, and, I’m just going to say it - radiant. And now I can’t stop! It’s honestly crazy to me how many of my dude friends haven’t even the slightest skincare regimen2, but I’m going to allow at least some of them to cash-in their “I’m interested but I just don’t know where to start” chips right here and now. Envision with me a world where we all look slightly less haggard, and how great that could be.
Today I’m keeping it simple with two recommendations, a cleanser and a post-cleanse lactic acid. They’re not cheap, but I hope you’ve come to expect my arguably foolish desire for luxury at this point, and honestly, compared to the many other bottles on my shelf, these two are undeniable standouts.
Let’s start with Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser. I’d hope you’re already washing your face with something specialized to the task, but even if you already are, this is about as good as it gets. This organic cleanser offers a wonderfully subtle exfolitation, what it must feel like to brush delicate wisps of asbestos across your face (if asbestos originated from a variety of exotic botanical ingredients like white willow bark and, you guessed it, “Hordeum Vulgare leaf juice”). It really de-gunks and smoothes, and offers a distinctively fruity scent (mostly apricot?) that I find absolutely intoxicating. On more than one occasion, I’ve considered bringing a slice of plain angelfood cake to the shower with me and spreading some of this cleanser on it to see if it might taste half as good as it smells. It’s probably the hefty price tag alone that has ensured I conserve it for external use only.
Now that you’re sufficiently scrubbed, do yourself a solid and follow it with Sunday Riley’s marquee cream, Good Genes3. If you don’t want to have to think too hard about skincare, simply coat your face with this, wait half an hour, and see if your face doesn’t feel smoother and more supple (or perhaps more importantly, at least look it). When I first picked this up (on the recommendation of a chorus of skincare devotees), I tried using a tiny bit, thinking I might be able to game the system with half-size doses. I’ve since learned that no, you need a full pump of the stuff, but it truly does make a difference in how your skin looks and feels once you follow the rules. And if Good Genes enters your daily regimen, fuggedaboutit! Seeing as it’s an acid treatment, I recommend avoiding direct sunlight immediately after, though honestly the first rule of skincare is avoid the sun at all costs anyway. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention its uncommon licorice and lemongrass scent, subtle and refined and, unlike that cleanser, something I’ve never considered tasting.
How coincidentally beneficial it is that you, Dr. Jih, always manage to find at least one “suspicious” mole that requires removal and follow-up at my yearly check-up! So very coincidental indeed!
What goes through your head when you’re standing there in the shower, using the same worn-out bar of Irish Spring on your butt, face, and scalp? Cryptocurrency pricing trends?
Ironically, the diametric opposite of Pissed Jeans.