head. when i was a kid, my "lipstick" was a reddish-brown eye pencil my mother, who dyed her hair fire engine red every four weeks without fail, used to draw on the eyebrows that had fallen out never to return when she was pregnant. i would trace my lips with the pencil and fill them in as much as i could without wearing it down so much that she would notice, then dab a little vaseline on to make it shiny. i would also pat some of her heavily perfumed oil of olay cream on my cheeks and eyelids because listen, i'm motherfucking luxurious, b.
i'm not going to go into a whole thing about how growing up poor turns you into a ravenous, insatiable hoarder of nice things once you get enough money for an apartment and the occasional double cheeseburger. BUT IT'S TRUE. my very first paycheck was probably 70% rent and 30% mac lipglass. winter is a rough time of year to try and be cute. maybe if you live in malibu it's possible for you? but those of us in the heartland just resign to bundling up and dragging our chapped lips and ashy hands out to olive garden for some fancy spaghetti every once in a while until the tundra thaws out enough to put an open-toed shoe on. when it's balls cold outside this is how we dress: warm tights, socks, giant boots, pants, base layer shirt, thin sweater over that, gross outside hoodie over that, puffy warm coat that is too hot to even put on in your steamy, radiator-heated apartment, hat, scarf, mitts: it's like wearing a motherfucking space suit in real life. i'm surprised anyone can stand upright while trying to get the bus to work. so i'm not gonna be worried about getting my lipstick right when the avalanche i gotta walk through will just rinse the shit off my face. but i do have to keep a job.
i have Very Specific Hair. which is not to say that my hair is more moody and petulant than anyone else’s, it’s just the kind of hair that when bitches on the train is like, “girl, what do you use!?” i gotta sigh and be all, “HOW MUCH TIME YOU GOT.” so, if you are a yeasty little beast and have gross, scaly seborrhea crawling from under your bangs down into your unruly eyebrows, i rotate jason tea tree shampoo on my barefoot chai recycling plastic bottle days and head and shoulders dry scalp care with almond oil on my mcdonald’s drive thru styrofoam hummer days. and once a week i wide tooth comb some 99 cent suave conditioner through my hair to get the big knots out? ugh i’m lying. once a month, maybe. i have read all of the curly hair blogs about co-washing and sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners and i tried all that shit but i am scaly and itchy and FUCK THAT. last week i did my yearly under the bathroom sink purge, and found no fewer than 827 bottles of styling creams and 592 tubes of various curl-defining gels. and this is the part of caring for natural hair that becomes a giant toilet into which you flush all of your disposable income: THE SEARCH FOR A STYLING PRODUCT THAT IS JUST A TINY BIT BETTER THAN THE ONE YOU'RE ALREADY USING. because even if you've found a good one, and your curls are lengthened yet defined yet supple yet not crunchy, you are never fully convinced that you are using the very best product you could be. it is the curly hair curse, this neverending quest to find the one product that does everything your hair needs just a little bit better than every fucking thing else. the one product i have stayed married to despite several fleeting affairs (miss jessies! mixed chicks! aveda pomade!) is paul mitchell the conditioner. it's frothy blue elixir from the gods, and if you've seen my hair in real life YOU ALREADY KNOW. also, you can use the shit as body lotion. quit playing.
because i'm your elderly abuelita i use pond's cold cream and moisturizer pretty much every goddamned morning in the winter, because they make your skin feel like gorgeous fried chicken. i wipe the cucumber cold cream all over, dangerously shave my lip hairs in the dark, then wipe it all off with a warm washcloth and slather on the moisture. then i dance around for a minute because you for real cannot let your face touch your shirt with that greasy shit on it. but trust me: after you fight through the congested commuter train out into the throng of hot dads in their biker shorts and clicky shoes blocking the condiment island at starbucks before finally stumbling ten minutes late into work your skin will be the goddamned wave. no ashy spots, so bleeding cracks, just glistening, supple babybutt skin.
i'm going to spend as little time as possible dwelling on the sickness i have when it comes to lipsticks and blushes. in my defense, i do not wear: eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, bronzer, highlighter, luminizer, concealer, face powder, primer, false eyelashes, or liquid foundation. so i promise i will not bore you to death with any of those. yes, i probably have $300 in yves saint laurent lip stains but THEY ARE THE BEST AND I NEED THEM. see also: 1 occ matte lip tar. my jam shades: anime, nylon, hoochie, rollergirl; messy as shit but worth it if you like neon pink lips, except you have to use a brush so ugh. 2 bite beauty high pigment pencil. my jam shades: pomegranate, grapevine, violet; super bright and creamy! i like my shit bone dry, though, so i gotta have 2a bite beauty cashmere lip cream. my jam shades: moscato, sancerre, rioja, port; good color payoff, starts out liquid and dries to a powder finish that doesn't move never ever. THE BIG DOGS: i probably have tried every 3 mac matte lipstick ever produced, and they are almost the perfect ratio of vivid to dry. my jam shades: ruby woo, flat out fabulous, all fired up, dangerous. but the best of the best of the best, my #1 lover, is 4 NARS velvet matte lip pencil. it's bright as shit and dry as fuck and if you see me on the street please know that i have more dragon girl pencils on my person than i do dollars and/or credit cards and/or money in general. like i said, it's a sickness. send help.
shoulders. i’m not going to talk to you about drinking water. i fucking hate that shit, when all you wanna do is read about a bitch’s skincare routine and she’s all, “i just drink eight glasses of water a day and sleep eight hours a night and tee hee lots of sunscreen.” FUCK YOU, BITCH. i could drink 37 glasses of water before lunch and still wake up the next morning with cystic period chin and a nose sprinkled liberally with blackheads. to achieve my picture perfect complexion i rely heavily on three crucial elements: 1 daily exfoliation 2 organic coconut oil and 3 motherfucking instagram. and mac studio fix in C6 if i am feeling like a person who tries. i am supremely lazy. and usually i am already in my pajamas with some incense lit and my night wine, ten pages into whatever i most recently added on goodreads before i remember that i wore a pound and a half of blush to work that day. so i keep a pack of alba good and clean towelettes by the bed because i hate ruining my pillowcases and these have a smooth side and a rough, nubbly side because i’m one of those idiots that feels like if it doesn’t sting or scrape or catch fire then it’s not really working. i keep several exfoliating cleansers in the shower: philosophy microdelivery peel, lush dark angels, and my broke shit: st. ives blackhead clearing green tea scrub. yeah i know they never go the fuck away, and if you are not a sufferer of the blackhead wrath go kiss your mother on the mouth, because this shit is a nightmare. it’s like the curly hair thing: you already know that what you’re already doing is probably as good as it’s going to goddamned get, yet strolling through the aisles at target you can just hear the new products calling out to you from the shelves, all of the pore strips and the clay masques and the extraction tools. and i get it, man. i’ll be all the way in the cheese section and hear that new motions leave-in calling my name and then before you can say "economy sized box of oreos" i am in the hair aisle contemplating spending $137 on the newest pudding/elixir/lotion/creme to turn these dusty slave knots into silky ringlets. and why do we believe them, these disingenuous candy-colored tubs and tubes!? because that's the real american dream, that if you just work hard and pray, someone will invent a non-sticky gel that stretches a curl and doesn't flake by two in the afternoon.
knees. i'm not going to talk to you about eating better, either. the best skin i have ever had was when i was living on a steady diet of half-thawed toaster strudels and packets of lipton rice mix with approximately 4000mg of sodium apiece; i've had three bushels of kale since monday and my shit is as dull and dry as all of these orangey red leaves strewn all over the sidewalk. COME ON, VITAMINS. i don't fuck with body scrubs because i haven't gotten any handicapped bars installed in my shower yet and i haven't yet tried one that doesn't turn my bathtub into an oil slick. but i would take a cheese grater to my backside if i could. IT MAKES ME FEEL SO CLEAN. so, i improvise. i stand on the bath mat and lather up with bliss hot salt scrub and then rinse off my individual parts without playing slip and slide in the goddamn shower. my broke shit: yes to coconut polishing body scrub. smells like you're in hawaii, which is fine because it's the closest i'll ever get to the beach.
have you ever wondered why there are so many goddamned kinds of lotion? i've decided it's because none of them really works. i'm a sucker for scientific drawings of microscopic lotion drops piercing six layers of epidermis as much as the next guy, but i have never been not ashy after using regular-ass jergens in the dead of winter. i switched to oils a couple years ago, and basically i look like a motherfucking ten year old. my friend michelle uses organic coconut oil, so now my ass uses organic coconut oil. i buy big jars of kelapo from amazon (sorry factory workers) and i use it all over. added benefit: if you have a disgusting scalp, coconut oil will hook you up. and i am the fucking grossest, i'm talking flaky eyebrows and a constellation of grody dermatitis stretched along my hairline, and a dab every morning has cured me. i also use neutrogena sesame formula and regular johnson's baby oil. shaving is for jerks but sometimes i do it, and barbasol soothing aloe costs maybe fourteen cents and lasts forever. angie gave me some lush charity pot lotion which i keep on my desk along with a container of their lemony flutter cuticle butter because sometimes i'll be writing and look down at my hands and get grossed the fuck out at my lack of self care.
toes. I FUCKING LOVE INFOMERCIALS. i'm not sure if it's the delirium caused by being awake at two in the morning or if the promise of a product that is too good to be true is just too goddamned hard to resist, but if a man with big white teeth makes me a promise for $29.99 plus shipping who am i not to believe his claim? i've tried: several snuggies, a nutribullet, a pair of pajama jeans, proactiv, oxiclean, and the slap chop. I REGRET NOTHING. my most recent bleary-eyed infomercial purchase? the amope pedi perfect. it's pretty much a rolling scraper with a motor, and it is by far the best beauty tool i have ever purchased. and i bought that cindy crawford skincare! in less than a minute it ground my callouses to dust and left my gross december feet super smooth. i'm going to level with you: come wintertime, i really let a lot of shit go. i'm not peeling off nine layers of waterproof clothing to contort myself in a goddamn pedicure chair for twenty minutes, i'm really not. but if this marg can last until april it will be nice to not rip holes in my socks with my razor sharp heels. it sells itself. ask your mom for one for christmas.
i don't paint my fingers or toes regularly because shiftless, but i do enjoy purchasing nail polish. look, whatever keeps me from walking out into traffic, okay? my fave kinds are marc jacobs and deborah lippman and rescue beauty lounge. i use $5 scented frankincense and musk oils from the african dude on my block (along with clumps of black soap and tubs of raw shea butter), but sometimes i order fancy ones from the long winter soap company to switch it up. perfume makes me sneeze, but beauty is suffering and i keep a bottle of jo malone french lime blossom around anyway and as soon as i get paid i am treating myself to some tom ford black orchid. I'VE BEEN SO GOOD, SANTA. umm i am a certifiable maniac for blush, not kidding, and my absolute favorite is cha cha tint by benefit. i love a bright orange cheek and i wear that shit every fucking day. don't be scared, babies. GIVE IN TO THE MANGO FACE. if i ever go out at night which (come on i am almost thirty-five i don't fucking go anywhere ever) is rare i use mac powder blush. my jam shades: frankly scarlet, modern mandarin, and dollymix. like i said, i don't fuck around. crazy doll cheeks all the goddamn time. try it so we can be on some grey gardens shit together.
so now that you know i basically sit in my apartment writing jokes with lipstick on while watching family feud, holler at me if there's some new shit i need to know about. also: please note that this is why a bitch doesn't have any savings before you yell at me about my fancy taste and irresponsible choices. also also: i don't have life insurance, but i do have a backup plan in case i ever get fired and have to survive on lipstick from the grocery store. best cheap gloss: maybelline color elixir is really so fucking good. best cheap matte: maybelline color sensational creamy matte is almost good enough to compete with my boyfriend nars. best HELLA CHEAP stain: nyx soft matte lip cream is six motherfucking dollars. also also also: i swear to god i am going to open a savings account. i might have a new car's worth of beauty products in my work bag right now. ugh, god. just remember that i used to use a dollar store eye pencil as pretend makeup, okay? i've earned these sumptuous ruby red lips.