My girlfriend once told me that French women maintain their mystique by never allowing their partners see their beauty routine. But as a red-blooded American female, she let me behind the curtain. I’ve looked in her medicine cabinet and seen the skincare army at her disposal, witnessing some of the completely mystifying (and sometimes terrifying) things she puts on her hair, face, and body on a regular basis. Though my own grooming routine is pretty minimalist (semi-regular haircuts, Old Spice body wash, and, well, nothing else), I consider myself a progressive guy. So, I set out to see what these products are about and whether I could handle them.
I figured I’d start with my face—I wanted to dive right in with the product that sounds the most frightening to me: a peel. Peel is a rough verb. You peel skin off of fruit, not your face. So it was with much trepidation that I I tried the Real Chemistry 3 Minute Precision Peel, which exfoliates using a gentle, ph-neutral protein. I rubbed it into my face and white flecks started forming on my forehead and cheeks. Apparently these are the dead skin cells about which, until now, I have been blissfully unaware. I have to admit this was cool. There’s something satisfying about ridding yourself of useless things.
After removing dead skin cells, my girlfriend informed me that I need a serum to take care of the live ones. I’ve got to take issue with the word “serum," though. Isn't a serum a sedative that you give to someone you want to get information from in a spy movie? With no secrets to protect, I tried the Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Booster Serum. It’s lightweight and not shiny, so no one can tell that I’m using it, which I like. It’s also packed with antioxidants and, as we all know, antioxidants are magic. It’s like green tea but for my face.
Next up was body butter. The word "lotion" was ruined for me by The Silence of the Lambs but "body butter" is not much better. Regardless, my arms get itchy and dry every summer, so maybe this body butter stuff could help. I tried the 100% Pure Whipped Body Butter , which is vegan because I guess other body butters are steak-based. This stuff actually looks like whipped butter. Seriously. It should come with a basket of mini muffins. Thankfully it’s a lot lighter and feels pretty good going on. The scent—I had the blood orange—was subtle too. My scratching has subsided since trying it. But I still can’t get past the name. I’ll just have to refer to it as Itch-B-Gone or something.
Here’s the part where I chicken out: I’m not touching my eyebrows or lashes with those tools that look like torture devices. Look, I already have an eyebrow maintenance routine. It consists of looking in the mirror and making sure there are two. But my hat’s off to the ladies for being concerned with shape and using stencils like Anastasia Beverly Hills Stencils . Also, I’m not putting curlers near my eyes. Best-case scenario is that the Japonesque Ergo-Grip Eyelash curler gives me perfectly curled eyelashes and I’m just not into that. I have to draw the line somewhere, right? Also, don’t they look like what the Bond villain busts out when the serum doesn’t work? Am I forcing the links between beauty products and spy movies? Let’s move on.
Finally, I have to experiment with Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips. I have yet to come across a dirtier named beauty product. Don’t click that link if someone could be looking over your shoulder at work. But recently, while fighting off a cold, I woke up with dry, cracked lips. “Dry, cracked lips” sort of sounds like ad-speak, right? Well, it happens and it hurts. I used the nipple balm and by the afternoon, my mouth was back to normal. It was like Chapstick on steroids. I don’t know how it works but it works.
I’ve tried more products in the last week than I’ve used in my entire life thus far. And while I can’t say I’m a convert, I’m definitely less mystified. Now I have an updated beauty routine that includes occasionally applying a little nipple balm to my lips (but if we could keep that between us, that'd be cool).