It’s the year 2020 and you look back on the decade wondering why your skin looks the same as it did in 2010. If you were a teenager in 2010, that’s not a good thing. Your quest to illuminate every room you walk into has been fruitless. Every gate-keeper you’ve sought help from, from friends to old-fashioned remedies to beauty gurus, has led you astray and you begin to suspect that there is a conspiracy holding you back from your optimal complexion. Let’s observe everyone you’ve bothered looking to for skin care ideas over the years:
1. Rebecca, The Simple Girl
“I just use whatever is at home and it works great!” said Rebecca, whose definition of breaking out is tiny skin colored bumps on her forehead. “Just use some simple drug store stuff. I like that blue bottle with the pump and gel substance” (she’s talking about Clean&Clear’s night wash, but she’s too disengaged from the burden of remembering skin care brands because she keeps it simple).
Rebecca will always look effortlessly better than you. She likes “the natural look” because she’s never had to actually wear face makeup. She may as well be a Glossier model.
You hate Rebecca, even though she’s never actually done anything bad to you. You hate yourself for hating Rebecca. The stress of it all makes you break out.
2. Karishma, The DIY Guru
“Mix a dash of turmeric with [choose from: coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, yogurt, egg, rose water, clay] and let it sit on your skin for a few minutes before you shower” she tells you. “I got a pimple once and tried it out. I never had a pimple ever again.”
Karishma’s advice is not bad at all. She’s one of the few DIY gurus who’s random mixtures actually seem to make some sort of a difference. She just forgot to warn you about the yellow hue that will show up on your face afterwards. The lighter your skin, the more apparent the hue.
Speaking of lighter skin, you cannot help but notice that Karishma’s remedy also made her complexion a few shades lighter (incidentally!). You question the depth of your Eurocentric beauty standards as you simultaneously ask yourself if the lighter skin color is what makes Karishma look so good. You realize that her skin just looks healthier and better moisturized, sigh with relief, and move onto your next DIY.
3. Lindsey, The Pretty Little Liar
“My skin care is not cheap, but I prioritize it because I actually care about it” Lindsey says, before taking another sip of her $8 coffee. She has at least five serums to pat on before she goes to bed, and you envy her commitment. “Yes, you have to stick to the basics, wash your pillow case, moisturize and use a strong sunscreen, but if you want results you have to spend the pretty penny on [insert another one of the many brands that Sephora wants you to obsess over].”
You begrudgingly accept that the Sephora samples you left three different malls with did work very well. Then you remember that the products lost their magic once you actually bought them. You wonder which item it exactly was that cleared Lindsey’s skin.
She leaves the rest of the coffee behind (you wait until she’s gone then finish off the delicious beverage). She has to run to the pharmacy before it closes. You never come to know that she is picking up the better brand of birth control that she switched to. You continue wondering why the cool beauty products work on her and not on you.
4. Kaitlyn, The Nutrition Major
“I’m just trying to save up so I meal prepped last night,” Kaitlyn shares as she adds fresh lettuce onto her whole wheat pita bread. Kaitlyn is worse than Lindsey because she never even tries to offer you skin care advice. Turns out she does not have any – her kindness makes her radiant, which explains why your own skin always looks dull. You hate sweet Kaitlyn too.
You’re not sure how Kaitlyn finds the energy to pack and maintain actual Tupperware boxes with salads and fruits when she’s a busy student who has to run all over campus during the day. Better yet, how does she never lose Tupperware?
You and Kaitlyn make eye contact as she enters the library. She’s wearing nothing on her face but a bright smile just for you. She’s flaunting how comfortable she is in her perfect skin to make you feel like shit; she’s doing it all on purpose. “I baked us zucchini chips!” she says, as you hide your third bag of Fritos.
5. Diana, The Detoxer
Smear on ethnic clay masks and dump your all your vegetables into your water cooler. Diana will help you suck the pollution (and life) out of your pores while feeding you spa water. She’s replacing your much-needed coffee with herbal tea and now you pee every five minutes from all the water you overloaded on. She’s having you jog to the steam room to clear impurities out of your skin. You haven’t taken a real breath in two weeks now.
You are very hungry and irritable all the time but no longer have the dark under eye circles to warn people away from annoying you. You look fantastic, even after waking up from your third dream about burgers.
Nothing tastes sour to you anymore, not after your breakfast began consisting of water with lemon added (for nutrition!). You sneak makeup onto your poreless skin, behind Diana’s back, just to find enjoyment in life again. The shock of it causes a massive breakout.