Skin Care- by Barbara Gurgel

The clock strikes the hour for the ritual. You sit in front of your crowded vanity, in your towel or most likely your ‘sexy’ red bathrobe. Although 90% of the products you are about to use can be found somewhere in the cacophony of concealers and eyeshadow brushes, there will always be one product you need in a drawer it does not belong in. You will find it will be a different product every time. You grab a cotton round and slosh an astringent, smelly liquid onto it. The rounds you bought were the generic brand, on sale, so they will be mostly dissolved by the time you are done wiping your forehead, nose, and chin. The cotton/toner mixture will leave a weird film on your skin.

You reach for the half empty serum bottle in the corner with your perfumes, and pump one pump onto your expectant fingertips before you remember – you hate this serum. You may as well put it on anyway, now, despite the unpleasant imitation peach scent. You spend a couple of minutes looking for the decorative panda-shaped cover of the panda-shaped serum bottle before giving up, because you do not care. You put the serum bottle back in the corner with the perfumes instead of throwing it away.

Next comes the eye serum, and eye cream. You put these on with growing bitterness. You should not be having to use eye serum at 24 years old. Eye cream, sure, everyone could use a little bit of eyelid moisture. But eye serum is what makeup counters use to reel in old ladies, promising renewed youth and free samples. Eye serum is for bags and patchy dryness and hormone-ravaged skin. All of which you have, which makes you want to refuse to use the eye serum in spite.

You put on the eye serum.

You put on the eye cream.

You sit and look at yourself in the spotted mirror.

You are not thinking of anything in particular, you are just waiting for your skin to absorb your $40 worth of skin care samples before you put on your cheap moisturizer. While you wait, you text your friend a meme about your skin being a disrespectful bitch even though your naturally beautiful friend is beautiful despite washing her face with Dove soap and hard water. You pretend that you are ‘lol’ing in genuine mirth and that you are not growing increasingly worried about the horizontal lines forming on your forehead.

You lose patience and put on too much of the cheap moisturizer. You use the ‘rejuvenating’ massage method you learned from a YouTube beauty blogger who uses words like ‘rejuvenating’ and ‘clarifying’ and ‘plumping’ in every video.

Your face will be slightly sticky when you crawl into bed.

You will wake up, and there will be a weird film on your face and horizontal lines on your forehead. You will look in the spotted mirror for more than a casual minute, then you will make yourself a cup of coffee and decide that no one will care if you go to work with your hair up in a bun and smudged glasses.