My mom used to say that she had children because she always wanted to have servants. And we were. She taught my brother, my sister and me how to clean at a hospital level of sanitation at an early age. Think lots and lots of Comet, lots and lots of whining. To her credit I still buy that same powdered bleach, pull on a pair of yellow rubber gloves, and scrub the living sin out of my bathroom every Sunday—while my cat watches me as if it’s his favorite primetime comedy. I always listen to depressing-as-hell music when I clean—recently, the new Beach House album. Sometimes Billie Holiday. It's good to reminded that things ain't so bad. I could be heartbroken, or worse—at brunch.
But things could also be better. An easy way to make them that way: add beauty products. Here’s how I combined my once-a-week beauty deep cleans with my weekend chores so that everything would be sparkling clean, like your LinkedIn page.
Phase 1: Soak in bath, soak in science
I’m really into Herbivore’s Bath Soaks right now: the coconut is delicious, but I needed to detox. So I mixed their detox salts with epsom salts to create a tub of magical eucalyptus healing (I have terrible shin splints right now). You can’t really clean much more than your body in the tub, so I put on an episode of RadioLab to detox my brain, ya know? Meanwhile: there is absolutely no better exfoliant than Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish, which you can feel on your skin for hours afterwards, but unfortunately leaves the tub a little slippery. On deep clean day, though, it’s worth it. Less slippery but a good spa quality scrub is Mila Moursi’s Refining Body Scrub. Afterward, I shaved my legs with a new Dollar Shave Club razor and the good Kiehl’s stuff to keep away the red bumps. I shoved a hot wash cloth on my face to open up my pores as I listened to those radio nerds teach me about science, which I’d mostly forgotten about. Then I took advantage of the soak to push in all my cuticles—I haven’t had a manicure since that New York Times investigation.
Phase 2: Mega-moisture, tidy up
While my skin was still damp, post-bath, I massaged Kiehl’s Creme de Corps into my skin combined with Rodin Body Oil. I wasn’t messing around when I said it was a treat yo’self day. My body was silky soft and jasmine-scented. In the roots of my hair I squirted in Sachajuan’s Leave-In Scalp Treatment. While I waited in the ~nude~ for the lotions to sink in, I tidied up all of the clothes that I piled on my dresser during the week.
Phase 3: Scrub the tub and peel your face
Couple different options here, depending on your skin. I tried my first peel, Ole Henriksen’s Power Peel, which comes in one-time-use little packets, although I didn’t use the full packets and felt bad about the waste. First you wash your face with the gritty almond scrub, which burns a little, then you apply the lemon strip, which burns for two minutes, and then you add the chamomile comfort mask on top—which burns like a mother for 15 minutes. But burning = working, right? Hoping my face wasn’t melting off like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, I got to work scrubbing the tub, sink, and toilet with Comet, and refreshing the litter box, which always triggers the Poop Radar in my cat. He trotted in to leave me a prize of thanks. It was all a great distraction from my face on fire.
Phase 4: Blessed rinse, refresh the towels
TIME TO RINSE, THANK THE GODS! Gently rinsed the mask off with the little cotton pads provided and my skin was fire engine red but smooth—really smooth. Fast forward to later that night, the redness had gone down and I’ve got to say, the results were more apparent than any other mask I've tried, and I've tried many. My face felt tight and smooth, makeup went on velvety, I had a little glow not unlike the great sex-glow I’ve read about. I asked Henriksen about the effectiveness of sheet masks vs. clay masks. He wrote back, “While a sheet mask will merely lay on top of skin, a cream or clay or mud mask can be contoured into every nook and crevice of the face, and really penetrate the skin so that you’re targeting every aspect of your complexion.” So there you have it. That said, it felt like intensive care, maybe more like once a month for my semi-sensitive skin. After drying my face, I grabbed all the towels in the bathroom and tossed them in the laundry for Monday morning drop-off, refreshing with fluffy new ones, like my face.
Phase 5: Take care of your hands, take care of your pop culture relevance
Finger masks are totally unnecessary and sort of ridiculous, but pretty fun if I say so myself. Is there such a thing as a professional finger puppet master? Well, I’ll have to Google it later because you can’t type much with these things on. Bliss has full-on gloves and socks lined with some mystery softening gel, but I didn’t really notice too much of a difference with those, and the only chore I accomplished in them was napping with a cat between my legs for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I caught up on Mr. Robot so as to stay a part of the water cooler conversation at work, while wearing Kocostar’s Nail Therapy Puppets, which are a blast. The result: soft, unscented cuticles, which are a great excuse to not do dishes (except you should do them now because that's what weekends are for). Afterwards, I coated my nails with Essie’s Grow Faster, which makes them shiny and might even make them stronger, but I haven’t called upon my nails to lift anything, bro. So like handsome/troubled Eliot before he was discovered as a coder genius, I have no idea what these nails are capable of (I know that reference was a reach).
Phase 6: Soft feet, meet clean floor
Oh right, I need to clean this apartment. Last up is Karuna’s Foot Masks, which are little plastic baggies you tie your feet into—add this to my file of Things I Don’t Want To Be Found Wearing By My Landlord. They’re filled with lotions and oils, which meant that when I tried to vacuum and mop they squished around, so I moved slowly to avoid tearing them on the uneven wood floor. After 30 minutes or so, I peeled off the mask and rubbed in the excess lotion, which smelled similar to Pantene Pro-V, and put on my slippers to cozy up for an afternoon of iced white wine and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, because what else is there to do?
Time to get clean—starting with your brand new washcloth. Or, for a primer in the delicate art of face cleansing, rediscover Isabelle Bellis' How To Clean Your Face series.