Hello friends! I’m writing to you from the Utah mountains where it’s freezing but the sun is out. Here, where I grew up, every holiday is the same: I come home planning to spend a few days of well-earned PTO on my parents’ couch only to be disturbed with continual questions about the usual skincare, haircare, and well-being. I could’ve sworn I didn’t ask for this, but I get it; in their eyes, I’m an in-home Sephora cast member. What else are they going to do? Read ITG?... Shamefully, I throw lazy, cure-all answers out at random no matter who’s asking—sleep, hydrate, exercise, moisturize—without moving my body from the me-shaped divot in the sofa. Where I’m actually not sure I could move if I tried. Anyway, for the record I do like my family, and today I’m tackling everybody’s questions all at once. Maybe I’m just ready to get back to work. Maybe I care about people! Jury's still out. But here it is.
First, my youngest brother kindly wants to know where in the world to begin with a skincare routine. It’s actually my favorite question, and he’s my favorite family member so we started by using the template provided by this story. I give him Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser to use every day, tell him to rotate Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser starting just once a week and go up from there. He says no to a serum for now, so I suit him up with Glossier Priming Moisturizer and my favorite La Roche Posay sunscreen, which feels light enough that he'll actually wear it. And that's really the key takeaway here: To give advice a person can viably follow.
Next, my dad tasks me with shrinking his pores. I fill him in on the basics I just gave my brother, emphasizing the need for an exfoliant. I do have to warn him that, having never cared for his skin except to shave in over fifty years, pore size might be stuck as is. That said—lest he rescind my Christmas gifts—I assign him this Paula's Choice BHA Liquid and the Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask to use once a week. He promises to follow the regime and to keep me updated with the results.
One of my aunts then came to me looking for a new concealer, because she's been using Bobbi Brown's Cover Stick, but, she says, "since I'm getting older my skin is changing, and I'm just not liking it anymore." I give her a list of my favorites: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, By Terry Densiliss, and the YSL Touche Éclat. None of which are too matte or too drying to do the trick—and are brightening to boot. "Try applying your eye cream in the morning before you put on a concealer," I add. "Might help!"
When I finally catch a break from the fam to see my old friends, one of them has something pressing too—haircare! Many things, actually: "How does one fight frizz? How often should I get a trim if I’m growing out my hair? Is it something I can do at home? How do I go about getting hair advice...like, is there a stylist type person that could recommend ideas? Like right now I don’t know if I should get a little more variety to my hair shape—layers?"
Wow! OK. I tell him that even though my hair rarely gets frizzy, I've gleaned off people whose does, and their tricks are to: Wash not often, maybe once or twice a week; use hair oils or just oil products in general; apply lots of products while hair is wet—but don’t touch it while it’s drying. As far as cutting and styling, layers can definitely help the shape. Sometimes it’s just a matter of texturizing and taking out bulk in certain places. And, if you’re growing out your hair the answer is you really shouldn’t trim it. If it gets really bad and you want to clean up the ends, maybe go in once every couple months.
To wrap up my in-person advice column, I helped my sister paint her nails to last (buff the nail first, apply two layers of Essie Gel Couture polish and paint over the ends of the nail bed, finishing with the Gel Couture top coat), handed my mother Glossier Boy Brow in Black, and introduced everybody to pimple patches. I think my work here is done. See you in the New Year!
Photo via the author.
Or, just have them read the ITG Top 25!