Welcome to Operation Goo Goo Gah Gah, a bi-weekly column by Ziwe Fumudoh where the comedian and writer tries everything under the sun in dogged pursuit of baby-smooth skin and the makeup to complement it. There is no shortage of promising products out there, but which actually work? Ziwe’s here to find out.
What a time, eh? I’m questioning what it means to write a beauty column in the age of corona. Specifically, when the direct instructions from the CDC are to be mindful of touching my face and that is exactly what I’ve been tasked to do when trying these beauty products. But in the words of Maya Angelou, still I rise. Operation Goo Goo Gah is not a hobby but a lifestyle. And with all the recent talk of handwashing, proper skincare is more important than ever. There are naysayers that believe having a “babyface” at a time like this is not a “useful skill.” But to those that turn their porous noses at us, I laugh. Sure, having amazing skin isn't as practical as knowing how to start a fire or having a “medical degree,” but when our future is uncertain, I will be the one constant in life—always pretending to be 19. Goo goo gah gah, let’s get to it.
I have recently become obsessed with GOOP and Gwenyth Paltrow. One day I too hope to build a lifestyle brand and consciously uncouple with my rockstar husband. (Her mind!!!) I approached experimenting with GOOP beauty products with excitement, understanding that anything in the line I tried would make me feel like a rich baby. This hyaluronic acid felt like a science project as it required a preamble of steps before I could actually apply the thing. First there was the serum activator that I had to combine with a bottle of pure vitamin C powder. After a bit of swirling (and shaking?) my standard serum was made. OK, maybe that was just one step. Anyway I personally hate following directions—I’m a maverick in that sense. But like the WHO’s ‘rona guidelines, these rules are for my own good. Liquid vitamin C loses its potency over time, so this piecemeal approach—where I only liquify what I plan to use immediately—maximizes freshness. For some, this amount of preparation is a turn off, but let’s face it, I have a lot of time on my hands now. And besides, this serum is worth the effort.
It transformed my skin texture, brightening and improving my tone for an overall effect of a healthy glow—like I just dunked myself in a pitcher of TANG™. There’s a double-team effort at play here, with 20-percent of the purest form of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) and hyaluronic acid to give me a brightened, cherubic face despite my recent lack of outdoor activity. I have added this product to my beauty routine, right between my essence and the nine other serums and lotions I use to cheat Father Time.
Full disclosure—for years I had heard about the magic that is Skinceuticals, but never got around to trying any one of their serums or lotions. But today, I must admit that I have fallen in love with Skinceuticals and I will be carrying a number of their serums in my armageddon go-bag. Their H.A. intensifier is another multifunctional serum that’s got me going goo goo for hyaluronic acid. It works with my skin's natural hyaluronic acid levels to help renew plumpness, elasticity, and firmness. And while I’m naturally skeptical of products that promise to reduce wrinkles, after 10 days with four to six drops applied twice a day, my skin has been looking like a Disney star in their prime. Skinceuticals must be made from the fibers of life because my skin hasn’t looked this fresh since I burst out of the womb (on February 27, 2001, my forever 19 birthdate, if anyone wants to know).
For the record, Sunday Riley’s water cream is not like the other girls above—it functions as a moisturizer rather than a serum. I can tell you that it’s lightweight and oil-free, and based on a little research (i.e. what the packaging reads), papaya enzymes in the cream work to brighten, and two forms of hyaluronic acid draw water into skin for an intense 24 hour hydration. It’s also lightly scented and, because it’s pretty magical, fittingly Aladdin Genie-in-the-bottle blue. While it really did do a bang up job of brightening and hydrating (as I said—magical), I think the hyaluronics that melt into my face are more my speed. Those serums are just more potent and faster-acting and I’ve got no time to waste. Still, credit given where credit’s due, and I’m drafting Tidal into my Goo Goo Gah Gah Skincare Fantasy team. Tidal, you may have been my third pick, but you were still my pick.
What are your favorite hyaluronic acids and what serums are getting you through this period of social distancing? Drop comments below!
Photo via ITG.