A tale of two routines
Who says skincare can't be a fun team effort? the regimen spoke to Emerson and Justin, a couple living in Long Island City with almost polar opposite skin types and routines. Read on for their takes on skincare and how to make even the mundane feel sexy.
What do you enjoy most about the process of a skincare regimen?
Emerson Sosa: I really, really, really enjoy the comfort of a process that works for me, and is inherently tied to what I define to be as "home." After traveling for work for extended periods of time, one of the first things I do is take a shower and go through every single one of my key products. It’s revitalizing, yet calming. There’s a peace that I like to indulge in throughout the process; it’s time to unwind, exhale, reflect, and inhale for whatever is next. It’s probably one of the most docile states you’ll ever find me in.
Justin Farris: Any process that involves Bioré® Deep Cleansing Pore Strips has immediately won my heart. If I could, I’d slather those things on my schnoz 'til the cows come home. Otherwise, anytime something makes me powerfully aromatic, I’m an immediate fan (think anything equivalent in sophistication to L’Oreal Kids Mango Smoothie Shampoo).
What is your favorite skincare product?
ES: I have a few so just deal with it.
- The CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a fundamental I can’t leave out. It cleans so well and doesn’t leave my face feeling like sandpaper.
- Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash gives me life - literally. The caffeine, vitamin E, and menthol get you going 0 to 100 real quick, whole squad on that real shit.
- I also love the CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion because it's tried and true, non-greasy, light, refreshing, and we get that SPF 30 broad spectrum in - chyeah chyeah!
- Now, the Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief Gentle Coconut Body Lotion, this right here is my main squeeze. The smell, the feel, the absorption, the smoothness!
- The Aveda Pureformance Composition Oil for Scalp and Body is one of my newly discovered blessings from the Product Gods. It nourishes and locks in moisture, treats you to a scent experience, and a little goes a long way here. Oh and it’s great for massages.
JF: For give or take 25 years, I only knew one skincare product (aside from soap), which was Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser -- The Everyman’s Skin Cleanser. Now, my boyfriend Emerson regularly treats us to a carousel of new and exciting products, each of which is my favorite for the duration of its use.
How would you characterize your inner beauty blogger/skincare expert?
ES: I care like super totes a lot about my skin. My skin gets dry and irritated easily and I constantly need to moisturize or else I get ashy. And for us POC, being ashy is like having a mustard stain on your all-white Labor Day outfit - not okay. I’m a huge fan of the luxurious treatments and innovative ingredients so there is definitely a bit of an indulgence factor in it all for me, it’s fun! If I had to boil it down to a few things it comes down to necessity, vanity, and luxury.
JF: Hmmmmmm. Skin-wise, probably Freddy Kreuger? But, like, without all the sadism. (Also I have a full-time office job.) Personality-wise, basically any uncooperative 2-year-old who hates being dressed.
How do you typically protect your skin against the sun?
ES: I like to think that my melanin is enough but that’s a damned lie and we all know it. I still use sunblock, just like everyone else, but I try to go for something that moisturizes but also helps to bring out the glow in my delicious dulce de leche brown skin.
JF: My sun-protection strategy consists of surrounding myself with people who don’t want me to get cancer. Because I’m an absent-minded person, I’ve found that by inviting others with me to the beach, or to any location with even ambient sunlight, I can usually avoid problematic sunburns by virtue of secondhand vigilance. Full details of my approach below:
- Step 1: Begin by drawing attention to my 3 total melanin cells. This is usually the easiest part of my routine, since beachgoers are immediately horrified by my whiteness, and their stares draw a lot of attention.
- Step 2: Take no further action. Either someone will beseech me in concerned dulcet tones to please apply sun block or an appalled passerby (usually a parent) will apply one or more products to my body against my will. I’m really resistant to taking care of my body, so this process can sometimes be challenging for the interventionist. But generally, it’s easy to remind people that I need sun block, since anyone in a 3-mile radius is likely already visually impaired by the resplendent brilliance of my porcelain skin.
- Step 3: Deflect the sun with my new, creamy skin, having contributed no effort to this result.
“Kids Korner!”: Here’s a choice personal collection of fun sunburn photos:
Please recount your gnarliest skin-related anecdote for the regimen audience’s reading pleasure.
ES: Less of a gross side-effect or horror story, but when my college roommate saw all of the lotion I had on my side of the room he thought I was a chronic masturbator. I had to enlighten him on the glory of a skincare regimen.
JF: I have had 2 very meaty pilar cysts surgically removed from my scalp. I’d originally thought they were sebaceous cysts and asked my friend to dig them out with a pocket knife while we were in Mexico. She declined. After a doctor excavated them, I was allowed to hold them in my (gloved) hand very briefly. It was a special moment, emotionally punctuated by the doctor’s confiscation of them. But now that I have a third cyst growing near the front of my hairline, the emotional void has healed a bit, as have the 2 gaping craters in my skull. (I self-censored my cyst photos, but if you’d like copies, please contact me.)
Where do you draw the line for a skincare regimen?
ES: Vampire Facial is a no, fam. Needles and shit? Pass. That and Bird Poo Facials. BYE!
Describe your ideal skincare regimen – as complex or as simple or as outrageous as you want it to be.
ES: While I do like what I have going on now, if I could, I'd get a daily rosewater bath while listening to music, a milk and honey body wrap, some cleansing and invigorating coffee facials, a coconut butter-based head-to-toe massage and moisturizing session, an eye treatment ('cause puffiness and bags and last night, amirite?), a lather of refreshing residue shampoo, and a hair conditioner to keep my locks on that strong wave tip. Yup. That’s about it. Just regular, ordinary things.
JF: I wish I were prepared to offer a visionary end-to-end system, full of concoctions based on harvested lizard spleens, the finest Martian diamonds, and experimental child sacrifice, but alas, I don’t have an ideal skincare regimen. I’ll continue living my truth as I always have, by lubricating my skin with the wayward smear of pizza grease and sweating out my toxins to the tune of De-Angela McVay’s Hunter.
ES: Don’t come for my regimen and me.
JF: I can write my name on windows using just my forehead.