My beauty life is one of compromises, which is to say that in general, I strive to look a strong "okay." But, I also know goals are predictive—so today I decided to strive for more. It was sunny when I woke up and I wasn't hungover. Literally anything in the world seemed possible.

Before opening my computer I had time for a shower, which meant I was already starting out ahead, looks-wise. Morning showers make me look better; night showers make me feel better (because of weed). But all showers are great because I have a little jambox on a shelf in the bathroom and I always shower with tunes. It's a real upgrade. I also further upgraded my shower experience recently by ditching my Suave. For awhile, I had to use really nice hair stuff because I bleached and dip-dyed it—it was a WILD FUN TIME for awhile of me getting in the bathtub wearing just a trash bag and painting my hair out of dollar store paintbrushes and Solo cups—but although I liked the vibes, and deployed expensive buckets of Joico hair oil and fancy non-sulfate-whatever shampoo and conditioner to maintain them, my hair eventually just turned to the kind of Garfieldy mush a comb couldn't run through when it was wet.


So I cut all the damaged hair off a year ago and was like, "Sick, this means I literally never have to take care of it again," which wasn't true, and even though I bought my first non-travel-size hairbrush I had a really hard time remembering to use it, and so my hair gradually became a fuzzy magnet for assorted food crumbs and street debris. One day in Jezebel chat, I was bemoaning it, Julianne recommended Davines, and I ordered it immediately. So now I'm using Davines Melu shampoo and conditioner. It is great!

Here's my rough product situation:


By far, again, the most important thing in this picture is the jambox, which makes me beautiful. I also try to do my nails myself.

In the shower, I use Dove soap nested in a little CVS scrubber and some Cetaphil face wash still popping off from a family-size bottle that I think my mom bought me at Costco several years ago. On my face, I also use this Makeup Artist's Choice Micro Polish that I started using in the summer of 2012, when my boyfriend and I moved to Michigan in the middle of a horrible heat wave and he thought "we" were "too tough" to "need" the AC unit we had in the basement and eventually my sweat/makeup jamboree gave me heat rash on my face like a baby and then I learned about the virtues of exfoliation.

Out of the shower, I slap some AzureNaturals Vitamin C Serum on my face, which I bought because my friend Luce told me that I should get into serums and if you are my friend I will do any beauty thing you tell me to—and also because I once got a facial where the woman was all about Vitamin C. I'm not precisely sure what serums are, but I do know my skin feels somehow FRESHER after this stuff. I also put on Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil—five drops although the bottle says "1-2." My skin is so totally dry that in the summer I use night cream as day moisturizer; this oil situation, after this winter, is just right.


I find it easy to remember to put stuff on my face—you can feel a face, you know what I mean?—but I am at the point with my hair where I want to put a sign up in the bathroom that says "DO YOU WANNA PUT SOMETHING IN THERE MAYBE?" (I have a similar actual sign in my living room reminding me to stay home by myself once in awhile.) I'm all about the Effort to Reward ratio in general, and it's pretty high with hair products, but it's so hard to remember—your hair is just your hair. But I put some Bumble & bumble Invisible Oil and some Bumble & bumble Hair (un)dressing Creme in there because it's Diary Day.

It's 8:30 a.m. now: I cover my body in a shit ton of Alba Hawaiian Kukui Nut Body Oil (easily the best thing at the drugstore after cheap waterproof eyeliner) and put on a bathrobe. I blow-dry my bangs, then the roots of the rest of my hair and put it into two buns to keep drying. In that picture up top, you can see the scar on the right side of my cheek, which I used to hate—I had shingles in seventh grade, and was self-conscious of the scar for middle school reasons but forget I have it now and don't even put concealer on it. You can also kind of see the freckles that I have on my nose and cheeks, which are so faint that they disappear as soon as I put on even a little bit of makeup.

After a while, I take the buns down and diffuse the rest of my hair for about a minute. I feel really good about my hair right now because I went for my annual head-grooming recently—to Seagull, again on the recommendation of Julianne—and the stylist, Laura, was the first stylist I've ever had who quickly noted that my hair was wavy, which it is, but usually looks no way at all because I don't style it. Laura at Seagull was all, "You do the air-dry thing, I feel that, I'm totally gonna hook you up for that." And she totally did! She also gave me good color: I'd gotten highlights something like eight months ago (the last time I got bored with my hair) and they were getting bad and reddish—these are a cooler brown.


I never leave the house without wearing makeup because I feel unprepared for surprises without it, but I usually am either wearing very little makeup or a ton of it. So I get dressed to go into the office, then put on Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Warm Natural under my eyes and around my nose, and the matching powder to set it. Then Bobbi Brown powder blush in Poppy, which I have worn now for about seven years, then Nars highlighter on the top of my cheeks (it's from a blush/highlighter/bronzer combination that seems to be unavailable now??? Mine is easily four years old) and then, an eyelash curler squeeze and black Buxom mascara, which I got as a sample and loved. I also put on some Burt's Bees chapstick. This is the makeup I put on if I don't think I'm going out, and it's good for adding lipstick to in the event of some such unexpected going-out situation—and I put an eyeliner and a bright lipstick in my purse for later, because we're having a Jezebel reading.

But then it starts raining, and I realize I'm way closer to the event from home than from the office (which takes me forever to get to). So I change out of my clothes into sweatpants and work the rest of the day from home. And then once the workday is over, it's dark, and still raining, and I don't feel like wearing what I had on earlier—a striped crop top, black jeans, ankle boots with a high heel. I decide to wear a shitty T-shirt, ripped jeans and rain boots. And then I decide to put more makeup on to "make up" for the rest of me. That's the way I often think about the way I look: on normal days I max out at about 25 total minutes I am willing to allot to the combination of face and hair and clothing, which is enough to give one thing a lot of attention and neglect the rest. Ideally, one thing about me looks correct at all times.


So, wearing an outfit I could fall asleep in, I put on a shitload of makeup: via a BeautyBlender, Givenchy Photo Perfexion (LOL) foundation, mixed with moisturizer, in a combination of Perfect Amber and Perfect Gold—this is a very good one if you have a hard time finding warm-toned face stuff—and then more concealer, blush, highlighter. I brush Buxom Hot Escapes (LOL) bronzer on top, which is something I bought last winter when I was drunk at Sephora and it smelled like the beach. (I use bronzer like powder—in the picture to the left, it looks like I've gone overboard, but I'm just in a different room where the lamp is warmer.)

I also use my Urban Decay Naked palette, the matte neutral brown one on my eyelids and then a mix of the darker shimmery brown color and the shimmery grayish color up a little from the crease. I put on a huge amount of Revlon Colorstay eyeliner in black and do a little bit of eyebrow stuff—even though I guess my eyebrows are always invisible now? A bit troubling that I am only now noticing this, as I got bangs like a year ago—with an Anastasia pencil and do another coat of mascara. I brush my teeth and run the toothbrush over my lips when I'm done.


It's not that much stuff—also, it's all dusty, gross—but it feels like a lot of makeup (and also, I sort of hope, looks like it; a sincere appreciation of heavy makeup is one thing I got from growing up in Houston and won't likely let go of. Actually, the your-face-or-hair-looks-good-but-the-rest-of-you-looks-shitty vibe is big in Houston as well; you'll always get girls out to brunch in flawlessly smooth hair and pearl earrings but wearing an XL T-shirt, or hair in a fuzzy side bun with Nike shorts and perfect makeup).

The one thing I don't do tonight but will do when I feel like being careful about my makeup—easily the fussiest thing in my routine, I think—is spray on this Urban Decay setting spray. I lead a fairly aggressive lifestyle in terms of things that are bad for a makeup job: I jump in pools, get too sweaty when I dance, whatever. That Urban Decay Face Hairspray is a bit demonic in theory, but in music-fest-practice, I think it works.


I get to the reading, chug a beer and immediately splash pizza sauce on my white shirt. I go to the bathroom and clean it off, and I don't have a Tide pen—obviously—but I always have lip stuff in my bag: always Chapstick, usually YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in the palest pink color, and usually a bright color too. With a big wet spot on my shirt but no more pizza stuff, I put on some Nars Heat Wave lipstick and take a bathroom mirror selfie, petrified that someone will come out and catch me. They don't! A strong day.

I go home very drunk, make a sandwich—sandwiches, I should have mentioned, are an important part of my beauty routine; just like the jambox, a sandwich brings instant chill. I wash my face with Cetaphil, use a Neutrogena face wipe and Alba Hibiscus Toner, accidentally use an eye cream sample as moisturizer and pass out.