Qualities I Am Apparently Now Seeking in a Skincare Product

There comes a time in every woman’s life when face placenta sounds like a good idea

I may be having a teensy eensy little mid-life crisis. I’m not walking around in cheetah print kitten heels and a black bustier, laughing too loud at handsome men’s sad little jokes or anything. I just somehow realized that my facial situation requires immediate attention and accidentally spent the entire months of November and December scouring the internet for a skincare regimen that would make it possible for me to leave my house without Grey Gardens-level scarf work. That’s not so bad, is it?

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Don’t answer that. Let’s just pretend that those two months were well spent because I’ve developed an in-depth and well researched set of criteria for skincare product purchases that I am now about to share with you! (The operative word being “pretend.” In reality, I’ve lost my ever lovin’ mind and you should never do any of these things.) Looking at my haul (“Haul” is what you call beauty buys, old people. I learned this on the YouTubes.), these are the key criteria of a winning beauty treatment:

Kind of illegal. If a skincare product (and by skincare product, I mean rejuvenating miracle) is almost impossible to get in the United States, it must really work — or so goes my possibly already addled over-40 reasoning. I’m particularly obsessed with lists of the best products from France and Korea. I mean, look at French and Korean women. In those countries, it’s perfectly ordinary to walk around with skin glowing like Kate Winslet’s (and I’m talking Sense and Sensibility Kate Winslet — no offense to present-day Kate Winslet). It’s not fair, is what it is. A curse upon patriarchal U.S. safety regulations keeping me from looking good in my dotage!

Obscenely high price. If you’re a drugstore diva, bless. You do you. Personally, I’ve thrown away enough do-nothing drugstore beauty potions to more than justify the $60 bucks-per-ounce miracle cure I am about to order right now from an obscure place you could never find unless you made getting rid of this neck situation your key goal in life and sort of a part-time job. Come to think of it, if you calculate the time I’ve spent searching for a lifting/firming/plumping toner/essence/lotion on an hourly basis, I’ve earned this product, PLUS the boosting serum!

Online reviewers report it burns like a mother. Yessssss. If a bunch of sissies in their 20s are whining that the product feels like it’s burning, I’m in. If it burns, it’s doing something, right? Like, the cells are sloughing off or the chemicals are seeping in or whatever it says on the label (that I cannot read because it’s not in English) is really happening. It’s happening, people! Bring me my credit card!

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Q: What kind of placenta is this, exactly? Now we’re getting serious. I’m deep into the product Q and A where the homeopathic/scientist-type people who actually read the ingredients want to know what’s what. This is not for the faint of heart. Someone has confused meconium and colostrum. Someone wants to know what animal’s placenta is used. This is no joke (unless it is, as in “You know what would be hilarious? If you could just make up the most disgusting thing possible and charge old ladies $60 bucks an ounce to smear it on their wrinkles. I bet they’d go for it! Even if it’s illegal!! They’d buy anything!! HAHAHAHAAA!).

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YouTube beauty blogger takes a whiff and gags. Blah blah blah, she’s holding the product up to the camera behind her hand. Blah blah, she’s reading the label. Now she’s opening it, taking a whiff to describe it to the desperately unattractive people sitting at home watching YouTube beauty bloggers instead of doing something worthwhile with their lives. Wait. I think I stopped paying attention. Did she just gag? I think she did! Let’s back that up! Yes, she totally gagged. I have found it! My holy grail product. (Still need to work on the worthwhile life thing, though.)

Sold only by a spa professional, who offers to counsel me through “the purge.” This is the ultimate because it hits all my requirements. Only a spa can import it and sell it through some regulatory loophole, check. This jacks up the price, check. The spa lady will only sell it to me after warning that potential side effects include something called “the purge,” which causes weaklings with imaginary crows’ feet to give up before the miracle kicks in, check. Scary ingredients and assurances that I will “get used to it.” CHECK!

Spare me the comments about feminism and well, common sense, people with decent elasticity and small pores. Someday you’ll accidentally catch sight of your profile in a well-lit magnifying mirror and it will be game on for you, too. When that day comes, bonne chance, mes amis. Bonne chance.

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