Stare in the mirror and question how committed you are to aging naturally. Prepare the following products:
- A medical-grade non-foaming cleanser for sensitive skin
- An infusing serum with Reishi extract
- A Korean skin softener
- A reputable moisturizer, as not all are created equal
- Eye cream
- An SPF that protects against both the sun and the blue light that comes out of your electronic devices
Step 1: Splash cold water on your face not only to prepare for your routine, but also to wake yourself up. Open your eyes just enough to squeeze some cleanser into your hand, but avoid getting water in your eyes. Wonder if this squinting is giving you more eye wrinkles.
Step 2: Massage the cleanser into your face using upward strokes to help fight gravity, like the aesthetician taught you. Spread the cleanser over your freckles while still feeling indignant that the aesthetician also suggested you have them removed. Some cultures consider them beautiful, you know.
Step 3: Rinse and gently pat your face dry. Apply your infusing serum with Reishi extract from Japan. Your Grandma Mieko has a much simpler skin care routine, and she is ninety-three years-old. She sews brown sugar into a cotton pouch and then dips it into rice wine vinegar to scrub her face in the mornings and evenings. She has the skin of a fifty-year-old woman, and while you do have a quarter of her genetics, you fear it is not enough to age with the same amount of grace and thus you “invest” in the expensive stuff from the motherland.
Step 4: Apply the skin softener from Korea. How would Grandma Mieko feel about this? Grandma used to buy rice for your house on her weekly trips to the Asian markets. Your dad wanted to try cooking with a shorter grained Korean rice, but was too afraid to tell her, so he let her keep buying Japanese rice and stacked the sacks in the garage.
Step 5: Go pour yourself a cup of coffee.
Step 6: Refocus. Skin softener—or have you already applied it? Whatever. Apply more. Sip your hot coffee, and give yourself a quick facial over the steam coming from the cup. Coffee is good for the skin depending on who you ask.
Step 7: Apply your moisturizer. Think about the genetics you inherited from your black grandpa who also aged beautifully, as far as you can remember. He passed before you turned thirteen. You were too young to appreciate any culture you could glean from his side of the family, and now you doubt your dad has any contact with those relatives. He never mentions them. You only met them once at grandpa’s funeral. You could reach out yourself, but then what would you say?
Step 8: Refocus. Daydreaming is easy when you’re still half awake. Drink more coffee. Did you already put on eye cream or was that next? Squeeze a small dot onto your fingertip and pat along your eyelids, your outer eye for crow’s feet, and under your eyes. Don’t tug at the delicate eye skin as that will create more wrinkles.
Step 9: Yawn. Drink more coffee. Wonder if you can see your grandparents in your face. Not really, just your mom and your dad. Your mom is white, maybe Russian and German? Nobody really knows. You like to think of your blood like the United Nations. You’d get one of those DNA tests, but the black girl in you refuses.
Step 10: Your mom’s parents were both sun worshippers, which we all know is terrible for the skin, but you can’t help taking after them in that regard. You spent your teenage years in a tanning salon and at the beach. You’ve given up artificial tanning as an adult but refuse to give up the beach. Instead you try to combat the consequences with an ever-increasing amount of skin care.
Step 11: You hear the air con click on, which prompts you to go open the curtains. Sunlight hits you in your wrinkles. The day is going to be gorgeous. You remember that you’ve not yet put on sunscreen.
Step 12: Apply a liberal amount of SPF to your face, neck, and décolletage. Toss the bottle into your beach bag to reapply throughout the day.