It’s winter. Or as my skin likes to call it, Scaly-Snake-Monster Season. I imagine, of course, that people flee from me as I walk down New York City streets because, right about two weeks ago, I transformed into essentially a giant humanoid alligator. My skin gets so dry that I wander around my apartment and occasionally actual public places behaving like this:
Oh you think I’m exaggerating. I’m really not exaggerating. I’m actually doing that on my office chair as I type this.
It does not help that my apartment is steam-heated to (and I’m just guessing here) one million degrees and is drier than a desert in June. I have no control over the thermostat. This would all be bad enough, except that my skin is also finicky—use one kind of moisturizer on my face uninterrupted for too long, break out. Season changes and keep using same face wash, break out. Planet alignment changes and I don’t change whatever the fuck product I’m using, break out. The result is that I use enough different kinds of goo to fill, like, three of these posts all with different themes.
So let’s get down to business on this one—here are the goos I have to use specifically when I transform into a Scaly Snake Monster.
Handmade Goat Milk Soap
During the summer, I can use vegan soap. During the winter, whatever magic vegan soap is made out of also drinks all the water from my skin like a thirsty Vampire. So, being that I’m not a vegan, I switch to something with a little milk up in it. Specifically right now, I’m using soap from Cats’ View Farm in Germantown. Right now in my shower, there rests a Pumpkin Spice bar. On deck is Black Rum and Patchouli.
Buy it from this tiny farm: $5.5o per bar or 4 for $20
Boscia Black Cleanser and Black Mask
Okay, so I live in New York City: land of soot and urine. I am SUPER DIRTY whenever I go out of the house, plus of course I have scales all over my face that shed whether or not I can manage to stay in my apartment for a full 24-hour period. This cleanser and mask are gentle enough that they don’t provoke my winter-skin. The cleanser warms and it’s 19 degrees outside, and the mask is peel off which harkens back to the days of peeling Elmer’s Glue off your fingers—extremely fun and satisfying.
Hope In a Jar Daily Moisturizer
An every day work horse, this is my new winter moisturizer after the moisturizer I’d been using in the fall started to make me break out when the weather changed. No doubt in two months I will have to switch back to the other moisturizer. And in summer I have to use a completely different one…
My skin is the worst, you guys. I’m holding out hope that this one works year round. It is called Hope in a Jar, after all.
Buy it on Amazon: $34 for 2 oz.
Fresh Lotus Eye Gel
Okay, so it might not be scientifically proven or anything, but this product is supposed to reduce the dark circles under one’s eyes. I honestly don’t care if it does or not, because what I care about is that it’s fresh and cucumber-esque and feels nice when my eyes are all sleepy-puffy (you know the feeling, don’t even pretend like you don’t). And I need this during this season because—and I’m super embarrassed to admit this—my itching wakes me up at night. Seriously. My skin wakes me up. Also this one seems pricey, but since a little goes a long way it’s actually not so bad given how long it lasts.
Buy it on Amazon: $48 for .5 oz.
Fresh Rose Face Mask
This was a treat-yo-self purchase last winter and I liked it so much that it’s made the regular rotation. It’s for those days when moisturizer alone isn’t cutting it—it’s super super hydrating. Plus it smells like flowers! This, like it’s counterpart the Lotus Eye Gel, seems really expensive. But a little goes a long way and it keeps me from wanting to rub my face against my graduate school’s concrete façade: worth it.
Buy it on Sephora: $62 for 3.3 oz.
Melt Earth Spirit Sugar Scrub
There is literally nothing that feels better than a sugar scrub when you are winter itchy. Literally nothing. It is the best damn feeling in the world. It is EXACTLY like rubbing your back against a tree in a bear-esque fashion. I use the Earth Spirit scent because I like the smell of sandalwood and it also makes the towel you dry yourself off with smell AWESOME—but Melt makes a whole host of other sugar scrubs if you’re not into that scent, and while you’re at it a whole host of other bath and body stuffs.
Buy it from Melt: $25 for 9 oz.
I don’t know if there are any special kinds of coconut oil that should be used on the skin or not, but as you can practically hear my skin make a slurping sound when I put it on it absorbs it so fast, I just walk to the grocery store on the corner and get the biggest jar of it I can find. And then I slather myself in it all winter.
Buy it on Amazon: $6 for 14 oz.
Burt’s Bees Outdoor Deodorant
There is another problem with winter in the city: heat. Everything is over-heated — stores, offices, apartment buildings, the metro stations: literally no one has access to their thermostat. I sometimes wonder what puppet master controls all of them. And I sweat. I sweat so much it looks like I’m melting. But I also don’t want to use something that will stop me from sweating, because sweating is a thing bodies are supposed to do. Enter this wonderful deodorant. It’s spray on, so it doesn’t leave any weird streaks on black tee shirts or dark sweaters. It’s made of entirely recognizable ingredients. Its first ingredient is alcohol, so the one place on my body I wish was dry is kept just dry enough. And it makes me smell like a lumberjack, or rather a lumberjane.
Buy it on Amazon: $26 for a three-pack
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm
I must credit my fiancée with this find—she accidentally bought the Grapefruit and Ginger flavor instead of her usual Natural Mint and Shea Butter. She hated the Grapefruit and I LOVED it, so I received the cast-off! It’s perfect—it doesn’t leave your lips drier than before, like some lip balms do. And it has an SPF of 25 (sun still exists in winter, my friends, plus this makes it an extra good all year ’round product).
Buy it on Amazon: $7.50 per tube.
EarthLust Stainless Steel Water Bottle
I know, you’re like, “LOL ALI THAT’S NOT A PRODUCT YOU PUT ON ITCHY SKIN.” But I maintain that drinking water is the best thing we can all be doing for our skin, in good times and bad. In Scaly-Snake-Monster Season or during all other seasons. Drink some water. Drink that whole bottle and then fill it again. And then drink it again. Repeat. Your skin will thank you. This cute fish pattern is the same one I have, but there are others.
Buy it on Amazon: $20 for a 1L bottle.