exorbitantly overpriced yet surprisingly efficacious product of the month

No, no. Not this guy. Well, wait. I don’t know how much he is, nor his degree of effectiveness.

That sleepy/stoned looking dude is Dr. Stuart Kaplan, another “celebrity dermatologist” who’s shit out a line of pricey products. I don’t know about anything about him, except there is another Dr. Stuart Kaplan who is a neurosurgeon in Vegas, which I’m sure is a pain in the ass for both of them. Dermatologist Dr. Kaplan has a small line of stuff, most of which seems somewhat uninteresting and predictable. Neurosurgeon Dr. Kaplan may have a line of products too, but I hope none of us have any need for those kinds of things.

Regardless, one of my recent Sephora impulse purchases included Dermatologist Dr. Kaplan’s cute little lip mask and balm duo. I’m not a fan of sugar scrubs for lips — I don’t feel like they do anything. And I seriously despise dry lips. Not only does it feel and look gross, it’s impossible to get those little shreds of dry skin off without drawing blood. All around not cute. So naturally, I had to try this enzyme based “lip mask” with its twee little matching SPF 20 balm. The balm wasn’t bad — sort of minty with a perfectly mellow sheen — but it suffered from that funky sunscreen taste that all those products seem to have. I really dug the mask, but I managed to lose the tiny vial pretty quickly. It’s probably in the same place as my Becca mattifying primer, the other small loaf pan, and all the lost socks.

Despite only having had it for a few weeks, I missed it. The full size mask is FORTY EIGHT DOLLARS. This is stupid. I put it off, put it off, and put it off until my peeling wanton lips cried for resuscitation. I fucking ordered it, feeling like the biggest sucker ever. Okay. First off, the container is HUGE — one full ounce. The container is made of heavy glass and feels all fancy and shit. The smell is vaguely minty and the texture just lovely, thick and velvety. I’ll glop it on a couple times a week when I first wake up, making sure to smear it all around well past the lip line, and let it work its magic for fifteen minutes or so. It’s not burny or tingly, just feels sort of cool and mentholy. Then, when I wash my face, I’ll use the wet washcloth to scrub off whatever is left (usually not much, as a lot of it seems to get absorbed or otherwise disappear). They say you can leave it on overnight too, which I have yet to try*. I always rub whatever’s left over on my fingers into my cuticles, because why not.

The “plumping” action could certainly be due to the irritative effect of the peppermint extract, so, okay fine. There certainly is a little plumping action but what blows me away is the complete painless obliteration of every tiny shred of dry nasty skin. Just glorious baby butt smoothness is left in its wake. Total love! Insert lots of heart eyed emojis here! So even though I am thoroughly embarrassed by the admission that a $48 lip mask has become a ride or die product, so be it.

Do you guys have any favorite products or methods to eradicate the dreaded dry lip? Or how about any new embarrassing product admissions we haven’t yet discussed? Come on, enable me.

*although I may try wearing it overnight this weekend, since there is a certain Halloween costume that is going to require a dark lip, which sort of makes me itch at the mere idea.

trend whore

Face oils, double-cleansing, cushion compacts, contouring, contouring and highlighting, strobing, Korean skincare, brows on fleek (shudder – I’m sorry). It used to take a solid year or two for trends to work their way from the coasts inward to middle America. It’s quite incredible how this has changed. (Get off my lawn!) We could blame the internet, but I think it’s her bratty little sister, social media, that’s truly responsible. It would suck to be a skincare and/or makeup manufacturer today. Not only do you have to watch emerging trends with an eagle eye, you’ve got to have the resources to concoct and shit out a competitive product in the blink of an eye. Then, you’ve got to make sure your production and ingredients can stand up to the inevitable dissection that will take place across multiple platforms by self-important, otherwise uneducated individuals with loud voices. Seriously, this sucks. But I digress.

This frantic pace has led to a lot of what I find really silly products and services. Take eyelash extensions. You have to go something like every two weeks, at $75 a pop. As extravagant and superfluous as I can be, even I say really? Nail art? Same deal — pricey, time consuming, will need to be redone before you get your next period. No. I realize this is probably a function of me being a) a busy professional who b) has very little tolerance for going out in public. But still! That’s crazy money and time for something that is so temporary and insignificant.

So you can imagine how I feel about face masks. Not regular old, smear-on-allow-to-dry-wash-off masks, but those sheet masks, the ones that make you look like a serial killer, require at least twenty minutes of princess style inactivity, and are sold by the individual mask for upwards of four bucks apiece. I think they’re silly. Plus, most of the ones I’ve seen lean more towards the “moisturizing” end of the spectrum, which is horrifying to someone like me who naturally generates tidal waves of grease. So when I received a Dr Jart hydrating sheet mask in this month’s Birchbox, I sort of tucked it behind a bunch of sunscreen samples in the bathroom, not being real stoked about it. However, I must admit, there’s been some recent photos of me looking more on the haggard side, and the common denominator is that my skin looked sort of flat and dull, even in areas where I didn’t diligently apply my Becca mattifying primer. So when my SO ran out to do a couple errands this weekend (read: when I could be alone for half an hour to look stupid in peace and quiet), I thought, what the hell, Dr. Jart. Let’s give you a whirl.

I hated the way it felt, in my hands and on my face, slimy and goopy. The sheet was heavy and sticky and slid all over whenever I made a facial expression or talked. The product was everywhere, getting into my hair which I had just washed, virtually seeping out of the sheet, everywhere. The eye and mouth cutouts nowhere near matched my according anatomic features, making me wonder if my face was super fucked up or something. It was claustrophobic and cold, and that’s in a marginally well air conditioned house when the outdoor ambient temperature was at least 105 degrees. It basically drove me batty and when I saw my SO pull in the driveway ten or fifteen minutes later, I was happy to yank it off even though my time wasn’t up. I gladly dropped it in the trash can, where it landed with a wet plop, and I got to business rubbing the rest of the slimy shit into my face, neck, chest, and hands. Then my SO started making margaritas, so I forgot about it and went about my business.

When I looked in the mirror a few hours later, though, I got served a giant steaming plate of crow. My skin looked AH-mazing. Luminous, glowing, but not greasy. I couldn’t believe it. The few fine lines I have were practically unnoticeable. I almost hated to put my nighttime crap on top of it, lest I ruin the luminescence. This morning, I did my usual a.m. wash followed by P50, and somehow, through all that, my skin still looked better than usual. Unreal!

So, just what I needed — another step to add to my already convoluted and high-maintenance skin routine. What products/services have you poo-pooed and begrudgingly tried, only to end up surprised at how much you love it?