A few months ago, during the height of sticky summer sadness, I went on a coffee date with a friend. We were chatting about this and that – summer vacations, coworkers’ gossip – when my friend leaned in toward me and said, “I hope this isn’t weird, but your skin looks fucking amazing. Why is your face glowing?”
Between the ages of 11 and 17, I had terrible acne. The kind that makes people say, “Oh, don’t worry, no one notices it as much as you,” because lying is better than acknowledging how bad it is. Somehow, I had the good fortune that my acne was the subject of ridicule just once in my life – on the bus in 6th grade when a boy in a lower grade called me “pizza face.” Don’t worry, though, Alyssa Wert immediately came to my defense and said, “Hey! No one makes fun of Lizzie,” and that was that. It never happened again. I’ll never forget you, Alyssa Wert!!
I got microdermabrasion treatments all through high school. That’s when a nice lady rips your face apart with what feels like a ballpoint pen full of sand. The acne didn’t go away until I moved to France. Whether that was because the European climate is kinder to acne-prone skin, because I started treating my Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome with something called “Androcure,” or because I simply aged out of it, I may never know. Nevertheless, I am still sensitive about my face breaking out, and I still see myself as someone with shitty skin. This identity is reinforced by the fact that during the summer months in muggy Philadelphia, my skin likes to reminisce on the good old days, and I get pimples around my temples and jawline.
That is the background to why I was so darn touched when my friend stopped the conversation to tell me how great my face looked. I thought it only right to let her in on my skincare secret, and now I would like to share it with you. Queer Martha’s secret to glowing skin is:
THESE HORRIFYING FACE MASKS:
Listen, I don’t know who thought this design was a good idea, but it does not matter. Sure, it makes you look like you are definitely going to kill all the people who are dearest to you, but I swear it makes your skin feel like a field full of barley blowing in the wind. If you can’t handle the creep factor, they also make these face masks with a cat face or a kabuki mask printed on top because that’s not creepy at all.
The masks are just soft, spongy material soaked through with some good-smelling chemicals that I’m not asking questions about. Some of them say they are made with naturally-occurring things such as avocados, roses, or honey. Others are upfront about the chemical compound that will “firm and glow” your lovely face. You unfold the mask and place it over your face and stay rather still for 10 minutes. I keep mine on for 20 minutes because I am an over-achiever, but you do you. I use one to two each week, and I will say that the continued use has a greater effect on your skin. I pick them up at my local Japanese grocery store (though the ones I buy are Korean-made), but they are all over the internets. The ones I buy are $5 each. Am I tempted to buy this $20 gilded mask? Yes. Will I follow through? Almost certainly not. The $5 ones work great.
You do not feel cool when you wear them (even the cat face ones), but it doesn’t matter. You skin feels cool underneath. Also, you can't move your face when you are wearing one, so try not to be around funny people because smiling makes the mask wrinkle.
Listen, I don’t know how they work, or why, and I promise you that I have been through my fair share of skin care products that left me feeling dejected and bitter. These magic masks, however, literally give you conversation-stopping skin, and I want you all to go and buy a few right now. The only downside is that you might traumatize a loved one if you forget to warn her before you apply the mask and she comes upstairs and sees you sitting in the corner, in the darkness, ready to pounce. Even if that does happen, it doesn’t matter – your face will look great.