BATHROOM COUNTER GLOWJOB: A design manager in the Bay Area

Interviews

The BATHROOM COUNTER GLOWJOB interview series features submissions from regular people and how their beauty routines fit into their daily lives. If you’d like to be featured in this series, please contact me!

“My name is Nima! My preferred pronouns are he/him/his. I’m from northern Los Angeles County, and I currently live in East Bay. I work as a design manager for a nonprofit that informs policy that affects children in California. In my spare time, I like to turtle up in my room and game like a gremlin or otherwise cook. I’m also a habitual tidier and get great pleasure out of keeping my space neat and sharing the good word of Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

I’ve started and stopped doing regular beauty routines at different points of my life for different reasons — the first time was in high school for acne. Most recently, I started a new routine that I’ve kept to for the past two years. I have inconsistent but sensitive skin. Some days, it’s excessively oily; other days, it’s very dry. My ongoing skincare often focuses on reducing redness, maintaining a healthy moisture level, and coordinating facial routines with shaving, which is an eternal struggle.

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned while trying to take care of my skin is to only use skincare products when my skin feels like it needs them. For example, I only do my morning routine once or twice a week, when my skin feels grimy. My morning routine starts with the COSRX Low-pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. It reduces the oiliness of my skin without making it feel totally stripped of all moisture. I’ve realized that coexisting with a little skin oil makes my skin look and feel much healthier.

I follow the COSRX cleanser with my favorite skin product, Dr. Hauschka’s Facial Toner. I had incredibly stubborn cystic acne growing up, and this product single-handedly controlled redness and managed breakouts. It also has a lovely, subtle, authentic rose scent. Even if I don’t wash my face, I’ll still use the Dr. Hauschka toner and follow it up with The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Control Gel Cream. This lotion, despite its generic smell, feels light on your skin and retains your moisture well through the day. After I rush through this three-part routine, I’ll cook myself a generous breakfast and be ready for the day.

I know there is substantial polarization about whether it’s best practice to shower in the morning or at night. I tend to shower in the evening because I don’t feel as pressed for time when doing my follow-up routine. I’ll do my night routine more frequently, and start it in the shower. My first step is to prep for shaving by soaping my face with Wavertree & London Soap, which comes in a lot of amazing scents. After that, if my skin feels oilier than usual, I’ll follow up with the COSRX cleanser.

After I get out of the shower and pat my face dry, I’ll use the Dr. Hauschka toner. My skin doesn’t feel excessively oily in the mornings, so I’ll finish my night routine by pressing a little bit argan oil gently into my skin instead of lotion. I find that using oils (in moderation) on my hair and skin makes them feel less oily over time.

The most recent I’ve tried is an All Natural Sea Mist by Herbivore Botanicals. I have no idea what it’s meant to do, but it smells nice.

I think that clay masks can be incredibly messy, and I’ve tried so many different methods of cleaning them while also sparing my drain. One time, I used a slightly damp kitchen scouring pad to scrape off a dried-on Aztec clay mask on to a bed of paper towels. It was very painful.

I appreciate that there are brands trying to make products for needs that are traditionally only medically addressed. I started experiencing an increase in hair loss and found out about a company called Hims. Their branding made managing hair loss, which was devastatingly stressful and dysmorphic, feel like treating myself luxuriously. Their products are no different from clinical medicines for treating hair loss, but their branding makes using them less like a medical process and more like a beauty regimen.

My least favorite thing in the beauty industry is the use of the phrase “self-care” to promote consumerism. Corporations have co-opted the term and warped it so that it’s about short-term satisfaction from a splurge purchase rather an ongoing mindfulness and healing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy using a Song Joong-ki sheet mask on a quiet Friday night with a pint of Halo Top in hand. But there are other forms of self-care that don’t involve me making purchases.

What’s something that I can’t stop talking about right now? According to my partner: ‘Um. Ivanka Trump’s complicity. Dogs. You’ve been talking about Frank and Oak a lot lately.’ (He’s talking about Oak + Fort.) According to my housemate: ‘Nintendo Switch. What else are you yammering on about? Honestly, nothing. You’re boring today. You talk about how much you hate that minimalist book.’ (She’s referring to Goodbye, Things.) Personally, I can’t stop thinking or talking about a cookbook called What to Cook & How to Cook It, by Jane Hornby. It has amazingly simple recipes with step by step photographic instructions. It’s great for someone trying to learn how to cook a variety of foods without access to specialty grocers. I highly recommend it!”

— as told to Nathalie

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