Don’t let people tell you your 30s will be the best time of your life in a tone that suggests your looks will fade so you better find inner peace. Vicki’s Pick is a weekly beauty column that features Vicki’s all-time favourite beauty products and latest discoveries for women in their 30s who plan on staying pretty on the outside for a long, long time. Inner peace is optional.
What’s the most awkward part about being in my 30s? No, it’s not that one random black hair that sprouts like a diehard dandelion in the delicate flower bed of forget-me-nots that is the peach fuzz of my otherwise feminine chin. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I religiously pluck that black hair from its evil root with my Tweezerman slant tweezer while saying a Wiccan chant to ward off its return: “Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn, and caldron bubble. Hair be gone, and no more stubble.” No biggie, right?
What really, really irks me though is that I still breakout like an awkward teenager with raging hormones. Does it mean I need to freeze my eggs? I don’t have time to get all Michael Jackson about my fictional future offspring when I’ve got an acne breakout to attend to. As soon as a new crop of pimples rear their ugly, bulbous heads, I start madly Googling acne washes in search of one that’s both zit-zapping and gentle enough for my thirtysomething skin. I’ve got fine lines now, so I can’t do what my former high school self used to do: drive to the US border in search of the closest Walgreens to buy the American version of Oxy zit cream (twice as potent as the FDA-approved Canadian version in the 90s).
If my New Age pimples could only make like Botox and pop up in crevices of my fine lines I would just leave them be, but I still get zits in the same place where they sprouted in high school: smack in the middle of my forehead. (Yeah, I’ve thought about having a Madonna Ray of Light phase just to hide them with henna and body paint, but I’m pretty sure appropriating other cultures for pure vanity’s sake is frowned upon in 2014, right?).
Fortunately, I haven’t lost my high school ability to track down the most amazing beauty products for acne-prone skin. Maybe it’s a gift. Some people are horse whisperers; I’m a zit zapper. I’m now obsessed with Lush Dark Angels Facial Cleanser, which I tracked down while looking for a cleanser with the super-trendy beauty ingredient charcoal.
I read a ton of reviews first and almost all of them were glowing, but some overly girly beauty writers – the kind who can’t accept that beauty isn’t always pinks, powders and perfumes – made sure to warn their readers of a few of the product’s drawbacks. For one, it’s a bit messy, making it more of a shower companion than an over-the-sink face wash. A handful of bloggers also insisted the charcoal scent was pungent and that the dark hue of Lush Dark Angels meant they had to wash it off thoroughly. All of these things only made me want to try it even more. Messy? That means it works its little heart out. Smells like charcoal? Um, amazing. Just like how Buckley’s taste makes me feel like it works, a product that doesn’t have a flowery fragrance makes me believe in it just a little more. Needs to be thoroughly washed off? Obviously, and a coloured cleanser only helps reveal the spots you missed. Even in high school I knew to rinse my face with at least nine full splashes of lukewarm water for a proper cleanse. (Thanks, YM Magazine! You were the best.)
My favourite part about Lush Dark Angels, aside from the war paint colour, is that it’s a serious exfoliator. I can’t be bothered with crappy micro-beads in less effective brands (I’m the kind of person who goes to a masseuse to get the kinks out of my body, not to be tickled, and I approach beauty products the same way). The black sugar and charcoal in Lush Black Angels absorbs the excess oil from your skin while you work the cleanser in a circular motion. When you rinse it off, it feels like you’re also washing away a layer of dead off your face. Hello age 29 again! The cold-pressed organic avocado oil in the cleanser hydrates at the same time for added baby-skin softness, and the rhassoul mud base helps prevent breakouts.
Hey, we were lucky enough to leave our teenage years behind in the pre-Instagram era, so there’s no need for photographic evidence of our ability to produce pimples now, my fellow thirtysomethings. I’d rather Instragram more appropriate things for my age… like my new faux leather red onesy.