I have adult acne. While I appreciate the fact that it keeps me young at heart, I resent that it keeps me shackled to my keyboard, endlessly researching new and innovative developments in skincare technology. I am by no means a rich woman; regardless, I treat each alleged breakthrough (usually presented in the form of an advertisement featuring a model in a lab coat) as an opportunity to open my wallet and scream “fix me!” at whatever corporation claims to have my best interest at heart. In spite of the thousands of dollars I’ve hemorrhaged on the cause thus far, I have not yet been fixed. Which is why, for a week at least, I’ve decided to give up on chasing this financially and emotionally draining dream.
Emboldened by tales extolling coconut oil as a miracle in a jar, I’ll be using it as a cleanser. But why stop there? After all, facial products aren’t the only things I waste my money on. My entire beauty routine, from head to toe, will therefore be 100% au naturel. My only rule? If it’s edible, it’s fair game. My reasoning behind this is simple—if I can buy it at the grocery store, I can use EBT to pay for it. Now, before you judge, dig this neat little theory I just came up with: If I look better, it’ll give me the self-confidence necessary to pull myself up by the bootstraps, earn a decent-paying job and stop suckling at the government’s teat. Really, I’m helping you, John Q. Taxpayer, help myself. Reagan would be so proud! (Style icon Nancy Reagan, I mean).
According to strangers on the internet (who are, of course, infallible), Trader Joe’s $5.99 “Organic Virgin” coconut oil provides the most bang for one’s buck. A sucker for a bargain, I make a special trip to the Hell that is a Los Angeles-area TJ’s to buy it. In the parking lot, a man far too old to be as stoned as he is approaches me. “It makes really good popcorn,” he mumbles. Unaware of what he’s referring to, I stare at him blankly. “The coconut oil,” he clarifies. “I’m not buying it to eat,” I reply, in the process somehow making myself sound even higher than him.
At home, I crack open the milky white jar of oil—in its natural state, it resembles marshmallow fluff. Once my fingers are introduced, however, I marvel over the way the solid magically transforms into a liquid (just like the internet said!). I slather it on my face in the bath, then follow up with a warm, wet washcloth (just like the internet said!). After slowly counting to ten (just like the internet said!), I rub it, along with my makeup, off. I’ll be damned. It works.
I use a cotton ball covered in apple cider vinegar as a toner; afterward, I slather a bit more oil on to moisturize. Washing the oil-rich washcloth off in the bathwater gives said water a dingy quality and uncomfortable slickness. Water, I realize, is not supposed to be this slick. The over-hydrated Hâ‚‚O, however, makes my skin feel moisturized. Great, I think, I won’t have to use lotion, either! Not that I do normally, but still.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you I’ve been using baking soda and apple cider vinegar in lieu of shampoo and conditioner for a while. A lifelong frizzy hair sufferer, it’s the only thing that doesn’t make my hair resemble a Hantavirus-infested rodent’s nest. Its unappetizing aroma makes my boyfriend cringe—some things, however, are more important that pleasing one’s mate.
Against my better judgement, I use baking soda, along with coconut oil and cornstarch, to concoct my own deodorant. Every recipe I find suggests I add essential oils to make it smell purdy—essential oils, unfortunately, are inedible, so I cannot. I slather the non-scented paste on my pits and immediately go on an extended, sweaty walk. Once home, I notice that my underarms are moist yet odorless. This confuses yet pleases me greatly.
Damn, you can use this coconut oil stuff on anything! Cooking with it seems like a waste. Encouraged by the sheen it gave my face, I rub it on an untreated, undiagnosed rash I’ve had for months (healthcare, smelthcare). A day later, the rash looks infinitely better.
Uh, oh, my lips are dry. What to do? Coconut oil! It slides on like butter—in an instant my lips are as soft and supple as a Photoshopped model’s. It really is a miracle in a jar! God forbid Monsanto get their paws on this stuff. I fear they already have.
DEODORANT UPDATE: After two hours playing drums in a sweltering garage, I am odor-free. Eat me, Secret®.
I’m drunk at a party, rambling about how liberating my new routine feels. I tell my companions it cleared up my eczema, which apparently is how I now refer to my undiagnosed rash. I say the baking soda/vinegar combo works well on my hair, but leaves it kind of greasy—they run their fingers through it and tell me it feels great. They are also drunk. We proceed to get drunker.
In lieu of using mouthwash, I’ve been oil pulling—swishing coconut oil in my mouth for ten minutes at a clip, then brushing my teeth with baking soda. Proponents of oil pulling claim it can do damn near everything, from preventing gum disease to eliminating migraine headaches. I feel nothing, but have become incorrigibly ill with a cold…I assume this means my body’s detoxifying? Sure, that’s the ticket.
Still sick, I spend hours writhing around in bed, praying for the sweet embrace of death to overtake me. Every hour, on the hour, I wake up soaked, yet odorless. At least I have that going for me.
I don’t have to keep living like this, but I figure I’ll stick with it. Sure, the oil make me break out a bit along my jawline, but if I’m gonna get acne anyway, I may as well not pay for the privilege. My face hurts…but my wallet doesn’t! (Sorry for the awful joke; I’m still half-mad with sickness.)
NOTE: During this week-long process, I wore makeup. The fact that I purchased said makeup at the Grocery Outlet, however, I feel makes it honorarily edible. Please find it in your heart to allow me this semblance of vanity.