At Home Extractions (360th new thing).

January 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

When I had a facial back on Day 198, the aesthetician used some painful methods and tools for my “extractions.” That’s a fancy word for popping zits and getting blackhead gunk out of your pores. I was kind of fascinated with the process, so I went ahead and purchased my own “blackhead extraction tool” at a local drug store. I checked reviews and people raved about this device. Apparently I’m not the only one who may sometimes revert to a disgusting fourteen year old obsessed with her skin. On Day Three Hundred Sixty I used said tool.

It seemed like the perfect time to use and abuse my face. I had just opened the super magnifying mirror my mom had given me for Christmas. I had waited a good amount of time, not really wanting to see my gigantic pores projected as gaping craters. But I got curious. So with mirror and weird loop tool in hand, I followed the directions in the packet and guided by some online experts (or thirteen year old girls who do this activity regularly and post about it), I set to work.

I started by opening my pores with a hot shower then pressing the tool against my skin and slowly dragging it downward over the high blackhead area. Wouldn’t you know, through the giant magnifying mirror I could see stuff happening. It was beautifully disgusting. I found engorged craters invisible to the naked eye. I could see the appeal of being a facialist.

I poked and prodded myself for a good half hour before I stepped back and overviewed the damage I had done. My face was as red as a tomato with strange imprints from pressing with the tool. I followed my internet guidelines and washed my face, exfoliated, and followed that with toner. I looked marginally better.

Really, though, the experience was worth it just to calm some strange human desire of picking. It was a highly stress-relieving process. Next time I’ll follow up with an egg white face mask.

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Sweet Face Scrub (310th new thing).

April 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Inspired by my Egg White Facial Mask and with a desire to engage in more at home beauty treatments, I made a sugar scrub on Day Three Hundred Ten. After looking up various recipes to create a good facial scrub, I decided to marry several ideas into my own concoction. I mixed together brown sugar, a little honey, olive oil, and a drop of lavender oil.

I began to apply the chunky mixture with my hands, but quickly the brown sugar formed irregular clumps and would fall off my cheeks as I moved my fingers in a circular motion. At one point I looked like the punchline of some bad toilet humor. After awhile I could feel the sugar granules separate and move against my skin in what could be considered a scrubbing motion. Mostly, I felt the slipperiness of the olive oil.

A couple of minutes later I felt properly exfoliated and started rinsing off the sugar and oil from my face. The granules came off quite easily, but after several washings, I still had a glean across my skin. But olive oil is good for the skin, right? I was more worried about clogged pores and eventual pimples than whether the oil was nourishing.

I finally had all of the goo off, and wouldn’t you know, my skin felt pretty darn soft. Baby-like, some might say. It had a similar glow to the Spa Sydell facial I tried several months before, at a fraction the cost.

Next time I try a sugar scrub I may stick to the simple mix of white sugar and oil. Maybe using another kind of sweet grain would prove less clumpy. And I think I’ll exfoliate my whole body.

The Spa Treatment (198th new thing).

November 9, 2011 § 4 Comments

There is a word that for the life of me I cannot pronounce. I think many people have these, words that they know how to spell, define, and even use in a common conversation. Except they can’t say the word, at least not properly. Mine is Aesthetician. In honor of this (but not because of it) I went to a suburban Spa Sydell on Day One Hundred Ninety-Eight and got a facial.

The experience was a mixture of pleasure and pain. Was this the price of beauty? I was met by Guldie, my aesthetician (that word again) and led into a small room with dim lighting, soothing music, and a massage table. She told me to strip down to my undies and tuck myself into the bed, lying on my back. After a few minutes she came back in and began the process.

The torture chamber

First she scrubbed my skin, making small talk about facials and how wonderful the spa was. I explained that this was my first ever facial experience and she convinced me to upgrade to a pumpkin peel. It was totally corporate, this upsell, but I figured I might as well get the whole kit and kaboodle. She turned the steam machine to my face to open up my pores and as she scrubbed I found it difficult to breathe through my nose. This was supposed to be a relaxing activity, but I could see myself having a panic attack. Just when I felt it was all too much, she took away the heat and began the dreaded extractions.

This is the torture part of the facial, where the aesthetican uses special tools to squeeze all the gunk from your blackheads. I must have a lot, because she went to town. I felt my eyes watering uncontrollably and my facial muscles tensed and twitched beneath Guldie’s punctures. She told me I was doing very well and with that encouragement I pointed out any areas she may have missed in her torturous poking. So she looked closely, agreed, and went back to stabbing my face. The term glutton for punishment has never fit me more.

Next came the fancy pumpkin peel. While the mixture sat on my face, Guldie moved to my hands and gave them a massage, oiling them with lotion and inserting my digits into a warm mitt. This was the relaxing part.

Until she made it down to my feet.

I hadn’t worn socks that day and my Toms were quite stinky from all the wear I had been giving them. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come in contact with them and so didn’t prepare for this part of the relaxing massage. I also hadn’t shaved my legs, which Guldie noted and suggested a waxing. Yeah, so much for relaxing. More like total mortification.

In what seemed like only a little bit of time, she finished with my feet (I wondered if she went quickly on purpose) and returned to my upper half, massaging my lymph nodes and commenting how many toxins I must have in my body. I began to wish Guldie would keep her opinions to herself, even if the lymph node massage did feel pretty awesome.

The facial ended not too long after that and Guldie left the room to let me redress. She kept commenting on how great my skin looked and led me to the bathroom to show me the mirror, waiting for my pleased expression (which I dutifully produced). My skin did look pretty good, as far as skin goes.

I paid and headed out, leaving a generous tip for all the pain and suffering Guldie had expressed onto my face.

But really, I don’t think those “extractions” are worth it. I liked the egg white facial I gave myself better. And it’s cheaper.

Is that egg on my face? (138th new thing)

August 16, 2011 § 3 Comments

There are many things you can make with common household products from window cleaners to body scrubs. On Day One Hundred Thirty-Eight I made a pore-cleansing face mask. Out of an egg. Well, more precisely, an egg white.

I looked through several different methods of combining basic household staples to tighten pores and smooth skin. Some were as simple as an egg white and lemon juice. Others involved yogurt and oatmeal. One even (and I kid you not) called for cat litter. Fortunately for me I don’t have any cats, so that option was out. I settled on the basic egg white recipe, with a couple added ingredients for pizzazz.

Beat 1 egg white to thick foam and add ½ tsp of honey, ½ tsp of fresh milk and ½ tsp of lemon juice. Mix well and add a little bit of flour to make it thicker. Apply to the face and keep on for 20 min. Wash off facial mask with cool water without soap.

I think another first for me was to beat an egg. I don’t own an electric egg beater, nor one of those wind up ones. I have never made a meringue.  It was just a whisk and a strong right forearm that made this egg foam. And it took forever. Like two hours. No, I kid, but it sure felt like it took that long.

I beat the egg and added the honey, lemon, milk, and a little flour, and then a little more flour, until a paste formed in the bowl. Then I leaned over the sink and scooped the concoction on to my cheeks, nose, and forehead. It kind of dripped down my chin and I wiped away the excess.

After twenty minutes I headed back into the bathroom to rinse it all off. No soap, just like the directions. And you know what? My skin did feel smoother, younger, with smaller pores. I actually had a compliment about my skin the next day. Who knew something so common could possibly work.

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