An Honest Review of 2 Buzzy Products, by a Skincare-Curious Man-Boy

Meet Byrdie Boy Andy Verderosa. Each month, we'll be sending him new beauty products to test and review. Ahead, his thoughts on aging and his honest review of two buzzy new skincare finds.

I’ve been lucky enough throughout my adolescent and adult life to mostly avoid knowing much about my skin, let alone skincare. I’ve had an occasional pimple and some dry spots a family member dermatologist waved off, but overall my skin hasn’t called for much attention or product intervention.

That’s been my prevailing strategy. If there’s no overt problem, there’s no real need for an answer. I’ve been told lotion makes your skin softer, which seems cool in theory, but I’ve never really felt my skin to be anything other than, well, soft and...skin-like. Not really oily. Mostly dry. My ignorance of skincare has even been a kinda bizarre source of pride. I’ve had people tell me my hands are soft, and the only thing I can credit is my complete neglect. 

Which has been all fine and good for the majority of my life, but last month I turned 30. And with 30, I’ve been forced to grapple with some real questions about my body and the human aging process.

While women, through the many systems of our media apparatus, are acutely aware of the virtues of youthfulness, guys get to mostly take a pass. We’re not taught to fear the aging process before we can buy cigarettes, to stave off wrinkles and their many cousins through a series of creams and processes that require constant upkeep. No, men wake up one day, start to see the same wrinkle pattern that their dad has, and wonder if there’s something we can do about it. This is me at 30.

At the same time, many people on Twitter have brought to my attention that Paul Rudd and Keanu Reeves are looking very good into their early 50s. And I’d rather look like John Wick than John Boehner. 

Andy Verderosa
 Andy Verderosa

Which is why, last week, I got started on the process—to get ahead of the wrinkles, to ensure myself against the years of sun I have left to endure. The first step would be a mask. I have 30 years of pores to unclog, after all. The Boscia Cactus Water Peel-Off Mask looks like something I would steal from the work trip hotel without knowing what it was for. I followed the instructions to spread it evenly around my face. I’ve seen many people do masks on Instagram and I have no idea how you’re supposed to do it without it getting into your hair and eyebrows and putting the cap back on. I’m a novice, but after some time and a few lost eyebrow hairs, I was getting somewhere. One thing I didn’t realize was how much face I have. There’s the chin, cheek, under my eyes, mustache, then there’s a whole other side! I may have used too much mask. I may have used not enough. I’m flying blind here. 

Andy Verderosa
 Andy Verderosa

When it was all spread evenly, everything suddenly became extremely clear. This is how all the girls on my Instagram explore page are so damn dewy all the time. I radiated. I took 40 photos of my newly glowing face, now part of an elite club of people who reflect light, space, time, likes, comments, hopes and dreams back into the iPhone lens. The instructions said to wait 30 minutes or until the mask dried.

Once dry, the mask starts to wrinkle and you can peel it off—an equally satisfying experience that's probably even better if you don’t facial hair. Sure I was peeling off the Boscia mask, but really, I was peeling off 30 years of skincare ignorance. I emerged from my cocoon, freshly cactus-scented and undoubtedly clean. My skin felt smooth and freshly baked. Like a refurbished iPhone, I had been restored to factory settings. Newly reborn, I was ready to start the next, or rather, first phase of new skincare life.

andy verderosa
Andy Verderosa

Luckily, I had just the product to finish my new ritual. I’ve been told that after a mask, you’ve got to moisturize—strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. I used the Sobel Skin Rx Bio Hyaluronic Moisturizing Cream, which comes in a little tub that feels so heavy and expensive, I’m not sure you can fly with it. 

As I rubbed moisturizer on my newly-manicured face, I started to understand how good your face can feel with barely any effort. I felt alive. I felt delicate. I felt like I could kind of see myself doing this every night after Jeopardy and before bed. I can’t say I necessarily felt un-30, but I did feel like I had taken a step towards caring more about my skin and investing in my future face.

Andy Verderosa
 Andy Verderosa

Of course, a face doesn’t just moisturize overnight (or does it? I really have no idea) so I applied the Sobel Skin Rx Bio Hyaluronic Moisturizing Cream every morning for a week to see if if I noticed any changes. And while my skin doesn’t necessarily look outwardly different, it did bring me a nice bit of excitement. I’m usually looking to minimize the things I do between getting up and getting out the door, but moisturizing my skin became a little treat for myself. I love testing how just how much to put on. I love the feeling of the cold on my still-damp face as I step outside and start my day. Even if I’m the only one who notices, it makes me feel responsible for taking care of my skin—to be more mindful of the ways my body feels beyond simply "good" and "not good." I’m going to have this thing for a while, after all. A few more years at the very least. 

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