I've had to come to terms with the fact that my boyfriend has better skin than I do. As a former beauty editor and someone who currently writes about (and obsesses over) skincare every week, this is a particularly unfair fact. In our bathroom, we've had to buy a separate cabinet to house my ever-growing collection of skincare products, and yet my boyfriend's single drawer remains half-empty—a box of Q-tips taking up most of the real estate.
While my skincare routine typically runs about five to eight steps, depending on my mood or the state of my skin, Luca's is wildly unnoticeable. I imagined (but realize now that I never witnessed) it consisted of a simple cleanser (maybe soap) and a moisturizer. Earlier this year, his spartan approach inspired me to pare back my own routine and go on a skincare diet. And, at his suggestion, I temporarily edited most products out of my lineup and adopted the most basic of cleansers. I've since found my flow again with a skincare regimen of clean products that don't aggravate my skin, but as a welcome reset (and just for fun) I decided to copy his skincare routine for a week to see what would happen.
The first thing I learned during my week of Luca-inspired skincare is he doesn't actually wash his face. When I've seen him splashing his face with water in the morning, he isn't rinsing off his cleanser, he's literally just splashing his face with water. I'm not against forgoing a cleanse in the morning if it works for your skin (sometimes I opt for micellar water to give my sensitive skin a rest). However, to forgo washing your face entirely, even in the evening, "unless it's been a particularly sweaty day," as he puts it, sounds like a nightmare.
He sent me the link to the cleanser he uses on rare occasion, and, since we share an Amazon account, I saw that he hasn't ordered it since October 2018. It's still half full.
So many questions filled my head. How does he exfoliate? How does he wash off sunscreen? (Well, it turns out he doesn't wear the latter, despite my best efforts.) He tried to reassure me that at the gym he does wash his face with more than water—the generic greenish gel they have in every shower in a canister labeled "shampoo."
"You use shampoo to wash your face?" I asked in disbelief.
"Only from the neck up," he replied as if that would set my mind at rest. "It's just a slightly different shade of green from the body wash. Everything from here up gets washed with shampoo and everything below the neck I wash with body wash."
I'm still shaking my head.
Washing my face with only water was tough and it meant that I also gave up wearing makeup for the week (which wasn't the worst thing for my skin). I cheated and used cleanser on the day I wore heavy-duty sunscreen, and I used micellar water after a night I wore lipstick and filled in my eyebrows. I missed my nighttime skincare routine and simply slapping on moisturizer after a quick face rinse felt entirely dissatisfactory—if not a little icky.
A few days into the week, Luca dropped another bombshell. The moisturizer from his drawer I had been using "a daily thing" but instead reserved for when his skin was "particularly dry." Even upon learning this fact, I simply couldn't give up moisturizing after rinsing my face. It was the one thing I had left.
Surprisingly enough, my skin didn't get worse on this two-step (read: zero-step) skincare regimen. I think part of that is due to the fact that it's summer (this strategy would be a serious no-go in any other season) and I've been doing more to take care of my skin holistically, like drinking plenty of water, exercising again, and being more conscientious about using clean and non-aggravating ingredients. And while there were no noticeable effects in either direction for my skin, as soon as the week was over I went right back to my old approach with real cleansers, daily moisturizing, and the whole shebang.
The Final Takeaway
Even if my skin can survive a week unwashed and modestly moisturized, I'm sure this approach would take its toll in the long run. I've been reading about all the pollutants and environmental aggressors our faces are exposed to and the importance of washing them off at the end of the day. I know that my oils and serums are all doing their jobs to either protect, nourish, or restore my skin.
My boyfriend might have "better" skin than I do, but I have fewer wrinkles (possibly thanks to the fact I'm two years his junior and also half-Japanese), so I'd like to think my exhaustive skincare practices count for something.
Here's how one editor helped her boyfriend start following a grown-up skincare regimen.