I'm naming my favorite one hundred beauty products of all time in no particular order -- let's start with this bad bitch and yes, another post featuring a kimono.
Publish date:
May 21, 2012
shoppables, skincare, Cat Marnell Beauty 100, clarisonic, beauty awards

Not actually my Clarisonic or my kimono, but whatever.


1) The products are not ranked in order.

2) As with all Cat Marnell stories, do not expect this feature to appear on any predictable schedule. Life is a mystery, ho! And so is my internal editorial calendar.

3) These are my favorite products, the ones I can’t live without. Which means while half are indeed the best-PERFORMING products (e.g., the acne products that work better than anything; the most amazing conditioners), others are just the ones that make me happy and are very specific to my tastes. (ANOTHER perfume that smells like vanilla and sunscreen? you will groan.)

4) You are encouraged to leave your equivalent of that #___ product in the comments section. Like if I write about my favorite moisturizing mask, you write about your favorite moisturizing mask. If you’re British (or -- Good God ick Holy Hannah, CANADIAN) -- you write about your favourite moisturizing masque. Capisce?

Now let’s get to the product review, and by get to the review I mean you've got about a thousand words to go before I say a good or bad word about the damn thing and any regular reader of mine knows it.

First things first: I’m vaguely sorry about the four typos in my last post; if there are any in this one, please DO continue guessing which drugs I’m on and demanding more details about my disability leave and what I talk about in HR meetings.

And predicting when I will DIE!

I so enjoyed reading the comments on my last post. My narcissism grows more monstrous by the second. So thank you, thank you. Thank YOU. Weirdos.

Anyway: the Clarisonic.

SO: the secret's (ha ha) out; I loathe sleep. I think there is nothing more dull to do in the world. I realize that I am among the .000001% of humans (girls especially) who don’t like to hug themselves and exclaim -- as though it is news to be celebrated -- “I LOVE sleep!”

("YOU'RE SO BORING!" I screech inside, because I am bitter and judgmental and live like a space alien and have so much trouble relating to lovely, normal people that it's become probably the #1 problem of the Cat One Hundred Life Problems, were I to make such a list next. "WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?! JOHN KRASINSKI? THE 'GUAC' FROM TRADER JOE'S? ANTHROPOLOGIE BEDDING? 'GUILIANA AND BILL'? BEER GARDENS? YOUR BOYFRIEND? ZIPCAR?")

(I could clearly go on. Sorry; I know I offended literally every single person in the world who does anything but sit around being a fucking nutcase all the time, a.k.a. ME and basically that's it.)

I hear this lame declaration most often in an office setting; these are also often the types of girls who are always are all, “Isn’t it FREEZING?” and bust out like 50 gnarly old pashminas from under their desks to swaddle themselves in like they are the Lord Baby Jesus Himself while they chatter to each other and sip chamomile tea (real caffeine = too intense).

I'd watch them type away, hitting all of their deadlines gloriously, engagement rings flashing, complaining -- sweetly, somehow -- about how offices are air-conditioned (in fucking July! -Ed.).

I don’t mean to be wildly critical, however, because these are usually my favorite types of office friend. I don’t need some other bad girl type hanging around me making me look like a creep. Trust me, at fashion magazines, whenever there’s been a party girl hire she gloms on to me right away and I shake that bitch like a barnacle.

“You smell like...DEWAR'S,” I used to hiss at one at the production morning meetings at Lucky magazine, which were on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am, and which were basically my ONLY responsibility as associate beauty editor, and which I barely ever made it to on time, if at all. And when I did? God help me when it came time to stutter out where every page in the beauty department was, circulation-wise, around the various departments on the floor of the magazine.

“Uh, ‘Strong Summer Brows’” -- you see how arbitrary and made-up magazine beauty stories are? -- “is in, um….Research? Er, or maybe Kim's desk...” I’d squeak, struggling to understand the crazy-looking photocopied production chart in my hand that held all of the correct answers -- that EVERYONE else, even the dumbest fashion assistants (sorry, but they were) seemed to be able to prattle off from like it was a goddamn teleprompter; no problem. It might as well have been the math SAT IIs (not my strongest standardized test, to say the very least).

Not helping things was that I had rarely -- if ever -- slept the night before. Once again, I hate to sleep. And no, it is not always drug-induced: for a long time -- especially OFF drugs, post-fabulous Connecticut rehab, I had insomnia so unbearable I thought I wanted to jump out my window every night. (I would have landed on cheerful Dunkin’ Donuts awning à la a bouncy castle -- simply too gay -- so I never did).

“Actually it shipped three days ago,” our hugely pregnant, very tough and very good managing editor would say coolly, as the room twittered at my incompetence, which was an inside joke amongst us all at that point. Then we’d go through about seven more beauty pages like this -- my answers wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again.

Then, as we exited the meeting, the managing editor (always the scary one -- the enforcer! -- at a mag) would give me a steely once-over, taking in my busted face, and intuit exactly how much partying I'd done the night/morning before. And probably have a chit-chat with my boss about it when she arrived at 11 am.

(Yeah, my boss was SWAGGGG like that; guess who learned everything she knows from her? Heh heh.)

Anyway, the point is, the other new party girl (there were a few over the years) would always want to sit with me in these and other meetings, or cling to me at office events, or hang around my cubicle, usually reeking of last night’s booze, and paranoid that I would be blamed for her lushness, I was NOT about it. I barely drink, and while I can be accused by co-workers of many things, smelling like liquor is 1000% never one of them.

Because I looked bad enough: dull skin, under-eye bags, sagginess of the face. Yeah, most of the time I was partying, out at The Box or wherever doing coke, and then at afterhours in some kooky abandoned Chinatown bathhouse watching people get primal and shirtless on angel dust smoke, spray paint fumes (which get you CRAZY fucked-up, and not pleasantly so; I’m not kidding; it’s why, I’ve finally figured out, my best friends are all a little bit … yes, I’ll say it: RETARDED), and Dubstep, the only music being played in afterhours two or three years ago (and incidentally not my fave).

And then I’d stagger home, shower (fine; dunk myself neck down in a bathtub; I am the laziest haircare person you have ever met in your life), exfoliate my face for a glow (yeah right), slap on some makeup and walk to the subway if I could handle it. I would, of course, $17 cab it in rush hour and shamelessly expense it to the company if I could not. (Guess which one I did more?)

Oh, and in addition to looking busted all of the time, I always had acne around my mouth and jaw -- stress. I was living rough and looking strange, mang! That’s a Libertines line. Well, not the mang part. (And the Libertines were Pete Doherty’s first band; this was your PETE DOHERTY EDUCATION LESSON DU JOUR; you’re welcome.)

This was all pre-Clarisonic Mia Skincare Brush: blue...

Had I been using the Clarisonic, I could have fooled everyone! The Clarisonic has changed my life. And my skin, which in turn changed my life.

The Clarisonic is a vibrating brush cleanser that is not inexpensive and that for a very long time I for some reason thought A) was a gimmick and B) associated with Cameron Diaz, who was always telling magazines how much she loved it, and yet never appeared to have the skin I particularly wanted to have as far as I could tell.

I got a million of these things sent to me and never tried them; I was lazy.

“Who wants to wash their face with a MACHINE?” I’d sneer. “Life in this digital age is difficult enough!” Then I’d go home and smoke out of my weed vaporizer while texting my famous DJ boyfriend on my T-Mobile Sidekick (fine, that was like six years ago; I just wanted to say T-Mobile Sidekick).

But then I finally started using a Clarisonic Mia Skincare Brush, and WOW. The difference is IMMEDIATE. First of all, you just have to STAND THERE and the thing vibrates and does almost all the work for you; you just move it to different parts of your face every 20 seconds or so.

You could nod off on Rophypnol in front of the bathroom mirror after a night on the town and still get a completely thorough pore-sweeping after a minute buzzing your face with this bitch; swear to God.

What else? It comes with a special cleanser, which I lost immediatly. No matter: any cleanser will do. Sometimes I use it without cleanser. I use it once a day to take off makeup; in the morning I just cleanse normally. The brush looks like it gets grimy -- and I suppose it does -- but it has completely cleared up my skin. I've had chin-and-mouth area acne my whole life. No more.

Also: the glow! God, the nights I have been up being AWFUL, then put a dab of real beady exfoliant on a few places on my face for the Clarisonic to work in. (I only do this when I REALLY want to glow, or before I self-tan my face.)

On those days, more than on days when I have actually slept 10 hours and then just washed my face -- swear to God -- Jane is all, "You skin looks AMAZING!" Which is funny, because I actually woke up looking like Pete Doherty, and not in the charming Pied Pieper of Arcady way -- in the gross way -- and look at that: now I fool all my bosses. (FACT: Jane is sort of gullible endearingly positive anyway, so maybe this example doesn't count.)

It also has totally cut down on my need for facials. I understand that not all people believe in facials; some think they make skin worse.

Here's your answer: It depends on skin type. If you get (forgive me in advance) pus build-up (BLEH), blackheads (UGH), whiteheads (HAVE YOU NOTICED I HAVE AVOIDED WRITING THESE WORDS FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR AS BEAUTY DIRECTOR OF THIS SITE, I HATE THEM SO?), you are -- I am loathe to admit it -- like me, of the facials-will-benefit-you type. And a Clarisonic brush will help keep your pores clean.

It is also amazing before any skincare product in general, like, say, a face mask, making it so ingredients can penetrate deeper and thus are more effective.

It will also lift your skin, give you a more youthful appearance, diminish fine lines, and no I am not quoting this shit off a press release -- I don't WRITE these words often. You don't SEE this beauty copywriting nonsense in my articles hardly ever, do you? Because usually it's LIES LIES LIES.

The Clarisonic, however? It's the real deal. Everything it says it does, it does. It works. It's the best thing I've done for my skin besides my lip injections (which I need more of soon, FYI) in years. If you have an extra $100 or so -- or even if you have to save up -- get a Clarisonic and use it every day. I LOVE mine. I would never go without one again.

This has been the Cat Marnell Beauty One Hundred #1 of 100. Ninety-nine to go. Over and out!

Cat's a goddamn mess on Twitter @cat_marnell.