I Spent a Week Doing My Makeup and Skincare Routines from a Decade Ago

Good thing I wore barely any makeup because using only Cetaphil to remove makeup is like using a feather to remove gum from your shoe.
Publish date:
May 18, 2016
maybelline, cleansers, Stila, Benefit, mascara, cetaphil, teen beauty, Tinted Lip Balm

You know those horror movies about genies/satan/witches that grant wishes with ironic, literal results? Bedazzled, Wishmaster (all five of them), Warlock, Aladdin, Butterfly Effect? I know there are many, and I'm bending a bit, but that's pretty much what happened to my face for several experimental days as I reverted my makeup and skincare routine to my days of youth.

It's kind of like a makeup fast but more conceptual in that I only used products (or if discontinued, the same shade of products) from my days as a teenage lass, sans bad pixie cut and hack-job clothing that passed as "edgy."

I wasn't allowed to wear makeup for most of my adolescence, but when I was, around age 18, my eagerness was parlayed by the fact that I so was not used to seeing color on my face so even a smidge of mascara was totally va-va-voom to me.

Any make-under reality show from the early aughts will show you dramatic footage of torn women separated from their palettes and foundations, but during this experiment, the most cringe-worthy loss for me was the absence of my sophisticated skincare routine. I strictly used Cetaphil until I was in college because I was fear-mongered by a dermatologist about my eczema. To be fair, it worked for my eczema, but not really for anything besides that. Good thing I barely wore makeup because using Cetaphil to remove makeup is like using a feather to remove gum from your shoe.

Mascara was a BIG DEAL for me, mostly because my lashes have always been glorified peach fuzz poking from my eyelids, and they're the one thing I'd be tempted to permanently enhance, were that an option in this lifetime. All the girls in my school and even my mother owned Maybelline Great Lash. It was the default mascara. Naturally, this made my young and impressionable self want it for that sole reason.

I was skeptical even at the time, expecting beautiful doe eyes and getting slightly darker wilted lashes instead. I was told that this was the point of Great Lash, that its greatness was somehow born of its modesty and light-handedness. Fie! And then there was the Sarah Michelle Gellar commercial, with her petting shrubbery to demonstrate lash texture for the sake of Full'n'Soft, and because Buffy was selling it to me, I too desired it. It was an improvement.

I reaffirmed my faith with Maybelline circa the release of Lash Discovery, its teeny brush just the right size for my teeny lashes. It was like the Goldilocks situation of Maybelline mascaras.

And then I discovered eyelash curlers and was like, "Oh yeah, that's the thing I actually needed."

I owned no lipsticks or blush. I owned scores of lip glosses, balms, and stains, but lipstick was too grown-up-feeling. I don't know why — no one told me that it was. I just felt so matronly.

My prized lip product was Benefit's Benetint lip balm in the little glass pot (now discontinued, I think, but it comes in a stick now). My grandma bought me one at a Bloomingdales, and at $16 a pop, I considered that the splurge of a century (which is hilarious according to present-day me, who paid $90 for ONE lipstick) and kept it for way longer than the expiration date would've approved of. A slight rosy tint on my lips was a "look" for me.

A WILD look for me was using this royal purple Stila eyeshadow and lining my lower lashes like the moody teen I was as I listened to Michelle Branch. I was certainly not as adept at eye makeup then, having used a stiff, cheap-o eyeshadow brush to scrape the color on, whereas now I can subtly smudge it on with the proper tools. Forgetting I'm blonde for a minute (uh... and that I have brow tats), I can say that the hair flatly tucked behind ears and the ends doing a whole lot of nothing — that's pretty historically accurate.

Have I learned anything from this "experiment"?


But that also that wasn't the point. It was mostly a conversational joke turned IRL dare.

After three days of this, I was bored. My skin felt resentful and oily, like a child forced to eat brussels sprouts even though brussels sprouts are delicious. I don't hate my makeup choices from the past, and as evidenced, would wear again, 10/10. I'd probably add a bold lip and some floofy brows now though.

  • Have you ever done a beauty challenge? Why, though?
  • What was your teen beauty lewk? I'm going to be 30 soon! These are unrelated sentences.