#MakeupMonday: The Pleasures of Masking

I’m back from my summer vacation!

What did I do, you ask? Mostly stress-eat.

I also danced a lot, and helped get a marvelous dance studio in Eugene moved into a beautiful new space (XCape Dance Academy), and discovered the many wonders of dance in Portland – endless hip hop, bhangra, burlesque, heels, vogue!

I watched a lot of movies, and Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, which changed my life.

The brave and fierce Hannah Gadsby

If you have not yet seen it, whatever you’re doing, stop doing it and go to Netflix and watch Nanette this very moment.

I visited my son in Utah, and nursed him through a dread virus, and got the virus of course, and have been feeling gross for the past week.

I monitored the news obsessively, as I do, and felt worse.

And I shared a hilarious #Mansplaining chart from Twitter on TPII Facebook, which prompted thousands upon thousands of likes and comments and millions upon millions of #maletears.

Which then prompted, for me – inspired by Nanette –  a huge revelation about male privilege and women’s socialization to serve and protect it, which I had to share, and which is now a pinned post.

Here is the gist of the post:

“This is to those who identify as women:

I want you to value your time more.

Your time is worth far too much for you to spend it arguing with, reasoning with, or attempting to persuade, cajole, or soothe, victim-stancing men.

This is a form of emotional labor that men feel entitled to, and are adept at extracting from you. One of the first steps to claiming your own physical, emotional, and psychic boundaries is to cease doing this labor.

It saddens and distresses me to see the lengths people who identify as women will go to engage with the men who come to this page only to engage in performative victimhood, provocation, and bad-faith arguments.

Don’t engage.

Not because of who HE is, but because of who YOU are. You are worth more than this. And so are the women watching quietly from the sidelines. They see it when you capitulate to male demands. And they see it when you value yourself too much to do so. That’s where the true revolution happens.”

So that was good.

But in truth, mostly I just stress-ate. Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are my drug of choice.

I’ve started calling it my Trump 20 and it’s just how things are now.  I’ll lose it when he’s impeached.  Meanwhile, I dance.

Mom, high school graduation

Anyway, here we are, it’s Monday, my first day back, and job #1 is #MakeupMonday.

And today I want to share a very simple point: take care of your skin. Really.  Do something. I don’t really care what. Just do something. I learned this from my mother, who is an extraordinarily beautiful woman, even at 90.  She always cared for her skin. She used Estee Lauder and Revlon–nothing particularly fancy. Her position was: it matters less what you use, than that you just use something regularly, every single day.

Mom, at 80

Nowadays, of course, people are obsessed with skin care. You all know that I swear by my daily Sabbatical Beauty regimen.

But today I want to mention the pleasures of masking.

In a cheapo TJ Maxx Collagen mask

Masking is a thing you can do to take a little time out of your day to slow down and do a little self-care. Masks are another current fetish-item, coming to us from K-Beauty, and yes the sheer range available is overwhelming.  A simple way to start is to go to TJ Maxx and buy some off the shelf that seem appealing.  TJ Maxx stocks a huge assortment of made in Korea masks for every skin concern at a massive discount, so you can try a range without any major financial investment.  You can get a box of 5 for $2.99-$4.99 at TJ Maxx that might cost $15 or $20 more elsewhere.   See what you like and what works.

I find that leaving them on a full hour yields best results, regardless of what the instructions say (but always test on your own skin!)  And, many people SWEAR by keeping them in the freezer! Especially under-eye masks.  The cold will de-puff, and in the summer heat, it’s so refreshing!

“After” – nice, right?

I’ve used cheap masks and I’ve used expensive ones.  Sabbatical Beauty makes many excellent ones, and as always has affordable sample sizes to try. I’m a fan of the SakeKasu mask, which smells heavenly to me – just like the sake-producing villages of Japan I’d love to visit – and is exceptional in deep clarifying and detoxing. I gave samples of Sake Kasu to TPII staff as Christmas gifts last year!  Beware: if you enter the SB masking convo on FB, you’ll probably emerge as the owner of every mask Adeline makes! People are OBSESSED!

But for myself, I do love a sheet mask.

Above you can see me in a cheap TJ Maxx SkinLab Collagen mask ($3.99 for box of 5) which has really nice effects! Don’t be afraid to to cut masks into pieces to fit right on your face, btw.

(The lipcolor above is one that always reminds me of my mom, incidentally. She wore shades like this a lot while I was growing up in the 70s. It feels both retro and current at the same time! It’s Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip in Take Me To Pomegranate.)

Glamglow GravityMud

Here I’m in the famous GlamGlow GravityMud, which is REALLY EXPENSIVE (I’m using a free sample, naturally), and in my view, not worth the price (but awfully fun to be the tin man!)

If you check at Sephora, you can often find a GlamGlow mask set as a free item to get with your points.

And here I’m using my current absolute favorite: Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Hydro-Gel Mask, which I picked up randomly at Target one evening, believe it or not (now discontinued there, I believe, but available online) for $5.99 – which is not all that cheap for a single mask, but in this case is completely and totally worth it.  This mask tones and firms and clarifies and is just… amazing.

Target, btw, curates a pretty good K-beauty mask collection so that’s another place to start cheaply (but not as cheap as TJ Maxx!)


Anyway, the main thing is: do something. Even if it’s just a nightly moisturizer. I learned this from my mom, and it was reinforced by my years in Japan, where women take skin care very seriously indeed. And then proven by the results of my own skin after the past three years of dedicated skin care. So far, I still find myself aging backward without any doctors’ intervention. (I assume this can’t continue indefinitely of course, and eventually my skin will resume aging forward. But so far so good!)

You do NOT have to spend a lot. Buy any reputable brand (or start with a Sabbatical Beauty sample, or try luxury brands at mega-discount at TJ Maxx) and just be consistent.

I’m here to tell you, along with my mom, it really makes a difference!

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About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.


#MakeupMonday: The Pleasures of Masking — 5 Comments

  1. I just returned from two weeks in Israel, including a few days at a Dead Sea Spa. I came back with 2 lbs of Dead Sea mud. It’s pretty wonderful! Many brands are available, but I guess I’d just be sure it’s made in Israel. And yes, it’s sold by the pound!

    • It’s Maybelline SuperStay 24 Liquid Lipcolor in Unlimited Raisin. It was my first foray into the plum family! I love it. And i’m really happy with its staying power. It performs. Like a lot of drugstore brands, this product line is overrun with cheap-looking colors, with too much sparkle. But this one is top notch.

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