Pre-apocalypse, I didn’t pay much attention to skin care. Looking back on those times is tough, given Brooklyn is a smoldering hellscape and all my close friends are feral mutants. But thinking of the damage I did to my skin? That’s even harder. I’ve become completely obsessed with my complexion because it’s the one thing I’m able to control now that the world is effectively over. Needless to say, I’m super excited to share my 24-hour skincare routine with anyone left out there on this rapidly irradiated rock!

Morning (We’re not sure what time of day it is because of nuclear winter)

I wake up to the sound of vultures cawing in the distance. Somehow, only the worst species survived. Golden retrievers? All gone. Vultures? Rapidly multiplying.

First things first: one of the men in my roaming gang makes a root broth that tastes kind of like coffee. It works just as well, laxatively speaking.

We’re camped out in an abandoned elementary school at the moment, so I grope my way to the boys’ bathroom on the second floor (both girls’ bathrooms were bombed out). Luckily, there’s plenty of mirror space to help me work my magic.

We don’t shower anymore, but that’s not as bad as it sounds because all our noses were severely singed in the firestorms. We can’t smell! I work extra hard to appear clean since several of us do still have eyes. Not gonna lie, my pores are pretty consistently clogged thanks to all the chunky ashy residue in the air. Luckily, I stumbled over industrial-sized jugs of Purell in the school nurse’s office as we cleared the place of hostiles. Obviously, clean water is a limited resource, so my no-water-required cleansing solution is a great find. Trying to remember what currency looks like, I massage a dime-sized drop of Purell into my face, enjoying the tingle. There’s so little left to enjoy. Thank God for tingles.

Next up: anti-aging.

The stress of surviving nuclear war has done a number on my collagen. After the first detonations, the United Nations dropped a bunch of shit over the dead zones. We got a package with enough Vitamin A supplements to fortify an army, but since our army was dead, I called dibs. Every morning, I open a Vitamin A capsule, mix it with some saliva, and slather it in my crevices. I follow this with a light moisturizer. Prior to the war, coconut oil, castor oil, and olive oil were beauty bloggers’ holy grail. Now, I make do with petroleum oil. Thanks to the Continental Slick, an oil spill that spreads from the Hudson to the Mississippi, I have plenty of opportunity to fill up. Petroleum is a little greasy, and I imagine the scent leaves something to be desired (God I miss Jo Malone. We haven’t heard news of Britain since the siege), but it does the trick.

Lastly, I don’t have to worry about sun protection because we are not even sure the sun exists anymore.

Since I don’t go into an office now, I’ve toned my makeup routine way, way down. Probably a good thing, because the blasts octupled the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, raising the average temperature by something like 27 degrees. A face full of melting makeup is not a good look on anyone.

I begin with brows. My brows were already super sparse before The Event because I overplucked in middle school. Sadly, my brows are even more sparse now, given we’ve all lost hair in clumps. But, when all the guys in my gang decided to give each other tattoos to commemorate our 100th night of survival, I took drastic action. Instead of getting the de rigueur mushroom cloud on the bicep, I had Bonecrusher, our leader, microbrade some brows with his Bowie knife. My arches have never looked better.

As for eyes, at this point my under eye circles are so pronounced and so dark, there’s no way to hide them. Instead, I rub a bit of ash over the rest of my face to even out the purple-greyness of my complexion. It’s fine. Lashes are another story. We all have that one “thing” we’re jonesing for more than anything. Bonecrusher has a weird obsession with Diet Sunkist—if we roll up to an abandoned grocery store, any Diet Sunkist is automatically his. For me, it’s false eyelashes. The boys know those are mine. So far I haven’t had any luck, but maybe one of these days!

For highlighter, I use an old standby. I still have my NARS The Multiple stick in G-Spot. When this runs out I will end my life.

Day

Ready for the “day”, I muster through my activities. On a given “day,” I’m normally gathering berries or bugs for our meals, standing watch over the school to make sure no stronger roaming gang tries to claim our turf, or I’m playing a mind game I invented where I try to remember the exact layout of my old Instagram grid.

Normally I’ll apply petroleum a few times through the “day” to keep everything well-oiled.

Night

We no longer go out, so I don’t worry so much about my nighttime look. Rest in peace, contouring. But lately, I’ve been getting vibes from Bonecrusher, so this may change. It’s kind of sexy to think about repopulating the earth with a man who treats Diet Sunkist so well.

One rule that’s followed me through all the trials and tribulations? Never go to bed with your makeup on. Before I attempt sleep, I take it all off. Thank God for Purell and that refreshing tingle. It stings my eyes, but nothing feels worse than the realization that I’ll never be able to go into a CVS and buy a bottle of Cetaphil ever again. Nothing in this world of constant death and despair hurts worse than that.

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