For the better part of 2020, and the first few months of 2021, I was exceptionally kind to my skin. I applied my serums, moisturizers, and sunscreen every single morning, and I washed my face and applied my retinol face cream every single night, mainly because I had time—lots and lots of pandemic time.
Quarantine made me a semi-responsible, skincare-obsessed adult: I consistently got a full eight hours of sleep, I barely wore makeup to let my skin ~breathe~ (technically, skin can't breathe, but you know what I mean), and I even stopped picking my zits bc, well, who gives a shit if you have a giant cyst on your chin when the world is ending and you've worn the same gray sweatpants every day for two weeks straight?
Sure, my WFH-only-see-people-on-Zoom "social life" was objectively boring. But my skin? My skin was absolutely thriving. I'm talkin' smooth, kinda poreless, and zero percent blotchy in a way I had never seen before.
Fast-forward to May 2021. My fiancé and I had plans to see my old college roommate for the first time in what felt like years. I did my makeup—foundation, concealer, three different highlighters (I'm a big fan of skin that looks like a glazed donut, FYI), brow gel, lip stain, and waterproof mascara—threw on a crop top (who am I?!), and headed to the bar for drinks. One rosé lead to two spicy margs, which lead to another glass of wine, which lead to aggressively dancing to Olivia Rodrigo until 2:00 a.m....and I'm sure you can guess what happened next.
It's suddenly 7:00 a.m. I have cotton mouth and my head is pounding. I walk to the bathroom to assess the damage: My face makeup is still very much on, I have a mixture of leftover lipstick and wine remnants staining my lips, and my mascara is hard and crusty on my eyelashes. I look bad. Very bad...But I also can't help but smile? My beauty-editor self should be annoyed that I over-indulged, came home too late, and passed out in my makeup, but my regular person self is lowkey thrilled. My hungover face is a sign that after a very long hiatus, my IRL social life has finally returned.
"Sleeping in my makeup means I had too much fun—which we all deserve right now."
I repeat my rebellion the following week for my bachelorette party, and then again the following weekend for my 30th birthday (two words: tequila shots). And if you thought I was about to tell you my skin is thriving despite the chaos—NOPE. Three back-to-back weekends of bad habits took a toll, and my face is no longer smooth, poreless, or blotch-free.
And honestly, duh. Of course my skin kinda sucks right now. I make a living writing about how sleeping in your makeup, drinking too much, and skipping sleep wreaks total havoc on your skin (ahem, breakouts, dark circles, irritation, dullness, redness...the list goes on). But you know what? I don't even care. Seriously. I don't care. My social life and all of my bad habits are back! I feel alive! I'm no longer living in the loop of sameness that I existed in for the past 15 months! Right now, I don't care if my skin is suffering, because I'm just happy to be out in the world, living my life again.
In hindsight, I see that my obsession with diligently applying my multi-step skincare during quarantine helped keep me sane and grounded. It was a good habit that made my feel good at the time. But my post-pandemic self now realizes that not all habits need to be "good" to make you feel good.
For me, sleeping in my makeup is a byproduct of having too much fun, which is something we all deserve right now. It's an old bad habit that immediately reminded me of better pre-COVID times, where I regularly saw loved ones in person, sang off-key karaoke, and went to friends' weddings. I was a responsible skin adult for a full year—I want to feel a little "bad" again, even if it's rebelling against myself.
Will I continue to be horrible to my face until the end of time? Of course not. I'll eventually come back to my beauty-editor senses and have one less drink, come home a little earlier, and use an oil cleanser to remove my makeup...and then a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser to wash my face...and then delicately massage my face with night cream... But I'm in no rush. It's just skin. Nothing a few pore-purging facials can't fix. So for now, I am fully reveling in my
vax girl summer sleeps-in-makeup-girl summer, guilt-free and a little hungover.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.