WHOA, a Quarterly Retrospective from FINCH!

Hey howdy hey and LONG TIME NO SEE! I was taken ~ tragically ill ~ (multiple times, ugh) and decided to waste away in stoic silence like the Victorian Heroine I am. Also, insane x 2 school and work schedules have not been cooperating with my desire to spend a whole lot of time talking about beauty and skincare stuff. ALAS, THE SUFFERING.

So that means this quarterly retrospective is just a combination of old standbys (they’re standbys for a reason!) and products I haven’t reviewed yet (since I’ve been slacking off). Without further ado …


A tragic Russian heroine consumed by venereal disease (due, no doubt, to having prostituted herself to save her ungrateful stepfamily) probably has skin as clear and pure as her noble soul, even as she wastes away into nothingness. But I have never accompanied a murderer to Siberian prison in order to save his soul — I would rather die — so MY skin is total shit. There’s nothing more fun than feeling like crap and then looking in the mirror and realizing you also LOOK like crap.


Anyway, my skincare routine has been dramatically simplified due to laziness, apathy, and stress. The skincare stars of this quarterly retrospective are on the basic side — sorry ’bout that!

I’ve been enjoying gentle, non-foaming, hydrating cleansers. Taking sixty seconds to wet, wash, rinse, and dry my face makes me feel like a normal human. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($9.49/12oz on Amazon) is my old standby, but I just finished up a deluxe sample of La Roche Posay Hydrating Gentle Cleanser ($14.99/13.5oz on Target) and might pick up a full size when I run out of the CeraVe.

The only “exciting” product I’ve been using consistently is a deluxe sample of Farmacy’s Skin Dew hydrating mist. And … it’s not great. DEFINITELY not $44/3.3-oz levels of “great.” Don’t buy it! But spritzing my face with something — even if that something is lackluster and packaged in a way-too-strong spray bottle — feels good. It’s a great pick-me-up, delivers a quick shot of short-lived hydration, and makes me feel like one of those damsels who collapses elegantly on a fainting couch and has to be revived with a splash of fragranced water. Per a wise friend, plain old rosewater in the spray bottle of your choosing is probably a better — and far more economical — choice. I haven’t bought this one from Heritage Store and can’t vouch for it, but it has rosewater AND glycerin, and is a mere $8.91 for 8 ounces. Plus, who can resist a sales pitch like this:

“Our aromatherapy waters are now made with Vor-Mag water which is water that has been vortexed and magnetized to raise the energy to a higher vibration that we believe to be most beneficial.”

And, as always, I can’t recommend hydrocolloidal acne patches strongly enough. I have a LOT of acne right now, and I wear these patches night AND day. (I’ve got five on right now.) Wash face, gently open (do NOT squeeze or extract!) whiteheads, gently cleanse, pat dry, apply acne patch. They suck out all the crap while protecting the open wound from infection — in my experience, they heal acne significantly faster (and more cleanly) than manual extraction. I’ve been burning through boxes of regular ol’ Nexcare ones because they’re cheap and I bought in bulk, but they also come in heart and star shapes now and I ordered some so I could feel like an ancien regime courtesan with her fancy mouches. Even if school or work or whatever prevents you from wearing them during the day, slap some on at night. You won’t regret it.


Sick Person Hair is supposed to be long, wavy, and spread out in dark contrast to the spotless white pillow. Maybe even damp with sweat from, idk, whatever Romantic Fever was highlighting Beth March’s gentle stoicism at any given point. But I don’t have three sisters (whose characters will greatly deepen from my untimely death, of course) to dote on me and wash my hair, so … my hair doesn’t get washed as often as it should. (I do shower daily, but hair-washing takes strength that this Tragic Victorian Heroine doesn’t always have.) Fortunately, I’ve got solutions that the March sisters didn’t:

Dry Shampoo. Specifically, Batiste Clean & Light Bare Dry Shampoo ($5.99/6.73oz at Target). While I still like the “Tropical” scent best, Clean & Light has a lot going for it — a barely-there neutral “clean” fragrance (in the same way that laundry soap smells “clean”) that doesn’t linger and doesn’t clash with whatever other fragranced items I might choose to wear that day. Collier might even be able to tolerate it.

Salt-added clarifying shampoo. Remember back when I tried the $53 Christophe Robin salt scrub shampoo? Amazing stuff — scrubbed my fine, color-damaged, oily hair without making it feel like straw. I’m not the only person who feels this way, apparently; when I logged into the Sephora sale to try to buy some, it was already sold out. But the first three ingredients of that $53 shampoo are just water, salt, and SLS … so I took an SLS-heavy drugstore shampoo, added a heaping dose of table salt, and washed my hair. It wasn’t as good as the Christophe Robin stuff (I had to use a greater quantity per washing, and I had to wash my hair more than once per shower), but it was better than plain shampoo at eliminating my hair gunk — dry shampoo, oils, dirt, and all!

Turbie Twist. I wash my hair … when I’m neither too busy nor too exhausted, which means I sometimes go to bed with wet hair. This thing keeps my hair from getting weirdly rumpled at night, and does a good enough siphoning off excess water that it’s usually dry by morning. During the day, wearing a turban instead of a towel lets me pretend I’m Joan Crawford, which is a big plus. At about $7-9 each (the classic solid is $8.53 on Amazon), that’s not a lot to pay for Functional Glamour.


Consumptive songbirds might rely heavily on rouge and lipstick to hide their fading health, but I have neither a compelling voice nor charismatic stage presence. I’m more likely to hang out in a bohemian garret, bent over my sewing in-between fits of hacking up blood into a dirty handkerchief.

So no, I haven’t been wearing a lot of color cosmetics lately, but I have a renewed appreciation for Jack Black lip balm. These do a great job rescuing my lips from constant dehydration and — at $7.50 each — are cheap enough that I can stash them all over:  next to my bed, in the bathroom cabinet, under the couch, under the other couch. Also, unlike lipsticks, they add a little shine and comfort but can be reapplied in a hurry without risking Clown Face. Plus, if my lover ever comes back to me, I’ll have soft lips for him to kiss as I die in his arms. So romantic!

IN CONCLUSION : I have been extremely lackadaisical on the beauty front lately … but schedule (and lack of ailments) permitting, I’ll have more to chat about soon! In the meantime, got any favorites for “no time, no energy” days? Share ’em!