Clearly, by writing this column, you can see that I’m open about being in recovery. In fact, let me properly introduce myself to you: “Hi, my name is Susan and I’m an alcoholic.”
Nice to meet you.
For the past 21-plus months, after many failed attempts to get sober (including three stints in rehab — luckily I’m still below the Lohan count, I believe), I feel like I’m finally on my way. I feel like I’m finally starting to understand what this sneaky beast of a disease can do, and has done to me (and my family), and what I need to do, each and every day, to keep it in check.
To put it in the simplest of terms, I finally realized I had to stop drinking or I would die.
And right now, sobriety is starting to suit me. It’s a constant emotional rollercoaster — between AA meetings and group therapy and one-on-one therapy and time spent with my sponsor — sometimes I just feel like a raw walking wound, stripped of my old boozy skin, while slowly growing a new one that is very, very fragile.
But that’s not all my life is about, and when I need a little break from therapy, AA, spirituality and slogans, I turn to the fluff. And since I’m obsessed with beauty (I even write about it sometimes), that’s when I revel in this deliciously wonderful fact of my sobriety: Now that I don’t drink anymore, my beauty products really work. Like they never have before.
Because I’m no longer using Benefit’s awesome Erase Paste (1) to hide dark, sleep-deprived, lying eyes. Instead, I use it to cover up under-eye spots that I’ve naturally inherited, and that are also the result of sun damage and age. This concealer comes with a really useful mini spatula that makes it so easy to camouflage those suckers with serious precision. It’s one of the best under-eye cover-ups out there.
Physicians Formula’s Mineral Wear Bronzer (2), which I’ve worn for years, finally adds that sweet, summery glow to my forehead and cheeks again, rather than merely disguise the fact that my skin was literally starting to yellow. It’s also talc-and paraben-free, as well as hypoallergenic.
I’m also no longer caking on Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Foundation (3) to mask a pallid, uneven, and untrustworthy face. Now, I smooth it over clean, moisturized skin, which gives me natural looking, even coverage that accentuates a cared-for appearance. Plus, it contains a skin-saving shot of SPF of 20, so I’m automatically protected from the sun.
And finally, I no longer have to coat my lips with layers of Vaseline every a.m. after biting them to bits during blackouts. Now, not only are they smooth, thanks to a daily application of Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment (4), but I can also wear one of my favorite lipsticks again — NARS in Roman Holiday (5). The creamy color goes on smoothly, and the amazing, color-rich pigment doesn’t get stuck in the disgusting, self-inflicted tears I used pick at on my pout.
Point is: I still use these products, but no longer for the purpose of trying to cover up evidence of my addiction. I’m using them simply for what they’re for: beautifying. And because I’m no longer living on a toxic, dehydrating diet of vodka and vodka (with maybe a cracker or two in between), I’m giving them a real chance to work. A chance I truly never gave these products before.
What beauty products do you swear by? Obviously you don’t have to be an alcoholic to be dependent on certain brands. Tell us your faves!