An Open Letter To The Expensive Facial Toner With Literal Rose Petals In It That Has Done Nothing For My Skin

Dear Rich Rose-Infused Toner For Facial Detoxication and Life Purification,

We were brought together on the recommendation of a well-meaning, obnoxiously beautiful friend. With golden skin and a free-falling wallet, Shelby swore by your miraculous powers to clear acne and leave the wearer with a dewy finish. 

“I don’t bother with makeup at all anymore,” she had boasted, “and I used to really cake it on to cover up my break-ups.” Break-ups? I had thought to myself, knowing she had meant break-outs, and somewhat suspicious this girl had never experienced either. But I looked at her oasis of clear skin, then I looked at my mountainscape of adult acne and teenage acne scars, and I added the “unmatched rose power” potion to my online shopping cart. 

While waiting for your flower-infused majesty to arrive at my humble doorstep, I occupied myself by glowing with confidence. I was already strutting down the avenues (“streets” become avenues when you have high self-esteem) and passersby thought about stopping me to ask, “What’s your secret? Is it rosewater?” They didn’t actually ask, oh no, they were much too starstruck for that. But they thought about it!

I will never forget the day you finally arrived, in your chic black-and-white box surrounded by confetti–so classic. You were so beautiful. Your rose petals floated around, looking eager to put their magic to the test on my T-zone. I held you in my hands, acutely aware of how my naked, chipped fingernails contrasted with your curly lettering. I traced the directions on the back, first in English and then in French? 

Your directions suggested blotting delicately with a cotton pad, but I’m not made of money, so I poured your nectar all over my fingers and plastered you straight onto my face. Did you tingle like my foot falling asleep? Or sizzle like the fryer I manned in college? The memory is blurred, but I can distinctly remember euphoria.

I dutifully flossed, and because it was a special occasion, forced on my retainer and went to bed. I could hardly sleep, the excitement of my future face felt like waiting for Christmas morning. Instead of a T-shirt and old underwear, I actually put on pajamas. That matched! Eventually, I managed to close my eyes and dream of Instagram selfies, filterless Snapchats, and a pregnancy-less pregnancy glow. 

Obviously, I woke up slightly disappointed. But who was I kidding to think you would finish the job overnight? No, you were better than that. I rationalized your behavior, believing you were working your magic slowly, delicately, like a fine Comte cheese (also French, by the way). 

Determined to please you, I pumped water into my system until my cheeks would surely drip with hydration. I cut out carbs and wrapped tape around every finger, breaking my habit of picking with my oily talons completely. I skipped wine with dinner, responded to emails promptly, and color-coded my closet. To prove further my confidence in you, I threw all of my foundations, concealers, and even my coveted BB cream into a plastic bag which I then passed onto my little sister. An act of charity, I thought, since she wouldn’t have my rose-kissed skin. 

I was metaphorically on my hands and knees, begging for your French, frou-frou, hyaluronic acid to transform my mediocre life. Physically, I was also on my knees as I knelt before my wall mirror to glare at my effed-up pores. 

What more did you want? When are these ROSE PETALS supposed to do something?!? You filled me with the promise of a mark-free, blissful life and then gave me nothing but facial toner betrayal. You were supposed to bring me financial freedom, a hot side piece, and maybe, in my biggest dreams, an HBO audition. But your cruel, French lettering now mocks me as I continue to splash you across my defeated face. 

You were nothing but a cruel trick, a beauty hoax. And I, your willing, desperate victim. I was ashamed, first because Shelby stopped responding to my questions about her elaborate skincare routine. Then, because I had fallen for the beautiful French on your (plastic!) bottle when in fact, you were founded in BOSTON? 

Will I continue to use you until the petals clog the bottle and render you useless? Obviously! But let that not detract from my flower-powered fury. You are nothing more than scented spicy water that is less effective than anything I could buy through my friend’s aunt on Facebook. 

A Betrayed Woman With Adult Acne, Still

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