I’m going to publish a little utility article for my online friends about a minimum viable skincare routine. I framed it initially as a “perfect skin” basics document. I’m going to do a bit more work on it which is why it’s not already up as a blog post. But you can look forward to budget buys and budget uses of your time as well as a lesson on how to improve to the point of diminishing returns. Pareto Principle for being well groomed
I think most people, especially men, are embarrassed that appearances matter. If you think of vanity at all, you tend to assign it a negative valence. And it’s almost always depicted as a feminine sin. Bitches and Narcissists be staring at mirrors amirite? I’m far too serious a person to take how I look seriously we preen to our egos.
But as it turns out vanity’s original meaning was something closer to the fruitlessness of human effort in the material world than shitty self absorption. If you’ve ever seen a vanitas style painting depicting fleeting beauty and the surety of impending decay and death, well you get closer to the original meaning expressed in Ecclesiastes. “Vanity of vanities, all is futile” is as useful a Biblical lesson as it is an aesthetic lesson. Everything is futile but God.
One of the more challenging aspects of faith is the certain knowledge of death. Longevity science and the perpetual obsession with the fountain of youth aside, we are going to die. All we can do to build a life in our time on earth will be taken from us. And so why should we focus on the small things like beauty? Especially our own beauty. If it is at worst a feminine sin, and at best, a pointless exercise as all human efforts are fruitless, then why bother at all?
I suppose you might as well argue why do any of us do anything at all. Why live? Why have faith? Why build? Why build community. Or at a smaller scale. Why care for your health? Why eat well or exercise? And obviously why moisturize? Omnia Vanitas!
I am here to assure you moisturizing has the same impetus as all human’s grand desires. It is the same reason we build temples. And have children. And go to the doctor. And use Botox. We are human because it pleases us, it pleases those around us, and maybe it even pleases the Lord.