I Believe in Washing my Face

Mollie - Freeport, Maine
Entered on September 18, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose

I believe in washing my face.

When I turned thirteen, my grandmother gave me the Clinique Three Step System; soap, toner, and lotion. I asked for this gift, it was not unsolicited; it was a longed-for “necessity” in my pre-teen eyes.

Every morning and night I stand in front of my mirror and sink and wash my face.

It’s changed considerably since I was thirteen. Defined cheekbones and plucked eyebrows now stare back at me. But what I use to clean it stays the same.

In the morning I stand in my towel, just out of the shower, and squirt the face gel into my hands, working it into lather, I spread it evenly on my face.

Seventeen Magazine told me that I’m supposed to leave the soap on my face for thirty seconds. I used to count. Now I know. I use warm water to rinse the lather into the drain.

I pat my face dry with a towel, taking a cotton ball from the jar on the counter. The liquid saturates the wisp of cotton, and I put it to my face. It stings, but my pores thank me.

Two squirts of lotion are enough to sufficiently moisturize. Rubbing it on my hands and then transferring to my face, I have completed my twice-daily ritual.

Now as practiced as an Olympic gymnast, each move is flawless, I am a well oiled machine.

The ends of my days are nearly identical. But instead of washing the sleep from my face, I expel the stress of the day in the form of mascara and eyeliner, blush and foundation.

Off everything goes, down the drain or onto cotton ball; away goes the stress, the worry, the good, the bad.

What I like most about washing my face is the break it gives me. Alone with my thoughts, mindlessly letting my hands do what they have done flawlessly for four years.

When I wash the face I am the same girl I was when I was thirteen. My hands, though rougher now, are still doing what they did four years ago. My face, though now amplified by artificial means, is still the same – the same skin, the same pores, the same DNA.

Holidays, my birthday, hard days, good days, I wash my face. It takes the same amount of time every time I do it; there are no shortcuts or special holiday bonuses.

My face doesn’t know it’s Christmas or my birthday or I’m mad or happy. It doesn’t know how much homework I have or where I’m going that day. It just knows it needs to be clean – no exceptions.

Washing my face grounds me. It is something I do for no one but myself. I don’t wash my face to impress people – that’s what makeup is for. I take 14 minutes out of each day to be alone with myself. And that’s all I need.

I think all anyone needs is something just for them. Something sacred.