Elle: Skin Care Routine Goes Beyond the Pale

In Elle’s June issue, writer Elizabeth Hayt advocates a life ruled by the pursuit of perfect, sun-free skin. As she explains in “Something New Under the Sun,” she’s upended her existence to rehabilitate her tanned hide. Is it worth such sweeping reform to attain the look of a “Bain de Soleil girl who failed”? There’s only one way to find out! This is a step-by-step guide to the Hayt skin care regimen.


1.Find a mercilessly blunt boyfriend to jump-start your lifestyle change. Elle_june_rihanna

“You’re going to look reptilian if you keep on baking,” he warned with brutal honesty. “Once your skin ages, it gets crepey, and that’s a real turnoff because you’ll turn into a premature hag…”

What a charmer. There’s more:

“…and you’ll have to keep adding tan over tan because what looks worse is untanned overly tanned skin…”

What? That doesn’t even make sense.

“…I love virginal skin…”

Red flag! Hello!


2.Get ready to shop, but only online or after dark.

Hayt purchased these items to ease her into a tanning-free existence: Guerlain bronzing powder, which “got me through the fadeout phase, sparing me the sallow complexion of a consumptive”; Photoderm Max SPF 100, a sunscreen not yet approved by the FDA; “a wardrobe of wide-brim, coolie-style hats and gauzy long-sleeve tunics,” linen shawls, scarves, and cardigans to wear backwards over low-cut dresses (instead of, you know, dresses with a higher neckline); and SPF 50 parasols from New York boutique Rain or Shine, which retail for $95-$245 apiece.


3. Reconfigure your commitments to become what Hayt so pleasantly terms a “mole person.” Sacrifice is key to a sunless lifestyle.

I remained indoors from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m., the peak hours of the poisonous rays, and during daylight hours I refused to swim outdoors or even ride in open convertibles…I went so far as to reprogram my circadian rhythms in order to become a high-functioning nocturnal being. [emphasis mine]


4.Seek a dermatologist whom your grandchildren won’
t mind being indebted to. 

For the past 11 years, I have been consumed by all procedures and devices of cosmetic medicine that promise to revitalize my subdermal layers of decrepitude. To be clear, I’m not referring to plastic surgery and injections of Botox, fat, Hylaform, Perlane, Restylane, Juvederm, or the like—all of which are part of my current repertoire

….I underwent a four-month course of monthly microdermabrasion followed by chemical peels made with TCA, or trichloroacetic acid (it smarts!), and daily use of his private-label creams…

Lo and behold, after following [the doctor’s] regimen for 16 weeks, it happened: I got the postorgasmic glow even when I hadn’t earned it. [emphasis mine]


5. Finally, develop a cliché-ridden rationale for your extreme devotion to avoiding the sun’s poisonous rays.

Your talking points, cribbed directly from Hayt: The procedures are a “commitment to me”; “The bottom line is, I do judge a book by its cover”; and “First impressions do count.” Got it!

Follow these simple steps, and you too can follow Hayt’s lead in “[rising] to the challenge of aging beautifully.” She may be a “self-confessed narcissist and perfectionist” who never leaves her house during the day, but she is radiant!

9 thoughts on “Elle: Skin Care Routine Goes Beyond the Pale

  1. Ooookay. Is trading one extreme, time-consuming, expensive, probably unhealthy “beauty regimen” for another really a step in the right direction?

    I’m ghostly pale, but I do go outdoors and, you know, live my life. You’re probably not going to get any appreciable tan or put yourself at risk for skin cancer just from spending a little time outside every day LIKE A NORMAL PERSON WITH A LIFE… even if you don’t always (or ever) wear SPF. Spend your time worrying about stuff that matters, sheesh.

  2. Oh my God! What a loon. At least she has removed her creepy boyfriend from the pool of eligible bachelors and they can stay home moisturizing each other, hiding from the giant ball of fire & suffering from rickets. I mean–I wear sunscreen w/ retinol, so I’m no sun-worshipper–but wow.

    I found Glossed Over yesterday, linking from another site (Jossip? I can’t recall) & I love this blog. Kudos. I love magazines…& making fun of magazines. Mocking Cosmo never gets old. Cosmo was the source of a thousand childhood fantasies about adulthood as some sort of secret agent. I really thought it was aimed at adults, and that I was secretly reading their wisdom. I’ve never heard anyone else make fun of their horrible euphemisms, like “moan zones”, before. It is so much fun to see. Thanks!

  3. That’s INSANE.

    But it’s nice to see my geeky night owl lifestyle finally coming into vogue. Shame I’m not making any money off it. Alas. I’ll have to remain pale for free.

    Great to see you back online! I’m a longtime lurker

  4. The article is a bit crazy, but I think her “creepy” boyfriend has a point. Sometimes when my boy and I are out and we see an overtanned college classmate whose skin is already getting wrinkled and tired, he points out how ridiculous it is that girls today bake their skin until they age twenty years early.

    Fortunately for him, I have managed to avoid such intense tanning without spending all of my time inside. It’s the magic combination called sunscreen and NOT lying out in the sun/in tanning beds for hours. Honestly, it’s not hard to have untanned skin – I’ve had it without even trying for my entire life.

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