my hobbies include skin-care

The Cleanser, Eye Balm, Retinol, and Moisturizer I Use Every Night

The author with his nighttime products. Photo: Christian Anwander

Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger spends a lot of time with grooming products. It’s an obsession he’ll now be writing about for the Strategist. In his free time, he’s at work on a book (via Harper Collins) about football, the Marines, and World War II.

When my nights aren’t spent at a cocktail party quoting prodigious chunks of Proust or Joyce, I read up on facial creams. I read Allure and Dermstore’s blog. I read the New York Times, looking for tips from the rich and famous and beautiful and anyone else I hate because of skin so flawless you could skate on it. The problem is that the more you think you know, the less you do, because of the infinite number of choices available. It seems that every possible extract and secretion can do some good somewhere.

But there is something blissfully self-indulgent (almost erotic) about rubbing rich and soft and satiny ointments into the skin. I’m speaking not from the poppycock of my “feminine” side but from my human side. I am also convinced that face creams work. At the age of 64, I do have some of that tight-skin effect, but I am free of wrinkles and look surprisingly okay in the mirror of the merciless airplane lavatory. If I had my way, I would buy a new cream every week. But that would be both prohibitively expensive and foolish. I recently switched things up because I wasn’t quite satisfied with my daily regimen (I don’t think this necessarily qualifies as major news, unless you are a facial cream addict, where all change is a big deal) and am now very happy with my nightly routine. Below, the products I use every night.

I discovered the British-based Elemis during a cruise to southeast Asia several years ago, when the stylist at the salon heartily recommended it. The cleansing balm is thick and viscous, but it applies smoothly and softly on the face and neck. With gentle massaging, it eventually builds into a nice lather. The tactile sensation is important to me: the better it feels on the skin, the better it works, because the more I enjoy using it and don’t rush. My skin feels both clean and invigorated, and the collagen of course helps.

In my mind, there is no such thing as skin that is too clean, so I next use the PowerGlow exfoliating facial peel, which contains the ingredients of salicylic acid, vitamin K, bilberry, and chamomile. It burns slightly, which I like (everybody needs a little pain in life), and the gain comes in the form of exfoliation and wrinkle reduction. Salicylic acid is generally used for acne prevention, and while I don’t have that problem anymore (I wish I were still young enough to), it does reduce everyday blemishes and give my face a healthy glow. Staring into any mirror is dangerous, the face an amalgam of imperfection no matter how much you try, but this is one of the few times I like it.