"Healthy skin begins from the inside out," Grace Jones advises near the end of her 2015 memoir. "The beauty products made from aloe vera—eat them, don't slap them on yourself. We've been eating that in Jamaica since we were kids. Red wine, honey. That keeps you young. Eating the pumpkin. The melon. Don't put all that shit on your face, eat it."
Yet every morning and every night, I find myself dabbing about half a dime's worth of avocado-infused eye cream along the lower ledges of my orbital sockets, disobeying the legendary Ms. Jones while my stomach goes avocado-less and wanting. This practice, part of a twice-daily moisturizing ritual, usually leaves me feeling renewed and refreshed, or at the very least kinda cute.
But back in early August, I heard a startling claim by none other than musician and noted guitar face-maker John Mayer that made me question my relationship with my creamy chartreuse savior. Mayer, via Snapchat, postulated that we should be rubbing our under-eye treatments all over out faces, as opposed to just under our eyes. But is he right, or is his skin care tip more unnecessary than the key change towards the end of Lady Gaga's "Perfect Illusion?"
After doing some digging, I've found that, well…let's just say that Mr. Mayer should be a little more careful about the shit he puts on his face.
On Aug. 11, John Mayer posted a series of videos to his official Snapchat handle, @JohnTheKangaroo, in which he details what he claims to be his multi-step evening skin care routine. Within 24 hours, People and the New York Post's Page Six had dubbed him "the [skin care] guru you never knew you needed," while E! News heralded him as "our new favorite beauty vlogger." Dozens of other news outlets, ranging from Elle to GQ, had also editorialized the clips.
It's unclear why Mayer posted these videos. The 38-year-old singer-songwriter has never made a point of presenting himself as some kind of beauty expert. And although he only uses Natura Bissé products in the Snapchat clips, a spokesperson for the Spanish company told Refinery29 that Mayer was not paid to promote their products. [UPDATE: A spokesperson for Natura Bissé confirmed that they did not sponsor John Mayer's Snapchat videos in a later email to Fusion.] The musician does name-drop Proactiv at one point, so perhaps the social media postings are totally #spon after all. Or maybe John just uploaded them in honor of past collaborator Asher Roth's 31st birthday, which fell on the very same day. My attempts to contact both John Mayer and Proactiv for comment on this article were unsuccessful, so who knows.
Whatever the case, the Snapchat videos find the "Your Body is a Wonderland" singer slathering a bunch of super expensive creams and lotions all over the outermost layer of flesh upholstered to his skull. Throughout the course of the clips, he throws in a couple of "skin hacks," or skin care tips and tricks, the second of which goes as follows:
Eye concentrate is really just better facial moisturizer but more expensive [and] in smaller bottles. Use it.
Wait. Does this mean that I have been
scamming my way through free Kiehl's sample packets buying full-size containers of Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado and Ultra Facial Moisturizer using money and cash for no reason? Could I have been ditching the latter facial moisturizing product this whole time?
John Mayer is not the only celebrity to suggest that we use under-eye treatments in lieu of facial moisturizers. As Fusion's resident fashion and beauty expert, Tahirah Hairston, told me, Beyoncé's longtime makeup artist, Sir John Barnett, also swears by using eye creams on the entire face.
It's unclear whether Beyoncé herself follows Barnett's advice when it comes to using under-eye creams as full facial moisturizers, but let's say she does. Does that mean that I should? If Beyoncé jumped off a bridge, would I? Yes. Of course. But I shouldn't, just like I shouldn't be using under-eye creams on the rest of my assorted face skins. According to Maryann Mikhail, M.D., of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City, do make for more potent moisturizers than face lotions, but that's about as credible as John Mayer's purported "skin hack" gets.
"Eye creams are more moisturizing than most moisturizers marketed for the face because they are in a cream vehicle," Dr. Mikhail told me in an email. "Most face moisturizers are lotions. The main issue is that moisturizer selection is skin-type dependent. For people with very dry skin, a cream-based moisturizer (or, eye cream used on the face) would be appropriate. However, for people who have combination or oily skin, using heavy creams can cause skin to appear greasy and cause clogged pores and breakouts."
"So while there is some truth to what [John Mayer et al] are saying," she concluded, "that definitely does not mean that we should all use them!"
Faith still shaky, I began to question the very concept of eye cream itself. Was my twice-daily microdollop of Kiehl's actually preserving what little remained of my slowly fading youth? Death waits for no one, after all, no matter how many ccs of melted FunMallow-esque goo I mainline every morning. Had capitalism exploited my insecurities to manipulate me into buying a bunch of shit I don't actually need yet again? Is it too late to invest in some supernatural, vaguely homoerotic portraiture that will age for me in the back of my Brooklyn apartment's non-existent attic? Why won't the cobweb-covered stool in the corner of my bedroom tell me I'm pretty?!
Capitalism remains the original scammer, but there's at least a biologically legit reason for us to use a different moisturizing product under our eyes than the one we use on the rest of our skin. Our eyelid skin is "the thinnest skin" found anywhere on our bodies, Dr. Mikhail told me. As such, it is extra sensitive to irritation from fragrances, soaps, and other skin care products—including moisturizers.
That's not to say that John Mayer can't put whatever he wants wherever he wants to on his face. He can rub his $205 Natura Bissé Diamond Extreme Eye cream up and down the shaft of his "fuckin' David Duke cock" for all I care. He is a celebrity, after all. He can do whatever the fuck he wants! But just because he's a celebrity and wields an undue sphere of influence, that doesn't mean we have to believe everything he tells us.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.