Ted Schueneman is my father. He’s a 61-year-old licensed customs broker and import manager who lives in the Chicago suburbs. He has a dark, dry sense of humor (read: Irish Catholic) and enjoys sipping cognac while watching The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. One thing he does not enjoy is moisturizer. In fact, he has been refusing to use it for the past few years, despite entreaties from his wife and beauty-writing daughter.
So recently, I decided to do what any reasonable person would do and use my public platform to manipulate my dad into taking care of his skin for the first time in his life. Read on to find out how it went.
First, I tested my dad’s skin care knowledge with a series of basic questions. This investigation was incredibly fruitful: I learned that he’s worried about resembling a certain former White House staffer, that he isn’t really concerned with wrinkles, and that his current nighttime routine consists of a single step.
I’m going to go through a list of common skin-care terms. Can you tell me if you’ve heard of them before? Okay, I’m ready.
A sheet mask. A heat mask?
A sheet mask. A SHEET mask? I do not know that that is.
Serum. I’m familiar with the word, but not as it relates to beauty.
Retinol. R-E-T-I-N-O-L? I can spell it but I have no idea what it is.
Okay! What do you want your skin to look and feel like on a daily basis? Just natural and normal? Not splotchy, just nice, smooth, and even. I guess I just don’t want to look like Steve Bannon. [Deep sigh.]
Are you worried about wrinkles? No, I think they’re just part of the deal as you get older.
What does your typical morning routine look like? It’s basically soap, water, deodorant, maybe a little Gold Bond spray.
What does your evening routine look like? Well, I like to drink!
Next, I asked him to try a good beginner moisturizer, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, and report back about his initial impressions. I instructed him to apply it every morning and every night, but purposefully left my instructions pretty vague. I followed up with him after a couple days to make sure he was actually using it, and then connected with him again after he had been using the product for two weeks.
What were your first impressions of this product? The bottle itself has a nice little pump on it with a cap over it. It’s all very stylish. My sense of smell isn’t the greatest, but this smells fresh and clean. Your mother told me to kind of tap it into my skin and rub in circles toward my nose. I applied it to the bottom half of my face first, then my forehead.
How did it feel initially? Throughout the day it feels like … it’s still there? Well no, that’s not the right way to describe it. I just mean that the skin is still soft. But it feels great.
When did you notice a difference in your skin? After just two or three days, I would say. I’m feeling my face right now. It feels good. I thought a lotion might make my face greasy or shiny, but this doesn’t. My skin is definitely more moist and supple. It’s not as pasty, white, or dry. It’s not as itchy or flaky as it used to be, either. I feel the way I feel, it doesn’t make me feel any younger but I’m definitely more comfortable now.
It certainly seems like my dad enjoyed this experiment more than he thought he would. He also said he would like to continue using the moisturizer even though his “research” is done, which surprised me! He’s not someone who veers outside of his routine. But, as he explained, “It seems like a common sense thing to do now for basic maintenance.” Now every time I see him, I compliment his skin and ask, “What’s your secret!?” To which he sighs heavily and replies, “Listening to you and your mother.”
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