From politics to pop culture, the present feels more like a grim sci-fi version of reality than ever before. Welcome to Dystopia Now!, a collection of stories about our darkest timelines.
I was raised to believe you could only reschedule an event three times maximum. So I was pretty bummed when I heard that they were, yet again, rescheduling the apocalypse to make room for a dystopia. As both a mover and a shaker, I had moves and shakes to reschedule and/or cancel altogether. Ugh — I just HATE when huge, global catastrophes affect my day-to-day plans.
One of the first changes was in my medicine cabinet, both because the dystopia brings about health care changes for all and also because that's where I keep my makeup when it's not loose in my backpack, leaking because the top fell off.
The first thing that had to change was my eyeliner. Although I've been doing this winged liquid liner look for years, I had to switch products for our new hellish reality. Don't get me wrong — Palladio had a real killer pigment and applicator, but would smudge before the end of the day (often before the end of the hour). More recently, I have been really digging Club Clio, which has a precise application and never smudges, but isn't as dark and bold.
So the best bet for our seemingly endless dystopia is MAC's Liquidlast Line. It's at a reasonable price point of $21, seeing as you literally cannot get this product off your face. In times of turmoil, rationing is often just a wartime necessity. But sleeping in your makeup? Ew! Grow up and wash your damn face. And with this eyeliner, you can truly have it all: a clean, fresh face and the staying power of literal days unless you, like, actually use the oil cleanser they recommend (I obviously haven't). The rough part about this product is the applicator, which is too short to really grip like a pencil, and while the brush allows for a great, precise line, it also makes it more difficult than usual to get the right angle for a wing, let alone to replicate it on the other side. But once you get it, it stays put — and as a terrified modern woman, the last thing I need to worry about is reapplying my makeup!
Remember when Kim Kardashian explained how she makes a blowout last five days? Five. Incredible. But also: Wash your hair, girl. Anyway, that also works for this eye look — just keep slapping on more and more product, who cares, literally who cares, just put it all on, smoke it out, however many eyeliners, that's the point. Blend, blend, blend. What are you doing, using makeup to look conventionally attractive? The world is literally ending. Makeup is a weapon against your enemies to make them believe you deserve to live longer and more lavishly, and hinting that you have no regard for their aesthetic pleasure can only further your ability to conquer them in the fight for power. Sorry, I'm getting carried away, I'll end this here, sorry.
Remember the movie Mad Max? Remember how they, like, LOVED water? Water was basically LaCroix to them, it's crazy. Water is the next big thing, which is cool 'cause it's kind of like elementary or middle school when everyone was super into leaving class to go drink from the water fountain. For those of you who still just can't get enough, Evian makes this spray, which is especially cool because all your Gen X friends will say that Reality Bites line: "'Evian' is 'naive' spelled backwards," and you can dig into your bag, spritz your face, and mumble something back such as, "Couldn't the energies that both Gen X and Baby Boomers spent villainizing 'the millennial' have been better used to prevent or ameliorate the state of emergency brought up by the California drought, or the decline of the bee population, or perhaps our nation's rising unrest with its abhorrent record of human rights?" Alternatively, you can whisk yourself away with Mario Badescu's Facial Spray with added ingredients to soothe your face from the brutal elements, which will only worsen as the disastrous effects of climate change catalyze more frequent and destructive natural disasters. The downsides for both: They don't really do anything. But I love a good placebo!
The thing about water being super important right now is that we're going to have to use less of it. Luckily, we all stopped washing our hair. Honestly, my hair was never as good as it was when I was doing that hippie apple cider vinegar/baking soda routine instead of shampoo. I'd mix about two tablespoons of baking soda into a Solo cup (this was college), then splash two or three tablespoons of ACV into another cup, and they acted as shampoo and conditioner, respectively. This was when I had that nice virgin hair, but now that it's fried and dyed to hell, I'm staving off daily washes with Batiste, the best dry shampoo I've ever used. It totally leaves some white spots that you've got to be really good about blending, but it's better than R+Co Death Valley, which is the best thing I've ever smelled — ever! — but has never sopped up any of my grease, never ever! It's crazy that it's still on the shelves, let alone at an expensive price. I thought it was going to solve all of my problems, but now I just use it as a kind of hair perfume after my trusty Batiste.
But hey: At least matte is finally over. Not only have I been personally sick of matte lipstick forever, but it just reminds everyone how dire our circumstances are. Who has matte lips? Why? Are you dehydrated? Do you need some water? Did we, as a people, run out of water and this is how I'm finding out about it? Are you rationing lipsticks and that's the only one you can find? Did you forget what year it is? Did you not update Snapchat and for some reason the only stories you can see are Kylie Jenner's? Take that off, turn this up, and put this on. You don't need to necessarily toss out your matte products if you're over the look; just swipe on some clear gloss.
I know, I thought we moved beyond this, too. But remember in The Handmaid's Tale when Offred moisturizes with butter? At least it's not that. We're not there (yet). But we are time-traveling back to 2013, when the internet's primary function was a medium by which we exclusively expressed ourselves via listicles explaining the uses of coconut oil. Obama's America. Luckily, this can act as a type of nostalgic throwback, so we can put on that Juicy J album and pretend we still haven't had the glory of listening to Bangerz for the first time. Grab a jar of literally any type of coconut oil and slather it on your body, hair, face, skillet, blender. Oh man, so many uses. I mean, it's also lube. What other food item or beauty product can casually brag "GOOD FOR SEX"?
Since we've already passed the singularity, we're either becoming robots or battling robots. Who knows?! But pick a side. If you're embracing humanity, the new trend is sort of experiential. I mean, it's not new: We've been living and selling our experiences via social media for years, proving we have the skills, the bodies, the abilities. But for this, the new hot thing is gushing blood. From any and every orifice, if possible. Not only does this demonstrate, or at least allude to, the possibility of fertility, but it shows off your fearlessness, your ability to withstand pain while also keeping up with the high-pressure demands of making more blood. Not only is your body capable, but you are a hard worker and can keep up with the looming economic decline. Or you can cover yourself in fake blood, which also does wonders for protection. Is it too late for the subway but you're too ethical to support the nefarious Uber? Toss on some blood and no one on public transit will want to go near you.
The upside of any dystopian economic decline is the fun and mystery of shifting priorities. You can't be bored if you're terrified! No longer am I splurging on those pricey anti-aging skin-care formulas because, honestly, who knows how long I'll last in the Big Apple with this political climate. No more Sunday Riley Luna Oil, no more Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. My money now goes to a recurring donation to CAIR, and yours should, too, or to another organization of your choice, preferably something local to get the most bang for your buck. I’m sorry to say that donating to the ACLU is more basic than a pumpkin spice latte right now.
Now the only anti-aging or protective thing I really do is sunscreen. And not even the sunscreen without aluminum, because as I said before: who knows how long we really have, so why bother? I'm happy with this facial sunscreen, except it's not fun. It just works. And until further notice, we still have bodies instead of pods, so get a body one too. Maybe it's that I never go to the beach because I literally hate fun and being happy, but I associate the smell of sunscreen way more with that one year I spent at camp than the hundreds of times I've been to the beach. We all have our aspirations, and that perfect summer at camp was always out of reach, just too far for my fingers to grasp. Regardless, it's nostalgic as fuck — one sniff and you're remembering all those beautiful memories, that time spent lounging in the sun on vacation (fought for and won by the labor movement) on those public beaches regulated and cared for by the Environmental Protection Agency, whose budget is reportedly going to be cut by 31 percent. Australian Gold has that "I don't care how we're getting home, I'm drinking a piña colada out of a coconut from the boardwalk" scent, whereas Coppertone has those "ugh, if every single other girl in the cabin has a date to the dance I'm literally going to run away and hide in the counselor break room until my parents pick me up" notes. For further protection, slather on some tanning oil, which will attract those rays to your skin and give you a deeper tan, which will in turn make you more prepared to weather the potential dangerous conditions of our ever-changing climate.
If you're embracing more of the cyborg-robot thing, might I recommend gel nails? I know everyone's been doing them for years, so they're not new, but swiping on some metallic shine over those claws will really get people wondering, Maybe she's born with it, maybe she didn't update her software and that's why she's still single. Added points if you grow out those claws. We never know the precise moment technology is going to turn, so be on the lookout for ways you can incorporate survival into your thrive. My own nails can dig through most woods and plastics, which would be my most adorable weapon had I not stumbled upon the cutest can of Mace in my fave color: hot pink. Until the shit hits the fan, lay back and think about all the snacks you can binge on before the end of days!