Beauty Secrets from a Cool Dad

Alexandra Malmed shares more important, father-fostered lessons


Long before soft, mascara-less eyes were a token of confidence, before beauty became more about unveiling than masking and embellishing, cool dads were employing the No Makeup look. Their effortlessness must be partially attributed to genetics, but dads are also diligent about self care. I now share with you the products and procedures that I swear by as recommended by my dad.

Dads love products that are multifunctional, reliable, and definitively the best of their kind. When smelling Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap — wafting out of the wooden cosmetics aisle of an ancient, independent health food store, for example — it’s difficult to not lose admiration for any and all other soaps. Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint is second to none. It’s thin, slippery, squeaky, potent, and effective. The label on the bottle (my dad uses the liquid version, not the bar, so I’m convinced it’s better) is as far-stretching and crazy as about twenty minutes of bouncing around on the Internet, making it the perfect shower reading material. You can use this soap for anything, but I’ve heard that doing so in place of toothpaste is a day-ruiner (unless you’re obsessed with the flavor of peppermint).

Papaw Ointment has become fashionable lately. You can buy it from Net-a-Porter and it now comes in those flat but conical lip balm tubes. My dad has been using it forever, and it will fix what topically ails you. Swipe a generous smear of this gloppy dressing on your lips, your cuticles, your dry elbows, etc. It takes a long time to seep in, which is satisfying. My dad also loves another and very similar product, aptly named Egyptian Magic. It smells like warm, mystical bee’s wax and just as with Papaw, you can use it for anything. It’s a lip balm, lip gloss, lotion, salve, shaving cream, and hair mask, among other things. My dad keeps a large tub of each of these ointments on his nightstand, and I advise you to do the same.

During the warmer months, my dad is adamant about getting (a timed, exact) twenty minutes of morning sun. This event must take place before noon, and must not exceed the allotted time. It will bless your complexion with a summer glow and leave you infused with Vitamin D.

While doing this, you can also check three other beauty musts off of your list: drinking a lot of water, drinking green smoothies, and meditating. You already know about the alleged importance of both of these drinks. You also know — at least vaguely — about meditation. My dad lived in India for eleven years and meditates for a little bit on most mornings. Stress makes you ugly; meditation disappears stress.

My parents each consume about twenty different supplements a day. Taking this many vitamins — a truly insane volume if you think about the sheer amount of capsule material being swallowed — forces you to drink a lot of water. Some of the supplements include fish oil, probiotics, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C. Fish oil is especially good for combating dry skin and making you glowy.

My dad won’t use cleansers or moisturizers that can’t be purchased from good health food stores. Ingredient lists should, as with food ingredient labels, be minimal and solely contain recognizable words. He uses a Zia moisturizer and Tulsi rose facial spray.

Lastly and most importantly, it’s good to eat dark chocolate — and my dad doesn’t consider anything under 64% dark chocolate to even be chocolate. It should be of good quality, featuring no corn syrup at all. A generous amount of dark chocolate, consumed in delicate squares at any point(s) between lunch and bedtime will make you happier. And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

What have your learned from your Cool Dad?

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