I Swapped Skin Care Routines With My Boyfriend And This Is What Happened

I’ve been living with my boyfriend, Anthony, for just over three years, and in that time, it has become clear that he’s not a skin care person. At all.

Anthony really doesn’t do anything to take care of his skin, aside from wash it with water in the shower. I’ve tried countless times to convince him he should apply moisturizer and SPF as part of a daily skin care routine. He hasn’t really listened, joking instead that he likes to embrace his rugged looks. (I’ve been slightly successful in convincing him to apply moisturizer in the mornings, but his skin care routine has mostly been nonexistent.)

I, on the other hand, have a regimented routine, with specific products to target specific issues ― five products per day, on average. I would say it’s actually pretty manageable compared to what many people do every day, but Anthony wouldn’t agree. 

When my editor asked if I’d be up for swapping routines with Anthony, my first instinct was that he’d never go for it. Then I realized if he did agree, he’d be using my expensive products … and I really didn’t want to waste them on someone who doesn’t even care to use them.

Still, there’s something in my brain that doesn’t let me pass up a challenge, so I went home and somehow got Anthony on board. 

And so it began…

Anthony and I swapped skin care routines for five days. That meant he actually had to wash his face and apply all the products I typically use on a daily basis. 

His new routine for the morning looked something like this: 

  1. Wash with water
  2. Apply vitamin C serum (I use Drunk Elephant C-Firma day serum)
  3. Apply an eye cream (I’ve been trying out Kiehl’s Eye Fuel, which is marketed for men, so I thought it was pretty perfect)
  4. Apply moisturizer (we both used Cetaphil moisturizing lotion during the experiment)
  5. Apply sunscreen (I’m currently liking All Good sport sunscreen in SPF 30, although it can leave a little bit of a white cast if you don’t fully rub it in)

And before bed, all he had to do was wash (using Glossier’s Milky Jelly cleanser) and moisturize (using Cetaphil rich hydrating night cream).

Meanwhile, in the mornings I was only allowed to only wash with water and apply moisturizer. I couldn’t use any products before going to bed, so I had to take a full shower if I wanted to wash my face at night. 

I refused to give up sunscreen ― for the sake of my own skin health, that’s where I drew the line. I did mostly skip makeup for the five days, knowing I wouldn’t be able to properly wash it off at the end of the day. (I’ll never understand how he goes to bed without washing his face.) 

I have combination skin that tends to be a little on the oily side, which actually worked in my favor during this experiment. If my skin were really dry, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the five days without being able to moisturize twice a day. 

Here’s us on day one: 

After this photo was taken, all I could think was how tired I looked. Anthony said the same thing about himself, joking

Julia Brucculieri After this photo was taken, all I could think was how tired I looked. Anthony said the same thing about himself, joking that the bags under his eyes were so big (they weren’t) “they should have handles.” 

The first morning, I coached Anthony through my skin care routine. He definitely did not like the vitamin C serum ― which he dubbed “the hot dog one,” thanks to its scent ― because it was “too oily.” I was little envious that he got to use my products and I didn’t. 

That night, Anthony used cleanser to wash his face in the shower and admitted his skin felt cleaner than usual. I begrudgingly went to bed without using any cleanser or moisturizer after my shower. 

As the week went on, we both fell into our new routines; I barely had to remind Anthony which products to use and when. We both agreed our skin wasn’t looking any different, but I felt a little dry and personally, I think Anthony’s skin was a little softer. 

In my tired morning state, I forgot about my no-makeup plan on day three. Here’s what happened when I tried to wash it off before bed with only shower water: 

The face of a woman who is not happy about not being able to use cleanser. 

Julia Brucculieri The face of a woman who is not happy about not being able to use cleanser. 

I made Anthony try out a face mask (Ole Henriksen Cold Plunge pore mask) on the fourth day, because I love a good face mask. He wasn’t into it when he put it on, but once he rinsed it off, he admitted, “Yeah, I guess that felt pretty good.” (Success!)

He just didn't know he liked the mask yet.

Julia Brucculieri He just didn’t know he liked the mask yet.

We both had some thoughts about the other’s habits, naturally. 

When we started, Anthony was a little reluctant to try out my routine because, as he told me, “I personally don’t think that putting product on my face is necessarily the best for my skin.”

“I’m pretty basic when it comes to grooming,” he said, adding that he doesn’t want to waste time in the bathroom. (In his defense, he has started using beard oil regularly.)

When I asked him how the overall experience was, Anthony conceded it wasn’t all bad. 

“After using some of the products and realizing it doesn’t take that long, I think I’m more open to the idea of using more skin care products,” he said. “Also my skin does feel a bit more hydrated and not as irritated.” (Another success!)

Here’s us on the morning after our swap ended: 

We both agreed we looked pretty much the same. But I wasn't ready to keep this going longer than five days.

Julia Brucculieri We both agreed we looked pretty much the same. But I wasn’t ready to keep this going longer than five days.

For the most part, I was fine with ditching the majority of my products and even with skipping makeup, but really wasn’t a fan of not being able to wash my face with cleanser at the end of the night. The switch-up had me out of sorts on a few mornings ― so much so that I forgot to add my sunscreen at least one of the days. (It’s like I was actually turning into Anthony.) 

I didn’t hate the experience of giving up my routine, but I didn’t love it. My skin and I were much happier when I finally got to use my cleanser again and put on my vitamin C serum to fight off the pesky free radicals floating through the New York City air.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, a day or two after we finished the experiment, I caught Anthony using his own face wash (which he bought months ago) ― totally unprompted.