If you, like me, spent the last week exchanging intimate conversation with only your dog and the weird crack on your ceiling, then welcome to quarantine life, betch! This is the bad place. It’s been a weird few days, friends, and I doubt it’s going to get any less weird in the coming weeks. I can confidently say that social distancing has changed me, and it’s changed me for the worse. It’s reduced me to a person who cooks and does home workouts—and I don’t like it one bit! But I will say spending more than 72 hours alone in my apartment with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company has made me reevaluate my skin care journey. And by “reevaluate” I mean think about at all. It’s hard not to when the only face you see all day is yours and it’s looking back at you in the mirror with last night’s pizza sauce on it. But no more! Today is a new day. And since I’m the kind of person who takes one step forward, and then does the entire cha-cha slide backward, I’ve decided that my journey to clearer, softer, more age-defying skin can only be done with a canned hard seltzer in my hand. Baby steps, people. So here’s a list of the best spiked seltzer and face mask pairings to get you started on your quarantine skin care journey.
White Claw Pure + Detox Clay Mask
The time for panic-eating entire boxes of Cheez-Its, ice cream cartons, and the family-size Stouffer’s mac n cheese you bought “just in case” is right tf now. And you know what washes down all of that processed cheese and sodium? White Claw Pure! Unlike other White Claws, White Claw Pure is flavorless so it cuts out all the bullsh*t and feels more… detoxifying? Okay, that’s a stretch, even for me, but it does taste crisp AF which is why I HIGHLY recommend pairing it with L’Oréal’s Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten mask. Like your insides after sippin’ on this knock-off vodka soda, your face will feel pure as hell after using this mask. Coming in at $12, you won’t find a cheaper beauty product, and also, this one actually works. It’s a super efficient clay mask that clears congested and/or dull skin, illuminating skin for a healthier glow. Plus, you can usually find it in the grocery store skincare aisle so just tack it onto your list while you’re there trying to barter for the last roll of toilet paper.
Natty Light Aloha Beaches + Peel Off Mask
Natty Light is the brand of alcohol preferred by people who frequent frat houses and the first guy I ever lied to about giving me an orgasm. No hard feelings, Paul! (Seriously, nothing hard. at. all.) If a global pandemic wasn’t sufficient enough evidence that God is trying to smite us all down so She can start humanity anew, then Natty Light releasing a spiked seltzer should be evidence enough. If you’re still brand loyal to Natty Light, then I’m assuming you’re also brand loyal to the face masks sold in the sale section of Walmart. I assume. For you, my friend, Masque Bar Peel Off Mask is going to be your go-to mask. Like Natty Light’s Aloha Beaches, both are cheap AF but still v effective. It’ll get the job done if you’re looking to kill time between second dinner and rekindling things with your ex from high school just to feel something again.
Bon & Viv Clementine Hibiscus + Hydrating Mask
Drinking Bon & Viv is basically like water, which is not a scientific fact, just my personal opinion. It’s light, refreshing, and I drink 8 glasses of it a day. It’s by far my favorite brand of spiked seltzers, which is why I’m pairing it with one of my favorite masks of all time. Hydrating masks, like Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost face mask, go perfectly with Bon & Viv. Made with purified hyaluronic acid, this sheet mask gives instant results—and I really mean that. Your skin will go from looking dry and flakey to supple and glowy in minutes, and the best part is you don’t even have to drink water to do it!! Why does it work so well? Well, unlike other sheet masks, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost uses unique hydrogel material to seal in the formula for maximum absorption into your skin. As a bonus, pair it with the Hydro-Boost gel cream moisturizer and literally never have sh*tty skin again.
Seagram Escapes Tropical Rose + Tula Mask
You’ve been influenced and you’ve been influenced hard. You’re the kind of girl that only started drinking spiked seltzers in the first place because you saw it via a swipe-up code three summers ago. While Seagram Escapes Tropical Rose isn’t a seltzer per se, it is canned, and its targeted audience is people who consider Shein products actual fashion, so it counts. Also, the man behind this beverage is none other than Mr. The Most Dramatic Season Ever himself: Chris Harrison. I’m pairing this beverage with Tula’s Exfoliating Treatment Mask because what goes together more than a beverage created by an influencer and a face mask influencers are constantly trying to pimp out to us on Instagram? My heart hurts me to say this, but I’m actually a fan of Tula’s products (it’s me, I’VE BEEN INFLUENCED). I’m a fan of this mask in particular. It’s clay-based, so its purpose is to exfoliate and detox, but the antioxidant-rich blueberry extract in it keeps your skin hydrated for smoother, more even-toned skin. I recommend drinking the Tropical Rose whilst wearing the mask and DMing people on dating apps with Chris Harrison’s best lines. It’s what he would want for us during the quarantine!!
Orange Truly + Hangover Mask
Just because I’m stuck in my apartment for the foreseeable future and literally barred from entering any establishment that sells alcohol as per the shelter in place law for my state, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to turn up, okay!! Instead of pounding drinks at the bars until I reach a point where I think it’s socially acceptable to publicly blast “Lose You To Love Me” from my phone and cry softly into my hands, I’ll just be doing that exact same thing but on my couch while on Instagram Live. What I’m saying is, a pandemic isn’t going to get between me and my toxic choices, so I know I’ll be needing a hangover fix. While I admit the orange Truly isn’t my favorite, someone once said to me it smells like emergen-C, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Think of it like drinking a screwdriver but with less calories and, like, sadder. While you’re working on that hair of the dog, pair it with the Drunk Elephant D-balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask. Packed with electrolytes, it’s like gatorade for the skin. You’re welcome in advance.
Wild Basin Cucumber Peach + Gold Foil Mask
Images: RossHelen / Shutterstock.com; Amazon (5); blissworld.com
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I was on Twitter Tuesday night when I learned that Four Loko, ruiner of college livers everywhere from the years of 2009-2011, was coming out with a hard seltzer. In true Four Loko fashion, each can is 14% ABV, which is higher than a glass of wine. “Jesus Christ,” I said to myself (and then, approximately six seconds later, to my Twitter followers). “I’m going to end up in the morgue once these things hit shelves.” We all joked “Four Lokos walked so spiked seltzers could run” enough times that Four Loko called our bluff and f*cking ran all the way with it.
This came just one day after Natural Light, equal ruiner of college livers everywhere, announced its two new seltzers, puzzlingly named Catalina Lime Mixer and Aloha Beaches.
That’s right, we made a f***ing seltzer.
Introducing the two newest members of the Natural Light fam: Catalina Lime Mixer & Aloha Beaches. 6% ABV hard seltzer. LFG pic.twitter.com/MXAcGuCQVE
— Natural Light (@naturallight) August 12, 2019
When the two drinks you equate to puking in a communal toilet have graduated to a beverage you would bring to a barbecue, we have officially reached a spiked seltzer bubble.
I first became aware of spiked seltzers as a concept in 2015, when we wrote an article about its existence. At the time, we wrote, “Spiked Seltzer is a refreshing, bubbly alcoholic seltzer drink that betches will love for being low carb, all natural, and this year’s hottest trend that no one really understands and never legitimately follows: gluten free!” Honestly, still true. Back in 2015, BON & VIV was one of, if not the, only companies making hard seltzers, and its mermaid logo became iconic. But, I’ll be honest, even though I knew spiked seltzers existed, I’d had maybe a few at my brother’s apartment (his roommate and his girlfriend were big on them and always had some in the fridge). They existed, but they were not really a ~thing~. They were more of a novelty than a go-to drink.
Until the summer of 2019.
Fast forward four years, and spiked seltzers are everywhere. BON & VIV no longer has the monopoly on the alcoholic sparkling water market, with companies like White Claw and Truly in the mix, plus apparently every other alcohol brand racing to invent their own equivalent. And, look, I’m not just making this up from anecdotal evidence. Chelsea Phillips, Vice President, Beyond Beer Brands at Anheuser-Busch, said, “It’s no secret this is the year of hard seltzer.” She added, “BON & VIV has seen tremendous growth since our founder Nick Shields invented the category back in 2013.”
Nowhere is that growth more evident (besides your friend groups) than on Twitter and Instagram. Memes about all types of alcoholic seltzer have cropped up, seemingly out of nowhere, with each brand getting its own unofficial slogan and accompanying fanbase. You’ve got “ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws,” a battle cry uniting all those who have ever gotten wasted and made a bad decision, especially when day drinking was involved. (So, all of us.)
Brace yourselves. Frat bros calling themselves “White Claw Outlaws” are coming.
— sluttypuffin (@sluttypuffin) August 14, 2019
Four Loko coming out with a spiked seltzer to finish off those of us who survived the first go around
— Rooster (@ruthlee_) August 14, 2019
In the other corner, you’ve got the smaller but mighty “Let’s get unruly with Truly” and its variants.
Drinking Truly: unruly
Drinking White Claws: no laws
Drinking Four Loko Sours: Commencement of the annual Purge pic.twitter.com/3QH9xpZRBU
— Hayley Phillips (@somecallmehay) August 14, 2019
Whatever team you’re on—and truthfully, I’ve yet to meet a single person who solely drinks one type of spiked seltzer—it’s clear we are f*cking obsessed with spiked seltzers.
How did this happen? Last summer, it was all about rosé and its frozen counterpart, frosé. Millennial pink, Instagrammable, and slightly bourgeois to pronounce, it’s no wonder it took over the internet. This summer was poised to be dedicated to the aperol spritz—bright orange and equally eye-catching—and then somehow, spiked seltzers muscled their way into our Twitter and Instagram feeds, backyard parties, and even bars, with bars selling cans of White Claw and, in the case of one of my local dives, offering Truly on tap.
As for how exactly we got here, it’s actually pretty simple to piece together. The popularity of hard seltzers can pretty easily be traced back to that of its sober counterpart: regular seltzer. But not just any seltzer—LaCroix. No brand of seltzer blew up quite as astronomically as LaCroix, with its ubiquitous sh*tty script, weird neon cloud design, and subtle flavors that spawned a million jokes, like “LaCroix tastes like someone whispered the word ‘banana’ in another room.”
new lacroix flavors!
-transported in a truck near bananas
-hint of hint of lime
-single skittle dissolved in water
-imagine like, a strawberry but with low battery
— Pitch (@pitchjokes) June 13, 2018
It’s not shocking that the popularity of hard seltzer is due in part to the success of LaCroix, considering Phillips says, “we’ve heard consumers refer to BON & VIV Spiked Seltzer as a ‘boozy LaCroix’ more than a few times.” What many millennials who swear by the stuff probably don’t know is that LaCroix has been around since 1981. Yes, it existed even before there was Twitter on which to make jokes about it, or Instagram on which to post pictures of fridges stocked full of it. But LaCroix really started to blow up in 2015—two years after BON & VIV was invented. That year, LaCroix sales tripled, pulling in $175 to $226 million dollars a year. The reasons are pretty simple: LaCroix’s eye-catching packaging, combined with consumers’ flock to healthier alternatives to soda, and a few savvy marketing techniques (to simplify the phenomenon) created the force it’s known as today.
Then, if you have two brain cells to rub together, you can take a guess that people’s desire to make healthy drink choices doesn’t stop at their alcoholic beverages. Phillips states, “Hard seltzer’s growth path mirrors that of non-alcoholic seltzer.” She explains, “We find our key consumers are health-aware men and women who want something that tastes great, requiring no sacrifices.”
I was sitting in my friend’s backyard a few weeks ago, where we had blown up a kiddie pool to turn an ordinary Sunday afternoon into a makeshift pool party. A group of guys we knew showed up, toting a box of BON & VIV. My roommate turned to me, sipping from her can of hard seltzer.
“It’s funny,” she says. “Spiked seltzers are basically just wine coolers, which guys in the past would make fun of us for liking. But now they’re all obsessed with spiked seltzers.”
Coming in brightly colored cans and fruity tasting, I would have thought bros everywhere would be eschewing these drinks, clinging desperately to their masculinity. But the opposite has happened. In fact, men are embracing seltzers so much that the term “White Claw Bros” is a thing.
‘Claw is the law’: Why American ‘bros’ suddenly can’t get enough of White Claw hard seltzer https://t.co/voGs9L87Nc via @businessinsider
— Justin Smith (@Justin__Charles) August 13, 2019
I asked a few male friends, and they disagreed with me that hard seltzers are seen as “girly” drinks in the first place (more on that problematic characterization in a sec). Mike, 35, said, “I think the perception about ‘girl drinks’ is about how sugary and sweet they are, and I think that’s Mike’s Hard, Smirnoff Ice, etc. way more than spiked seltzer.” Melvin, 30, chimed in, “They’re easy on the stomach, not heavy, and the alcohol content isn’t high enough to where you’ll get sh*t faced if you just want to hang (like at a beach or bbq).”
Bruce, 38, says, “My first experience with the Claws was literally because I went to the beach with females and they brought like 24 of them. I brought beers, and then I saw black cherry and I was like ‘sh*t, I like black cherry’.” He adds, “I was already drinking LaCroix every so often, and a La Croix option with alcohol? Sheeeeeiiiittt.”
Aron, 31, asserts, “They’re heavy on taste (especially mango!) and light on calories.” But also, he says, “on a side note: it’s always amusing to me how we as a society claim we want modern men who’re less focused on gender norms and yet we’re still having this conversation because deep down many women still seem to want ‘manly men’ and thus as men we need to justify why drinking a claw, or any drink deemed “girly,” is okay and isn’t dissonant or otherwise at odds with our identities as men.” And yes, he really said this—I will show you my group texts.
To all the men that think they are too “manly” to drink White Claw .. sorry ahead of time if your girl at my place drinking claws
— White Claw Gang (@whiteclawcrew) August 10, 2019
Phillips says the BON & VIV demo is “split even” but female-skewing. White Claw reps didn’t get back to me for comment, but I would assume their demographic is similar. Basically, the conclusion we as a group came to was, as Aron put it: “It’s just a great drink for everybody and men and women both appreciate a lot of the same characteristics” (taste, sugar content, calories, alcohol content). Or, as Bruce said, “You won’t feel like you went on a bender, fun for both genders.” After having four seltzers last week at the beach and feeling hungover by 9pm, I’m going to disagree with the “not feeling like you went on a bender” claim, but I’m here for the gender universality.
Whether or not spiked seltzers will reign supreme next summer remains to be seen. But for now, stock up on the brand of your choosing and crack one open. Because right now, we’re in a spiked seltzer bubble, and just like any trend—podcasts, festivals—this one is eventually going to burst.
Images: bonandviv / Instagram; sluttypuffin, ruthlee_, somecallmehay, pitchjokes, whiteclawcrew / Twitter