38 Things You Can Buy On Amazon That Will Help You Touch Your Face Slightly Less
How to reduce your face touching in the age of of coronavirus.
Public officials say we need to stop touching our faces in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, but even they can’t stop touching their faces.
I understand the challenge. I myself am a very fidgety person with sensitive skin — and I have two teenagers who like to touch their faces, too. One of those kids is autistic, and that’s made me more aware of all the sensory cues that lead me to touch my own face.
Now that people are over the world are also trying to touch their faces less, I want to share what I’ve learned….and what I’ve purchased. Because I’m an Amazon addict, and many of my anti-face-touching strategies have arrived at our doors in large cardboard boxes.
Here’s one thing I’m not buying: face masks! Seriously, people, you need to stop buying face masks. First of all, they don’t help: Every public health official in the world says that the only people who should wear masks are people who are sick themselves or who are caring for sick people, since masks can actually increase your risk of infection by leading you to touch your face more. Second and even more crucial: All this mask-buying is causing shortages that put healthcare workers at risk, which means they’ll get sick, which means there won’t be enough healthcare workers to care for all the people who come down with COVID-19. If you’re still tempted to get a mask or two, please read this fabulous webcomic first.
The good news is that there are lots of other things you can buy that can cut down the face-touching — at least, they have for me! I still touch my face (sorry, CDC!) but so much less than I used to. Much of this comes down to figuring out exactly what triggers your face-touching, and then finding the products or tricks that will break that trigger. I’ve listed just about all of my own triggers, and the products that help with each.
Note: I’m a full-time freelance writer, and this is the kind of story I’d normally write for hire. But I wanted to publish this as quickly as possible, so I’m trying an experiment: All the links in this story are affiliate links that may earn me a small commission from Amazon if you buy them. Many (but not all) are products I’ve used myself (it will be clear from my description), and you are more than welcome to buy these products anywhere you’d like. If you can find these items in your local stores, I hope you’ll buy them there: Local businesses really need our help right now!
If your face, eyes or skin are itchy, it’s hard to stop rubbing them.
- Nose gel is much better than Vaseline for dry itchy nostrils. Seriously, lube up your nose at night if you have allergies, a cold or a dry bedroom.
- Teensy containers of Vaseline for your pocket or purse are your best line of defense if your nose gets dry, chapped or itchy during the day.
- Anti-histamine eyedrops are a good choice if you have itchy allergic eyes. Zaditor and Alaway are the brands mentioned in this article from Prevention.
- Allegra (or a generic) is my preferred approach for managing system-wide itchiness. I’m allergic to the sun (yes, it’s ridiculous — but a not-uncommon result of living in a rainy place where there’s no sun for a few months a year) so I now take Allegra around the clock when I’m somewhere sunny, and if I had a face that was itchy due to allergies, this would be my first line of defense.
Dry membranes make me rub my nose, eyes and lips, and dry skin patches are fascinating for my little fingers. Here’s what stops them.
- A cool mist humidifier keeps our bedroom moist on winter nights so my sinuses don’t dry out. I’ve had success with various Honeywell models but this one is the current Wirecutter recommendation.
- Saline nasal mist is a good emergency backup for sinuses that feel dry and irritated during the day.
- Lubricating eye drops are good for dry, irritated eyes.
- L’Occitane’s shea butter lip balm is a purse-friendly treatment to moisturize dry lips you’re tempted to rub, but that problem has become way less aggravating since I started using their 100% shea butter on my lips every night.
Even though we all know that you should leave a blemish alone, if I even feel the beginning of a bump on my skin, I can’t help touching it. And floor-to-ceiling mirrors make it hard to stop noticing blemishes, too. Here’s what helps:
- Strivectin night cream was my gateway into the magic world of retinol, which is recommended by dermotologists for both acne and wrinkles. Ever since I started using it, people keep complimenting me on my skin. It’s expensive, but worth it — and I recently found some (along with a wide assortment of retinol creams) on sale at TJ Maxx.
- Retinol wipes feel like an environmental evil, but the ease ensures I actually wash my face very single night. I like these a lot more than other face wipes I’ve tried because they are large and soft, and perhaps they even contribute to my retinol glow.
- Differin gel is the acne treatment I got for my teen. Use it instead of squeezing!
- Tinkle eyebrow razors were a discovery I credit to this 2015 New York Times story about facial shaving as a form of weekly exfoliation. It makes my skin much smoother (fewer bumps to attract my fingers!). And if you have fingers that like to explore for stray chin hairs, this will help reduce that temptation, too.
- Decorative window film is a great way to cover up mirrors that tempt you to examine or pick at your skin. We recently covered a set of mirrored closet doors that provided way too much insight into our collective pores and imperfections. There are tons of patterns available, ranging from simply frosted to things that look like wallpaper.
- ScarAway is like Wite-out for face pickers. If you give in and squeeze a zit, and end up with drying-out face scab you can’t help touching, cover it overnight (or better yet, for the whole weekend) with a little patch of ScarAway (it’s like a flexible, sticky bandage). It will keep you from touching the scab while it heals, and you will not believe how quickly it heals.
When I’m tired, I rub my eyes. If you do the same thing, consider this yet another reason to get as much immune-boosting sleep as you can.
- Jamieson melatonin strips are a good option for people who want to use melatonin to trigger sleep, but get nightmares if they take too much. (That’s why I don’t use melatonin regularly). Because you can tear these strips up, you can take a tiny amount, and experiment with a dose like 1mg if the usual 3–5mg makes you spin.
- Zarbees melatonin gummies for children are perhaps even more important to my night’s sleep. When I give my son his gummies at bedtime, he sleeps through the night. When I don’t, he wakes me up.
- A contoured sleep mask is an inexpensive way to dramatically improve your sleep quality. It’s much better than those flat beanbag things.
- My Sunbeam heated mattress pad helps me sleep soundly in the winter. Otherwise I wake up freezing in the middle of the night, and (my husband now tells me), whimper myself to sleep by saying, “I’m so cold.”
- This RENPHO foot massager was purchased for my son’s chronically sore feet, but I am telling you, people, this thing is better than melatonin. If I am having any trouble falling asleep, I pop my dogs in here, and after fifteen or twenty minutes I can barely keep my eyes open.
- Peets Nespresso pods are my top pick for an exhaustion emergency. Yes, I could brew a whole pot, but I need my caffeine now, and these are the best pods I’ve found (and I’ve tried many brands). They make Keurig K-cups, too.
When my eyebrows start to regrow after threading, I can’t stop touching the tiny stubbly hairs. Which are, not coincidentally, right above my eyes! I have my own strategies for fighting stubble-related touching, and of course, this is an issue for face-shaving men, too.
- Gilette’s Fusion5 is my husband’s razor, and the Wirecutter says it can shave even better than the Mach 3. My own cheeks don’t lie: The Fusion5 not only helps reduce my husband’s stubble-related fidgeting, but also reduces abrasion on my cheeks, which can tempt me to touch the sore spots!
- Cremo shaving cream is our choice for a nice shave.
- Tweezerman tweezers are game-changers for people who fidget with incoming eyebrow hairs or other strays. I can pluck out annoying proto-hairs with my Tweezerman three to five days before I could get them with any other pair of tweezers I’ve tried — and that’s three to five days I’m not touching those incipient little eyebrow hairs! Tweezerman offers lifetime sharpening but it requires some cleaning and sanitizing so I confess, I just buy I new pair every six months. Some day I will ship my entire backlog in for sharpening and then I’ll have enough sharp tweezers to last a decade.
There is nothing like hair tickling your face to lead to absent-minded hair touching. Even if you’re someone who normally wears your hair loose, I really recommend keeping it off your face for the time being: You glamorous loose-hair types may not realize it, but you are constantly brushing your hair off your face. I know because I watch you in meetings or on talk shows and count how many times you do it. I now have my own hair cut very short, which has nearly eliminated the issue, but back when I had long hair I relied on a few tools to keep my hair reliably out of my face.
- Stretch comb hairband is an easy and reliable way to keep all your hair off your face. They are even handy for us short-haired types: Put one on, let your hair dry naturally, and it will dry off your face.
- Jumbo hair pins are a huge step up from bobby pins if you have thick or curly hair. This is the brand I kept in stock during my long-haired years: I could shove in a couple to keep my hair away from my face, or just jam in a handful for an instant updo.
- Goody Flex barrettes are my recommendation for clipping thick hair away from your face on a day-to-day basis. They are the only barrettes I ever found that could actually hold all my hair. Plus they don’t break, and they’re very neutral looking.
- Goody Stay Tight barrettes (who names these things??) are a better option for finer hair. They are small, neutral-looking and quite durable, as long as you don’t try to jam in a fistful of hair.
One of my kids runs incredibly warm, so in the summer he’s constantly mopping his brow. Here’s how I keep him cool and manage the sweating.
- The SHEEFLY cooling towel is something you wet with cold water and then rinse out. My son can’t tolerate any sensation of dampness but you can stick it in the freezer for the same basic effect.
- A wearable fan shaped like a pair of headphones may sound crazy, but I’m telling you, this saved our ass at Disneyland last summer. It recharges by USB and is a relatively economical way to keep your face cool and sweat-free on a hot day.
- Face blotting papers are a great tool for sopping up shine and giving your face a smooth finish you won’t be tempted to touch or wipe.
When I can’t see clearly I end up adjusting my glasses — which are on my face! which I then touch! Here’s what’s improved the situation.
- Lens wipes keep you from adjusting your glasses or rubbing them on a dirty surface. This enormous box of 400 is serving us well!
- A portable eyeglass repair kit means that rather than pushing those loose glasses up on your nose all day, you can actually tighten them so they stay put.
I am the ultimate supreme fidgeter (just ask anyone who’s been in a room with me), and a lot of that fidgeting gets directed at my face. Nothing has helped me more with my fidgeting, including my face-touching, than learning to knit. Seriously people: Learn to knit.
- This flippy chain fidget is the thing to get if you’re not yet ready to commit to knitting, or if you need to keep something in your pocket for the horrible moments when you can’t knit. (There are fewer of those than you’d think!) I have purchased dozens of fidget for my autistic kiddo but this is the only one I stole because it is so satisfyingly distracting.
- A magic snake makes a good fidget, too, at least for those of us who remember playing with these as kids in the 80s.
- All-natural worsted-weight yarn is what I’d recommend for a first knitting project that can keep your face-touching hands busy! I started with an acrylic blend, and I’ve never finished my first project (a widescarf) because the yarn doesn’t feel nearly as nice as what I’ve learned to use since. Unless you’re self-quarantining, get your yarn at your local yarn store, instead of on Amazon, because you will want to go in there periodically for advice. Then again, maybe this is not a moment when you want to be passing knitting needles back and forth with a helpful knitting store staffer.
- First-time knitting is the beginner book recommended by The Spruce Crafts site, but honestly, YouTube probably has all you need to get started.
- Addi’s size 8 circular needles are a good starter size, and you’ll use them forever; I find knitting much easier on circular needles (you just knit back and forth, and ignore the cord) and I find Addi’s metal needles more comfortable to use than anything else I’ve tried.
- Addi’s interchangeable needle set is the thing to get once you’re a knitting addict and spend all the time you used to spend touching your face knitting instead.
When you order your anti-face-touching goodies from Amazon they will arrive at a box that has likely been touched by at least a couple of human hands (and a lot of robot hands). So along with all the anti-itch, anti-dry, anti-fidget purchases I’ve recommended above, let me suggest on more item:
- Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap is what you’ll find in our bathrooms and kitchen, in either lavender or geranium scent. Whenever I finish opening an Amazon package, I use it to wash my hands for twenty long seconds.