Now that there is some—albeit incredibly vague—info on how we can reenter the world when coronavirus finally GTFO, I am feeling eager to get my skin back on track. I don’t know about you, but when I go out to dinner with my friends for the first time after being locked in my apartment for what will be at least two months, I want to glow. Luckily for me, Sephora’s annual spring sale is upon us! As always, Sephora is offering different deals and savings for each of their three member tiers. From April 17th through May 1st, Rouge members can save 20%; from April 21st through April 29th, VIB members can save 15%; and from April 23rd through April 27th, Insider members can save 10%. I am a proud Rouge member, so let’s f*cking do this.
If you’ve read any of my articles, you know that there are more skin care products in my medicine cabinet than there are food items in my pantry. I have no shame in my game. It took years of trial-and-error to discover which products are the best, so you can trust I know what I’m talking about when it comes to my recommendations.
The only YouTube channel I subscribe to is Klossy, which belongs to, you guessed it, Karlie Kloss. I don’t care who she’s married to, I love her and will continue to do so for the rest of my days. Anyway, Karlie has the best skin I’ve ever seen, so when she recommended this night serum, you better believe I went out and bought it, and I am happy to report that it works. My skin isn’t really problematic, but I want that dewy, plump look, and that’s what this serum delivers.
Like any skin care product, though, you have to use it consistently and for a while before you start to see the effects take hold. I started to notice how good my complexion looked after about three weeks. It’s incredibly moisturizing, smells delicious, and it’s the perfect consistency. What else you got, Karlie??
I buy this twice a year for one specific purpose: visiting my parents in Florida. My skin may be able to withstand the pollution and whatever the f*ck is coming out of manholes in New York, but it cannot deal with the Florida humidity. My skin gets really oily and then I start to break out, so I visit my parents pretty infrequently. The one thing that absolutely saved my skin is this specific charcoal mask. I have tried about 10 types of charcoal masks in my lifetime, and this Clinique one is that actually works.
It feels like you’re spreading a thick, goopy paste on your face, but after about 30 minutes, it dries and hardens and, something magical happens in that phase of the mask. When I rinse it off, my skin is soft and supple with zero traces of excess oil. I’m obsessed.
This product was my first foray into skin care. I bought it when I was a sophomore in college after talking to a Bloomingdale’s salesperson for way too long. As the name suggests, this is a very lightweight moisturizer that falls between a gel and a cream. Because it’s so lightweight, it’s perfect for summer. Also, all Bobbi Brown moisturizers are made with a built-in primer, so you can save a few seconds in the morning when you’re getting ready.
This toner is another Karlie recommendation for when you’re traveling, because planes really dry your skin out. Before I went on my study abroad trip, I asked my mom to get it for me and she said, and I quote, “Who do you think you are? You’re not a jet-setter!” Rude. To spite her, I bought it for myself and I have no regrets. I use it as a toner and spritz it on my face right before I put on my moisturizer.
My dermatologist suggested that I massage my moisturizer into my skin while it’s still damp from the toner because it will absorb better, which makes sense because, if you think of your skin like a sponge, it won’t absorb a thick cream when it’s bone-dry. This doesn’t really do much, but it smells amazing, isn’t that expensive, and it’s something else I have in common with Karlie Kloss.
I recently learned that vitamin C is an essential ingredient in skin products for anyone who wants nice skin. I incorporated it via an eye cream because I wanted to test it on a small area before I introduced it to my whole face. Safe to say, it works! This eye cream is really moisturizing, which is important because the skin around your eyes is much thinner than the rest of your face and is usually the first to show signs of aging. Yikes! Using a product that protects against free radicals (something vitamin C does) and moisturizes is a really good way to slow down aging around the eyes. It also smells fantastic.
Until I tried this mask, I always thought sheet masks were kind of stupid. Like, you pay all of this money for something you use once for a few minutes then throw away. Then I tried this mask and I’m questioning everything I once believed to be true! Tatcha is a brand you’ll likely find in any high-end natural beauty store, and the products are 100% worth it. This mask is made with vitamin E, fatty acids, nutrient-rich rice, ginseng (which has a calming effect), and a bunch of other sh*t that gives you an instant glow.
And for anyone who’s wondering, sheet masks are packed with nutrient-rich serums that absorb best into your skin when you’re wearing the sheet and looking like Hannibal Lecter, but the serum is still very much on your skin when you take the sheet off, so they aren’t exactly a waste.
Dior Lip Glow, $34
I am weirdly specific when it comes to a tinted lip product: it can’t be sticky, it has to be the perfect shade, and it has to last through my morning coffee. This Dior lip product is literally perfect. First of all, it’s incredibly moisturizing. Secondly, it goes on clear and within a few seconds, changes color due to a bunch of science I don’t really understand. For me, it transforms into rosy pink with a coral undertone, but for my friend, it becomes more of a purple color. I’m truly baffled by this magic, but I won’t question it.
Until recently, I was a firm believer in all cleansers being the same, so paying more than a drugstore price was unnecessary. This cleanser is the definition of a super basic (in a good way) product that does exactly what it says it’s going to do. Wet your face and massage this into your skin for a few seconds and rinse off with warm water. Boom! You’re cleansed! It leaves your face feeling soft and clean, but without stripping your skin. I’ve said this before, but if your face feels tight and dry, your cleanser is too harsh!
Double cleansing is an important part of any skin care-lover’s daily routine. The first step involves taking off your makeup and the second one is cleansing. This Clinique balm is unparalleled at removing makeup, so I highly recommend getting yourself a tub ASAP. It has the consistency of soft wax, but it works. Scoop a little out with your fingertips and move it around in your hand to break it down a little. Then, once it’s slightly softened, move it around your face and it literally melts your makeup right off. Don’t believe me? Use this then dab a clean white towel on your face and you won’t see any residual makeup!
This purchase was a catch-22 because, on the one hand, authentic tans are horrible for your skin, but on the other, my natural skin tone is concerningly white. This self-tanner is unreal and legit impossible to f*ck up. I always strayed from self-tanner because I feel like it always looks fake and streaky—especially on people’s wrists, ankles, elbows and knees. This, though, is different! You mix a few drops with your go-to lotion and then spread it all over your body and it always turns out even and natural-looking. I’ve used this on my legs many, many times and I’m always impressed with how good it looks.
Images: Mercy / Unsplash; Sephora (10)
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If you’re a makeup lover, or if you simply don’t live under a rock, you know who Bobbi Brown is. Brown transformed the beauty industry by creating cosmetics to highlight a woman’s natural look, instead of trying to hide it. This sounds like a no-brainer for us now, but back in 1990, it was pretty f*cking revolutionary. She started her career by creating 10 simple, natural looking lipsticks that evolved into what is now a beauty empire. After leaving Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in 2016, Brown returned to her passion of focusing on life and wellness as she authored nine books, launched her lifestyle brand Beauty Evolution, her editorial site justBOBBI.com, and a line of wellness and beauty ingestible products titled EVOLUTION_18 (including, of course, a CBD gummy). She also imparts her wisdom on MasterClass, where subscribers can watch her perform makeup tutorials, describe her beauty philosophies, and teach lessons and tips to key makeup fundamentals. So, who better to ask about what beauty mistakes people make than a beauty icon, trailblazer, and entrepreneur?
There’s a reason conventional wisdom tells us to put our best face forward, and the reason Brown’s top beauty mistake is not about lipstick, or eyeliner, but about what people see first: your face. We’ve seen it in just about every Jersey Shore cast photo since the beginning of time: foundation and concealer that don’t match the skin tone. Brown has seen it, too, and cites it as the top beauty mistake she notices: “people who wear the wrong color foundation and concealer” is her number-one no-no. Another serious faux pas? “So many women will either skip concealer, which is really bad, or they will put a concealer on that’s too light and it just looks like a raccoon.” Ouch.
There are a few reasons Brown often sees people sporting the wrong shade concealer or foundation, which, thankfully, means it’s easy to fix. Number one is simply misunderstanding the purpose of these products. Brown explains, “the reason we wear foundation is to even out our skin, and not try to change the color of it.” So don’t get all aspirational during the winter by buying a shade you know is too tan for you—that’s what bronzer is for.
yeah i'm wild. yeah i like to gamble. yeah i like to order new foundation online despite having never tried that particular brand before and therefore having no idea about their shade range and whether or not the color would match me. yeah i'm crazy.
— sophie (@pixievalkyrie) December 4, 2019
Another culprit? Rushing the process and not taking the right care to find the perfect match, including not trying on foundation on your actual face. Brown emphasizes, “the only way to find the right color foundation is actually trying it on the side of your face—not your hand, not your inner arm—and if it disappears it’s the right color.” Which means, yes, actually trying out the foundation before buying it and not just hoping you’ll get it right. “You have to put in a little time and energy into choosing the right foundation,” Brown says, adding, “it’s hard to just buy something off of Instagram because you don’t know what actually works.” Adding that foundation or concealer to your cart is obviously fine if it’s the go-to shade you’ve been wearing for years, but if you’re trying it out for the first time, be warned that going off the color on your computer screen is a risk.
The good news is that while choosing the right foundation can be tricky, it’s not rocket science. First things first, Brown stresses the importance of having a good base, and that means going for an inside-out approach. She says, “Start with good skin. Make sure you’re eating properly and put your moisturizer on before you do anything else.” And here I am with my million serums and toners—who knew that just eating right and moisturizing would give me good skin? In all seriousness, Brown says, “for someone that’s been both a beauty expert, a makeup artist, and a health coach, the healthier your skin is the less makeup you need.”
if anyone is shopping for gifts for me, I wear Fenty foundation shade 185 and dollar size $185 as well
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) December 17, 2019
She also notes the importance of assessing how your foundation looks in the daylight so you can make sure it’s the same exact shade as your skin. And, if you’re using a bronzer, it needs to “tint your skin so it blends to your neck and your chest,” lest you avoid looking like Dorian Tyrell in The Mask, or Paris Hilton in the early 2000s. On top of that, recognize that you might be wearing too much makeup, or simply applying it in the wrong places. In Brown’s opinion, all you may need to do is “Throw on a quick concealer under your eyes, and really just use your foundation to touch areas that are red.” I’m someone who basically paints a mask on using my foundation, but Brown assures me, “you don’t need it all over.”
Overall, the key to wearing the right makeup, Brown emphasizes, is confidence. She says, “whatever your style, make sure you feel good when you look in the mirror.” She adds, “some people look great in a red lip, some people look great in a cat-eye, and other people look best in a nude face. So really, it’s about style and preference and if you’re comfortable with it, then you are confident.” Choose the makeup or style that brings out your natural beauty and make you feel fabulous. Then, you will shine.
Images: pixievalkyrie, betchesluvthis / Twitter