Halle Berry’s Esthetician Shares Tips To Get Her Glowing Skin

The typical quarantine routine consists of overeating, sleeping, and skin care. I don’t know about you, but I’ve mastered the overeating and sleeping segments and am now ready to take on skin care. Since spa getaways are a no-go these days, the assumption is that we have to forgo certain luxuries, like facials. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. Take it from Halle Berry—she’s doing the quarantine life just like the rest of us and hasn’t sacrificed a second of her skin care. Seriously, her glowing skin is what dreams are made of. (Just look at her.) But how does she do it? 

Turns out she gets by with a little help from her esthetician. Berry recently treated us all to a special self-care Sunday with an inside look at her at-home facial routine. The 15-minute tutorial features a fresh-faced Berry applying face masks to her already flawless skin, guided by her go-to skin guru. Since we haven’t all become master estheticians in quarantine yet, I figured it was time to turn to a specialist—specifically, Halle Berry’s skin specialist—to get the insider secrets on everything skin care.

Glow Up

The woman behind Berry’s glowing complexion is celebrity esthetician Olga Lorencin. Olga, aka The Acid Queen, breaks down Berry’s skin care regimen, telling Betches, “Her standard routine is very simple, but it’s consistent.” If I’ve learned anything in all my years, it’s that simplicity is key in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to your skin. So is consistency (things I whisper in the mirror to force myself to wash off my makeup after a night out). Lorencin says, “She uses a rehydrating cleanser morning and night along with a rebalancing toner and a lactic acid hydrating serum.” She also adds that Berry is “very in tune with her skin”, something I hope to say about myself one day.

 

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This is an EXTRA special #SelfCareSunday, you know why? Because I’m finally introducing you to my ultimate skincare secret. Her name is @Olgalorencinskincare, and today? We’ll be showing a facial you can DIY with one of her at-home kits! During COVID I haven’t seen her in forever so I’m VERY excited. 😂⁣ ⁣ I definitely stand by the investment of Olga’s at home kits, BUT if you’re looking for a more affordable option? Olga loves a simple at-home recipe – ⁣ ⁣ 𝐈𝐍𝐆𝐑𝐄𝐃𝐈𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐒: ⁣ ⁣ 1 tsp Full-Fat Greek Yogurt (vegan option = coconut yogurt) ⁣ ⁣ 1 tsp Honey ⁣ ⁣ For Dry Skin – add a slice of avocado + a few drops of avocado oil⁣ ⁣ For Acneic Skin – add a bit of powdered charcoal. ⁣ ⁣ Option – add a few drops of Chlorophyll to fight breakouts and reduce inflammation ⁣ ⁣ 𝐃𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒: ⁣ ⁣ 1. Mix ingredients together into a bowl ⁣ 2. Massage into clean skin (face AND neck) ⁣ 3. Leave on for 15-20 minute ⁣ ⁣ Note: for best results, relax in the bath or in a steamy shower for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off. This mask is rich in probiotics, which are very helpful with skin balancing and congestion. The honey is a natural humectant – it attracts water from the air to your skin.⁣ ⁣ Enjoy and happy Sunday!! ☀️

A post shared by Halle Berry (@halleberry) on

While having a crazy amount of skin envy over celebrities is fine, it’s important to focus on and figure out your own skin needs. However, that’s often easier said than done, and according to Lorencin, figuring out what your skin needs is the most difficult part for most people. It can be especially tricky to nail down what your skin needs if you don’t have any particularly concerning issues. But whether you have clear skin or not, nobody is immune to the frustrations of establishing a successful skin care routine. So, like all those brand marketing emails we received in April, we’re all in this together! The Acid Queen recommends, “If the products that you are using are working, stick with it. However, if you have a skin condition or concern, see an esthetician so they can figure out what you need.” When in doubt, always seek out a specialist. 

Routine Rundown 

And the secret to flawless skin care is—drumroll please—it depends. (Sorry, that probably wasn’t worth a drumroll, but it was fun, wasn’t it?) On anti-aging, Lorencin says, “It can vary vastly from person to person, but de-aging ingredients are universally the same. It just depends on how we use them and in what combination.” 

When it comes to how many products we should be stocking up on, Lorencin advises, “As little products as possible, anywhere from 4-10. Don’t overdo it! Layers upon layers will just cancel each other out or cause your skin to be confused.” Lorencin continues, “Buying random skin care products produces random results.” This probably means that the bucket of youth promising serums under my bathroom sink isn’t quite as effective as I had initially hoped. 

Lorencin also breaks down the different products that we should be using in the morning versus at night. “At night, it’s a good time to use retinols and exfoliating products that contain AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid). In the morning, it’s a good time to use antioxidants like Vitamin C, whereas hydrating and collagen building products can be used both day and night, such as peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acids, etc.” 

In addition to applying the proper blend of serums and lotions, your face can also benefit from an occasional massage. Facial massages are an effective measure for pampering yourself with some much needed TLC. Lorencin explains that, when done properly, facial massages can reduce puffiness and help prevent wrinkles. 

Facial Features

Move over, cucumbers—the at-home facial has received a serious upgrade. From professional kits to DIY recipes, there are endless possibilities to soothe your skin and turn any day into a self-care day. According to Lorencin, step one of doing a facial at home is “making sure you are using facial masks on exfoliated skin, or they won’t do very much.” Help yourself get the best results by allowing the mask to easily find its way to your clean skin. Once your skin is prepped, you can then opt for either a homemade or professional facial mix, depending on your budget. 

Weighing the pros and cons of each method, Lorencin says, “Homemade masks are nice and won’t cause side effects, but they also most likely won’t produce very transformational results.” For more noticeable results, you may want to consider investing in a professional facial kit. It may be more pricey, but getting skin like Halle Berry? Priceless. (Actually, it’s more like $98, but you get the idea.)

While Lorencin has created facial kits for Halle Berry-level results, she also favors an easy and delicious at-home recipe that you can make with ingredients found in your kitchen (or borrowed from your hot neighbor). All you need is 1 teaspoon of full-fat Greek yogurt (substitute coconut yogurt for a vegan option), and 1 teaspoon of honey. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can also add in a slice of avocado and a few drops of avocado oil to soothe dry skin or a dash of powdered charcoal for acneic skin. According to Berry and Lorencin’s IGTV video, adding a few drops of chlorophyll to either mix can help fight breakouts and reduce inflammation. The next step is to apply the mask (obvi) to your face and neck—don’t neglect your neck!—and leave on for the standard 15 to 20 minutes. Lorencin also advises limiting homestyle facials to once or twice a week. Treat yourself, but don’t overdo it. Balance, baby. 

Honestly, when it comes to skin care, just do whatever Halle Berry does. 

Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com; halleberry / Instagram

What Happened When I Ditched My Complicated Skin Care Routine

I first started hearing the words “skin care diet” back in January, when everyone was trying out their favorite wellness hack in honor of the new year. The premise was simple: after ODing on expensive skin care products and indulging in complicated, ten-step routines, some consumers were now deciding to scale back the time and money spent on skin care. Ironically enough, the skin care diet trend (or “minimalist skin care routine”) is also a K-Beauty trick—specifically, one invented to “decrease irritation” caused by overly complicated, multi-step routines. By paring back down to the bare minimum, the theory goes, you’ll slowly coach your skin back to life.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a trend at all if everyone’s 10-step routines were going perfectly. Vice interviewed a number of people embarking on their own skin care diets, and all affirmed that, ultimately, the fancy, active ingredient-laden products they had been so excited to buy only made things worse. For several of these skin care dieters, they only realized there was an issue after seeing a dermatologist—others realized after a change in environment, where they were temporarily separated from their skin care products, made them realize that layering on serums wasn’t the best way to control their skin.

me: skincare!
my other organs: please help us .

— sam (@smeezi) July 26, 2017

For the dermatologists Vice spoke with, this is an increasingly common occurrence. Rachael Cayce, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles, said she’ll have patients come in who list arsenals of 15+ products they’re using—daily. Cayce invariably tells them to cut back: “I see 30 patients a day and I’m having this conversation with 15 of them,” she says. “Usually what I’m doing is just decreasing their products.” KraveBeauty founder Liah Yoo agrees that this decrease is necessary. “People have been piling on so many different products that they’ve developed redness, sensitivity, and even worse—contact dermatitis,” she shares. That’s why she’s now recommending a simple routine of cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. The key? No “harsh active ingredients.”

I had my own come-to-Jesus moment a few months back, when my skin—for lack of a better term—shut down. All my special toners, moisturizers, and anti-redness gels, so lovingly applied, sat on top of my skin: refusing to sink in, and (I imagine) laughing at me. I had many theories about why this was happening, and like a devoted skin care student, I ran right to my dermatologist. This is the first and only time I’ll dermatologist bash (maybe she was having an off day!) but essentially, she told me it was all hormonal, that oil production increases as you get older (rude!), and that I should (I’m paraphrasing) chill out. Then she gave me some moisturizer samples (score) and sent me on my way.

My derm to me:

do a face mask and move on

— ?? (@romanrochelle) January 16, 2017

As anyone who’s read my articles on mental health will know, “chilling out” is not something I engage in lightly. Instead, I remembered the accounts of skin care diets that I’d read back in January (this Byrdie one and this Very Good Light one I both find a little excessive, but solid). While the accounts I read still included products like serums and essences in their scaled-back routines, I stuck with the bare-bones approach recommended by Yoo: cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. My only addition was twice-daily Finacea, a dermatologist-prescribed rosacea treatment I didn’t care to live without. Yoo also recommends that you don’t wash your face at all for a full week to “reset” your skin before starting. But in the interest of not losing my job, I opted out of that step too. Finally, most of the skin care diet plans I read about recommend not washing your face in the morning—just using a swipe of toner or micellar water.

me w/ scars,acne, oil: cleanser, toner, gel, moisturizer, topical cream
person w/ smooth clear skin: i use water sometimes soap pic.twitter.com/8KYumMwPNd

— have analis’s kids (@AK1NNA) April 4, 2017

The results? I bet you wish I had pictures, but to be honest, the biggest change wasn’t something that would show up on camera. After about a week, my face finally felt smooth to the touch again. Not sticky with stubborn moisturizer residue, not greasy with excess oil production, and not that super-pleasant roughness I’ll sometimes get in dry patches on my cheeks. In the end, I wasn’t using so many excess products I needed to cut out: I wistfully stopped using my amazing-smelling toner, I stopped cleansing and moisturizing in the morning (but still applied SPF!), and I chilled out on the drugstore masks I’d been applying three times a week.

To be honest, I was shocked that this actually made a difference—I’d been thinking of the toner as my saving grace all winter. Maybe my dermatologist was (partly) right and I’d had a hormone shift, or maybe the warmer weather was making my skin react different. Either way, I spend less time on skin care than I have in years, and tragically, it did the trick. My skin’s not suddenly a luminous, pore-less version of itself (I’m still convinced I would need Kylie-level money and a team of professionals to achieve that): but the stubborn texture problems I was having finally went away.

the first person to exfoliate their face had 2 have done it accidentally right, like tripped and face planted in the sand- wow feels smooth!

— pw (@petewentz) September 13, 2017

Like I said before: no one would be doing this if they were already reaping the benefits of a rich and full skin care routine. All the people who wrote skin care diet accounts were dealing with inflammation, flare ups, and acne that none of their products could fix—and that’s when they opted for a reset. So if you’re happy with your skin care products, please don’t throw out $400 worth of moisturizer after reading this. (Send it to me instead, for when I decide to switch things up again in a month.) If you’ve been cycling in new serums for as long as you can remember, and are still struggling with flare ups, though, a skin care diet could be exactly what you need.

Images: @smeezi ; @AK1NNA ; @romanrochelle ; @petewentz / Twitter

This Is The Best Order For Your Skincare Routine

Judging from all the “gifts to give yourself” guides out there this season, I gather I’m not alone in treating December as “spend yourself blind” month. (Also: go get the Skin Laundry facial that list recommends; it’s amazing.) And what better way to spend a sh*t ton of money invest in yourself than by amping up your skincare routine? In the past two weeks, I’ve added a serum, a facial oil, and an “elixir” to my fairly basic four-step routine. But within twelve hours of my exciting new purchases, I realized I had no idea how to use them correctly. Skincare products all tend to list “apply daily to clean, dry skin,” but that’s about it. So, in an attempt to not waste my new goodies, I actually sat down and researched. Here’s what I’ve learned about the best order for your skincare routine.

Step 1: Cleanser

All authorities I consulted concurred on this. The first step in any skincare routine should be cleaning your face. If this strikes you as surprising, then I have the perfect gift for you. Enjoy!

Step 2: Toner

Byrdie offers a little dissent here, suggesting that Step 2 should be exfoliator, not toner. However, my skincare-savvy readers will know well that not all skin types require and/or take well to regular use of an exfoliant. And very few exfoliants are suitable for anyone for daily use. (You can go shave your back now Byrdie!) Anyway, exfoliate if you need to, but consider it part of the cleansing step of your routine. Toner then clears away any remaining makeup/product, as well as doing whatever else the bottle promises (tightening pores, evening skin tone, giving you eternal life, etc.).

I’ve written more about toner types here, but Cosmo offers a key tip I’ll include. If your toner contains an AHA (like glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (like salicylic acid), you’ll want to wait a “full five minutes” before moving on to your next step. Otherwise, you’ll neutralize the acids, rendering the active ingredient useless. (Moment of silence for all the toner I’ve wasted on my face please.)

Me @ my toner:

Step 3: Serums/Eye Cream

Once again, all my sources voted to use a serum as step 3. Cosmo describes serums as “shots of extremely concentrated nutrients, hydrators, and antioxidants.” Like with toner, you’ll want to pick the specific one based on your skin’s needs. The one I’ve recently invested in contains Vitamin C, a common dermatologist recommendation. But you can also use different serums in the morning and at night, in which case you could swap in a hydrating serum at night. Again, all depends on your skin.

Eye cream, which I’ve realized over the course of my research is still lacking in my skincare routine, is a slightly more conflicted issue. Cosmo says to apply after serum and before moisturizer, since eye cream “tends to be lighter and thinner,” and can’t “penetrate thicker products,” AKA your moisturizer. Dermstore suggests using it before serums in the morning, but after serums at night. (And it stresses the importance of applying twice daily from a young age—good thing I have endless money and time, am I right??) For Dermstore, the key thing is to apply eye cream before your “treatments” (more on that in a minute), to “protect your eye area against potent ingredients.” Both of these rules make logical sense to me, so if your serums has potentially irritating ingredients, do eye cream first. And def do it before moisturizer.

Side note: this research has also convinced me that I’ve been applying my new serums at the wrong time, in addition to neutralizing my toner.

Step 4: Treatment

If you’re thinking “treatment? what’s that?” you either have perfect skin and I hate you, or you need to get to a dermatologist ASAP. “Treatment” can refer to a spot treatment (active ingredients will vary depending on whether you’re treating acne scars or regular old pimples), or prescription treatments for acne or rosacea. (For example, I use my Finacea foam for rosacea during this step—though for the past two weeks I’ve been using it before my serum. Ugh.)

Dermstore again recommends different things for your night routine here. At night, they suggest you add any “mists, essences, beauty waters, or hydrating (hyaluronic acid) serums” to your toner step—applying “from thinnest to thickest.” (I can’t really begin to wrap my head around what those products are, but Dermstore sums them up as “skin care boosters” whose purpose is “mainly to hydrate.” Cool.) Then, Dermstore recommends chasing your nightly eye cream with whatever treatment serum your skin needs that night. So, not just blindly slathering on every product you own (strike three for me).

Specifically, they advise against using an exfoliating treatment (AHA/BHA pads, peels) the same night as any prescription meds or retinol creams, since the potency can quickly become irritating. And they recommend using an exfoliating treatment no more than three times a week. In simpler terms, it sounds like alternating a prescription treatment or retinol with an exfoliating treatment is the best way to go.

Step 5: Moisturizer/Face Oil

Once you’ve gotten to moisturizer, you know you’re nearly there. (Good job! Now you just have a 16-step makeup routine to get through). For your nighttime routine, Dermstore recommends adding face oil before your moisturizer, with the warning note that “if you are using the right moisturizer…nothing is going to get through it.” Cosmo, however, vehemently disagrees, stating “no products can penetrate an oil, which means they need to be applied last.” Cosmo also recommends putting a retinol-based product between moisturizer and face oil, while Dermstore lumps in retinols with your pre-moisturizer treatments. One of my new products is a face oil that contains retinol, so no matter what I do I’ll be f*cking up one of these rules.

My best advice here is to try it both ways (the order of your oil/moisturizer/retinol), and see what feels best to you. Since oils and moisturizers vary in thickness and active ingredients (and everyone’s skin is different!), do whatever feels best for your face. In my case, I’ve found that mixing the face oil with moisturizer is most effective for absorbing both products.

Step 6: Sunscreen

This is a morning-only rule, obvs, but it’s also one you need to follow every single day. Is it annoying? Yes. Does it feel like it will solve all your problems, like serums and essences do? It does not. But just do it, because otherwise you’ll get dark spots and sun damage that only a laser can fix. And that’s way more expensive than even the fanciest sunscreen option.

Hilary Duff may not be able to name babies, but she can still give good skincare advice!

What have I learned from this article? Well, I’ve wasted at least $50 of skincare products in the past week, that’s for sure. And my vague inkling that I was loading on too many products every day was validated. My final note here is that if any of this advice goes against what a dermatologist has told you—go with the dermatologist. My dermatologist gave me the simple outline of “cleanse, treat, moisturize, sunscreen,” and actively warned me against incorporating anything else. It’s only because I’ve followed her advice faithfully for six months that I feel comfortable building back in other products. So, listen to your doctor, listen to what your skin tells you, and if you have an eye cream you like, hit me up in the comments—I’ll be spending the rest of my afternoon shopping.

Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (4)

Skin Care Diaries: My Four-Step Routine For Highly Sensitive Skin

As you can probably tell from the title, this skin care diary entry will be less sexy than others we’ve published. Welcome to the world of sensitive skin. I graduated college a little over two years ago, and it’s been an absolute whirlwind watching my skin and metabolism compete over who can deteriorate faster. I’ve never suffered from serious acne (*knocks on every piece of wood in the tri-state area*), but my post-grad skin has offered up plenty of dullness, dryness, and increasingly visible pores. I also developed what I refer to as “my problem cheek,” and my dermatologist refers to as “rosacea.” Basically, one stubborn patch on my face is perpetually red with some bumps—not quite pimples but just not smooth.

Before I finally caved and saw a dermatologist about it, I was convinced I had chronically dry skin and was layering on fancy oil-based serums and thick moisturizers every night. I genuinely believed that the more I spent on a skin care product, the better it was for me. But here’s the honest, tragic truth about my (highly sensitive) skin. Just about anything I do to it beyond doctor-recommended cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer only makes it worse. As my dermatologist explained, the rosacea means that my skin barrier is damaged. So any products I’m applying don’t actually soak in. They just settle in the top layer, creating that fun bumpy texture I was describing.

Long story short, many of the fun, bougie skin care products I’d love to try are off-limits to me. All those “intensely moisturizing” products I used to swear by? They make my oil-prone areas worse, and ultimately clog my pores. Any physical exfoliants just activate my redness-prone rosacea patches. And forget about face makeup. Any time I go for a full face of foundation, or—God forbid—highlighter, which I seem to be allergic to in every brand, I accept that my skin’s overall appearance will take a hit for the next three days. So, I’ve worked very hard to assemble a routine that keeps my sensitive AF skin smooth, even, and pimple-free. If your skin is more dramatic about a change in routine than you are when asked to attend a 9am meeting, read on. Here are the products I’ve found really work.

My sensitive skin every time I try to introduce a new product:

My Routine

Face Wash: I wash my face morning and night with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it, and it makes my face feel crazy soft. I’ll double cleanse on days when I bothered to put on make-up, or if I skipped my routine the night before. And while I’m sure that a Clarisonic or the equivalent would make it even more effective, I frankly just do not have the time or patience to use one. Plus, I kind of hate reusable skin care accessories because I’m a germophobe and convinced they’re growing bacteria. This is a problem I imagine could be alleviated by like, cleaning it, but once again I am lazy/perpetually short on time.

Toner: I follow (most) cleanses with Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract toner. In the words of my dermatologist, it’s “not really doing anything,” but she graciously invited me to finish the bottle I’d just purchased. Despite her (rude) commentary, I like the idea of an additional cleansing step while living in the cesspool of dirt known as New York City. Also, it smells refreshing and makes me feel fancy. As I mentioned before, most products that fit that description give me some kind of weird reaction, so I really appreciate the ones that don’t.

Prescription: Once my doc determined that problem cheek = rosacea, I was given a prescription for an azelaic acid called Finacea Foam. It treats the redness and bumps caused by rosacea, and I use it twice a day after cleansing and before moisturizing. While it hasn’t 100% cleared up the problem, I’ve gone from having bumps spread across both cheeks to one small patch (damn you, problem cheek!). The overall texture has also greatly improved, and what was once a weird blotchy redness now shows up as more of a flush after hot showers/working out. Highly recommend.

Spot Treatment: This is not dermatologist-approved behavior, but if I see a pimple coming on I’ll dab some spot treatment with salicylic acid on the area before locking it all in with moisturizer. It’s a little annoying because I have to wait for an additional layer to dry, but fully worth it if you can stop a burgeoning zit in its tracks. If I go a little too nuts and start using it daily I end up getting dry and triggering some redness, but in moderation I find this kind of product to work wonders. My two faves are Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel.

Sunscreen: I use EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 every morning, at my dear dermatologist’s behest. Apparently rosacea can be triggered by sun exposure, so I guess this plays a role in calming it down. Honestly, I struggle to get excited about any product from which I don’t see immediate effects, but I know it’s good for me and I feel lightly smug for using it for that reason. Also, it sinks in quickly enough and replaces my moisturizer in the morning.

Moisturizer: I use CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion every night and some mornings, depending on how dry my skin is feeling. I love it because it’s lightweight, has the same silky feel as their cleanser, and doesn’t sit on top of my skin like all those fancy jar moisturizers I was buying for years did. Does it make me feel rich and chic? No, but it also doesn’t cost me $50 every six weeks, and my skin is way softer. I’ll take it.

Serum: Eminence Facial Recovery Oil. My dermatologist all but begged me to throw this out (in her words, “I don’t think more oil is what you need right now”). But I’ll still dab a little on my forehead every now and then because I can’t help myself. Nose, chin, and cheeks are off-limits for this riskier product, but I’ll mix a little in with my moisturizer and apply to my forehead a few times a week. It smells amazing and my sister swears it’s improved her fine lines.

Wednesday

Morning: Cleanser, toner, Finacea, sunscreen. I have a week-old pimple on my cheek, and last night I put on a bunch of spot treatment and extra Tretinoin on the area, plus Neosporin since I keep picking it open. (Don’t @ me, it works.) The pimple is finally fading from view, but I see two to three more bumps lurking below the surface. Problem Cheek, will you ever set me free??? I’ve tried changing pillowcases, changing what side I sleep on, never holding my phone to that side of my face… nothing works. I take a few pictures in hopes of taking you on a visual journey, but I’m on week 7 of a 10-week shoot and the bags under my eyes/general lifeless demeanor are a little much to take.

Evening: Cleanser, Finacea, moisturizer. No spot cream or toner because I just worked 14 hours. Moisturizer I applied lying down maybe three seconds before passing out. I manage to apply more Neosporin to my cheek spot, though, because at this point I’ve been wrangling it for nearly 10 days and it’s all I can think about. To anyone reading this: do not pick your face until it bleeds, no matter how fun and genuinely helpful it seems in the moment! I fall asleep praying it will heal overnight.

My poor, picked-at skin:

Thursday

Thursday morning I don’t have to be at work until 9am. This would be better news if it didn’t mean I’ll be there until 11pm. However, the extra time in the morning means I can cleanse, tone, apply Finacea, and put on sunscreen all in the comfort of my home. I’m sad to admit I sometimes apply sunscreen on the subway, which I am aware makes me gross. I have a thing about layering products too quickly. I worry I’m just diluting one product with another if I don’t give them time to dry. If I’m totally wrong on this, PLEASE call me out in the comments. I would love to stop putting on sunscreen with hands that just touched subway poles.

I’m not home until 11:40pm, as expected. As I dutifully cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize, I realize something miraculous. Cheek pimple is, if not totally invisible, highly faded. Neosporin saves the day again. I stare at my nearly clear cheek and think about how I definitely would have skipped washing my face tonight if I weren’t writing this diary. This makes me think I should start journaling my food, too. Then I eat four bite-size candy bars I stole from work and fall asleep.

Friday

Today is an exciting skincare day for you all! I’m working from home until 6:30, so I don’t get out of bed until 11. I don’t do anything to my face because I want to work out first, a dream it takes me two hours and 15 minutes of yoga to give up on. I wash my face in the shower, then put on Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. It’s my go-to for all generalist, make-my-skin-look better needs. It’s great for calming down redness and inflammation, improves overall tone, and just makes your skin look clear.

After, my skin is looking the best it has all week. The cheek pimple is totally gone, and those bumps I was complaining about on Wednesday seem to have died down too. I add toner, Finacea, and sunscreen. After sunscreen, I add my new favorite no-makeup makeup product: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This is the closest thing to foundation I can wear without triggering a breakout, and despite being sheer, I swear to God it visibly blurs away my flaws. Friday night, I cleanse/Finacea/maybe moisturize? I spent my evening getting high and watching Vanderpump Rules, so I honestly don’t remember. I do remember eating a Twix bar at 1am and thinking the single greatest thing I could do for my health is cut down on sugar, so take that as you will.

Me: I should cut down on sugar!
Also me every time I go out:

Saturday/Sunday

Saturday morning, I cleanse and tone, and get dressed in a rush waiting for toner to dry. Then I add Finacea and try to find my insurance card for a doctor’s appointment for 10 minutes. Two hours later, I remember to moisturize—hope it still counts for something. No sunscreen today, oops. Saturday night I make a genuine attempt to go out. But I still end up asleep on the couch before midnight. At least I manage to wash my face before crashing. I tell myself I’ll put on Finacea and moisturizer in bed. I don’t.

Sunday morning I’ve slept for an annoyingly long time. I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize—no sunscreen. My skin’s feeling dry since I fell asleep without moisturizing the night before, and I don’t really plan on spending time outside anyway. I go to the movies, where I realize the junk food and half-hearted skin care Saturday has resulted in two new bumps rearing their heads on Problem Cheek. I tell myself I’ll do a mask and spot treatments that night. Instead, I drink two margaritas at 5pm, and barely manage to cleanse/tone/Finacea/moisturize. I suck.

Monday

I wake up at 4:30am, regretting Sunday’s margaritas with every bone in my body. I seriously consider quitting my job for five minutes, then get out of bed and cleanse, tone, Finacea, sunscreen. Monday night, I get home “early” (7pm), and treat myself to some salicylic acid spot treatment following my cleanse/Finacea/moisturizer routine. No toner because I’m already tired at the prospect of the spot treatment, but the bumps I saw at the movie theater Sunday don’t seem to be going anywhere on their own.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and liberally apply sunscreen to try and make up for the fact that I don’t have time to apply moisturizer (and wait for it to dry). At work, I read a different skin care diary in which someone who clearly has more money and better skin than me also swears by salicylic acid for clearing breakouts. Even though the salicylic acid product is the only one in her routine I can remotely afford, I allow myself a brief moment of smugness. I also remind myself that fancy $100 skincare items have never done anything but made me break out.

Tuesday night, I cleanse/tone/Finacea, and add more spot gel (Clean & Clear) to those bumps on my cheek. I can’t be sure if they’re actually pimples or just rosacea bumps, but I feel hopeless if I can’t even pretend I’m treating it. I tell myself I’ll moisturize in bed, and as I’m sure you can guess, I do not. At 3am, I wake up, realize my mistake and moisturize. It’s terrible.

All in all, the moral of my not-so-exciting skin care routine is that I’ve (reluctantly) stopped chasing Instagram-perfect skin. And both my wallet and face are a lot happier for it. I don’t use drugstore products because I’m low-maintenance and don’t GAF. I use them because the alternative is spending $78 on a moisturizer that sits on top of my broken skin barrier and makes me break out. So if you have sensitive skin like me, remember that the #1 investment you can make is a dermatologist, and when you’re rich, biannual microneedling and injections. Can’t wait.

Images: Giphy (4)

I Bought A $24 Dermaroller & Became Obsessed With The Results

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I’m not exactly a skin care expert. My dermatologist, who gently told me to throw out most face products I own earlier today, would agree on this. On the bright side, I have now sought professional advice and am here to share my experience/her wisdom. Today’s topic is dermarolling: an at-home skincare treatment boasting celebrity users including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, and Gwyneth Paltrow. (Yes, the one who stuffs jade eggs up her vagina. But her skin is glowing, no?) In my ongoing quest for flawless, “I can afford weekly facials” skin, I bought a $24 dermaroller two weeks ago. Here’s what you should know before you buy.

What Is Dermarolling & What Does It Do?

If you’ve heard of microneedling, dermarolling is just the at-home version of that. Both treatments involve creating small punctures all over your face. This (in theory) enhances collagen and elastin production. As your skin heals, the collagen boost helps smooth out wrinkles/fine lines, firm up sagging skin, and improve overall texture/tone. Both treatments can also improve the appearance of acne scars, dark spots, and large pores. As a general rule, microneedling will be more effective than dermarolling for many reasons. It’s kind of like the difference between doing a mask and getting a facial—the version performed by a professional with higher-tech tools is always going to come out better. Plus, microneedling tools can create deeper punctures than at-home dermarollers (for obvious reasons), so they naturally have a stronger effect. (Wondering why anyone would bother dermarolling? Because microneedling, like most things Gwyneth Paltrow supports, is prohibitively expensive, at $500-1,000 per session.)

Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System

How Do You Use It?

A dermaroller basically looks like a razor with a rolly head covered in needles on top. Before using it, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you disinfect it. Dermarolling with a dirty roller is literally injecting your skin with bacteria. (Sidenote: really love lecturing you all knowing full well that I “disinfected” my dermaroller with tequila. Whatever, at least I’m trying.)

To use it, you roll the needle-wheel (not the real name, do not refer to it as such) all over your face. One section at a time, roll five times in each direction (up/down/left/right) until you’ve covered the areas you want to treat. Redness is a known side effect, but I didn’t notice much. Just like, the amount you’d expect for having rubbed needles all over your face. After dermarolling, your skin will be primed for absorbing hydrating products—so load up on your fave serum/moisturizer to finish.

Not quite my experience, but you get the idea:

What Are The Effects Of Dermarolling?

The day after using this, I was the most annoying person on earth. I disappeared to my office bathroom maybe 60 times to take yet another “#nofilter” selfie. Even the most heinous of fluorescents couldn’t dim my #glow, and I felt like there was a noticeable difference in some roughness/bumpiness that had been bothering me on my cheeks. While effects like taming discoloration require long-term, consistent use of dermarolling (and my day-after glow didn’t really last), I definitely noticed a difference. Mostly, it was just a kind of shine/plumpness (I hate that word but I can’t think of a better description), plus the glow I won’t shut up about.

For reference, here was my scary face before dermarolling:

Dermarolling before

And here is my post-dermarolling glow:

Dermarolling after

Real results. Not FaceTune.

The Warnings

All that being said, dermarolling is not without its dangers. Common side effects can include infection, inflammation, breakouts, and damaged skin. Most experts say this can be avoided with proper cleaning and technique, but unless you’re going to dermarolling seminars on the regular, chances are you could fuck up. A lot of these issues do stem from improper cleaning practice, so please buy proper cleaning solution and be rigorous about it. Or just like, replace your dermaroller fairly often—I know you spend more than $24 on less important shit.

When I asked my dermatologist about it, she didn’t say dermarolling was bad, but she didn’t say it was good either. Mostly, she thinks of it as a less effective version of microneedling, and cautioned that dermarolling on any existing inflammation or pimples was a surefire way to spread the irritation to the rest of your face. I also found out that those bumps/redness on my cheek are in fact my new, fun mild rosacea (getting older is great), so whatever improvement I noticed after dermarolling was almost certainly in my head. Whatever! At least I was glowy!

Is this a wholehearted recommendation for dermarolling? If you caught me the day after, it would have been. But after hearing my dermatologist’s advice, I’ve sobered up on the idea of making this part of my routine. While I love buying trendy beauty products way more than as much as the next girl, sometimes less really is more—especially if you’re not sure how your skin will react. A dermatologist, on the other hand, is always a good investment.

Images: Dermstore; Giphy (3); Chris Howard / Pexels

What Is Toner, Why Do You Need It, & Which One Do You Need?

Let me start off by saying that I am not a skincare expert. I am just a 24-year-old human woman. One who discovered six months ago that my college skin care routine (“washing most nights, probably”) was no longer going to cut it. I’m lucky enough not to deal with serious acne. But all the “minor” concerns (dullness, dryness, redness, inexplicable bumpiness)? You bet. SO, I did what all good shopaholics journalists do best: research. I went into a very deep, surprisingly Korean internet blackhole, and emerged with a four-step skincare routine. Cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer. Duh. Of all these steps, toner was the one I resisted most—and the one I still find most confusing. Since I’m sure I’m not alone in this, I’ve written up my findings on this v important topic. What is toner, why do we all apparently need it, and which one is best? Please enjoy.

What Is Toner?

First and foremost, toner is very different than it used to be. The toner I remember from high school was glorified rubbing alcohol prescribed by particularly vindictive dermatologists. But today’s toners are so much more. A good toner can help you even out texture and tone (duh), shrink the appearance of pores, and leave your skin super soft and glowing.  To get technical, one skin care specialist describes toner as a way to “complete the cleansing of your skin.” Apparently, cleansers “can leave a film on your face” that toner strips off. Which really makes me question why I’m using cleanser in the first place, but k.

If you want a buzzier description of what toner does, Allure describes it as “a fast-penetrating liquid that delivers skin a quick hit of hydration and helps remove some dead cells off the surface of the skin.” (Seriously, are cleansers removing anything?) And in case I have any toner nerds in the comments, I’ll also mention toner’s effects on pH level. Apparently, a good toner functions by resetting your skin’s natural acidic pH. You can read more here, or just trust me that it means you’ll look good and resist more bacteria. Two equally sexy goals, am I right?

Finally, what is toner actually made of? The general answer is water, plus some combination of acids, glycerin, essential oils, plant extracts, and more. Kewl. Some toners still contain alcohol, but it’s not recommended unless oil is your main problem.

TL;DR: Toners are a water-based product will give you a more thorough cleanse, prep your skin to absorb your moisturizing products, and overall improve skin’s appearance and texture over time.

How Do I Use It?

You should think of toner as a chaser for your cleanser and a primer for your serum/moisturizer. If you’re particularly anal, you should apply toner no more than 60 seconds after cleansing. Apparently, that’s when your skin will absorb it best. After, you apply any serums/moisturizers/eye creams. My favorite explanation for how this works is given by Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam. “Your skin is like a dried-up sponge,” she says (adds up). “If you put thick cream on a brittle dry sponge, it won’t accept it.” If this doesn’t make you spiral into self-doubt about every time you’ve put $70 moisturizer on your bone-dry face, congratulations. Can’t say the same.

As for like, how do you literally put it on your face—you have two options. You can read the instructions on the bottle (some recommend cotton pads while others say to use your fingers).  Or you can really make a day of it and attempt to follow the K-beauty “7 Skin Method.” I’d make a joke here about “who has the time for that,” but I watched a full season of American’s Next Top Model last weekend. I have the time for that.

Patting tips as you try the '7 Skin Method' : Start from the U-zone (cheeks – chin) to T-zone (forehead – nose) and finish with a massage on the neck in an upwards motion. Your U-zone is naturally drier while your T-zone is oilier, so you want to start hydrating the drier parts of the skin immediately after your cleansing step. Katie and I had a blast ???? today sharing our tips and demo'ing layering our fave essence toners on @glowrecipe's Facebook live ???? Thanks everyone for tuning in, we really enjoyed talking to you guys! If you're curious about this #kbeauty trend, my review is on our blog ????link in bio #sarahglowtips

A post shared by Sarah Lee (@sarah_glow) on

Okay, What Kind Of Toner Should I Buy?

Now you’re asking the important questions. The answer, of course, depends on your skin type. Generally speaking, Korean brands like Soko Glam will have great options, because their toner never went through the gross alcohol phase that American toners did. But beyond that, you should figure out your skin’s needs (or see a dermatologist to find out) and pick ingredients based off that.

For sensitive skin, chamomile, aloe vera, and amino acids all help calm/soothe. Some good picks include Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Emulsion and Exuviance Soothing Toning Lotion. For oily skin, alcohol will help kill oil and shine, but so does witch hazel—and the latter is less drying. Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner is my personal fave, and Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic is another beloved one on the market. For dry skin, glycerin, essential oils, and rosewater are all key hydrating ingredients. Try the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner or Caudalie Beauty Elixir. For dull, uneven skin, try Son & Park Beauty Water, which has both exfoliating and hydrating properties.

Oh, and whatever you do, stop buying Neutrogena toner. I usually love Neutrogena, but their crazy-drying alcoholic toners (yes, even and especially the “Alcohol-Free” toner) are the reason it took me so long to come around to real toner. I used that shit for two weeks and I may as well have been washing my face in Svedka. If you need any further convincing, take a look at their spokesperson. I rest my case.

That’s all the wisdom I have today! But my recent skincare tear is showing no signs of stopping, so stay tuned for upcoming reviews of dermarolling, Hanacure, and how to file for bankruptcy when you’ve spent all your money on Korean beauty products.

Images: Giphy (2); sarah_glow / Instagram

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.

How To Actually Clean Your Makeup Brushes So Your Skin Doesn’t Hate You

Makeup comes as second nature to a betch. We eat, sleep, and breathe it with our fave beauty vloggers and celebs. We put a new face on everyday using only the best of the best and yet, they say we’re not artistic. My face isn’t in the MoMA so, let’s be real. Who’s the one that really doesn’t know what great art is? Puh-lease. We spend forever and a day in Sephora (or on their website, same shit) looking for the next Urban Decay palette and figuring out which brush will make our contour look 10x better. A million brushes and dollars spent later seems a little ridiculous—there’s no need to keep buying new brushes. Here’s food for thought, when was the last time you actually washed a single brush? I get it, like, we already have to wash our comforter, barely worn jeans, and now, our fucking makeup brushes, too. Life is so hard. Then, we wonder WTF we’re not doing right that we keep breaking out. I’m assuming weekly alcohol binges and cheat days don’t necessarily help but, neither does bacteria build up. Vom. Do yourself a favor and grab your brushes right now, because you def needed to clean them like, yesterday. You gon’ learn today, betch.

How Often You Have To Do This Shit?

The answer may surprise you (or not): pretty fucking often. Foundation, concealer, contour, blah, blah, blah, all those facial brushes need to be washed at least once a week. So, yeaaah, you’ve been fucking up big time for awhile now. It’s okay, though. It’s never too late to start treating your face with the respect it deserves. Doing this will get rid of oil, bacteria, and nasty shit you don’t want to blend on your face.

For brushes you use around your eyes, that’s a bit more flexible, so you can wash those about twice a month. All others should be fine if you wash them at least once a month. IDK, if this sounds like too much already, just do this shit while drinking alone, Netflix-binging, or something.

How To Wash

There are a few different methods you can use to wash your brushes. The cheapest and most convenient is using lukewarm water and unscented soap. Whoa, like, who would’ve guessed. You’ll want to gently massage the bristles and put a very small amount of soap in-between. Wash thoroughly, or until you stop seeing all that shit seeping out of them, because trust me, you’ll see it. After, gently press the bristles with a towel. Reshape and let them air dry while they hang over a sink or counter. This is probs best done on a Sunday night, just before heading into bed so you have fresh brushes to work with for the following week.

1. Sephora Collection, The Cleanse: Daily Brush Cleaner. If for whatever reason soap and water require too much effort (hi), luckily our heaven on earth, aka Sephora, has several cleaners to make you feel less like a peasant. This oil-free cleaning spray in particular can be sprayed on whatever brush you want to clean so you can reuse it as much as possible. Made with fruits and other healthy shit I don’t feel like listing, the spray will condition and protect the bristles from wear and tear. Since it dries super quick, you can do this before you start your makeup for a clean slate.

2. Sephoa Collection, Dry Clean Instant Dry Brush Cleaner Spray. I quote, “like a dry shampoo for your brushes,” this thing is basically a life-saver because we all know what dry shampoo does for our own hair. This spray doesn’t require water so, you honestly don’t have to get up off the couch to use this. Just apply directly and watch it dry instantly. Since it literally takes seconds, feel free to use it daily instead of weekly. Seriously, you don’t really have an excuse anymore for not washing your damn brushes.

3. Sephora Collection, Polish Up Silicone Brush Cleansing Pad. For synthetic brushes, you’ll want something that really scrubs in areas your hands can’t manage. Here’s where this cute AF pink glove-thing comes in the picture. It’s a cleansing pad that fits in the palm of your hand—probs as close to baseball as you’ll ever get—so while your brushes are wet with soap, scrub gently to get all the gross shit off. Just rinse off when you’re finished (fucking duh), reshape the bristles to its original stance, and let them air dry off of a flat surface.

If You’re Brush Stops Looking Like A Brush:

If at some point in the near future your makeup bristles no longer like a brush but instead like drunk Barbie’s hair here:

All the washing in the world won’t help. It’s probs a sign that you should throw that shit out ASAP and get a new brush. Except this time, try washing and taking care of it, you know? You hardly need to exert energy get off the couch in order to save money, have your contour stay on #fleek, and look hotter than ever. I mean, what other incentive do you really need?
 

How To Remove Every Kind Of Makeup Stain From All Your Stuff

It’s not an average day for me unless I wake up to some sort of self-inflicted sabotage that’s ruining my life and my room décor. Usually it’s from makeup stains on my pillows, bedding, or the only shirt I’ve ever paid more than $30 for after a happy hour gone wrong very right or a night spent avoiding human interaction re-watching Riverdale and getting so distracted by the onslaught of red heads on my screen that I forget to take my face makeup off. Either way the next morning I always have to take a good, hard look at my life choices destructive personality, ignore that moment of self-reflection, and figure out how the fuck to get rid of all these makeup stains. I’m assuming that you too are a garbage human so here’s how to get rid of every makeup stain that ruins your shit. You’re welcome.

Lipstick Stains

My aesthetic for my room is all white everything because apparently I enjoy torturing myself. As someone who is dead inside, I also only wear vampy lip colors, which is a problem because I’m constantly fucking up my white sheets when I’m blackout. Lol it’s so fun to watch myself unravel in the mornings. ANYWAY, if you’ve got a lipstick stain I’m here to save you from wanting to jump out the second story window of your shitty apartment every time you wake up to purple lip stains and cuddling a half eaten bag of chips. First, spritz the stain with hairspray and let it sit for 10ish minutes. I know, it sounds a little batshit, but it works. Next, dab the spot with a sponge and throw it into the wash. If your sheets/shirt/pillow case need to be dry-cleaned then first of all, slow clap because you’ve made it in life, but also you should use tape of some sort to remove the stain. Try that or prayer.

Foundation Stains

Tbh I don’t wear a ton of foundation but when I do it 100 percent ends up on every surface in my apartment. Even places that don’t make sense like my bedroom wall or the faux-fur rug I thought would make my apartment look less like I live on a peasant’s salary and more like I live a Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle (Writer’s Note: It did not). The first thing you should do when dealing with foundation stains is to not freak out and call your mother because she will most likely not focus on the issue at hand and instead ask you some v personal questions like why you were too drunk to remove your face makeup on a Wednesday in the first place. As if that’s the real issue here. Next, treat foundation fuck ups spills with a clarifying product like shaving cream or shampoo because both of these toiletries have cleaning agents that need to break through the stain before you throw it in the wash. Unless it’s your bedroom wall, then I would just recommend playing dumb with your landlord.

Glitter

If you wear glitter so much in your life that you need this tutorial then first of all I’d just like to say, BLESS. Here’s to hoping all that molly hasn’t rotted your brain yet. But if you’re going to dress like an adult toddler, I guess I can give you some advice for how not to sabotage your living space with the glitter bomb that is your personal style and taste. If the glitter is a part of your outfit (i.e. a dress, skirt, or any other drug-induced music festival type attire) you should spray down the whole outfit with hair spray immediately. It will dull the shine of your outfit but it will also save your apartment floors from looking like a rental space for Forever21. If the glitter is incorporated in your makeup somehow—again, BLESS—use masking tape or a lint roller to remove the sparkles from your sheets, clothing, pillow cases, etc.

Self-Tanner Stains

‘Tis the season to pretend like you enjoy leaving your couch by dousing yourself in enough self-tanner to not be shunned by your friend group. And because of this, everything I own is slowly turning orange through my best efforts to please my Instagram followers friends. Ugh. So buckle up because removing this shit ain’t gonna be fun. First rinse the affected area under cold water. Then wet a sponge with any type of dish detergent to work the spot from the outside in. This will (hopefully) cut the oil in the tanning oil enough for the stain to come out. Other things that might work on the stain are hydrogen peroxide (but make sure to spot-check first in case the fabric’s color won’t lift and you screw yourself even more) or glycerin but only use that like the Bumble Bro you drunk Snapchat—when you’re desperate.

Waterproof Makeup Stains

Waterproof makeup stains are literal sabotage and also the reason I drink. Well, not so much the reason as the aftermath, but that’s neither here nor there. For long-lasting makeup formulations, you should blot the stain with makeup remover and pray to Jesus and the lady who writes your monthly horoscope that this shit comes out. Make sure that the formula you’re using is oil-free, though, or else you’re in for an even bigger shit show.

Deodorant Stains

Deodorant stains have been ruining my life since 2002 and are also the reason my boss doesn’t like to make eye contact with me at the 9am staff meeting. This how-to is going to be especially relevant to those whose wardrobe consists of all black at all times (Hi). If you find yourself with white lines all over your body and you can’t pass it off as “Dylan’s Candy mess” or table décor (you’re fooling no one, Kimberly) then your saving grace is going to be a pair of tights or a dryer sheet. Rub the fabric against the deodorant mark and it’ll almost immediately come out off of the clothing. Blessings.

Read: How Often You Should Wash Your Sheets, Towels & Other Shit You Never Clean