The last newsletter was about traveling with kids, in all its vomit-splattered glory (glory? I mean, stress!). So I thought this newsletter should be less, ah, gory and more, er, pretty!
So beauty products/tips it is!
There was once a time—about five years ago to be precise—that I used to have a 10 step evening skin regimen. (Pre-cleanse, cleanse, tone, serum, eye cream, night cream, lash serum, lip balm, body lotion, hand/foot cream). Then I got pregnant/lazy/had Ren/got pregnant again/had Tao/am exhausted in so many ways. My PM routine whittled down to about three products, where it’s been stuck since then (cleanse, serum, night cream). My new year’s resolution, in addition to writing these newsletters at least twice a month, is to start taking care of my skin again.
So… to kick off that intention, here are a few of my skin commandments:
NEVER FLY WITH MAKEUP ON
When I was at ELLE magazine many moons ago, I wrote an article about what airplane air does to your skin (zero percent humidity = crazy dehydration = micro fissures in skin = baking makeup into your pores). Ever since then I cleanse right before getting on a plane and then apply tons of facial oil on the plane. If you forget to bring products, hang out at Kiehl’s or La Mer before you board and slather yourself with samples ☺
ALWAYS WASH YOUR FACE AT NIGHT
I mean, that rule is pretty self-explanatory. I used to use facial brushes or actual cleanser… Now I literally use a wipe or cleansing water and a cotton pad and that’s it. I just don’t have the energy to do anything else. You can opt for fancypants cleansing water but Simple’s is, well, simple and good. My favorite wipes of all time are Koh Gen Do. They’re just the right amount of moist (sorry, to those of you who hate that word, lol) and the wipe is pretty plush.
DRINK A LOT OF WATER
I know, I know, drinking water is the most basic tip ever and I used to hate it when I interviewed models when I was a beauty editor and their top tip was to drink water (and be born with perfect DNA). But it’s true. As Zoolander said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” I try to drink about 10 cups of water a day at least and usually it’s room temperature or warm water because I am secretly a Chinese grandma.
EAT HEALTHY, BLAH BLAH BLAH
Another obvious one… but the healthier you eat, the better your skin will be… what you put into your body = the building blocks for your cells. Better ingredients = stronger building blocks = better skin. Also, I basically never drink soda. MAYBE ginger ale if I have a stomach ache. Boring, I know.
WEAR SPF. EVEN WHEN IT’S CLOUDY.
Yep, another obvious one. My favorite SPF is from Supergoop. This stuff is super light and layers well under makeup. Also, remember to put sunscreen on on the backs of your hands, your neck, and (when you’re at the beach/summer) on your knees and tops of your feet. Those are the places that age quickly!
Generally, I say spend money on serum (which has more concentrated ingredients) and the perfect foundation or concealer, not cleansers which, by nature, you wash off your face. High volume things, like hand cream, body wash, body lotion, hand wash, are places where—unless you have a Scrooge McDuck swimming pool of money—you should try to save on. I mean, I am That Person who has a GIANT California Baby hand wash dispenser in my pantry. All that said, there’s nothing much luxurious than a fancypants hand cream or hand wash. My favorite fancypants hand cream is Jurlique and my favorite fancypants hand wash is Aesop.
DON’T PICK AT YOUR FACE
Ugh, I know it’s impossible but if/when something pops up on your face, do NOT pick at it. It’ll leave a dark mark that will take way, way longer to fade than if you had just left it alone.
A lot of your skin’s condition is dictated by things out of your control: hormones, lifestyle (losing sleep because of a baby, for instance), stress (I had rosacea when I worked as a stylist’s assistant bc I was so so stressed all the time), etc. Know that good skin is a long-term goal and don’t expect an overnight miracle. Sorry, that is not the most exciting advice but… it’s the truth.
A FEW QUICK FAVORITES
Skin Laundry: I just went back to Skin Laundry for the first time in four years! Basically, it’s a 15 minute laser/light facial that deep cleans skin and gives you a slight glow… without any redness or irritation. I really did see a difference when I was going every week or so but had to stop when I was pregnant. My mom (who never EVER compliments me) was like “hmm, you look… different. Your skin looks good” when I used to do this so… I figured it was working (and now I buy my mom packages of facials for herself ☺). IF you guys go, please list me as your referrer so I get points so I can use them towards my mom’s next package of facials. Get me some brownie points with my mom, guys, haha. It’s not easy to be a good Chinese daughter.
Nooni Lip Mask: SO hydrating, this is my new winter go-to!
Kevyn Aucoin Lash Curler: This has replaced my formerly beloved Shu Uemura curler. Never pinches.
Fresh Lip Sugar: I’ve been using this for years and love how many shades it comes in now. The texture of this is great, it leaves a nice coat of moisture on lips but never feels greasy.
Sania’s Brow Bar brow pencil: Sania has been doing my brows for eons and I love her pencil. If you live in NYC, pay her a visit, she’ll be like your brow therapist. She’ll help you get them to where you want them to be!
Nars Tinted Moisturizer: Gives skin a nice, sheer wash of color—just enough to even out skin without looking like a mask.
K, that’s it for now and I’m sure, like always, I will send this and literally remember seventeen things after. Oh well, it’ll have to go in the next newsletter!
Thanks for reading!
PS: the past newsletters are here…
How to Travel with Kids: LOL, as if a newsletter can help with that. Basically, survive.
Random Stuff I Like: including the water kettle we use about 500 times a day.
Kids Books: I need to update this list but this is a start.
OG Baby List: this is the list to send your friends who are expecting! It’s on my (vast) to-do list to add a few things to this list, so will do that in the coming weeks… (which I realize I said last week too)