The 9 Best Skin-Care Tips I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Being a Beauty Editor
Celebrities love to say that the secret to glowing skin is to drink a lot of water—and by the way, use this cream, or take this supplement.
But not everyone has a camera-ready complexion, every cream doesn’t work for every skin type, supplements aren’t magic elixirs, and drinking plenty of water is a super healthy habit, sure, but guzzling a ton of H2O isn’t going to remedy the chronic eczema I’ve been dealing with since age 8. After spending more than a decade playing with beauty products as part of my job—and more importantly, interviewing hundreds of dermatologists and skin experts—I’ve learned to parse out the BS advice from what really works and is worth spending your hard-earned money on. Here’s the most important skin-care advice I’ve learned. Oh, and make sure to drink plenty of water.
1. Squeezing a pimple will never, ever make it better, faster.
Translation: Stop touching your face. Your hands are covered in bacteria most of the time (just think about all the stuff you touch).
If you’re touching an already-inflamed zit or infection, you’re only adding debris to the pimple and delaying its demise.
Plus, popping a pimple doesn’t do your skin or the zit itself any good, particularly if it’s a swollen, large cyst without a whitehead on top, which will only get worse when you try to squeeze.
2. More product does not equal better skin. In fact, there are certain products you should never mix.
As a product hoarder, I have an entire armoire filled with masks, lotions, creams, peels, oils, and serums. It’s incredibly tempting to pile on at least one of each every day and night because, it’s right there, and well, it’s my job. But more product isn’t a good thing.
Too much product can clog pores (especially if the moisturizers aren’t noncomedogenic). Plus, certain ingredients don’t play well together.
For example, retinol and other exfoliating ingredients—salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and benzoyl peroxide—should not be used at the same time because the skin can get really dry.
3. You don’t need to spend $300 on a skin-care product for it to be really good.
Listen, we’ve all heard about the miraculous powers of ultra-expensive potions and lotions, but there’s just zero reason you’d ever need to spend a week’s worth of grocery money on a little hydration boost.
Frankly, most top dermatologists I’ve worked with prefer skin-care products sourced from the drugstore. For example, my current derm, Michele Farber, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology in New York City, pushes drugstore-staple CeraVe samples on me after every visit.
It’s just the best one, in her professional opinion. I have combination skin, but derms love it for acne-prone complexions, too.
4. SPF is key—and you can make it even better with some mix-ins, too.
If you needed to have a skin-care desert island pick, it’s gotta be SPF.
Any dermatologist will tell you that sunscreen is the most-important skin-care step because it protects from free radical damage that can cause skin cancer and early signs of aging.
Hot tip: If it leaves a bit of a white residue, try adding a few drops of a liquid luminizer, bronzer, or even face tint to avoid that whole ghostly look.
5. Your neck and décolletage deserve as much TLC as your mug.
Just because your neck and décolletage—you know, the fancy French term for the delicate area around your clavicle and above the breasts—aren’t technically on your face doesn’t mean they don’t need the same kind of TLC.
In fact, dermatologists consider the face and neck as a part of one skin unit because your décolletage is susceptible to the same signs of skin damage. There are many products designed specifically for the area below the chin. Some of them advertise lifting and firming properties.
(Though as someone with a 34D bra size, I can tell you I haven’t seen any of that kick in.)
6. Save the bulk of your skin-care routine for bedtime.
Several years ago, I asked a fellow beauty editor and colleague who had the most baby-soft skin about her routine. She was also perennially late every morning, so I assumed her morning skin-care routine was extensive. But actually, she was rushing in after oversleeping. She admitted to a lengthy nighttime skin-care regimen.
Before bed, she was diligent doing a double cleanse, exfoliation, toner or mask, plus a few targeted serums and a night cream. In the morning, though? She’d splash her face with water and use a bit of simple moisturizer. It’s a tip I haven’t forgotten after all these years.
Derms agree that the skin repairs itself overnight, so things retinol and thick moisturizer are best used in the evening.
7. Layer skin-care products from thinnest to thickest in terms of texture.
Think about your skin a sponge that wants to soak up all of the goodness you’re applying.
Therefore, it’s important to first employ the thinnest, water- products such as an essence or serum and then follow with heavier moisturizers and oils, which help to seal everything in.
Oils, in particular, have occlusive properties, which literally create a barrier between skin and the air—anything applied on top of them is basically done in vain.
8. You can give your skin a rosy glow with just some sleight of hand (or a Downward Dog).
Facial massage is not just something a self-care book. It’s a quick way to get a gorgeous, natural flush. Personally, I to use a jade roller to boost circulation (I’m a huge fan of crystals). You can use your fingertips, too. Just make sure you use a serum or oil with some slip to it in order to gently glide over the skin without too much friction.
9. When it’s warmer outside, stow all your skin care in the fridge.
I do this year-round for my eye cream, as I’m convinced the cool temperature helps deflate puffiness while also waking me up with a quick cooling rush. (Think about all those eye creams with metal ball roller tips—that’s why those exist!) When it gets hot out, I start to stow everything in the fridge.
Nail polish, for example, doesn’t thicken as quickly if it’s kept cool. Face masks are even more relaxing when chilled. The gel creams I love don’t evaporate in my sweltering apartment.
And during the summer, there’s literally nothing more refreshing than piling on a tub of a thick minty body lotion fresh out the fridge, especially after a great workout.
Skincare Secrets from a Beauty Editor – How a Beauty Pro Takes Care of Her Skin
One look at Cosmo.com's Beauty Director, Carly Cardellino, and it's clear she knows a thing or two about healthy skin (that glow tho!).
Not only is it her job to be up on the best beauty innovations, but she also has access to ~all~ the experts and the latest research. The result: She’s adopted a 360-approach to wellness that makes her look and feel good from the inside out.
Here, the top advice she's learned from skincare pros over the years to keep her skin flawless on insta and IRL.
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1 Don’t underestimate the power of a good mask
Masks contain targeted ingredients for your specific complexion concerns. And they do their thing while you're doing yours (that Netflix queue isn't going to watch itself, right?).
Cardellino is a big fan, applying the formula her face needs most at any time. “Three times a week, I take a half hour Epsom salt bath and apply a mask while I soak,” she says.
Her chin and jawline are acne-prone, so when she's battling clogged pores she'll use a purifying clay-based mask (try Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying Wash-Off Clay Mask).
In the winter, her forehead and cheeks get dry & dull , so she'll treat herself to a hydrating + brightening gel mask (try Neutrogena Radiance Boost Brightening Hydrogel Mask). “I’m all about resetting my skin to a healthy state,” she says.
2 Squeeze in sweat sessions
Consistent exercise is as important as maintaining a healthy skincare regimen, says Cardellino, who works out a minimum of three days per week. Her current go-to: Sweat with Bec, a resistance band-centric workout. “It’s all about creating an overall toned body,” she says.
Because the rubber bands are wrapped around her ankles and thighs for the entire 60 minutes while she powers out squat, leg lift, and plie sequences, ankle length workout pants are crucial. Her favorite combo: P.E. Nation The Bumper Crop with P.E. Nation First Gen Leggings.
3 Never, ever work out with makeup on
“My skin breaks out easily, so I have to keep it super clean before and after I work out,” says Cardellino. She uses gentle cleansing wipes Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes to remove any trace of makeup pre-gym.
And, instead of waiting to get home to wash her face, she cleanses immediately after her workout. “This ensures no sweat, oil, or dirt is on my skin for long,” she says.
And if it's date night? Cardellino werks her post-sesh natural flush and simply covers up any blemishes with a touch of concealer.
4 Eating clean equals glowy skin
“Once I began drinking more water, eating more leafy greens, and cutting down on sugar and dairy, I saw a dramatic difference in my skin,” she says. “It's clearer, with less breakouts, and naturally brighter.” She eats small meals every three hours to keep her metabolism up.
Her daily menu: egg whites and half an avocado for breakfast, half of a D's Naturals No Cow Bar in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip with a Health-ade kombucha for an a.m. snack, chicken or fish with veggies for lunch, and a handful of almonds with a green tea for an afternoon snack.
Dinner consists of protein with veggies or a salad, and a protein ball (aka rounds made of peanuts, cashews, pumpkin, and coconut oil) for dessert.
5 Drink water it’s your job
Cardellino loves BKR water bottles this 1 Liter BKR bottle in Tutu because they’re BPA-free and the glass keeps her from freaking about grime building up over time. Her H2O hack: Before every meal and snack, she drinks two full 8 oz. glasses of water. “This way, I never forget to drink water or have to play catch-up toward the end of the day when I’d already be dehydrated,” she says.
6 If you’re chill, so is your skin
This beauty editor maintains a hectic schedule of deadlines, events, and date nights with her S.O., so striking a balance keeps her stress level in check. “Studies show that an increase in stress leads to a boost of cortisol, which can cause breakouts, dryness, and even wrinkles,” she says.
“Your body can’t be in fight or flight mode if you want to look good.” To minimize angst, Cardellino tries to hit a yoga class at least once a week, and always focuses on her breath in moments of chaos.
If you have trouble zen-ing out, try a quick mediation session using an app ( Headspace) to help you find your calm.
7 Hydrated skin is healthy skin
Thinking moisturizer would exacerbate her easily clogged pores and breakout-prone skin, Cardellino would often skin a thicker version. But she learned she couldn’t be more wrong. “Skin needs to maintain a healthy lipid barrier, because if compromised, dirt and bacteria can get in and cause a cycle of breakouts or dehydration,” she says.
Now, she reaches for a light, oil-free hydrator morning and night, and uses a moisturizing sheet mask Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask weekly. “Sheet masks are amazing because they keep moisture on your skin and perfectly fit your face,” she says.
These masks feel wet at first but soon firm up as they conform to the shape of your face — meaning zero slippage.
8 Go to bed earlier
Sleep is so important for great skin. It's not only when skin goes into repair mode to undo the damage from the day, but it’s also when it absorbs healthy ingredients from your nighttime skincare routine most effectively.
“I've been very mindful of trying to stick to a bedtime lately,” she says. Although checking emails, catching up on texts, and updating her Insta late night is tempting, Cardellino tries to set her phone to the side at least a half hour before bed.
If you have trouble tuning everything out, invest in an eye mask. Parker Thatch makes uber-cute ones.
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55 Skin Care Tips and Tricks – Best Anti Aging Secrets – ELLE.com
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It's a new decade and your skincare resolutions are just beginning. Whether stress from work has given way to aging fears or royal family drama has awakened acne breakouts, we've got you covered.
Your skincare should strengthen under the most stressful of situations. Find out which foods to cut your Trader Joe's runs and why we're embracing tea and shade more than ever before.
Below, the 55 tips for a decade full of healthy skin, lots of sleep, and a vat of SPF.
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Meet Your Moisturizer Soul Mate
The best defense against dry skin? Making friends with a daily moisturizer. Applying lotion right after stepping the shower seals in the moisture that your skin has just absorbed. And since hands are often the first indicators of aging, invest in a heavy moisturizer to keep in your bag, car, and office. Here are a few ELLE.com can't stop talking about.
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Kick The Caffeine
Can't figure out why you have dry skin? Caffeine may be the culprit. Replace the java with H2O, and add fruit slices, orange or lemon, to enhance the flavor. In conclusion, Skincare > Starbucks.
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Stopping the Scroll
Tearing yourself away from the 'gram may seem too high a price to pay. But we promise your skin is paying more. Keep antibacterial wipes handy to swipe your phone clean and help your skin stay clear. Make cleansing your cell—and yourself—of toxins a part of your weekly to-do's.
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Slathering your skin with SPF is a priority, even if you're worried your block will make you break out.
“Sunscreen formulas made with zinc are generally nongreasy and nonirritating, making them especially good for acne, sensitive skin,” says Colleen Shimamoto, educational adviser for DermaQuest Skin Therapy.
“So, opt for physical blocks zinc oxide or titanium oxide, which reflect the sun's UVB and UVA rays.”
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Survive Sans Salt
If your skin feels parched, it might be time to give up your secret pretzel stash. Excess sodium in your diet can suck the moisture skin and leave it dull and dry. Cut back on salty treats and invest in a hydrating facial moisturizer to combat the dehydration. Unfortunately, fresh skin trumps that order of french fries.
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“When you exfoliate, you're evening out the skin's surface by revealing fresh cells underneath,” says Annet King, director of Global Education at the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica. “Exfoliate regularly to remove the dead, complexion-dulling skin cells that can give you a dull appearance.”
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While you may not apply hair products to your face, the residue can often end up there anyway. Next time you use hairspray, cover your face with a clean towel to protect your skin. Also, use a sweatband when you hit the gym to keep the products from dripping down when you begin to sweat.
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Dance It Out
Your excuse to practice J.Lo's routine from Hustlers or learn a TikTok dance is here. Exercise gives your face a healthy glow by increasing blood flow. And when you sweat, it clears the body of toxins and removes dead skins cells so new ones can grow. Without regular exercise you may see an increase in age spots, so grab your dancing shoes and get to work.
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Keep those sunnies close! Squinting in the sun can contribute to crow's feet, so always sport sunglasses with UV protection. Those with light-colored eyes have heightened light sensitivity, but brown-eyed beauties should shade their peepers, too.
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Kylie Jenner may want the world to “Rise and Shine…” but don't set that alarm just yet. Not getting enough Zzz's can cause stress, which leads to breakouts and a dull complexion. Bottom line: Don't deprive your body and skin of sleep—it uses that time to regenerate and recover from your day-to-day activities.
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Treat Yo Self
“Whether it's a facial, massage, or even a pedicure, be sure to pamper yourself,” says Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad Skincare. “Your health and appearance are positively influenced by increasing your emotional and mental well-being. A visit to the spa is a foolproof way to promote stress relief and relaxation.” Doctor's orders!
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Eye on the Prize
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest, so it shows the first signs of aging. Even if you're in your 20s, preventative care now will keep your eyes looking healthy for decades to come. Here's some eye masks to get the self-care started.
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Don't Sweat It
When your body heats up, sweating helps it keep your core temperature down. Unfortunately, this can irritate skin and cause breakouts. To remedy, look for a body wash that lists salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as an ingredient on the label.
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Flip It & Reverse it
“Sleeping in certain positions may result in sleep lines,” according to The American Academy of Dermatology. After a while, these lines can turn into deep-set wrinkles, so hit the sheets backside-first.
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There are thousands of reasons why smoking is bad for you, but did you know second-hand smoke can also be harmful to your skin? Though you may not be lighting up, being around smokers can cause skin sagging and speed up the wrinkle process.
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Look, But Don't Touch
We know it's tempting to mess with that pimple, but resistance is key. Popping and picking at the skin on your face will push dirt and bacteria deeper into pores, which only results in more breakouts. Put your curiosity to use and opt for an overnight treatment instead.
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Tone It Up
“Toners are a handy product to keep in your arsenal to help balance pH levels in your skin,” says Jennifer Yen, founder of Purlisse Skincare. “Look for ones that are free of irritants alcohol, fragrance, citrus, menthol, color, and other aggressive extracts.” Here, try these to combat oily skin.
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Lotion in Moderation
Laying on the lotion is good for your skin, right? Not quite. “Over moisturizing can cause you to break out, and can even give you milia, the tiny white spots that are formed when dead skin cells get trapped,” says Dr. Debra Jailman, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. So, think twice before you slather.
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“Foods salmon, herring, and trout provide our skin with oils that lubricate cells and reduce inflammation,” says Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, nutritionist and author of The Beauty Diet: Looking Great Has Never Been So Delicious. “They are also heavy in omega-3 fatty acids, which play a key role in keeping our skin smooth.”
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Spill the Tea
They say spilling tea of the gossip variety can feed the soul. Apparently, the herbal kind is also good for you. “Antioxidants have proven to be extremely important as an aging preventative,” says NYC-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel. “I recommend looking for products that have a complex of antioxidants, such as green tea, vitamin C, and CoQ10.”
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Go to your bathroom right now. Because we know there's dirty bacteria living on your makeup brushes.
Warning: they could be causing you to break out! “Once a month, dampen just the head of the brush, making sure not to get the barrel or handle wet,” says Klein. “Gently massage a mild baby shampoo into the bristles and rinse with warm water.
Then, lay the brush on a towel with the head hanging over the sink to dry.” Meanwhile, here's where to donate the products you haven't even used.
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“To see increased smoothness, improved skin tone, and fewer wrinkles, exfoliate with a well-formulated alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) product,” says skin-care expert Paula Begoun. “You don't need both—AHAs are generally best for dry, sun-damaged skin while BHAs are best for acne- or blackhead-prone skin.”
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Wake up with soft, hydrated skin while tackling everything from eczema to acne with an ultra-hydrating mask. Instead of washing the formula off, wear it overnight and blot off the excess with a tissue at sun-up. As of 2019, a bowl of pasta is now required as a pre-bedtime ritual.
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Increase your circulation and give your body some extra exfoliation by using a dry brush once a week for bright and smooth skin. Afterwards, apply a creamy lotion to prevent flakes and seal in moisture.
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As much as it pains us to admit, one less serving of alcohol per day can make a noticeable difference in your appearance. Alcohol dehydrates the skin (which causes wrinkles) while inflaming tissue. Combat these effects by watering down wine and liquor with club soda and drinking a glass of water between alcoholic beverages.
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“Witch hazel is a natural skin-tightening astringent and can be used to deflate under-eye bags,” says makeup pro Shalini Vadhera. “Soak two cotton pads in cold witch hazel and apply one to each closed eye for five minutes.” As for the results? You truly do love to see it.
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Although often overlooked, our neck, chest, and hands get plenty of sun exposure. Give these body parts some extra TLC by exfoliating them regularly to reveal fresh, bright skin. Here, some of the superior scrubs to get you started.
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Treat Your Feet
Get smoother tootsies in a flash with a mixture of salt and lotion, or by rubbing them with olive oil. Rinse thoroughly, and push back the cuticles as you towel dry. Here are the deets on how to treat your feet.
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Change your exfoliating practices with the seasons to guarantee that you don't strip the skin of essential oils. “Take it down to a few times a week in the summer, and once a week during winter so you don't dry out your skin,” says Dr. Debra Jailman, M.D., a New York City dermatologist.
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When it comes to your eye cream, it can be multi-purpose. “Eye creams usually have a higher concentration of active ingredients, so use them on the nasal labial folds, the '11' lines between your eyes, and around your lips to deliver more potent anti-aging ingredients to these wrinkle-prone areas,” says Regina Viotto, skin-care specialist at Paul Labrecque.
Our Editors Are Spilling Their Skincare Secrets
When you work in the media business, there’s a lot of pressure to have healthy, glowing skin. You’re hitting the pavement representing your brand at countless dinners, board meetings, and celeb interviews, so it’s crucial to look the part. The only problem? All those after-hour events and early meetings leave little time to actually devote to caring for your skin.
Knowing our readers face this same issue in their own busy lives, we sat down with three editors across fashion, beauty, and lifestyle (all with some pretty killer skin, mind you) to get their skincare secrets, confessions, and favorite products, including Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum ($59). One major takeaway? It’s not how much time you spend caring for your skin that counts, but rather committing to a routine that works for your unique skin type and lifestyle that ultimately leads to transformation.
Read on to learn more about our editors’ skincare routines.
As the editorial director of Byrdie, Faith’s an expert on all things beauty, and she’s tried her share of crazy skincare products and trends. So we asked her—when you’ve tried it all, what do you stick with?
BYRDIE: Walk me through your typical skincare routine—what do you use, and why?
FAITH XUE: As a beauty editor, I’m constantly testing new products, so my skincare regimen is always in flux. However, some staples are a gentle, creamy cleanser; a hydrating essence; an exfoliating toner; a brightening or hydrating serum [ Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum ($60)]; and moisturizer. At night, if my skin has been looking dull, I’ll add a face oil.
BYRDIE: How long will you try something to know if it really works?
FX: I’ll try a product for a couple of weeks so I have a chance to see if it’s really working or if my skin is just reacting to a change in product. For instance, this serum shows results after using it for just two weeks; but you need to stick with it long enough to realize that.
BYRDIE: What are your biggest skin sins?
FX: I’ve been falling asleep with my makeup on more often lately, and it shows.
Other than that, my diet and lack of sleep always show up on my face, so I have to be careful to nourish myself with healthy foods and to stick to a routine.
I’m also very discerning with what I put on my face; I never apply a product without reading the ingredient list. (I’ll never let a cleanser or serum with sulfates in it touch my face.)
BYRDIE: What has speaking to so many skincare experts over the years taught you about your own skin?
FX: The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the industry is that hydration is never the enemy, even if your skin is oily. Now I use products that are gentle and hydrating, and when I find a product that works—I commit to it. I’m pretty in tune with my skin and know how much it can take, and I stay away from any products with harsh ingredients.
Gabrielle is an editor at MyDomaine and the founder of the lifestyle blog Savvy Home, but she’s also our number one source for travel inspiration. (Her Instagram account is essentially our dream board.) Here she spills her secrets for taking care of her skin on the road.
BYRDIE: How would you describe your skincare philosophy?
GABRIELLE SAVOIE: The better you are to your skin, the less makeup you’ll need.
BYRDIE: I love that. You travel quite a bit—does that affect your skin at all?
GS: I travel two to three times a month, and I’ll definitely notice a difference in my skin, especially after long flights. It gets sensitive, oily, and puffy around the eyes. And if I’m changing climates drastically, I’ll start to break out. So when I get home, my routine is centered around getting back to more even, smooth skin.
BYRDIE: What do you do to combat that?
GS: The nights when I’m actually home and have the time to put on a face mask are few and far between. So I try my best to keep a strict morning and nighttime skincare routine.
I use a gentle cleanser, this Origins serum, vitamin C products, and SPF every day, and I exfoliate dry patches a couple of times a week. But if I don’t have time for a full routine, I’ll at least apply the serum and moisturizer.
That part of my routine is the one consistent step I can make to keep my skin in check.
BYRDIE: How do you approach anti-aging?
GS: I always wear SPF, and I wear hats when I know I’ll be in the sun a lot.
I’ve toyed around with the idea of getting injections for my furrow line, but for the time being, I’m learning more about natural ingredients that can give my skin the firmness and bounce I want.
For instance, anogeissus, the key ingredient in my Origins serum, stimulates production of fibrillin (the protein that does all of the above) naturally.
As a fashion editor, Gina has to balance running around fashion week in sky-high heels, 15-hour work flights to Hong Kong (tough gig, right?), and the general skincare perils that come with living in New York City. Here’s how she deals.
BYRDIE: Tell me about your skincare philosophy.
GM: Appreciate and preserve what nature gave you—but should you ever need some extra assistance, that’s okay, too.
BYRDIE: What are your primary skin concerns?
GM: While they definitely include keeping the occasional pimple at bay, my main concern is preventative care.
I want to do whatever I can to help my skin looks its best and be its healthiest right now, to prevent any major concerns down the road, from using plant-based serums that yield results, Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum ($60), to leading a healthy lifestyle.
BYRDIE: You recently celebrated your 30th birthday. Is that something that’s been on your mind? I feel we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and pay micro attention to our skin when we reach these “milestone” moments.
GM: I was definitely feeling the pressure leading up to it.
I knew it was silly to stress out about—I feel more comfortable and confident now than I ever did as a teen or in my early 20s—but still, it was almost an involuntary stressor.
The best advice I got was from a friend who told me to write down everything I wanted to focus on, what I’ve accomplished, and what I’m excited to do next. That was incredibly helpful to get a checklist down on paper.
BYRDIE: For a lot of women, that checklist includes nailing down a skincare regimen that works. Have you changed your skincare routine at all?
GM: I believe in a holistic approach to skincare. I work out regularly, eat whole foods, try to get enough sleep, and drink a ton of water. (At least during my best weeks I do.
) I wear sunscreen every single day, and I look for plant-based skincare products that have proven results. All these things make me feel my best and, not so coincidentally, make my skin look good too.
It was really in my late 20s when I started actively thinking about what other ways I could help my skin look its best at 50, 60, 70—many years down the line.
Ensure your skin looks its best at every age by shopping Origins.
OriginsPlantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum$59