My Skin Care: June 2011


Where do I begin. It’s actually been tricky to figure out a way to do my own Top Shelf, because my routine is constantly evolving—but so is everyone’s. So, no excuses. Let’s start with a skin care post: the foundation and really my biggest beauty obsession. I love a new lipstick, don’t get me wrong, but you know what that lipstick looks great with? Glowing skin.

The never-ending quest starts in the shower (not pictured): I’ve loved Jurlique’s Balancing Foaming Cleanser since the moment I realized it took off all my eye makeup and cleaned my face at the same time. Sometimes I’ll do a second pass just to make sure the mascara is rinsed away. Or, if I’m feeling particularly luxurious at night and want to pamper myself, I’ll squeeze a big blob of Aesop’s Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser into my palms and maybe mix in a sprinkle of Aesop’s Tea Tree Facial Exfoliant, which is literally powder that you can add to almost any cleanser to make a paste. (Dermalogica also does the fantastic powder Daily Microfoliant that lathers up with water.) Aesop is great like that—they encourage mixing their products. It’s an Australian line that Gaia Repossi introduced me to, and I’ve become obsessed with it. They’re opening four stores in NYC soon and I can’t wait. Anyway, if I’m going the cream cleanser route—or, with any mask—I run a washcloth under hot-as-you-can-handle water, ring it out, and do several passes over my face to wipe off the product. This is a simple trick to add to your cleansing routine that does wonders for your skin.

After cleansing, here we go…I do a few spritzes of Intelligent Nutrients’ Anti-Aging Mist as a toner. It’s about as organic as a product can get and packed with anti-oxidants, so I figure it’s a good first layer (I also use their lip conditioner). Then, on goes a dollop of Nude’s Advanced Cellular Renewal Serum, another super-charged nourishing cocktail. Then, I’ll smear some of Aesop’s Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream onto the back of my hand and add a few drops of their Fabulous Face Oil, before working that concoction into my face. If there are two skin care beliefs I stand by, it’s that (the right) oil is a good thing, and you can never load on enough (good) moisturizer. And my skin isn’t even particularly dry.

I do an eye cream at night, and lately I’ve been loving an organic gel-like formula from French line Absolution, which just got picked up by Space NK in the states. I’m impressed with the armload of Absolution products I’ve played with, but this eye serum is my favorite. It has the faintest patchouli-esque, hippie-dippy scent that really drives home the whole "natural" thing, and I think it’s best at de-puffing and brightening. I try to do a mask about once a week, and have been using this F10 Smooth and Renew Peel Mask by REN for a couple of months. It’s a clarifying mask for sensitive skin, so it’s gentle, and it feels like you’re squeezing papaya jelly (it’s fruit enzyme based) out of the corner of a Ziploc bag, which is oddly satisfying. So I’ll sit with that on for a while, and then go at it with the hot washcloth and finish with a boatload of moisturizer.

In the summer I try to pay more attention to SPF, and I’ve been wearing this Josie Maran Argan-oil based formula for the last few weeks. It doesn’t have the "sunscreen" smell, which thrills me to no end, and it conditions the skin. Her body sunscreen is equally great. I’m not so big on body creams and potions—I always feel greasy when I use them, unless it’s in the dead of winter—but I do like Burt’s Bees Richly Replenishing Cocoa & Cupuaçu Butters Body Lotion for smoothing onto just-shaved legs. Oh, and that empty Diptyque candle jar in there? Totally inspired by Jen Brill—so, so great for filling with Q-Tips, and there’s one next to it with cotton pads.

—Emily Weiss

Portrait by Thomas Humery/Kløver, taken for "Une Fille, Un Style"

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Alexandra

    Aesop facial products really are the best! I discovered them in Kuala Lumpur recently and have been slowly but surely making the switch over almost 100% (although, there are some things that will never leave my shelves). They smell incredible and really are fantastic for my skin!!! Loved finally hearing about your skin routine!

  • Christina

    See this is a REAL top shelf!! I think a lot of people (myself included) switch from product to product. Plus being in the beauty industry who would not be tempted to try all the new advanced goodies.

  • HeyitsAlexp

    Loving the hot washcloth tip, I'm going to have to add that to my routine. I'm also a big fan of Burt's Bees products. They're my #1 drugstore impulse buy when I'm supposed to be picking up paper towels or something.

  • sweetie

    Your Top Shelf is my inspiration :) I love REN and Nude products. Currently trying to replace every item I use up with more natural options. Also love A'kin for face masks, and their toner is also brilliant. Pity Aesop is not avaliable on my shores, the products sound amazing. Must find an e-tailer who'll deliver to Ireland.
    And so far I've 2 scented candle jars holding my eye pencils and lipglosses - thanks you, Jen, for a great idea!

  • Becky

    Love ITG! If you had to recommend just ONE of those products, which would it be?

    • admin

      Becky--probably the Jurlique cleanser; I've been using it longer than anything else! xE

  • Mioara Roncea

    You really do have a rigorous program. For the moment, I am quite obsessed with the full range from Clarins. But great tips anyway.
    Thank you.

    Mioara Roncea

  • Elle

    OMG! I've been waiting for this amazing post! It's great to hear from someone with so much experience in the beauty industry. Do you mind me asking if you have oily skin? I have particularly oily skin and wondering if there's any great moisturizers or oils you can recommend? Thx! Love your blog!

  • Brie

    It's funny; I was just thinking a couple of weeks ago while perusing the top shelf articles that I'd love to see more of your own skincare routine, and here it is. I love a hot washcloth on my face. It makes your pores feel so cleaned out.

  • Ewa

    I loved this post, but I do love Your dress even more! Where did you get it?

    • admin

      Hi Ewa--the dress is vintage! $10!

  • Fiona

    Wow! Toner, serum, cream and oil every day - no wonder your skin looks so beautiful!

    I used to love Aesop, but all of their essential oils make my skin go crazy - pink and itchy and just irritated. That scrub is great, though. And it lasts for yonks!

  • Sarah

    It's cool to hear you use toner, serum, cream, and oil. I just started doing it this week! I actually read about people using the Tata Harper products on your blog. I live in Vermont where's she's based out of, wanted more natural skincare products, just turned thirty (ahhh...noticing crow's feet!), so I ordered her deluxe sample set. It has the whole toner, serum, cream, oil steps, which I've never done before. It's expensive, but I really like the products. Love the scents. I'll have to try out the Aesop line sometime.

    P.S. Looking forward to reading about your make-up routine!

  • yvette

    Hey Emily,
    Do you know of any products that are good for minimizing hyperpigmentation (the red marks) after acne? Even though I take really good care of my skin and don't touch it at all, any zits I get leave red marks that stay for aaaaaages. Any tips? I am using Renee Rouleau's 17% glycolic acid serum and her micro crystal scrub to exfoliate a lot and shed the old skin, but it's not improving fast enough for my liking. What else repairs the skin?

    • Katie Sawatsky

      Yvette, if your post-spot skin isn't healed to a certain point yet, that glycolic acid and scrub will actually be keeping the area irritated -- and RED! -- for a lot longer.

      Best to make sure the area is well hydrated once the infection/spot is gone.

      • yvette

        Hi Katie, thanks for the comment. They have all been healed (dormant!) for months, so hopefully that's not the case.

  • Melanie

    Emily must have read my mind. Just yesterday I was wondering what her skincare regimen included and here it is. Thanks Emily!!! I love this blog and I love this post. Please keep it up. Between you and Birchbox, I'm fixing my Top Shelf with confidence...

  • The Procrastinator

    I've been dying to know what you use- thanks for sharing! It's also nice to see a Top Shelf with a lovely foaming cleanser; it feels like everyone lately is afraid of products that lather, but I just don't feel like my face is getting clean otherwise!

  • Bee

    Yay thanks so much for doing this, the washcloth thing is a great tip!

    • Gwenelda

      With all these silly websites, such a great page keeps my itenerent hope alive.

  • Sharon

    i love your blog! there is nothing like it
    i'm happy to see that so many people like myself enjoy it,
    keep it up!

  • Elizabeth

    I just started using the Josie Maran sunscreen and I love it! It's lightweight but hydrating and has natural sunscreens instead of chemical. I tried Aesop years ago when I worked at Space NK in London and loved the whole line but especially the Fabulous Face Oil, it smells delish and hydrates like nothing else. I've been in search of a good eye cream for lines in a pump for ages and haven't found anything too impressive, any recommendations?
    Thanks for the great post!

  • anita


    I want to see your makeup and jewelry! Great pictures!!!

  • Liz

    First, I want to say that I absolutely LOVE your blog. It is clever, entertaining, informative, and beautifully presented. That said, as the daughter of a dermatologist, I do want to offer two caveats based in part on this Top Shelf, and in part on a recurring trend that I've seen in many of the other Top Shelf entries. While the hot washcloth trick can work wonders (and is a core element of the Eve Lom facial program--which I love), if you have any tendency toward couperose skin, Rosacea, or broken capillaries, using any sort of hot compress can really inflame your skin and can exacerbate any redness/red undertones. Also, building on Fiona's earlier comment, while I can totally appreciate your love of all-natural products, my skin can't tolerate them, and in fact, most dermatologists recommend that women with sensitive skin avoid using completely natural products without any chemical buffers because they can aggravate your skin, especially if you have problems with topical allergies or other sensitivity issues. I felt the need to offer this up, as I think that us girls who prefer (or can only tolerate) product lines that are not all-natural are somewhat underrepresented here.

    • D

      Liz, thank you for bringing that up! Although I, too, am completely in love with Into The Gloss, I'm looking forward to a Top Shelf post of someone with hypersensitive skin. I react badly to most skincare products I've tried. I've started incorporating natural products (ie: coconut cream--it's great for the body, but irritates my skin if I use it more than once a week as a facial moisturizer), but I stil use Cetaphil facewash and moisturizer. If you or Emily have any recommendations for super sensitive skinned ladies, please do post here. That would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

      • admin

        I would categorize my skin as sensitive, and all these products have been working for me. xE

        • D

          Thanks, Emily! xo

      • tammy

        As someone with hypersensitive skin, I would love to see a Top Shelf like that too.

      • Liz

        Hi D!

        I also use Cetaphil and a few of the products from the Toleraine line by La Roche Posay--the Toleraine Riche moisturizer, the eye makeup remover, and the cleanser--although I tend to stick to Cetaphil in the summer or anytime I want to feel "cleaner," as the Toleraine cleanser is a bit heavier and very creamy. I tolerate all of them well, and they don't dry me out, or leave my skin feeling itchy, tight or irritated. Another friend with very (VERY) sensitive skin swears by the Avene line, and her skin always looks amazing. I am thinking of trying a few of those products once I run out of what I am currently using.

        Hope this helps a fellow lady with sensitive skin!

        • D

          Thank you, Liz! I really appreciate your recommendations, and am very excited to try these products. There doesn't seem to be too much beauty-related information in regards to sensitive skin (or maybe I'm just a bad Googler), so this is extremely helpful! Thanks again!

    • Sofia

      Yes! I have dry skin and some issues here and there with acne, mostly around my chin area, and although I have recently been so intrigued by all natural products. My pores clogged up and I started breaking out while using an organic facial oil treatment and my facialist (whom I trust even more than any dermatologist I have been to) said to stay away from oils (PERIOD). She said that because I'm acne-prone, I can't use these products. :/ I wish that wasn't the case, especially since I've been reading so many positive reviews about using these natural oils on the face and body.

  • Fiona

    Hear, hear Liz! I do cringe whenever I read, "and it smells so great!" about a skincare product. My skin itches just thinking about it.

    There is that pleasure/indulgence side of skincare though, that us sensiteevees miss out on - the pleasure of applying a really gorgeous-smelling oil, or dipping a finger into a pot of coloured, fragranced cream. I'm a really strong believer in Paula Begoun's theories on skincare (Beautypedia/The Cosmetics Cop), but I miss that fun, indulgent aspect sometimes! Admittedly, not enough to smear any volatile plant extracts on my face...

  • Rachel

    YAY! Finally...your own Top Shelf!! Absolutely LOVE it! Your blog is one of my ultimate faves as I am super obsessed with skincare too. And I'm sure I wasn't the only one that was waiting to learn the secrets behind your beautiful skin :P thanks for the post and keep them top shelf entries comin'! ;)



  • Laura

    Thanks so much for posting about this! I'm going to have to try the Jurlique! I currently have a similar cleanser which will run out soon, how convenient :) -- that's the one I currently use & love

  • Copper Etiquette

    I am going to have to look into these I usually don't switch over my routine for Summer but maybe I should..

    Copper Etiquette Always Appropriate

  • Massie

    hi Emily, love your blog. Wish we could have seen more pictures--particularly of your perfumes and makeup!

  • Antoinette

    @ yvette I'm not Emily, but I have the same problem with hyper-pigmentation and I started using cetaphil and stopped exfoliating (which can make those spots worse) Just be very kind to your skin and don't use anything with harsh chemicals in it. I hope that helps.

  • Roxana @ Makeup Fanatic

    Can I just say, you are soooo pretty!! I really want to try the Jurlique cleanser too, I just have to research and find out where to get it!

  • rena

    hi emily!
    finally, have been waiting to see your top shelf! show us your makeup next, and share some tips please.

    yvette, for hyperpigmentation/acne scars, it will take a while to reduce them. i've been using Mario Badescu whitening mask 2 to 3 times a week and i think it helps without being too harsh. for scrubs, i find Origin's Modern Friction really helps renew your skin layer thus lessen the scars and pigmentation.

    for anyone with sensitive skin, i truly recommend anything by Mario Badescu. for those who is into natural skincare minus too much essential oils, try Korres.

  • Karen

    Hi Emily,
    My favourite post of yours so far! In the UK, everyone uses a washcloth when cleansing - either from Eve Lom or Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish.


    Please do: Olivia Palermo, Genevieve Jones, Bee Shaffer, Selby Drummond

  • Bre

    Wonderful post! I was so delighted to see you featured. Even more delighted by the natural and mineral oil free skincare lines and products you use and love. I couldn't agree more, lipstick and other makeup is great, but glowing, healthy skin is what makes makeup all the more fun. Thank you so much for sharing Emily!

  • PhotoGirl

    Thanks for sharing! I've learned about some new products here. I don't use anything scented, but perhaps I'll try some of the others. Oh, and you forgot to add that your good skin also has youth and the luck of the gene pool going for it. If only someone could figure out how to bottle those two things. Many of us would pay just about any price for that. :)

  • marcela

    I am glad that you posted your top shelf, its great knowing what you use since your skin always seems to look great.
    I really apreciate the post, by the way, I love your hair in this picture.

  • charlotte goldfarb

    love the use of the diptyque candle holder. how did you clean it?

  • Farah

    If u put the candle holder in the freezer the candle leftovers will shrink just enough to pop out of the glass with a light tap.

  • Rach

    Liz - I freaking LOVE La Roche Posay Toleriane. I got a hideous case of allergic dermatitis a while back (to a natural product - so I'm also with the other people who can't use fragrant natural products) and their ultra soothing lotion fixed me right up. I'm also a huge believer in Paula Begoun!

    • Capitalist Pancake

      I just had a massive bout of dermatitis thanks to Dr Bronner's soaps (I guess castile is a no go for me), and I used LRP Lipikar baume and A-Derma exomega to clear mine, both fantastic.

  • Celazome

    Hi Emily! Sounds like you have a regimen that really works for your skin. How long did it take you to find the right combination of products that you were satisfied with?

  • Alex

    Ah, the beloved Top Shelf! I have a non-beauty related question: where is that fabulously comfy-yet-stylish looking sofa from? Beauty products come and go but that sofa is a keeper!

  • Tea

    Good to see Aussie Aesop in there :)

  • LJ

    @Yvette--most products meant for hyperpigmentation do not necessarily take care of the red spots left over from acne. 5% niacinamide (found in Cerave and Olay, among other, moisturizers) may help with those. Try a Google search for more info.

  • Lori

    Emily, great top shelf! ITG is a beauty geek's dream! Thank you so much for creating it!

    I just went out and bought the REN mask, can't wait to try it out. I've been wanting to give Aesop, IN and Nude a try, so I appreciate the recommendations. What's next? Would love to know about your current hair care favorites!

  • Leslie

    We like a lot of the same skin care!! I love NUDE, AESOP, and of course, Ren and Dermalogica:P
    I will def look into Absolution from SpaceNK...Thanks so much for this awesome post!
    xo, les

  • Capitalist Pancake

    Love Aesop - fan of the camellia nut cream and the rind concentrate for body, really great line.

  • Sophie

    So great to see you using such natural & organic beauty products Emily! I've started writing about chemical free beauty products on my blog so it's awesome to see your suggestions! x

  • kristin

    would love to see a post about "top shelf" drugstore finds....some of the most inspiring things i read on this site are of everyday "pedestrian" products that glam people in the business use as staples...

  • Veronica S.

    So happy to see you mentioned the importance of SPF in a skin care routine! Have you tried Eucerin? I do some work with their social media team, and they have a great line with SPF called Everyday Protection. The Body Lotion is SPF 15 and the Face Lotion is SPF 30. They both go on really light and have almost no fragrance, which is perfect for wearing under makeup. I definitely recommend checking it out!

    • Wendell

      Too bad Eucerin and their parent company Beiersdorf (also owns Nivea and Aquaphor ) test their products on animals. A few of the Eucerin products have decent formulations, but animal testing is a deal-breaker for. me.

      • Veronica S.

        Wendell, that is an important issue for me as well. Beiersdorf does not conduct animal testing with any of our skin care products. Beiersdorf has been at the forefront of seeking alternatives to animal testing. The company has shifted our emphasis to in vitro test methods, scientific literature reviews and past history to establish the safety of our products. As a responsible corporation, Beiersdorf has been addressing this issue for years and will continue to do so, just as Beiersdorf is also committed to providing you with safe, high-quality products.

  • kristi

    if the 58+ comments don't give it away....this is definitely a post your readers have been waiting for!

    i know you said your routine changes a lot, but that just means you need to do a post like this more frequently - i think you should aim for every season! even if it's mostly pictures it's still inspiring to see

  • elizabeth

    you should try burt's bees lemon and vitamin e oil. great for any part of the body, super nourishing and not too greasy. awesome for cuticles and leggies!!

  • patricia

    i tried REN and its an amazing moisturizer

  • Troglodyte

    Funny how I'm way more interested in skin care - obssessives than the color-happy magpie posts.......... KEEP IT UP

  • The Pouf

    Emily, I love that you've included a post about your own rituals! It is always so cool to see the author featured. You are amazing! Keep up the good work. xx

  • Dain

    Ah, I want to try all your picks now. I'm such a sucker for natural skincare, and I layer my moisturizers approximately the same way. : )

    I'm also averse to traditional sunscreen smell/textures. I've had the best luck with Vive Sana (slight smell, but no chemical filters, which are more offensive) and Shiseido (masking fragrance, very elegant textures).

  • lepetitsmudge

    Oh my goodness, I'm so jealous of all these goodies! I wish i could try them all, but 1) I do not have the funds, and 2) Like some girls also have mentioned, I have SEVERE sensitive skin/rosacea, and anything scented/enriched/exfoliating KILLS it and makes my skin hot and red as a boiled beet! Really, the only thing that works is a dove unscented beauty bar and purpose unscented moisturizer with SPF. (You can get them both at the drugstore!) And only fragrance-free makeup, which leaves out a LOT of fun products.
    That's why I love this blog-Even if you can't really use any of the suggestions its really fun to look at all the beautiful things beautiful people like and "live vicariously" through the post.

  • Laura

    Hello, I love love love your blog, particularly top shelf. It is great to see so many natural products featured here rather thank big brand chemical ones. Keep up the great and inspiring work!

  • Georgia

    As an Aussie it's great to see some fantastic Australian skincare lines like Aesop and Jurlique (a personal favourite) get a shout out by such a great beauty blogger. A highly anticapated post! Can't wait to see if your do a make-up post as well. This is by far one of the best beauty blogs out there. Love the personal insight your blog gives.

  • Marian

    Emily what an amazing routine you have. Thank you for sharing it. I love that your focus is on glowing nourished skin. Too many times we forget that glowing skin beneath all the makeup goes a long way.

    Top Shelf continues to inspire!

    Glam Kisses,

  • Mary Elizabeth

    Hi Emily,

    I am so in love with your blog! I was wondering about the washcloth under hot-as-you-can-handle water part of your routine. You mentioned that it does wonders for your skin - can you explain that a bit more? What does it do?

    Mary E.

  • TheBeautyPhilosopher

    What a great post - if you like Aesop and the hot washcloth technique you must try the Aesop Parsley Seed cleansing oil. This smells divine which is why it works so beautifully with a hot washcloth.

  • Lindsay G

    LOVE this post! I am constantly looking for a great skin care routine and will try the washcloth trick tonight! Thanks Emily for this great website! I read one of your old top shelves where someone recommended Between You and the Moon and Emma Graves' products. The products are more natural then I am used to but I had to try it! I have seen such an improvement in my skin from her products!

    Thank you, thank you! Keep up the amazing work!! I wish there were new posts everyday!! Love!!!

  • Samira

    Somewhat late to the comments, but just wanted to thank you for the tip about mixing oil in with your face cream. I've had the travel size Josie Maran Argan oil for a couple of months and just didn't really know what to do with it. I've started mixing it with both my morning and night creams and I love it! My skin is super velvety with the cream and the oil. Thanks for the tip! :)

  • anita

    I wish you would show more pictures of your beauty products - I love looking at pictures of beauty products : )
    a girl can never have too much!

  • Kitty

    Anyone who finds scrubs to harsh for their skin and is acne prone or has acne,should try elemis papaya enzyme scrub.

  • the best skin care|acne treatment|acne skin care

    Thanks for every other great article. Where else may anybody get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the search for such information.

  • Julie

    Great post! I really need to try some of these lines :)


Jurlique Balancing Foam Cleanser
Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant
Aesop Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Intelligent Nutrients
Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Anti-Aging Mist
Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream
Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
Ren F10 Smooth And Renew Mask
Josie Maran
Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40
Burt's Bees
Burt's Bees Richly Replenishing Cocoa & Cupuacu Butters Body Lotion