My Skin Care: December 2011


Inez van Lamsweerde recently said something that got me thinking about all of the lotions and potions that I’ve been slathering on my face as of late. She was talking about her favorite products, and why she loves them, and how she is loyal to them…but then she paused and reflected, “You could have used something else and your skin would have been better, but you never know because you choose that one cream and you think it works, but you don’t know if you could have looked even better with another cream.”

AHHH BEAUTY EXISTENTIAL CRISIS!!! In me, that is. How true is this? How many half-finished jars/tubes/cans do you have in your bathroom? And, if an item runs out, do you buy the same thing again, or do you try something else? AND, if you DO look markedly better, is it from the cleanser, the toner, the serum or the lotion in your multi-step routine? Or, could it be that mask that you only use once a week. Which layer is making what difference?

Nearly six months after my last skin care report, products have come and gone from my cabinet—from science-y gels developed by top-tier doctors to organic creams that expire within two weeks. Here’s what’s working for me…I think.

Standbys include my beloved Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser, and the one-two punch of Aesop’s Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream + Fabulous Face Oil. But I’m mixing it up. For example: I’ve become obsessed with the Clarisonic (who isn’t, judging from the mentions on this site), which I use every other morning with a squeeze of Perricone MD’s Hypoallergenic Gentle Cleanser on the bristles. My skin is sensitive but the Clarisonic really does “rattle out” (Kate Young’s words) impurities, and the fragrance-free, silky cleanser is sort of like a suped-up Cetaphil with antioxidants.

When my skin is still damp I mist thermal spring water from La Roche-Posay or Avène over it—facialist Isabelle Bellis once told me that it’s a good way to neutralize the harshness of the tap water that you cleansed with. Seems very fancy, yes, but the point is, it’s also just a fun ritual. Then I go for the oil: a few drops of Joelle Ciocco’s Pure Concentrated Serum with Botanical Oils, to lock in moisture…while skin is still damp! As in, one quick tap with the towel and that’s it; otherwise you use way too much product and, yes, you will look greasy. I’m of the mindset that facial oil is like a primer for moisturizer—it helps it to blend and absorb easier. And, moisturizer is a crucial primer for foundation, as per complexion-perfector Tom Pecheux. At night I add one more thing. I feel like my skin’s texture isn’t what it used to be, so I’m bringing out the big guns (the science-y stuff) and using Lancôme’s Visionnaire serum. I’m in my mid-twenties so I try not to get too heavy into clinical products—I’d rather focus on moisture—but this serum makes me feel like I’m keeping my pores in check (read: small and clean).

The moisturizer that I can’t get enough of right now comes from Sunday Riley: she’s famous for her Juno” facial oil, but I think the real star of the show is this Bionic Anti-Aging Cream. It’s expensive, but it is good. The texture is sort of whipped and sweet, almost like a mango desert cream or something…velvety smooth and non-sticky. Apparently, it has the “Highest concentration of key ingredients to Rebuild Collagen, Stimulate Elastin Production, Densify the Skin, Reverse Photodamage, and Increase Skin Energy.” I’d have to go under a microscope (or one of those magnifying mirrors—no thanks…) to see about all that, but I just kind of pile it on, and I swear that it has some kind of plumping, luminosity-inducing effect. I’ve been using their eye cream too, or the Amore Pacific eye cream, which is a gel and de-puffs with caffeine and is popular with guys (maybe I’m swayed by the Secret M.O.: strong enough for a man…)

I keep a bottle of Bioderma Créaline—another ITG All Star…yes, it’s amazing—and a recycled Diptyque candle holder filled with cotton pads on my bedside table, for when I’m too lazy to go through a whole nighttime routine. A soaked pad over each eye, then swept across your face and presto: cleansed, toned, and conditioned skin in one step.

—Emily Weiss

Portrait by Thomas Humery

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Lala

    Has anyone used any other products from Joelle Ciocco? And what do you think of them?

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone used any other products from Joelle Ciocco? If yes, what do you think of them?

  • Ella

    yay!! more Aesop!!! I love their Damascus Rose Face Oil. Expensive but worth it.

    Love the new website layout BTW...

  • Lila

    Love this! Also just saw your little advent calendar segment for Love Magazine...adorable!

  • amelia

    i love Bioderma! i bought it maybe six months ago after all the mentions on ITG and it really doesnt disapoint. i just use it twice, once for makeup removing and once for cleansing, and i find it's defiitely enough. i do miss using a foaming cleanser so i think i'll have to try the jurlique one next!

  • Gatsby

    I'm dealing with the same crisis here. I'm always scared of missing out on products that could've been THAT ONE PRODUCT that my skin needs which sounds absolutely mad. Luckily, the price tag is what stops me in time and my habit of trying to finish bottles before I buy new ones.

  • RogueRanting

    Ok Emily, so I have a request, and it might seem silly, but I feel like with all the expert advice you have at your fingertips these days you might be able to do it:

    Maybe you could do a post on beauty products that people use that are NOT good for the skin, like common faux-pas, etc and talk about things like parabens (all of my friends think I'm nuts for not wanting parabens and other things in my products, because they have no idea what they are).

    That would make me a super, super, amazingly-merry-happy reader. lol. I think this post has finally convinced me to get a Clarisonic already.

    • Theyearofyou

      But everyone has such different skin types! What might be awful for say, my sensitive skin, might work wonders for oily, acne-prone skin. If parabens are specifically what you are on the lookout for, then just stick with "green products" Also, more often than not, it's usually beauty HABITS that are bad for skin, or the wrong usage or overusage of products, not the products themselves.

    • Rach

      I agree with Theyearofyou. I have very oily, acne prone skin that loves chemical exfoliants and can't tolerate mineral sunscreens, so the opposite of Emily. I feel like my friends with dry skin can mix up their skincare in ways us oily, spotty, bumpy girls just can't. If I find something that works I stick with it for forever.

    • Christina

      Check out for reviews on different skincare and makeup products. I have easily irritated/sensitive skin so this website has really helped me. Only problem is they don't seem to feature many non-US brands (I'm dying for them to review the Aesop range!).

      • FaithJ

        I second You have to get a subscription to access all the reviews, but it's worth it.

        • Iggy

          Beautypedia seems to be a mixture of conjuncture and marketing. Don't rate it.

  • Loup y-es-tu ?

    But sometimes your skin looks good because you've been using the same products for a year and your body is finally adjusting. I don't think it is very good to change your beauty routine all the time.

  • Thebeautyphilosopher

    The Jurlique cleanser is gorgeous. If you like Jurlique you should try the Purely Age Defying Eye Cream which is one of my most favourite eye creams. The Jurlique masks are gorgeous too.

    • KT

      I didn't like the cleanser when I used it, I think it was far too mild for my skin. However, I absolutely love the Jurlique Intense Recovery Mask. It is amazing, a definite must have.

  • Marcela Cristovao

    I love this post.
    It's True sometimes when we use too many products you have no way of knowing what is really working.
    I prefer to use the least amout of products possible.

  • Annie Strole

    Good God I love skincare...Been obsessed with Caudalie's Premiere Cru eye cream as of late. Love the new layout!

    • Melanie

      Hi Annie,

      I'm glad to see that you like Caudalie - I am thinking about trying some of their products for the first tiem. Maybe I'll start with the eye cream.... :-)

  • Clara

    Love the post!
    Question: Which Clarisonic cleansing system is the best? (Mia, Mia 2 or Classic?)
    Would love to get one but dont wanna end up with the wrong one!

    • Jennifer Eliuk

      I bought the Pro, since it has the most features as well as the body brush. I'm extremely happy with it and if it broke I'd replace it with the Pro for sure. My boyfriend uses it too, he's a mechanic and it really helps him properly clean his skin.

    • Aya

      I have a Mia which I love and use each evening. It doesn't have multiple speeds and I can only use it on my face. These are not issues for me as I like the small usable size and personally don't think I need the multiple speeds. I bought another Mia for my sister for Christmas.

  • iwishihadtaste

    Emily, do you use sunblock every day? If so, any tips?

  • The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog

    I love any of your posts about skincare, and the site looks fantastic, very easy to use:)

    Bioderma is my lifesaver, I spend time in Canada every year and stock up where it's easy to get! Do I spy a Santa Maria Novella bottle on the top shelf?

  • Ann Marie Arquilla

    This was quite the timely post because just last night I was trying to figure out which of the semi-new steps in my routine is causing a never seen before breakout on my forehead. I started using Aesop's Fabulous Facial Oil a couple of months ago, then added the Clarisonic a couple weeks after that, and most recently replaced my daytime mosturizer with Korres Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizing & Brightening Cream. I'm inclined to think it's the Korres that's not agreeing with my skin, but either way it's time to par down the routine and get my skin back glowing!

    • Elly

      Could it possibly be an issue of overcleansing, perhaps with the Clarisonic? I've always had blemishes on my forehead but never anywhere else; however, a few years ago I tried a chemical foaming cleanser and starting really rubbing it into my cheeks and chin. A few days after I started this, I had break-outs on the sides of my cheeks and all over my chin, where I had never had them before! They took a few weeks to clear up properly and my chin got really messy. I'm not sure why it happened, maybe it overstimulated the oil or just irritated the skin.
      I hope your issue is resolved soon, I just wanted to bring up the possibility of overcleansing so you have all your bases covered.

    • Christina

      Could be the fragrance in the Korres product.

    • Marissa Daniels

      Take out the Clarisonic and see...I have issues with it, I think it sometimes makes me break out and doesn't work so well for me :(

  • Jennifer Eliuk

    This was very helpful, I'd like to try a couple of the products listed here. Have been on the hunt for a great, non-drying cleanser. I also swear by having a good shower filter, both for skin care and hair care. I live in the Rockies where we have beautiful, clean, med-free water, but it's hard. The other day I did a post about my routine too:

  • mlle p

    I feel like a big skincare cheapskate with Cetaphil and maybe a Dr.Murad acne spot cream or Boots #7 serum here and there! Some of the products sound great but I wish more of them would offer samples or tiny tester sizes. Might spring for the Clarisonic soon...

  • Lhubbard311

    I really wanted to try the Sunday Riley Bionic Cream, but the ingredients include Retinol......

    • Mrsnics

      Just curious what the particular objection to retinol is? I have been off retinol for a while now due to either pregnancy or nursing but have been looking forward to it's return to my regimen someday in the future. It seems to be derms top recommendation to boost collagen production (nothing like stress plus lack of sleep, ie being a mom, to put the brakes on collagen production) and fight wrinkles and acne. Until then i am hoping Origins Plantscription line may work for me. Seems to be a natural alternative to retinol. Currently in love with Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum (if anyone out there has hyperpigmentation issues this stuff is AMAZING) so i think i will try the Plantscription Eye Cream first. Has anyone tried?

      • Blondie

        The Caudalie Vinoperfect is amazing! It took about three months, but all my acne scars are significantly lighter. I haven't tried the Plantscription Eye Cream. I've used Origins Eye Doctor, but I liked Clinique All About Eyes better. The Caudalie eye products are great but expensive.

      • Marissa Daniels

        It's because retinol is tough for sensitive skin to tolerate - can cause a lot of redness, itching, sensitivity etc

  • Chloe

    I might have to try some of these products! I have not ever owned a single one!

  • Aya

    I was just commenting on this "crisis!!!" last night. My skin has really improved lately (yay! no complaints) but I've done such an overhaul with my products and routine that I really have no idea what is improving it. Clarisonic? Masks? Oil? The process in general?
    Looking forward to trying the cleanser you suggested--being that every other product I use from your or ITG suggestions I love. Current favorites: Rodin Olio Lusso, Bioderma Crealine, Clarisonic. It's like my top shelf is stalking your top shelf.

  • erin

    great post. i have a few holy grail items that aren't super pricy but amazing. swear by vit. c and a serums.

  • antoinette

    I think it is so good that you take care of your skin the way you do. Your skin looks really amazing. You might not answer this but i'll ask anyway: Do you take vitamins? If so what kind?

  • Ana

    is that NUXE's rêve de miel lip balm i spy? what's your take on it?

  • Theyearofyou

    I like to classify my skincare products in two groups: 1. To maintain what I have and 2. To treat what I would like to have. If one is a constant, I can sort of play around with other products. So, if I absolutely love a product, I'll keep it in my routine and switch out one product to see how it affects my skin. Otherwise, I would be on product overload. Then I go on a skincation. haha. I read that somewhere. Sometimes going to bed with no product on my face yields great skin, too! Also, humidifiers! It does wonders. :D

  • McKenna

    And SOMETIMES the condition of your skin is also due to what you eat/don't eat! That has plenty to do with it, as well as your stress level and typically the amount of water you consume.

    But I totally get it ... I have a random concoction of products that lean toward the category of "all-natural" (read: stuff you buy at Whole Foods) but it evolves over time and something not-so-natural usually gets thrown in there every couple months.

    I just purchased Boscia's BB Creme and I'm SUPER curious as to how it will deal with my skin. Anyone here ever tried a BB creme (beauty balm)?

    • Clemence

      Yes, I'm Korean-American and BB cream is very popular in Asia (though I live in New York). Though I'm only in high school, my mother bought me a BB cream and I'm in love. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a product which offers perfect coverage like that of foundation without clogging the pores. There is something very natural and clean-feeling about BB cream; think of it like a tinted moisturizer which has the abilities to soften and protect your skin. Mine has SPF 50 and my skin has never felt better. (Or perhaps that is because of my newly-purchased Clarisonic!)

      • McKenna

        Wonderful to know, Clemence! I had read about BB creams in Lucky and it was mentioned that they originated in and are currently a huge craze in Asia. Things always seem to be ten steps ahead in research and innovation over there so I figured this may be worth a try. I applied it for the first time a couple hours ago and I have to say that I love the look of it! My skin is of a light/medium olive complexion that can tan (I'm in Southern California) but I really try to avoid it. I've never been satisfied with the look of any foundation and sometimes I don't have time to apply powder for the day, so maybe this will be my solution (because I will never, ever skip SPF). And have fun with that Clarisonic!!

  • Helena

    love this post! thank you Emily. I have made very loud noises about the Clarisonic in front of my husband, so here's hoping :)

    my current hero product is Liz Earle's Superskin moisturiser - I know it's what's working the magic, because it's the only thing I've changed. I'm 28 and three days after starting to use it as a night cream the girl serving me in my local coffee shop nearly dropped the cup when I told her I was married, because she thought I was 21. no word of a lie! it has improved the texture of my skin to the best it's ever been, and even seems to be going to work on fine lines too. it also immediately reduces redness and clears up eczema (for any sufferers on here, I would recommend her whole range) - the results are immediately visible. I would recommend LE to anyone, her products just seem to work beautifully on any skin. and it's fairly reasonably priced too.


  • Brea

    LOVE the new layout :)

  • Yelena

    Hi,Emily ! Can you tell me please what kind of sunglasses do you wear above? Gorgeous! Thanks!

    • Bee

      They look like Celine's to me because of the smoke color and shape but they also look like they could be Linda Farrow's. NEED TO KNOW WHO MAKES THESE!

  • anita rivas

    You just need to read the ingredients to figure out what works for sensitive skin etc. Example, someone with sensitive skin would not use a 10% Glycolic Acid or %5 Salicylic Acid Peels etc. You would keep all those at %1 and leave on the skin for a shorter duration of time. It also depends of you're trying to remove hyperigmentation scars, age spots etc...or just reverse premature age or trying to control adult acne.

    I give my skin different things on a nightly basis, right now it's clear of adult acne and hyperpigmenation spots - so that means it's a 4 to 5 layer serum night : )

    I love that we use a lot of similar skincare pieces - love anything by Caudalie! and Sunday Riley -

  • Kitchen afternoon

    Skin care yes, but your hair looks great. I swear by the under the radar all natural and affordable Super - it is genius.

  • Ellaprettyblog

    Bioderma and cotton pads in a bedside drawer? What a brilliant idea!!! I keep a pack of make-up wipes next to my bed, but often the ingredients in them break me out even more than NOT washing my face - but Bioderma is great for acne-prone to put my extra bottle where it belongs :-)

  • Laura

    Wow, what a difference to your last skincare post...

  • Yas

    I love this blog. Its fascinating to see what people put on themselves, its such a big part of fashion, too, and something that was sorely lacking till you came along. I've been reading from the begining, and I love the new design.

  • Lola

    NEXT POST... My Makeup: December 2011... I'd die and go to heaven :D
    ITG- amazing- enough said

  • Charissa

    totally understand the beauty existential crisis. in fact, i'm so very tired trying to find which products actually work for my skin. and it doesn't help that my skin keeps changing! what used to be combi skin is now dehydrated (but still greasy on the T zone) and is totally congested on the foreheard and chin! can anybody help? have been using the clarisonic for about 2 weeks and still waiting for a miracle to happen!

    • Melissa

      To unclog pores, I use Jurlique's Daily Exfoliating Cream before steaming my face for 5 minutes over a bowl of hot water with one drop of pure tea tree oil (antiseptic)... once or twice a week. Works well for me.

  • Elise

    You have no SPF in your daytime skin products??

  • Chloe

    I am a total believer in French thermal water mists - I have oily skin, but have been told even though my skin has oil on it, doesn't mean it is hydrated (because it needs water). And the minerals really do make the skin beautiful.

    I would like to know if it would be possible to start adding top shelf reviews for body products - everyone seems to just concentrate on face, hair and fragrance (which is great! but the beauty product junkie in me needs more product recommendations).

    • banga

      Dry skin brushing is the best thing ever. That and Metagenics fish oil (taken orally) will make your skin g l o w.
      If it's really dry I'll put on Skintrip before bed.

  • Nada

    I really liked your previous skincare post. Your routine seemed very edited but thought through. I liked the featuring of natural but chic products that work. This post seems to me a bit overwhelming/chaotic product wise.... Nevertheless great post and thanks for sharing.

  • The many lives of line

    Oh! This blog is MAGICAL! Just found it today and it's like an early Christmas-gift for a beauty-junkie like me! ;)


  • A. Norris

    Emily I love your post on winter skin products! Another great brand to try is Born in Brooklyn Skin Care. The cool thing is you get the high end results at affordable prices. You can get them here

  • banga

    LOVE your site & the redesign looks fab.

    When I was your age I was a product junkie. Now, at 40, my skin is happier with less. Skinceuticals, Badescu, and Mychelle are the only lines I use. My desert island product is Ultra Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum from Mychelle. Granted, the packaging looks like it was designed by and eighth grade girl, but my skin loves it.

  • Renaphuah

    love your skicnare post Emily. i am asian, have acne prone skin (hormonal and dehydration) and my skin agrees with Shiseido's lotions, SKII essence and Mario Badescu products.
    have you been updating your makeup kit? cant wait :) x rena

  • Cdb3835

    I just got my clarisonic and i'm loving it. Also, the new layout is really nice, especially the slideshow feature, keep up the great work ITG!

  • SophiaXOXO

    Hahaha i saw your video (the french one) and all your hairspray using! Can we get a hair tutorial from you? Loving all your stuff!

  • WReg

    I swear by Jurlique products!!! They are all natural and have not only the best scents, but also works for so many skin types.

  • cn

    Hi Emily! Could you go into a bit more detail about what you think of Lancome's visionnaire? I googled it after you wrote about it and the reviews are phenomenal...but do you think it's worth it for a 20 year old, just for the benefits of minimizing pores and evening skin tone if wrinkles obviously aren't a problem? It's a steep price if it won't do much for younger skin!

  • Rick Rhoads

    Good post! Do you ever think about using medically based products? They are usually more potent and effective.

  • Katecdonahue

    Can we have an update on your skin care regime for the colder months!? Pretty pretty please!


Jurlique Balancing Foam Cleanser
Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream
Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
Perricone MD
Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Gentle Cleanser
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
La Roche-Posay
Thermal Spring Water
Avene Thermal Spring Water
Sunday Riley
Sunday Riley ‘Bionic’ Anti-Aging Cream
Sunday Riley
Sunday Riley ‘Start Over’ Active Eye Cream
AMOREPACIFIC ‘Moisture Bound’ Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel
Bioderma Créaline
diptyque Figuier Scented Candle