Megan Duffy, Pathologist

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The #ITGTopShelfie series puts the focus on the lives and beauty routines of Into The Gloss's lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Show us your own Top Shelfie on Instagram—tag us @intothegloss, and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie.

"My name is Megan Duffy [@duffs007], and I'm a pathologist. I treat life—and myself actually—like a giant science experiment. I'll try pretty much any product, procedure, or service as long as I can dissect the shit out of it. Vampire facial? Sure. Eyebrow tattooing? Why not? I'm 38, and I'd say something about how much I get carded, but really, I don't want to look like I'm 25. I don't want to look like a supermodel or blogger. I have a big nose and a wonky tooth and an underbite, and I work in an industrial park and wear OSHA-friendly clogs every day. I just want to look the best—the healthiest, if you will—that I can, without looking like a plastic caricature or trying too hard. So basically, no contouring…ever.

That said, skincare is my jam. I don't like to wear a lot of makeup, although one would think the opposite looking at my stash. I wear it because it's fun to put on, and sometimes I have to do present myself a certain way in the professional world. I have five nonnegotiable staples in my skincare drawer. These are SkinMedica's TNS Recovery Complex, sunscreen, a retinol, hydroquinone, and La Mer Crème De La Mer Moisturizing Cream. I've been using La Mer since my early 20s. I used to wait until I got my student loan disbursement, get a jar, and make that puppy last for as long as possible. The SkinMedica is a more recent addition. It has collagen-stimulating growth hormones. I called it the 'penis cream' for a while because it was believed to be taken from scientific research on the fibroblasts of discarded baby foreskins, but it's actually made with proteins, cytokines, and antioxidants that heal skin faster. I don't know how it works, but it is magic. It improves texture and elasticity and makes you radiant. I think the instructions say to put it on morning and night, but I just do it in the morning because it’s so pricey. One pump, and you are good to go.

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a sunscreen slut. It's really hard to find a sunscreen that fulfills my criteria of being more mineral than chemical, can tolerate Exxon Valdez skin, and will not sweat off in three seconds without a chalky residue. You really need to be putting on way too much of the stuff to get anywhere near the promised SPF, so most tinted ones are out. MDSolarSciences’ Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB Sunscreen has been my go-to for a while now. The good thing about sunscreens, is that even if one ends up sucking, you can use it on your hands or whatever so they never go to waste.

I love, love, love Sunday Riley Skincare, and I use both the Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil and the Luna Sleeping Night Oil. And if I was a millionaire, I would use nothing but the Cashmere SPF 30 Advanced Sun Defense. I use the Ceramic Slip Cleanser, which doubles as a mask when you mix it with the Good Genes Treatment. Oh, it burns—but your skin! It's a new level of smooth and unblemished after that. I'll use the Skin Adrenaline Anti-Aging Concentrate when it's warmer and I don't need as intense a level of hydration on my cheeks. I'll add an oil if I feel a little dry—sometimes Juno, other days Philosophy's Back to Nurture Deeply Replenishing Oil Gelée. Because I have combination skin, I'll use Makeup Artists’ Choice Super Matte AntiShine on my T-zone. It’s the best I’ve found, although I usually just resign myself to blotting with toilet seat protectors every time I make a trip to a public restroom. I refuse to powder throughout the day—it's so dated looking, and who has time? Likewise, for work—none of that midday touch-up stuff. I don't take lunch, and often my only 'breaks' are to pee and reload on green tea.

I have an arsenal of foundations to prep for all kinds of coverage and conditions. For work, I’ll rotate between Diorskin Nude BB Cream and Perricone MD’s No-Foundation Foundation Serum. If I need more coverage, I’ll add a little Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation because it has great staying power, but the coverage is too heavy for me to use all over. At the end of the day though, I know that the best foundation of all time is Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation. It’s simply perfect. I don’t know why I stray.

Makeup needs to last! No smudging, no smearing, no running. I use a couple of stain-based products immediately after I wash my face in the morning—they'll stay forever as long as they go on bare skin. Perricone MD’s No Blush Blush is a beautiful product, and a little goes a long way. I fill out my brows with Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color in Light, which look surprisingly natural. I don't care how trendy or youthful thicker brows appear, I'm not doing them. Not really my thing. As for eyes, I love By Terry Ombre Blackstar Melting Eyeshadows, although the darker shades work better than the lighter ones on my lids. The shade Bronze Moon makes the most spectacular liner of all time—leave the rest of the lid bare and just smudge it into the base of the lashes. It never moves! And then I like Kevyn Aucoin's Volume Mascara. It's as lengthening as it is volumizing, and it's bulletproof until you take it off. Don't take it off in the tub, though—it comes off in these weird little pieces that can fall into the bathwater and look very much like a spider.

I started getting Botox in my forehead at 30 because I was vain. I kept getting it because I'm still vain, and my hideous tension headaches all but disappeared. It’s worth the money for that alone. I’ve done minimal fillers mostly around my smile lines and a scar on the left side of my face. I did do the vampire facial once—they draw your blood and spin it to separate out the platelet-rich plasma, which has all the stem cells and growth factors and whatnot. Then, they do the microneedling—which feels like an enthusiastic cat is licking your face—and then slather on the plasma, which you marinate in overnight. It’s sort of gross and really itchy. The results are really impressive though, for such a minimally invasive procedure. I look at skin under the microscope every single day and know how deep it is, so when I see people who’ve gone overboard with lasers, I know there is a fine line between pretty skin and wax mannequin. I would rather look the best I can—flaws and all—as opposed to inhumanly smooth and even like some alien creature. There is beauty and interest in aberrations.”

—as told to ITG

Discover the beauty routines of ITG's community of readers, like PhD Candidate Joanna Smolenski and lawyer Alexandra Pakzad, in the #ITGTopShelfie.