Jane Larkworthy's Winter Skincare Diary


There are beauty editors and there are Beauty Editors. Jane Larkworthy, formerly of Jane and W magazines is the latter. She's been doing this a long time and there's very little she hasn't tried—an endless trove of beauty and product references stored in one person. But perhaps the most sacred of advice she can give to any of us is this: How you can live your life trying product after new product without your skin just flat out giving up. To prove it, we asked her to journal her skincare routine for a few consecutive days. Below are the results. Take notes:

January 5
Before stepping in the shower, I slather MV Organic Skincare Pure Jojoba Oil on. MV’s creator Sharon McGlinchey says it helps prevent broken capillaries that hot water can encourage. I pat the oil off with a soft towel, then I lube up my cheeks and jawline with Nuface Gel Primer Firm, which works as the conductor for Nuface’s Microcurrent Device. LA facialist Shani Darden sent it to me recently and I’ve heard good things.

Along with a slackened jawline, my other big concern is my red skin. The conundrum of being a beauty editor is that the temptation to try every product takes its toll on a fair complexion. So I’ve been making an effort to only use products that have the word “Calm” in them or that come recommended by an expert I trust. Take Amly Silver Rich Facial Mist. Danish hairstylist Cim Mahoney gave it to me. OK, fine. Cim is a hairstylist, but he also happens to be an expert of natural and gentle products and so far, he hasn’t steered me wrong. Apparently, spring water that’s rich in silver is very healing. Besides, it smells of jasmine, which calms my mind.

After, I pat on Marie Veronique Barrier Restore Serum, which is part of a collection she created with fellow San Franciscan Kristina Holey, who is one of my favorite facialists. I’m very excited to the try the three that Holey sent. Once sunken in, Biologique Recherche Creme Masque Vernix is the moisturizer. I’m currently testing Rodan and Fields Lash Serum, but only on my right lashes. I do this half-face testing thing a lot. Call me crazy, but I don’t care. It’s my system. And lest you think the left lashes get overlooked, they get Latisse, the gold standard. Unfair match? Time will tell...

I take a bath and cleanse with Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. I’m pretty obsessed with cleansing balms, but I’m bipartisan, rotating between ones from Elemis, Goop, Amanda Lacey, Alexandra Soveral, and Erborian. Kristina Holey for Marie Veronique Intensive Repair Serum goes next, followed by Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform along with a quick round of Patchology Lip Gels to attack my pesky lip lines that drive me crazy.

January 6
In the bath (yes, I take baths nearly every morning, too), I scrub my limbs with Lil Fox Body Polish, then press whatever oil residue is left from the scrub into my face. I know this is a body scrub, but it’s 25 degrees outside and I am desperate. I skip the Nuface, then I feel bad about it afterwards, so I treat myself to Lancer Lift and Plump Sheet Mask instead while I catch up on emails and feed the dog. It feels soothing, and I like how supple it leaves my skin. I think I hear the Nuface taunting me from the bathroom with beeps, though. It’s so needy... I pat in the leftover goop from the Lancer mask, then Biologique Vernix again.

I cleanse with Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser (which is great at removing stubborn mascara) then Holey/Veronique Soothing Serum, followed by another double-sided product challenge, pitting Darden’s Retinol Reform on the left side and Erasa XEP 30 on the right. Their active ingredients target different issues, but I want to see how each fares overnight on my complexion, which can be quite sensitive.

January 7
Both Darden and Erasa pass the morning-after-calm test, but, it being the weekend, I want to ease up on the serious ingredients for a couple of days. We head up to Massachusetts every weekend, and this one is testing our poor 170-year-old house’s heating limits. We wake up to 16 degrees and SNOW outside this morning, so the operative word is “layering,” in both clothing and skin. Fresh Rice Sake Bath softens my body skin while Earth tu Face’s Honey and Coconut Mask nourishes my face as I languor in the tub scrolling through Instagram. Before heading out on our hike with our dog Remy, I pat on Leland Francis Luxe Face Oil, which Ayurvedic face massage expert Candice Forness gave me to try. Candice does this kind of crazy treatment where she moves her fingers in quick, light movements meant to retrain your facial muscles. It’s so soothing, I pass out every time I see her, but damned if I don’t look less...angry when I look in the mirror after she’s done. Anyway, I finished my eight treatments with her in December, and am thinking it might be time for a maintenance visit so she can turn my frown upside down again.

The snow has tenaciously spilled all day and into the night, and I, for one, am THRILLED. There is a surprise bowling party about 20 miles south of our house, so we decide to brave the conditions and go. Before I head to the car, I pat a generous amount of French Girl Organics Facial Oil Elixir onto my cheeks to both give an added glow to my makeup and to protect it against the very windy and cold elements. Once we’re back to the safety of home, I light a candle in the bathroom and fill the tub with Kneipp Spruce and Pine Bath Oil as I let Uma Pure Calm Oil sink in. It is all very hygge.

January 8
The sun is blazing when we wake up, so we race over to our local ski mountain for a few morning runs through some fresh powder. For days like this, I’ve become pretty addicted to Colorescience Daily UV Protector. Its whipped formula is non-greasy, provides formidable concealment over imperfections and has a hearty SPF 30. I’m working my way through a lab sample, so I must get more!

No bath tonight. We get home too late. Holey + Marie Veronique Soothing Serum, then sleep.

January 9
I have an important meeting today, so after spending double time Nufacing, I slip on Chinup Mask, “the 30-minute non-surgical face lift” from Korea that Glow Recipe’s Christine Chang gave me. It’s a sheet mask that comes with this stretchy wrap-around apparatus made of scuba-suit-like fabric to help with the lifting. Once it’s on, I look like the Ghost of Christmas Past. I use the mask’s residue as moisturizer, then swipe on the lash serums.

When I meet my friend Wendy that night for a pre-theatre drink she hands me a small shopping bag containing three products from JAS (stands for Just Amazing Skin Care). Her dermatologist Bruce Robinson created JAS for sensitive skin, so I think, “Hmmm…”. I first try his cleanser, which is made with aloe and tea tree oil and smells like it. So soothing. Then it’s the two-faced challenge and we have a newcomer! JAS Anti-Aging Retinol Cream against Retinol Reform.

January 10
David Colbert is one of the most respected dermatologists in the business, so I am thrilled when NYDG, a new line he was part of creating for sensitive skin turns up at my door. I cleanse with their Colloidal Oatmeal Cleanser, pat their Luminizing Skin Essence on and finish with their Formula 119 Cream. The line launches on their website January 25th, folks.

Another package arrives in the afternoon. This one from Shrankhla Holecek, founder of Uma Oils. Inside is a bottle with the label “Jane’s Oil”, which she custom-made for me. The base is Uma Pure Calm (she knows me…), mixed with grounding and relaxing oils like vetiver, sandalwood and chamomile. If that’s not enough of a gift, it’s nestled in a pashmina that Holecek’s sister designed after studying my Instagram. I’m a bit overcome by such thoughtfulness. Fortunatelty, the oil lulls me to sleep.

January 11
I read on this very site that Phoebe Lovatt had read somewhere that Martha Stewart does a face mask every morning, so I have begun to do the same. Today, it’s Farmacy Soothing Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask. I recycle its residue to be the conductor for the Nuface. In the afternoon, I receive an email from Candice Forness. It’s like she’s telepathic, because I have been missing those magic hands even more lately. When I promise to make an appointment soon, but beg off because I’m swamped, she responds, “Swamped is great! But make time for your face, though.”

Wise woman. I write her back again. This time, with a list of dates.

—Jane Larkworthy

Photos via the author.

More skincare diaries: from Phoebe Lovatt's NYFW madness, to Associate Editor Brennan Kilbane's minimalist product experiment.