Yilla Chen, Intern and Student


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"My name is Yilla (@vicioushour), and I’m originally from and still living in Brooklyn, New York. I’m finishing up college with an English literature degree, and I also work at a facial shop called Heyday as a host, which basically means I’m guiding beauty enthusiasts into skincare routines—I know from my experience that nothing happens overnight. Recently, I took on an internship at a skincare company called Mūn for my days off. I like keeping my plate full.

I started caring about my skin around high school, when I started taking the Pill for acne. That was also when I started slathering on any moisturizer I could afford, whether it was anti-aging or for oily skin. I was probably too experimental. I took on dry skin serums to reach the coveted K-Beauty glow, to a point when my friends would tell me I looked greasy. When the magic of the Pill subsided after years of flawless skin, I realized what I was using was not for my skin type. Clogged pores returned, and my eight-step routine went back to about three steps. Elizabeth, my wonderful Heyday skin therapist, definitely helped me become more conscious about what’s going on with my skin.

But I still love trying new toners and serums, especially with the cold season coming in. Layer your products like your clothes—bundle up in the winter. I wash my face with the Naturopathica Aloe Cleansing Gel, which is hydrating and doesn’t mess up your skin’s pH. Then, Naturopathica's Lavender and Honey Balancing Mist is mattifying and purifying. Honey is a great natural antiseptic, and I keep a small travel bottle to spray throughout the day. My serum is Caudalie's SOS Thirst Quenching liquid, which saved my skin from Seattle’s dry air and the six-hour flight there, and I wait for it to sink in before applying the Ursa Major Face Balm. Contrary to its name, the balm is super lightweight and has low viscosity, so it immediately sinks into your skin like water.

The night routine is a little more comprehensive, mainly because NYC air has lots of pollution and free radicals. I do a double cleanse starting with the most amazing Vitamin B Oil Cleanser from One Love Organics. It is a piña colada in an amber bottle, eating away at your dead skin cell. After that, I wash my face with my gel cleanser, and twice a week I exfoliate with either the Dr. Jart Demaclear Milk Peel or the Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA+BHA Mask. The former smells like cereal, and the latter smells like flotsam, but the end results are glorious.

I do a detox mask after I exfoliate, when my skin is new and ready to purge. The Shaffali Volcanic Ash Mask is super gentle, non-irritating, and smells like sandalwood. I follow with the Alchimie Forever Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask, which does have synthetic fragrances, but it’s from a line that's catered towards burn victims and children’s skin. I wear it overnight after drinking to retain what little moisture I have, and I wake up silky. Final step is the Herbivore Lapis Oil—four drops on your face and neck is all you need. It disinfects and calms flushed combination or normal skin.

For makeup, I like to keep it easy unless I’m feeling colorful, which calls for just a swipe of eye shadow, or the Pat McGrath iridescent pink highlighter—!!! I put on the Dr. Jart Premium BB Cream, which is necessary for my dewy skin look. For my brows, I fill in sparse areas, and then brush on Glossier Boy Brow for a fuller look. Currently seeking a blacker-than-black liquid liner, like Anish Kapoor level, for my cat-eye. Let a girl know.

In my free time, I love love love bubble baths. I light tea lights all along the rim, put on music, dump two scoops of bath salts with a bath bomb, and I’m out for the next hour and a half. Which reminds me—never neglect your hands, neck, and legs! For hands, I pack the Grown Alchemist Orange Peel and Vanilla Hand Cream in all my bags. My cuticles turn into shredded paper when the wind really picks up in New York. For everywhere else, I use the Raw Sugar Mango Coconut Body Butter. I have a big tub that’s only $10 at Target, and my sister steals it when I’m sleeping. If you’re reading this, I know you do it."

—as told to ITG