The Poet With The Pollution-Fighting Skincare Hack

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The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

"Oh hi! My name is Jeeae—it’s Korean, but you can pronounce it 'Gia'—AKA @nonsex. I live in Downtown LA, but was born and raised in the Yay Area—you might know it as the Bay Area. I’m a semi-recent MFA grad in poetry and a content manager at True Religion. I haven’t been with the company very long, but so far it’s just been fucking amazing. The only drawback is that my commute has doubled. Losing roughly two hours has really changed the way I compartmentalize my day-to-day routine, and the amount of makeup I put on my face. As far as skincare is concerned though, I’m a major maximalist.

Beauty is a huge thing in Korean culture for women, so I was born into it, really. I was told very early that beauty was pain. My mother had whole skincare routines from brands like La Prairie and SK-II and Shiseido, but she also did really weird DIY things, like whipping egg yolk masks and layering it with thin pieces of facial tissue over her face—the OG sheet mask!—or bathing in day-old whole milk. Skincare was very important to my mother, and it really fucking shows. I am envious of her skin, but it was my sister who taught me the ins and outs.

My personal beauty philosophy is 'You do you, and the world will adjust, not the other way around.' I think beauty is a really important sector right now, thanks to its openness to experimentation—especially when it comes to pushing the boundaries on gender norms. The more people push the standards of beauty, the more companies have to acknowledge those needs, and that’s one step closer to changing the social standards altogether. My approach however, is prevention. Not necessarily anti-aging—I got my first wrinkle like two years ago and it’s chill, would recommend... Also the moment those grey hairs start cropping up, I’m dyeing the whole damn thing white. I can’t wait. But I just want to be comfortable with my face and notice details as they come so I don’t shock myself one day taking off my makeup. I’m also a smoker, so I stick all the retinol and antioxidants that I possibly can into my regimen. I know that when I’m in my 80s I’m going to look back at how I was and think ‘God damn I was a bad ass bitch.’ So why not just appreciate it now?

In the morning, I massage my face with Dior Gentle Cleansing Milk and use a hot damp towel to remove it. This step is so basic, yet so life-changing. I’ll tone with Burt’s Bees Garden Tomato Toner—I also like Thayer’s Witch Hazel. After that, I spray on Clinique Even Better Essence, which I use as a cheap dupe for the SK-II Essence. I decant it into these little two-ounce amber glass spray bottles I get on Amazon for when I’m on trips. After patting it all in, I use a bit of Sunday Riley C.E.O Rapid Flash Brightening Serum. I found pairing chemical exfoliants and Vitamin C products really milks that 'new skin' glow. I let the serum sit for a minute with I apply Belif Peat Miracle Revital Eye Cream. I prefer really dense creams that aren’t irritating, because I feel like any product that goes near my eyes always also ends up in my eyes. During the warm months, I just go ahead and top it all off with Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. This is the best SPF I’ve ever used—super moisturizing, leaves zero white cast and is perfectly packaged in an airtight dispenser. When it’s colder out, I use sqaulane underneath my SPF—it’s the only thing that helped my skin when I first moved to polluted ass Los Angeles and started developing rough patches across my cheeks and chin. Before I leave, I spritz two pumps of Jo Malone Red Roses on my wrists and dab onto my neck.

I usually get out the door sans makeup and stick my hair in two low buns for my commute. In the parking lot I crimp my lashes with this Shu Uemura Gold Eyelash Curler my sister bought me and either put Besame’s Cream Rouge in Crimson on my cheeks and lips or a red lipstick. My arsenal includes Rodin Luxury Lipstick in Red Hedy, NYX Liquid Suede Cream in Kitten Heels, Chanel Rouge Allure Ink in Libere, and Clarins Rouge Éclat in Red Wine if I’m feeling a little dark. I brighten up the rest of my face by mixing Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard on my hand and smoothing it under my eyes, sides of my nose and around my lips. The mixture is a little more emollient so it doesn’t crease or cake. Then I pull my little hair buns out and shake the waves. I keep Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam in my glove compartment just in case. THIS IS THE BEST DRY SHAMPOO. No lie. Just try it.

At night, my products differ slightly from my AM routine—I use DHC Deep Cleansing Oil to take off my makeup and double cleanse with Bioderma. About once a week I use Biologique Recherche P50 Original 1970 and let it really get into my pores. People think I'm lying when I say it burns like a mother and smells like formaldehyde, but it's 100% true. Still, it really does kick some serious ass.

Also, instead of the vitamin C serum I use in the morning, I switch to Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution. A few months back, a friend of mine gave me a fresh tube of prescription strength retinol and my skin peeled and peeled and peeled. I stopped using it after a month, but after my skin healed back up, it was the healthiest it had ever looked. Don't ever doubt the retinol, guys.

Right now I'm testing out a mini sample of Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream and I think I like it. It's light enough to use during the day and potent enough to double for night use. Then I treat with Sunday Riley Good Genes, which I swear my life on. I would use all the acids if I could. Again, the smell is never that great. But beauty is pain.

When I’m home, I relax in a completely braindead kind of way. I take off all my makeup, put on my skincare, change into fresh underwear, cozy under a blanket and watch movies in bed until I fall asleep. Sleep in the best relaxation."

—as told to ITG

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