Welcome to spring, my friends—the season we never thought would show up. It’s been a good long time since the weather resembled anything bearable in New York, something that bothers me but doesn’t surprise me. Of course, a handful of 70 degree days is just enough time to completely reframe my skincare routine just before I chuck everything out the window because it’s too damn hot. And if it lasts more than one week, so much the better. This is where my head’s at:
If my winter routine was defined by adding layers and layers of protection to my face—oil serum then moisturizer then thick zinc-based sunscreen—spring revolves around the same method, but with lovely, light, water-based serums. Joanna Vargas’ Daily Serum is the hero of the bunch. First, Christina Han described it as a facial in a bottle. And then our very own Jordan Verrilli put it thusly: “My complexion is way more even and the pores around my nose are smaller. I just look like I’m wearing makeup when I’m not.” I’m not quite at that level yet (we’ll get to why in a minute), but I certainly see a difference in clarity and tone. I use it in the morning after wiping my face down with Liz Earle’s Instant Boost Skin Tonic.
My other hot tip in this category is Josh Rosebrook’s forthcoming Hydration Booster Concentrate, which I’ve been using along with his Hydrating Accelerator mist. Both are all natural, which is great, but what’s really great is that they work. That plump skin you’ve been looking for without all that moisturizer film left on top? It’s here. And you only have to use the teensiest, tiniest amount. In the morning, I seal that in with IS Clinical’s Reparative Moisture Emulsion because I cannot physically stop myself from using a product that has “repair” in the name. Also lightweight. Top marks all around.
For at least a month, I was repeating this routine in the evening as a part of my “Emily Ferber is a minimalist now” programming. And then Shani Darden had to go and launch Texture Reform and throw a wrench in everything I thought I knew about my skin. Normally I’d withhold a review for at least a month but GUYS. Let me give you a window into my world right now: Forehead whack-a-mole continues—every time I get a pimple to go away, a new friend pops up and the cycle starts over. I’m over here making emergency dermatologist appointments because maybe there’s some magical piece of information I’m missing about forehead acne. In the midst of all this, Shani presents her lactic acid + aloe serum for people (like me) who are too terrified to start retinol. I’m applying 1-2 pumps per night, focused on my forehead, but really all over, and have seen an immediate reduction in congestion and redness, but none of the dryness or purging I was worried about. I’ll keep you posted, but so far, it’s a winner. The addition of nightly acid does call for extra careful SPF protection in the morning—I’m sticking to the Dr. Jart Cicapair Tigergrass Color Correcting Treatment with SPF 30 for now.
The Dr. Jart also makes for a seamless transition into makeup. It turns a very pale shade of beige (too light for many and too dark for some, I’ll admit) once you really rub it in, so I just blend Nars’ Soft Matte Concealer in either Light 1 or Light 2 on top to cover any residual redness. From there, I’m into blush instead of bronzer—particularly the Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Blush in Scintillate mixed with Cloud Paint in Dusk. But I’ll set it with Make’s new Joshua Tree Bronzer if the sun is out. And contour with Burberry’s Contour Stick every now and again because why not.
In terms of color makeup, I’ve decided I want to be a one signature lipstick girl. Feels like it’s time—and you can only accumulate so many similar reds before you realize it’s really about packaging (and a little about formula). The keeper is Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in Rouge Vie—the most perfect not-blue, not-brick red that lasts forever. Eyes are a little more exciting, because there’s just so much going on in eye makeup these days. There’s Lidstar, which you already know about—I highly recommend using Fawn, with Moon towards the inner eye for dimension. And for liner, I’ve gotten pretty good at a cat eye with Dior’s On Stage Liner in Matte Black. They keep hitting it out of the park with their new launches. Kudos to Dior.
Having a pared down routine doesn’t mean I don’t have a bunch of fun extras though. The La Mer Intensive Revitalizing Mask has been in my medicine cabinet for four years for good reason. Say what you will about Creme de la Mer—a product I’ve gone back and forth on in terms of its place in my routine—this mask is fantastic. I like it on weekends, when I have time to exfoliate with True Botanicals Resurfacing Moisture Mask in the middle of the day after a workout. I’ll massage a healthy glob onto my face and neck and then hop in the shower; by the time I’m out, everything’s absorbed. I try to keep artificial fragrance out of my routine, but can’t quit this. Once a week doesn’t seem to bother my sensitive skin in the slightest.
The other post workout thing I like to do for fun is what I’ve taken to calling my “seal routine.” Before my shower, I strip down and cover myself in the new True Botanicals Resurfacing Body Mask (the body version of the face one I like so much), which feels like a sticky moisturizer but is actually a treatment that sloughs off dead skin and eliminates bumpy texture. I’ll leave it on for 10 minutes and then hop in the shower. At that point, I’ll wash it off and shave with a few pumps of Body Hero Daily Oil Wash. When you get out, you feel like a seal. It’s a good time.
Hair I’ve completely outsourced. I’m sorry to say but I’m just happier that way. Jon Reyman at Spoke and Weal is the only one allowed to cut it (several years of bad haircuts at the hands of anyone coming through town taught me that lesson). And listen: I go to Drybar! Sometimes once a week! I can’t help it. $40 and I’ve got hair I can deal with. Done. When it needs a little life, I spray Sachajuan Ocean Mist or a little bit of Cire Trudon’s Revolution fragrance. The latter doesn’t do anything for your hair except make you smell like you were by a campfire all night. It’s intoxicating and quickly becoming the only scent I want to use (even though I only have a travel-sized bottle).
And finally, I am very late to the game on probiotics but here’s my thought about them: Take them! They make a difference. After a month of two RMS pills a day (the most-recommended strain according to my Instagram followers) I wasn’t sold, so I re-upped for another month to give it a fair shake. It took a minute, but now I can tell. Efficient digestion is such a luxury; no beauty routine can beat it.
Photographed by Tom Newton.