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The Everything Guide To Very Smooth Skin


I hold these truths to be self-evident: In my purgatory between adult acne and skin nirvana, texture is a recurring antagonist. It’s the tiny bumps in my unibrow region. It’s the area of pores on either side of my nose that, in some lighting conditions, make me trypophobic. It’s the lunar surface on the perimeter of my face. Texture is troublesome as you can’t just cover it up with concealer. It’s 3-D. You must sand it down and build it back up—like termite holes in a support beam.

Here’s a series of products I use to minimize texture, sprinkled with several meager metaphors:

Sexy probiotics

Smooth skin is a long con. Before you can cover it up, you must correct it. A good place to start is with balanced gut flora. It reduces inflammation everywhere. For me, less inflammation means less eczema. (My diet runs the gamut from troubling to negligent so I keep “good” microbes as a part of my regular routine.) These probiotics are from a company that also makes cream blushes. Neat.

A gauzy muslin

I imagine washing your face without a washcloth to be as effective as washing the dishes without a sponge. There’s no way you’re getting all your makeup off. There’s no way you’re getting all that baked on panko off with your bare hands. (Don’t you dare put anything coarser than these on your face.)

A chemical exfoliant

I use this enzyme exfoliant from Grown Alchemist in the shower every other day. I leave it on for the amount of time it takes me to shampoo, or whatever, and rinse it off. By morning I am, without fail, softer and glassier than the night before. I haven’t gone more than two days without it. Mostly in fear of turning back into a pumpkin.

An eyebrow razor

Let this metaphor do the heavy lifting: The difference between chenille and satin, optically, is the presence of fuzz. Feel free to take an eyebrow razor (they come in a bag of 500 for, like, a dollar) and, using cute downward strokes, remove peach fuzz from wherever it may flourish—cheeks, temples—no judgment! (To debunk this in advance: It will not cause your hair to grow back thicker.) I do this once a week, or anytime I begin to resemble a Dr. Suess tree. Whichever comes first.

Hyaluronic acid

Hydration is necessary. (See: raisins.) The Water Cream has hyaluronic acid, which we all know draws moisture to the skin’s surface—plumping without highlighting texture in the way reflective surfaces can. Its Japanese wild rose component correctly claims to minimize pores, and it’s ideal for product layering as it doesn’t cause whatever’s on top of it to slide around.

A smoothing primer

Now that the metaphorical hardwood floors have been sanded, it’s time for polish. Primers help achieve visibly smoother skin without adding coverage, making you deceptively “makeup free.” This is how we toe the line between looking good and done. I use Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. The formula’s thin, so it does more optical blurring and tightening than pore filling. When it dries down, you’re more even, matte, and creamy.

A spackling primer

I then follow up with Tatcha’s The Silk Canvas Protective Primer to do the impossible task of filling in larger craggly patches. I use it in the way I would use spackle—smearing it liberally on my most shocking pores. Because the balm itself is thick, it fills in and builds on top of skin, in the way that concrete can lay a foundation to create a high rise on top of it. It’s like a veneer over your bumpiest bits. That analogy aside, the formula is also light, so skin feels comfortable and mostly bare.

Loose Powder

Set everything. A matte finish hides roughness better than a glossy one. If you’re dry, just set the textured areas. If you exfoliated adequately, it shouldn’t catch on flakes. This Marc Jacobs loose powder is coconut scented and has several emollients in it. It’s never powdery. Dampen a Beauty Blender dupe, pick up powder, and press it into pores. I know what you’re thinking—what pores?

—Or Gotham

Photo via ITG.