Less is more

Stephany is a Medical Writer in NYC and is attending Brown University this Fall to complete her PhD in Genetics. An avid gym-goer, she adheres to a routine and her skincare regimen is not an exception. She is the mother of an adorable puppy named Kona and is waiting for Drake to ask her out.


Photo courtesy of BLK chai Photography

Photo courtesy of BLK chai Photography

by Stephany Foster

I am very much a minimalist when it comes to skincare. Less is more or really, less is better because otherwise I cannot (will not) commit.

I suffer from chronically dry skin. I imagine the micro-space in between my pores to be an unloved, desolate wasteland. This is something that I struggle with, and so I developed a three-pronged plan to help me look and feel better. This includes, leaving my coffee addiction untouched (we are in the business of staying happy here) and drinking more water, giving up those harsh cleansers with colors and smells, and, most important, moisturizing!

The first step is hydration. I aim for 3 liters of water a day. I always carry a water bottle so that I remember. I drink about 2 liters during the work day and then the last liter in the evening, especially if I go to the gym. Note: sweating out is also good hydration for your skin.

Drinking water is easy, so on to cleansing. I usually use a cotton pad and wipe some vitamin E oil on my face because it’s the best natural makeup remover and great for your skin, win-win! I wash my face every night with Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Wash. Far are the days of falling asleep in my makeup! The cleanser is colorless and smells like nothing (this is a good thing). It foams a bit but it’s not the stuff of movies. The best part is that it does not leave my skin feeling dry or plastic-y, like I felt with a lot of drugstore cleansers. I follow the foaming wash with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. I don’t have much to say about this except that the texture feels good, and my skin looks even better. If my skin is feeling extra dry, I’ll also put some vitamin E oil and leave it on overnight.

Now, a rose is a rose is a rose...

The only thing I love more than this literary reference is actual roses. I firmly believe that rose scented candles are superior and this rose theme extends to my skincare regimen as well. I bought Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm a couple winters ago and I use it every day. It has this understated scent and I like how it pulls together my light makeup for work.

For Christmas, my sister gave me a bottle of Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist. Let me tell you, this is the stuff of the gods. Rosewater works great as a hydrating mist and it’s very refreshing. A couple of sprays first thing in the morning makes me feel like royalty. Whether or not it has any effect besides that is not as important to me.

I don’t vary much from the products I use daily. I’ve gotten into this groove: it’s great, and my skin loves it. One product I recently discovered is the Feeling Beautiful Charcoal and Black Sugar Polishing Mask. Living in NYC, when I get home at the end of the day it feels like I’ve been wrapped in a thin layer of subway grime. In fact, I actually am. Every so often I go get a facial, mainly for the extractions. It weirds me out to think that these blackheads are also experiencing my life: date nights, confessions, movies. Too much? Anyway, with all the rage over charcoal masks I gave it a shot. The mask itself is not like your typical mask as it’s not something you easily spread over your face. The consistency is primarily because of the sugar. You spread and exfoliate at the same time, while the activated charcoal absorbs oil and impurities. After leaving it on for a few minutes and rinsing it off my face is visibly cleaner. I was skeptical at first but it’s goooood. I use the charcoal and black sugar mask to go a little longer in between facials because facials are expensive but this is not!

This beauty routine I follow is fairly regimented because I stick to what works and what feels good for my skin. I’ll leave the drama for the countless other date nights, confessions, and movies!