Summer skincare: squalane and facial mists

by Sharmili Rakhit

Sharmili is a 20-something New Jerseyan still trying to find her place in the world. In the meantime, she blogs about all things skincare over at www.sharmtoaster.com. And, because she's impatient and usually glued to her phone 24/7, she micro-blogs on Instagram under the handle @sharmtoaster. Her hobbies include photography, baking, and re-watching Friends for the 67th time (not an over-exaggeration).


Hello, readers of the regimen! I'm Sharmili, but you can call me Mili. I'm a 20-something suburbanite writing a beauty and wannabe-lifestyle blog. When I'm not throwing all my money at new skincare products, I'm throwing it at food.

My entry into the world of beauty blogging was a gradual and unexpected process. I had been style blogging for some time but started losing steam 4 years into the game. I had dabbled in beauty posts throughout the years but my interest really peaked after I discovered the Asian Beauty subreddit! After learning about the magic of double-cleansing and the power of chemical exfoliants, I became a full-fledged skincare addict and that was reflected in my blog.

Back in the day, it was a different story. If I could pass down some beauty and skincare wisdom to my younger self, it would be that sucking every ounce of moisture from my skin wouldn't cure my acne! Also, I'd tell myself to stop picking at my face. Although that second piece of advice is something my current self could use, too.

At this point in time, my skincare regimen is fairly unstructured. I seldom use the same exact routine two days in a row and find pleasure and excitement in changing things up! My recent favorite ingredient discovery is squalane. I seldom get along with oils so I was shocked that my skin loved it so much! The squalane oil by the Korean brand, Olivarrier, is the one that started my obsession, but I'm also testing ones by Indie LeeBiossance, Timeless, and The Ordinary for a comparison post later this summer.

Apart from currently loving squalane, I've always been somewhat of a mist addict. And, once summer hit, my obsession has hit another level. I love layers of hydration but it can quickly become too much too quickly in the summer. Enter mists. They're lightweight and so easy to use. Plus, I prefer misting over patting serum, essence, etc. into my skin. It's not unusual for me to use 3 or 4 in a row some nights!

If I had to cultivate my perfect skincare regimen in an ideal world, I would mask every single day and have a self-indulgent body care routine. While I'm very diligent with my facial skincare, the same can't be said for the rest of my body. So my ideal routine would feature frequent baths and luxe body oils.

In saying that, I don't believe there's a one-size-fits-all approach to beauty. Some people love makeup, some people hate it. Some people have 10-step skincare routines, some people have 2. Some people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on products while others limit themselves to the bare minimum. I don't think anyone should be forced or shamed into changing their personal approach to beauty (as long as it isn't dangerous).

I think the biggest beauty or skincare misconception would be that something that's "natural" or homemade isn't always by default superior/safer than a product you would buy at the store. Every time I browse my explore page on Instagram I'm bound to come across some ridiculous DIY hack video that's usually more harmful than helpful. Lemon, baking soda, toothpaste, I've seen them all.

On the marketing end, I've come to find that there are too many limited edition items. However, I guess this tactic is used for makeup products more frequently than skincare products. Often times the quality isn't on par with the permanent line-up of products and their sales rely on hype rather than quality.

As a skincare addict, I look for inspiration. Gwyneth Paltrow is one of my beauty muses. Yes, she's absolutely ridiculous and over the top but at least she can embrace her extra-ness. Also, Eva Chen! Not only is she a beauty muse, but a muse all around. I admire that despite all her accomplishments, she's still so humble and manages to connect with her following. I also admire that she's built up her personal brand while simultaneously having a full-time, professional career.