After weeks of holiday indulging, it’s time to get serious about staying true to those New Year’s resolutions. Whether you’re dabbling with a new exercise regimen or trying out the #Whole30 (more than half of my friends are doing it and tbh I’m really really ready to get my wine-drinking partners back.. but also, like, proud of you guys!!), January is without a doubt the best time to hit the diet and fitness restart button. Don’t get me wrong, I totally support your commitments to eating clean and staying active, but what about our skin? Doesn’t our body’s biggest organ need some love and attention?
I think it’s time I introduce you to my long-time pal and skincare shrink, Deven Hopp. Deven is the Beauty Director at Byrdie Beauty–she also has killer skin. While I fancy myself a bit of a skincare geek who has a good handle on my regimen and care, Deven is next-level. Ever since I can remember, Deven has opened my eyes to the latest and greatest in the world of beauty. She is also to blame for the surplus of Sephora packages that arrive on my doorstep each month. It’s really not my fault.
I need more than two hands to count how many instances I’ve turned to find Deven using some strange-looking device/product on her face (dermaplane micro roller, Luchador-like sheet masks, you name it). Point blank, she knows her stuff. And quite frankly, she could tell me to rub Crisco on my face and I’d probably take her word for it.
I know we are well on our January way, but IMO, it’s never too late to add a new resolution to the list. I recently sat down with Deven to pick her beauty brain and help those of you looking for a bit of 2018 skinspiration. Read on for her tips to welcome a new year of healthy, glowing skin!
What are some regimen tweaks or promises we should make for our skin this year?
The New Year is always an opportunity to start fresh. That doesn’t mean completely revamping your skincare routine (unless you want to!), but rather an opportunity to press restart on bad habits, like not washing your face at night (yes, it really is as important as everyone says). For me and I think many others, I want to press “reset” on my product hoarding tendencies. For several reasons: first, the obvious de-clutter, simplify, streamline reasons. Not to mention, that enzyme peel and vitamin C serum you spent your Sephora holiday gift cards on this time last year, could actually irritate rather than benefit your skin because their active ingredients have degraded by now. Secondly, and more importantly, there can be a lot of guilt associated with tossing out unused products that you spent your money on. I want to rid myself of that. If it’s not working for my skin, it’s gone. When something doesn’t work for me, I often see if a friend is interested–just because it doesn’t agree with your skin doesn’t mean it won’t work wonders for someone else’s. And on the topic of guilt, celebrity esthetician and all-around skin genius Joanna Vargas once said when asked about skin tools (high-tech devices being a major trend of the past few years) she said she doesn’t recommend them to her clients. Not because they don’t work, but because people don’t use them. Then they sit on your bathroom counter reminding you every day about the hundreds of dollars you spent and you feel guilty. Beauty should be fun, empowering, and a time of self-care, so why should we let guilt sneak in?
Let’s talk winter skin. Not all of us are blessed with year-round LA warmth and sunshine. As a born-and-raised MN gal, what are some hacks for withstanding extreme temps and keeping our skin hydrated and glowing rather than dull and dry?
It really comes down to basics–hydration and exfoliation. When temperatures drop and winds pick up, your skin does need a little extra love. I then switch to a heavier moisturizer (SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is my absolute favorite). I have breakout-prone skin so I generally stick with lightweight moisturizers, but this one has never caused me any trouble, and it feels dreamy on the skin (editor’s note: the girl doesn’t lie. I’m currently in a love affair with this cream. Seriously, it leaves my skin feeling like a baby’s ass while also flake-free). I always bring it with me when I’m heading back to cold, dry weather. Also, you don’t have to ditch your active skincare (like your retinols), this time of year. You may have to scale back if your skin is particularly irritated, but simply layer a hyaluronic acid under your more “active” serum to buffer irritation and it will still add moisture to your skin. Hydrating sheet masks are also a great idea this time of year. All the moisturizing ingredients in the world won’t do a thing if you have a layer of dry, dead skin cells blocking absorption.
Exfoliation is equally important. Look for exfoliators that combine chemical (acids and enzymes) and manual (physical, granular) exfoliation. The chemical exfoliators dislodge and break up dead skin cells and debris, then the physical exfoliators slough them off. Getting both forms of exfoliation is key. If you already have a chemical exfoliator you like, just make sure you’re washing with a (clean) washcloth, skin brush, or my personal favorite konjac sponge to manually remove the debris. Better yet, take the physical exfoliation up a notch. No, not with harsh scrubs. But with at-home dermaplaning. I know what you are thinking, “shaving your face? sounds dangerous.” Yes, it is essentially shaving your face but no, it’s neither scary nor dangerous. The results mimic that of the professional treatment and it’s so satisfying. You will literally see the layer of dead skin you scrape off your face. Trust me. You’ll be hooked. I use Stacked Skincare’s Dermaplaning Tool about every two weeks. Skin feels so soft and smooth afterward–ready to soak up all those moisturizing ingredients. (editor’s note: I–as per usual–took Dev’s word and bought one for myself. While it seems a bit scary at first, my skin has never felt so great!) Also, regardless of weather or time of year, sleeping with a humidifier will make a difference for your skin, both in the short term (think dewy, glowy moisture) and the long-term (anti-aging benefits galore).
If you were to pick three products that absolutely everyone should have in their beauty cabinet, what would they be?
I have to pick four (sorry!). First, a good, clean, gentle, pH-balanced cleanser. Cleansing is the step that primes your skin for all the good stuff to come, so it needs to work. But it doesn’t need to be fancy or have active ingredients, after all, you wash it down the drain–so, it just needs to thoroughly cleanse skin without stripping it. I love Renee Rouleau’s cleansers. Next, an exfoliator that combines physical and chemical exfoliation. Protective Nourishment Blueberry Scrub Mask is life-changing, or at least skin-changing (no lie). A retinol that works for your skin–strong, gentle, prescription…doesn’t matter. Retinol is one of the greatest anti-aging (and anti-acne) breakthroughs of our time. There’s no reason not to use it. I love Resurface by Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform. Finally, a go-to mask you can turn to when your skin is looking dull. There are plenty of great masks that show instant results. I’m talking about the ones you wash off, look in the mirror, and instantly feel better about yourself. For me, that’s skin-tightening, skin-brightening Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask. It really does live up to the name. I love it so much, I end up rationing it toward the end of the tube–using it only in desperate times.
Save or splurge? Many beauty products come with hefty price tags. In your opinion, what’s really worth splurging on and what areas can you save cha-ching?
Cleansers get washed off–keep it clean and gentle and don’t worry about fancy formulas. Your basic, daily moisturizer falls under the same category. All it needs to do is seal in moisture and the active ingredients from your serums, which can be accomplished on the cheap (same goes for moisturizing eye cream, in my opinion.) But, this time of year, you may want to bump up to something richer, which CAN mean more expensive, but not always. Serums and treatments are where you can splurge. Serums, because of their small molecule size, penetrate deep layers of the skin, as opposed to creams and oils which have larger molecules and reach the surface layers of skin. Because the ingredients are so potent, you want the highest quality. Of course, there are still plenty of inexpensive serums you can find (hello, The Ordinary!), just do your research to ensure the quality is there. The ingredients list runs in order of highest concentration to lowest. Water will almost always be the first ingredient but look for your actives in those first three to five ingredients. One last piece of advice (or rather challenge) in regards to splurging, take the New Year to start a regular facial routine. While technically a “splurge” to make monthly facials (or every other month, like I aim for) a part of your routine, try not to look at it from that lens, but rather as an investment in your skin and yourself. Nothing beats the feeling of walking out of a facial with glowing skin. And while a proper at-home regimen is the basis of good, healthy skin, nothing beats a professional pore-clearing, exfoliation, and massage. Just because it feels like an indulgence doesn’t mean it’s indulgent.
What are some common skin mistakes/myths you hear about most?
With the boom of facial oils, one of the biggest misconceptions is how/when to apply them. If you’re using a face oil as your moisturizer, great. It’s your last step and you’re set. But if you’re applying a moisturizer over an oil, that moisturizer is essentially just sitting on top of your skin because the size of oil molecules is greater than that of lotions and creams. That’s where oil serums, marketed as serums (aka a pre-moisturizer step), get tricky. If you have an all-oil routine, then it’s not an issue. But if not, do your research to know what’s in your products. On that note, tap-tap-tapping an oil on top of your moisturizer is a great way to bump up hydration this time of year, as the oil layer acts as another hydrating-locking, moisture-barrier-protecting shield.
You always know what big skincare trends and phenomenons are about to take off. What can we expect in 2018?
Masks have been a huge trend of the past few years now. It seems like every few months there’s a new, buzzy formulation trying to top the last. When once it was sheet masks, 2017 brought us peel-off masks, rubberized masks, bubble masks, and even metallic and glitter masks. In 2018, I think we’ll see more developments on the mask front. More broadly, the beauty industry as a whole is cleaning up its act. Consumers are paying more attention to what’s in their products and how they’re manufactured. The war on parabens, sulfates, phthalates has been won. Now brands are responding to demand not just for non-toxic ingredients (those no-no lists are getting longer), but for ethical and sustainable sourcing and manufacturing. Many brands have announced they’ll be completely vegan in 2018. Cruelty-free is no longer a nice-to-have, but the expectation. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to see even the bigger brands taking steps in the right direction. It may not be the sexiest beauty trend, but it’s an important one!
Shop Deven’s top Skincare Picks!
Hum Nutrition OMG! Omega The Great Supplements • $30
The Ordinary Buffet • The Ordinary • $14.80
One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum • One Love Organics • $39
reSURFACE by Shani Darden – Retinol Reform • $95
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242 • Skinceuticals • $127
Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask • Charlotte Tilbury • $55
Ren Wake Wonderful Night Facial • REN • $48
SLIP Slip Silk Pillowcase – Standard/Queen • $79
Perricone MD Thio Plex Intensive Two-Step Brightening System • N.V. Perricone • $145
Image sources: top image via Madeline, rest courtesy of Byrdie