My Beauty Editor Skincare Routine Always Calls For These 12 Products


For someone who loves beauty, I hardly ever wear makeup. It seems counterintuitive, I'm sure, but I've got my reasons. I don’t have a very steady hand when it comes to applying, and I also enjoy the novelty of having a lauded professional do my face for me. What can I say? I’m spoiled. What I lack in makeup artistry, I make up for with my new and improved beauty editor skincare routine, which doubled in steps (and time) once I started learning more about certain ingredients and brands.

Eons ago, I’d use a bit of Noxema every morning and night, and called it a day. It’s what my mom, her mother, and her mother swore by for years on end… and they all had perfect complexions. The cold cream didn’t stand a chance against my hormonal breakouts and subsequent acne scars, though, so I had to add more potent ingredients into my arsenal. And while I don’t necessarily have a consistent lineup of products on my vanity — I’m a sucker for new masks and moisturizers — there are a couple of winners that always end up empty.

So yes, I don't spend 30 minutes on doing my brows, contouring, and meticulously applying liner and lip gloss... and I don't necessarily have a 10-step skincare routine, either. But I do spend quite some time blasting my Frank Ocean playlist in front of my bathroom mirror, lovingly layering on these gems until I'm down to the last drop.

See my skin and body must-haves ahead, in no particular order of importance (or application).

I met Rachel Roff, the founder of USRX, at a deskside years ago, when only a handful of celebrities and influencers knew about the line made with melanin in mind. Now, it seems like the entire world is in on my secret… the brand is now available at Target and CVS. I’m generally captivated by every product that I’ve tried from the line, but always seem to finish the Night Treatment, which has kojic acid and retinol — two ingredients that promote bright and even skin.

I must admit that I thought pimple patches were a huge gimmick for the longest. There’s no way that a sticker can minimize and erase my huge blemishes that usually take a week to subside. So when this box launched in fall 2018, I kind of tried it as a joke. Well, dear reader, the joke was on me. Not only do these salicylic acid and tea tree oil dots get rid of the nastiest blemishes, but they’re translucent, too, which is helpful when I want to discreetly fight a breakout on the plane or in the office.

I'm a fan of any skincare line targeted to women of color, and a stan for those owned by Black women. Specific Beauty, founded by Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, checks both of those boxes. The niacinamide and licorice root keeps my skin looking bright and clear, and the retinol helps me hide burgeoning fine lines.

You know how people get weird satisfaction from watching pimple-popping videos? I prefer wiping my face with a toning pad, like these, and seeing all of the collective gunk that accumulates on my face after a long day in the city. Aside from my juvenile pleasure, I find that using toner makes a great difference in product application, as the serums and creams that I apply afterwards go on way smoother.

If you're a matte lipstick fiend like I am, then you know how tough it is to achieve a velvety finish when your lips are cracked. Whenever I slather some of this coconut oil and mango butter treatment on at night, my lips are insanely soft (and smoochable) the next morning.

No matter how old I get or accomplished I become, I’ll never not stare at the mini-mountains of blackheads that appear on these strips after keeping them on for 15 to 20 minutes.

Last spring, before meeting up with high school friends that I hadn’t seen for a decade, a pimple the size of Powder Springs, G.A. decided to make an appearance smack dab in the middle of my forehead. So I decided to tackle it with this sulfur and zinc oxide lotion… and the glass bottle proceeded to slip through my wet fingers and shatter into a million pieces. Rouleau, being the angel she is, messengered a fresh bottle over to me once she got word of the tragedy, and I’ve been dedicated to it ever since. Because it’s just that good… and because she’s just that awesome.

Here's another drugstore favorite that I’ll never let go. It stacks up to some of the fancier double-digit balms that I’ve tried… but I like keeping the Rosy Lips formula on hand, for the sake of nostalgia.

Like 95 percent of the population, my skin gets uncomfortably dry in the winter — particularly when I’m wearing fleece-lined leggings and yoga pants underneath my jeans in seven-degree weather. This is one of the only body creams that withstands the elements (and the layers).

I’m not big on froufrou shower gels or bubble baths, but I do love my body oils… especially layered with thick creams. Cocoshea Honey smells so good that people mistake it for my perfume once they get a passing whiff.

Chalk it up to my youth, but I didn’t take sunscreen seriously for years — until a facialist noted that she could spot some sun damage on my forehead and on the bridge of my nose. These days, I don’t leave the house without applying a thin layer of this clear gel formula on my face.

Nearly every editor I know and follow uses at least one Drunk Elephant product… and because I’m nosy, I went out and got the entire range of products. Most days, my entire skincare routine is DE — but even when I switch it up, I find myself reaching for this nutrient-rich moisturizer.