Photo courtesy of Jim Lafferty/The Licensing Project
A Simple Routine Is Best for Skin,
Says This Top Dermatologist
No matter what your skin has been doing over the past few months (flaking in a desperate SOS for moisture? breaking out? looking fine but not as radiant as you’d like?), it’s about to look and feel a lot more luminous. “As we move from the drying, lower-humidity temperatures of winter into spring, it’s time to protect and repair skin with a simple routine,” says top NYC dermatologist Elena Jones, who sees clients of all ages and skin concerns, including record producer, fashion designer, rapper, and Humanrace skin-care founder Pharrell Williams. “Cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and applying mineral sunscreen sounds so straightforward, but it works,” Jones says.
She consulted with Williams on Humanrace, the fast-acting, gorgeously packaged, refillable skin line. The ethos behind the line—a gender-inclusive, three-step routine to balance, boost, and smooth every skin type—reflects Jones’s own strategy to help clients achieve their best skin at home. “My favorite thing about working with skin is how resilient it is,” she says. “It can bounce back and renew itself.” Especially when you’re consistent about taking care of it, she continues: “Part of the reason Pharrell has the beautiful skin he does is his commitment to his routine.”
Jones’s approach—unlike that of many dermatologists—focuses on clean formulas. “‘Clean’ should mean products that are safe and formulated without toxic ingredients,” she says. “It was important to us that we formulate by following the EU standard for personal care products, which bans over 1,300 ingredients. The USA bans 11.”
Cleanse and nourish
“Choose a gentle cleanser that hydrates skin and doesn’t strip it of its natural oils. You’re getting rid of the day’s dirt, oil, and pollution and prepping skin for whatever treatments you apply next,” says Jones. “If you have dry or normal skin, cleansing once a day—at night—is probably sufficient. If you’re oily, wash your face morning and night.” An exfoliating cleanser—like the silky rice powder from Humanrace or the new cloudberry jelly from goop—smooths away dirt and oil with a little more grit but is still gentle enough to use twice a day, even if your routine includes potent alpha hydroxy or vitamin C treatments.
Rice Powder Cleanser
goop, $32SHOP NOW
Rice Powder Cleanser Refill
goop, $30SHOP NOW
GOOPGLOW Cloudberry Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser
goop, $28/$25 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
If you’re oily, tone
The breakout-prone, the oily, or those who just like a little extra can amplify cleansing with toner. “Using a glycolic acid toner can help mitigate breakouts,” says Jones.
Target skin issues with serum
Serums are concentrations of active ingredients that target issues like dullness, rough texture, extreme dryness, and more. Because serums aren’t lipid-based, like moisturizing creams, they don’t aggravate oily and breakout-prone skin and can even help soothe it. Jones likes hyaluronic acid—a humectant that intensely hydrates by drawing in water molecules and can help deliver other ingredients into skin, as well as vitamin C serums, which brighten, firm, and improve texture. The goop vitamin C serum mixes both ingredients, so your skin gets a surge of moisture on top of the smoothing, firming boost from antioxidant vitamin C.
Exfoliate, and your skin will look better
“I love exfoliating with glycolic acid,” says Jones. “We put it in the Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator because it helps unclog pores, smooth the look of wrinkles, and even increase moisture in skin.” Jones also likes enzymes to help even tone and retinoids for smoothing and brightening skin. “If you have dry skin and are using a retinoid, exfoliate twice a week on alternating nights (not consecutively), and moisturize after using the retinoid. If you’re oily or blemish-prone, exfoliate three times a week nonconsecutively, alternating between a retinoid one night and a moisturizer the next,” she says.
Glycolic Acid and Enzymes
Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator
goop, $46SHOP NOW
Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator Refill
goop, $42SHOP NOW
Glycolic Acid and Exfoliating Micromineralsgoop Beauty
GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator
goop, $125/$112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Once-a-Week Glycolic Acid Peel
This overnight peel pad does it all in one go; you can use gentler exfoliants (like Microderm or Humanrace) during the rest of the week, but use no AHA or retinoid treatments within twenty-four hours of using this one.goop Beauty
GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Acid Overnight Glow Peel
goop, $125/$112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
A Routine for Sensitive Skin (or Retinoid Users)
“If you have sensitive skin, start by exfoliating once a week with a gentle retinoid-like ingredient, like bakuchiol,” says Jones of the plant extract that’s clinically proven for effectively smoothing wrinkles and firming skin but without the residual irritation, redness, and skin sensitivity often associated with retinol. We love the Follain mask made with bakuchiol; the goop face oil uses the same ingredient to deliver amazing clinical results, including firming and wrinkle-smoothing (it’s of course also a fantastic moisturizer, full stop).
It bears repeating that all skin needs moisture, and the simple act of smoothing on cream or oil can help plump lines, restore glow, and fortify skin against the elements. “Even if you’re oily, moisturizing with the right formula helps nurture and balance skin,” Jones says. “For Humanrace, we used a super potent hyaluronic acid as well as squalane—ingredients that hold on to water and make skin look dewy without aggravating oily skin. You really get that humidifying feel when you massage it on.”
“Dry skin does better with moisturizers that are made with lots of oils or butters, and the older we get, the better we can tolerate richer formulas,” Jones says.
goop, $48SHOP NOW
Humidifying Cream Refill
goop, $44SHOP NOW
For Dry Skin
Protect with mineral sunscreen
When you wear sunscreen (try to be religious about smoothing it on every day as your last step), you’re doing a lot more than helping to preserve collagen, skin’s main structural protein that diminishes as we age and with sun exposure. “We all need to put it on and reapply it, because skin cancer is real,” says Jones, who likes Supergoop mineral sunscreen. “Don’t forget your hands and neck.”
Sunscreen and Primer in OneSupergoop
goop, $38SHOP NOW
Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen
goop, $29SHOP NOW
Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35
goop, $50SHOP NOW
Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40
goop, $36SHOP NOW
For Face and BodyThe Organic Pharmacy
Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 30
goop, $69SHOP NOW
Hand Cream SPF 15
goop, $27SHOP NOW
Because sunscreen can block vitamin D absorption, it benefits everyone—especially people with darker skin, who are more prone to vitamin D deficiency because melanin reduces the body’s ability to make vitamin D from the sun—to take a supplement. Jones says: “Take the supplement and wear your sunscreen.”