Even though I was born in California, I feel like a New York native. I first moved to the city to attend NYU, and I don’t have any intention of leaving. I fell in love with New York and all of its opportunities. I had an internship at a new company every semester, from NYLON magazine, to Milk Makeup, to Refinery29. I got extra serious about my skin when I started to intern at NYLON. Jade, the Beauty Editor at the time, and I organically started to get to know each other. If I was lucky, she would give me a product that she got sent doubles of, or that she had already tested! I’d salivate just at the thought of one product saving my skin. When I was in seventh grade, I had major scarring and discoloration on my face that I had created myself. I was spending hours in front of the mirror after school popping the hell out of my teenage breakouts with dirty hands, and then suffering from intense hyperpigmentation because of it. Yikes! It was a messy cycle, to say the least.
Now, after many years of learning, I treat breakouts with a clay mask and tea tree oil, always keeping my fingers crossed. (I still pick sometimes. SO BAD, I know.) Eventually I did get to a point where I knew that touching my face only meant trouble. Not popping my pimples, point blank, is key. I also came to learn that liquid exfoliants are my weapon. Everyone’s face is different, and finding the right products that work for you is a time-consuming journey involving lots of experimentation. That being said, I recently wrote a little breakdown of what I’ve found helpful on my road to a glowing complexion.
Sunday Riley Good Genes
This is my favorite treatment ever! It’s something of a splurge, but totally worth it, because it does so many different things for me and it’s just one formula. Magic, really… It’s an ultra-clarifying, line-smoothing lactic acid treatment you can use daily. Basically, this serum brightens and promotes cell turnover. In other words, this milky solution will give you an incredibly even skin tone in no time.
Avène TriAcnéal Skin Expert
More of an all-over cream than a spot treatment, this product by Avène is an all-time favorite of mine. You can always rely on Avène to deliver a product that smells good and makes your skin feel good, too! Hydrating yet effective, this formula treats skin as gently as it prevents and fights breakouts. Buh-bye, lil’ zits!
GlamGlow FlashMud Brightening Treatment
Don’t be fooled by the small container this comes in. This mask is the mightiest of all the brightening masks I’ve ever tried, ever. It’s basically a two-in-one. Also, GlamGlow’s mud also has small beads in it, which become an exfoliating face wash when you rinse it off once dry. It’s basically a visit to the spa in a little orange jar.
Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel
This peel comes in a set of pre-saturated chemical peel pads that deliver advanced skin-brightening benefits to even skin tone. Although it’s technically sold as a one-week intensive treatment with seven pads, I like to use one pad per week. After a couple of uses, my skin is always a little tighter and a little brighter than it was before.
Le Labo Thé Noir 29
We all love Le Labo. Their strong, long lasting scents just ooze luxury, sophistication, and playfulness. I first came across this scent when I was traveling around Japan with a friend. We went into the Le Labo store in Tokyo and were spritzed with this smell. I was so hooked—dangerously hooked—on how warm and mysterious it made me smell. For months afterwards, I would walk by the Le Labo store in New York and spray myself with Thé Noir. Finally I caved and bought a full-sized bottle of this mesmerizing stuff.
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream WetForce SPF 50+
Lastly, and I think most importantly, sunscreen. I think this is a product that I’ll be buying for the rest of my life. The consistency of it is perfect, and the way it makes my skin look is something no other product does. It sits on my skin like a primer would, with a sturdy base to keep the skin looking fresh and protected all day.
Words and photography, Bianca Valle.