Hello Mixed Mag Community! I’m Kimber Monroe, and I will be taking over the Health, Sex & Wellness section while our EIC Carolina Meurkens is on maternity leave! To start off, I wanted to talk about essential skin care products. Skin care skyrocketed in 2020 like never before, and I wanted our team to share their essential, “Can’t Live Without” product from their skin care routine. Without further ado, here are the Staff Picks for Skin Care Products!

Kimber Monroe (Director of Operations/Interim Health, Sex & Wellness Editor) 

Skin Type: Dry

Skin Care Product: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum

Price: $24.99

This winter has not been kind to my face to say the least. Between the cold weather, high winds & an old school heater that turns on to 85 degrees when it feels like it, I started to experience some extreme dryness on my face. My regular moisturizer was not helping and no matter how much Aquaphor I applied to the extra dry parts, my face was suffering. After reaching out to my friends on my IG, many people recommended that I add a hyaluronic acid serum to my routine. After doing a little research and talking to a couple more people, I purchased the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum and this became my favorite skincare product ever. Not only is it lightweight and melts into your skin immediately, but it brings immediate hydration to your skin (and your skin always needs that hydration ESPECIALLY in the winter). I use a little dollop morning and night and it’s the first product I use before putting anything else on. The bottle runs about a little over $20 (sigh) BUT it will last you a long time especially because you only need a baby bit every day. 

Stephanie (Food Editor)

Skin Type: Combination/ “formerly,” Acne-Prone

Skin Care Product(s): Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and Cerave Healing Ointment (I know we said one, but I am who I am) 

Other pertinent information: I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  A condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. This means I grow hair everywhere, I am acne-prone, and my cycle is VERY painful. 

I have dealt with both teenage and adult acne  but matters exacerbated when I moved to China and found out that the environmental stressors (pollution) was fucking with my skin. It was not until early 2019 when I came back to the States did I decide to also stop using products like Black Soap and putting food on my face (turmeric, yogurt, avocado–all that). Both Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and Cerave Healing Ointment have been instrumental in my skincare routine, making sure that acne is a thing of the past and that my skin is thoroughly hydrated. 

Let’s start here: I love science. I love reading skincare ingredients and getting into the nitty gritty-ness of skin science, especially darker skin tones. So below, I’ll share some of the science behind my faves. 

The key ingredients in Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant are:

Methylpropanediol: for hydration

Butylene Glycol: for hydration

Salicylic Acid, Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA): an exfoliant great for whiteheads and blackheads and clogged pores

Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract: reduces inflammation is skin calming and acts as an antioxidant. 

Earlier in my days of clearing my skin, I used the BHA exfoliant, 3x weekly and when I tell you my acne diminished significantly, I don’t make this up. I rarely have any breakouts now and yes, even during my cycle. As an aside, during the first few months I did find that it could be quite drying.

Cost: $29.50/4oz

With that being said, let’s bring in my second pick: Cerave “Holy Grail” Healing Ointment. The key ingredients are: 

Phytosphingosine: anti-acne

Tocopheryl Acetate: antioxidant

Hyaluronic Acid: hydrating and skin-identical

Ceramide 1, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-11: reinforce your skin’s barrier and increase hydration—giving you plumper, smoother, firmer-feeling

Maya Renee Castro (TV/Film/Theater Editor) 

Skin Type: Normal (???)

Skin Care Product: POND’S (dry skin cream, facial moisturizer)

Price: $7-8/10oz

Okay I know it’s 2021 and skincare is super important, but personally I never got interested in skin care. To put it bluntly I don’t really care… But I am trying to get better, it really comes down to the fact that I’m too lazy sometimes to do more than moisturize my face. I grew up knowing that your skin needs lotion and that there is different lotion for the body, hands and face. So my typical routine is washing my face in the shower with no soap, just water and then lightly tapping the moisturizer on my face (light slaps/taps I learned from Tracee Ellis Ross) I recently learned that if you use moisturizer for your face make sure it has sunscreen in it. So I am looking to invest in a new moisturizer, however my go to product i recommend for the person who is too lazy or not into skin care is POND’S Facial Moisturizer. You can find it at any 99 cent store, Rite Aid, CVS or Walgreens. Made for everyone and your face will never feel dry! (yes you may roast me for the lack of a skin care routine… I guess I deserve it…)

Taylor Mew (Associate Art Director) 

Skin Type: Dry

Skin Care Product: Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner

Price: It’s insanely affordable at around $11-$15 dollars for 16.9 fl oz. (though it’s currently on sale for $9.80 on amazon)!

Short Description: Hatomugi is an edible barley plant that’s native all over Southeast Asia. It’s been used since ancient times as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.. Hatomugi is Japanese for Job’s Tears, also known as adlay or Chinese Pearl Barley. 

This product is essentially a hydrating toner that moisturizes, smoothes, and refreshes your skin. It’s my holy grail toner. It makes a great base for the rest of my routine and has kept my skin smooth, plump and soft.

Gina-Sophia Zamudio (Social Media Manager)

Skin type: Dry & Sensitive

Skincare Product: Great Barrier Relief Serum by Krave Beauty

Price: $28/1.52oz

Skincare is one of my biggest forms of self-care and therapy. I find a lot of peace in the ritual aspect of it. My skincare philosophy is good, clean ingredients, no gimmicks, and accessibility. Because I don’t suffer from acne, except the occasional breakout, a lot of my products are geared towards hydrating and moisturizing my skin. Harsh, stripping ingredients can basically turn my skin on fire so I bought the Great Barrier Relief Serum to help restore my natural skin barrier when it’s irritated or extra sensitive to the environment. Believe me when I say this is a miracle in a bottle. “A blend of conditioning oils fight irritation, discoloration and breakouts caused by a damaged skin barrier.” This serum truly says what it does and that’s why I’m about to finish my second bottle of it. Thank you Korean Skincare for saving my skin. <3

Citrine Ghraowi (Politics Editor) 

Skin Type: Dry & Sensitive

Skincare product: Cerave Healing Ointment 

Price: $10-20 depending on size. 

Please listen when I say this guy right here is a game changer. You know how everyone is always like “I’m different I’m different” but that’s ultimately never true in the end? That’s not the case here. Cerave’s healing ointment has done absolutely wonders to my hands, face, lips, etc. etc. Put this ointment anywhere on your body where your skin is feeling dry and I promise you it’ll make it feel instantly better. I get extremely dry lips in the winter ever since I moved to NYC and I tried just about every product out there to help and nothing seemed to work but this. You won’t regret it! 

Carolina Meurkens (Editor-in-Chief)

Skin Type: Normal (Sometimes Dry?) 

Skincare product: Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich Face Cream

Price: $35

I’ve been blessed with pretty easy skin, so I’ve shamefully neglected having a skincare regime. In the summer, my skin retains moisture really well and all I wear is sunscreen. I don’t wear makeup regularly, except for the occasional mascara and lipstick, so my skincare routine consists of cleansing my face with warm water and putting on a moisturizer.  In the winter and drier months, I may get redness and dry patches if I neglect to moisturize. I got this Glosser face cream (I know, I know… it’s a problematic fave) a year or two ago when my sister was working there. I put it on every night and morning after rinsing my face with water. It smells wonderful and leaves my face feeling hydrated and fresh! 

Brittany Zendejas (Intern) 

Skin type: combination (oily/dry)

Skincare product: Artnaturals Hyaluronic Serum

Price: $4.99 at Target

I have pretty decent skin, however depending on the weather it can get dull and dry or super oily around my t-zone. Even though I have a good skincare routine, morning and night face wash, moisturizer, an aloe calming spray, it can still look dull. Since I’ve started using this serum I’ve noticed that it’s gotten my skin to glow again and look so refreshed. I apply straight out of the shower or when I wash my face in the morning, let it settle then continue on with my regular routine! 

Tayo Omisore (Poetry Editor)

Skin Type: Normal

Product: Black Girl Sunscreen

I love you but you’re not wearing enough sunscreen. Yes, even with your beautiful brown skin. Yes, even though you’re rocking the face mask and it’s snowing outside. I may not know much about skin types but I had a very loud and concerned friend beat it over my head in college that the sun is the feds and she only wants to trap us, so you better wear protection. As a dark skin nigerian, I never liked sunscreen because why would I put lotion on my face to still look ashy? But then I found this brand Black Girl Sunscreen, once again it’s Black women solving the world’s important issues. I use it 1-2x a day and it actually blends into my skin instead of simply just laying onto. I like it, get it at Target. Also here’s your reminder that you said you were going to Target today.

Joana Meurkens (Artistic Director)

Skin Type: Combination

Product: The Ordinary’s Rose Hip Seed Oil

Price: $9.80 USD

Now, when I do not know much about skincare and about the science of what makes products work, but I do know that serums have always been a product that I’m drawn to. Serums are nice because they make my face feel extremely moisturized and taken care of (it feels like a giving your face a hug in my humble opinion). I also find that applying serum’s to your face slowly is a very soothing and meditative process. This Rose Hip Seed Oil smells delicious and always leaves me feeling like I just walked out of a Vogue beauty spread. I only apply it 3-4 times a week but I always feel very calm and refreshed after.  

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