the skin we're in

The World’s Busiest Romance Cover Model on His Skin-Care Routine

For The Skin We’re In, the Cut talked to intriguing people around the country about their approaches to skin care. Jason Aaron Baca is a 40-year-old model who has appeared on 603 romance-novel covers. His abs have glistened and his hair has rippled in many bodice-ripping situations. As the busiest book-cover model in the game, Baca has a few secrets about keeping his pores as on point as his muscles. He talks to the Cut about ice packs for shoot mornings, why he doesn’t do sheet masks, and the foods he eats for good skin.

On romance-novel covers: I’m in my 40s and I am the OG guy of romance-novel covers. I have to take pretty good care of myself. I see a lot of romance cover models who don’t take care of their faces, but you have to do that. It’s just mandatory. If you have a nice body, that opens doors. If you have a nice complexion, that just tears it off the hinges.

On skin care as an investment: A long time ago, I didn’t know about skin care at all. I would just get basic Lubriderm and put that on my skin. I would get zits and be like, What is up? I went to a dermatologist who explained that you can’t go cheap on your products all the time. You need things of better quality if you have sensitive skin.

On exfoliating: Starting in the shower, I’ll use a cucumber-and-green-tea body scrub. I’ll go over my whole body with that. It’s got some great stuff in it that nourishes my skin and keeps it nice. Then on my face, I’ll use the Morning Burst exfoliating gel scrub from Clean & Clear. It’s got these microbeads in it that are fantastic. They help get rid of the blackheads and other airborne articles. Sometimes, I’ll add a vitamin C microdermabrasion scrub, but that’s only on days when I don’t shave because shaving is exfoliating. I do that twice a week.

On moisturizing: After that, I go over my face again with a Dove moisturizing face bar — that’s my favorite. After I towel off, I go to the little area of my bathroom. I have tons of stuff. I start off with Clean & Clear lotion, the one that has a little bit of acne medication (Clean & Clear Essentials Dual Action Moisturizer), and dab it on my temples and the side of my forehead. I apply this moisturizing lotion from Lancôme called the Énergie de Vie Water-Infused Moisturizing Cream, and let that get into my skin. My runner-up is the Dramatically Different one from Clinique. It’s not harsh on my face. I use a final protection moisturizer from the Body Shop, too. I feel like that finishes everything and completes the whole package. At night, I try to do the same regimen. I use a different night cream, though: Olay Regenerist.

On the sun: Day to day, I go with an SPF 15. I get some sun naturally. I believe in the basic Oil of Olay, those little lotion bottles. I just apply that, not liberally — a very thin application. If you do too much, it clogs your pores and then you get pimples. Back in the day, I did tanning booths. Not anymore. The No. 1 reason is that it does give you wrinkles as time goes on. No. 2, I live in California and we have earthquakes. I’m scared I’ll be in there and have to come running outside naked.

I also moisturize my entire body from my neck down to my toes with shea butter. I don’t want to go into these shoots looking like I have dry, chappy skin. Dry skin just doesn’t look right.

On cover-shoot prep: Before shoots, I use an eye cream. I’ll use a little one from Clinique. I will also do an ice pack on my face for 10 to 15 minutes; that gets the swelling down around my eyes. After that, I’ll use a mask, like a cucumber or mint-jelly one, and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Then my face is just about as good as new. I’ve tried sheet masks, but they don’t stick on right. They bubble up.

On eating the beauty diet: Good health and diet also make a good difference. If you eat the wrong foods, it will reflect in your skin. It’s like if you buy the wrong gas, your car will backfire. Supreme gas is what works. Candy and greasy foods aren’t good. I do stir-fry. I also eat a lot of avocado and cucumber. The nice thing about that is, you can slice a little piece of it and rub it on your face, and it helps with crow’s-feet.

Shop the Story

Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub
$5 at Amazon
Clean & Clear Essentials Dual Action Facial Moisturizer
$5 at Target
Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream
$29 at Ulta
Lancôme Énergie de Vie Water-Infused Moisturizing Cream
$55 at Macys
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+
$27 at Sephora

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World’s Busiest Romance Cover Model on His Skin-Care Routine