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Estefania Pessoa is Latinx. This is important to know, she says, when you consider why her Colombian mother was “horrified, of course,” by her recent decision to get Botox and filler. The TikTokker and InStyle host, who goes by Tefi, had gotten “droplets” of injectables on her forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, and under eyes before, but had never gotten her lips done. She decided she wanted to do it. Why? “I’m a grown-ass woman with grown-ass money,” she recently told her followers. “I’m constantly spending money on everybody around me. At the time, I had a partner who I was supporting financially too so I was like, ‘You know what? I deserve it.’” So she went to Dr. Yael Halaas’s office in Manhattan, where she sees injector Andouah “Andi” Assebian, and among other work, got her lips filled in.
Afterward, “I called my mom, and I said, ‘I got something done,’” Tefi remembers. “She thought I was gonna say, ‘Oh, I did more microblading,’ but I told her about my lips, and she goes, ‘Increíble. Rebelde. Traicionera. Send me a picture right now.’” Tefi sent her a photo while she was still swollen from the injections and looking like, in her words, “handsome freakin’ Squidward.” Her mom saw it and said: “‘Te arruinaste. You ruined yourself. You were beautiful.’”
Two days later, when her mom came to New York City, “I opened the door and she acted as if I was Quasimodo at a monster festival.”
To her mom’s credit, Tefi admits, she also had a moment of panic after first seeing her new lips: “I grab the mirror, and I look at myself and I go, ‘Oh my God. I really fucked up this time.’ The next day, I looked like I put my mouth on my vacuum.” But the swelling went down after about a week.
It’s stories like these that Tefi doesn’t shy away from sharing. Transparency is important, she says, and she doesn’t want anyone to look at her and think her smooth skin and lips are just a result of skin-care products, though she does credit some products with helping her rosacea-, cystic-acne-, and blackhead-prone skin happy. She also doesn’t want to perpetuate the common idea that drinking more water will help or lessen your acne. “It’s a myth! I’ve been drinking a gallon of water a day since I was 15, and the news that it doesn’t benefit your skin was life-altering.”
Below, she shares her current morning routine — and as far as Botox and fillers are concerned? She’s in it for the long haul. “I’m never going back. I would not buy meat to keep my Botox and fillers going.”
“When I was younger, I would wash my face with an astringent cleanser that I swear to God smelled like somebody peed on me — I don’t remember the name, but it was blue and it was sold at Eckerd — and after, my face would be so dry that I would open my mouth to see how much I could stretch it. This Drunk Elephant No. 9 Cleanser gives me that level of clean, but my skin is still soft and dewy after. It has a similar consistency to Cetaphil, but it bubbles more.”
“InnBeauty Project is women-owned, and one of the founders followed me on TikTok and sent me a bunch of their stuff. I feel a little stinging with their toner from all of the acids in there — it’s a mix of lactic, salicylic, phytic, malic, gluconolactone, and citric acid. I’ve been using it for a year now — three times a week — and I’ve noticed that my skin is not looking so dull since using it. Plus, I was late to the memo that chemical exfoliants were the new cool girl in town, so I’m happy that I’m all caught up now.”
“This serum is so gentle that I use it twice a day — usually when I use other vitamin C serums, my skin gets irritated and my rosacea flares up. Also, because I’m a pimple popper, I really can see my acne marks going away when I use this consistently, and I love that because I’m a millennial; I want to see immediate result, right? It smells a bit like ham and like a self-tanner that’s expired, but I love it and I can’t live without it.”
“I have two moisturizers that I have a hard time choosing between. The Wishful one feels amazing and makes my skin glowy. I’ve used Ponds, Cetaphil, all of the moisturizers, and they’re fine, but this one gives me a little highlight that makes me feel special. I use it almost every day.”
“This cream is so luxe and rich and has these beads of probiotics that dissolve as you rub it in. I love the idea of giving your face vitamins, so I’ll use it after a rough week, like after New York Fashion Week, when I want to give my skin a little more TLC after wearing a lot of makeup.”
The Face Oil
“Love 31 is the best oil of all time, and I am so happy we found each other. It’s pricey, but I would not trade it for anything in the world! It’s so rich and feels like olive oil, but it’s formulated with 31 botanical extracts and vitamins. I used to use a whole dropper, but now I just do three drops each time. It smells amazing, like if you had a rich grandma that you love — warm and floral; it’s kind of like Lancôme Trésor … but not as old.”
“Finally, my morning routine is complete with sunscreen. I have three that I love.
Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Face Shield is sheer and weightless but still dewy-looking without looking like I’m a greaseball. It also doesn’t give me ‘sunscreen eyes,’ when it melts and drips into your eyes; I went to Barcelona two months ago, and someone thought me and my ex-fiancé had gotten into a street fight, but really, it was that I had sunscreen in my eyes. I was bent over trying to wash my eyes out with my water bottle, and you know it’s bad when you’re willing to sacrifice your eyelash extensions.
Milk Makeup’s Sunshine Skin Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen makes you look like you have zero blemishes. It reminds me of the Revlon PhotoReady Foundation, except it has SPF. I use shade Medium.
Then, Dr. Zein Obagi, the founder of ZO Skin Health, makes sunscreen, too. His Smart Tone Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is incredible.”