why is your skin so good

How This Swimwear Designer (and Surfer) Gets Her Skin So Good

Photo: Photo: Courtesy of Oleema Miller

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Oleema Miller is equally fanatic about skin care and the sun. It may seem like a contradiction until you consider that she is a former competitive surfer and the co-founder, creative director, and designer of swimwear brand Mikoh — and she just happened to move to Hawaii a year ago. So “despite the stern advice from my dermatologist to stay away from the sun, I refuse to change my lifestyle,” Miller says. “The sun, the sea, and the salty air center and balance my daily life and bring me more joy than shielding myself from nature’s elements. For me, the personal benefits outweigh the potential repercussions.”

Miller is prone to hyperpigmentation, which tends to worsen with constant sun exposure, but, she reasons, “It’s getting worse because I’m enjoying my life.” Of course, she tries to prevent any potential damage through diligent sun care where she can: hats (“I take one everywhere!”) and “obsessive” sunscreen reapplication (she goes through a bottle in less than a month).

She also upped her skin-care game this time last year with the addition of a skin-care fridge, a mini-fridge specifically meant to cool products. “When we were remodeling our house, I really wanted to build a kind of oasis that was just for me,” Miller says. “And I built what I call my ‘beauty closet,’ complete with a fridge.” The fridge itself is not “crazy fancy” or expensive — she found it online — but it’s stocked with her favorite face mist (“Caudalíe makes the best one!”), gua sha (from Odacité), skin roller (from Esker Beauty), and rose hip oil (from Thomas Grove).

The Double-Cleanse

“By the end of the day, I have so much crap on my face from being in the sun and reapplying sunscreen, so I use this as the first step in my double-cleanse to remove any makeup, dirt, residue, SPF, and any bad vibes. It feels more like a really heavy gel cleanser than an oil — oils can feel a little too slick for my taste sometimes.”

“This gel cleanser has a really clean, almost herbal smell, and it’s super-foamy. I know that some people don’t like that, but I love a good lather because I feel like it really takes everything off my face.”

The Resurfacing Masks

“I love to mask at least three times a week, and I love products that are multipurpose. You can use this one as a face scrub in the shower or as a mask. Sometimes I’ll take a shower and when my pores are open, I’ll leave it on for 15 minutes. I’ve noticed that when I use it consistently, it really does brighten my skin. Its No. 1 quality for me is that it smells so much like peppermint.”

“I can definitely suffer through a product that smells terrible if I know it’s working, but there’s also something to using good-smelling products, especially since I’m not going to spas that much anymore. They can give you an aromatherapy moment. This one especially smells amazing, like pumpkin. It has more of a jelly consistency, and it’s super-brightening. Just note: Your skin will tingle when you have it on — it hurts so good, if you ask me.”

“My main skin issues aren’t necessarily congested or clogged pores. I’m more concerned with brightening any dullness, and this is just another good brightening face mask with vitamin C.”

The Essence

“Post-surf, -sun, and -sand, I love the calming nature of this essence. I treat it like a toner and use it with little reusable pads. It’s gentle on my skin and takes off any remaining sunscreen from the day that I might have missed.”

The Cream

“When I’m watching an episode of The Real Housewives, I’ll apply my night cream, which has really been helping with my hyperpigmentation. Even though it has glycolic acid and is turning over cells, it’s still super-moisturizing and has the heavier consistency that I like at night.”

The Eye Cream

“I look at eye cream in the same way that I do body products: You probably wouldn’t use something that you use on your arms on your face, and the eye area is so delicate that it needs its own product (versus just using your face cream on your eyes). I love this one for the night, but I haven’t found a daytime eye cream that I’m obsessed with yet — I’ve noticed that when I use this one during the day, it will sometimes make my mascara run because it’s oily.”

The Lip Balm

“The name says it all. I’ve used some lip products that feel like they go everywhere, or you’re like, ‘Did I just eat half of it by accident because it just went into my mouth?’ This is not like that. It sits on your lips in a really nice way.”

The Sunscreens

“Before every surf session, I find myself reaching for my trusty EltaMD sunscreens, UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 and UV Physical Tinted Face SPF 41 [below]. Both are reef-friendly and will stay on throughout my entire session. It’s an added bonus that they don’t end up in your eyes like most sunscreens do when surfing or swimming.

I especially reach for the SPF 47 when I know I’ll just be around town running errands or if I’m going to be on my computer all day. It’s super-light, so it’s really easy to reapply throughout the day.”

“This sunscreen is water-resistant, so if I am going to be outside in the yard and jumping in the ocean throughout the day, I’ll lean toward this one. It does have a heavier consistency than my SPF 47 [above].”

“I love this one for allover body coverage. One of my biggest issues with sunscreens, especially the aerosol kind, is that they tend to sit on your skin. There’s nothing worse than applying sunscreen, putting a dress on, and still feeling the product on your shoulders. This one is really light and almost feels like another moisturizer.”

The Body Stone

“This is a natural exfoliant that stimulates blood circulation. I love that you can easily travel with it, even though I don’t travel very much anymore. I’d describe it as a pumice stone for your body. It won’t give a very deep scrub, but rather, it feels more like the dry-brush version of a stone.”

The Body Balm

“After I get out of the shower, I apply this on damp skin — I learned that your skin can’t be fully dry when you’re putting on something super-heavy because it won’t absorb as well. It’s the ultimate hydrating moisturizer; it’s nourishing, long-lasting, and has anti-aging properties. But it is not for the fainthearted because it’s so heavy and rich. I usually only use it once or twice a week because you really have to rub it in, and after, I wear pajamas with long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. You know when you go to a spa, and it has that plaster smell with a little bit of mint? That’s what this smells like.”

How This Swimwear Designer Gets Her Skin So Good