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Kate “Hina” Sabatine is a Leo. “So for me, personally, beauty is something I’m very, very passionate about, and I love looking my best,” says Hina, a TikTok creator who is best known for their imaginary chronicles as a lesbian parent to her fictional Cornelius. “So spending $200 on one product, it makes sense to me.” Not that Hina does — anymore.
“I got really obsessed at one point with Korean skin care, and I was spending my entire paycheck on the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence,” they admit. It was the height of the “glass skin” era, and after years of dealing with textured skin and cystic acne, they were desperate for something — anything — that might achieve a seemingly poreless and luminous complexion. As far as the SK-II goes, “I don’t know what they put in that essence, but it really is worth the money.” They explain, “I just can’t justify spending that much anymore” after a facial changed their perspective towards skin care.
Hina doesn’t normally get facials, but it was one trip to the German countryside and a vegan hotel that changed their mind. “My ex was like, ‘They have a really good spa here, you should get a facial. It’s my treat.’” They were apprehensive but took up the offer. “Normally, your skin is a little red, a little inflamed after, but when I tell you that my skin looked perfect afterwards. I was like, ‘Oh my God, what did you do?!’” The secret was Dr. Hauschka products — and most were priced under $50. They realized it’s not necessary to break the bank with a skin-care routine.
Below, Hina shares their morning routine, including the $2 face masks they buy in bulk, the moisturizer they always go back to, and the sunscreen that “really feels like skin.”
“When I was about to turn 25, I was reading about what to expect when you’re 25, and everyone’s like, ‘You stop making collagen!’ My heart literally sunk into my butt when I read that. Then I was at Sprouts in L.A. and I ended up getting this supplement. To be completely honest with you, I can’t tell you if it’s doing anything or if it’s my other skin-care products, but I take it anyway as collateral.”
“I was really skeptical of Curology when they approached me to work with them, but I’ve noticed that when I don’t use their face wash, I do suffer. So either my skin has an addiction or it’s really really good at what it does. It’s the first product that I ever used that had an effect on my skin right away — the very next day, my skin looked so much better — and now I’ve been using it for two months. At night, I’ll take off my makeup with Aesop’s Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser and then follow it up with this.” [Editor’s note: Hina previously appeared in a Curology campaign but is no longer working with the company.]
“I found this toner through Soko Glam. It’s unscented, and it’s very, very neutral. I don’t like anything abrasive so I just take some of it in my hands and pat it in, instead of using a cotton pad. My skin just feels really clean after using it, and I do feel like it absorbs products better after I use it.”
“From what I understand, the Western conception of a toner is that they balance your face and take off any gunk that you might have missed with your face wash, whereas an essence gives you more of what your skin needs. Like for me, I’m really into hydration and I live in L.A., where the air is disgusting and grimy, so I want to make sure that my skin is supple and hydrated.
This essence is also unscented. I’ve noticed that I get way more compliments on the days that I use it versus the days that I don’t.”
The Sheet Mask
“Mediheal sheet masks are so good and cheap. I buy them in bulk. They have a Tea Tree version and an Intensive Hydrating one that I really like. If my skin is going through it, I’ll use the Tea Tree, and if my skin is feeling dry, I’ll use the hydration one. It really just depends on what my skin needs that day.”
“Right now, I’m using Curology’s moisturizer, and it’s not bad. But with my moisturizer, I want my face to feel like I literally just came out of the ocean, wet and lathered, so after I use the rest of my Curology, I’ll go back to my favorite, the Laneige’s Water Bank. Oh my God, that girl — I dream about her.
I’m gonna be honest, I’m a slut for packaging, and Laneige’s caught my eye in Sephora. I was like, ‘What’s your personality? Who are you? What’s the tea?’ I did a little Google in the store — I literally squatted on the ground because I was there so long reading about it — and everyone was like, ‘It’s great!’ And they were right. It’s thick, but it feels like water, and when you put makeup on top of it, it’s even better. I think it’s the product that I’ve actually been using for the longest out of anything in my routine. I mean, we have an on-and-off relationship, but we always come back to each other.”
The Lip Balm
“I’m a simple dimple, and I think no chapstick can do it better than Aquaphor. I really am convinced that other chapsticks make you addicted to them, but when my lips are chapped, Aquaphor will actually cure them instead of just making me want to keep applying more. I was in the mountains for two months earlier this year, and everything was cracking. Aquaphor single-handedly held my life by a thread.”
“One of my friends from college who I bonded with over skin care recommended this sunscreen to me. At the time, I was shamefully not a regular sunscreen user. I asked her where I should start, to which she said, ‘Supergoop! duh.’ And it’s been my go-to ever since. It’s completely scent-free (thank God!), leaves no cast at all, and really feels like skin. It actually works really well as a primer for makeup because it’s not oily or chunky — it’s very buttery and smooth.”