why is your skin so good

How Our Beauty Writer Gets Her Skin So Good

Photo: Courtesy of Erica Smith

“So, a lot of you have been asking my about my skin-care routine,” says the Cut’s beauty writer Erica Smith. “I’m joking. But the one person who did ask is our social media editor Daise, who runs this column.” How does a beauty writer maintain not just good but great skin, when her job depends on constantly testing the latest releases?

Smith purposefully trims down her skin-care routine to the essentials to avoid irritation. “My main concern is keeping my skin comfortable so it doesn’t turn on me,” she says. “My skin rarely experiences a full-on freakout, and if it does, I can easily pinpoint exactly which product I need to banish.”

Keeping her product usage to a minimum means she can hop in bed that much faster. “I enjoy reading, dissecting, and writing about other people’s longer, more elaborate beauty routines because it’s like voyeurism to me. I never have, and probably never will, attempt to do the same on my face,” she elaborates. “All the energy I save from having a ‘minimal’ (by today’s standards) skin-care routine goes into my hair care, which is a whole other story.”

For her night current routine, Smith aims for “refreshment,” alternating between four cleansers depending on her mood. She’s never met a gel moisturizer or cleansing water she didn’t like. “If it will make me look like I adhere to a decent bedtime and don’t stare at a computer screen for a living, that’s an added bonus.” Below, a look at her current rotation of cleansers, the eye cream with the “perfect-sized drops,” and the ointment that works better than any lip-specific product.

Kiehl's Since 1851 Herbal-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water

“I always start my nighttime routine with a micellar water. I love them because they allow me to get away with cleansing without having to wash my face in a sink with actual water and an actual cleanser. They’re also the epitome of refreshing. I like this one in particular because the herbal scent is calming, it feels very hydrating, and it effectively removes all my mascara and liner without making my eyes feel like they’re bleeding. When I’m at my laziest, this is the first and last step of my routine. I’ll just go to bed. Zero complaints from my skin so far.”

Erno Laszlo Pore Refining Detox Double Cleanse

“If I’m feeling a regular amount of lazy, I’ll proceed with this cleanser, which is saving me from doing a an actual double cleanse. I was introduced to it during an Erno Laszlo facial and I immediately fell in love with it because of the gel texture (refreshing!!!) The facialist used this as the first step, leaving it to sit on my skin for a few minutes like a purifying mask of sorts. I’ll do that sometimes, when I’m feeling not as lazy. I like that this leaves your skin feeling the right amount of smooth and clean; without that stripped feeling but without feeling congested or clogged either.”

Eve Lom Cleanser

“If I’m feeling stressed for whatever reason, I’ll cleanse with Eve Lom cleansing balm. There’s something very soothing about rubbing a bright yellow-green butter all over your face at the end of a long a day while you blankly stare at yourself in the mirror and contemplate all your life choices up until that point. This is also great at cutting through eye makeup, so if it’s really been A Day, I’ll skip the micellar water step and just jump straight to massaging this all over my brows and lashes, as well. I’ll eventually jump in the shower and use the Eve Lom muslin cloth to wipe everything away. I’ve tried a few other cleansing balms, but they all ended up making me break out soon after, but my skin responds really well to this one and all the oils in it. Plus the muslin cloth helps really get everything off. Afterward, my skin feels soft, clean, and suspiciously like I also toned it too, so I never feel bad about not doing too much after using this.”

Bliss Jelly Glow Peel

“If I feel like I need a deeper clean, I’ll swap the Erno Laszlo cleanser for this exfoliator. This stuff is insane. You apply the jelly formula (refreshing) and as you massage it, it begins to roll and peel away all the gunk from your face. It’s like if you were a weirdo in grade school like I was and would apply Elmer’s glue to your palm and let it dry and then peel or rub it off after a few minutes. Or I guess it’s like a ‘lint roller’ which is what the description says.”

Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum

“If my skin’s feeling a little dry for whatever reason, I’ll use a few drops of this serum, which is like straight-up moisture. It even looks like water — really thick water. It’s actually a mix of hyaluronic acid, and a bunch of soothing things like aloe leaf extract and willow bark. It’s like a refreshing glass of water for your face. I like it because it cuts all the crap and just absorbs very quickly into the skin so you get what you came for. I was introduced to this brand when I met with the founder, Jordan Samuel Pacitti, who is a former professional dancer. All the sweat and stage makeup was taking a toll on his skin so he created his own line to combat all that and keep it hydrated. I don’t wear that much makeup or sweat on a daily basis, but I’m very down with having ballerina skin.”

Drunk Elephant C-Tango™ Multivitamin Eye Cream

“Next, I’ll eye cream. I like this one because it’s not too crazy. It feels rich, but it’s super soft and absorbs into the skin really well instead of just sitting on it. I don’t have to sit there and dab it under my eyes forever. I also love the dispenser that gives you the perfect sized drops.”

RMS Beauty Beauty Oil

“I don’t use any night creams because they usually feel too heavy to me. I usually just slap on an oil and my skin loves this one. I slather three to five droplets of this on at night and wake up really glowy. Sometimes I’ll stick with the serum only, but if I’m having any inkling of any issue: weird dry patch, discoloration, budding pimple … anything, I’ll go back to this, wake up in the morning, and whatever it was is gone. Seriously, even pimples (regular pimples, not a full-blown cysts or anything). That part freaks me out to be honest, but I don’t question it. This just seems to bring balance to my face, and I’m going to assume it’s because it’s a clean blend of pure oils.”

Aquaphor Unscented Healing Ointment Tube

“I originally had this around for tattoo-healing purposes, but started using it on my lips every night before bed and it’s felt way better than any lip-specific product I’ve tried.”

FRÉ Nourishing Dry Oil

“The skin on my face is pretty normal, but the skin on my body is super dry. I’m a night showerer so before I go to bed, I rub this all over my arms and legs. This is definitely more akin to a good skin-care oil in that it absorbs very quickly and easily — it isn’t greasy or heavy and leaves a soft texture and nice glow. It also has this really lovely, warm scent that’s vaguely citrus and little nutty. A special blend of argan oil from the leaf and kernels of argan trees is the star ingredient in the product line so it’s mainly that. It isn’t too overpowering. It’s a nice calming thing to inhale before passing out.”

Upstate Silk Pillowcase in Midnight

“I’m very bad at sleeping on my back to prevent wrinkles. I sleep on all sides of my face and these silk pillow cases give me peace of mind. Not only are they nice and soft, they help regulate temperature so I never wake up sweaty and gross or with weird indents all over my face. My curly hair appreciates these pillowcases, too.”

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How Our Beauty Writer Gets Her Skin So Good