Spend almost every day of the year working with Hailey Bieber, Amandla Stenberg, and Kerry Washington, and you will pick up a valuable lesson: Make-up is fun, but skin care is essential. After all, the better you treat your skin, the better your make-up will sit. Or so says make-up artist and groomer Carola Gonzalez, who is responsible for the faces of all three celebs.
Gonzalez, who was introduced to skin care by her grandmother, stresses the importance of skin care not just for those who wear make-up. “My grandmother taught me to age gracefully and to take care of yourself,” she says. “The sooner you start, the better the benefits. You’re going to see it later on in life.” You don’t have to start with a complex routine. A cleanser, an exfoliator, and a sunscreen will go the distance for beginners. “Use sunscreen, please,” she pleads. “That is the only thing that I regret. I didn’t use sunscreen, and I got sunspots. That’s the best advice I can give you.”
Gonzalez’s own routine is more complex than most. She mainly looks for products that deal with dehydrated skin. The Los Angeles resident explains, “I live in California so it’s super dry here. That’s the problem that I deal with the most.”
Below, Gonzalez gives us the lowdown on her routine, the product she uses religiously, and the luxury cream worth every penny.
The Make-up Remover
“This was given to me by a beauty PR, and I’m obsessed with it! I’ve been using it for the past month. The powdery fresh smell reminds me of a cologne I wore when I was little. The cleanser is also amazing. It removes make-up and leftover residue on the skin while nourishing it. It leaves the skin feeling velvety soft. I use it day and night and every time I feel like cleansing my face throughout the day. I really love how it feels on the skin.”
The Oil Cleanser
“I’ve been using this oil cleanser for years. It was sent to me as a gift to try, and I immediately fell in love with it. It dissolves make-up, any build-up, and gently cleanses the skin without stripping your own natural skin oils. It’s nourishing and it maintains the skin’s pH balance. I definitely prefer a cleansing oil to a gel or milk cleanser, especially when skin is dry and dehydrated. I use it every day, morning and nighttime. It has a light scent, but it’s almost untraceable.”
“I have been using this exfoliator for a month. I find that a good exfoliator is hard to find, because they are either too mild and don’t get the job done, too harsh, or too hard to rinse off, leaving residue. This is actually a whipped cream, which feels gentle on the skin with deep cleansing exfoliating granules that don’t feel abrasive. The smell is a heavenly grapefruit, mint, and sweet orange. It’s extremely important to exfoliate for cell turnaround. It removes all the dead skin and promotes clear and radiant skin. I use it three times a week, and if you feel it’s too much for your skin, then do it twice a week, or get a formula for sensitive skin. I usually mix it with my daily cleanser to make it a one-step deal.”
“This is an extra step I do when my skin feels the most dry. This emulsion adds moisture while also locking it in. How it works is a mystery, but it’s the only product I’ve found to be effective and keeps my skin hydrated for a long period of time. I like to layer it with my moisturizer. The texture resembles a gel/serum. I’ve been using it for three years, and I always have it in my bathroom cabinet for winter days or when I need more. I use it once a day and sometimes day and night depending on how dry my skin feels.”
The Eye Masks
“I was introduced to these patches by my client, Adria Arjona. She swore by them and made me wanna try them. I’ve been a fan ever since! I’ve been using them for over two years. They truly brighten, lift, and depuff the area under the eye. They bring eyes back to life. I do this every morning!”
The Eye Serum
“For my eyes, I like to do a few things in the morning because it is the most sensitive area of the face, and I feel it needs the most help. My mantra is: Depuff, lift, firm, and hydrate. This is my first step. I love this eye gel ‘cause it’s cooling and the results are amazing! It reduces the appearance of dark circles, minimizes puffiness, and reduces the appearance of fine lines while hydrating.
I like to layer my eye lift gel with Peter Thomas Roth 24K eye patches to get double action. The trick is to let the product sit for at least 10–15 minutes and allow the skin around the eye area to fully absorb it. The eye patches help to lock in the moisture and aid in product skin-absorption to achieve maximum results.”
The Eye Cream
“I was introduced to this eye cream by my dermatologist Shereene Idriss a month ago. I went in for a checkup, and the area under my eyes looked really wrinkled and dehydrated. I was really concerned cause I felt I had aged like ten years over the holidays. As I left her office, I went straight to Sephora and bought it. I have been using it religiously day and night ever since I bought it, and it truly has made a big difference under my eye area. It has vitamin C so it helps to reduce fine lines, and it’s rich in hydration. It also brightens and firms.”
“Vitamin C becomes really important once you are in your mid-30s. As your skin ages, collagen production diminishes, and it’s important to start a regimen where you include it. I started about two years ago, and it truly has rejuvenated my skin. It has definitely brightened it and made it more luminous. I love the citrus smell and the gel is really refreshing on the skin. I like to layer it with my moisturizer. I apply it day and night.”
“Always wear sunscreen. Make it a habit! One of my beauty regrets is not wearing it in my 20s and early 30s. I wish I would have known the effects of sun damage. I’ve been struggling with dark spots since my early 30s and this is the only sunscreen I feel really protects my skin against the sun. I use it every day and take it with me everywhere. I even apply it on my hands. It doesn’t leave any white residue and it also makes the skin glow.”
The Lip Scrub
“This tool is a game changer [Editor’s note: The Bliss lip device is now discontinued, but the scrub is still available for purchase]. It was given to me as a gift years ago, and it got lost in my boxes. As I was doing spring cleaning about a year ago, I found it and decided to try it, and it changed my chapped, dry lips. The device, which is an automated lip exfoliator, is what really makes the difference. Combined with the lip scrub, it polishes the lips and removes all the dead skin, leaving them smooth and soft. I usually do it twice a week. You can do it in the morning or at night. Follow with a good hydrating lip balm.”