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“I hear you telling me already, ‘Oh, another French girl and her French nothingness,’” jokes Yacine Diallo. The Parisian makeup artist is referencing the ever-persistent French Girl trope in women’s media that claims French women have it more together than anyone else. But Diallo’s interest in skin care can be traced back to her childhood. “I have always been taking care of my skin on my own from a very young age,” she says. “Half of my family is from West Africa, where we have a lot of wonderful natural ingredients and beauty rituals. The other part is French, and obviously working in the beauty industry now gives me access to a lot of products I can try and play with.” She’s shot with every publication from Glamour to Brides to L’Officiel.
But Diallo is quick to note, “My real personal journey when it comes to my skin started when I met [skin-care specialist] Kristina Holey while she lived in Paris. She is the one who really made me realize the connection between my skin and my overall well-being.” Now in her late 30s, Diallo says she wants to “age the best way possible” and stresses that beauty products are second to how you treat your body. When she’s having skin issues, the NYC resident considers several factors before turning to her beauty cabinet: her food and water intake, hormones, supplements, sleep schedule, and stress levels. “I consider beauty and skin care in a more global approach, and my goal is always to feel good before looking good,” she elaborates. “But don’t get me wrong. I use and have access to a lot of products, and I enjoy it. I am all about that moisturized, naturally healthy glow, which is also a big signature in my work.” Below, Diallo shares how she achieves her trademark glow, the daring comment she told Emily Weiss, and her feelings toward Botox.
“This cleanser kind of became my no-brainer cleanser. It’s kind of my Cetaphil. It’s always in my shower. I take a mini one when I travel (Did I mention I love minis? It’s an addiction. That Sephora line with all the minis is my heaven, even though I know most of the time you get more for your money by buying the full bottle). At first I didn’t quite like it, I even dared to say to Emily Weiss once that it didn’t make me feel clean enough, that I was not sure about this product. Don’t ask me when and why I changed my mind. I just did and now I like it.”
“I work with beauty PR who sometimes send me products. It was the case for this one. I knew the brand already and had one product I bought from it and then I received that cleanser. Cleanser is probably the product that I am able to switch the most easily. First because it’s not like a cream or serum, and it doesn’t stay on your face. I can also modify it a bit without totally wrecking my skin. My skin is a combination so it’s not always easy to find the balance. I cleanse morning and night no matter what’s happening. If am jet lagged, if I had a couple too many drinks, if the aliens come to Earth … kidding, but really I never not clean my face. It’s my favorite moment of my night routine before going to bed.
This cleanser arrived at the best time. It is very cold right now, and my skin is not a fan of winter. It’s been dehydrated and a little dull. This has everything I like. It has this kind of double cleanse system in one: It’s a cream gel that turns into an oil on your skin and then when you add water, it becomes a milky emulsion that rinses off easily. It smells like rosemary and eucalyptus. It feels very fresh on my skin.”
“I have been using this cleanser on and off for the last four years. I used to think that my skin was more on the oily side and like a lot of people, I was over cleaning thinking it would get rid of the little extra sebum production I had on my T-zone. Big mistake!
Not so long after I moved to NYC, my skin was doing okay with all the advice and knowledge [facialist] Kristina Holey had given me but then because I quit hormonal contraception and/or the stress of moving to a new city, my skin got really upset, with my forehead breaking out. I saw facialist Kariné Kazarian once. She uses exclusively Biologique Recherche. Since I didn’t know anyone in the city and I knew from seeing my mother using it, I thought she could help me. She did! She is the one who really convinced me that my skin was not oily and that it needed the most gentle care to reach a better balance. Lait U is mild, creamy, soothing, and gentle, and you need a small amount each time so the bottle actually lasts a long time.”
“There is not much to say about this mist. It does what it says, and I love the smell — smells like geranium a bit. It is very moisturizing and invigorating.”
“P50 is my BFF! Karine introduced me to the infamous P50 (I use the original version. It works for me so don’t try to sell me the other ones!). People say it smells bad and burns (it could tingle when you start using it because your skin has to adjust), but I am so used to it. It is such a satisfying product that I am not even bothered by the smell. It really makes a difference on my skin if I use it or not, so I always have it. Even though some times I take little break or just use it couple times a week instead of everyday, it does wonders to balance my T-zone … so just for that, shout-out. Let me just say the hype is real!”
“I have been a big fan of the concept of The Ordinary and the whole Deciem company making efficient, simple products very affordable. It’s a brand I recommend to people when they want to incorporate something new in their routine like a serum or an oil. The price is on point, the quality makes it a guilt-free purchase, and the range is very extensive. I always have a hyaluronic acid. It’s one of my favorite products to retain moisture in the skin and make it look plumpy.”
“I am obsessed with this product. I have been using one of their hero products (flavo-C anti-oxidant serum) for 15 years — no joke! This is my most repurchased product ever. They recently came out with those little ampules. I like to use them more during colder months, plus they are easy to travel with.
I use it every day in the morning after my toner. I first heard about the original Flavo-C 15 years ago from a friend in Paris and derms used to recommend it. I have been using it since every day. The ampoules are a newer product and were sent to me by the brand. The formulation is a little different than the classic serum. The texture is closer to a light oil and is a little more moisturizing, while the other one is very liquid, but the results are a wow either way. It is good for wrinkles, it boosts your natural production of hyaluronic acid and instantly brightens your complexion. It is kind of my little secret product as it is quite unknown, especially in the U.S. I talk about it to people around me a lot.”
“My new best friend! My skin was dehydrated from the cold weather and being in overheated places. Even though I sleep with a humidifier, my skin was desperately upset and the texture was rougher. In a few days, my skin said thank you. It’s soothing, moisturizing, and my skin is now so soft and supple. This is a good discovery.”
The Face Oil
“Shopping for beauty when I travel is one of my favorite things to do. I like to get inspired by rituals from different cultures and learn how people approach beauty. I spent some time in Japan this summer and loved it. I went beauty shopping obviously, and I came across this brand in a trendy concept store. I instantly loved everything about it so I bought travel sizes of their line to try. It’s a pretty clean brand using natural ingredients locally sourced. I like their approach and their integrity.
This product is a very light non-greasy oil that gives a lot of radiance to the skin. It’s a mix of different oils, and I use few drops to give my skin another layer of protection especially in the colder months. This name is not only cute and attractive but also means ‘conscious awareness,’ which I like.”
“I love Supergoop! and the people behind it, and the feeling is mutual. I even did a collab with them — that’s how much I tested and approved this brand. They do an amazing job at bringing awareness about protecting your skin, not only for anti-aging purposes but to prevent skin cancer, and I love that. Don’t forget to reapply!
I use this sunscreen every day. It doesn’t make my skin break out. It’s totally clear, and it gives a slight dewy finish, which I don’t mind as I’m all about that glow.”
The Eye Cream
“I am not very particular about eye cream, even though I feel that the eyes would be where I would get wrinkles first (apart from my one wrinkle between my brows from constantly frowning but ugh, I don’t want to get Botox. I feel like I still haven’t find the best cream (any suggestions?). For now, this one is a good option for anti-aging, hydration, and sun protection of that delicate area.”
The Lip Balms
“Classic, cheap and kind of an all-over rescue balm. I use it also around my nails.”
“Looooove. It actually makes my lips smoother and more plumped. It’s very luxurious. Every time I’ve tried something from this brand, I’ve loved it.”