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“My skin was ‘problematic’ well into my late twenties,” says trainer Katie Horwitch. “I went through my teens thinking of facials not as a relaxing spa day, but as a painful treatment to cure the thing that caused me so much shame.”
Not only was she prone to acne, but she also suffered through hyperpigmentation, dermatitis, and milia, problems compounded by a never-ending rotation of beauty products. The more Horwitch’s skin acted up, the more beauty products she incorporated into her routine, and the more irritated her skin became. “I used all the products, all the time,” she says.
In the end, a book about skin care helped her more than anything. Adina Grigore’s Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin convinced her to detox from her products to let her skin reset. Now, Horwitch relies on simple solutions like washing her face with nothing but water (unless she wants to remove makeup). As for her beauty arsenal, it’s been tightly edited down to gentle cleansers for hectic days, moisturizers, an eye cream, and face pads. Take a look below.
“When I started teaching fitness classes, I felt like I didn’t look the part. I didn’t have the ideal body, the coolest clothes, or the silky-smooth skin I thought everyone else had. So I doubled down on my product use and wore makeup to class to cover up my perceived flaws. Spoiler: Wearing make-up while you sweat is a recipe for clogged pores and very unhappy skin. It just got worse.
It wasn’t until I read Adina Grigore’s book Skin Cleanse that I realized that the perfect skin is the skin you’re in. I did a ‘skin cleanse,’ which basically means taking out all products for at least two weeks and then slowly adding them back one by one, to see how you react. To my surprise, my skin relaxed into the new routine after about two weeks and looked brighter than it ever had. The second I stopped piling on the products and stopped wearing makeup to teach is the second I found my voice and stepped up my game in the fitness world. Coincidence? Maybe. But I’d like to think it had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t covering anything up anymore, literally or figuratively.”
“Water cleansing has changed my life – and it’s the easiest thing ever. All you need is water and a clean (MUST be clean!) washcloth and you’re ready to roll. If I’m out teaching or taking a class, I will always pack a clean washcloth with me so I can rinse away the sweat as soon as possible.
I still water cleanse as my primary form of cleansing and have pared my skincare routine down to the things I know work best for me. I use Franklin & Whitman Cleansing Oil if I’ve been wearing makeup and want a gentle way to remove it.”
“I use this if it’s been a day particularly filled with dirty city air or if I wasn’t able to wash my face right after sweating. But I use this and the Franklin & Whitman Chestnut Hill Cleansing Serum as supplements based on the day, not as foundations to my routine.”
The Facial Pads
“I use Trader Joe’s tea tree pads after every class I teach. They’re always in my bag. I’ve found that not sitting with sweat on my face after class helps immensely. We usually don’t think about this. We’ll towel off and run off to do errands or wait until we’re home to shower. Taking that little extra step to wipe off the grime and clean my face makes a huge difference.
Another tip: Change out of your sweaty workout clothes ASAP. It’s almost like a badge of honor now to walk around in your workout gear aprés-class, but you’re basically wrapping your body in bacteria. Even if it’s into another pair of workout clothes. Even if you don’t have time to shower. Just get the sweat-drenched ones off your body.
Also, live your best ’90s life and wear a headband to keep any products that are in your hair from getting onto your face when you sweat. If you’re breaking out around your hairline, temples or even your jaw, your skincare might not be the culprit – sweating your hair products into your skin might be.”
“I didn’t realize until way too late in life how important a good moisturizer is. I thought acne would get worse with moisturizer. The ones that work for me are this one (lower price point) and Goldfaden MD Vital Boost (high price point). They’re light, effective, and I feel like they give me lasting results. I alternate between them based on what my day looks like. Both absorb pretty quickly into my skin.
“I like to use Vital Boost on days when I’m inside writing, recording podcasts, or programming my classes. That way, I can leave a buffer in between when I apply it and when I go to sweat so that I can get the most bang for my buck (and don’t sweat any of it off!).”
The Eye Cream
“I come from a long line of women preaching the eye cream gospel. Because of this, I’ve tried them all. This is my favorite so far. Not only does it absorb quickly and feel super light, but it doesn’t irritate my eyes when I’m drenched after a sweaty spin class. The irritated, red, my-skincare-melted-into-my-eyes look isn’t really the look I’m going for.”
The Essential Oils
“No one likes the one person who comes into the gym wearing perfumes or any other heavy scents, but I like to top my routine off by patting a drop of either lavender or orange essential oil on my temples and neck. I’m big on routines and doing things to signal to my brain that I’m ready to end a task or begin a new one. A tiny dab of essential oil now signals to my brain that I’m ready to go and crush it, whatever ‘it’ is.”