I think I’ve been on this skincare journey for so long that at this point, the number of different products I’ve used might have reached the thousands.
Well, maybe hundreds.
Either way, if you were wondering, I should absolutely be an honorary esthetician.
(Kidding, kidding—but I could definitely be a personal beauty shopper. If you need recommendations get at me!)
In light of my own personal journey, I have come to realize that finding the right product can be easier said than done. I’ve definitely gone through multiple rounds of trial and error—especially when it comes to choosing certain products for my skin type and concerns because at this point, there are so many options.
That’s why it can be so difficult to find what works for you because even starting somewhere is hard. With a million options, how do you choose just one to begin?
Luckily, though, this gap has started to close with new companies and services all popping up that take the guess-work out of choosing the steps of your next favorite skincare routine.
Personalized skincare products and custom formulas are definitely on the rise. And, with this period of economic uncertainty as the world gains its footing around COVID-19, getting to your dermatologist for facials can be more difficult for some than others, with so many of us still lingering indoors.
Curology and Atolla Labs are two of a few new companies that build a profile around your skin type and concern, and specifically, curate formulas and routines around them. What’s even more impressive though, is that estheticians themselves have done the same for clients virtually—in the wake of this panorama, they have brought their services to us, scheduling virtual consultations and helping clients still maintain or begin their skincare routines even despite this new era of virtual consultation.
So, it was really cool to hear firsthand how this process works. I have yet to try a virtual consultation, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone on the Beauty Board who has.
A Beauty Board member & Beauty Connoisseur
Much like me, buying the products isn’t the problem. For Jennifer, a self-proclaimed beauty connoisseur, the difficulties lay in the routine—with so many products to choose from, deciding what to use and when out of all of your options that can become tricky.
“When you have so much,” she says, “you don’t know how to layer all of the products you have.”
Because there’s a method to the madness. I know I’ve had friends or family laugh at my six-to-eight-step daytime and nighttime routines before, but there’s a reason for each individual step. That’s why it’s so important to note the order, because the purpose of using your products is for them to work, right?
Let me explain.
According to Volition Beauty (a BIPOC-owned beauty brand just so you know), the right skincare schedule should go something like this:
Use Eye Gel
Use Hydrating Serum
Use Eye Gel
Use Oil/Oil-Based Serum
And, according to Volition, don’t forget to add these to your routine on a weekly basis:
Facial Massage (1-2x)
Face Mask (1-2x)
Obviously, everyone’s routine differs due to their skin type and concerns—so it’s important to consult a licensed esthetician to formulate your routines, especially when you don’t exactly know where to start.
But, that's the importance of personalized skincare and another reason why it’s now a rising trend in beauty. People want to know the products and formulas that work specifically for their skin types, without having to pay the literal and figurative price of products not working out. We are all uniquely different, and we’re collectively starting to realize that one size does not fit all. And, with so many of us at home, it's an even larger barrier because we couldn't even book an appointment if we tried.
At least, that's what we thought.
What's been really cool lately is that estheticians in these times are offering their services, and not only making themselves available online but also helping us create those special routines personalized for our skin. With these virtual consultations, not only are you getting the personalization of a routine, but also the personal support of one-on-one guidance...which, I must say, after a year of being inside, is something I know many of us are actively seeking.
This brings us back to Jennifer.
Over the holiday break, she recommended to me Ashley White, also known as the @SkinClassHero, which is also her profile on IG. She’s an esthetician located in Chicago who has been helping people not only formulate their own morning and nighttime regimes but also find the products that will work for you—so you don’t have to waste time through trial and error. She’s been featured in both Teen Vogue and “Refinery29,” to name a few platforms, and she is affiliated with a number of your soon-to-be favorite clean beauty brands.
Jennifer told me about Ashley because she was looking to streamline her own skincare process.
“God blessed me in the skincare department—I’m normal to dry, but I never wash my face at night; I always wash it in the morning. And I wear a full face of makeup and don’t break out…I know, I’m a little bit of a unicorn. When it comes to skincare, I am the equivalent of a person who can eat whatever they want and never gain weight,” because she rarely breaks out.
(Essentially, she’s got great skin).
But, she says, “I needed someone to make things easy and tangible when it came to putting order behind a routine."
And that’s what she got.
She discovered Ashley's services through another friend—she’s acne-prone and wanted a routine to follow since she wasn’t able to get regular facials, and maskne is real. I know a lot of us have been struggling with this since mask-wearing has become a normality.
However, after positive results, Jennifer also decided to try. And after booking an appointment, Jennifer took me through the process, too.
After signing up, she registered for her "virtual visit" and sent a picture of her face without makeup; what she'd been using for her routine; and what her skin concerns were, or the areas she wanted to target and improve. For her, and most of us, this included youthful, dewy skin.
“One of my goals after this quarantine was to have illuminated skin,” she said, considering the drying, cold winters we’ve just experienced on the East Coast.
This is what Ashley then proceeded to help her curate.
When her appointment rolled around, she proceeded to hold her consultation over the phone before Jennifer was given a personalized routine. She received a list of product suggestions ordered by the suggested steps for their layering and options from which she could choose when sculpting the routine for herself.
In total, her new routine takes about five minutes, now—that’s Jennifer has now taped to the wall of her bathroom for reminders.
Jennifer took me through her steps, from booking the appointment to the routines she received afterward. And, for virtual consultations as a whole concept to be so new, she ranked the overall experience at 90%, which is still a passing grade.
Book in advance.
There's a wait time.
It took Jennifer about a month from booking to have her actual consultation, so the earlier you book, the better. Just as a reminder, though, a wait isn't uncommon in smaller practices, especially when many estheticians are running their services by themselves, so patience is definitely key.
It still costs...depending on the price of your product recommendations.
Jennifer said that in total, the experience would cost the price of the actual service plus the products you buy based on your suggestions. Ashley doesn’t sell you the products in her suggested routine, because she presents a list of suggestions that you pick from. So, if there’s something you want to try that isn’t already in your cabinets, you’re going to have to buy it.
One thing that's great, though? Jennifer said that Ashley gave her both a low and high-end recommendation when it came to her routine, so she had the option to choose between products that would work for her skin…but also wouldn’t break the bank.
For Jennifer, the good news was that there were very few items she had to purchase. “I only had to buy one or two things because I had so much stuff,” she laughed, “but either way, Ashley gave a high-end and low-end product suggestion for every step in the routine so now, I have a mix of both.”
What was most helpful, though, was that she was given the order in which to put things in.
For example, her AM sequence goes as follows:
1. Wash face
2. Apply Toner (Based on her recommendations, she's using one by Paula's Choice; which she says is so moisturizing it "feels like a leave-in conditioner for my face." Also, Ashley has a discount on the site as a brand ambassador).
3. Apply Vitamin C Serum
4. Apply Hydrating serum
5. Apply Moisturizer
And little tips and tricks were thrown in too.
(For example, your face needs to be wet/damp for every product application except SPF).
Or, how about...
When in doubt, layer your serums from lightest to heaviest.
And my favorite: Brush your teeth before you wash your face (so you don’t wipe away all your product).
And then there are some other things like:
Ingredients are important—you can’t just put anything on your face.
Your skin, just like your body, requires different care at different ages. Being good to your skin sometimes means switching routines as you age.
If you’re interested in a product, before you buy (and spend that coin), do your research! Great platforms to go to? YouTube. Byrdie. Refinery29. Oh, and Clothes*Petals of course. ;)
Overall, though? Jennifer said she would highly recommend the experience.
“It’s for a range of people,” she said. “Ashley offers the right guidance. It’s for minimalists because it gives you what you need, and maximalists—for those who overindulge in themselves.”
Book your next consultation with Ashley here!
It's incredible, really, how much we've been able to do virtually. And I look forward to seeing how this idea will grow and services will expand in ways we've never seen before to accommodate our virtual connections. It's like a beauty renaissance, really. I can't wait to see what's next.
Are there any personalized services that you've discovered lately? Don't forget to send me a message and subscribe for more!