A couple weeks ago we sat down with Gothamista and did an exclusive Facebook and Instagram Live interview!
We had so much fun asking her your reader-submitted questions! Read on to see her answers to all your reader-submitted questions and learn what she has to say about microneedling, tips for acne-prone skin, and the biggest mistakes people make with their skin care.
What is your skin type and major concerns?
It’s weird because I feel like I’ve crossed over recently. I used to have dry, dehydrated skin but now it’s become quite normal because I addressed the whole hydration issue. I definitely have to thank K-beauty for that, because once I got the hydration sorted out, my skin just really isn’t dry anymore.
Although now that fall and winter is coming, I’m beginning to feel like I need to take it up a notch. So dryness is no longer a concern, but I’ve definitely got hyperpigmentation and other issues.
What’s the one question you get asked the most about when it comes to skin care?
I think when it comes to skin care the questions are, “When do you use that in a routine?” So if I’m talking about an ampoule, people want to know where it fits into a routine. That is the question I always get the most; it’s a big concern.
For me, I try not to be so legalistic. I always feel like there’s really no real one approach with layering products. I think there are just certain rules you have to abide by which is liquid-based first, and then oil-based, or the moisturizers afterwards. Lightest to thickest consistency too, but other than that if you want to apply your essence first before toner, that’s fine! I think it just depends on your own skin and takes some experimentation.
What are some of the worst skin care habits you see people doing?
I would say over-exfoliating is a big one and that kind of ties in with over-cleansing. I think sometimes people just don’t understand how much they are stripping their skin. They don’t realize because there are a lot of acids—from our cleansers to our toners— or astringent ingredients in so many steps of our routine, and even if you’re using a Clarisonic or a washcloth to wipe off your cleanser, all of that is exfoliating.
What do you think is the most important secret to having amazing skin?
Genes maybe? No, to be honest: You can do a lot in terms of skin care, but if you’re getting two hours of sleep every night it’s just not going to look good. I feel like it just affects everything. The sallowness, the circulation, everything. So skin care is really important to give your skin what it needs, but try to get enough sleep. I’m definitely an offender; I don’t get enough sleep. But I think that’s really important.
How do you regularly test so many new products without your skin freaking out?
I am actually kind of conservative when it comes to trying new products. It may seem like I’m trying a lot, but I’m not. I’m never going to be that person who reviews something when it first comes out because I feel like I need a month to know if it works. It really depends on the product because you know some products you can pretty much figure out and it’s fine—if it’s a cleanser or if it’s a mask, you can have a quick first impression, and you don’t have to be so cautious. But I feel like when it comes to serums and creams and ampoules, anything can happen. It can cause sensitivity over time, it can make you break out, so I usually introduce one at a time.
But I also have a schedule—just because a product comes out and gets sent to me doesn’t mean I can use it immediately, sometimes I have to wait for the right time before I can use it again. That’s pretty much why I don’t really review things immediately—it’s always about three months after everybody else has reviewed it.
How long should you wait to see results from products that reduce pigmentation?
I think with hyperpigmentation the one thing people have to understand is it requires so much patience for you to see results. So trying something out for a month isn’t really gonna have any impact, because even prescription grade treatment for hyperpigmentation takes about three to four months to see a difference.
Have you ever tried microneedling?
I’ve had microneedling on my scalp as a scalp treatment. And that was painful. I don’t know what they used but you’ve got so many nerves there. It was so painful. I feel like if I do microneedling on my face someone’s gotta do it for me. I don’t really trust myself going in.
So what did the microneedling on your scalp do?
I’ve been having some scalp issues and so it was sort of a treatment to unblock whatever is clogging it up. Because all the build up can create a lot of irritation. Microneedling seemed counterintuitive because it felt additionally irritating but it really allowed treatment to sink in. It made a big difference and afterwards my whole head felt really light.
What are the best exfoliating ingredients for rosacea and sensitive skin types?
That’s a good question, because you don’t want to sensitize your skin more. Physical exfoliants are just not my thing. I’ve never really used one…I mean have used some, which is how I know it’s not my thing. But there’s so many great gentle exfoliants out there. You could use something that’s fruit enzyme based. Papaya enzymes are a great one. There’s also all of those peeling gels which are super gentle and very satisfying because it’s not your skin that’s coming off but you get a little bit of a peel. Peels are great exfoliating treatments. Those are good alternatives to physical ones.
What’s your whole stance on natural ingredients?
I think that there are a lot of natural ingredients that are fantastic but I also think that there are the ones that can be quite harmful and irritating. My sister is someone who has chronically sensitive and reactive skin, so she actually thought going the natural route was the way to go. In actuality, it caused her to react more.
When I started looking at the ingredients of what she was using, it made complete sense to me because the thing with all of those more hippy dippy sort of brands is they use a lot of essential oils and sometimes baking soda in their cleansing products and in their masks and stuff. Just because it’s something you can eat doesn’t mean its safe to put on your skin. There is a fine line, In fact, many of my favorite ingredients, like oils and honey and extracts, are natural. But I think you have to be careful.
Is vitamin A or C better to help clear acne scars?
I think to use them together is really good. Not together in the same routine but if you have them both incorporated in your skin care, that’s really effective.
How long you wait for products to absorb in each skin care step? Does it depend on the product or do you just wait until it’s not sticky anymore?
That’s a great question. Personally I don’t have the time for that. The minute I feel like I have to incorporate a long wait time in between each step is the day my routine becomes two products. But there are two products where I do always have a wait time with. The first is vitamin C. I want it to fully absorb because I really want it to have that reservoir effect. And I don’t wait an excessive amount of time, just maybe enough time to make a cup of tea, a bowl of matcha, or whatever. The other one is sunscreen. I wait before and after applying sunscreen. I think it’s important that sunscreen dries before you apply another layer.
Do you clean your face before going to the gym or do you work out with makeup on?
The idea of sweating so much with makeup is just kind of gross to me so I just always completely double cleanse before going to the gym and sweating. I’m making myself sound like I actually go to the gym, but when I do, I do the complete cleanse. And then after the gym I don’t cleanse again I just basically do a water rinse.
But for really oily, acne-prone skin then I’d use like a Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Cleanser to clean out those pores. That’s my favorite cleanser for after gym actually, because it’s so refreshing.
What do you think are the best treatments for acne-prone skin?
My personal approach to treating my own skin when I break out is actually I treat it like it’s wounded. I’m actually extra, extra gentle. That has really helped me a lot. And it’s something that changed because I used to really attack it with drying, very abrasive products, and I realized it kind of made things more inflamed. It made my skin not just super dry around that area but everything looked more red and angrier.
For me, I love ingredients like honey. Honey is so soothing, and so is centella asiatica. I love ingredients that are so focused toward healing and hydration, and I feel like that has worked a lot for my skin. It always makes things a lot less angry. Of course, if I have zits that are peaking, that’s when I come in with the drying solution but only then. I also use a lot of clay masks and just spot treat certain areas with clay mask.