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Beauty & Wellness

I Heard About It on Thoughtline: A Serum That Makes Your Skin Look… Perfect

We first published this story back in the Spring, and I remember that when it was cooking, I asked Harling to send me multiple selfies of her so that I could promote the story on Instagram. When she texted them to me, I was aghast—simply agog—at the effect of her skin. It looked like the kind of smooth, glassy stone you find at the bottom of the river. It was literally bubble milk tea. In the comments of the story, everyone corroborated that this skin tint—with SPF, no less, call your sister!—was the best thing since sliced babka. So, without further ado, I’ll say that we’re publishing this organic story again, this time with Ilia, so that you, too, can find your perfect shade of skin tint and wear it til the proverbial cows come home. —Amalie


Have you ever used the “touch up my appearance” filter on Zoom? I didn’t know it existed until a month ago, which I guess makes sense since I didn’t know Zoom existed until a month ago, but it was a source of immediate fascination. All you have to do is check a box in Zoom’s system preferences, and your face is transformed from “just your face” to “your face in heaven”–i.e. lit and blurred to perfection, as if you were standing in the presence of a holy being.

I don’t keep the box permanently checked (TBH, I’m afraid I’ll forget what my real face looks like), but I’m not immune to the allure of its magic-adjacent effects. So, when I was conversing with an MR Thoughtline subscriber who casually mentioned she had found the beauty product equivalent of the Zoom “touch up my appearance” filter, I sat up straight at my makeshift desk. According to Zoom, the “touch up my appearance” filter “smooths out the skin tone on your face, to present a more polished-looking appearance.” Apparently Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 does the exact same thing–but in real life.

After checking off “touch up my appearance” on Zoom.

“It’s like a tinted moisturizer but has squalane and niacinimide and hyaluronic acid and SPF!!!!” my new beauty advisor gushed. “It’s makeup that doubles as skincare. And you don’t need to do anything else to your face for it to look good–it’s like you’ve done a whole routine, but it’s only one product, and it comes in 18 shades.”

I was sold at “squalane”—which, for the uninitiated, is a natural emollient that locks moisture into your skin. So I requested a sample and have worn it every day for a week. Let me state for the record: This stuff is BETTER than the Zoom filter. It doesn’t make you look like you’re standing in the presence of a holy being, it makes you look like you are a holy being–or at the very least like you swallowed a flashlight. I’ve never experienced such an instant uptick in glow, as if I’ve just come back from a spa instead of just coming back from my second trip to the pantry for snacks. It’s a band-aid for lack of Vitamin D if there ever was one (the fact that it contains SPF at a time I’ve never needed sun protection less is an irony that will hopefully pay off later).

My only qualm with it is the consistency, which is pretty thick (I usually opt for sheer coverage when I wear makeup), but it melts into my skin like–yes–a #stickofbutter, so there’s none of the terrible cakey texture that often comes with full-coverage foundations. The product becomes part of my skin instead of sitting on it, if that makes sense?? Anyways, this stuff is great. I’m looking forward to wearing it for more auspicious occasions than virtual work meetings and dinner with my immediate family, but in the meantime it’s the ideal pick-me-up for my perpetually pajama-clad state of existence.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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