Welcome to You Look Moist, a regular column wherein Man Repeller asks cool people with glowing visages how they achieved their supreme hydration (amongst other things). Today’s installment features Tembe Denton-Hurst, the beauty editor at Nylon.
How would you describe your skin?
It depends on the day and season. Sometimes I love her, and other days she’s incredibly rude, even if I’ve done everything (in my mind) to make her happy. My skin loves Mexico, but hates New York summers; she acts out during the cold months, but also breaks out less. In a word, my skin is temperamental. It’s also very reactive to my environment, hormones, and moods. Sometimes I actually wonder if my skincare routine does anything at all.
How would you describe your skincare approach in general?
My approach is definitely more on the low-maintenance end of things—especially for a beauty editor. I largely avoid facials (my skin always freaks out after and never quite “bounces back”) and only wash my face once a day. I try to stick to five steps or fewer: cleanser (only at night), toner, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen (only in the mornings). The more minimal my routine is, the more likely I am to actually do it.
What skincare products are integral to your routine for achieving your ideal, glowing, well-moisturized complexion, and how/when do you use each of them?
I’m obsessed with butters and oils, which I credit to the way I grew up. My family’s from the South and Jamaica, so cocoa and shea butters have always been part of my skincare routine. Right now, my favorite shea butter is Buttah Skin Facial Shea Butter, which I like to slather on my skin. I credit that stuff with my “glow.” It makes me look moisturized no matter the season and my skin just drinks it up. I also love the Nyakio Marula and Neroli Brightening Oil—it was the first product I ever tested as a baby beauty intern, and I’ve been loyal ever since. I alternate between that and The Ordinary Rosehip Oil, which I use for overall brightness and even skin tone.
For cleansing, I use my faithful Cetaphil Daily Cleanser, which I’ve been using since I was like 17. My sister got into skincare before I did, so I stole hers. The rest is drugstore history. I use it literally every day and it’s never let me down. I follow that up with a toner—I’m partial to Thayers Witch Hazel toner—and swipe it on using a cotton pad.
I’m most experimental when it comes to serums, because I’m always willing to try the buzziest acids and formulations. The one serum I use faithfully, however, is Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, which is definitely a staple for me in the mornings. It smells awful and it hasn’t done heaps for my baby acne, but I feel good knowing I’m adding a layer of antioxidants between my skin and pollution.
As for exfoliators, I’m currently using GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator, and while there isn’t an “instant glow” per se, I like that it makes my skin feel clean, but not stripped. I also like to use DermaFlash every once in a while to get rid of dead skin and peach fuzz. I try not to overdo it with exfoliating because my skin has kind of always done her own thing without my interference, but I do think it has contributed to a glowier, healthy-looking complexion.
Finally, my sunscreen! I’m insanely loyal to my Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen and wear it every day. It brings me actual joy to apply and does give my skin a little extra something.
What about makeup products?
I’m not big on makeup but I do love the look of lashes, lipgloss, and a little blush. I consider myself a lipgloss connoisseur, so there are always a few different options in my rotation. My current favorites are Essence Shine Shine Gloss (it reminds me of the beauty supply faves from my childhood), Lime Crime Wet Cherry Gloss, and Tower28 Beauty ShineOn Lip Jelly. For blush, I’m a big fan of anything cranberry- or berry-colored. If I’m wearing blush, it’s probably Black Radiance—their shades are formulated specifically for deep skin tones and show up beautifully on my skin.
What’s the cheapest product you use regularly and love?
Nivea Creme. With my current baby acne situation, I’ve been giving my skin a break from oils and butters, and using the little blue tin daily. It’s an OG beauty product for me (my grandma put me onto it), and never fails to give my skin that hydrated glow. I always look supple post-application, and it has never steered me wrong.
Is there anything you try to avoid, skincare- or makeup-wise?
For the most part, I avoid foundation. My skin is almost always irritated after I use it, and it’s never worth it for me. There are a few formulations that I do like, but in general, I stay away from it.
Any next-level tips, tricks, or services that you swear by to help you look “lit from within”?
Minding my business! Just kidding, but I try to drink a lot of water (though I could always be drinking more) and add a lot of moisture to my skin. My skin likes to drink up moisture—I always look super glowy after a good sheet mask or a night of double-moisturizing—so I like to do that if I’m trying to achieve an extra glowy look.
What’s your go-to product or trick for fixing a skin disaster?
For the most part, if my skin is really going through it, I try to just leave it alone. I’ll wash it as little as I can without feeling gross, and just throw on some moisturizer. My skin has always figured itself out, so I try not to intervene too much when things go awry.
Do you do anything differently skincare-wise when you travel?
Nope! I just pack it all in tiny bottles. I try to stay consistent.
What’s something you wish your teenage-self knew about taking care of your skin?
I wish I started sunscreen earlier and also appreciated just how good teen-Tembe skin was! It was blemish-free and unproblematic and I can’t even tell you if I was doing much of anything then.
Photos provided by Tembe Denton-Hurst.