Beauty & Wellness

You Look Moist: Man Repeller’s Creative Director on the “Obvious” Thing That Changed Her Skin

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 Tiffany Wilkinson, Man Repeller’s Creative Director.

How would you describe your skin?

When I was trying to take a selfie to accompany this feature, I was half-jokingly thinking of asking to rename the franchise “You Look Tired.” I’m 36, and while I recognize this is not “old,” I definitely don’t feel as fresh-faced as I used to. No giggling, Glossier-esqe model here. Just a normal, adult, New York-dwelling woman in the last stretch of winter trying not to look dehydrated.  

How would you describe your skincare approach in general?

When I was younger I was proud of my low-maintenance status. It felt cool to be too busy going out and having fun to have an elaborate skincare routine. I know this sounds disgusting, but I hated washing my face at night, so most of the time I wouldn’t do it. 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more high-maintenance. I was starting to feel self-conscious about the fine lines on my forehead and I was considering getting Botox. My friend Zeyna (who has incredible skin) said, “don’t get Botox, just get a facial.” Once I’d spent the money on a facial and 30+ years worth of gunk had been extracted from my face, it seemed crazy to go back to the dirty-faced ways of my youth. 

I decided to establish a really decadent evening routine so I’d look forward to washing my face at night. It sounds so obvious now, but this simple act TOTALLY changed my skin, and the adult acne I’d struggled with through my 20s and early 30s disappeared.

Which skin care products are integral to your routine for achieving your ideal, glowing, well-moisturized complexion, and how/when do you use each of them? 

Here’s my routine: 

EveningI start with Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser, (okay, I know this is really expensive for something you wash off. But it smells so good, and the aromatherapy effect really encourages me to use it, even if I’ve just woken up on the sofa after sleeping through the last half of Succession.) 

That goes onto a dry face, then I use an Eve Lom Cloth or a Muji Flannel soaked in warm water to take it all off. Afterwards I do a spray of Grown Alchemist Detox Toner–or, even posher–a glug of Amore Pacific Essence. The last step is Linda Rodin’s Olio Lusso, which I started using because I liked the packaging and I thought Linda Rodin was cool. I stuck with it because it smells good, feels nice on my face, and I wake up well-moisturized. She makes a nice Lavender version, too, which is great if you need some extra help sleeping at night. I keep this clear Kosas Lipbalm on my nightstand, which has hyaluronic acid and tastes minty–the perfect accompaniment to freshly brushed teeth. 

MorningMy morning routine is much more utilitarian. I listen to The Daily in the shower and Michael Barbaro tells me what’s going on in the world while I get clean. I use Cetaphil to wash my face and bar soap for my body. I have a stash from Marfa Brand, they are all so good but my favorite is the Campfire Soap with Lapsang Souchong

My mother drilled into me from an early age that to be ashy was a fate worse than death, so post-shower I do an intense body moisturizing session. I’ll either use True Botanicals Body Oil on wet skin straight out of the shower, or depending on how dried-out I’m feeling, I’ll use Weleda Sea Buckthorn Fluid or Weleda Skin Food Body Butter. I like that they are natural options (no petroleum) but not super expensive. In the dead of winter, if I’m feeling really extra, I’ll use the Hyaluronic Acid from the Ordinary under my lotion. It’s especially good on my shins which after four months of being suffocated in tights can get a little dry (and, dare I say it—”scaley”).

On my face I’ll use the same Hyaluronic Acid, then either Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream, which I copied from Harling. Or this Susanne Kaufmann one which is all-natural and super thick. Then a blob of SPF

What about makeup products? 

The basic makeup products in my rotation are RMS Uncover Up, Hourglass Volumizing Brow Gel, Kevin Aucoin’s Mascara

Then, I have a million different cream blushes on rotation; Jillian Dempsey Check Tint in Sunny (Most natural/invisible, looks like you but healthier.) Olio E Osso Balm in Tea Rose (works on lips and cheeks and is especially good if you don’t have anything else on–I’ll put on before I go work out because it has a sporty vibe.) Or Kjaer Weis (sexiest bond girl packaging, good to keep in your bag for touch-ups.) 

If I’m going out in the evening and want to feel like I’ve made a bit of an effort, I’ll do some smudgy brown kohl, a liquid eyeliner flick, or a red lip. This Kosas red is a flattering ’90s-ish brick color. 

What’s the cheapest product you use regularly and love?

Sleep, water, and this natural deodorant. I’ve tested a lot of different types in the quest for the perfect natural deodorant. This one works the best, has cute ’70s packaging and is also the cheapest ($3!). My boyfriend started using it, too, so now we bulk buy it on Amazon

Is there anything you try to avoid, skincare- or makeup-wise?

There was a period where I was really overdoing it with the exfoliation. P50, Retinol, Lactic Acid–you name it, I was exfoliating with it. Every article I read was lauding these really active products, so I kept buying them and my skin got really sensitive and bumpy. My facialist told me to cool it and just use Hyaluronic Acid. Now I only exfoliate once a week, normally with this Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, which really feels like it gets in there and sets me up for the week ahead. 

Any next-level tips, tricks, or services that you swear by to help you look “lit from within”?

I started taking the Prebiotic Probiotic from The Nue Co (#MRPartner) about a year ago. I was traveling a lot and wanted a probiotic that didn’t need to be kept in the fridge to help with the digestive issues I was having from all the flying. This one did the trick, and the difference it made to my skin was a happy side effect. I recently started taking their Skin Hydrator too, which is collagen plus hyaluronic acid. Since I’m already in the habit of applying hyaluronic acid topically to my face and legs, I like the idea that this product gives me an extra dose on the inside, too.

Then every other month I’ll get a facial. I alternate between Rescue Spa for an indulgent, self-care moment with fruit water, relaxing spa vibes and a nice shop with a well-curated product selection that’s fun to browse even if you aren’t getting a treatment. Then for a more utilitarian, “tough love” kind of facial I go to Haven Spa, around the corner from the MR Office. I see Mariola for the Boot Camp™ Facial, which is exactly what it sounds like—lots of extractions, lots of pressure on your face. A week afterward, my skin looks really clear and I can basically stop wearing makeup. 

What’s your go-to product or trick for fixing a skin disaster?

For spots and pimples, I like Sunday Riley’s Saturn Mask. It will nuke a zit overnight, but buyer beware: Use it really sparingly, as a spot treatment only (not full face), because it’s strong! 

As a trick for looking fresher without makeup, I use KNC Lip Masks. I noticed I lost a little volume in my lips as I got older. These masks temporarily plump them back up, which has an overall pick-me-up effect, especially in the winter when everything can get a little dried out. 

Do you do anything differently skincare-wise when you travel?

Pre-flight I always test out the most expensive moisturizer I can find when I go through the duty-free shop. On the plane I put a little oil inside my nose using my pinkie finger to stop it from drying out in the recycled air.  

Once I’m away, I’m normally a weird combination of being extra diligent about some things (applying sunscreen religiously), and a little sloppy about other things because I’m often missing some products due to packing in a rush. But I love an excuse to visit pharmacies in foreign countries, so in that sense it’s kind of nice to forget things. 

What’s something you wish your teenage self knew about taking care of your skin?

Wash your face and don’t waste your time feeling insecure about your looks.

Harling Ross

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

More from Beauty & Wellness