You Look Moist: The Secrets of a Trader Joe’s Beauty Aisle Addict

you look moist man repeller

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 Siraad Dirshe, Social Content Manager at Flamingo.

How would you describe your skin?

I would say my skin is pretty great—actually really great! At the moment, I’ve reached optimal dewiness, it’s clear, and my complexion is the deep brown just-got-back-from vacation-shade I love. That being said, I do put quite a bit of effort into my skin and have since I was about 16 (I was a super early adopter of sunscreen and retinol).

It’s easy to disconnect your skin from your overall health, but skin is our body’s largest organ. That’s why my skincare routine includes being conscious of what I eat, working up a good sweat a few times a week, swimming in the ocean weekly, and drinking at least a gallon of water a day. Oh, and I sleep a ton—anywhere from seven to 10 hours a night. I used to be obsessed with trying the latest products (and still am) but have switched my skincare routine to be more focused on total body care.

How would you describe your skincare approach in general?

I am proudly high-maintenance when it comes to my skincare routine! While I’ve pared down quite a bit (I used to be a beauty editor and it was literally my job to test products), I still do at least 5-6 steps in the AM and PM, and then do masks several times a week. But I’m also very aware of all the things that impact how my skin looks and feels that I can’t buy in a bottle. At the end of the day, I really believe those are what will have a longer impact on my skin; the products are just nice, fun add-ons.

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

This is a really hard one because I love so many products, but because my skin is currently in a really great place, my must-have products are the ones I’ve been using for the past two months or so. Here they are in order of application…

1. Then I Met You oil cleanser (it’s a part of this set: I’ll use this mainly at night to take away the day’s dirt and grime, but if I work out in the morning I’ll also start with this product. Not only is it the happiest-looking beauty product I own, but the texture also helps remove anything that’s on your face.

2. Ko Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water: Ko Gen Do is one of my favorite makeup brands! It’s Japanese and everything they make is great. They don’t have many skincare products, but this cleansing water is a favorite. I love that it has a pump top so I can easily use a cotton round to cleanse my face after the oil cleanser.

3. Dior Capture Youth Water: This is essentially a toner. I pour the smallest amount into the palm of my left hand (it’s expensive and I gotta conserve it!), then gently press it into my skin.

4. Hyper Clear Brightening Vitamin C Serum: A good friend of mine, Desiree Verdejo, is launching a skincare brand next month. She gave me a sample of the vitamin C product to test, and oh my goodness has it completely changed my skin. I apply it while my skin is still damp from the youth water. I literally just texted her to tell her that I’m on my last drop and trying to make it last until the product launches.

5. Trader Joe’s Vitamin E Oil: I’ve been a huge fan of Trader Joe’s beauty aisle for years but have only used the vitamin E oil on my body. However a few months ago I started using it on my face and feel like I’m GLOWING. A few drops go a really long way and give me the perfect, dewy, slick look I love. The best part is that it’s literally $4 and lasts for so long. Hands down a favorite!

6. Morning only: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen: I always use sunscreen during the day–no matter the season. Not only do I want to make sure I’m protecting the huge investment I make with my skincare routine, but using things like vitamin C and chemical exfoliants can also make skin photosensitive, so it’s extremely important to protect it.

7. Evening only: Hanahana Shea Butter: Most nights I’ll stop after the vitamin E oil, but if I’m feeling a bit dry I’ll slather on a small amount of shea butter. My friend Abena has an amazing line that gives the prettiest sheen and makes me look super moist.

Honorable mentions:

1. LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask: I apply this like my life depends on it. While it’s called a sleep mask, I use it at any and all points of the day.

2. Drunk Elephant Baby Facial: Literally a game-changing product. It’s super intense but I’m also a freak who likes my skincare products to sometimes burn a bit (don’t judge me!). I use this 1-2 times per week in the evening so I can wake up looking very glowy.

What about makeup products?

Oh, I love makeup! There’s this weird misconception that folx are either #teamskincare or #teammakeup, but I think you can certainly be both. While I haven’t been experimenting as of late (mainly because it’s been a gazillion degrees in NYC), I love glitter on the eyes (Urban Decay has a great one), liquid white liner from Dior, or even cobalt blue liner like this one from Make Up For Ever for a nice pop. Lately, I’ve been keeping it pretty simple: lots of mascara (MILK’s Kush is my favorite at the moment), blush (Glossier’s Cloud Paint in haze is my go-to), and lip gloss. 

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

I’ve got two, and they come from the land of perfect snacks: Trader Joe’s. The aforementioned Vitamin E oil is amazing. Seriously can’t rave about it enough. The second product is the Trader Joe’s sheet mask. They are the perfect amount of moist, they fit my face perfectly, and stay in place while I let the product sink in. They’re only $2, so you can stock up on them and use them a few times per week without breaking the bank. 

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

Honestly, no! I truly love makeup and skincare so much that I’m pretty much willing to try anything. I’m also fortunate to have really tough skin, so I can try things without risking a breakout.

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

Water, water, water! A few years ago I remember reading that Kelly Rowland (my skin inspiration) and Gabrielle Union both drink a gallon of water a day, so I decided then and there that I would follow in their hydrated footsteps. I’ve watched and read all these stories about how skin looks after just 30 days of drinking a gallon a day (please Google it!) and it’s honestly wild. 

I’d also say trying to avoid dairy and processed sugar when possible is a (tough!) go-to trick for me. I used to be a candy fanatic, but once I cut back on that and dairy, I saw an improvement in the glowy-ness and texture of my skin. 

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

Because my skincare routine is fairly pared-down, my usual 5-step skincare routine remains my go-to even on trips (all the products can fit into one pouch). But I’ll definitely mask more often while I travel since I have more time. I’ll bring tons of sheet masks (this one and this one are constant companions) and exfoliating masks (I love this one for clarifying and this one for adding moisture), and I’ll do one every day while I’m away–even on the plane. 

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

Honestly, I was the weirdo in high school using Garnier anti-aging products at 16 and Clinique’s moisturizer. So on the product front, I was ahead of my time. But I probably would tell myself to chill out on all the sugar I was eating, and maybe to drink more water.

Photos provided by Siraad Dirshe.

Harling Ross

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

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