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 Jamie Stelter, traffic anchor and co-host of “Mornings On 1.”
How would you describe your skin?
Always sensitive and spoiled, sometimes rude and hormonal, lucky to have professional makeup applied five mornings a week. We have a complicated relationship, my skin and I, because I often feel like I throw so much time, energy, and money at it and it doesn’t appreciate it? When I was pregnant with Sunny (my now-2.5-year-old daughter) my skin started to change–a little more redness, oil, and acne, but nothing too crazy–then after I gave birth, it completely freaked out. My cheeks and jawline were covered in painful, cystic acne. It was red and inflamed but because I was partly in denial about how bad it was, partly sleep-deprived, and too busy caring for a newborn to make dermatologist or facial appointments (or do anything productive for myself!), I made a lot of emotional purchases and (bad) decisions in an attempt to fix it. I finally stopped breastfeeding when she was three months old and went on birth control and spironolactone, but I was playing catchup for months afterward.
I was terrified that the same thing would happen when I gave birth to Story (my almost-6-month-old son) and it did. Lucky me! This is how my body handles pregnancy and childbirth! But because I was prepared and ready to stop breastfeeding anyway, I acted fast and was able to nip a lot of it in the bud. I again went on birth control and spironolactone (at the 6-week mark this time) and enlisted the help of Melissa at Central Park South Dermatology for cortisone shots and lasers, and Christine Chin (“Mean Christine”) for facials. More on both of these hero women later. So it’s been a long few years. We’ve come a long way. I’m trying to be more patient and understanding with myself when it comes to everything postpartum, but that’s easier said than done.
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How would you describe your skincare approach in general?
Ridiculously high maintenance, but your face is the first thing everyone sees, I work on television for a living, and hi Instagram (!), so I fully stand behind every step. I’m a product junkie and will try anything beauty/skincare-related once. It’s fun! All the lotions and potions and masks and treatments. The stronger the better. If it burns it must be working! Dermatologists reading this are cringing I’m sure, but I can’t get enough. And while my approach and products have evolved quite a bit, I’m in a steady, loving relationship with my current rotation.
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?
I wake up at 2:40 a.m., take a nap around noon, and go to bed around 8 p.m., but my hours don’t really affect my skincare routine. Sometimes I factor in an extra application of a favorite or necessary product, but otherwise my routine looks like this:
I wake up and wash my face in the shower with Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser. It’s gentle and juicy and cheap. Why spend a lot on this step? It doesn’t stay on your face. I’m a new toner user since starting to see Christine Chin who famously says, “not using a toner is like brushing your teeth without toothpaste.” She first had me use her oil balancing astringent, then once my skin cleared up a bit she switched me to her Cell Gold Toner. It’s light and moisturizing and I’m not entirely clear on what it does but she has completely changed my skin, so I just do whatever she tells me. I also love that even though her facials are expensive (but worth it!), her products are not. Is there anything worse than checking out after a facial, wanting to buy the products they recommend, and basically paying for a second facial?
Next I use her three-step LBF System–two parts in the morning, two parts at night. This is the all-star of my whole routine. It has completely changed the texture of my skin. When she first told me about it, she had me feel her forearm, which felt like my baby Story’s tush. It was the softest arm I had ever felt. She told me she puts it all over her body, so, SOLD. I also have Skinceuticals CF Gel, which I’ll use one or two mornings a week instead of her system, in part to mix it up, in part because I don’t like to waste expensive product and I bought this before I started seeing her. Then I use her perfect hydrating creme in the “peaks and valleys” as she calls them. Basically around my eyes and T-zone. It’s a great normal-weight moisturizer. Finally, sunscreen! Every single day of the year. All over my face. Elta MD is good for acne-prone skin.
If I don’t have an event or something later that day/evening, then as soon as I get home from work, I take all of my makeup off. I use Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, which I’ve been using for years. I have tried countless makeup removers and this is the best. I rub it all over my dry, made-up face until it liquefies, then I wet a muslin cloth (a more gentle washcloth) and use that to wipe away the makeup. Then I wash my face with COSRX low ph good morning gel cleanser because I like a sudsy step to make me feel squeaky clean. I used to use a lot of other COSRX products and they’re all excellent. If there is still any residue on my neck or elsewhere, I’ll wipe a cotton pad with Bioderma Micellar Water on those spots. TV makeup can be no joke. Next is Christine’s Cell Gold Toner followed by the second two parts of the LBF System that I first used in the morning.
Before bed, depending on how my skin is that day, I’ll either use Christine’s Retinol Smoothing Fluid or one of my many heavy-duty moisturizers. I like Weleda Skin Food or May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon which is expensive but maybe the most luxurious-feeling product in my whole repertoire. I should most definitely use an eye cream but have never found one that feels worth the price and/or feels different than one of these moisturizers.
What about makeup products?
My routine and look are completely different during the week vs. weekend. I have full face makeup and fake lashes on five days a week–and I have to shout out Chelsea, my makeup artist at NY1, who has seen and heard it all about my skincare routine. She has laughed at so many of my wild treatment ideas and crazy product purchases that we talk about at 3:30 a.m. in the morning, but also so efficiently and beautifully covered so many problem spots of mine over the years. So I try as best as I can to use as little makeup as possible on the weekends. My face needs a break! I’d love to get to a place where I don’t need any makeup on the weekends, but my cheeks are still a bit red and discolored, so I’m in the market for a great tinted moisturizer–send me your recs!–and in the meantime I use the foundation we use for TV: IT Cosmetics CC Cream. I just use a dot of it, mostly on my cheeks, then I fill in with Clé de Peau concealer and dab a wet beauty blender all over to make it dewy-looking. A little bronzer, a little mascara, and I’m done. With two kids, the weekend get-ready routine has to be lightning fast.
What’s the cheapest product you use regularly and love?
My makeup artist Chelsea got me (and our whole morning team at NY1) hooked on Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream. She stocks it in our makeup room and everyone who knows is always grabbing for it. It’s the best. Super moisturizing with zero residue. I buy it in three packs and keep one in my bathroom, one in my work bag, and one by my bed.
Is there anything you try to avoid, skincare- or makeup-wise?
Buying whatever product everyone is talking about and hyping on Instagram. Buying whatever products some glow-y celebrity is using. It’s so hard, especially when you’re a sucker like me. But since coming back from my mad cow disease (that’s what I call my postpartum acne because that’s what I felt like in the weeks after giving birth), I try to avoid those kinds of purchases. Even something like Biologique Recherche P50 that everyone evangelizes just isn’t for me. It’s way too harsh. But I still have it in my bathroom vanity because I got sucked in. Now I actually have my husband, Brian, use it on my back because that skin got messed up post-baby, too. Romantic, huh?
Any next-level tips, tricks, or services that you swear by to help you look “lit from within”?
I do believe that my skin (and everything) look better when I eat clean and drink a lot of water and get the right amount of sleep, so I’m pretty regimented about my health, especially during the work week. I take probiotics and put collagen powder in my smoothie and does any of this stuff help anything? Who knows, but I power on. I workout four or five days a week and get regular facials–I now see Christine every 2 months and it’s made a big difference. Don’t wait until you have a problem to check in and get cleaned out.
What’s your go-to product or trick for fixing a skin disaster?
Depends on the disaster! I used to throw the strongest stuff I had at every problem. But Christine has taught me about using products only where I need them. And respecting the strong stuff! I would normally GLOB things on like a maniac. Now for a pimple I’ll use her herbal blemish gel or one of these pimple patches. Both are miracle workers.
If we’re talking DEFCON 5, call in the big guns and go get a cortisone shot… or whatever the doctor recommends. I cannot overstate the importance of finding a great dermatologist who knows their stuff, who will field your email or text questions at all hours, and squeeze you in for an emergency appointment. It took me a long time to find Melissa at my dermatologist office but it was worth the wait. She gives it to me straight–how bad something really is, the best treatment, how long it’ll take to heal–and with zero judgment. When I went to her in August after Story was born she told me straight up–this is bad infected acne, this will take time–but then she guided me through months of getting my skin back to health. I did two IPL sessions with her this fall and am going back for my third next month.
Do you do anything differently skincare-wise when you travel?
Yes, I go super bare bones and use whatever the hotel has on the bathroom sink and don’t wear any makeup. LOL. I have two dopp kits–one for skincare, one for makeup–and stick to my normal crazy routine and just add a big bottle of sunscreen for my body. We’re traveling somewhere warm and beach-y, right?
What’s something you wish your teenage self knew about taking care of your skin?
I’m not sure. I just wish I could teleport back in time and hand myself a slip of paper with Melissa and Christine’s contact information highlighted in bright yellow.
Photos provided by Jamie Stelter.