Adopting an all-natural skincare routine is easy when your skin is well-behaved. But when it's flaring up with breakouts? Maybe not so much.
That's what happened to Laura Harrier, the 30-year-old star of Spider-Man: Homecoming and BlacKkKlansman. "I didn't struggle with [acne] until late in my 20s," she told The New York Times. "That has been really annoying. It's all the travel, stress and whatever else. For a long time, I was very into super clean, natural skincare... but with all the breakout issues, I've had to amp it up. When my skin was perfect, the natural stuff was cool. But if I'm having issues, they don't do enough."
With her skin condition (and rising fame!) requiring more drastic measures, she switched to an acne-clearing routine devised by celebrity facialist Shani Darden.
Now, "I use a lot of chemicals on my face," Laura explained to Into The Gloss, "and that kind of freaks me out because I wasn't doing any of that stuff for a long time. But when my skin went crazy, I had to do more."
As you can see, it definitely paid off! In fact, Laura's skin has cleared up so well that she has recently been able to incorporate some richer products into her routine.
As a result of the pandemic, "[I realized] how much my mental health affects my skin. I noticed how my frustration with everything going on in the world really made my body ache and my face a bit dry. I need to use super hydrating products to combat dryness," she revealed to Essence.
Here's everything she swears by for dewy, radiant and blemish-free skin.
Laura’s Morning Skincare Routine
iS Clinical Cleansing Complex: "My skin LOVES this cleanser. I've been using it for years. It lathers without stripping it dry, which is a feeling I hate. My face is clean and moisturized after washing, as opposed to a tight feeling that sometimes follows cleansers."
Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed: "I love this foaming cleanser from Clarins, and I use this morning and night. I really like this cleanser because it doesn't make your skin super tight. I hate that feeling when you're all dry after you wash your face and it feels like your skin is going to crack off. This doesn't [do that]. I'm going to use a moisturizer, of course, but [my skin] still feels soft and nice right now. This cleanser is really moisturizing."
Shani Darden Cleansing Serum: "In the shower, I use a face wash from my esthetician, Shani Darden."
Isla Tone Balance Elixir: "My advice to my teenage self would be: 'Step away from that harsh toner, girl!' When I was younger, me and my girlfriends would put on the harshest of toners that were so drying. No idea why, we probably just thought that was what we were supposed to do. I started using the Isla Toner recently and really like the way it completely gets rid of any leftover dirt or grime while smoothing my complexion. No biting or peeling like past middle-school toner trauma! It's a bit citrus-smelling and very fresh, and I usually apply it with a reusable cotton pad."
Clarins Toning Lotion with Camomile: "I sometimes follow [my cleanser] with their chamomile toner depending on what mood my skin is in. That said, I'm really not much of a toner girl. I really have to listen to my skin to see what she wants that day. Some days she's chillin' and others she needs a little extra attention. For example, sometimes my skin is super dry or has too much buildup and gets a bit angsty. We all have days where our skin can be a bit difficult or challenging. Usually when that happens, toner and some extra moisturizer does the trick."
Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate: "This is by far my favourite product right now. Not sure how my skin survived before I was using it. It's a fountain of youth with an amazing smell—I cannot really describe it well, it just smells fresh, but not in a way that feels forced. Some products are over-scented, and it becomes overbearing. I like that this is is subtle but also refreshing. It has turmeric, which helps with aging signs, but I think it's the combination of all 21 plant-packed ingredients, like banana, oat, avocado, goji and kiwi, that really makes the formula incredible for my skin. I have been using it for the past 10 months, and I've noticed a huge improvement in my skin in terms of clarity and pore size. I'll never not use it."
iS Clinical Active Serum: "If I'm breaking out, I'll go for the Active Serum. I was using [Biologique Recherche Lotion] P50 for a while, and I like the Active Serum more. P50 smells like garbage. It's amazing, and I know people love it, but it's too intense! I would have kept doing the P50, though, if I didn't find the Active Serum. I feel like the Active Serum, for me, is a little better and it doesn't smell bad. It's a good replacement."
iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+: "If my skin is dry, I do the Pro-Heal."
Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream: "Probably one of the best moisturizers I've ever used. It pairs beautifully with the Double Serum and has a smell that's wonderfully sweet and floral without being overpowering. Pretty awesome way to start the day, if you ask me."
iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion: "The iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion is awesome."
5. Eye Cream
iS Clinical Eye Complex: "Another forever staple in my arsenal. I pop this guy on with my pinkies morning and night, and it keeps fine lines and dark circles at bay. A friend till the end."
6. Face Mist
Fresh Rose Floral Toner: "Rose water is a great top off that I use to lock in my whole routine. I love the smell and the dewy finish it leaves on my face. I either get it from my local health-food store or use this Fresh Floral Toner."
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreeen SPF 40: "SPF are probably the most important three letters when you live in L.A.—or just live. I'm a huge fan of this sunscreen because it's beautifully sheer and doesn't leave a gross white film or ashiness on your face like some other sunscreens tend to. I wear sunscreen EVERY DAY. I won't leave my house without it! Apply it even when you're not going anywhere, which, unfortunately, is all of us right now."
Control Corrective Oil Free Sunscreen SPF 30: "Before I head out, I do an SPF 30—the one by Control Corrective. It's really lightweight and just feels like a moisturizer. I use sunscreen every day."
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: "I love to watch the makeup artists at work. Now I can do my makeup for an event if I have to. Day to day, though, I keep it minimal. I do the NARS Concealer—my colour is Caramel."
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Liquid Concealer: "[My makeup routine] takes me three minutes. I use Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer."
RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up: "Just like myself but better is the goal."
9. Contour and Highlighter
Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate: "I have the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate palette that comes with the two colours. I throw on the highlighter for everyday and do the contour colour if I'm going out."
Glossier Haloscope: "I love being glowy and shiny. Like I'm just like a frosted donut or something like that."
Laura’s Nighttime Skincare Routine
1. Makeup Remover
Bioderma Sensibio H2O: "At night, I use the Bioderma micellar water to remove makeup. That's what I use most nights to just wipe everything off for a first round before I do my real cleansing. I'm pretty good at always taking my makeup off. I feel like when people ask me, 'What's your skincare secret?' Like, you just gotta take off your makeup, girl. You cannot be sleeping with that on. Because no matter how tired I am or how many cocktails I've had or wherever I am in the world, I always take off my makeup because when you wake up with that shit on your face it is not a good look. Number one skincare secret from me: don't get drunk and sleep in your makeup."
iS Clinical Cleansing Complex: "It's a perfect base for the rest of my products, and the fact that it also removes makeup is a bonus."
Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed: "Since it's nighttime, I'm going to use it with warm water, which I also think is better to help kind of melt down your makeup and take everything off. I just warm it up in my hands and get it all in there, and I just wet my hands, I don't wet my face. Obviously, in the morning I wash my face in the shower so I'll wet my face before that, but at night I feel like it really just helps to break everything down more. I love this 'cause it's super thick. So even if you didn't do a first wipe off of the makeup, it kind of gets rid of everything."
Shani Darden Cleansing Serum: "[At night] I wash again with Shani's cleanser."
3. Muslin Cloth
Muslin cloth: "I like to use a muslin cloth. It's really soft and light. You can get these online, at a drugstore, wherever. They're really good. I just use this to wipe off the cleanser. It just really gets rid of everything."
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel: "And then I really love the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta peel pads. I get hormonal breakouts, and it smooths everything over. But I use the sensitive-skin ones, because the other ones are really intense. I'll alternate that and Shani's retinol every other night."
Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate: "This serum, I love. I started using this probably the beginning of , and I'm hooked. It's really cool because there are two different chambers, and so these keep the ingredients separate, and then when you put it together in your hands, it mixes it. So it's super potent and it's really activating as soon as you're putting it on your skin. I warm it in my hands and then you really don't want to rub it in because that can pull on your skin and make you wrinkly and not what we're going for. So I do this rolling motion up, and what this is going to do is help simulate lymphatic drainage, which is going to make you less puffy. This serum is made of pretty much all natural ingredients. It has goji berry and kiwis and all of these delicious things that you want to eat and you also want to put on your face."
iS Clinical Active Serum: "At night... I alternate between the Active Serum and retinol every other day."
Shani Darden Retinol Reform: "And then I use her retinol. I'm not using the retinol for wrinkles, but it helps a lot with my acne scarring. And my skin feels smoother."
Shani Darden Texture Reform: "I use her Texture Reform, as well as her cleanser."
Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream Normal to Combination Skin: "After that, I use my night cream. I really don't like using too heavy of a night cream because I always feel like it clogs my pores or I'm going to get breakouts. So this is really moisturizing and nice without feeling super heavy. I also do that dabbing-in motion; I really don't want to aggressively rub my face. It smells really good and you wake up really well-rested."
Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer: "Then I'll either use a Tata Harper moisturizer...."
Epicuren Brazilian Propolis Lotion: "Or this new one I just got by Epicuren, which is... something made out of bees."
7. Eye Creams
iS Clinical Eye Complex: "Then it's eye cream, always. No matter how tired I am, I never forget eye cream."
Clarins Multi-Active Eye: "It's really cool because it has this little applicator. So first I do it on my fingers to rub it in.... I start from the inside corners and work my way out and just do little dabs going outward. What I love about this is it has this cool metal ball tip thing, and I use that to swipe out because it's cold and I feel like it's de-puffing and it feels awesome and it really relaxes you."
8. Face Mist
Sacred Rose Water Body Mist & Aromatherapy: "I like to finish with a little rose water 'cause it's nice and it smells good. This is just this rose water that I buy at this health food store by my house and it smells amazing and it's just roses, I think—just natural."
9. Lip Balm
Boiron Homeoplasmine: "The OG lip balm. I can't remember how I discovered it, but it's a gem, and when you know about, it you know about it. Everyone who uses this knows it's magic in a tube. Cannot recommend enough."
Laura’s Skincare Treatments
Shani Darden: "I see Shani Darden in L.A. for my skin. Shani is my OG facialist and has taught me so much about skincare—I love her classic facial. She works with my skin and knows what it loves and, more importantly, what it doesn't. When I moved to L.A. from New York... I didn't know anyone. The girl who does my eyebrows, Kim Nguyen, told me about Shani, and she kind of saved my face. I like that she's straight up and tells you exactly what you need to do. For me, it's dealing with breakouts. I text Shani pictures of my zits all the time, like 'Help meee!'"
NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device: "[The last beauty item I bought myself was] a NuFace Facial Toning Device, which uses microcurrents to improve the look of your skin."
OSEA Gua Sha Sculptor: "I get a little lazy with it, but I have this tool that's made out of jade. I love it because it really helps to drain your face. We were talking about lymphatic drainage earlier and that's something I've learned a lot about recently, just what a difference it makes when you're really paying attention to that and trying to drain all this fluid out of your face. I'm somebody who gets really puffy if I'm not sleeping or if I'm stressed or if I'm not eating well or really taking care of myself. I see such a difference. This thing, I just run over my whole face... and just always going up and out. It makes you kind of snatched, like you just had a facial and everything's pulled back a little bit."
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask: "This is the mask that I reach for the most. I travel a lot, and, unfortunately, my skin sometimes reflects that. This stuff works like a dream. It completely reversed my skin from dehydrated and worn out to glowing and happy. I'm a forever fan. A friend recommended it a few years ago, and I think I'm on my third tube. I usually apply it after a long day on set or when I'm back from vacation—it saves my skin from harsh sun rays and airplane air."
Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream Mask: "The Sisley Black Rose Mask does wonders and doesn't look like you have anything on. I like to make it into a ritual: I step out of the shower and apply my face mask, lie down, and check in with Laura."
Clarins SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask: "Another thing I'll also always do is a cream mask on the plane. I take a makeup wipe and clean my whole face, then apply a clear mask instead of a sheet one so I don't look crazy to the people around me! Right now I'm loving Clarins SOS Hydra mask. It feels so good and really brings my skin back to life. Then I'll spray a rose water on top. Although we're not travelling much these days, I will be sure do that when work starts back up again."
Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque: "I always have my Aesop blemish mask."
Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask: "Manuka honey is amazing for your skin; it has natural antibacterial properties. I usually use this mask when I'm breaking out, and it clears it right up. It has saved the day on more than one occasion."
Manuka honey: "Manuka honey makes a really awesome mask. It's antibacterial, so if I'm breaking out I'll put on a Manuka honey face mask and get in the bath. It drips everywhere—you don't want to do that when you're sitting on the couch."
"I also dunk my face in a big bowl of ice water first thing in the morning before events. I leave my face in the bowl for as long as I can stand it and my skin feels instantly more awake. It's like a big cup of coffee, but for my skin!"
Laura’s Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle
"For me, diet is about moderation. I work out, but I love cheese, pasta and wine."
Dogpound and SoulCycle: "In New York, I would go to the Dogpound. In L.A., I go to SoulCycle and barre class and hot yoga, but I bounce around. Also, I've been travelling so much that it's hard to keep anything together. I downloaded the Nike app to work out while I travel, and I think I did it once."
"I do the infrared sauna. I feel it helps."
"I get massages, but I don't have one particular person I go to. [My last beauty treatment was] a massage/exfoliation at a Korean spa in L.A. Your skin comes off like a snake—it's disgusting! But you're left so smooth."
"It's all so connected. If I do my yoga and drink tons of water and center myself with friends and family, then I notice my body tends to calm down. Sometimes—not always—my skin will fall in step."
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