My Daily, Less-Than-5-Minute, Quarantine Skincare Routine

My Daily, Less-Than-5-Minute, Quarantine Skincare Routine

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Photo: Danielle Belton

It’s Big Beauty Tuesday here at The Glow Up, and in lieu of our regularly scheduled programming, there’s a glow I felt deserved special attention this week: the glowing skin of The Root’s Editor-in-Face-Chief, Danielle Belton. In fact, Danielle’s skin is so lit-from-within, it recently inspired comedian, actress and author Michelle Buteau to pause mid-interview to compliment it (more on that to come)—but as my partner-in-hosting at The Root Presents: It’s Lit! later disclosed, her flawless face is the result of a skincare routine perfected during the quarantine. Of course, I had to know more—and thought you might want to know, too. So, without further ado, here’s Danielle’s 5-step routine for flawless skin. (I suggest you take notes.)

A little can go a long way.

That was the lesson the pandemic and quarantine time taught me. Twenty minutes of walking and working out can keep your feet from swelling up to balloons from sitting obscene amounts of time while working from home. Setting a timer to just get up and walk around, stretch or stand every hour on the hour also helps. Going to bed an hour earlier can turn you into a morning person over time. And just developing a skincare routine—any kind of proper care routine that fits your skin type—can turn your usually fine, but kind of dull skin, into illuminating, Jennifer Lopez levels of shiny and fantastic.

First things first: Pre-pandemic I wore makeup quite a bit because my skin was uneven in tone. I wanted a more uniform look and I could only achieve it with some kind of liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer. The end result was a great “no-makeup” all-makeup look that was simple and lovely, but the illusion devolved into a greasy reality after a few hours of wear.

Facts: my face is so greasy you could probably fry chicken with it. This is actually a good thing, as it keeps my wrinkles at bay and my skin youthful, but I still get acne on occasion and tinted moisturizer can at times turn into a messy, gross, bronze-colored oil slick. It’s greasy in the T-zone. It’s greasy on the cheeks. It’s greasy everywhere. I don’t like it, but I hate wrinkles more, so I accept it as my skincare burden, meaning I have to always have tissues or blotting papers on hand and makeup is futile in the summer months.

So I needed a routine that could reduce the oil without stripping me dry. One that kept my skin clear and my pores relatively unclogged. What I developed was simple, (because I’m impatient and lazy) creating a system utilizing one daily exfoliating cleanser, one moisturizer, one skin brightener to deal with my uneven spots and acne scars, and, finally, one eye cream to help me wake up these peepers.

First, the cleanser!

Editor-in-Chief of The Root. Nerd. AKA "The Black Snob."

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ExfoliKate by Kate Sommerville ($38)

ExfoliKate by Kate Sommerville ($38)

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Photo: Danielle Belton

I discovered Exfolikate Cleanser by Kate Sommerville in a Sephora over a year and a half ago but didn’t start using it regularly until the pandemic hit after March. The price point is kind of annoying-to-borderline-offensive as far as daily cleansers go—typically $38 per 4 oz bottle, although sometimes you can find it on sale. I stocked up on a bunch for $19 during a Sephora sale last year. It, by far, is the best exfoliating cleanser I’ve used—and it doesn’t have those annoying little beads in it that are bad for the environment and always get in my eyes! Even though the clerk at Sephora told me to use it about once a week, she didn’t know my life, so I use it every day, notably as the bottle recommends. Over time, my skin has become smoother and clearer, and I definitely attribute part of that success to this cleanser. But like all face washes, it does initially dry me out a little, which leads us to the moisturizer.

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Tatcha: The Water Cream ($68)

Tatcha: The Water Cream ($68)

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Photo: Danielle Belton

This Japanese oil-free, pore-minimizing moisturizer is the first moisturizer I’ve used in years that actually makes my skin not break out. It’s not excessively oily, makes it baby smooth soft, and is light and feels just like water as you rub it in over your freshly washed face. For years, I used to use an oil-free Estee Lauder moisturizer which cost about the same but never gave me this result. It gives my skin a nice glow without the grease and works well with the vegan face brightener I use next.

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Kiss Red E Dark Spot Corrector ($19)

Kiss Red E Dark Spot Corrector ($19)

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Photo: Danielle Belton

I used to use this spot corrector daily over my acne scars and areas of hyperpigmentation. Now, I only use it underneath my chin on the dark spots left behind after I get an annoying, stray, wiry, ingrown hair—which, alas, thanks to being over 40, happens all the time. No matter how much I pluck them out, one always returns, usually in the same place, creating a dark spot. I discovered Kiss Red E’s cream during a routine search on Amazon for highly rated fade creams and started using it two or three years ago. It takes a couple of months to work on me and may not work as well on someone with skin darker than my own. And it doesn’t hurt to use it in conjunction with Peace Out Dark Spots ($28), a micro-needling dot sold by Sephora. Sometimes that will hurry up the fading a bit.

This leads us finally to the eye cream—which is a real eye-opener.

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Kiehl’s Eye Fuel ($24)

Kiehl’s Eye Fuel ($24)

Illustration for article titled My Daily, Less-Than-5-Minute, Quarantine Skincare Routine
Photo: Danielle Belton

I was zero days old when I realized this eye cream was actually made for men (apparently). I still use it anyway because it reduces puffiness and has caffeine and vitamin B3 in it, making my eyes more awake and alert when all I want to do is go back to sleep. I don’t know why this is “for men” other than it’s in a “manly” blue bottle, and this seems like another case of the unnecessary gendering of shit both men and women use to trick men into taking better care of their skin without having gender panic over it. Why you’d have gender panic over de-puffing eye cream, I don’t know, but I’m not a man.

Along with drinking a ton of water every day, taking my gummy vitamins, the end result of all this for the past eight months has been this—other than a fondness for mascara and eyeliner, I don’t really need foundation (or much foundation) to complete a going-out look (although due to the pandemic, all my going-out looks are staying-in-on-Zoom-calls looks).

Check out the results in the following slides!

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No Makeup, No Mascara or Eyeliner

No Makeup, No Mascara or Eyeliner

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Photo: Danielle Belton
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No Makeup, but with Mascara and Eyeliner

No Makeup, but with Mascara and Eyeliner

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Photo: Danielle Belton

I’m wearing Milk Studios Kush lash primer and Lila lengthening mascara, color: black, and eyeliner, Sephora waterproof retractable eyeliner/color: black…oh, and some lip gloss by Charlotte Tilbury, color: Pillow Talk. I also filled in my eyebrows with Pixi by Petra LashLift 188 double mascara, color: Beyond Black.

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With Mascara, Eyeliner and Some Light Powder Foundation

With Mascara, Eyeliner and Some Light Powder Foundation

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Photo: Danielle Belton

I’m wearing Fenty Pro-Filt’r powder foundation, color: 360, Estee Lauder blush from 10,000 years ago, color: Rebel Rose, and highlighter (Fenty Killawatt/colors: Afternoon Snack and Mo’ Hunny).

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Editor-in-Chief of The Root. Nerd. AKA "The Black Snob."

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