One of my greatest joys in life is getting the tea. Not just gossip—I love it when I can get a makeup expert to divulge their tips for a makeup novice or when beauty founders tell me the one beauty trick they would share with a friend. For me, there’s nothing greater than being able to explore fashion and beauty through the purview of someone else. There’s always something you can take away and apply to your own life, especially when it comes to your skincare routine.

Our skin is ever-evolving throughout our lives, and sometimes we just need someone to tell us which products are actually worth trying. So in that vein, we reached out to 14 beauty founders to share the best skincare products according to their experiences as founders, experts, and skincare aficionados. Whether you’re just now adopting a routine or live and die by your skincare regimen but are looking to solve specific issues, there’s something ahead for you.

Lauren Jin, Founder of Cle Cosmetics

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Cle Cosmetics?

I founded Cle Cosmetics with the concept of beauty as a more ritualistic nature and its perceptions to be subjective and adaptable. I wanted to create something that resonated with the modern womxn, that spoke to the truth that there is no one way to feel beautiful and no right way to get there. Our skincare and makeup are curated, sourced, and centered on the latest Korean beauty technology, but as individual products embrace a distinctly minimalistic approach both in their packaging and simple effectiveness.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

I have combination skin. So I have to make sure to balance deep moisture/hydration while not keeping it heavy or else I would break out. My trick is to portion-control. Too much of anything is not great. I apply thin layers of my products, and if I feel that I need to reapply, then I can always reapply. It is much better than putting on a lot of one product and/or products on my face and risk burdening my skin.

Cle Cosmetics Lifting Mist ($21)

What products do you swear by?

Our mist/toner is my skin savior, any time my skin feels dehydrated or dull, I use it.

CeraVe Soothing Body Wash ($16)

For most of the year, my skin tends to be acne-prone, and so this bodywash from CeraVe always helps prevent any breakouts and keeps my skin healthy and balanced from the exfoliation. I’m also all about reinforcing my skin’s barrier and health, so I apply tamanu oil at night and help with skin regeneration, keeping my skin strong.

Pura D’or Tamanu Oil ($15)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

After testing various types of products and different ingredients, I always avoid products that contain phthalates, but this ingredient can also be grouped into fragrance. Any products I use most definitely cannot have either on their ingredient list.

Gwen Jimmere, CEO & Founder of Naturalicious

For those who don’t know about Naturalicious, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded your company?

I started Naturalicious in my kitchen with $32 in the bank. I was a newly single mother to my then-2-year-old son, recently divorced from an emotionally and physically abusive marriage. At the time, I was having an extremely hard time finding haircare products that worked great for my coily hair which were also vegan and didn’t force me to spend hours managing my hair. I couldn’t find a solution to my problem, so I created the first patented system that makes it effortless, giving our customers better hair in half the time. Receiving the patent for my product made me the first Black woman in history to own a patent for a natural haircare product.

While your company is based in haircare, why is skincare also important to you?

Self-care overall is paramount in my life, and being intentional about taking care of my skin is part of that. In addition to my at-home regimen, I get biweekly facials from my esthetician, who is a genius in treating darker skin tones. Beauty, to me, is not about vanity. Rather, it’s a foundational element for how you show up in the world. When you feel great about how you look, you stand a little bit taller, you have more swag in your sway, you take less crap from people, and your confidence soars. Caring for my skin, along with my hair and body, is a reminder to myself that I am the standard of beauty. My life’s mission is to empower every woman to know that she is the standard of beauty also.

Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder ($39)

What products do you swear by?

I’m a fan of Philosophy Turbo Booster’s C Powder. It’s basically powdered vitamin C that fights free radical attack, a primary cause of premature aging.

Cleanse by Lauren Napier Hightail Facial Cleansing Wipes in Neutral ($20)

I also swear by Cleanse by Lauren Napier Makeup Wipes. They are the only makeup wipes that don’t leave my skin feeling stripped, and they have amazing plant-based ingredients that I feel good about.

Naturalicious Moroccan Rhassoul 5-In-1 Clay Treatment ($36)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

I avoid mineral oil like the plague. It is a moisture inhibitor, and it dries my skin out. It can also cause premature lines and wrinkles because it’s so drying.

Nina Zilka, CEO and Co-Founder of Alder New York

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Adler New York?

I founded Alder New York with my best friend, David Krause, because we wanted truly clean, vegan skincare products that were designed for all genders. We combine the best plant-powered actives with dermatologist-approved ingredients to create truly clean skincare that is as chic as it is effective.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

I go from “normal” (I hate that term) to a bit oily. The best thing for my skin is gentle daily exfoliation to get rid of dead skin before it builds up. Ever since I started regularly using Alder New York’s low-dose glycolic acid cleanser, I’ve gotten rid of the odd pimples I used to get. It’s a very low-dose glycolic acid cleanser, and it’s the only cleanser I’ve ever used that can wash off my makeup in one go while being so gentle and hydrating.

Alder New York Everyday Face Cleanser ($28)

What other skincare products do you swear by?

I also swear by a weekly exfoliating treatment (a mud mask or AHA peel) that really keeps my skin in great shape. My personal favorite is The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (aka the blood serum). I’ve started getting milia on my eyelids, and the YouTube world recommended this solution. It hasn’t gotten rid of the milia, but I do love how it makes my skin glow after I use it.

The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution ($8)

The other product I swear by is Alba Botanica’s fragrance-free Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen. It’s not the trendiest of the clean mineral sunscreens, but for the level of clean you get and how nice it is to apply, you can’t beat the price. We go through sunscreen very quickly in our house, so I like buying it in bulk.

Alba Botanica Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen ($10)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

It’s extremely hard to avoid, but I really try not to use products that contain PEGS. They show up on ingredients lists as PEGS or polysorbate-(any number) and are even in the two non–Alder New York products I recommended. They create a silky hand feel, and they are cheap, so cosmetic companies love them, but the chemical process by which they are made, they can bind dangerous contaminates to them. We don’t use them in any Alder New York products for this reason, and any brands that avoid them and still create nice-feeling products immediately get my attention.

Hellen Yuan, Founder & Formulator of Hellen

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Hellen?

In the face of personal tragedies and a hectic schedule in the ready-to-wear fashion industry, I began to search for ways to release and process the pain in my body. I became a Reiki practitioner and aromatherapist in the process, creating bath brews to have a home-spa experience, which helped me unlock my body and connect to my mind and heart. I began getting orders from friends and family and slowly expanded my line into multiple products. The more I learned about aromatherapy, the greater my desire grew to make products to empower people to heal their bodies.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

I have oily to normal skin. I believe the health of skin starts within by eating whole foods, taking proper vitamins (like Bulletproof collagen powder), and drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated.

Monastery Aloe Hyaluronic Boost ($72)

What three skincare products do you swear by?

I’ve been developing an Aromatic Botanical Face Scrub that clarifies, soothes, and calms inflamed skin, which launches in holiday 2020. But beyond my scrub, I swear by Monastery Made Aloe. It’s a gel-serum hyaluronic moisture boost. I love the deep hydration it brings to my face, which my skin really needs, especially in summer. And I love Heart of Gold’s Harvest Moon Oilserum. It perks up sluggish skin while helping to calm inflammation and heal the skin.

Hellen Revive Inhalation ($50)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

A common ingredient found in a lot of products is fragrance, which is added to mask unpleasant smells caused by mixing different ingredients. Many times, these have a toxic effect on people with respiratory issues or sensitive skin, as most fragrances are synthetic and can cause allergic reactions. This is compounded once you start incorporating so many different products in your skincare, bodycare, and haircare routines. This blend of fragrances can cause irritations. The safer, natural alternative is an essential oil, which can actually be beneficial for your respiratory system. When properly mixed, [essential oils] create a soothing, calming experience. The scent does not last as long, since natural essence naturally dissipates, so products with natural fragrance won’t overwhelm your olfactory system.

Danika Berry, CEO of Glam Body

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Glam Body?

Our products are created out of passion and founded by me in 2017, a single mom whose children were combating eczema. My vision was to curate homemade coffee scrubs in order to help nourish and heal the skin. I think self-care should be fun, engaging, and relaxing, and Glam Body has since become my best friend, and she will be yours, too! When you strip off all the layers—the clothes, the jewelry, the makeup—what are you left with? A blank slate for your body. A fresh start for your skin. That’s where Glam Body comes in to help you. As your best friend, Glam Body wants you to feel and look your best.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

My skin is dry, and the one trick I swear by is steaming my skin. It’s so soothing and hydrates naturally to moisturize my face.

Glam Body Coconut Body Scrub for Dry Skin ($18)

What three skincare products do you swear by?

Of course, I love our Glam Body Coconut Coffee Scrub for Dry Skin because it’s all-natural, nourishes my skin, helps to even my skin tone, diminishes my dark spots, and smells so good! I also love to use Mary Louise Cosmetics’ body butters. The company is Black-owned, vegan, and all-natural, and the buttery consistency makes my skin feel so soft and smooth.

Mary Louise Lavender Body Butter ($18)

My go-to toner is by the Black-owned skincare brand Ode to Self, and it’s called Wave. I use it because it’s packed full of nutrients for your skin, including vitamin C, which is a superhero for your skin. I’m 45 and always looking for ways to reduce fine lines. ⠀⠀

Ode to Self Skincare Wave – Soothing and Refining Toning Essence ($29)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

I avoid any beauty products with parabens because parabens easily get absorbed in the body and are detected in many breast cancer tissues. A huge no-no for me.

Shelby Wild, Founder of Playa

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Playa?

I founded Playa in 2017, back then I was working as a fashion stylist in New York City with very little time to get ready in the morning. I would often just end up leaving the house with wet hair and wished for a line of easy-to-use, clean hair products that didn’t require heat styling or crazy time-consuming techniques. We have built Playa to be a combination of multifunctional essentials and treatments to achieve the best version of your hair naturally—no drying or styling required.

While your company is based in haircare, why is skincare also important to you?

Since I’ve spent so much time formulating haircare products that cut down your time getting ready in the morning, I’ve found that I seek out that same performance standard in my skincare. I’m now a busy mom of a young baby, so while I cherish my (minimal) alone time doing my beauty routine, I need products that work and deliver on their promise! This search for a pared-down, effective routine has given me a renewed interest in skincare, not only because I’m noticing a few more fine lines recently but also because I appreciate the power of a well-designed product.

Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform ($88)

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

My skin has been going through a lot of changes after being pregnant! I used to have pretty dry skin, but now I would say it is more combination, oilier at my T-zone. Drinking lots of water with lemon and Sakara Beauty Water Drops has really helped change my complexion’s glow and suppleness. But I also swear by Shani Darden Retinol Reform. We did a partnership with Shani a while back, and I discovered her incredible retinol. It has completely transformed my skin and helps with hormonal acne post-pregnancy.

Alexandra Wagner White Tiger Exfoliant ($88)

What skincare products do you swear by?

I swear by Alexander Wagner’s exfoliant. I like to start the morning with a cleanse! I use this amazing brightening exfoliator made with fine quartz crystal and black volcanic sand. Ever since I had a baby, I feel like I need a little extra glow and TLC. I’m also a huge fan of face oils! Right now, I’m loving the Pure Radiance Face Oil from True Botanicals. It leaves my skin feeling moisturized, but never greasy, and keeps breakouts at bay.

Playa Ritual Hair Oil ($38)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

I avoid silicone in haircare products. There are so many amazing ingredients, like coconut and argan oil, that actually seep into your strands to offer lasting moisture and shine. Silicone is a barrier to strands and just sits on top of the hair, making it brittle and dry over time.

Melissa Medvedich, Founder & CEO of Supernal

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Supernal?

For the majority of my career, I worked as a creative director and graphic designer in media. Toward the end of 2016, with modest savings and a tremendous amount of moral support from my husband, I decided it was finally time to go for it and pursue my long-term dream of having my own clean-and-conscious skincare line. Supernal was launched in February 2019 with a single hero product, Cosmic Glow Oil, which is handcrafted in small batches from potent, plant-based ingredients.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

Relatively well-behaved combination (dry to oily), sensitive skin. Staying internally hydrated is not a myth and works, but I have also come to understand that the face doesn’t really like to be touched—which I know sounds super weird, but this isn’t in reference to cleansing or massaging the skin with (clean) hands or tools—which skin loves and is fantastic. I have noticed that my skin will become irritated in the spot where I rest my chin in my hand at the computer or from taking a call without earbuds and having a phone near my cheek—even if my hands are freshly washed or the phone is recently sanitized. Wearing a hat or sunglasses might cause some congestion to pop up along the areas where those accessories fall on my forehead or cheeks too. I still do or wear all of these things of course, but doing a thorough double-cleanse in the evening to remove any natural debris or daily buildup generally keeps my skin happy.

Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil ($108)

What three skincare products do you swear by?

Over the years, as my skincare regimen has become increasingly more minimal, discovering through trial and error what is best for my skin personally, our Cosmic Glow Face oil became my desert-island product, as I found it to be the most nourishing and compatible as it’s naturally nutrient-rich in vitamins and omegas, lightweight, and easily absorbed while leaving skin nourished and velvety.

Golde Clean Greens Superfood Face Mask ($34)

I’m also a big fan of powder masks from a shelf-life perspective, and Golde Clean Greens Face Mask has been such a savior for calming irritated skin from daily safety mask-wearing. It feels and smells so fresh too, with a little bit going a long way. Also love Bathing Culture Total Body Brush. It’s hands down my favorite dry brush ever, with a comfortable handle with the perfect strength bristles to help with dry skin and stimulate the lymphatic system.

Bathing Culture Total Body Brush ($25)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

In recent years, I tend to stay away from products where I might experience a period of burning, redness, or flaking. I have a little bit of hyperpigmentation and have been recommended products by dermatologists and estheticians specifically for that, but I have never successfully been able to get past the transitional periods with some retinoids and acids. My skin can be sensitive, so I try to be gentle with it.

Taylor Frankel, Co-Founder of Nudestix

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you co-founded Nudestix?

Nudestix was founded by my sister (Ally), my mom (Jenny), and me. Our mission was to create beauty products for real life. Inspired by the modern-day woman today, we developed a collection of easy, fast, and effortless beauty products that enhance your natural beauty, making you feel the most confident in your own skin.

Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser ($38)

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

I have dry and reactive skin (dermatitis). My number one trick is cleansing and exfoliating. Without a great cleansing regimen, it doesn’t matter how incredible your serum or moisturizer is! Cleansed skin = healthy skin. And my favorite cleanser by far is Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser. I love how gentle it is on the skin. It both removes makeup and deeply cleanses the skin.

Dr. Jart+ Teatreement Toner ($30)

What other skincare products do you swear by?

I swear by Dr. Jart Teatreement toner. I love this toner because it gently balances the skin’s pH and reduces blemishes using tea tree extract, meanwhile soothing and hydrating the skin with green tea and aloe vera. I’m also obsessed with Amandine Sol Botanicals Glow Oil. It’s packed with clean ingredients and adds beautiful lightweight hydration. It also acts as a beautiful makeup base.

Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color Glow in Illumi-Naughty ($32)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

I always try to avoid alcohol and synthetic fragrances. My skin is super dry and sensitive, so I try to avoid ingredients that will overly strip my skin of moisture.

Amy Liu, Founder & CEO of Tower 28

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Tower 28?

I’ve worked in the beauty industry for over 15 years, but as someone with a history of sensitive skin and eczema, I couldn’t even enjoy the best part of working in this field: trying out all the products! This search for skincare and makeup that’s clean and sensitive skin–friendly inspired me to launch Tower 28 in April 2019. My mission was to create an inclusive and accessible beauty company for all skin tones, skin types, budgets, and beauty philosophies. We are currently the only makeup brand to follow the National Eczema Association’s guidelines, which means our products contain zero potentially irritating ingredients, and our products are all $28 and under.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

I have dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone skin. And as far as my trick I swear by for my skin type, I think a lot of people might not realize that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is suitable for sensitive skin. I’d recommend doing your research on essential oils and figuring out which ones might lead to irritation for you. A good place to start is the National Eczema Association; any product with its seal of approval will be safe for sensitive skin!

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray Mini ($12)

What three skincare products do you swear by?

I know it sounds like hyperbole, but our SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray is truly a miracle product for me. Its hero ingredient, hypochlorous acid, activates your immune system to tackle inflammation and bacteria, and it’s the only thing that keeps my eczema at bay other than steroids, which before developing SOS, I was relying on for longer than I’d like to admit!

Mara Algae + Moringa Universal Face Oil ($40)

Before I was able to treat my eczema, I never would have dreamed of using products with active ingredients. Thankfully, now that it’s under control, I can experiment with things like retinol! I love using Mara Beauty Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil at nighttime because it’s super moisturizing and my skin literally drinks it up. And finally, I love Alpyn Beauty’s Creamy Bubbling Cleanser. I love supporting fellow women-owned brands, and I can’t get enough of this cleanser. It lathers up really well and removes everything without stripping or leaving your face with that “squeaky-clean” feeling. Plus it’s fragrance-free, which is a must for me.

Alpyn Beauty Plantgenius Creamy Bubbling Cleanser With Fruit Enzymes & Ahas ($36)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

Personally, to keep my skin under control, I avoid synthetic fragrance at all costs. Not only in my skincare, but in my haircare, makeup, laundry detergent, and perfumes! I am also super careful about exfoliation. I agree that it works in the short-term, but I strongly believe that our skin can only handle so much exfoliation, so it’s a trade-off, and the long-term effects of constant exfoliation and exposing new skin to sun damage is still unknown.

Kay Cola, Founder of the Organi Brands

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded the Organi brands?

KC: I founded Organi Grow, Glow, and GoLife to help people achieve their optimal life through healthy choices and self-love through self-care. I wanted to provide better options especially for people of color who are often exposed to toxins via their hair skincare and foods.

While your company is based in haircare, why is skincare also important to you?

Hair and skin are important to me because they are the shell casings for our souls while we are on this planet, and learning to love the skin and hair we are born with gives you confidence and vibe that can’t be matched. When your hair and skin are glowing and growing, you feel special, and that radiates through vibration to others.

Organi Moringa Mud Mask ($21)

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

I have normal to moderately dry skin. I used to have oily skin. I swear by tons of water, reducing stress through meditation and our peace pills, and weekly detoxing with our moringa mask.

OrganiGlowSkinCo Ultra Hydro Facial Cleanser ($25)

What three skincare products do you swear by?

I swear by our OrganiGlow facial cleanser because it removes dirt oil makeup and even mascara without stripping the skin. I also swear by rose water because it’s extremely cooling, calming, and hydrating and can give you a natural glow. And finally, I swear by the Spot Treatment by Musely. It’s the only thing I’ve found that you can get without seeing a doctor in person that gets rid of deep hyperpigmentation. You use an online process to get a consultation, and they ship you your prescription.

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Mist ($32)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

I always avoid perfumes and fragrances for so many reasons. Not only am I allergic, but many of them are carcinogenic and cause organ toxicity. I also avoid parabens and phenoxyethanol.

Remi, Founder & CEO of Freck Beauty

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Freck Beauty?

Freck Beauty was founded in search of the perfect freckle. During the early days of trying to create Freck OG, I realized that there weren’t any bold, clean beauty brands for anyone who cares about ingredients, respects the process, and doesn’t care about the rules.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

I have pretty easy, normal skin. I like to look at my routine as bringing my skin back “to neutral,” whether that’s fighting against environmental pollutants or if I’ve just had a big foundation day. I try not to over-treat or strip my skin and just bring it back to its neutral state.

Freck Cactus Water Cleansing Lactic Acid Toner ($27)

What three skincare products do you swear by?

I swear by Freck Beauty’s Cactus Water. You wouldn’t believe how much gunk is left on your skin after you wash it. With 1% lactic acid, this toner makes for a squeaky-clean face and is safe for morning and night use.

HydroPeptide PolyPeptide Collagel ($48)

I also swear by Hydropeptide Collagel Eyemasks. I keep these in the fridge for a refreshing peptide soak for these CEO eye bags. And finally, Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil. I love the gentleness of this retinoid, and the smell is actually addicting.

Sunday Riley Luna Retinol Sleeping Night Oil ($105)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

I hate synthetic fragrance; it irritates my skin and leaves a drying feeling, similar to products that have alcohol in them.

Spencer Arnold, Co-Founder of Bathing Culture

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Bathing Culture?

We found the act of being with water to be transformational. Our jaunts getting dirty in the nearby headlands brought us so much joy, and when we returned to our small San Francisco apartments we realized our showers/clawfoot tubs happened to be one of the most restorative and overlooked sanctuaries. The soap that was out there wasn’t doing it for us and didn’t respect the dirt we accumulated. Bathing Culture was born to explore the depths of bathing in the name of people and the planet.

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

Definitely run toward the combination skin type. I have found frequent trips in the ocean water even things out a bit and actually help balance my skin. I also like natural toners when I can’t dive in. Ours works great, but as long as it’s natural and it balances pH.

Zoca Lotion Reef-Safe Broad Spectrum Spf 35+ Sunscreen Stick ($16)

What skincare products do you swear by?

Sun protection is my first priority when it comes to skincare. I use the Zoca Lotion Stick before I go out in the water. After all that sun exposure, I take care of my face with a few drops of our Outer Being Face + Body Oil, which is packed with the highest concentration of organic antioxidants.

Bathing Culture Outer Being Face & Body Oil ($32)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

I don’t mess with fragrances. They tend to give me headaches, and they take over my mind/attention, which is already fleeting. They also don’t break down and can persist in waterways. It’s a big reason why I care so much about what goes on my skin. Essential oils and naturally derived scents are okay depending on what it is and how it’s sourced/extracted. Also, all the ingredients that are derived from petrochemicals need to go in general.

Olamide Olowe & Claudia Teng, Co-Founders of Topicals

For those who don’t know about your brand, can you give a quick synopsis of why you founded Topicals together?

OO (pictured right): We both grew up with skin conditions. I had post-barbae folliculitis, and Claudia had severe eczema, and we never found a brand that resonated with us. We always felt embarrassed about our skin conditions and used to hide our ointments because they made us feel like outsiders.

CT (pictured left): Topicals products are transforming the way people feel about skin by making the treatment experience more like self-care rather than a burdensome ritual.

Topicals Faded Brightening & Clearing Gel ($36)

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

OO: I have oily, acne-prone skin that scars easily. Using anti-inflammatory products that are typically geared toward eczema or dry skin help to calm skin and prevent irritation that leads to hyperpigmentation.

Cleanse by Lauren Napier Hightail Facial Cleansing Wipes in Neutral ($20)

What three products do you swear by?

OO: I started using Lauren Napier Cleansing Wipes, and I’m in love. The wipes act as a makeup remover and as a skincare product! I also love Bread Beauty Supply’s shampoo. It’s super moisturizing and also smells like Fruit Loops. And, of course, I use our brightening and clearing gel, Faded, because I have dark spots.

Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser ($20)

As a beauty founder who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

OO: I try to avoid hydroquinone because of its history of skin bleaching in darker-skinned people. It’s also linked to ochronosis (permanent pigment cell death) with prolonged use.

Topicals Like Butter Eczema Hydrating Mask ($32)

What type of skin do you have? And what’s one trick you swear by for your skin type?

CT: I have very sensitive, very reactive, dry skin. I swear by layering moisturizing (all fragrance-free!) products—moisturizer on top of humectants on top of oils, all sealed in with occlusives.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($11)

What three skincare products do you swear by?

CT: I always have a tube of Aquaphor Healing Ointment with me. It’s affordable and very multipurpose. I use it on my lips, hands, and face. I never paid much attention to the face cleanser I used until I started using the Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil. It cleanses so effectively and easily and leaves my skin feeling so plump and moisturized afterward. Every night, I finish my skincare routine with our Topicals Like Butter Hydrating Mask as an overnight mask. I wake up with glass-like skin that I don’t even feel I need to re-moisturize in the morning, which is saying something considering I have eczema and very dry skin!

Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil ($30)

As a beauty founder and CPO who’s tested a lot of products, what’s the one ingredient you always try to avoid, and why?

CT: I try to avoid pretty much all fragrance (including essential oils and citrusy extracts) because it often leads to irritation, which then causes hyperpigmentation.

Next: Experts Reveal the 18 Best Skincare Brands to Unlock Plump, Youthful Skin

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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