“The Skin Bitch” On The Serums That Are
The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss’ lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“Hi! My name is Sean Garrette (@seangarrette), and I’m an aesthetician and skincare blogger. I see clients every day, helping them resolve skin issues like acne, hyperpigmentation, and loss of tone and radiance. You don’t often see many Black male aestheticians—or black men in general—included within the beauty space. I’ve been very fortunate to work with brands closely and to have my voice and face amplified. I currently work (and live!) in Maryland, but I’ll be moving to New York City in about two months.
The skincare industry is always evolving and advancing and I like to stay up to date on new technology, but I do have some tried-and-true advice. I think everyone should exfoliate at least two to three times a week with a chemical exfoliant—ditch the harsh scrubs. And, even if you have the oiliest skin, you still need proper hydration to protect the skin’s moisture barrier. I do worry about DIY beauty trends—they’re usually more damaging than helpful. Rubbing a lemon on your face can cause chemical burns, and brown sugar is too abrasive to use as a scrub. And, when you’re curating a skincare routine for yourself, it’s important to keep it concise and consistent.
I usually cleanse with either the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, or Fresh Seaberry Cleansing Oil, and I always double cleanse at night. Then I exfoliate to minimize skin texture, acne lesions, and hyperpigmentation. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid is one of my favorite products of all time. Last year I was having lots of breakouts and irritation in my beard, and after the first use, 70-percent of it was gone the next morning. It’s a holy grail product for me. Otherwise, the Dr. Dennis Gross Universal Daily Peel Pads are quick and easy to use, Youth To The People’s Kombucha + 11% AHA toner is great, and The Ordinary’s Mandelic Acid is such a good price point. After cleansing and toning, I use an essence for extra hydration. I love the Black Tea Kombucha Antioxidant Essence from Fresh—used morning and night, it’s helped the texture and tone of my skin so much. The Amorepacific Vintage Single Extract Essence and the May Coop Raw Sauce are other good ones I’ve enjoyed.
I follow that with targeted treatments. PCA Skin’s C&E Advanced Vitamin C is one of the few vitamin C products that hasn’t caused irritation. For antioxidants, Paula’s Choice Antioxidant Pore Purifier and Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum are both great. I recently discovered Peach & Lily’s Glass Skin Refining Serum and The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum, and are both really good hydrators to use morning and night. In terms of moisturizers, BeautyBio kills it for me. It’s expensive, but worth every penny—I use the Ultimate Hydrating Vitamin C Cream in the morning, and the Quench Quadralipid Recovery at night. I also wear a broad-spectrum SPF every day to prevent fine lines, hyperpigmentation, cell and tissue damage, and of course skin cancer. Three of my favorites are Krave Beauty’s The Beet Shield, Paula’s Choice Youth Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50, and Glossier’s Invisible Shield—that one’s the best for reapplying, or sweaty summer days.
The rest of my routine is pretty simple. I had baby locs in fifth grade because I was obsessed with Whoopi Goldberg. To complete the look, I shaved my eyebrows completely off—my mother literally wanted to kill me. These days I bleach my hair, so I try to keep it as soft as possible. I love the Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect 7-in-1 Leave-In Treatment. For my body, I love to wash with Nécessaire’s Body Wash in Eucalyptus. I exfoliate with the matching Nécessaire Body Exfoliator or exfoliating gloves, which I get from the drugstore. I also love their body lotion, but because it’s starting to get colder out, I like to mix in a few drops of BeautyBio’s Radiance Body Oil. The body butters from Butter Me Up Goods instantly melt into the skin and leave you with the most incredible glow—and they have the best scents.
Part of being an aesthetician is being a service. I’m always there and ready with answers to my clients’ questions. Skincare is a very personal thing. Helping someone overcome the thing that’s been weighing on their self esteem is truly priceless. Because I see so many faces every day, I’m able to see the beauty in everyone—I really think that to be an aesthetician, you have to love people. But interacting with people all day every day can be quite exhausting. I’m naturally introverted and am pretty withdrawn to myself—to relax, I like to spend time alone. Otherwise, I like to have dinner and (lots of) wine with friends—just lowkey, chill. I really appreciate that time when I’m able to have it.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author.