Perfect Skin: The Products I'm Using To Fake It 'Til I Make It

I'm using an amazing peel that's inching me closer to a flawless complexion, but in the meantime, my makeup routine is pretty convincing.

I have already expressed to you guys how about 95% of my anxiety manifests in how I feel about my skin. I am really, really obsessed with a perfect, clean, clear face, which I’m sure speaks volumes as to my mental health and other compulsions, but it also means that I am fairly qualified in letting you guys know my (thoroughly tried and tested) products for a good base.


Firstly, I want to say how good y’all have been at suggesting stuff. On the basis of comment recommendations to my post-acne scarring malarkey, I got Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel. For those of you not in the loop, this comes in the form of two pots of 30 days' worth of pads that have been soaked in some sort of magic, and you wipe them on your face before you sleep; first, the refining pad, then the neutralizing one.

It (they? I am so confused by how to refer to this) contains five alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids and retinol, among a bevy of chemicals I am less familiar with, and is ridiculously gentle for what sounds like a pretty intense treatment. I am not joking--I have been using it every day for about a week now, and every single day, people have told me that my skin looks rad.

I think it may be one of my all-time favourite products. I am glowing, and my pores are minimized, and my life is therefore on track. If my skin keeps improving in radiance at this rate, by the time the pot runs out, I’ll be radioactive or something. In a cute way.

It’s kind of expensive for a 30-day treatment, but I figure that it works out to the price of a facial and it is actually better than a facial. I love you, Dr. Dennis Gross, whoever you are.


I’m also really, really into primers. I know that BB creams are meant to be, like, 10 things in one, but I like to either extend the length of my makeup with Laura Mercier Radiance Primer.

I have found that some primers make my makeup look heavy and cakey, or even worse, cause breakouts. This doesn't. It's ridiculously good for helping create a soft-focus vibe on my face, like a tube of Instagram filters.


Since these are a relatively new addition to the world, I have spent the last six months rotating brands to see which BB cream works best for me. (And, therefore, you guys. I hope you appreciate the effort; some of them really sucked.)

My favourite at the moment--alongside the foamy Shu Uemura one I wrote about before which is slightly heavier--is Kiehl’s newest addition, Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream has an SPF 50 and is translucent enough to leave you with a glow but has coverage enough to minimize my pores and even out my skin tone, which is what I want from it. I can get light coverage and even tone on the areas that don’t need proper foundation.


If I need extra coverage in some areas--for me, this is sometimes my cheeks, where residual scarring sometimes looks more visible than other times (why is that?)--I use MAC Mineralize Moisture Foundation, which I squirt onto the palms of my hands. I then rub my hands together really vigorously and gently pat it onto my face, which gives the lightest layers of coverage that blend easiest into my skin.

This means that my hands end up grubby and disgusting, but I really believe in applying makeup to your face with your hands rather than brushes. It allows you to work with far more delicacy and intuition that one of those weird foundation paintbrushes permits.


I use a little concealer in the areas that need it; on blemishes, like I’ve mentioned before, the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer, and under my eyes, Perricone MD No Concealer Concealer. This has an SPF 35 (UVA and B) and contains neuropeptides and vitamin C, which work to help firm fragile skin and reduce puffiness and discoloration. Plus, it lasts bloody ages.


I try to avoid powdering my face, which is a huge break in my makeup routine, but I am obsessed with trying to look glow-y at the moment. However, some days my face looks just too shiny to bear, so I dust a little loose powder and then use MAC Fix+ spray on top. This isn’t actually a fixative for makeup (or, at least, that’s not what I use it for), but it’s a water spray filled with vitamins and joy and love that gives your makeup the most natural finish possible. It is, genuinely, a lot better that water in a bottle might sound. Plus, you can get cute little handbag versions that you can spritz on your face later on in the day, which kind of refreshes your makeup.

Sometimes I used to apply my makeup about an hour before leaving the house (ridiculously impractical), so that it didn’t look as finished but rather just an organic part of my natural beauty. This spray gives that worn-in illusion but without the wait times. Who has an hour anyway? What was I playing at? Go into a MAC store and try it; I will convert you. Plus, if you over-apply foundation or concealer onto a blemish or dry skin and get that gross, scaly, caked effect, this FIXES THAT. As if someone invented something to fix my most-loathed beauty faux pas, after the gross buildup of eyeliner in your inner eye corner (apparently this is called a caruncula, but I felt too pretentious name-dropping my googled optometry).

So, there’s my heap of blemish-free skin products to prepare your canvas for whatever else you choose to do, or not do, on your face. Is it weird to refer to your face as a canvas? It feels kind of detached, but I like the idea that you can sculpt your appearance however you choose.

What do you do to maintain the illusion of perfect skin? Is anything else in the world as good as Dr. Dennis Gross’s stuff?