The testing is also for her own research. Chiu recalls the day she realized aging was her biggest skin-care concern. “I remember the day when Dr. Chiu looked at me—it’s one of those things you never ever forget, like the birth of your child—and said, ‘Don’t smile so hard. You’re forming wrinkles around your eyes.’ And I’m like, What?! In your late 20s, you’re not worried about forming wrinkles. And then in your 30s that starts happening, and it’s like, Fuck, this is really happening!”
To help combat fine lines, Chiu follows a skin-care routine she likens to a Marvel movie. “I’m the mom of a boy, so my whole life is Avengers right now. I like to think that all of my skin care collectively are like the Avengers. Everyone does something, and together they fight crime—or aging, which is the villain. Aging is the villain these days. But they do it all in their own unique ways and they don’t all need to punch at the same time.”
Ahead, Chiu shares her superhero lineup of products for Glamour’s Drop the Routine.
I use different cleansers for day and night. At night I like an exfoliating cleanser because your face has gone through so much in a day, especially with makeup and pollutants, so you need to clean and strip it pretty well. I’ve been using SkinCeuticals Clarifying Cleanser forever because I have lightly acneic skin. During the day I use a cleanser that feels good and adds some nutrients to my face. I love the 707 Flora Core Cleanser. It’s a 25-milligram-CBD full-spectrum hemp extract. I also use Derma E Skin De-Stress Calming CBD Cleanser. And I started trying this new one, Allies of Skin, Molecular Silk Amino Hydrating Cleanser.
I have the same philosophy for toner as cleanser. During the day I like something that’s refreshing and balancing, so I use Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Balancing Toner. At night I use SkinCeuticals LHA toner, which is also a heavy duty stripper of all sorts of dirty things that happen to your face throughout the day.
I’ve been using SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF for a very long time. I also use SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. I’ve been using those since my early 30s or late 20s. But now as I’m aging a little bit, I have to step it up a bit with SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum and the SkinMedica HA-5 Hydrating Rejuvenator. Those are medical grade, heavily backed by science and sold in physicians’ offices, which means the efficacy level and the concentration is significantly higher. It’s science; there are papers on it. On my own skin I see it working, but also I get to see all of the data and research that goes into it.
During the day I like to use something lighter so I can put makeup over it. At night, that’s when I slather on. During the day I use SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture. It keeps the face moisturized, and it’s not too heavy. It doesn’t break me out. I can put makeup over it. At night I use SkinMedica Lytera, and that’s helping with hyperpigmentation.
My eye cream
I use the Skin Better InterFuse Eye Treatment and TNS Eye Repair from SkinMedica at night. During the day I use SkinMedica Instant Bright Eye Cream. I used to be so delicate about eye cream and tap it in. Now I slap that stuff on, take a big glob of it, slap it all over, all over under, all over on the side, all over on the lid. I go to sleep literally with a glob of eye cream on my eyes.
My face mask
Face masks are where I like to play. My staple is SkinCeuticals Bio-Cellulose Hydrating Mask. It’s a pretty easy hydrating mask, with great-quality ingredients. I also love to go to Korean beauty stores and pick up a million masks. I have tried everything—snails, fungus, gold caviar, you name it. It’s like treasure hunting—once in a blue moon, you’ll find something that really works. But most of the time, it’s just interesting and fun and hasn’t negatively affected my skin.
My spot treatments
I actually steal from our office. So I self-chemical-peel. I use PCA, which is a pretty strong chemical peel. I use a Q-tip and spot treat, and it zaps any type of acne breakouts.
I’m using SkinMedica Retinol 0.25 Complex and SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0. I don’t do it every night. I’m not a huge fan, but I know that it’s a necessary step.
My face oil
I only use face oils before a glam session, because some of the makeup that’s put on is very drying for my skin and destroys it. I use Koh Gen Do T3 Premium Oil. But I’m a big fan of body oil—I use Mutha. Founder Hope Smith is a really good friend of mine. I was her guinea pig when she was developing her body butter from her kitchen. She would send me all of her concoctions in little jars, and I put them all over my body. I’m extremely proud of how she’s built the company and brand.
My face mist
It doesn’t make or break my aging process, but it feels good and wakes me up in the morning. I use Allies of Skin Molecular Savior Probiotics Treatment Mist. And then, once in a while, I use good ol’ Evian. Sometimes your face just needs water.
Sunscreen is so important. I love Skin Better’s Smart Tone Compact. It has a little color and adjusts to the tone of your skin. And it’s SPF 68, which is great. Usually when I get a spray tan, or if I’m going to put on makeup, I use that. Otherwise, if I’m going out for a hike, I use SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense 50.
My lip balm
I’m super old-school, so I still use Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip Stain. I use EOS medicated lip balm, which feels so luxurious. If I’m going out for a hike or just running errands, I use the good ol’ Blistex.
Because I have easy access to the medical spa, I like to utilize the devices. High frequency is something I use all the time because my skin does act up with acne and that takes care of it pretty quickly. I’m still a big proponent of microdermabrasion. And I use light therapy, not only for my skin health, but my emotional health.
Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @arianayap.