I never thought I would find myself relating to Rosie Huntington-Whitely—have you seen the woman?—but just minutes into our call, I couldn't help myself from nodding along to everything she said as she told me about her experience with adult acne, and the extremely thorough routine she's built to keep it under control.
“It's really frustrating,” she says of the condition, which she's struggled with since she was a teenager. “I really feel for people that deal with acne; it really affects everything—your confidence, your well-being. Everybody wants to put their best face forward and whatever setting and whatever environment they're walking into, whether it's a red carpet or just simply a family function, going on a date with their partner or meeting up with friends. It really is challenging.”
The model and Rose Inc. founder credits switching to all noncomedogenic products for keeping her acne manageable. That, and a steady stream of exfoliating products. “I really lean into my AHAs: salicylic acid, glycolic, lactic,” she says. “That's really going to help with cell turnover and exfoliation because obviously that's the thing that gets really sluggish. When you have acne, you have a sort of slower rate of cell turnover, and that's why my pores get blocked.”
Now Huntington-Whiteley is careful to stick to a consistent routine developed with her facialists or dermatologists. Pre-COVID, she was seeing a facialist twice a month (she goes to Shani Darden, Melanie Grant, and Biba, if you're curious). “A lot of people think it's very indulgent, but for me, first [my face is] my work, it's necessary,” she says. “And it kind of keeps me away from squeezing and attacking my skin, and it keeps that communication open for me on a regular basis with the expert who can help me with my skin-care routine as I need.”
So what makes the cut for her self-described “slightly neurotic” routine? Read on for the cleansers she swears by, the acne pads she uses twice a day, and the mask that got her through a year without a facial. Rosie Huntington-Whitely drops her skin-care routine, below.
My Face Towels
So the first thing I do in the morning is run my basin with some warm water, and dampen my face cloth in it. I really just take a deep breath and move it around my face and kind of soften up the skin. I use my Resoré face cloths, which are amazing because they're antibacterial. If I don't get around to washing them every day, I don't have to feel like I'm using a dirty towel. I'm really picky about my towels because I often find that toweling can feel too soft and slippery and there's not, like, an exfoliating quality to it, or they can sort of feel kind of thin and flimsy. And I really like that there is still a roughness to it while it still feels really powdery and soft and cloudlike.
I've been using the ZO Skin Health product line. I start with their Exfoliating Cleanser, and this is for normal to oily skin. It's a really beautiful cleanser that's very indulgent and gel-like, and it's got little exfoliating beads in it. And then in the morning I use the Exfoliating Polish, and this I do every day, unless I'm dealing with dry skin or a raw breakout. This is probably one of the most intense scrubs I've ever used. It's very, very granular, but it's amazing. My skin feels so smooth afterward, and it just kind of removes those dead skin cells.
$45.00, ZO Skin Health
$67.00, ZO Skin Health
I also love iS Clinical's Cleansing Complex; it's a favorite of mine. It's so easy to use; it's a low-lather gel cleanser. And it has a little bit of salicylic in it, so it's fantastic for my skin.
$44.00, iS Clinical
My Toner Pads
My next step is the Oil Control Pads. This was the first product that I ever tried from ZO Skin Health, and I used it for about two years before I switched over to the full product line. These have all your AHAs in them. I use these twice a day—that's what's recommended. They leave my skin feeling really tingly and fresh and clean.
$62.00, ZO Skin Health
My Eye Cream
And then I have introduced an eye cream into my routine—I use La Mer's. I mean, this is like the O.G. of eye cream. I love the way that makeup lays over the top of this. It's a really beautiful eye cream.
I will say that using all the AHAs, that sometimes my eye area gets a little bit dry since the skin is thinner. So one of the things I learned recently is to actually use an eye cream before you apply your serum, before you apply any kind of acids or anything like that, because it's going to sort of act as a barrier around the eye area, so I try to make sure to do that.
$235.00, La Mer
Then, in the morning, I use the Exfoliation Accelerator, which again has a lot of AHAs. I know this sounds crazy, and when this whole line routine was recommended to me by a facialist here in the U.K. called Kate Kerr, I was like, “My skin is going to fall off—you're crazy.” She said to just try it, and I was hooked immediately. My skin has really improved.
The Accelerator has 10% AHAs, which is intense. So I use the Daily Power Defense first, which is like a serum but also kind of a moisturizer, although it's not really a moisturizer. And the sort of controversial thing about Dr. Obagi, who founded the line, is he is antimoisturizer. So instead of using a standard moisturizer, he really believes in just applying a serum. And this feels very much like a moisturizer. I don't feel like my skin doesn't still have that nice dewiness of moisture to it. And then the exfoliant goes on top, so I think it sort of acts as a little bit of a barrier.
$70.00, ZO Skin Health
$150.00, ZO Skin Health
I use the ZO Skin Daily Sheer, which is probably one of the best sunscreens I've ever used. I also love Pipette's, which is really amazing. It's nontoxic, and and I can use it on my son as well. It's really sheer and acts a bit like a moisturizer.
Biba's Glyco-C Thermal Organic Pumpkin Peel is my favorite mask of all time. This really actually saved me through not being able to see a facialist this year. It's a really nice at-home peel, and it's great for home exfoliating, and it's very nourishing. It's got pumpkin, and that warming kind of feel to it.
$95.00, Biba Los Angeles
My Lip Balm
I love the La Mer one. It's ridiculously expensive, but they gifted it to me. It's an amazing one, but it's, like, $70, so I feel like a dickhead recommending it.
I also love the one from Image. I get it on Amazon. I finish it all the time. It smells really nice and it's just got that really kind of weighty, very glossy thing, so it can sort of double up as a gloss. But it's also very nice to wear to bed because you still wake up in the morning with, like, really plump, soft lips.
$70.00, La Mer
My Spot Treatments
I love the Mario Badescu one; it kind of looks the best when you have someone to sleep next to. Biba's calming zinc mask is very nice as well. It's great after either an at-home squeeze session, or if you want to calm down congested skin, but it doesn't dry your skin out.
I also love Face Reality for all their products for acne-prone skin. They're very affordable, and I don't think treating acne has to be expensive.
$17.00, Mario Badescu
$52.00, Biba Los Angeles
Follow Rosie Huntington-Whitely on Instagram @rosiehw.
Originally Appeared on Glamour