Here's the sketchy thing about clean beauty in the United States: Since it's a fairly unregulated industry, any brand has the ability to slap a "clean" label on their products, regardless of what's actually inside their formulas. That's one of the many things I learned when I chatted with Liza Koshy last week, actress and brand ambassador for C'est Moi, a skincare and makeup line that's legitimately clean (think: no synthetic fragrance, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, silicone, talc, and more).
Koshy, who remembers spending a chunk of her childhood in dermatologist offices trying to treat her skin conditions like eczema and sun spots, is all about products that tell her exactly what she's getting. "There are good humans out there who are trying to intentionally regulate what they put into their formulas," she tells me over the phone. "They aren't looking to cause more issues with their products."
Ahead, the actress talks with Cosmo about how she's been holding up during quarantine (yes, she's definitely that girl baking banana bread RN), her tips and tricks for stopping a breakout in its tracks, and all things clean beauty.
On growing up with eczema:
"I had a lot of skin issues and breakouts as a kid, and it made me feel really insecure. As a kid, you're insecure about everything, and the last thing you want to be is insecure about the first thing people see: your face. So that became a huge priority for me—trying to figure out what could smooth it, what could even it, and what could do so in a really safe way. That's why I was so happy to find C'est Moi. It’s natural, organic, a lot of their products are vegan, and they're really just made with thoughtfully formulated ingredients. They make some good shit basically."
On how quarantine is affecting her skin:
"I've definitely been breaking out more during quarantine. I'm at home, so I can touch my face as much as I want because everything I own is sanitized, but I think I pick at my face without realizing it when I'm bored. It's kinda like a dog biting its foot—which I definitely relate to now, like, I get why they do it. I've been using a lot more acne products lately, especially the Clarify Blemish Treatment Pads from C'est Moi, which have salicylic acid.
I also do, like, eight masks a night, which you're probably not supposed to do, but it makes me feel happy and I will lean into anything that brings me happiness right now. Different parts of my face have different needs, so I love using specific formulas for those parts—whether it's a hydrating mask or a pore-refining mask."
On her secret acne hack:
"When my skin is breaking out, I actually try to work out. My ethnic father will come through and be like, 'We didn’t have any face products back in the day, all we did was just sweat.' That's why I'm like, 'Okay, I’m going to push it from the inside out.' I don’t know if it’s a real thing, but, hey, brown dad tips. I like to go out and sweat or go for a run, just to get moving and feel better about myself, which ends up making my face feel better. I personally find that it works."
On the beauty "rules" she ignores:
"I think the best thing for your skin is sleep—which I don't get a lot of sometimes. My quarantine schedule has been to wake up at 12 p.m. and go to sleep at 4 a.m., so sleep is something that I should probably get a lot more of.
I also don’t always wash my face in the morning, especially if I, say, went to sleep at four and woke up at 11 for a Cosmo call. If I do a super evening routine—when I cleanse, mask, lip scrub, and hydrate—the next morning I'll just wipe the crust out of my eyes, push my face upwards for a little blood flow, and skip my cleanser. I don't want to dehydrate my skin too much by stripping my natural oils."
On the one product she *always* recommends:
"Sunscreen, which I just found out you don't wear exclusively at summer camp or the beach. My mom is white, too, so it doesn't really make sense that I've never worn it. My dad would tell me to go out and work out all the time and be in the sun, but he never told me to wear sunscreen because he didn’t wear it growing up. I know for a lot of brown people that's kinda the stigma behind it: We don’t have to wear sunscreen because we have this protective tint—but you definitely have to.
The sun affects us all, and sun damage is cancer causing, it's wrinkle causing. I know people are, like, jade rolling or icing their face and then going out tanning. Like, doing all these preventative measures for wrinkles and then literally doing the worst thing for it by sitting directly in the sun. So just make sure that when you do do that, you're covering your body in sunscreen. I’m always empowering my sisters to wear it every single day—under your makeup, even if you are inside."
Recently, Koshy sat down with Nneka Leiba, VP of Healthy Living Science at the Environmental Working Group, for a candid convo about just how important it is to take a peek at ingredients labels before you commit to a product. Check it out, below, and prepare to take notes—this sh*t is kinda game-changing IMO.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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