Madison Von Schill’s routine: A comprehensive A to Z
Skin is, generally, a reflection of its environment. If you don’t sleep, deprive yourself of water and allow every problematic scenario to affect you internally, it’s inevitably going to show up on your face. Case in point; when I was 19 and working in Barcelona on a cosmetics campaign, my mind was swimming with stressors and had been for quite some time. I was worried I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, or doing enough for my career. The result? My skin was so poor that makeup had to be photoshopped on - a rarity, as I seldom experienced mass photoshop dupes throughout my career. It’s been a long and very educational process on the subject of skin health (and the connectivity between my mind and my body) ever since. Five years later, here's where I'm at.
Now, all of my facial scars are gone and skin is genuinely, astonishingly reliable (this took, please note, patience, balance and years of kind care). When I do get a pimple, I don’t worry about it impacting my entire career (it really used to! Nuts!) but allow it to come, hang out on my face, and go away happily. Our skin often shows the first sign of imbalance in the body - so I rejoice at the ejection of whatever needs to come out. I spend a lot of time focusing on sleep - while working my degree, I rarely got any, and it showed itself dramatically in my performance and in my skin. I now understand that on some days, rest is much more important than time spent at the gym; if my body is asking for rest, I give it this. If it’s hungry, I feed it what it wants. If I need to move, I do everything in my power to make this a priority. I no longer accept the inclination to let society influence our decisions; a balance of everything, I think, is much better than the stress of deprivation.
Now, onto skincare. I’m sure many of you have read the now-viral article on The Outline, declaring that skincare is a con and all of us are caught up in a rat race to perfection; something that doesn’t exist. I agree, but it’s an argument which holds true on any plane, in any medium. If you’re trying to make your Instagram look perfect, that’s silly, because you can’t. If you’re trying to have perfect hair, well tell me; what would that constitute? Could this singular ideal be commodified, quantified, verified for all? If you’re trying to perfect your style, also - I’d like to know the formula and how this "look" would please everyone. Perfection cannot exist as any one thing; not when each of us are massively unique and intricate, both physically, experientially, and mentally.
In the bathroom, I start with a very gentle cleanser. I almost always use warm water, and then rinse with a cooler temperature to close up my pores. In the mornings I’ll either use Glossier’s Milky Jelly or Dermalogica’s PreCleanse balm, because they’re both gentle and moisturizing; milky jelly was formulated based on a contact lens solution, and was made to be gentle, while getting rid of dirt + grime. Dermalogica I've been using since the age of 16, when I was tasked with the daunting job of washing my face *clean* after intricate makeup looks and foreign substances had been applied to my face all day. The balm is a newer innovation, and it's absolutely fantastic - the oil-like consistency often seeped through the packaging on the older formulation, and this is much easier for travel.
In the evenings I will preface this face-washing routine with a cotton round of Belif Herbal Cleansing water; a micellar water that I've found to be my holy grail product. Truly. It takes the makeup RIGHT off and keeps my skin softer than anything I’ve used. Will forever be re-purchasing, even over Bioderma. On days when I have a TON of makeup on from a shoot, or feel super gross from a summer day in the city, the duo of this cleansing water and a face wash always does the trick.
Second, I’ll always, always, always apply Biologique Recherche P50. If you do one thing for your skin, add this. This toner is the Glossier Solution on steroids, and is the sole reason my skin looks the same (ish) all year round. Including a blend of AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, this product comes in many iterations for your specific skin type; I use the p50 T in the mornings (it’s much more gentle, and the only formula available in Canada) and the p50 1970 at night. You can buy it at one shop in New York City (I recommend treating yourself to a facial here, if you ever splurge on one) and the P50 T in Toronto. I like using this toner frequently, but not constantly - nothing should be too intense. If I’m not using the p50 that day, I’ll massage in REN’s Flash Hydro-Boost Instant Plumping emulsion, and aside from the very dramatic name it takes, oh BOY is it great! It’s ingredients are activated by the addition of water, so after applying it to dry, cleansed skin I will run my fingers under the tap and massage a bit of water in. What that does is preps my skin for the products to come, and adds additional moisture while also an extra layer of protection. Super cool, and almost instantly noticeable.
Next, I will add an essence to help soften and prepare my skin for serums. I’m such a fan of Shiseido’s Eudermine essence for both it’s efficacy and heritage; it’s the brand’s first-ever skincare product, and keeps my skin incredibly soft and even-toned. I’ll always follow this with a cocktail of serums, and the ingredients alway change based on what my skin needs. I am a very big believer in the Ordinary; the formulas are simple, targeted and affordable. They also, unlike some other serums, cut to the chase. For instance, if you’re buying Glossier’s super pure, consider swapping to the Ordinary’s Niacinimide serum for 1/5th of the cost. Same thing with super Bounce; that contains the same ingredients as Hyaluronic Acid + B5, and it costs under $8. I have about six serums by the ordinary, and I will at most use two per day. I really believe in approaching skincare like you would your diet; a bit of variety, and really listening to your ever-changing needs. Today, I applied the Yehwadam brightening serum over the ordinary's Marine Hyaluronics (a new, more sustainably-sourced version of the HA + B5 blend), topped with a factory sample of Flores Boticario’s newest serum, now available online. It’s called Luna de Miel and it’s absolutely gorgeous - both the packaging and the results on my skin - made in Toronto with the most loving kind of care. If there is anything I can recommend from this article, it’s that you look into both the p50 and this. Ale, the brand’s founder, has put so much love and attention into the ingredients of this serum; it makes my skin look SO glow-y, and feel even better. I really mean that.
Usually, I’ll finish up my ritual with one of two moisturizers; Glossier’s PMR (I’ve just run out and am re-ordering today!) or Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar SPF 25. The latter is absolutely BRILLIANT - that’s all I can say for now, but it’s been extensively tested at Su and I will *always* reach for this as a facial sunscreen. It works on all skin types and tones, which is something we’ve also tested. I really like that the Priming Moisturizer Rich has Murumuru butter, too - it’s a brilliant, protective and hydrating addition to an affordable, moisturizing cocktail. In the evening I’ll use something with more potent, nourishing ingredients, like the Alps moisturizer by Flores Boticario. I’ve recently also come to admire The Ordinary’s natural factors moisturizer - it’s something like $5 and is composed of ingredients that are naturally found in and produced by the body. I don’t *fully* admire what is happening in the culture of this company though, and feel it important to state that. Though all of this is alleged, I advise you do your own research and only buy from companies that align with you on a scientific, but also moral level. It’s hard for me to promote a brand that doesn’t make me go “hell yes” in all respects. From a product standpoint, though? Pretty great.
Finally, I am not a fan of facials; in addition to being too expensive for a frugal person like myself, I generally like knowing exactly what is going on my face. PLUS, in our 20s...they're just not essential if we take care of our skin on a daily basis. When I need an extra kick, I love reaching into my fridge - yes, where my food is - and grabbing a tub of organic sour cream. Everyone who knows me knows I use sour cream as a quick face mask; the lactic acid is wonderful for a gentle exfoliation, and the bacteria does wonders to promote collagen production. Plus that cooling sensation..ahh...
In addition to condiments, I also have Drunk Elephant's baby facial stored nicely on my shelf. It's great when I need to promote cell turnover, when I've been on planes and feel like a human-sized block of cheese or right after a (rare!) all-night writing binge. My skin always feels so soft, and ready to receive product. And, finally? Tata Harper everything. Her resurfacing mask (used one those crucial self-care days when my soul could really use some hugs) is my best friend.
Bottom line with skincare, though? Be diligent, listen to YOUR needs, focus on simplicity, and do not listen to marketing 100% of the time. Trust the opinions of those you trust, but always come back to yourself. SPF is non-negotiable, and so is smiling. I hope you had a great time on this page with me <3.
images (in order of appearance): Michael Woloszynowicz of Vibrant Shot Photo, and Anthony Bautista.