Skincare Advice for Models (and Aspiring Models)

A photographer and I were recently discussing a topic that often comes up between photographers and makeup artists: the lack of a skincare regimen among models. Between makeup application and Photoshop, many models feel they can be lax about skincare.

*buzzer sounds* WRONG!

Every model, and everyone in general, should take great care of their skin. For models, this is imperative and an immutable rule in the modeling industry. A lot of male models believe a rugged appearance is best, and that using cleansers  and moisturizers is too “feminine” and “unnecessary”.

*hits the buzzer again* WRONG!

Photoshop should not be used as an excuse to neglect your skin. I have seen many models get turned away at castings in favor of a model who had better skin.

It is important for models to care for their skin. This applies to both male and female models.

The Various Skin Types:

Dry: Feels tight and lacks moisture. Sometimes get dry patches on skin and often needs a heavy moisturizer.

Normal: Not too dry or oily. Doesn’t get greasy a few hours after washing and works well with a regular moisturizer.

Oily: Skin looks and feels oily a couple of hours after washing. Light moisturizers are required.

Acne prone: Easily breaks out (many acne prone people tend to be oily as well).

Combination skin: Any combination of the above. Some people have an oily T zone but are dry elsewhere. The above categories are not set in stone. Many people do not fit only one category.

The Products:

Cleansers: Use a cleanser suited to your skin type. I love Pangea Organics Egyptian Calendula & Blood Organic Cleanser, but you do not have to spend a lot on a facial cleanser. Any drugstore would sell great cleansers from Neutrogena, Alba Botanica, Olay, Cetaphil and others. Take advantage of sales. Some even experience great results using a gentle bar soap like Dove. Move your hands in circular motions from the center of your face outward as you wash.

Toners: If your skin is dry, be careful about using a toner. You may not need it at all. Witch hazel makes a great (and cheap) toner. There are also many commercial toners available. I use toner about 3-4 times a week.

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Moisturizers: This is where it gets kinda easy. Many, many, many companies sell excellent facial moisturizers. Nivea Creme (German formula) is cheap and great for dry skin types.  Many moisturizers are marketed for dry, oily or normal skin.  Pangea Organics and Alba Botanica both carry products formulated for particular skin types.

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Exfoliators: A couple of times a week, it is a good idea to exfoliate your facial skin (and body).  You can buy a commercial scrub (St. Ives Apricot Scrub and The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Scrub are both amazing) or use a loofah sponge soaked with water and your usual facial cleanser. A natural alternative is to mix honey with raw cornmeal.

Always rub exfoliators/loofahs in  gentle, circular motions against your skin. Rubbing too hard will scratch your skin and tug on it, encouraging wrinkles.

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Eye Cream:  This is the one that so many overlook. A dry eye area will make you look older and catch any loose powder/foundation/shimmer etc.  I have worked with a lot of  models who were very young, but had the telltale crinkles of someone who never moisturized their eye area. It is SO important that you use an eye cream. Any standard moisturizer would work. I love Pangea Organics Turkish Rose & White Tea Eye Cream, but it is very expensive. I use the aforementioned Nivea Creme and it works beautifully. I also dip a cotton swab in jojoba oil and dab it around my eye. This is the best eye moisturizer I have ever tried, but it is best reserved for nighttime or days when you’re at home not expecting guests. It goes without saying that it makes your eye area very, very greasy.

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Facial masks: A few times a month, a face mask  could be used to draw out impurities and deep clean your skin. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is one of my favorites. There are also many homemade recipes for vegetable/fruit & yogurt masks floating around on the Internet. Do a search for your skin type and an appropriate homemade face mask. I did a post on one recently (Tomato & Yogurt Mask). You will find one for sure. Aztec Indian Healing Clay is a cheap alternative.

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These are the basics of good skin care. You will find that you may not need all of these products, but it makes for a good starting point. At the very least, cleanse and moisturize your face daily.

Before a photo shoot/event:

  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Pat skin dry.
  • Apply a moisturizer and lip balm. This will prep your skin for makeup and primer. By the time you arrive at the shoot location, the moisturizer will have set in.
  • Do not wear any makeup (unless you have been instructed to come in wearing makeup). It is  best to arrive with a clean face.
  • Go to a cosmetics counter and get matched to a foundation. It helps to at least have a decent foundation in your bag, in case the MUA cancels, or if your skin is so light/dark that the MUA does not have an exact match. Most MUAs carry foundation palettes, but take the precaution anyway. You never know what could happen.

About themakeuptrain

Beauty/product junkie hiding behind the title of certified makeup artist (that's the excuse I use for my makeup addiction). I am a human pet to two cats, a full time college student majoring in Cultural Anthropology and an organic food enthusiast (read: organic food freak) who cooks, bakes, and has not burned down the kitchen (I'm waiting for it). New York has put up with all of this thus far, so here is where I reside. I can be reached for comments, questions, complaints, and incoherent babbling at:
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4 Responses to Skincare Advice for Models (and Aspiring Models)

  1. Excellent tips, Chris! The honey with raw cornmeal exfoliator sounds fab. I’ll def. be trying it out soon 🙂

  2. Sunny says:

    I think even non-models could benefit a lot from a skincare regimen! I thought models would take better care of their skin because that’s so important for their jobs, so I’m quite surprised to find out a lot of them don’t.

    • A lot of upstart models are too raw to understand how important skin care is. Many believe the existence of Photoshop is an excuse to be lazy. Whatever blemish they have can be removed through retouching, so they don’t worry about it. Some male models think skin care routines are girly and unnecessary for men. These people need to be taught to look after their skin. Established models already know that bad skin will cost them jobs.

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