Welcome back to Hi Everyone. I’m so glad you’re here! If you like what you’re reading, please consider sharing this newsletter. (Forward to a friend! Share on social! Whatever’s clever! Just know it is appreciated.) Also, FWIW, all products mentioned are independently chosen, and some may be affiliate links. Your support is appreciated.
Before we get into today’s newsletter, I wanted to share some resources for Ukraine. While I’m not an expert on the situation in any way, The Washington Post and New York Magazine recently wrote about a number of vetted organizations you can support. I’ve also donated to World Central Kitchen, a non-profit founded by Chef José Andrés, which is cooking for refugees both inside Ukraine, and in bordering countries like Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Hungary. In terms of news sources, in addition to major American and international publications, I am following and supporting Kyiv Independent, as well as Jessica Yellin’s #NewsNotNoise stories on IG, and her newsletter too.
CURRENTLY IN ROTATION / MARCH
Today, I’m trying a slightly different format, in which I’m going to cover a few different things that are top of mind, ranging from books to beauty. It's basically all of my best new discoveries, delights, and current crushes; I hope you enjoy.
Is it just me, or do you feel like you’re hearing a lot about compromised skin barriers lately? To be honest, I hadn’t even heard that phrase until a few years ago, but now it seems to come up on a near daily basis. (For those of you who have escaped this topic, the skin barrier is the very top layer of your skin, which protects you from external stressors like pollution, plus regulates water loss and keeps your skin hydrated.)
I’m attributing the topic’s tipping point to our collective interest in skincare, and the fact that so many of us have been overdoing it on the exfoliation front, especially while stuck at home over the last couple of years.
As someone who tests new products on a nearly daily basis and frequently tweaks her skincare routine, I have definitely compromised my skin barrier more than once. The culprit? Usually too much retinol or exfoliation, or just doing too much overall. The result? Skin that’s redder than usual, looks dehydrated, and sometimes flakes. In other words: Not ideal.
So when my powerhouse friend Tina Craig sent me an early preview of her company’s new product, U Beauty’s The Barrier Bioactive Treatment, I was immediately interested. U Beauty makes the best products—I’ve detailed my love of her retinol and Vitamin C Resurfacing Compound (which also gets raves from Dr. Shereene Idriss) and Super Hydrator—and the new addition to the group is perhaps my favorite product from the brand yet.
The Barrier is a nighttime treatment that you slather on your face after you’re done with your full bedtime routine. With ingredients like Vitamin B6 (helps balance oil production), hyaluronic acid (helps your skin retain water so it looks plump), and urea (helps with skin elasticity), the formula is really remarkable.
I started using it three times a week, and after nearly a month of use, I’m truly impressed. Because it’s quite expensive, I tend to use it primarily on areas that I think need the most help: forehead, under my eyes, and on my neck. There was a bit of a learning curve for me, as well. The first few times I used it, I was on the fence about the texture. As someone who still fights acne, applying a treatment that’s heavier than I normally use—and a little gooey—was odd. But when I woke up and felt how soft my skin was and how bouncy it looked, I was all in.
I recently experienced an extremely bothersome bout of atopic dermatitis on my wrists (triggered by a metal watch band, sigh), and now am the owner of a number of creams and lotions that are geared toward folks who deal with eczema. While there are many excellent over-the-counter options—I’m a big fan of Vanicream Moisturizing Cream—I was having a hard time finding anything that felt both efficacious and elevated.
Then I tried Josie Maran’s Intensive Daily Repair Body Butter, which not only has been keeping the itchies at bay, but is also supremely luxurious. The formula contains 100% argan oil, colloidal oatmeal, which is an FDA-approved active ingredient to help calm outbreaks, and soothing aloe leaf juice.
But the best part is how it feels on your skin. I’m a little bit of a Goldilocks when it comes to body products; I want something that’s rich, but lightweight, that feels super hydrating, but soaks in quickly, and is deeply moisturizing, without being greasy. This delivers on all fronts. To be honest it reminds me a little bit of La Mer, but with even faster absorption. It’s honestly remarkable, and my only complaint is that I’m whipping through the jar way faster than I’d like.
Like everyone else with a TikTok account, I’m a huge fan of everything Mikayla Nogueira creates, and I was delighted when she covered a dupe for Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Light Wand ($40) in Pinkgasm, which has basically been sold out for a year (thanks to a prominent placement in Madison Beer’s beauty routine), had a 10,000-person wait list, and is currently only in stock on CT’s website. Even better: it’s Wet n Wild’s MegaGlo Makeup Stick Blush in Peach Bums, which is less than $5. Having tried both products, I admit I prefer the Charlotte Tilbury iteration—the consistency and the applicator are just flawless—but honestly the end result is extremely similar and wonderful.
Despite having been out of school for approximately one billion years, there’s something about March that makes me think about spring break and sandals. I don’t invest in a new pair every year, but I can’t stop thinking about Porte & Paire’s Suede Sandals ($215), which also come in black and a metallic leather iteration. They’re super timeless, work with most outfits, and give me old-school Capri vibes. Not that I’ve been to Capri, but you know what I mean.
I am wildly excited that one of my favorite shows of all time—Killing Eve—returned this week for its final season, and so far I am thrilled. If you haven’t seen Killing Eve, I am here to tell you that it is 100000% worth your time, and I am jealous that you get to experience it for the first time. Created by the genius Phoebe Waller-Bridge (of Fleabag fame, also one of the best shows ever), Killing Eve is brilliant, twisted, gorgeous, and completely addicting. Are you worried it’s too scary? Well, it’s not because I can watch it, and I am extremely not into terrifying things. Just trust me and do it. Sandra Oh? Flawless. Jody Comer? Flawless. The sets? Flawless. The music? You guessed it: Flawless. Everything is just next-level incredible. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.
Speaking of TV, as you might recall, Shonda Rhimes’s brilliant Netflix series Bridgerton is coming back for season two at the end of March, so I decided to read the entire book series by Julia Quinn in anticipation, and honestly I would 11/10 recommend making that choice. I started with book two—The Viscount Who Loved Me—which is about the oldest Bridgerton brother, Antony, and out of the eight-book initial series, I think it might be my favorite.
When I mentioned on social that I was thinking about reading it, I received a fair amount of eye-rolling responses, despite the fact that it’s a New York Times bestselling series written by a Harvard graduate. Do not be deterred by this internalized misogyny or fear being perceived as “fluffy” for reading romance novels (as I was as a younger person). The books are great escapist fun, and that is > doomscrolling any day of the week.
If you’re a regular around here, you know that I’ve been learning to like salmon, and am slowly working my way through your many wonderful recipe suggestions. One recent standout is a recipe by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest that is truly next level. Her Coconut Curry Salmon with Garlic Butter is WILDLY delicious, absolutely unfishy, and surprisingly fast to make. Very much a win for me! After a successful first round with salmon, I made an impulsive decision to make a version using shrimp instead, and that was also extremely excellent. Delicious and flexible? Wonderful! Recommended without reservations.