Seasonally, fall is our usual time to uplift, age-rewind, or full-on excavate the topical layers of our bodies and faces, which show the effects of a summer filled with surf, sand, and sun. Out’s summer sunscreen and skin care story in the June Pride 2021 issue has proven we can brighten, resurface, and deeply exfoliate during even the sunniest months — if you select the right sun-protection products and services. So, while we skipped a few magazine months of anti-aging, the youth gods have dropped some serious innovations for “holding back the years.”
Enter my curated vat of brands. These selects can fit every time allowance and budget, with each brand boasting its distinctive use of heightened ingredients and specialized intentions. It’s carefully chosen luxury skin care wellness that also has the capability of making you feel good. There’s something to be said for starting your day (or a special night out) with your secret weapon skin care and tools. This proactive, it’s-about-me moment remains one of the best parts of my day. So, while a few name brands got left out, others became a more permanent part of my repertoire — yes, I have opened, touched, used, and loved each item in this story. Cheers.
Whether you’re an aging member of Gen Z or a still-fab Baby Boomer, Luzern screams luxury, based on its Swiss organics extracted in alpine water. Creating super-oxygenated cream “broths” via its own multifermentation complex, its products are sure to make your skin perform a plump, bouncy mic-drop. Hint: Apply layers. When using Firming Facial Mist ($65) and Hydrating Essence ($100) first, you use less of the pricey creams because they spread farther. Serum Absolut V15 is a real 15 percent dose of skin-a-min C (2 oz., $215). Force De Vie’s Pure Oxygen Crème Intensive ($235) or the brand’s Pure Oxygen Lotion ($145) mimic younger texture. Tip: Use Alpine Rose Glacial Serum Mask weekly. ($150) LuzernLabs.com
Babor, one of Europe’s top brands since 1956, launches products based on science, research, technology, and first-rate spas. Babor was one of the first to provide mineral-rich healing serums from the ocean floor dating back to the early aughts, which today has morphed into Sea Creation’s The Serum and The Cream ($400/$500), with their intelligently active heroes MicroAlgae AP and anti-aging protein Glycocéane. Using Instant Energy Ampoules ($50) from Babor Men beforehand amplifies your refreshed look without pinching your cheeks. Same brand but opposite spectrum of skin healing is Babor’s Cleanformance Phyto CBD regimen in serum and cream ($65 each). Super-penetrable vegan actives transform the skin with a blend of hemp seed oil and cosmeceutical grade CBD. Yes, doctor! us.Babor.com
On target. Right now. Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum tackles a deeper known aging problem, cellular inflammation. The brand’s patented HX-1 “protects stem cells in the skin from stressors that fuel aging.” (1.7 oz., $215+) HerauxSkin.com
Olio e Osso is simply fun. Liscia Shave Oil is a nutrient-dense shower oil for so cleansing or close shaving (anywhere) ($25); the Repair Kit’s Hand Cream tube and body Balm Jar(s) alleviate nasal congestion and sore muscles with shea nut, beeswax, menthol, and eucalyptus oils ($68); and the Rooted lip, cheek, and lid balm with matching skin shades benefits BIPOC and LGBTQ+ outdoor communities. ($28) OlioeOsso.com
Clean, science-based, and unique are characteristics found in one of my favorite and affordable lines, Beekman 1802. Milk Drops Probiotic Ceramide Serum features a concentrated and proprietary goat milk delivery system ($45). Milk Foam Calming Bubble Mask is your DIY molecular oxygen facial to plump skin and transform imperfections ($40). Milk Bar is a probiotic facial cleanser with goat milk and colostrum ($12), Milk Primer SPF 35 might be one of the best all-around protectors on the market with natural zinc oxide and anti-blue light with weightless, invisible skin perfecting ($25). Dream Booster Bakuchiol Beta-Retinol Serum (“the bomb”) is a gentle perfector for marbled skin, pores, and wrinkles. ($23) Beekman1802.com
How do you care for your skin?
“I used to really struggle with acne growing up. So, I drink two liters of water a day. I try to keep to a routine. Cleanse, serum, and then moisturize. It’s like a meditation for me.”
What is your definition of beauty?
“I grew up in the 90s, so I was very influenced by the supermodels’ beauty of that time and that standard. It’s kind of complicated because I work in an industry that rewards a certain type of beauty too. I thought of beauty as something that I have to try to be in order to be worthy. And as I’m growing up, I’m learning that beauty is in embracing the imperfect and living life to the fullest.”
When do you feel most comfortable in your own skin?
“If I’m honest — when I have clear skin. If I’ve had a good night’s sleep. When I’m present, around the people who really care about me and I love and when I’m not trying to be anything other than what I am.” @zanderhodgson
Native Atlas attracted me visually at first, but the brand’s head-to-toe focus just blew me away. Everything it puts out in the world has purpose, intention, and results. I started with the Zahara Rewind Tonic liquid exfoliant, a power-treatment toner ($68), and Vitamin Serum (Egyptian lotus, baobab). And to soothe my mind/body/ spirit? The brand’s Misuli Circulation Soak Jar ($36), Movement Oil roll-on with holy basil and lavender ($59), and Recover Body Balm with cooling menthol and warming capsicum ($34) get it done. The Omnis Fragrance Roller is divine alone or under your favorite sexy scent with vetiver, bergamot, and clary sage. ($14) NativeAtlas.com
OSEA Malibu is a special brand that was founded on raw exploration, generations of healers, and science. And your skin — and soul — will feel it. Here’s my must-own laundry list: Ocean Cleansing Milk ($54), Vitamin C Probiotic Polish ($72), Sea Vitamin Boost ($38), Hyaluronic Sea Serum ($88), and Atmosphere Protection Cream ($48). Become a well-moisturized merman at OSEAmalibu.com
I can’t live without Blue Light Protection + Hydration Mist ($58), my introduction to the One Ocean Beauty Skin System, a five-item set ($305). Marine Collagen Supplement capsules ($48) and Replenishing Deep Sea Moisturizer ($82) also rule. OneOceanBeauty.com
Low attention span? Caldera + Lab simplified the upscale men’s market with their one-bottle solution, The Good, a multifunctional serum with an enormous list of plant-based extracts, including rarified sea buckthorn, fireweed, and red raspberry ($77). Now expanded to include The Clean Slate Balancing Cleanser ($29), The Base Layer Fortifying Moisturizer ($44), and (new) The Deep, a manly mask of volcanic ash and oceanic silt ($42). Think Marlboro Man meets Madison Avenue. CalderaLab.com
Not only have the advancements of biotech skin care managed to minimize facial lines and tame frown muscles, discoloration, and sagging skin — space-age devices are moving mountains too. I’m quite jaded when it comes to these Johnny-come-lately tools, as my working studios resemble Inspector Gadget’s emporium. After trimming my 2022 shortlist, I found the below tools capable of remaining relevant for years to come. Let me tell you why.
Judy Jetson would be jealous. Want to drop a singular Opoule nugget into a gizmo and have a perfectly warmed (107 degrees), precisely dosed youth serum to apply every night at bedtime? You can! The genius scientist behind Opulus Beauty Labs, Dr. Robb (Akridge), is the mastermind behind the Sonicare toothbrush and the Clarisonic Facial Cleansing Brush. And now the Opulus Activator is set to make history as well (starter system, $495). Retinol has proved to be safe — even during the day — yet using it at night while we sleep is still our best chance to fight back against aging. Opulus Labs has (kind of) reinvented that with its Retinol+ Ramp-up Night Cream Regimen, which reformulated the patent-pending miracle ingredient to follow our skin’s natural adaptive cycle. What I really love about Opulus is how terrific my skin always feels in the morning and that it plays nicely with existing spot treatments or focused daytime regimens. Consistency is key, and the product’s handy case (the size of an index card) houses a month’s supply of what looks like a Rolo candy ($165). Quite simply, whether you skip a night here or a week there, the luminous results Opulus provides should be a part of your forever anti-aging/pro-gorgeous routine. Retinol forever! OpulusBeautyLabs.com
Fend: Although I’d like for its actual housing to be a tad more industrial, the reliability of this must-have device and its solution for repelling microbes is amazing, particularly if you suffer from extreme sinusitis. Launched post-pandemic, Fend introduces hygiene for our airways — “with salts that are in the body and a mist that gets them there.” We’re in a world with dirty air, people! ($60) HelloFend.com
OPTE Precision Skincare System takes applying concealer to the next level. Personally, I don’t wear makeup. But a spot concealer when I must be on camera or video? That’s common. Not only does OPTE flawlessly cover skin discolorations, but the shaded corrector serum also treats hyperpigmentation simultaneously. And over time, it diffuses the spots you weren’t born with. This is a “No BS” zone. This absolutely works and will likely be in every television and movie set dressing room going forward. ($599) Opte.com
I owned my first ReFa facial roller in 2015 to prevent the dreaded jowls and my no-longer-22 cheekbones. It’s still a perfect tool. The ReFa 4 Carat Ray Face & Body Roller is a quad of four diamond-cut, platinum-coated rollers with a large, integrated solar window (for organic charging) that draws in sunlight for a naturally occurring microcurrent. Built tough. Major score. Another must. ($340) NeimanMarcus.com, ReFa.net
Writer Marco Medrano is a multi-state licensed cosmetologist and beauty/grooming expert. @mrmarcomedrano
Creative Director & Location Ben Ward @_benjaminward_
Photographer Easton Schirra @eastonschirra eastonschirra.com for @theonly.agency
Model Zander Hodgson @zanderhodgson for @dinomaymgmt
Grooming Stephen Moleski @artistrybystephen_ using Shiseido makeup, IGK hair for @theonly.agency