My Friend Looks 10 Years Younger Than She Is, so I Copied Her Skincare


My friend Shayna Kossove is 42. She is also my colleague at Who What Wear, meaning I see her a lot and have plenty of opportunities to gaze upon her surprisingly, confusingly youthful visage. As two of the company’s veteran employees, we’ve worked together for almost eight years, and I promise I am not exaggerating when I say she looks exactly the same as when I started at the company. It is confounding. There’s a general consensus among the editors that Shayna looks 10-plus years younger than she is. Naturally, I needed to know what beauty witchcraft was going on, so I decided to get her exact skincare routine and copy it—and copy it and copy it—until I, too, would begin to age in reverse. I stuck with it for five months, and it worked. Here’s an in-depth look at her fountain-of-youth routine, how testing it all went down, and the compelling before-and-after photos.


(Image credit: @SHAYNAKOSSOVE)

I began my months-long experiment by chatting with Shayna (pictured above) to learn about the routine that yields frozen-in-time skin. Shayna started off with an amusing anecdote about when she lived in London and got asked for ID when buying scissors at age 30. Okay, a shop assistant and I are in agreement: Shayna looks significantly younger than she is. So just what are the hero products that will lead to you being asked for ID next time you're doing an evening wine run? The rundown is actually refreshingly simple, and I tried every single product.

Note: In the spirit of transparency, Shayna does occasionally get Botox, which she started at age 30. Though, she steers clear of fillers. Does this contribute to making her look younger? Absolutely. However, I don't have any Botox, and I saw striking improvements in my skin appearance from her skincare routine alone.


(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR)

A.M. Routine

(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR)

To apply the product, you take five to six drops, pat all over your face, and let it dry. I try to give it a few minutes before I follow with my next step to really let it penetrate. You only use C E Ferulic in the morning, as one of its benefits is that it protects against environmental damage you encounter during the day, such as UVA/UVB rays (aka sunlight) and ozone pollution outdoors. Hot tip: Wash your hands after applying. Otherwise, it will turn the underside of your fingernails yellowish. Shayna urges everyone not to neglect the neck! "I didn't take care of my neck like I did my face, and now, I'm starting to pay attention to it. I wish I had started earlier." Lastly, be warned that the product smells like hot dogs, but rest assured, once it dries, the smell evaporates. Plus, I like hot dogs so… 

P.M. Routine


(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR)

Per Shayna's advice, I did try a slow-burn approach to retinoids by alternating days I used it and working up to nightly use. Zeichner offers a specific timeline: "Start out with the retinoid every other night, applying a pea size (and not a drop more). Then, after two weeks, apply two nights on and one night off. After one month, if you are not irritated, then you can start using it every night. At any point, if your skin develops redness, burning, stinging, or peeling, then just skip a night." 

Things were going wonderfully for a couple of months. After a tiny bit of initial peeling and irritation, my skin had never looked better—smoother, more even, less discolouration, and fewer fine lines. I could confidently say that retinol had reversed signs of ageing, and I don't really notice subtle changes in my skin. However, cut to a couple of international flights and a sunny vacation in the south of France, and my skin was peeling for two weeks straight. Not even Magic Cream could fix it. What went wrong? Retinol/retinoids can thin the skin, decreasing the protective capacity the skin naturally has against the sun (even if you are wearing sunscreen, as I was), and the dry air of flights can enhance the drying effect of retinol/retinoids. Shayna noted that she adjusts the frequency of her retinoid use depending on the time of year, alternating nights with non-retinol skincare, especially in the summer.


(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR)

Ta-da! And that, my friends, is what months of sticking to an effective skincare plan will do. In the after photos, my skin is more even and clearer. It also looks just a bit tighter, and I look more awake with a youthful glow. The girl on the left just got home from a weekend in Vegas, and the girl on the right is about to take her AP exam after a solid eight hours of rest and a well-balanced breakfast. Okay, so maybe I don't look quite as youthful as a high schooler, but you see the improvement, right?


(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR)

Here's a more detailed look at specific improvements. In the first set of photos, you can see in the before picture that my crow's feet are a bit more defined at the tail end, and there is a general improvement in overall colour-tone evenness in the after photo.

In the middle set of photos, I want to call your attention to the line that's just to the right and above the corner of my lips. See how in the before photo it looks more "etched" into my skin?

In the last grouping, I was impressed with the change in the texture of my skin. Pores are less visible, and colour is less red and mottled.


(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR)

In this comparison, the lines around my eyes look deeper in the before photos. The purplish under-eye bags are also less noticeable in the after photo.


(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR)

Sorry to all of you who read through this giant essay to get here, but the lessons from my months-long experiment can actually be summed up by this one Destiny's Child meme. Sunscreen, vitamin C, and retinol are the true skincare dream team for anyone in their late 20s or older. You'll notice those are the steps I marked as *crucial* throughout the routine. I now know that basing your routine on those ingredients is pretty much skincare 101, but it's a great starting point if you don't have an established routine or aren't seeing noticeable improvement from what you're doing now. It's been a couple of months since we took the after photos, and I'm still seeing results from this combination. I have yet to get asked to show ID while buying some scissors, but if these first five months are anything to go by, I'm on the right track.

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Up next: How to Carry Out the Ultimate Skincare Routine, According to a Dermatologist

Opening image: @katcollings

Editor in Chief

Kat Collings has over 15 years of experience in the editorial fashion space, largely in digital publishing. She currently leads the vision for editorial content at as the site's editor in chief, having risen through the editorial ranks after joining the company in 2012. Collings is a Digiday Future Leader Awards nominee, was named Buzzfeed's best fashion Instagram accounts of the year, and is a member of the CFDA Awards Fashion Guild. Prior to Who What Wear, Collings worked on styling projects for brands such as Vogue, Teen Vogue, Lucky, and Oliver Peoples. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in communications and calls Los Angeles home.