Photo:Courtesy of Vanessa Lee
The Lineup is a monthly series where we’re giving you an inside peek at the beauty lineups of cool fashion people, editors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and estheticians—all the people we trust the most. Get ready for a behind-the-scenes look at all the can’t-live-without products that make their worlds go round.
It's more than fair to say that beauty can be a confusing space. There are so many tips, tricks, and cult-favorite products exalted as universal must-haves that many of us end up buying blindly without even considering what our skin actually wants or needs. Sure, mimicking the routine of someone with great skin might feel like the answer to unlocking your own skincare successes, but according to Vanessa Lee, cosmetic nurse and founder of one of L.A.'s top skincare studios, The Things We Do, it's time for everyone to take a step back and trust our individual intuition a bit more. "Take in all the info, but start a skin journal and write down how your skin responds when you use specific ingredients or products," she says. "Listen to your face and body."
What a novel concept! And it's one that she brings into her own practice as well. Even though a scan of Lee's Instagram feed will turn up tons of images of dramatic before-and-afters where she's helped clients unlock youthful faces via the latest treatment modalities (you have to see what she can do with filler and threads), her philosophy is rooted in achieving natural results that leave those who visit her office feeling supported and empowered.
Photo:Courtesy of Vanessa Lee
As someone who grew up collecting beauty advice and product recommendations from her mom's glossy magazines, Lee's eventual foray into the world of beauty was only natural. "I always knew I would end up in the beauty space growing up, and this year, I am recognized on Create & Cultivate’s 100 list of 2021 and in the top 10 of the beauty category! It has been a wild journey," she shares. Talk about a full-circle moment.
But just because this skin expert is at the top of her game, servicing celebrity clients and even launching her own skincare line, that doesn't mean Lee's own skincare journey hasn't had its fair share of twists and turns. "I remember using a basic cleanser and not even having to use moisturizer, and it was perfect in high school," she recalls. "Then, after having kids in my 20s, my skin drastically changed and became very sensitive, and I started to break out very easily. This led to my journey of getting back to balance, and now, I can tell what product I need to help when my skin starts to act up." Her plan of attack? Keeping an extensive skincare journal, drinking at least two liters of water a day, and looking beyond just the major beauty retailers to source indie skincare brands with great products and compatible philosophies to her own. Though, she admits that splurging on a Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix treatment once a year doesn't hurt, either. (That's the one where pros can inject PRP from your own blood into your skin!)
Ahead, check out the lineup that keeps Lee's skin happy, healthy, and thriving along with some nuggets of advice you won't want to miss.
"A staple used a few times a month to do an at-home mini peel. The instructions say to use them daily, but I think that can be too strong for most people, especially with sensitive skin. Using them a few times a month is perfect and leaves me with smoother, decongested skin."
"This one offers a gentle delivery of some seriously powerful ingredients in one cleanser. It has AHAs to get to superficial breakouts and BHAs to get to the deeper breakouts, mixed with calming seaweed extracts to soothe sensitive skin."
"When I need a break from my skincare routine and treatments, I like to just cleanse and place some of this CBD oil on at night. It doesn’t break me out, it leaves me dewy, and I like thinking that I am giving my skin a chill moment."
"Can you tell I love peels? Once a month, I will use this peel to help reset my skin. This is mainly glycolic, where the Dr. Dennis Gross peel has a vast mixture of several actives. The difference is that this mask really hones in on getting rid of open comedones."
"I use this everything balm on my eyelids and cuticles before I go to bed. I have thin, dry lids and dry cuticles from constant handwashing, and this balm (infused with papaya) keeps me moisturized and protected."