Faster Beauty School

Beauty School Dorm

“Hazel. Your hair isn’t big enough and you know it. This is beauty school, not nursing school, dammit!”

I’ve been a bad, bad girl.

I’ve been careless with your delicate faces.

In my frenzy to share the good news about the Sephora Pore Cleansing Pad, I failed to warn all of you about the dangers of over exfoliating. Thankfully, it’s only been a few days, so there shouldn’t be too much damage done.

Please forgive me. You know I gets excited!

To make amends, let’s go over some basic skincare. We’ll put that esthetics license* to work!

Hey, man. I didn’t spend all those months locked in a room with bad teenagers** for nothing.


Before you can choose an effective cleanser, you have to be realistic with yourself about the strengths and weaknesses of your skin. Not your perceived weaknesses. The actual weaknesses. Just because you always had oily skin while you were a teenager, that doesn’t mean you’ll still have oily skin in your 20s, or 30s. You can’t keep using the same types of cleansers forever. I learned that lesson the hard way. I legit blame my own inability to follow this rule for the nearly two year struggle I’ve had with my skin.

A couple years ago, I was in the market for a new face wash. I’d always heard good things about Kiehl’s, and since we were living in LA, there was a Kiehl’s counter in a Bloomingdale’s close by. Practically fate, right?! Wrong. WRONG.

I went over there and had a whole conversation with the girl at the counter about their cleansers and masks. Purposely letting it drop that I was a licensed beauty professional, and not so purposely letting it drop that I was a huge asshole. I just really hate sitting through the whole fancy spiel about products. I don’t need to be sold to that way, it’s better for everyone if we don’t go through it, and I start to get bitchy immediately if we do.

Ugh. I’m totally just excusing my rampant self-importance right now. SOMEBODY HELP/STOP ME.

Anyways (GOOD LORD), when she asked what my skin was like, I told her the usual story: I’m pretty oily, I don’t get a lot of zits, but I battle with dullness. False. True. True. At this point, I was already most of the way through my 30th year, and I had been doing the same old routine for so long, I hadn’t realized that my skin had changed as I got older. I wasn’t that oily anymore. I think I was confusing “oily” with “sweaty.”

That’s so fucking gross. You’ll have to excuse me, I’m feeling particularly candid this morning.

Our skin tends to get drier as we age. Your skin changes a lot from your 20s to your 30s, I was out of my 20s, and not noticing the real reason why my skin care products had stopped working. This is the exact reason why, once a year or so, it’s so important to take stock of where your skin actually is. I think we sometimes get so hung up on what we’ve always thought our problems were, that we don’t see anything else. If you keep using products that address problems you don’t actually have anymore, your skin will only get worse. Cleansers for oily skin can over dry and cause oil production to increase. Acne cleansers can do the same thing, if you don’t need them anymore, leading to more acne. What a fucked up cycle, right?

I should have stopped using clarifying products, and started using combination or normal products. Instead, I bought another oil fighting cleanser and a fucking clay mask. Like an idiot. Horrifyingly, the combination of those two products totally demolished my skin. Both of my cheeks became giant, scaly surfaces. I mean, cheeks so dry and rough, they felt like scar tissue. It’s taken me nearly all of the time since then to repair the damage.

Find a good cleanser that will suit your specific skin care problems, and you have a good foundation.

Get that good cleanser and wash that face! Every day! It completely boggles my mind when people tell me they don’t have a face wash. Like, what the fuck are you doing with your life?! How do you take off your makeup? How do you clean away all the sweat and grime that lands on your face while you’re out being a person in the world? What else don’t you have?! Toothpaste?! Conventional wisdom says you should wash your face twice a day, in the morning and the evening. Personally, I usually only wash my face with cleanser in the evenings. In the mornings, if I’m not showering, I just use water.


I woke up in the middle of the night, last night, and had a near meltdown when I realized I had condoned daily exfoliation to literally dozens of people. DOZENS! That was totally irresponsible of me. Especially since one of the first things I usually tell people is to stop exfoliating every day. Those cleansers with exfoliating beads in them bug the shit out of me. They’re usually too harsh and abrasive for daily use, and to make matters worse, they’re frequently used in acne cleansers. Exfoliating acne prone skin every day can cause an overproduction in oil, more irritation to the skin, and it can spread bacteria all around. If you have acne prone skin, you can gently exfoliate maybe once or twice a week.

That’s a good place to start for everyone.

If you want to get into an exfoliation routine, start out slowly, with a gentle exfoliating tool or scrub, once or twice a week. Then, if you feel like your skin can take more, increase the frequency. If your skin starts to feel tight, or tender, or bumpier than usual, you’re exfoliating too much. If you start getting more zits, you might be exfoliating too much. It’s really, really important that you don’t overwork your skin. Scale it back, and you’ll see good results. Cleaner, smoother, brighter skin.


Everyone should be moisturizing. EVERYONE. A lot of oily skinned people think they don’t need to, or shouldn’t moisturize. Not true! Moisturizing can help to balance out the oil production, and calm your skin. And most importantly, daily moisturizing is one of the most effective ways to combat aging.

Who wants dry, wrinkly old lady skin? Not fucking me. That’s for sure.


In my experience, simple moisturizers work best. Things with too much perfume can be drying and irritating and that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Apply your moisturizer after you wash your face. Every time. WATER can be drying too. Especially if you have crazy hard water, or you love hot showers. Those hot showers feel good, but they’ll dry your skin out soooooo bad. Worth it? The answer should be “no,” but I’m going to say “sometimes.” I’m not going to begrudge anyone the occasional super hot shower. Use a moisturizer with an SPF 15 for day to day, and one without for evenings, or any time you’ll be photographed with flash. SPFs show up white under flash. Eww! Don’t get caught looking busted like you can’t match your face to your neck.


So, my skin care basics come in at over 1,000 words. You’re welcome? Sorry? I don’t know. I’m just so passionate about all of us being as good looking as possible!

*License only valid in CA

**Not all of those teenagers were bad. Some were completely adorable.


4 thoughts on “Faster Beauty School

  1. I had no idea about the SPF and flash! Another reason why professional make-up artists are a photographer’s best friend. Educational and hilarious – love ya labbunny. 😉

    • Sarah Cosper says:

      I could never talk bad about my awesome beauty school girls. Just the bad ones! That place was crawling with bad teenagers! I’m super glad you like it! I even cracked open my textbook just to make sure I was still right about everything. Haha!

  2. Tisha says:

    I totally had my own theory about spf causing “white face.” Sarah you made feel much smarter than I probably am. I’ve been telling people that for years!

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