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“If you want something done right, do it yourself” is the adage that came to mind when Dr. Shereene Idriss, MD, saw skin-care brands “popping out on the market like mushrooms.” As the founder of New York City’s Idriss Dermatology and the #PillowtalkDerm Instagram and YouTube, Idriss was stuck on the sidelines as she watched brands churn out products she felt lacked the problem-solving many of her patients were looking for.
“Every day, there was a new trend, some new product,” Idriss tells Glamour. “I felt a lot of FOMO and thought it’s time to launch a brand that is problem-focused and very tailored. There is so much noise on the market and people no longer know why they’re using products or what that product is supposed to deliver and what they’re trying to achieve. It was time for a skin-care brand to launch on the market with a very specific purpose and simple ritual to it.”
After two and a half years of formulation, PillowtalkDerm Skincare is launching with the Major Fade Solution System: three products that specifically target hyperpigmentation. This pared back approach was something Idriss personally adopted over time. “I definitely was a skin-care maximalist, especially after I had melasma with my son,” she says. “I had 11, 12 step skin-care routine, which was ridiculously long and extensive. I am now streamlining that with Major Fade. Skin is complex enough that I felt that skincare should be simple.”
Discoloration is a skin concern that Idriss feels is often overlooked. “I started to notice how discoloration can make a person look worn out and tired,” she adds. “For me, it’s always been about how can I give my skin that radiant glow and brighten it up and give it the bounce it needs.”
Ahead, Dr. Shereene Idriss shares her go-to products for Glamour‘s Drop the Routine.
I have been somebody who uses the Vanicream Cleanser because it’s a very easy one. It’s not expensive. Is it the best at taking off makeup? No. So I supplement it with Bioderma and mix it with a little water, which is a little bit annoying, but it’s a very easy cleanser that gets the job done.
I am using my serum, the Major Fade Hyper Serum. It’s geared toward evening out pigmentation. It has in it glycerin for hydration, alpha arbutin, ascorbic acid, licorice root, and niacinamide. It’s a really nice serum that is very hydrating. I also use it underneath my eyes.
I play with the SK-II pitera essence every once in a while, especially if it’s very dry outside.
I used the Major Fade Active Seal. It’s as if a gel moisturizer and a cream moisturizer had a baby. The texture is very light and hugs your skin like a pillow. You don’t feel like it’s sitting on your face. If you’re oily, it’s just enough and you don’t feel like it’s overpowering. And if you’re dry, it definitely quenches the thirst of your skin. If you’re super dry, you might need to supplement with a thicker moisturizer in the dead of winter. So it’s definitely a versatile one. I love it because it’s not just a moisturizer—it basically seals the other actives in and has a vitamin C ester in it.
My eye cream
I use my serum under my eyes. If I’m very red and haven’t slept or allergies are kicking in, I’ll use Isdin K-Ox Eyes. Not all under eyes circles are created equal. The reason I use my serum is because I have slight hyperpigmentation under my eyes. When I don’t sleep or if I wake up puffy or red or congested because of allergies and you have your veins bulging underneath your eyes a little bit, I’ll use the Isdin.
My face mask
The Major Fade Flash Mask is a mask that you apply with a thin layer. You let it sit for anywhere from, depending how sensitive you are, five to 15 minutes, then you wash it off. It has a glycolic acid, lactic acid as well as tranexamic acid in it. And panthenol to help hydrate your skin. All of the products that I have made, by the way, are glycerin-based. None of them have hyaluronic acid. It’s a mask that you use two to three, maximum four times a week, to help exfoliate your skin, give your skin a fresh base. I recommend doing it at night after the day, once you’re washing the day off and before you apply the rest of your skin care.
My spot treatment
Occasionally, I’ll use benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin spot treatments. But more so, I’ll use a retinol at night three times a week. I actually use the A313 retinol from France. I’ll do that on the nights where I exfoliate because it’s lighter than prescription.
My face mist
I make my own face mist. I’m not selling this. This is something you can do yourself. I mix glycerin with rose water, and I use that especially in the winter. I get a little bottle mister and put it in that.
I love The Beauty of Joseon. It’s a really nice Korean sunscreen. And then I use Supergoop! Glow Screen every once in a while as well. It’s kind of like a makeup substitute. I also use sunscreen powders for reapplication. Tarte has a powder. I like it the most because it’s easy to click and a lot comes out from it.
My lip balm
I don’t use a traditional lip balm. I use Weleda on my lips and Bepanthen, which is a rash cream. It’s what I call lip-basting. I like to make sure that it really sits in and gets sucked into your lips.
My body care
Bioderma has Atoderma. This is the only kind of oily shower gel I like. It’s massive. It’s like a gallon. And then I love ISDN’s Uradin lotion. It literally smells heavenly and you just feel like your skin gets so soft.
Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @arianayap.