not a professional. just crazy.

Beauty FAQ: Rio Answers Your Most Pressing Skin-Care Questions

The author, Rio Viera Newton, wearing a hat.
The author gearing up to answer all your toughest questions. Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

My Instagram DMs have become a hub for my beauty world community. I get to both communicate with like-minded beauty obsessives and answer all the questions I get about the products listed in articles here at the Strategist. The latter is actually one of my favorite parts of the job, but I’ve noticed recently that a lot of people out there have the same questions (Will product X work for my skin? What order do I apply these things in?). So I’ve been saving up my answers for a minute, all in order to compile a definitive FAQ outlining exactly what gets talked about when other beauty lovers slide into my DMs.

What are the best beauty brands for a great all-around skin-care routine? Which ones would you always go back to and think they have a good all-around set of face wash, toner, creams, serums, etc?

If I had to use one brand and one brand only it would probably be Cosrx. I don’t know what it is, but all of their products are so healing and moisturizing. I’ve found it really hard to find products that are both hydrating and help with my acne. Almost every Cosrx product targets dry, acne-prone skin so I never feel crusty or flaky from their stuff. The Cosrx exfoliant, snail essence, moisturizer, vitamin C serum, and sleeping packs are staples of mine.

Hyperpigmentation is a bitch. Any tips and tricks to get rid of it?

I get tons and tons of questions about hyperpigmentation because I think it’s a skin issue that virtually everyone is trying to combat. For me, it’s vitamin C for days. I use a few different kinds and currently I’m testing out the one from Circumference beauty, which is really helping with some pesky dark spots. But Drunk Elephant C-Firma is my first love. The girls at oo35mm in Chinatown also recommended rice as an ingredient to get into when you’re combatting hyperpigmentation, and I really like the rice sheet mask from Innisfree.

Who is your favorite beauty influencer on Instagram?

I follow a ton of different beauty gurus on Instagram, it’s honestly kind of overwhelming to chose one. I’m obsessed with Katie Jane Hughes’s Instagram Stories — she does these really in-depth tutorials via Stories where she dispenses advice on how to make your skin makeup look as natural and glowy as possible. I also really love following Sarah and Christine of Glow Recipe — they always post these videos of them sheet masking at the office or in Ubers and I find it really inspiring.

What’s your favorite highlighter, in either cream, liquid, or powder?

I use so many different highlighters. Right now I’ve really been liking this highlighter stick from Make Beauty — it’s super creamy and blendable. At first I thought it looked too intense but I actually really like it for everyday. Liquid, I must say, that’s Marc Jacobs Dew Drops. It’s insane and I don’t often use them during the day but if I’m trying to slay an evening glam, they’re my go-to. Powder highlight I don’t do too often but when I do I use Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow.

It’s getting hotter and dryer and my skin is becoming dirtier, rough, and spotty. What types of exfoliators do you use for face and body?

This is a tough question. When it comes to getting all that dirt and grime off my face, I really love Biologique Recherche’s P50, but it can make your skin really sensitive so it’s important you wear sunscreen. On my body, my eczema and psoriasis is actually too bad to even exfoliate, so I just wash thoroughly with my Cicabiafine Cleansing Balm.

Sunscreen over moisturizer? Or moisturizers that have SPF? Do priming moisturizers like Glossier go over sunscreen? I’m so confused!

I actually have been using the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better foundation with SPF in it. So I put that on over my moisturizer. But on days where I’m just throwing on some regular concealer, I put SPF on immediately after my moisturizing. So: moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup is how I do it.

What’s your diet and exercise?

I run on the treadmill (slowly and with bad form) once a week and do my best to eat healthy. Chicken, brown rice, broccoli, that kind of thing. But I am genuinely addicted to ice cream from the ice-cream trucks around Washington Square Park and eat one probably once every two days. I don’t know, man, it’s a work in progress.