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October 11, 2022 — 10:04 AM
Beauty routines are never truly stagnant—practices evolve and change like we do. In As of Late, we chat with influential folks about their current products and rituals. Here, we get a snapshot of what they’re doing right now: the sacrosanct formulas they use until the last drop, the fresh launches they’ve got their eyes on, and of course, the why behind it all.
I remember the first time I came across Sofie Pavitt’s Instagram page—my jaw physically dropped. Her feed is sprinkled from top to bottom with the most untouched before and after photos from her clients she calls “progress postcards.” These images show clients who, before consulting her, struggled with acne, scarring, dark spots—you name it.
From light texture to more severe cases of cystic breakouts, Pavitt has led her clients on the path to clear skin both from her tucked-away studio in Lower East Side all the way to the west coast via virtual consults. She is a leader in the movement to prioritize consistent and hyper-tailored at-home skin care—though her plethora of in-studio treatments from cryo facials to laser hair removal certainly can’t be overlooked.
Her motto of, “Results-driven skincare,” reigns true through her work with clients and her own at-home routine. Naturally, we had to ask Pavitt what she’s been using in her product lineup. Apart from caring for her two adorable sons of course, here’s what Pavitt has been loving as of late.
The tried & true: Mandelic acid.
“One ingredient that I’m really obsessed with is mandelic acid. I’m always trying different products that people are sending me. But what I have found over time is that as I’ve gotten older my skin has gotten dry and quite dull, so regular exfoliation for me is key. What I tend to find is that mandelic is really great for everybody.
“I have a few favorite mandelic products—one of which is the Cleanser Concentrate from Glossier. You can use it on dry skin and leave it on for a few minutes or so and then wash it off, kind of like a mini peel.”
If you want a cleanser that does more than just wash away grime, this one is a worthy purchase. A blend of mandelic acid, lactic acid, and grape ferments and extracts gently exfoliate the skin, encouraging an instant glow.
The secret: Baths over showers.
“My biggest beauty secret is that I don’t take showers, I only take baths. It’s very British I think, but also my favorite thing to do is pour a load of bath oil into a bath and just feel like the greasiest little thing. Sometimes my kids will get in the bath with me too and then everyone is done at the same time.
“You can put on a face mask on in the bath, you can put a hair mask in, and you can do your nails while you’re in the bath. I get a lot of stuff done when I’m in the bath!
“My skin is super dry so I love bath oil, bath soaps, and bath bars. The bar I’m obsessed with is the Buffing Bar by Soft Services—I can’t get enough of it. I love it because it’s not for the faint hearted, it’s an intense scrub and I think sometimes I just love that.”
The pleasure: Splurge-worthy fragrance.
“I am not somebody who’s going to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on skin care. I get sent a lot to me and there are a couple brands that I think are worth the money. But, I don’t mind spending money on fragrance. This is ironic because I don’t get to work with fragrance on in the office in case somebody hates it.
“One of my favorites is the new Costa Brazil fragrance which is amazing and smells delicious. It has that woodiness that the Santal had, so it feels like a new version of that—I’m waiting to smell it around New York.”
This dynamic, unisex fragrance seamlessly combines light florals, plant-based musk, and a light smoky aroma. Altogether, this exotic blend smells like a rainforest with a bit of spice perfect for every day or occasional wear.
The surprise hit: Paraffin hand baths.
“I’m a facialist and I constantly work with running hot water and a lot of actives and I’ll have latex gloves on, so my hands are always really, really stressed out. My cuticles get super dry too. So what I do is use a paraffin hand bath.
“Remember in the ‘80s when you’d get a manicure and they would put your hand in the wax bath? I’m just bringing that back. I have one at my home and one in my studio. In the evening, I’ll put a really heavy hand cream on and then I put my hands in the paraffin. It helps the cream really penetrate into the hands. It’s also really good for muscle fatigue and aching joints.”
The up-and-coming: Tower 28.
“Tower 28 is another brand that I’m always really inspired by. Amy Liu, the founder, has become a friend of mine over the last year or so. I think the Rescue Spray is really cool, we actually use it in our studio. We also recommend it to people who might feel tight, irritated, or rashy. It’s really awesome hypochlorous acid which is great at calming down irritation.”
SOS Save.Our.Skin Daily Rescue Facial Spray
Tower 28’s signature SOS facial mist has blown up over the past few months, and for good reason. Hypochlorous acid helps to relieve dry, itchy, and irritated skin—to say the least, it’s way more than a refreshing mist.
The steal: A random $5 hand cream.
“I was working out of a doctors office in Beverly Hills and by it they have this really small time-warp pharmacy in the basement of a medical plaza. I went in with my dry hands like, ‘Oh my god I need a hand cream’ and I found this lotion called Corn Huskers Lotion. It looks like a fake product, like something you would find in a kid’s pretend kitchen.
“That lotion is such a fabulous hand cream and I guess farmers use it. It helps to stop the irritation from shucking corn. It’s fab and it has a really vintage scent to it as well. I highly recommend it and it’s so cheap.”
Corn Huskers Lotion
Corn Huskers Lotion
Corn Huskers Lotion
This underrated lotion has been used for over 60 years to relieve dry, chapped, irritated skin. Keep it on hand for those brisk fall days for an instant hydration boost. It may be harder to track down, but worth the search.
Travel staple: A trusty SPF 30.
“My travel staple has to be a sunscreen, always. My go-to sunscreen for my face all day everyday is the IS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 30. People are always surprised by that and say, ‘Oh you don’t want a 50?’ But actually, I think that a 30 is absolutely fine. If I’m going to the beach I’ll use something more intense but I don’t lay out.
“I love this one, it has a super dewy finish. It doesn’t look or feel like sunscreen which i think is normally a huge turn-off for people when choosing a sunscreen. It’s really light on the skin and everybody who I turn onto it says, ‘Oh my god this sunscreen is amazing.’”
Extreme Protect SPF 30
While not everyone needs a 20-step skin care routine, everyone does need sunscreen—period. This one goes on like a typical face lotion while a blend of enzymes, olive leaf extract, and centella asiatica protect the skin from environmental stressors and boost hydration.
The fall must-have: A gentle yet effective retinol.
“Medik8 has a retinol and it’s retinal (with an A) that is super gentle. It’s so well formulated. You never get flakey when using it and they have multiple levels of strength. I just love it! I think it’s a very gentle and super effective retinol for beginners as well which I really like.
“I start using that every other day to warm up and then every day when it comes to a month in. That will be me for the winter.”
New to retinol? This step-by-step system makes it easy to softly launch into a retinol routine without overdoing it or compromising your barrier. Encapsulated retinaldehyde is joined by hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and vitamin E to soothe and hydrate the skin simultaneously, minimizing risk for irritation even more.
What working for a dermatologist has taught me: Sandwiching actives.
“I have my own studio and I also work for a dermatologist, Cheryl Karcher, who is an amazing medical director. Working for her has been transformative in my learning and my knowledge on skin, because I never stop learning working there.
“The concept of placing robust actives between really non-robust products is something that I take so literally in my own practice in taking care of my own skin, but it’s something that I really base my foundation of working with everybody on.
“When you look at really active lines, for example an acne line, you see a lot of repeated actives throughout. You’ll have an active cleanser, a strong toner, a strong serum, a spot treatment, and an active moisturizer. I think that concept is really antiquated and really damaging—you can really strip your barrier with that. Instead, use really active ingredients placed within a really hydrating and barrier-supporting routine whether it’s a professional treatment or your home care. That’s something we hold hands on as a team.”