The Very Gentle, Very Light French Moisturizer That Saved My Face


Je t’aime, Avène

I've had the same skin-care regimen for nearly five years. I stuck to it because, prior to discovering it, my cystic acne had been pretty out of control. I'd found an aesthetician I trusted who recommended a salicylic acid-based moisturizer in the morning and an exfoliating lotion with glycolic acid at night, and sticking to them was nothing short of miraculous. For a long time, any time I strayed from these two products, I broke out immediately.

But, of course, as we age, the needs of our skin change. A few months ago, I started waking up with a weird red rash in the shape of a butterfly in the middle of my face. The internet told me it was from red wine, but cutting it out didn't help. I threw out my pillow and got a new one; I tried cortisone cream; I stopped wearing makeup. Still, my skin was red, bumpy, and irritated. Most upsettingly, I was breaking out again.

It reached peak bad on a recent vacation to Paris, becoming dry and cracked. Finally, it occurred to me that maybe—just maybe—the acids I'd been treating it with for years were no longer serving me. They'd even started to sting when I applied them, and I've always felt apprehensive about products that give me any sort of sensation: Even when the directions say light stinging is normal, I don't really buy it. My skin does enough reacting on its own.

I went to a French pharmacy and leaned hard on Google Translate until I found a super-light moisturizer for very sensitive skin, by Avène. I've been told that it's never a good idea to treat a skin-care problem that's a reaction to a product by trying a new product, but I was kind of desperate and jet lag was making me feel a little reckless. I tried it that night and felt... nothing. My irritated skin did not get more irritated. So, that was the first perk.

It soothed my skin almost overnight. After a few days of regular use, the redness was gone altogether, as were the bumps. Thinking I was in the clear, I spent exactly one day going back to my regular routine, only to wake up with the redness back. I've stuck to the Avène lotion since then, and can't remember a time when my skin has looked better. I'm not exfoliating, I'm not using any fancy night cream—just washing my face with Simple's Moisturizing Face Wash and using a pea-size amount of Avène lotion morning and night.

When I started the salicylic-glycolic routine, I was in my mid-20s. It's entirely possible that my skin is just... not as bad as it was, and I'd been treating it as though it hadn't changed, often getting kind of preachy about the dangers of experimenting too much with your skin-care products (sorry, everyone!). And while I still feel like sticking to what works is way safer than using your skin as an ongoing DIY dermatology experiment, it's also important to be flexible. I'm not necessarily recommending you walk into a drugstore in a country where you don't speak the language and pick something that sort of sounds relevant; I got lucky. The key, though, is definitely listening to your skin: If it's doing something weird, chances are, it's trying to tell you something.

Avène, Hydrating Emulsion, $32, available at Amazon.

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Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.



Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.