By: Megan Lee Photo by: Lillian Reitz
From the age of 13 until I was 26, I would not have been caught in public without a full face of makeup. It would take me over an hour to do, even if my outing was just going to the grocery store for 15 minutes. I was insanely self-conscious about my skin and people seeing my acne or dark scars. I was convinced they were staring at my face and its imperfections. I struggled with cystic acne all the way through college.
It wasn’t until I finally convinced a dermatologist to put me through two rounds of Accutane that the worst of it disappeared. Now, as a full-time restaurant owner and chef, I wear makeup once or twice a month if I have a night off!
Knowing that I couldn’t hide under makeup as a chef at 8TE, I had to figure out a regimen that would keep my skin clear. The kitchen is the least desirable place to work if you have oily, acne-prone skin like mine because of constant sweating from heat and humidity. I wanted my skin to look clean and clear—I haven’t truly mastered having “flawless” skin, but I do know what works at keeping it 90 percent breakout-free.
My current routine, plus having lash extensions from Venus Beauty Studios, gives me just the right amount of “natural glam” to provide me with enough confidence to not want to wear makeup. As someone in her early 30s, my beauty goals are to just age gracefully and naturally.
Megan’s Go-To Products:
- Peach & Lily’s Lazy Day All-In-One Moisture Pads – These moisture pads have truly been a godsend for my skin; they don’t sting and are amazing at getting off all the dirt and oil after cooking in a hot kitchen for hours. Compared to other cleansing pads and wipes, these are gentle but just as effective. Available through Peach & Lily
- Alani Nu’s Balance Pills – Some people swear by taking collagen for their skin, and I can truly say these pills have helped me immensely. They are meant to support hormonal imbalance, and specifically a clearer complexion. I have taken these consistently for years—and if I ever take a break, I can see small whiteheads creep back. Available through Alani Nu
- Peter Thomas Roth’s Potent-C Target Spot Brightener – This is a holy grail item for me! I have spent so much money looking for something to help erase hyperpigmentation, and this one (with consistent use) works as soon as two weeks for me. Available at Sephora
- Banila Co’s Clean It Zero – This cleansing balm is the best makeup remover—better than any wipes or micellar water. The makeup will literally melt off once it touches your face. Available through Peach & Lily
- PCA’s Intensive Brightening Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol – I get stubborn pimples that form under the skin and are impossible to pop. They stay for weeks at a time and nothing helps bring the size down—until my aesthetician recommended this, which helps cut the healing time in half. Available through PCA Skin
- Mizon’s All in One Snail Repair Cream – I know the word “snail” makes anyone wary of using it, but this cream has helped my pores and skin complexion tremendously. This is a top beauty trend in South Korea, and it does not disappoint. Available through Peach & Lily
- Mizon’s Egg White Bubble Cleanser – When it comes to face wash, less is more. I used to think I had to have a scrubbing wash to prevent my breakouts, but that can actually irritate your skin more! I use this as my everyday wash. Available through Amazon
- Summer Fridays’ Lip Butter Balm – This is the best lip balm for dry lips—it has the consistency of a glossier Vaseline (which I also love) and comes in different shades. Available at Sephora
- U-Beauty’s Resurfacing Compound – What doesn’t this product do? After putting this on at night, I wake up with smoother skin and smaller pores. This is supposed to take the place of multiple products and believe me when I say, it is worth every penny. Available through U-Beauty