Birchbox Staffers Share Their Most Shameful Skincare Secrets

Here at the Birchbox office, we’re surrounded by legions of fancy beauty products. Because of that, you’d expect that we all stick to an enviably perfect regimen. Alas, that isn’t always the case. Years of iffy, lazy, and just plain misguided habits can be hard to shake. We convinced three staffers to reveal their most embarrassing skincare secrets—then offered remedies right from the Birchbox Shop.

Sarah “I hoard really old makeup. I’ve held onto mascaras from college and even the lipstick from my bat mitzvah (hey, the plum color is totally in again). Although I try to purge occasionally, I definitely have a sentimental streak.” —Sarah, Operations Associate

Remedy: Like medications, beauty products have shelf lives that vary from a few months to over a year. Use them past their prime, and they can turn into contaminated cesspools of bacteria. The worst offender: old mascara, which can cause eye irritation and even infections. We convinced Sarah to swap out her fossilized tube for ModelCo’s FIBRE LASHXTEND Lengthening Mascara, which contains tiny lash-extending fibers. As for her lips, we now have her hooked on this trendy purple shade from Beauty is Life.

Logan “I go to the gym after work, so I lug a duffel bag back and forth to the office with my workout gear. Even though my face wash is small, it’s a pain to haul it around. So I resort to washing my face with the gym's pink liquid soap." —Logan, Senior Relationship Manager

Remedy: We’re this close to revoking Logan’s Equinox membership, but we’ll settle for warning her that generic soaps tend to contain astronomical levels of skin-stripping sulfates. In other words, that pink hand soap will dry out your face faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100 meters. Instead of packing and unpacking a face wash every day, why not keep an extra cleanser in your gym bag? Our suggestion: One Love Organics® Chia Whip Fragrance Free Cleanser, which hydrates skin with olive and jojoba oils and comes in a convenient pump dispenser.

Jillian “My skin is prone to breakouts, and is also sensitive from the strong anti-acne products I use. I used to think I could exfoliate the acne away, so I would scrub with a washcloth twice a day, use an alpha hydroxy acid peel at night, and then apply Retin-A. My skin got so red and irritated that I had to get prescription cortisone cream from my dermatologist!” —Jillian, Relationship Manager

Remedy: Overexfoliating is one of the worst skin crimes anyone can commit (tsk tsk, dear colleague). But all hope is not lost. Going forward, Jillian should lay off the scratchy towels and pair a gentle cleanser with a non-abrasive exfoliating cloth like this one from EVE LOM. Rotate the daily duo with a twice-weekly oatmeal scrub. Follow up by layering on a light serum that won’t clog pores, and skin will be happy and healthy.

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