Much in the way I began stanning Taylor Swift or BTS, I wasn’t obsessed with skin care until, well, I was. My personal inflection point: Writer Rio Viera-Newton, and more specifically, her viral 2017 Strategist piece, “The Google Doc I Send to People Who Ask About My Skin.”
For me, Rio’s writing broke through the noise of endless product recommendations with concise, accessible language, turning a sometimes murky beauty industry into something I, a non-expert, could sift through with ease. Since, she’s gone on to write a long-running Strategist column and enrolled in esthetician school to increase her knowledge base even more.
On March 23, she released her highly-anticipated book Let’s Face It: Secrets of a Skincare Obsessive. The book not only distills the essence of her column but also zooms out to address macro-beauty trends and issues, such as the push for sustainable, ethically-made skin care, and calls for greater transparency in product branding. Formatted as a small, extremely cute coffee table book, Let’s Face It meets readers where they are, whether they have years of skin care experience or are just starting out. Let’s Face It is highly visual, with easy-to-understand infographics (illustrated by Laura Chautin) that break down things like ingredients and pH levels, and funny quizzes like “Should I Drink Some Water?” (Hint: the answer is always yes.) But, unlike her Strat column, there are no product recommendations to be found. Instead, you’ll come away with the tools to make more informed decisions as a consumer, regardless of what enticing-packaged brands throw your way.
“The art of skin care, in my opinion, is knowing when and where to indulge and hold off, and that became clearer as I started doing research for this book,” Rio tells Teen Vogue. “With Let’s Face It, I really wanted to create something that could help people deepen their understanding of the products they already own. After reading, someone might think to themselves, ‘Oh, I actually have a product with hydrating ingredients, I can take this hyaluronic acid serum out of my cart.’”
Teen Vogue spoke with Rio over email to ask some of our most burning beauty questions after reading Let’s Face It, including how to deal with bad skin care habits like skin-picking, what products from the Google Doc she still uses, and what she’s learned about her skin during the pandemic. Your skin care obsession awaits.
TV: I was going through my current skin care routine and comparing it to your original Google Doc post — it was surreal to see all these products (COSRX, Neogen, Etude House) still in my rotation years. What from the original document is still in your heavy rotation?