Beauty enthusiasts throughout NYC were given the ultimate gift last year when Desiree Verdejo opened Vivrant Beauty in Harlem. The boutique carries a meticulously-curated selection of skin and hair-care products—as well as cosmetics—and has the rare distinction of catering to clients of all skin types, skin tones, and hair textures.
A Harlem native and former lawyer, 33-year-old Verdejo recently shared every step of her skin-care routine with us, along with the products she swears by and the one thing she’ll never do again. Ahead, her very sage advice.
How would you describe your skin type?
I’ve always had combination skin with an oily T-zone. It’s quite breakout-prone, so I have to be selective about which oils and serums I use. I also try to avoid fried foods and dairy. When I was younger, I battled my shiny forehead with any blotting paper or powder I could get my hands on, but these days I love that I’m oilier, or “glowier,” as I prefer to call it. I’m praying that this keeps me looking younger in the long run.
What’s your typical morning routine?
I keep things quick and easy in the morning. I cleanse with Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser, spritz a bit of Yüli Panacea Elixir, apply a lightweight moisturizer like Youth to the People Age Prevention Moisture Cream, and then add a few drops of Cane + Austin Ultra Sheer Weightless SPF 50.
And your nighttime routine?
I cleanse with Ren Cleansing Balm followed by Tata Harper Regenerative Cleanser. Next, I use Yüli Panacea Elixir to tone and then apply the most important product of my routine, Yüli Cell Perfecto PM Serum. Nothing fades scars or gives me clearer skin tone than this serum—I never let myself run out of it.
Are there things that you do less frequently to care for your skin?
I get a facial once a month at Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic, and I buy year-long packages to make them more affordable. I’ll also throw on a mask like Karuna Clarifying Sheet Mask while watching TV.
What’s your favorite drugstore product?
I’m obsessed with applying and reapplying Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Sanitizer.
And your favorite luxury product?
I’m new to perfume and get sticker shock every time I shop for a fragrance, but Nasomotto Narcotic V is the perfect combination of soft yet powerful. It’s definitely worth the splurge.
What’s the best skin-care advice you’ve ever gotten?
To moisturize! We oily people run in the opposite direction from moisturizers but the right oil or cream can keep our oil production quite balanced. Also, as you get older, stripped skin is definitely not the answer.
Have you ever done anything silly or extreme in the name of great skin?
I experienced the wonderful effects of a facial peel at my dermatologist’s office but didn’t like the price tag. I decided to order a professional grade peel online and perform it myself. I wouldn’t wish the discomfort I felt on my worst enemy. Fortunately, I didn’t keep the peel on long enough to actually burn and scar my skin, but in retrospect, I realize how easily that could’ve happened. Lesson learned—save the peels for the pros!