Back to (beauty) school: how to become a skincare connoisseur
Have you found yourself so deep in a Wikipedia black hole that you feel like you have a PhD on whatever random topic you searched? What about after you watch 100 TikTok videos on skincare trends and beauty products? Do you feel a little like a dermatologist?
In the spirit of “back to school” season, we’ve put together a list of resources that are perfect for the relentlessly curious. From books and blogs to online classes, here are a few ways to make yourself a more knowledgeable skincare connoisseur – all without having to drop a fortune on testing countless skincare products and treatments (or going back to school to become a dermatologist).
1. Follow a blog
Michelle Wong is the first scientist featured on this list, but she’s not the only one. She uses her Ph.D. in medicinal and supramolecular chemistry to blog on labmuffin.com, where she debunks beauty myths, tests products, and uses science to explain her POV without being confusing or condescending. She’s also very active on Instagram, where much of the content she shares with her 400K followers comes in video form. Another blog for learning straight from the expert? A Model Recommends is longtime model Ruth Crilly’s blog, where she discusses everything from skincare to makeup to holiday gifts and decorations.
And if reading really isn’t your thing, check out Beauty is Boring: a blog that’s a collection of images with fun makeup looks that can provide immediate inspiration. (OK, there’s a little reading involved when you click the image to get to the explainer.)
2. Pick up a book
Old school, right? While blogs are easier to update, there are many excellent skincare books whose wisdom is enduring. When it comes to selecting and understanding skincare products and treatments, two of the best options have pretty on-the-nose titles. Check out Skincare Decoded: The Practical Guide to Beautiful Skin by Gloria Fu and Victoria Fu and The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Great Skin by Dr. Anjali Mahto.
Skincare Decoded was written by two skincare chemists who worked for a big skincare company before going out on their own. The book provides invaluable advice on how to treat all of your skin concerns but also does a great job of telling you which products and ingredients are merely snake oil. The Skincare Bible was written by a UK-based dermatologist who specializes in acne and scarring, rosacea, moles, and anti-aging therapies. She effectively took all the questions she’s asked over and over (and you’ve paid to ask your dermatologist, too), answered them, and put them in a book!
3. Take an online course via an ed tech platform
Thanks to the pandemic forcing everyone inside, we are in an ed tech boom. From leadership lessons to learning to code to learning to cook, it’s maybe no surprise that there are tons of incredible options for learning about skincare on online platforms such as Udemy and Skillshare. There’s an incredible diversity of content that ranges from how to create your own DIY skincare lines to how to do an expert skincare consultation on yourself or someone else. Just like the topics range, so does the sophistication of what’s being presented as well as the length. Classes range from one hour to five or sex, but fret not - they are broken into easier to digest lectures. But does it matter when the classroom is on your couch?
The best part, beyond being able to learn from home, is the courses are high quality and relatively inexpensive. The pricing policies between Skillshare and Udemy differ. Skillshare is a monthly fee of about $15, whereas, with Udemy, you pay per course (and they often have promo codes); pick a platform based on how much content you expect to consume.
Khalid El Khatib is a Brooklyn-based writer and marketer who tweets too much.