“No social media.”
That was the only rule my fiancé Joe gave me as I patted a clay mask on to his face for the first time in February. Fair enough, honestly. Face masks make you look ridiculous even without a Snapchat filter. But he didn’t say “no Women’s Health articles,” so…here I am, telling you about our skin-care journey.
Joe and I started binge-watching Queer Eye about a month before our March wedding, around the same time that I was frantically Googling ‘bridal skin-care routine’ and panicking that I’d never had a chemical peel before. Joe, on the other hand, was happily going about his life with nary a moisturiser in sight.
We both were in need of a beauty and grooming overhaul. I never expected it would come from binge-watching a makeover show on Netflix—but grooming guru Jonathan Van Ness delivered.
Though the show’s first season was focused on giving men advice (the men featured in each episode learn about fashion, grooming, interior design, food, and culture), JVN’s beauty tips are truly helpful even for women (like me) watching the show.
Best of all: Queer Eye has helped my now-husband learn that a good beauty routine isn’t just for the ladies. “I want to show straight men and gay men alike that self-care and grooming isn’t mutually exclusive with like, femininity or masculinity,” Jonathan said in episode six. Joe now is obsessed with masking, and regularly uses the JVN-approved clay mask I bought for us at Sephora.
Season two of Queen Eye just dropped on Netflix, and Joe and I are so freaking excited for the next batch of wisdom from Jonathan and the rest of the Fab Five. But to tide us all over, here are some of the best tips I learned from watching the first season:
1. Ice, ice baby
The guys’ first subject, Tom, had lupus, which gave his skin a reddish undertone and caused flare-ups on his cheeks and nose. Jonathan recommended a gel face mask that you store in the freezer. “Cold stuff removes puffiness, it invigorates the skin, and it really takes inflammation down,” Jonathan declared in episode one. If your checking and savings accounts are maxxed out to pay for your wedding (ahem, me) you can also just DIY it with ice cubes from the freezer.
And JVN isn’t the only one who loves this trick: Queer Eye’s culture expert Karamo Brown actually tweeted recently that the secret to his flawless skin is using ice cubes on his face once a day.
I use ice cubes on my face once a day. https://t.co/1IpO7qwdwj
— Karamo Brown (@KaramoBrown) March 28, 2018
2. Go green
Jonathan also helped Tom tone down redness with his go-to ‘green stick’—a green-tinted concealer. It sounds weird, but think about it: green and red are opposite each other on the colour wheel, so layering them neutralises the area.
Lots of brands make green concealer sticks, or you can go the lazy girl route (like me) and blend a green colour-correcting primer into your skin before foundation. Whether you go liquid or solid, start with just a little bit, Jonathan warns in episode one. “The rule with it is, if you can see it, you did too much.”
Related article: The Best Cushion Foundations For Every Skin Type You Can Think Of
3. “Spray, delay, walk away.”
Okay, this is technically a fragrance tip from original Queer Eye For The Straight Guycast member Kyan Douglas, but it bears repeating here, since Jonathan literally did in episode two. Don’t just douse yourself in perfume; spray it in front of you, wait a beat, and strut through the mist. You’ll get the perfect amount of scent all over, rather than smell like you just bathed in Clinique Happy.
4. Try DIY scrubs
“Gorgeous exfoliants are expensive,” Jonathan tells former Marine Cory in episode three.
Luckily, he then proceeded to share the world’s easiest lip scrub recipe to help get all the flakes off. “Start off with half a cup of coconut oil, two tablespoons of brown sugar, a touch of honey, and any essential oil that tickles your fancy.” (Jonathan went with a few drops of grapefruit oil because the acids in citrus fruits have even more exfoliating properties.) Rub it on your lips and then wipe off with a warm washcloth—now your lips are flake-free and ready to go.
5. Say no to sulfates
You know how most shampoo suds up really nicely in the shower to get super squeaky-clean? That’s because of a type of ingredient called sulphates. However some pros, including Jonathan, aren’t fans: “It’s just very aggressive for our hair,” he tells Bobby on their trip to Target in episode five, which is why he recommended switching to sulphate-free shampoo brands. (Side note: while these ingredients don’t strip colour from your hair, they can be.)
I’m not saying you have to go sulphate-free if it’s not right for you—but I’d be lying if I said Jonathan didn’t convince me to make the switch. (I mean, just look at his hair.)
6. Going out tonight? Skip the clay mask
Jonathan says to reach for a detoxing clay mask “if your skin’s feeling a little busted, or, like, needs a little moment”. But, as he warned young entrepreneur Remington in episode six, don’t even think about it right before a big event. “That’s actually asking the stuff to come out of the skin,” he says. “So this is more of, like, a Sunday thing.”
Clearly, I had been masking all wrong. But, in good news, now my husband and I do our clay masks together once a week.
7. Don’t neglect your nails
Okay, full disclosure, I haven’t been able to convince Joe to put the ‘man’ in ‘manicure’ just yet. But I will say that JVN taking Remington to the nail salon in episode six was a wake up call. “These nails are important. There’s really no hiding them,” Jonathan said. “We’re not wearing mittens in Atlanta in the summer, you know what I’m saying?” Of course, then I looked at my own hands.
JVN recommends keeping up with your nails by going to a salon or clipping and exfoliating at home every other week. I haven’t been that regular about it, but I’ve definitely had manicures more often than I did before watching the show.
Related article: 33 Fun Nail Art Inspirations To Try This Summer 2018
8. Need an energy boost? Try peppermint oil
Peppermint isn’t just for chewing gum—it’s now my go-to scent around the home. That’s because episode eight’s Jeremy and his fellow firefighters seemed revitalised almost instantly with this peppermint oil trick from Jonathan:
“Rub it in your palms, then sit back into your chair. Close your eyes, put the palms in front of your face, and then just take a really deep breath in your nose. Hold it at the top, and exhale through your mouth.”
This isn’t just some random TV magic; peppermint oil has a host of benefits, including being.
Related article: 11 Mood-Boosting Foods You Need To Have In Your Kitchen
9. Take three minutes for self-care
When the Fab Five met episode five’s Bobby, the father of six was running on two hours of sleep every night and, on a good day, had 10 minutes to put himself together before working two jobs. In JVN’s words, he was “struggs to func”(struggling to function).
“If I could just create, like, three minutes of time in your day where you get to just be here for yourself, that’s kinda nice!” Jonathan told him. And if Bobby could find time for a quick skincare routine by the end of this journey, anyone can.
This is probably the most important lesson my husband and I both got out of Queer Eye: We all spend more time than we probably should on our phones, laptops, whatever. Taking three extra minutes in the day to protect and preserve your skin is actually a productive use of your time—and doubles as relaxation. “You have to create little pockets of joy in your life to take care of yourself,” Jonathan echoes in episode eight.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.