This week, we hosted our third Masterclass Monday in our new series hosted by BeautyPass with a very special guest, Charlotte Palermino, cofounder of Dieux Skin. (If you’re not yet a BeautyPass member, it’s free to sign up, and the exclusive access to products and events make it a no-brainer if you love beauty!) A beauty industry pro and licensed aesthetician (she also worked in the publishing, advertising and cannabis industries), Palermino has been dubbed “your skin-care fairy godmother,” and her educational videos run deep on social media (check her out on Instagram and TikTok if you’re not already a fan).
During our Masterclass, Palermino shared the many reasons why she is a devout skin-care enthusiast and more about her cult-favorite brand, as well as gave us an inside look at her personal skin-care routine, including a sneak peek of the next Dieux Skin product launching this fall. Here, five bites of beauty wisdom (there were so many to choose from!) that were too good not to share.
Don’t Give Up on an Ingredient Too Fast—You May Be Using the Wrong Percentage
“We like to call Deliverance our ’Trinity Serum’ because it addresses three things we personally care about, which is plumping fine lines and wrinkles, soothing and calming our skin—many of us live in cities and climates that are becoming increasingly inhospitable—and the last piece is tackling hyperpigmentation. One of the key ingredients is niacinamide, which is very much so an ingredient you’ll find in a lot of skin-care products, so we chose to include it at 4 percent to account for that. It’s one of my favorite ingredients, but what’s fascinating about niacinamide is that I used to hate it because I used to use it at a 20-percent level and it was just way too much for my skin. But now at a much lower level, I’m finding that my skin loves it. Joyce [Joyce de Lemos, cosmetic chemist and cofounder of Dieux Skin] really changed my mind on that because I told her I would never formulate with niacinamide, and that’s why you don’t get into debates with cosmetic chemists—they usually win.”
A Dieux Skin Eye Cream Is Coming Soon
“Our next product launch that’s coming soon—hopefully in October or November—is an eye cream that we’ve been working on this for a long time. Eye creams are challenging because dark circles are caused by so many different things. I naturally have hollows under my eyes, and no eye cream is going to fix that; however, I can hydrate the area, I can plump out the fine lines and wrinkles, and I can really just make a good environment for my concealer to go on if I’m deciding to wear concealer. But lighting is also everything, so maybe just walk around with a ring light in front of you.
The cream is very humectant-rich—it has a lot of glycerin in it—so it has a very light, gel-like texture. It’s very cooling, and the ingredients we have in here address puffiness under the eyes, especially when it’s paired with the Forever Eye Mask. It also has some biotech ingredients, which are ingredients grown within reactors, and they can be derived from bacteria, yeast or algae. There are companies coming up with new novel ingredients through biotech reactors. I like to pat it in a little bit, because you don’t want it to be too wet, but you want it to be slightly tacky so the Forever Eye Mask sticks well. If you don’t let the eye cream dry down, the masks will start slipping anf sliding down your face like a slip and slide from our childhood.
Also, be very careful with the active ingredient you put on under the eye masks. Occlusion helps with product penetration; that’s why we developed them. If you’re using a retinol eye cream, or one with an AHA like glycolic acid, which can sometimes be found in an eye cream, and then you occlude it, you can absolutely get a rash. We formulated our eye cream to have very gentle actives to really account for this.”
There Is a Right Way to Open Instant Angel (or Any Product in an Aluminum Tube)
“Aluminum tubes are very common in Europe—I’m half French—but it’s very funny because when we were product testing because some people on the team were like ‘What is this? How do I use this?” The tube is filled to 55 milliliters, but we say 45 to account for what we call ’splooge,’ which is when you puncture a tube and it kinds of goes everywhere. We didn’t want you to feel like you were being cheated, but we are going to be changing the packaging because we realized it was a little bit confusing. The tube actually holds 60 milliliters, but the reason we didn’t fill it all the way is because if you can get the product to the back of the tube [with the cap facing up, tap the bottom of the tube repeatedly on your hand, like if you were trying to get ketchup out of a near-empty bottle] it’s not going to explode.
Aluminum is air-tight before it’s punctured, which is really great for the stability of the product, but it does make it a little more tempermental than plastic. However, it’s recyclable, and in the United States, about 65 percent of aluminum gets recycled, so we decided to kind of take the hit on people potentially being annoyed with aluminum tubes, and we’re just gonna teach everyone how to use them. I’m telling you, once you get the hang of aluminum tubes, you’re gonna like them so much more than plastic. We also have this little squeeze key that you can use when you’re getting to the bottom of it, and I swear you can get every last bit out—it’s so satisfying.”
Don’t Underestimate Kids’ Sunscreen, or High-Energy Visible Light (HEV)
“When it comes to the best sunscreens, it depends on what country you’re talking about. In the United States, Black Girl Sunscreen Kids is actually one of my favorites. The reality is that sunscreen is quite expensive in the U.S. for what it is. If I’m getting a 30-milliliter bottle—that’s the size of a serum—it will last me five days because of the amount I use and how often I reapply. Right now I’m using a lot of products from France and Korea. I do like to see testing. Internationally, sunscreen is regulated like cosmetics, but in the U.S. we regulate it like drugs, so there are a couple more checks and balances, but I’ve been really into this French SPF from Avène.
If we’re talking about sunscreen for melasma, melasma is very challenging: sometimes it’s hormone-driven, so no amount of sunscreen is going to reduce it, but it will help it not get worse. It can also be triggered by heat and high-energy visible light, blue light. And I’m not talking about blue light from cell phones, I’m talking about blue light from the sun, visible light. That is one that a lot of research is actually going into now, and to see also what it does to collagen and other things. So, I am looking for more products now with iron oxides, and things that are tested particularly for HEV, and this is a great product for that.
I also love Beauty of Joseon, which is a hybrid mix of physical and chemical sunscreen and has tinosorb M in it, a newer filter that’s not currently available in the United States. There actually is a little bit of a white cast with this one if you have more melanated skin, like Fitzpatrick 5 and 6, so be a little more cautious. But if you’re like me or a little bit darker, you’re going to be fine. On me, there’s no cast, but I’m basically the color of zinc, so.
I also love a La Roche-Posay sunscreen from Europe. It really depends what I’m doing. Beauty of Joseon is my office sunscreen; Avène is my ‘running around New York City, which is disgusting’ sunscreen; and then I’d probably use a proper beach one like Vichy Capital Soleil if I was going to the beach, and I’d also wrap my head in every single bucket hat I could find. I just don’t want my face to touch the sun anymore. I was so irresponsible in my teens and 20s. I went to tanning beds. But we were truly given misinformation. We were told by general practitioner doctors that a base tan was good. We were operating at a deficit, and the kids these days have so much more information.”
If You’re Debating Whether to Try Tretinoin, Go For It
“There aren’t tons of comparative analyses between tretinoin and retinol. It depends on what you’re using it for, but if you have acne, I’d try tretinoin, because that’s what it’s studied for, and that’s what the drug claims are for. There actually isn’t any research on aging; it’s an off-label claim for tretinoin. Dermatologists will say, ‘Of course tretinoin is more effective for wrinkles,’ because they see the results in-clinic, but we don’t have a comparative analysis of someone using retinol for five years to and someone using tretinoin for five years, and I don’t think we’ll ever have that. If you have acne and don’t want to go a dermatologist, go get Differin, go get La Roche-Posay, and try adapalene at 0.1 percent, which is available at any drugstore in the United States.
I use tretinoin, but I also use retinol. Retinol has to be stable, and a lot of brands in the United States have unstable retinol. If you’re buying from these telehealth online stores, I’m don’t know how they stabilize their products—I’ve used online telehealth tretinoins and they have not done anything to my skin. And then I’ve used SkinCeuticals 1 percent Retinol, and that will rip your face off. It will give you a new face—in a good way—but it is intense. I can only use it two to three times a week maximum. But, it’s air-tight, encapsulated and nitrogen-blanketed—they put nitrogen on the top of the packaging and it basically gets rid of all the oxygen—and it’s incredible. I also love Medik8. That is a very stable retinol and I like the brand’s different dosings—I’m using Crystal Retinal 10, but I also use Deliverance so my skin is less reactive. But if you can get a prescription for tretinoin, try tretinoin.”