Vogue Beauty Ed Nidhi Sharma’s Skincare Routine Is So Intense…
…it’ll make you realise just how lazy you’re being about taking care of your own skin! At Hauterfly, we’re always curious about beauty regimes, so we obviously jumped at the opportunity to get an exclusive sneak peek into Vogue India Beauty Editor Nidhi Sharma Punjabi’s envy-inducing skincare regimen. So dedicated is this beauty about taking care of her skin that you will want to curl up and die thinking about your lackadaisical routine.
As Nidhi says, “People don’t consider skin as the most important thing in their body, they don’t want to invest time and effort in it — they’ll sign up for the fanciest gym memberships and eat organic, but tell them about sunscreen and they’ll be like ‘it’s too cumbersome’, ‘makes me turn grey’, etc. Make-up or no make-up, if you have great skin, you can wear anything and still look like a million bucks.”
Ladies, this is what commitment looks like!
So tell us what your skincare regime like?
Super intense! I follow the Korean skincare regimen, which involves layering multiple products. I have really dry and dehydrated skin that is on the sensitive side, so multiple layers infuse my skin with some much-needed moisture.
Which products do you start your day with?
A gentle milk-based cleanser in the shower to take off all the stuff I slap on at night. I alternate between Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser and La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser — both are super gentle and don’t strip dry skin. This is followed by two to three serums, eye cream, moisturisers and sunscreen. I make sure to moisturise within 5 minutes of getting out of the shower. It’s a tried and tested trick; freshly cleansed and slightly damp skin absorbs moisture well, plus I have to moisturise before I do anything else. My husband often jokes saying he never needs to reach out for a moisturiser, he can just take some off my skin with a simple swipe. For the body, an unscented moisturiser (I currently use Bioderma Atoderm Crème) works well for me.
For my face, the first step is an essence (I alternate between SKII Facial Treatment Essence and Kiehl’s Iris Activating Essence) and follow it up with a lightweight, hydrating serum like Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement or Omorovicza Radiance Renewal Serum. I wait for a few minutes and then apply a heavier, creamier serum like Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate and Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream. Once it sinks in, I spend a few minutes massaging a simple moisturiser on my face, (these days I love Chanel La Solution 10). I go with a fuss-free moisturiser so that it only hydrates and doesn’t interfere with any ingredients in my targeted treatments.
Last but the most important step — sunscreen. I absolutely swear by Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport, as the lightly scented formula melts in and doesn’t leave behind a grey cast. I know my regimen might seem like a lot of work, but even on a slow day, it never takes more than 10 minutes. The trick is to move quickly and alternate between moisturising your face and your body. It looks something like this: Pat essence on face, slap moisturiser on arms, apply hydrating serum on face, massage cream on your legs, layer on serum number 1, apply moisturiser on the back… you get the drift!
How often do you top up during the day?
I add a few drops of face oil over my moisturiser or a hydrating balm on parched areas about once or twice a day. My current favourites include Bobbi Brown Extra Soothing Balm and Chanel Hydra Beauty Balm. Everyone knows that Bobbi Brown does great makeup, but her skincare is equally phenomenal.
Which products do you end your day with?
My night time ritual is really elaborate: I once read that any woman who spends less than 10 minutes on her nightly skincare ritual is committing serious skin blasphemy and I couldn’t agree more. If you want to age with fewer lines and wrinkles, you have to invest in your skin. I start by generously spraying Avene Thermal Spray Water to loosen my makeup. I wear eye makeup every day, so everything comes off with Lancôme Bi-Facil or Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Makeup Remover. I like to get every last trace of make-up out before bed, so I go at it a second time with Good Earth’s Amritam Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil — it gets every speck of kohl out of your lashes. I’m a big believer in double cleansing, and in a city like Bombay, there’s no way you can get all the gunk and pollution out by just washing your face once.
I’ve recently discovered oil-based cleansers. Although I like the nice cushion they leave behind, I’m still getting used to the formula. I follow this up with a creamy cleanser for thorough cleaning. On days I spend time outdoors, I swap the oil cleanser with a powder based exfoliator — two that really work include Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and Tatcha Indigo Rice Enzyme Powder. At night, I use a different set of serums and retinol-based products. One day, it’s an antioxidant cocktail to fight damage, the next it’s a potent Vitamin C formula to brighten — I like to keep the serums in rotation so that my skin gets exposed to a different skincare menu every day. I apply a retinol based eye cream at night to keep the lines and wrinkles at bay. My moisturiser is usually the same. Most nights I add a few drops of face oil. Right now I’m using Tatcha Gold Camellia Oil over my moisturiser to seal everything in.
What are the products you use occasionally, but at regular intervals?
I’m obsessed with masks and “rich” everything — if a skin care product claims “intense nourishment and rich texture” I’ll definitely try it once. I love the radiant results of a sheet mask but I’m a bit impatient with them. Cream masks are better; You can leave them on for hours and go about your day while it works. Masks that let you multitask are the best. Oh, and I never leave them on for the recommended time. I feel (and sincerely hope!) that the more I leave them on the merrier my complexion will be afterwards!
I typically do three masks a week and two to three exfoliation sessions. Once a week, I’ll apply Dermalogica MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque and keep it on until it turns orange (and turns my husband blue!) — the Vitamin C in it oxidises on skin. My recent love is the Bobbi Brown Skin Nourish Mask. I don’t even make an effort to wash it off, I basically sleep in it. On special days, I leave on the SKII Facial Treatment sheet mask — it’s the ultimate glow giver; nothing has ever come close to it. I prefer at-home peels over exfoliation with granules. I’ve been loyal to Omorovicza Copper Peel for the last few years. I won’t put anything on my face until I’ve spent at least 48 hours reading up on it. I need to know exactly what’s in a product that is going on my face. I spend hours researching ingredients and reading reviews before a product makes it to my top shelf. I’m a bit of a beauty geek that way!
How often do you switch your products?
I’m loyal to my skincare staples — I think I’ll age with quite a few tubs and tubes of La Roche-Posay by my bedside! I make everyone I know buy it, it’s really changed my skin. My job requires me to try tonnes of products on a daily basis. Sometimes I find stuff that gets a prime spot in my medicine cabinet, and sometimes it just gets passed on. I also change products with the changing needs of my skin — if excess dryness is an issue, I’ll up the hyaluronic acid in my regimen, if uneven skin tone raises its ugly head I’ll reach out for a prescription strength retinol+tretinoin+ hydroquinone cocktail, it’s all about what my skin needs.
What about skin issues? Did you have any growing up?
My skin was pretty well-behaved, no angry flare-ups or hormonal acne. Back then my beauty routine was very minimal and fuss-free: Cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen on good days, and maybe a mask and scrub thrown in.
What about now?
Dryness and pigmentation are my biggest concerns. Excessive dehydration gives me dry lines, and I have battled dark circles for as long as I can remember. So I load up on moisture and sunscreen. I believe that keeping skin well-nourished and protected is better than any Rs 5,000 cream or Botox fillers. If your skin is beautifully hydrated and looked after, it won’t age quickly. Also, complex anti-ageing ingredients won’t do anything if you don’t hydrate your skin internally by drinking adequate amounts of water. Over the years, I’ve realised that a younger-looking complexion is a result of prevention, not correction. My dark circles are my mortal enemies. No matter what I do, they are never going to go away completely — I’m still trying to accept that!
What’s a typical day in your life like when it comes to your skin and hair?
I’m not a morning person at all. The only way for me to be wide awake is to get into the shower within five minutes of waking up. I wash my hair every day, moisturise straight out of the shower and get on with my skincare routine. I blast dry my hair if I’m stepping out or leave it to air dry on days I’m home.
What about when you’re outdoors or at a shoot for work?
If I’m shooting outdoors, I just try and top up my sunscreen every few hours and pray the sun doesn’t do any damage. At work, I have this pretty little tray that keeps all my beauty essentials — lip balm, face oil, an oil diffuser, vitamins, my favourite Gardenia candle and a fragrance.
What products do you pack with you on your travels?
In addition to what I use every day, I pack products depending on the destination — heavier doses of SPF for a tropical vacation, richer formulations for colder climes. If my trip is less than 3 days, I have to make really hard decisions about what products to leave behind and the ones to take! I usually take along all my beauty staples from skin to makeup to hair and cut down on the serums. French pharmacies are my idea of heaven; I can spend hours in there. Last year, I lugged back 16 kgs worth of skincare from Paris, and it’s been totally worth it!
What products do you carry in your handbag?
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 for all kinds of SOS skin issues, and my NARS concealer. These two products are my desert island products. I never, ever leave home without them. I also carry a tinted lip balm, a rosy nude lipstick, thermal spring water and a kohl pencil.
You have gorgeous hair! Tell us about your hair care regime.
Thankfully, not as extensive as my skincare regimen! I wash my hair every single day; it’s the only way my hair feels and behaves healthy. I have greasy roots and dry ends, so washing daily keeps my hair in top condition. I don’t use a regular conditioner and use a rich, creamy hair mask post shampooing. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my hair. I use it only on my lengths and ends, leave it on for a few minutes, and rinse off. I use two pumps of Moroccanoil on towel dried hair and distribute a dime-sized amount of Kerastase Résistance Cement Thermique before blast drying. If I’ve got a few extra seconds, I’ll use a few drops of scalp serum to soothe my usually stressed scalp. My latest discovery is the Tangle Teezer Blow Dry Brush — it gets all the knots out, wicks away moisture, and tames frizz in a few strokes. I try and stay away from blow dries, not only because of the high heat factor but also because I’ve never got one I’m truly happy with.
What products do you use?
You’ll always find a bottle of Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Volumising Shampoo in my shower — it delivers a quick shot of volume to my roots and keep my bangs looking fresh even the next day. Currently, I’m using the Wella Natural Elements range. I’m quite partial to Kerastase masks, I use one every day. Just like my skin, I also rotate a few shampoos to address varying scalp needs. Once a week I use the Kerastase Spécifique Bain Exfoliant Hydratant to deep clean and Bain Spécifique Dermo-Calm Riche and Serum Sensidote to calm my stressed scalp.
Do you have any quick fixes/at-home tricks you learned from your mum that always works?
My mum’s solution to everything was chilled milk — redness, rashes, dullness — I was always splashing chilled milk on everything. When all else fails, I still do that sometimes.
Any bad beauty habits you’re guilty of?
Rubbing my eyes — it breaks the capillaries in the delicate skin around the eyes and makes dark circles worse, and working out with makeup on!
How often do you get skin or hair treatments done?
I get a thorough skin clean up every three months, and make an effort to schedule a facial when I get time. I’m a big fan of deep tissue massages and make sure I get at least two sessions a month. I love the Dermalogica skin treatments, and my favourite place to get them is at the Silhouette Salon at the Oberoi Nariman Point. I tried the HydraFacial at the Ageless Clinic a few months ago and have been trying to make time for another session. It’s fantastic and truly lives up to the hype. However, the best treatments can do you no good unless you have some of the best technicians. I rely on Sarita at the Ageless Clinic (Cuffe Parade), Sabina and Pamela at the Silhouette Salon, and Tejaswi for Dermalogica treatments — I’ve been loyal to these ladies for the last five years.
Are you fond of make-up?
Four words: Cannot. Live. Without. It. I like playing up my eyes and take the time to do them up day. I like the idea of bold lips on paper, but I find them too high maintenance for every day. And I’ve recently started working on my brows — makes a world of difference.
What are your favourite eye products?
Benefit Push-Up Liner for the sharpest cat eye, Clinique High Impact Mascara is straight from god (two swipes and everyone is convinced I’m wearing falsies), YSL Dessin Du Regard Waterproof Eye Pencil (I’ve cried through it and the stuff just doesn’t budge), M.A.C matte eye shadow in Saddle (such an understated, polished neutral).
What are your favourite lip products?
I hoard all sorts of rosy nude lippies, but lately, I’ve been gravitating towards berry and plum hues. I cannot stand lip glosses and frosty, shimmery lip colours. Matte is just so beautiful. Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet and Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte lip colours are the best mattes in the market — rich, pigmented colours and a creamy, velvety, non-drying finish. Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte in Irrepressible is my go to red — it’s a polished, grown-up red.
Tell us about some of your favourite makeup products.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. If I was dying, you’d find this by my bedside. I use the Sigma F64 Soft Blend Concealer Brush to blend it and it makes the formula disappear into my skin. Highlighters are my latest obsession and I try on new ones every week. I absolutely love the M.A.C Strobe Cream, I wish I could get a lifetime supply of it. Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders are terrific for the night. A few drops of Benefit’s High Beam over cheekbones is the quickest way to get a lit-from-within complexion. I have to admit that products that promise a luminous complexion burn a big hole in my pocket. I’ll see them and go, “Oooh! Have to have it!” I’ll buy anything that claims ‘dewy, incandescent skin’.
Which foundation do you use?
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in Warm Natural. I cannot wait to get my hands on the Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation — I’ve heard it’s the holy grail. I’m also a concealer hoarder; I’ve tried over 75 so far, and still have about 40 odd lying in my makeup drawer. I used to swear by Vichy Dermablend for years before they stopped making it. It was really the best. I discovered NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer when I was looking for an alternative. I was in Sephora in Monaco a few years ago and this stunning French lady sat me down and convinced me that it will change my life. It really did; I’ve never looked back.
How do you wear your nails?
“Squoval” and mostly in nude colours, with a hint of pink. I love the idea behind gel nails but then I think of their long-term side effects and my heart breaks. I love bright neons for my feet but prefer polished neutrals for the hands — they are easier to maintain and don’t show chips easily. Zoya Pixie Dust in Godiva is a gorgeous shimmery champagne colour — it’s on my nails at least once a month. I also love the new Chanel Gel Nail Colours, they do the prettiest reds. I’ll get a mani-pedi done once a month at Silhouette Salon in the Oberoi.
And finally, the 5 things you absolutely can’t live without?
Industrial strength concealer, rich moisturiser, an intense black kohl pencil, a liquid highlighter and, my Tom Ford Noir de Noir fragrance!