Although Cassandra Grey is, at her core, a beauty editor, sometimes even she needs an overhaul of her skincare routine.
Name: Cassandra Grey
Job Description: Founder and Artistic Director of VIOLET GREY
Tired of staring at a medicine cabinet full of products that don’t seem to work? Tired of being overwhelmed by the department store beauty counter? Tired of wondering if you are spending your hard-earned cash on the best products money can buy? Tired of looking tired? So am I, and so is almost everyone else.
Uber gave us all a car and driver; Rent the Runway made it possible to never wear the same dress twice; and Rotten Tomatoes tells us what is worth watching (I don’t screen anything under 60 percent). Well, VIOLET GREY wants to give everyone their own celebrity-approved professional beauty team that vets products to cut through the noise and get to the good stuff.
Just shy of five years ago, the VIOLET GREY team set out with a simple mission: to become the gold standard in beauty recommendations. We realized that everyone, even the no-makeup-makeup people, had a collection of beauty products in their medicine cabinets or on their vanities. But almost no one could say with a straight face that they were confident in what they were using.
Our raison d'être was to transform that haphazard miscellany into world-class routines (dubbed “cosmetic wardrobes”), maintain them, and consistently upgrade them with whatever new products earn inclusion. Over the years, we have gotten particularly good at helping people develop effective, disciplined regimens that translate into confidence about both their look and their product purchases. We call these personal edits VIOLET VANITIES.
In New York and Los Angeles, we’ll actually go to our customers’ homes, put all their stuff on their kitchen table, and leave only what they should be using (or, as Marie Kondo would say, only what brings them joy). We also fill in the gaps or replace products with a superior, best-in-class option, and often prescribe skincare routines with anywhere from two to 12 steps. We do this by asking a series of questions; learning about concerns, insecurities, and goals; and culling the best recommendations from our committee. We’ve even been called OCD because of the way we label the shelves, bags, or vanity space where products will live. Nothing makes us happier than a well-organized vanity.
Until we are big enough to make global house calls, we thought we would share with you what we have done for others. We hope you will relate to and benefit from the knowledge we have amassed by sitting with hundreds of customers. The Rotten Tomatoes of beauty is now at your service. To introduce this series, I requested that VIOLET GREY update my winter skincare routine (I seem to have acquired adult acne over the holidays, and I need help!). And next week, we will be upgrading the bedside beauty routine of one of our customers in Brentwood. Spoiler alert: We found the sex gel (aka lube) to end all sex gels.
CAssandra OPENS UP ABOUT adult acne, tech neck, and her afinity for a well-organized vanity.
V.G.: DESCRIBE YOUR SKIN IN THREE WORDS.
C.G.: Dry, splotchy, and bumpy.
V.G.: WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER-ONE SKIN WOE?
C.G.: Aging and loose skin on my neck is my number-one skin insecurity.
V.G.: HOW OFTEN DO YOU CHANGE YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE?
C.G.: I change my routine every few months when we’ve approved something new and revolutionary, seasonally, or when I have a new skin issue to solve, like tech neck.
V.G.: HOW MANY PRODUCTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY NOT USING?
C.G.: None. I’m always using the products I currently have stowed away in my medicine cabinet and on my vanity.
V.G.: HOW MANY STEPS INTIMIDATE YOU?
C.G.: Any more than six steps tend to intimidate me.
Our founder Cassandra Grey is OCD when it comes to her beauty routine. Not only does she never skip a beat when it comes to skincare, but she also lives for seeing her products laid out on her vanity and her backstock in an organized fashion. But a few months ago, she noticed her skin has become more dry, splotchy, and reactive. Her goal? To combat her tech neck and adult acne. And although she is intimated by six steps, we added a few extras while we get her complexion back into top shape. After ruminating with our esteemed experts, we curated the perfect assortment to solve her skincare woes. See our recommendations below.
We strongly believe you should never change up your entire routine at once. Plus, if a product is working for you, stick with it. Already a staple in Cassandra’s morning regimen, the Enzyme Cleanser delivers a gentle exfoliation and contains a little vitamin C to brighten the complexion.
Cassandra described her skin as splotchy and bumpy, so we recommend Doctors Rogers’ plant-based, hypoallergenic cleanser in the evening. The lightweight gel formula combines ingredients like glycerin, radish root ferment filtrate, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and citric acid to hydrate and naturally prevent the overgrowth of unwanted bacteria.
Vitamin C is an incredibly important ingredient for strengthening and brightening skin. Even though Cassandra uses the Dr. Sturm Enzyme Cleanser, which contains a bit of this ingredient, we felt it was lacking in her routine. Pro-Heal contains a 15 percent concentration of time-released L-ascorbic acid to protect from environmental damage and promote radiance. It also includes retinol to combat free radicals and olive leaf extract to soothe skin. Basically, it’s a powerhouse beauty essential.
Over the past year, Cassandra has been using and raving about Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream. She has seen results like firmer skin, fewer dark spots, and an overall brighter complexion, and should absolutely not swap out this product.
To address her adult acne, this serum is perfect to apply all over the face or as a spot treatment. Instead of stripping or drying the skin like most acne formulas, this balances oil production, soothes inflammation, and decongests pores thanks to lactic acid, salicylic acid, and acetic acid.
After applying the Intensive Repair Soothing, top it with the Soothing B3 treatment to soothe skin. A blend of 10 percent niacinamide, licorice root, and knotgrass flavonoids, this serum reduces inflammation hyperpigmentation and enhances skin firmness and elasticity. It will be a game changer for Cassandra’s blotchiness.
Whether genetic or as a result of looking at your phone, the neck is one of the first places wrinkles appear. Given that the neck is a main concern for Cassandra, we suggest she keeps the area hydrated to prevent premature aging. Chock-full of ingredients, this cream firms and brightens with amino acids, algae, and encapsulated vitamins C and E, and ferulic acid. But topical products aren’t the only antidote: Use the Joanna Czech Facial Massager to boost circulation and work in the product deeply.
This is a great mask for Cassandra to use once a week. Aloe vera, chamomile, and allantoin soothe, heal, and moisturize, while sodium hyaluronate and vitamin B5 hydrate, repair, and plump the complexion.
Eau Thermale Avène $15
Amanda Lacey $105
Dr. Barbara Sturm $70
Dr. Barbara Sturm $250