Welcome to Take the Edge Off, a series that breaks down the beauty and self-care routines of influencers, CEOs, experts, and celebrities. Find out how they unwind and decompress, while taking a closer look at the holy grail essentials they’re currently raving about.
You may know board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss as the internet-famous # PillowTalkDerm — with over 321,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and over 423,000 followers on her personal Instagram page alone — but her journey in skincare actually started more than 10 years ago. “I’ve been practicing for over a decade; I’ve known I wanted to be a doctor since I was a teenager, and was lucky enough to get accepted into medical school straight from high school,” Idriss tells BAZAAR.com. “And so it was sort of like this pre-set path for me. But it wasn’t until undergrad that I realized I wanted to go into dermatology, so I focused my efforts on doing research — I took a year off from med school to pursue a research fellowship [at Harvard University]—Because it’s a very competitive field and I wanted to have as much exposure as possible. “
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After finishing dermatology training at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Idriss moved to New York to put her learnings into practice, working at some of the top dermatologist offices in the city. The expert later realized that she wanted to branch out and start her own namesake practice, Idriss Dermatology, which opened its doors in New York City in September 2021. “You just don’t think about it, you know? You don’t look at it as a mountain, you just look at it as like, ‘Oh, just another minute. Just gotta get through that. And when you look back, you realize what you’ve done.’ “In addition to owning her own dermatology office, Idriss also works as a clinical instructor in dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC.
Here, BAZAAR.com catches up with Dr. Idriss to learn more about the beauty and wellness essentials she keeps on hand to recenter and decompress.
What are you reading these days?
Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table. I’ve always been obsessed with hospitality and service. What sets one hotel, restaurant, bar apart from another? It’s not necessarily just the physical environment; it’s also the people in it who create an enjoyable space. And I think that is very important as well in medicine, because people are coming in — especially in cosmetic dermatology — vulnerable, with insecurities, with something they want to fix or make better. [Something as little as] switching from, “Hey,” to “Hi, how are you?” can make the biggest difference.
What are some of your go-to bath and / or shower products?
I really like using Bioderma’s Atoderm Shower Oil in the shower. It comes in a pump that’s ridiculously big, but you just feel so sleek and smooth when you use it. With two toddlers, I don’t have time to come out and do a body brush or something — it sounds very Fantasy Land for me. I literally have, like, one kid between my legs and the other one about to embark on a suicide mission that I’m trying to save, and my towel’s hardly sticking on. So, I take the shower oil and move on.
What beauty or self-care products do you use on a regular basis to help combat Zoom fatigue?
I rarely have Zoom fatigue. I have mask fatigue because I wear them for 10 hours a day, you know? For mask fatigue, I was using hypochlorous acid in the form of Tower 28’s SOS Spray, and I would spray the inside of my mask just to kind of freshen it up throughout the day. But for Zoom, I came up with a glycerin rosewater concoction; I bought this little misting thing on Amazon for like 10 bucks. And I pour the mixture inside and actually get an instant glow. It just takes you away for like five minutes and the sound is nice — you feel like you’re like in the spa. It’s actually lovely.
Do you have a favorite hand sanitizer, soap, and / or cream right now?
I feel in love with the Arquiste hand sanitizer at my friend’s house, so I asked him to get me one. It smells heavenly, like orange blossom. I’m so sick of the movies hand sanitizers, or the hand sanitizers that clean like they’re lotions. This one is lightweight and leaves behind a very subtle scent that kind of takes you away — it’s beautiful. I also love O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream, and also just got the Jordan Samuels Moisture Recovery Cream, which is very nice.
Do you ever light a candle or stick of incense to decompress? If so, what are some of your favorites?
Well, we had a fire in my office in December, so I don’t light any candles or incense anymore — like, get everything that’s flaming away from me. I bought these Craft and Kin Reed Diffuser Sticks — not the ones you light, but the ones you flip in the jar — from Amazon. They’re very nice; every patient asks me what the smell is when they come in here. I’m obsessed with anything orange blossom and gardenia, I really am. I feel like it takes me away to like South of France or Lebanon; I feel like I’m in a garden.
What was the last beauty product you put on today?
Probably mascara. I usually put my sunscreen on before I do my eyebrows, then I do my liner and add some mascara. I’ve been using Huda Beauty’s Pastel Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette for years because it’s foolproof — it looks like I did something with minimal effort. But mascara is always the final step.
Are you into bold makeup, no makeup, or no-makeup makeup right now, and why?
I’ve always been into a light makeup look where it’s not like I’m not wearing anything, but it’s very, very faint. I like looking at bare skin. But I think everybody likes a little bit of a glow, so I’m not opposed to a little sheen or shimmer here or there. That’s always been my MO I don’t think I would know how to do a very strong makeup look anyway.
What’s the last fitness class you streamed or attended in person?
I streamed — maybe over a month ago — a Peloton ride with Cody Rigsby. I have the Original Bike; we bought it before the pandemic started by chance. And I always gravitate towards Cody because his music is lighter and he’s not that hard. Half the time he’s just talking shit about something, and so you’re just distracted listening to him talk about something without feeling like you’re dying on the bike.
What’s one piece of self-care advice you’d recommend to our readers?
People tend to think of self-care as like, Oh my god, I have to cut out a chunk of time just for me, and it becomes stress-inducing. But self-care should just be part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. You brush your teeth every day when you wake up and before you go to bed, hopefully. And having a consistent, even if it’s small, routine is going to have much more of an impact on your skin and overall well-being over time. Because you’ve prioritized yourself, even if it’s for four minutes a day.
Nowadays, I think of that Euphoria scene, with the skincare? And that’s, like, psychotic — who has time for that? But even just like washing your face, and using an exfoliating acid, doing something that’s targeted to fix your own [personal] problem, is going to make you feel better about yourself in a few weeks than you can ever imagine. So that’s my one piece of advice.
Oh, and to do your nighttime skincare routine when you first get home if you’re not going out for the night. That’s something I used to do before I had kids, and honestly, it really worked — I could see the difference. And now I do it at like literally at 11:30 pm at night.
When I used to do my routine when I first walked through the door, my complexion got the face time it needed with each product. And I really saw the benefits. I don’t know, we all do it and then go lay down on our pillows and wipe it all off on the case. Like, you spent 80 bucks on all this shit you put on your face, and then your pillowcases are going to get the benefits! So, that’s one piece of advice I really should preach to myself that I used to actually follow, but I’ve fallen off the bandwagon.
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