What I Put on My Face
All skin is good skin, which is why good skincare is more of a journey than a destination. We all love a one-off tip—but, at Byrdie, we’re more interested in how our skin evolves over time. The product we've used for a decade, the ingredient cocktail that made us glow, the step we never skip, and all the advice in between. This is the stuff that makes a real difference. With What I Put on My Face, we’re bringing you the rituals, recommendations, and failed experiments (we’ve all had them) straight from celebrities, founders, and influencers who’ve gone through it themselves.
Looks aside, what has made Ashley Graham so successful is how effortlessly relatable she feels whether she pops up on a magazine cover, struts down a runway, or simply looks back at me on my computer screen via Zoom. The model's bubbly persona that we all know and love is exactly as she comes, and makes you want to instantly become her best friend.
Her no BS attitude when it comes to body and beauty standards directly flows into her everyday skincare routine. The details are simple—Graham values effective ingredients, strays away from "one size fits all" formulas, and feels her most confident when she has her signature golden glow, hence her role as a St. Tropez ambassador.
As one might expect, the mother of three has had to make some adjustments to her beauty rituals in the name of time management. “I'm in a stage of life where a crying baby matters more than if the SPF got on,” she tells Byrdie. “It'll get on eventually.” Nevertheless, she carves out those moments of self-care and is loyal to the products that give her the most bang for her buck.
Below she details her current skincare routine, including her longtime love for St.Tropez, the experts she trusts with her skin, and the TikTok hack she swears by.
About Her Skin
Me and my skin, we’re really tight. We really love each other because we look out for one another. I get facials every two to three weeks because of how often I travel and how much makeup I have to wear. When I was pregnant I had rosacea, but that totally cleared up. Now I’m combating all the little bumps and blackheads on my nose so I’m always looking to help that. I'm always doing extractions, hydrating, doing red light therapy and all that jazz. I could do it at home but I prefer to have my girl in New York do it, Mzia Shiman.
How She Got Into Skincare
I always loved wearing makeup in middle school but I kept getting acne. That’s how I figured out, Oh, I have to wash my face [laughs]. We didn't have social media back in the day teaching us all this stuff! I always used just the basic generic stuff that was at the pharmacy, like Clean & Clear Morning Burst ($6) was always a jam. I figured it out on my own, through trials, breakouts and irritations, and what would actually take my makeup off and what wouldn't.
How Her Routine Has Evolved Over Time
I definitely don't have time anymore. Everything in the morning has to be faster and less steps. I used to be the type of person [where] everything has it’s own little space and gets put away. Now, if it's not out and I can't see it, it's not going on.
At nighttime is when I can actually take my time and get things done—like putting my whole tanner on. I've got it down to a science. If I wanna do my self tan perfect and beautiful... 30 minutes, done and that's great. Then I can put my long PJs on, go straight to bed and wash it off in the morning before my kids wake up and then I feel golden. Everything is about prep and scheduling and that even goes for like my facial or my acupuncture. It all has to be planned out.
Her Morning Versus Night Routine
The biggest difference in my morning routine is sunscreen. I’m not really gonna wear a foundation every day either and like to be uber moisturized, so I reach for a tinted moisturizer. I like the Cay Skin face lotion by Winnie Harlow.
I rotate which nights to use my retinols versus my St. Tropez Tan Tonic Glow Drops ($42) depending on what am I doing, where am I going, and how much am I going to be seen. When I opt for my tanning drops [that is all that I use]. It has all the other skincare ingredients that I look for in my other products like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C and E. [On the other nights] is when I am using a retinol, viamtin C, and an oil-free moisturizer.
Her Skincare Pet Peeve
When a company tells you that you have to buy the whole line in order to get the perfect skincare. I think that is just BS. Sometimes it’s just one thing out of a collection that could actually help change your whole skincare or skin.
Her Most-Used Product
Obviously besides anything St.Tropez it's probably Aquaphor ($15). I know that sounds really bizarre, but it goes everywhere. I use it all over my body when I’m chapped, and my kids too. One time all I had was one of those little tubes and I was headed onto a red carpet and I used that whole tube on my legs because they were dry and crusty and it worked. Shine queen!
The Skincare Step She Never Skips
Washing my face. I’m obsessed with washing my face with Dial Hand Soap ($8). I saw this girl with perfect skin on TikTok use it, so I did it and I have not gone back. It gets everything so clean. Like it literally takes everything out of your skin, it is insane. Lemme tell you, it is antibacterial and it smells good and it's cheap. You can buy it in bulk at Costco. It takes my makeup off and lathers up so good. It’s a one wash system. You do not need to lather twice.
The One Ingredient That's Made the Biggest Difference
Hyaluronic acid. I think it's like the most beautiful product because it actually hydrates. It's one of the buzzwords that you're hearing a lot about, but the thing is it actually works.
Her Body Essentials
I'm definitely a big hydrator. I don't have one body lotion I always go to, but without a shadow of a doubt, I'm out of the shower, I'm drying off, and I'm moisturizing my whole body. The new St.Tropez Luxe Body Serum ($48) is phenomenal because it's got all of the beautiful ingredients in it that we keep talking about, and it just makes you feel like you're glowing from the inside. We can talk about the face until we're black and blue, but I mean when your actual skin is doing that too, it feels good for the summertime.
I'm also really into red light infrared sauna blankets. I think that they're so healing. It’s great to lay in bed, snuggle up in one and sweat your butt off. That’s really great for your body.
Her Favorite Self Tanner
I have been a big time St.Tropez customer for a long time. I’ll admit it firsthand, when I was in high school I was tanning at the tanning beds. Then I realized, this is very bad for me. I am going to look shriveled up by the time I'm 40. As I started traveling for my job, they would expect you to be tan. I was like, How the hell am I gonna get a tan? I am pasty pale. I have Irish in my blood. People think that I'm another ethnicity sometimes—I am not. I am your typical white girl from Nebraska. That’s when a makeup artist told me about St.Tropez and showed me how to use the mousse. [From then on] it was always in my luggage.
Her Product Testing Process
I don't just throw stuff in [my routine] to throw it in. I like to look at the ingredients first and I want to know why does someone like me need it? A lot of skincare is made in mind for everyone and I don't think that's fair because all of our skin is so different. So that's first and foremost. Secondly, if I'm not feeling or seeing a change from using it within the first week or so, then it's outta here because then that just means it's just sitting on my skin collecting dust.
Her Latest Skincare Obsession
Gua Sha. I've seen so many girls do it so wrong and I feel like I have the best teacher in the whole world. Her name is Sandra Lanshin, and she's also my acupuncturist. If you go on her TikTok or Instagram, she shows you exactly how to do it. You don't need filler, you just need gua sha. I tell her all the time, like you are my Botox. I do it sometimes when I'm just laying in bed, on the train into the city, or in the middle of meetings. It's good for keeping the jawline snatched or to release tension in the neck. I even use it on my calves when I'm wearing heels too much.