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.
Ava Lee is the skincare influencer behind the viral skincare trend "jello skin," a term describing hydrated, bouncy skin. The social media star's buzzy beauty content has helped her build an impressive following—amassing 1.5 million followers on TikTok, 350K on Instagram, and 185K on YouTube. Across platforms, she dishes on the latest skincare products and shares behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it's like building her skincare and wellness brand, byAVA.
Lee, who grew up in Asia, was introduced to skincare at an early age. Her family exposed her to many high-performance products while also encouraging her to nourish her skin from within with ingredients like radiance-boosting jujubes, antioxidant-rich goji berries, and tone-evening black fungus mushrooms. Needless to say, it's clear these skincare lessons have stuck with her. Ahead, Lee opens up more about her early skincare memories, the routine that helps her achieve jello skin, and her new favorite product.
About Her Skin
As I age, my skin has changed. It's getting much more sensitive. I also have rosacea, so that's something I'm always careful about whenever I test new products or get facials. I’ve also been traveling a lot this year, so that's another factor I must be mindful of. When you travel, you never know how your skin will adjust to different climates.
How She Got Into Skincare
It was honestly just the culture I grew up in. I'm Korean, but I grew up in China. In both cultures, women are very invested in their skin. It's almost second nature that you moisturize daily or cleanse your face every night. I loved skincare, but I never thought I liked skincare more than anyone else around me. I finally realized I did when I came to the U.S. for the first time in college. My friends were so astounded by my skincare products and I was like, Wait, this is completely normal.
Her Night vs. Morning Routine
For my nighttime routine, I usually double cleanse. Even if I don't wear that much makeup, I still wear a lot of sunscreen, so I'll start with a cleansing balm. After that, I'll go in with a gentle cleanser (milk or gel). Then, I apply essence or toner and follow it with a hydrating serum and moisturizer. If I do a face massage, I sometimes use oil.
For my morning routine, I'll go in with toner, vitamin C, moisturizer, and sunscreen. People assume I have a ton of skincare routine steps, but I actually keep it pretty simple.
The Skincare Step She Never Skips
Moisturizer. My skin gets really dry, so I always need some kind of moisturizer.
The Skincare Mistake She Wishes She Never Made
I never really wore sunscreen until after the age of 25. Because of TikTok, I see many people in their late teens or early 20s using sunscreen, and I wonder what my skin would have been like if I had worn sunscreen earlier. But this also speaks to the fact that it's never too late to start your routine.
The One Product That Makes The Biggest Difference
I used to have really bad rosacea, and my skin was always red, no matter what. Since I started using vitamin C more regularly in my routine, my hyperpigmentation has disappeared.
The Best Skincare Advice She's Ever Received
My mom told me you have to make sure you're actually cleansing your skin. Don't just put cleanser on, and that's it. You have to make sure you actually wash your cleanser off.
Her Biggest Skincare Pet Peeve
I hate it when people say, "You can't do this," or "You can't do that," when they don't know someone else's skin.
Her Most-Used Product
Vitamin C. I use it almost every morning, and it has single-handedly changed my skin throughout the years.
The Product That's Been in Her Routine the Longest
Fresh Beauty Kombucha Antioxidant Essence ($74). I used to love Fresh Beauty so much, and I would buy a lot of their stuff. There are a lot of essences out there, but I love the texture and smell of this one so much. It's really good for balancing and hydrating my skin.
Her Newest Skincare Obsession
My newest skincare obsession is the iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ ($95).