"Literally, Everyone Needs It": Benny Drama on the $32 Sunscreen He Can't Live Without

And why he trusts "Ms. Paula's Choice."

Benito Skinner


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.

For someone who's known best for his over-the-top characters and their fittingly chaotic hair and makeup routines, Benito Skinner knows a lot about skincare. When he's not wigged up as one of his beloved Benny Drama characters (if you don't know what I'm talking about, watch his legendary Kardashian impression, get to know the cheerfully deranged Jenni, and then get back to me), Skinner is busy working on a host of projects: co-hosting a podcast, shooting a new movie, and creating for brands like Klarna. But, between characters, multiple takes (and "pounds of makeup"), he makes sure to find time to take care of his skin. Not just out of self-care, but necessity.

Take, for instance, his project with Klarna. He starred in a holiday skit series that embodies the five types of shoppers. He self-shot, directed, edited, and glammed up for each archetype, which is no small feat for a performer (or his skin). "I've made too many videos. Like actually, I should retire," he jokes. The resulting campaign is hilarious, as always, bringing back several one-off fan favorites—like Mr. Hollywood—that his followers have been begging to hear from again. But, that effort and artistry (his characters' makeup looks are no joke) also require plenty of downtime and maintenance in the aftermath. So, it should come as no surprise that Benito has gone through breakthroughs, experiments, and research in his skincare journey.

Read on for all his skincare tips, the product he uses so much he's gifted 30-packs for every holiday, and why Y2K was the era of pore strips.

Benito Skinner


About His Skin

I definitely still get acne every now and again, and I get ingrown hairs a lot. I like shaving my face... I just have to give you a clean-cut look. And then I get perioral dermatitis which is the bane of my existence. But those are kind of my three things that I have to keep in mind.

I have very sensitive, kind of dry skin. So, for me, it's just more about stripping down and then every now and then going and getting a facial, a light peel, or something like that. But not doing too much in the winter. I can exfoliate a little bit more in the summer, but in the winter I've got to take care of the doll.

The Person Who Got Him Into Skincare

My oldest sister was really into skincare. I had blackheads on my nose as a kid, and I was like, "what the hell was going on here?" And she put me onto pore strips (Y2K was really was the era of pore strips). I thought it was that simple: you put those on and go watch The OC with your sister.

The Skincare Step He Never Skips

Oh my god, moisturizer! My skin is dry, and I feel like if I don't put it on, I can't even smile. I can't even laugh. I can't live life without my moisturizer. That's definitely a must. And then, I have to have a lip product. I cannot when my lips are chapped or crusty. If I see a photo of myself, and I have crusty lips, oh my god, it drives me insane. I'm like, "get the doll some lip gloss, that is not cute!" So I always have some kind of lip product around me.

His Morning Vs. Nighttime Routine

I definitely exfoliate less now, but I'll do the Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting BHA ($32) at night a few times a week. That's what I'm doing right now because I'm just trying to heal my skin. I had a pretty crazy perioral freak out in the fall. I was doing a lot of videos. I was stressed. I was trying to get my Halloween costumes put together (I know, it sounds ridiculous when I say that). So, I had to kind of chill out for a little bit. And I'm shooting some things coming up. So, I might just give my skin a break.

I use the Allies of Skin Oil Cleanser ($40) when I'm wearing makeup. That's my favorite cleanser for that. I use the Dr. Barbara Sturm Toner ($75). I'm doing the SkinFix Barrier Repair Cream ($52)—kind of slathering that on. And then some Avène Skin Recovery Cream ($35) as well. And then in the morning, I'll add a Vitamin C serum. And then the Avène Sunscreen ($32)—she is such a banger. Literally, everyone needs it because it doesn't make your skin matte, it's just lovely. And there's no white cast. So that's a great product. But that's my skincare right now. It's usually a little bit more fun, but I'm trying to just give myself (and my skin) a tiny break.

How His Routine Has Changed Over Time

I got acne, and I feel like when you have a skin condition you immediately start to become your own doctor... in ways that I wouldn't recommend. Go to a dermatologist or find an esthetician you trust because I definitely made a lot of mistakes along the way.

I've always watched skincare videos, but what I'm seeing now—so many dermatologists and experts like Hyram on YouTube—that would've been great to have as a kid. I was using, like, a watermelon-flavored cleanser that probably was making my skin blow up. It would have been cute to have someone telling me not to do that.

I've read probably every article that exists on the internet about dermatitis, acne, any makeup products that are going to make my skin blow up (especially while making videos). So yeah, it's been a process over the years, but lately, I only go to the pros for advice.

The Stuff That's Made the Biggest Difference

I mean, salicylic acid saved my life. And then I think the Avène Skin Recovery Cream ($35) has been great. That has been the best for putting on my skin when I've been wearing a lot of makeup, like if my poor eyes are raw from wearing red eyeshadow. So, I'll use Skin Recovery Cream in places where I feel like my face is going to blow up, and that's really helped.

And then I really try not to pick. And the thing that's helped me with that is the ZitStika Killah Patches ($29).

Benito Skinner


His Most-Used Products

I do pack on the Avène Sunscreen ($32). My mom is really intense about sunscreen (paws up for Patty!) She loves sunscreen. So that is probably why I always have it with me. Sometimes my boyfriend makes me go outside, which is super hateful. You occasionally have to go outside, and it sucks. But I have to have my sunscreen or else I'll just be, like, hissing at the sun.

The Product That's Been in His Routine the Longest

I think it's the Paula's Choice BHA ($32), which, honestly, I should be on the bottle at this point. I think I have to put that out into the universe. Like, it should have me on it. I have put so many people onto that product that I'm moving product. But I'm purchasing all of it. Like I'm buying it for everyone. I think that's been in my routine for a really long time. Yeah, Ms. Paula is always with me.

And then I used to be a really intense Burt's Bees Lip Balm ($10) user. I used that for 10 years. People would literally buy me packs of 30 for Christmas.

The Skincare Brand He's Loving Right Now

Okay, Allies of Skin is so good. They're amazing. A makeup artist put me on to them. She was doing my makeup and I was like, "Wait, your boy looks snatched. What's going on?" And the oil cleanser is amazing. I'm being very good to my skin. So I'm trying to not use too much. And anyone I've put on to that cleanser is obsessed with it. It gets makeup off so well. Your skin feels amazing, and it doesn't feel stripped. So that's my latest obsession in the skincare world.

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