With the midterm elections upon us, come Tuesday evening many political journalists will flash their mugs on TV. As evening bleeds into morning and the results roll in, there will be endless opining, terrible jokes, CNN’s relentless magic wall, the frightening metamorphosis of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews‘ hair and just an obscene amount of airtime to fill with brainy banter.
But most importantly, who will have skin that’s glowing and free of dullness, acne and blemishes?
The near-flawless complexion of Washington ABC7’s Stephen Tschida gets him noticed. He says he gets more questions about his skin than any other topic. He once got a call on behalf of a President Obama administration employee. “The caller said his boss wanted to know what products I use,” Tschida told The Mirror. “Told me she’d noticed in more than 20 years I hadn’t changed much, ha ha ha ha!”
Here’s the skinny on Tschida’s skincare regimen: “I wash my face with Dial or Cetaphil, yeah, Dial if I’m in the shower. Oh yeah, and I wash my face at least twice a day. Try to use the Cetaphil more often.”
Which brings us to:
1. WASH YOUR F$%KING FACE (even if you’re bone tired)
As an added bonus, Tschida uses Metrogel for Rosacea, a sensitive skin condition that can leave you with red, irritated scaly bumps. “The dermatologist prescribed it years ago and I still use it,” he said, adding, “I use Cetaphil oil absorbing sunscreen. Then an extra layer of skinceuticals sunscreen. A lot of it. I’m paranoid cuz I had a little skin cancer a couple years ago.”
2. DON’T BE TAN MOM: USE SUNSCREEN
Tschida is the rare TV journo or punditocracy member who forgoes foundation, powder and any of the other gook you usually see on Newt Gingrich. “My only cosmetic is a napkin, usually from Starbucks, just before I go on to wipe my forehead and that’s it,” he said. Never any make-up.”
Tschida reasons that his good skin is likely his heritage. “If I have good skin, it’s probably my ultra mixed DNA: Native American, English/German and that dash of Asian!”
Over the summer I was invited to Celadon Day Spa for a complimentary Ultimate Luxury Facial. Price tag: $175. For story purposes only, of course. It was by no means enjoyable. It was absolutely treacherous lying there on a heated table in the dark under a thick comforter and sheets with an obviously high thread count as they pampered me. Before I went in for a spa treatment that would leave me too loopy for an interview, I peppered the spa experts with questions on how TV journos should care for their skin.
“Because of the amount of makeup they have to wear, cleansing is important to get rid of the heavy makeup,” said Celadon owner Judith Koritsas, who, in her early 50s, has the skin of a 30-year-old.
Tschida is doing it right — Koritsas stresses that people who appear on TV should cleanse their skin twice. “The second cleansing can be more skin specific,” she explains.
The problem area that TV journos can face is breakouts since the makeup clogs the pores. “The makeup sits in the crevices,” says Koritsas, whose skin looks like it has no crevices.
She has a delicate way of explaining what happens when the skin falls apart. “If you have dehydrated skin and fine lines, heavy makeup will reside in the lines. If you don’t take [the makeup] off, that will not look very pretty.”
Celadon has a clientele that includes journalists and D.C. socialites who they unfortunately won’t name out of respect for their privacy.
“We try to get them on a better plan,” says Koritsas. “For the guys, it’s just uncomfortable.”
Shannon Hilliard, Celadon’s salon and spa director, is adamant that the face must be washed as soon as possible. “Some of it isn’t intended to stay on the face for 12 hours,” she said.
Both women stress that once a month facials are a must.
“It takes a village,” my esthetician, Amanda Agenes, tells me ominously once I’m under the covers and she’s explaining basic skincare with a bright light peering down on my face.
3. DO NOT OVER-EXFOLIATE (Too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing)
The ladies offer a stern warning about over-exfoliating: Don’t do it. Operate with a good balance of hydration and exfoliating. “Heavy creams are not necessarily the answer,” says Koritsas. “Just be so careful.” Hilliard chimes in, “Ask for samples. Try it first.”
They explain that cleansers with exfoliating citrus and jojoba beads are best. “Guys will use it,” says Koritsas. “It smells really nice.”
As far as TV makeup is concerned, a few quick tips: avoid frost formulas and mineral makeup (i.e. Bare Minerals, which tend to look great in person but not on screen). Explains Hilliard, “When you’re in front of the green screen, everything must be mat.”
4. DRINK WATER.
5. AVOID TOO MUCH COFFEE. (On Sunday’s NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd went on and on about all the roadside coffee he drinks. So far, his bad habit doesn’t appear to have surfaced in his skin.) As Hilliard puts it, “Do you want [your skin] like a grape or a raisin?”
6. GET ENOUGH Zzzzz’s.
Blissfully, Celadon loaded me up with lots of samples, including individual packages of each expert’s absolute favorite skincare products. I asked each of them to write down their top three.
1. Eminence Cucumber Eye Gel.
2. Dermologica Perfect Primer
3. Eminence Citrus/Kale mask.
1. Eminence Citrus Wash
2. MO Formulations Vit A Plus Night Recovery
3. Eminence Red Currant SPF 30
Post facial, Amanda, my esthetician, emailed me what happened in there while I was facially comatose.
“I did the Blueberry Detox Peel on you during your facial which refines, clarifies and detoxifies the skin, minimizes and clears clogged pores and removes dead skin allowing for easier penetration of your products for better results,” she wrote. “I then masqued you with the Skin Brightening Masque which is hydrating and targets pigmentation and after your facial massage I used the Hibiscus and Calendula Recovery Masque which is soothing and calming and combats the effects of free radicals and exposure to the sun and elements.”
For journos on a tight budget, she recommends a facial every eight weeks along with proper home care.
Generalized Tips: “You should start off with a proper cleanser, moisturizer for day and night, Sunscreen 30+, eye cream and exfoliant. The exfoliant you would use twice a week to rid the dead skin so your products are always penetrating evenly, everything else you would use daily. This would be a great regimen for someone in their twenties. Approaching your thirties you should get more advanced with your home care and start adding in an Anti Aging Night Cream and a Vitamin C Serum to use under your moisturizer during the day to protect against free radicals and to provide additional protection against damaging UVA/UVB rays, which cause pre-mature aging.”
Her exact recommendations were as follows:
1. Cleanser – Lemon Cleanser
2. Moisturizer Day – Red Currant with SPF 30
3. Moisturizer Night – Naseberry Treatment Cream
4. Eye Cream – Herbal Eye Cream
5. Exfoliant – Almond Mineral Treatment
As for journalists who will appear on TV election night, don’t worry. We will focus solely on your profound thoughts, the more rambling the better, and not your hairdo, complexion, facial hair, eyebrows, clothing, tie choice (or the tieless option) and jewelry.