From the red carpet to your living room, healthy skin is something that we ALL care about. So, in Lab 011 we are diving into all things SKIN to talk about what our skin is made of and what we need to do to protect, rejuvenate, and maintain it. Zakiya takes us through the biology of the skin, its properties, and the effects of different chemicals on the skin . Titi fills us in on the chemistry and materials science behind the composition of different products.


In this lab we approached things a little different and did not have a scientist as our expert. Although she is not a scientist Joanna Simkin is the Albert Einstein of skin care. She has worked with a lot of big name celebrities like Issa Rae, Marsai Martin , and Zayn Malik. Joanna has also been the leader in the #bareintheair movement encouraging people to not only keep their faces clean while flying but to also moisturize/add vitamins while they are a mile high. The air in airplanes can be very drying to the skin, so Joanna believes we should take that time to really pump more moisture back into our skin.


Joanna took us through all of her skincare (from the roota to the toota!) and told us all of her must have’s and we have linked everything below!

Skin is the largest organ in our body and it has 3 layers: The epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. Each of these layers have a purpose and keeping them all healthy is important. Collagen is a protein that is found in all three layers and maintains the strength and structure of your skin.

The first step is cleansing your skin and Joanna recommends starting with micellar water to start with. Micelles are surfactants that have unique properties that attache to dirt and oil on the skin and remove them. Then you follow up with you cleanser and exfoliator.

There are 2 types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Don’t shy away from a chemical exfoliator! Zakiya reminded us that our bodies are made up of chemicals and a lot of the products are just adding to the chemicals we already have naturally occurring in our bodies.

The next step is toner, which prepares your skin for the next step by closing your pores. Not all toners are created equal so knowing your skin type. If you have oily skin you may want a toner with acid and if you have dry skin you may want a toner with hydrating properties. You can take this quiz to figure out what type of skin you have.

After this step you moisturize your skin with serums, vitamins, and creamy moisturizers. The final step should be sunscreen. Sunscreen is a really important step! it provides a physical layer of protection from harmful UV rays using nanoparticles.

Joanna’s picks for healthy skin!


Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

Shiseido Waso Quick Gentle Cleanser

10 Pack Facial Sponge for Daily Cleansing and Gently Exfoliating

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner

Fresh Rose Floral Toner

Black Microfiber Reusable Makeup Remover Pads


SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Fresh Black Tea and Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum

Paula’s Choice BOOST Hyaluronic Acid Booster

Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream

Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil

Glossier Invisible Shield

Titi’s Skincare Routine:

I have been using the same products for years. Once I find something that works for me I rarely deviate. 

Cleansing/Exfoliating: I use the Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser as my cleanser AND exfoliator. It is a chemical exfoliator and it is pretty strong (some of my friends had some irritation when they used it). And I like to wash my face twice with that. If I have make-up on, I use the Burt’s Bees Micellar Water Wipes to take it off then use the Mario cleanser. 

For my body, I only use a physical exfoliator (a body brush) with my normal body wash.

For toning I use Neutrogena Clear Pore Oil-Eliminating Astringent 

Moisturizing: Like I said in the episode I love vitamin C! So I use a Vitamin C serum by Drunk Elephant. This is the most expensive skincare item I have ever purchased but it REALLY works! So, I will be pinching my coins so that when I run out I can buy another bottle.

After the serum, I put on a sunscreen that doubles as my moisturizer. It’s called Black Girl Sunscreen and it is PERFECTION. It has really moisturizing ingredients but also provides protection from the sun without having that white cast that makes you look like a corpse. At night I moisturize my body with CeraVe and my face with a overnight mask by Fresh. I have been using CeraVe for years and I swear by it, the overnight mask i just started using over the last couple of months and i love it!

Zakiya’s Skincare Routine: 

I am not loyal to any one skincare product, so please understand I am using the word routine very loosely.

Cleansing: On my best days, I remove with Garnier Micellar Water then use my Dr. Gross cleanser. When I use a toner, it’s witchazel.

Exfoliating: I love a chemical exfoliator, but every now and then, I dip into some physical exfoliators for my face. I also have an electric face cleanser, but the brush gets gross and kinda weirds me out. You can get cheap replacement brushes on Amazon though. For body exfoliation, I like Dr. Booth’s charcoal body polish and scrub because it foams!

Moisturizing: I use a serum, but then I use a variety of moisturizers depending on how oily my skin is and whether or not I will use makeup. I love Dr. Jart’s Water Drop, Simple Moisturizer, or Olay when my skin is really, really dry. Murad is my go to SPF when I’m wearing makeup because it keeps me from looking like Casper the friendly ghost.

For moisturizing body, as soon as I get out the shower I put on an oil to really lock in all the moisture and prevent my skin from drying out.

Recipe for Z’s Body Scrub:

¾ cup of leftover coffee grounds

2-3 Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp of Castor Oil or sweet almond oil (your choice)

½ tsp of natural vanilla extract

Sometimes you can switch it up for different aromas and use a couple drops of peppermint oil or lavender oil instead of vanilla.


You can read the transcript for the episode here!

Listen to the lab!