When she looks back at herself a decade ago, skinfluencer Ria Biyani (@rithink_skin) wishes she could give her younger self two major tips. First and foremost: it’s okay to have acne. Your acne doesn’t define who you are as a person. Next up? When you do, keep your hands off. “I wish I knew that picking, popping & scrubbing at my face would not make my acne disappear overnight or ever. And I wish I knew that it was a better idea to get the right kind of help from the right person instead of being my own doctor.” Now, after learning the hard way, the beauty influencer takes the same approach to the skin and portrays it through her content—keeping things real through every reel, photo and video she shares. Ria spoke to Foxtale about how she does that, why she relies on her skincare routine and what her favourite beauty wishes would be.

“For me, beauty means happiness and growth, being able to respect yourself and empathise with others and finding pleasure in the little things,” she says.

I think about __ a lot.

The impact of the unachievable beauty standards we have grown up with, about the mental & social impact these beliefs and taboos have had on young impressionable men & women and continue to have today. I also think about how I can facilitate change for the future generations so they can grow up to be kinder & more accepting of everyone around them.

What place does skincare have in your life?

Skincare is my place of solace. When I’m doing my skincare routine, it’s where I feel most connected with myself and my thoughts. Taking those few minutes out of my day to pamper and love myself gives me the confidence I need to be myself. I’ve had a full 360 degree journey with my skin, and I was ashamed of it for years. I thought I needed to hide it from the world because it made me feel ugly. So when I finally found the mental acceptance & the right combination of products that actually worked to keep my skin healthy, it changed how I perceive myself & gave me this confidence that I never knew I had.

What is your AM skincare routine?

My routine is always focused around protecting and hydrating my skin. I usually cleanse in the shower, with a gel-based non-stripping cleanser. Then I use a mist or a toner to rehydrate. Next, I apply an antioxidant-rich serum (I like Vitamin C!) because it helps with pigmentation, which is one of my biggest skin concerns and then go in with a lightweight, gel moisturiser. And I never skip sunscreen—3 finger lengths of the product to cover my face and neck, and then an SPF-based lip balm on my lips. I love using ice rollers in the morning to wake myself up. I always have one in the freezer and on days I feel puffy, tired or sleepy, I use it for 2-3 mins on my face.

Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common skincare issues faced by Indian women and women of colour – read what we have to say here!

You have just a minute to grab your 5 favourite beauty products before you leave for a month-long vacation. What are you carrying?

Sunscreen, cleanser (a 2-in-1 cleanser that removes light makeup & gives a deep cleanse), moisturizer, concealer and a lip tint.

Instagram is a treasure trove for the newest products and trends. What are you obsessing over right now?

An Instagram famous product I really want to try is the Glow recipe Niacinamide Dew Drops. It looks like the perfect mix of skincare and makeup with beautiful packaging. A trend I’ve tried—but still haven’t mastered—is the bold coloured graphic liner look. I feel like they’re simple but still so playful, and can instantly switch up a look.

If a genie could grant you three beauty wishes, what would you wish for?

A lifetime supply of sunscreen, for my skin to always look healthy and dewy, and for my hair to never be frizzy & always look blow dried with zero effort.

If you had to create a skincare product (that doesn’t exist yet!) what would it be?

I’d create an all in one hydrating tinted moisturizer/ serum/ essence which intensely hydrates each layer of your skin. It should have brightening + anti-aging + barrier supporting ingredients and must have a lot of antioxidants too. The texture would be a creamy lightweight gel-cream that absorbs easily and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky. It should have an almost non-existent but subtle fresh scent that disappears quickly. I’d choose a dual pump type packaging. One side would be tinted with SPF, and the other side would be un-tinted and could be used as an eye cream as well.

What’s your evening skincare routine like?

My evening skincare is where I like to use my actives and focus on repairing & regenerating my skin. I usually always double cleanse—an oil based cleanser followed by a water based cleanser. I examine my skin and see if there are any concerns I specifically want to target and pick products based on those concerns. Then I apply 2-3 layers of toner depending on the consistency, and next, I apply a hydrating/ barrier supporting serum. Then I apply my active if I am using one that night—usually an AHA, BHA, retinoid or acne treatment.

I only use one active on any given day to avoid overwhelming my skin. And there are days where I skip this step altogether. Next I use a thicker barrier-supporting moisturizer mixed with a lightweight oil. I like to follow some kind of weekly timetable at night, so I’ll exfoliate 2 times a week, use a retinoid 2 times a week and for the remaining days I focus on hydration & moisture.

You have just one skincare tip to share with your best friends. What are you telling them?

Wear your damn sunscreen. Everyday. Rain or shine, indoors or outdoors. It’s important to get into the habit of applying sunscreen regularly so you don’t have to think about it everyday and it just comes naturally to you.

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Want to know how to add Ria’s tips in your routine in the best way possible? Do you have more questions about how you can create a routine just like hers? Click on the WhatsApp icon to chat with us!