Julian Addo strongly believes in products that work. It’s a simple thing to ask, but in today’s beauty landscape, it’s hard to find quality over frills. This, coupled with the fact that she didn’t think there was really a brand that really understood natural hair, is what prompted Addo to launch her brand Adwoa Beauty in 2017. With over 10 years of experience in the hair industry, as a stylist, salon owner and blogger, as well as a career in banking – Addo was armed with the knowledge to create a brand that takes care of not just curls, but all hair types. The line combines the best of nature and science to enhance customers’ unique textures, and the simple line is easy to use – each product has a clear purpose and place in your routine.
When it comes to skincare, Addo tries to maintain a similarly simplified point of view. “Honestly, I try to keep it as simple as possible,” she says Charm. “Skincare can be a really confusing and crowded space when it comes to a product and all the things in the market. The acids and all the different ingredients can really damage your skin if you don’t know what you’re doing. So I’ve been using a lot of the same products since I was 16. I stick to the basics.
For Addo, however, bases don’t just mean cleanser, moisturizer and SPF. She’s a big fan of exfoliation — she uses a chemical exfoliator twice a day — and anything that promises to brighten. “My skin is prone to hyperpigmentation,” she says. “Obviously I’m more melanistic, and if I have a pimple, if I don’t touch it and it goes away on its own, it still leaves a scar. So I always try to clear up something thing on my face.
So what exactly is she swearing by? Read on for the exfoliators Addo has been using for years, the best sheet mask on the market, and the moisturizer that makes her look like a shining star in another episode of CharmLeave the routine.
For cleansers, I clean day and night. I have super oily skin. During the day, I’m just going to use something very soft. I love the Fresh Soy face wash; it just does the job of taking the night off my skin, but not really stripping my skin, and helps it feel really hydrated. And then at night, I’ll switch to something that gives me a little more work. I love The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser. And then I always go with the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – I have a lot of scars I’m trying to get rid of, so anything that lightens, exfoliates and removes scars, that’s what I’m going to buy.
For the toner, I really loved One Thing; it is a korean brand. It’s kind of like The Ordinary’s version of K-beauty, because it’s a good price, and it’s a very simple one-ingredient product. I found it on Instagram a few years ago and used the Centella Asiatica extract; it helps, again, to fade the scars. So after cleaning my face, I’ll add some on the cotton ball and wipe it all over my face day and night. And that’s the only thing I do for a toner.
My face mask
I don’t really use much gasoline unless I’m making a face mask. If I make one, I love Too Cool for School; it’s another K-beauty brand. I think their Egg Cream Mask is the best mask on the market. There is no sheet mask that is superior, in my opinion. They give you so much essence in the package, and I’ll do it twice a week, and I’ll put the essence all over my face and neck. You don’t want to forget your neck!
I love the Rose Ingleton MD Complexion Brightening Booster Serum. It helps to lighten your skin tone and scars.
These two liquid exfoliators are a staple in my routine forever. One is the very popular Paula’s Choice 2% BHA. I love it during the day, it gives me a dewy glow. And then another cult product that I use at night, which is a similar, slightly different product, is the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50v 1970. I use both every day, which I know surprises everyone ! My skin can take a lot. I really don’t use anything specific for spot treatments, but this P50 really helps, I’ll put it on my skin if I get a breakout, and when I wake up in the morning the breakout is no longer prominent.
I use this P50 at night so my skin exfoliates a lot. So I like to go there at night with something super, super heavy. And for several years, I love the Weleda Skin Food. I go to bed looking like a shining star. I’m going to stick it all over my face, under my eyes, everywhere. And I’m going to sleep with it.
For daytime moisturizers, I currently love Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream. I alternate this with the Rose Ingleton ® Signature Moisturizer; I also really like her moisturizer. I always use something lighter in the day, as I use this heavy Weleda Skin Food at night. So I’m just going for a light, light finish during the day. But I pair it with the Flora + Bast Age Adaptive Face Serum with CBD. It says “serum”, but it’s an oil. I’m going to put that on first, then my moisturizer last.
My eye cream
I really haven’t found an eye cream that I like. I was playing with Tatcha Peony eye cream, but I don’t know. I didn’t really find anything that I noticed a difference. My eyes are dark and sunken, I don’t have pockets. Mine’s sunken, and it’s hereditary. So I was told there was nothing I could do about it except Botox. I just make sure that area is hydrated because it’s so thin. I will use the Weleda at night, to be honest.
I love Supergoop invisible sunscreen. I love the brand and will be using it daily as most of the time I don’t wear makeup. And then some days when I want something a little more, I like Tower 28 Beauty SunnyDays Tinted Sunscreen SPF, I love it. If I just want to look a little neater that day, I’ll use it.
my lip balm
I am obsessed with Lanolips pomades. All flavors: coconut, strawberry, I have them all! I like the Laneige lip mask, and there’s also a lip mask from One Thing, this K-beauty brand that I use at night. Gotta keep your lips hydrated!
I started going to a beautician for a lot of chemical peels and facials. Just something a little more and faster than all of these products can do.
This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty editor of Charm. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.