On top of giving play-by-plays of what it’s like to be a first-time congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is using Instagram stories to detail her beauty routine. There was the time she showed how she applies press-on nails (while on the Amtrak, headed to DC), the time she explained how wearing her hair in a braid pays homage to her Puerto Rican roots, and now, she has shared her entire, extensive skincare routine.
It all started when a follower asked her, “How do you stay stress free and how do you keep your skin so clear?!” In response, Ocasio-Cortez clarified she is “stressed pretty much every day, a lot of the time,” and attributed her skin to being a “science nerd” who considers her multi-step routine a “straight-up hobby.” When describing her approach, she described it as “a blend between K-Beauty and scientific consensus.”
What she avoids:
Her first two skincare tips are to avoid wearing full-coverage foundation (she prefers tinted moisturizer and bb creams and only uses around seven makeup products total) and to keep makeup wipes next to your bed and remove it as soon as you get home. “We’ve all slept in makeup. The wipes are a pretty good place to start if this is a bad habit,” she wrote, emphasizing “NO ALCOHOL in your wipes (or any skincare products).”
What she swears by:
She’s a firm believer in double cleansing, meaning, using a balm, oil, or wipe to first take off makeup then following with a cleanser to wash. “Let your skin BREATHE,” she urges. After cleansing, she applies a nourishing toner (she suggests plain witch hazel) then follows with serums that have active ingredients like Vitamin C and retinol. “They should be in the layer closest to your skin after toner,” she explains.
Finally, she finishes with moisturizer and stresses using sunscreen daily, something she’s been doing since she was 19. Ocasio-Cortez attributes her early interest in skincare to her mom, who suffered from breakouts in her 20s and taught her not to touch her face.
How diet comes into play:
She also touched a bit on another big skin factor: Diet. “A few years ago I kept breaking out and I tried cutting out dairy and my skin issues went away,” she said. “I’ll still have dairy today but much less of it.” However, she was careful to tell another follower to not police their eating. “It totally messes up your relationship with food which should be ENJOYABLE and FULFILLING relationship, not an anxious one,” she said. “Just try to make a good choice every time you’re confronted with a decision, and eventually you’ll start to make better and better decisions while letting yourself enjoy what you want.”
All in all, her entire beauty Q&A felt relatable, as if you were reading a friend’s IG story—especially in moments like admitting she doesn’t know how to apply false lashes but would “keep trying” or how there are days she doesn’t wear makeup and “everyone just has to deal with it.” Even in her explanation of her diet she made sure to add that cheese was her “weakness.” “Guess what? I love cheese! So that’s my thing,” she said. (Same.)
At one point, a follower told her “I’m sorry but I don’t care about skin care routines. All I’m wondering is how do you run a successful campaign?” Ocasio-Cortez simply responded, “That’s okay, we all have different interests” before proceeding to give a detailed response about how to be better at public speaking. The seamless way she transitions from talking about tips for applying retinol to tips for being a better orator by studying Martin Luther King Jr. and Angela Davis are just another testament to the way Ocasio-Cortez is changing how we view politicians—women in particular, who are scrutinized for all their choices but especially aesthetic ones. You can care about climate change and fair wages and facial cleansing brushes. As AOC tweeted herself, “Be a fierce woman who can do both.”
Read her whole routine, below.