High/Low: My Beauty Routine

My good friends at Plaits.co invited me to write a post about my beauty routine and a few thoughts on beauty in the Dominican Republic. See the full article here. Plaits aims to be the go-to place for helping you find and discover new and relevant products, as well as a place for a community of beauty appreciators to share real insights.


I returned to New York in May after a year living in the Dominican Republic. I was teaching English to executives, and traveled through all of Santo Domingo, the country’s capital, in any given week to different businesses to give these classes. On the island, women’s hair and nails are always on point and makeup is always done perfectly no matter what time of day. While I did try to always look put-together while abroad, I always found myself a sweaty mess. The thought of applying tons of makeup just to sweat it off was terrifying.

Women combat the heat and sun by carrying around umbrellas at all times of the day. At first I thought this was crazy, and then realized it was super smart to bring my own personal shade. My job required professional dress — think dark dress pants and shoulders covered. Most Americans assume that islanders are casual but I found it to be the opposite. While personalities were warm, businesspeople dressed formally due in part to the country’s religious leanings as well as air-conditioned interiors. When I did try to wear skirts or dresses, I found them impractical while taking public transportation, so I generally reverted back to dress pants. Needless to say, I was always hot! I finally acclimated.

I have always relied on a minimalist beauty approach, as growing up my mother never wore makeup nor dyed her hair. I have adopted (mostly) her natural lifestyle and approach to beauty. I have a mix of drugstore products and specialty products. Now back in my home state, my acne-prone skin is clearer than it has been due to the routine developed abroad.

My daily beauty products
My daily beauty products

Beauty Philosophy:

I prefer products that do everything at once. I don’t want to have to think about my face after I’ve gotten ready in the morning. That being said, my look is a quite natural look.

Morning Routine:

I am absolutely addicted to Bath and Body Works. Their semi-annual sale is this month so I stocked up on a few body washes. Bath and Body Works White Tea and Ginger Body Wash is my favorite at the moment and I am excited to start off the mornings with a zing. Dominicans absolutely love Bath and Body Works products and they sell for extreme prices. The chain does not have any locations on the island so independently-owned stores sell imported ones from time to time. (A sidenote: Victoria’s Secret is not known for underwear in the Dominican Republic, as there it only sells body products. These are coveted staples of many Dominican’s beauty routine.)

I wash my hair every other day with V065 Green Tea Smoothing Shampoo, and recently have been using Suave Professionals Moroccan Oil conditioner. Growing up my hair was always a big frizzy mess, but now it’s smooth and luxurious.  My daily face wash is Origins Zero Oil Facial Cleanser and I love its minty smell. I started using Biore Toner while in the Dominican Republic and it has worked wonders. I apply it with a cotton round after getting out of the shower. After applying the toner, I use a drop of Estee Lauder Clear Difference Advanced Oil-Control Hydrator. I then finish off with Estee Lauder Clear Difference BB Complexion Perfecting Crème as both foundation and cover up on my skin which is generally red or patchy. It also has sun protection which is great for my fair skin.

For eyes, I keep it simple. I use the Rimmel Stay Matte Primer to make sure my eyeliner doesn’t run. I used to have raccoon eyes until a makeup salesperson told me that I can buy the most expensive eyeliner in the world, but it will always run unless I use primer. In the mornings, I use Origins Automagically Eye Lining Pencil for my lids, but I keep a Wet & Wild eyeliner pencil in my purse for touchups. I always lose them for some reason, so I don’t invest in purse staples.

Signature Scent:

Dominican women (and men for that matter) always wear perfume/cologne, so I followed suit. I find Americans do not use as much scent, which I attribute to being indoors most of the time and not wanting to force a scent on anyone. I rarely wear perfume as I generally feel like my shampoo, conditioner and body wash have enough scent of their own. But when I do, I go for Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Eau de Toilette. It’s light enough not to be overwhelming and has a clean scent.

Nightly Routine:

At night, after washing and using toner, I apply the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector which I use in lieu of moisturizer. I dab a bit of EOS lip balm to combat the more arid New York climate.

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite products and what is your routine?

2 thoughts on “High/Low: My Beauty Routine

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