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If the famous double barreled moniker isn’t already ringing a lot of bells, then Rio Viera-Newton’s now infamous skincare Google doc might. A beauty writer and esthetician, Viera-Newton’s career hit the big time when the Google doc containing her skincare routine she created for close friends went viral. In fact, type ‘Rio Viera-Newton’ into Google and four of the top searches are variants of people looking for that very doc. One of the others? ‘How does Rio Viera-Newton get her skin so good?’

It’s a very good question. One that lead to launching her own Zoom-based skincare consultancy, helping people make their budgets and beauty cabinets work for them. So, for those of us who want to know how she does it – and how we can do it too – you can schedule in for a Zoom session with Viera-Newton herself. Which is exactly what I did.

My first thought? That glowing skin is not an Instagram filter. It is so radiant, in fact, that if she’d told me it was the result of making homemade masks from custard and cat food, I’d have probably given it a go. However, Viera-Newton has not always had ‘perfect’ skin. In fact, she went through her teenage years swinging between eczema and acne, experiencing oiliness, to dryness and back again. Fed up of yo-yoing between the two, the Let’s Face It: Secrets of a Skincare Obsessive author hit the internet and deep dived into forums and product review videos until she came across K-beauty. Its focus on soothing products with minimal ingredients did the trick, and she refined her routine accordingly.


Today, she’s helping me refine mine. We discuss my main areas of concern: hyperpigmentation, oily patches other dry patches, and whiteheads. Most importantly though, we focus on my dermatillomania – an obsessive-compulsive skin-picking habit that Viera-Newton is familiar with herself. I discuss some of the techniques I’ve used to try and control it and we look at what has worked and what hasn’t. Based on my experiences, she makes some recommendations. Two stand out for me: low lighting and icing.

The first makes it harder to see perceived imperfections. Since I am prone to picking in the evening, this is achievable, and the softer glow means I don’t immediately see my face and feel disgusted. The second is brilliant. The act of icing (wrapping an ice cube in a clean cloth and gently pressing it on spots) is soothing and tricks my brain into thinking I have ‘attacked’ my skin, calming what is effectively a craving. As for my beauty routine, I fill in a form ahead of our Zoom chat stating what I tend to use morning and night, what I like and don’t, and what has traditionally worked for me or broken me out in spots or a rash .

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As someone who is guilty of lusting over new products, I tell her that I flit between all sorts of lotions and potions and send a photo of my bathroom shelf in case it’s helpful. Turns out, it is. Rio points out that I’m slathering on a bunch of active ingredients – AHAs, BHAs, Vitamin C… sometimes committing to one for a period, other nights smooshing them all into my hands and hoping my night time cocktail works wonders. But, there’s no overnight miracle. Instead, I’m putting my skin barrier at risk. Rio asks me which of the products I like the feel of and why, and then we settle on keeping my Vitamin C serum (Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop) as well as my BHA and AHA (both by my beloved COSRX) used twice weekly and only on specific areas of my face. The rest gets the chop, at least for now.

The beauty of the consultation is that it is tailor made. I don’t need to ditch everything and buy new stuff. I just need to really think about why I bought certain things and if they are actually working for me Sure, I might have heard that Alexa Chung loves the Augustinus Bader Rich Cream but, as I have had to remind myself for years now, I am not Alexa Chung. It might work for her, but I’d be kidding myself if I pretended my skin likes it too.

Rio Viera Newton Zoom Skincare Consultancy


From the products I do have, we keep Beauty Pie’s Japan Fusion Pure Transforming Cleanser (a gel-to-oil-to-milk facial wash), my Etude House Collagen night cream and my favorite Thank You Farmer SPF 50 sun cream. We also agree to keep in a mutual favorite: COSRX’s Snail Mucin. Yes, snail. So, not quite custard and cat food, but not for the fainthearted either. I add in an eye cream and take away a couple of new daytime moisturizer suggestions but overall, joy of joys, I can spend more time in bed because now I’m only splashing my face with water in the morning.

So far? I’m thrilled. For a few reasons:

  • I’m no longer terrified of the contents of my own bathroom cabinet. In a while I’ll reintroduce one or two products, see how my skin reacts to them and either keep them or give them to a friend if they’re not for me.
  • My skin does seem to be looking better. Maybe it’s the routine, but I think it’s also the new skin picking prevention techniques.
  • Partly, it’s just talking to someone who gets it. There’s no judgment when I reveal I’ve spent hours in the bathroom going at my pores like I’m digging for potatoes. There is kindness, empathy and humour. And for that alone, it’s a winning service.

    The hour whizzes by. I feel like I am catching up with a good friend rather than chatting with a consultant. And there is just enough time for me to ask Rio a few questions…

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    What’s your absolute skincare go-to?

    ‘tretinoin. I use a prescription one. It has a gel-like formula and is very blendable, which makes it easier to disperse evenly and reduce potential irritation.’

    How do you start incorporating that?

    ‘Retinoids are a marathon, not a sprint. You really have to be intentional about when you integrate it into your routine. There’s a lot of different ways you can use tretinoin depending on your skin type. A lot of people like to start with over-the-counter ones, build up a tolerance and then move on to trying stronger ones. Other people might dive right in and sandwich it between two moisturizers to dilute the formula. I recommend asking a lot of questions about the different ways that you can use it [when prescribed it by a doctor] because I tried using it when I was much younger, and I applied it as I would a normal moisturizer and my skin went absolutely berserk. Whereas now I know how best to use it.’

    What new products are exciting you right now?

    ‘I just finished the moisturizer by Then I Met You which I thought was great, a really elegant formula. It’s lightweight and non-greasy but delivers a big surge of moisture which I really appreciate.

    ‘Another thing I’ve been trying that I think is great is The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Serum. Dark circles are a big issue for me, and I have a lot of shadowing under my eyes. Caffeine helps constrict those blood vessels under your eyes and can temporarily get rid of that shadowing. Before a Zoom chat, like this, where I want to look a bit more awake and a bit more lively, I’ll apply that. It’s so affordable.’

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    You’re going on holiday – what do you take?

    ‘I’m actually going to New York next week so let me think! Traveling is always the most annoying for skincare because, as I said earlier, skincare does its best when you’re consistent about what you’re using. I had the habit of just throwing samples into my bag and then I would breakout when I was on vacation.

    ‘I love a moisturizer in a tube when I am travelling. And I will always bring a little hydrating toner with me. I usually decant or buy samples of a product that I already own for the size limits. The Tatcha one, for instance. Pat McGrath just launched an essence which is fabulous. So I have little samples of that. And I usually bring a cleanser. Probably the Neogen Green Tea Cleansing Stick.’

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