Winnie Harlow's 3 holy grails for dealing with acne

“We’re human; we’re going to have pimples”

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / October 21 2022

Winnie Harlow has become the poster child for modern beauty since her stint on America’s Next Top Model.

The 28-year-old has risen in popularity, in large part, for her representation of the vitiligo community. However, Harlow is also one of a handful of models that have publicly struggled with acne

She now owns her own skin and body care line — Cay Skin — and isn’t shy about sharing just what it takes to get good skin as a model. 

In an industry focused on aesthetics, she thinks it’s important to remember that models are “not meant to be mannequins with porcelain skin,” she recently told The Cut

“I had a little pimple on my face that’s just now starting to go down, but I still have good skin,” she assured the publication. “It doesn’t matter, we’re human.” 

“We’re going to have pimples, we’re going to have scars, we’re going to have all of those things. As long as you take care of your skin, you’re good.”

How does the model care for her skin? These are her 3 holy grails for banishing acne…



According to Harlow, “good skin is healthy skin.”

What does “healthy” look like exactly? Well, in Harlow's eyes, “healthy” translates to natural remedies (such as Aloe Vera), drinking lots of water, and being well rested. “[After eight hours of sleep] my pimples literally disappear overnight,” she explained.

Our suggestion? Invest in a sleeping mask you can rely on for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Try: Lisa Angel Dusty Pink Satin Eye Mask ($43.90 at Hard To Find)


The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Which serum for acne does Harlow trust? “[The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%] really keeps my skin clear,” she noted. 

The blemish and congestion-diminishing formula helps to protect the model’s pores from build-up “without being too harsh and drying.” 

And if she skips a night and doesn’t use it? She swears she “can see the difference.”

Try: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($10.60 at Adore Beauty)


Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel

Another trick Harlow swears by? At-home peels. Her personal favourites are the cult-famous Dr. Dennis Gross Daily Peel pads (extra-strength, of course), which are infused with seven alpha and beta-hydroxy acids, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.

“These peels are so good,” she gushed. “I love using them for hyperpigmentation too.”

Try: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel 30 App ($133 at MECCA)

Want to know how Kylie Jenner zaps her zits? She swears by these pimple patches

Main image credit: @winnieharlow

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).