While we're all for frugality, we're also endlessly curious about the luxury beauty and wellness products and treatments cool people swear by. In our new series The One Thing, our favorite tastemakers, trendspotters and influencers are divulging the single beauty or wellness indulgence they can't stop telling their friends about.
Sophia Roe is a James Beard Award-winning chef, celebrated host of Tastemade's "Counter Space" and sometimes-model known for her unmatched talent and electric smile. She uses her platform to normalize discussions surrounding trauma, equity and accessibility, and sometimes, the brands, wellness and beauty treatments she can't live without. Ahead, she talks about her approach to beauty and the one treatment she'd want to scream about from the rooftops.
Her beauty philosophy
"I grew up super poor kind of all over the place in Florida, and I guess I wasn't the most confident kid. I think that's just because I didn't really see a lot of kids who looked like me. And I also had a lot of insecurity just based on the way my family operated; my mom was a substance abuser and I just didn't really have parents around me in a general sense, so I grew up a pretty insecure kid. I didn't know how to do my hair. I didn't have access to makeup, and it's not like I could go get a blowout, you know? I've always been the kind of person who is just a little more on the natural side. I'm not the girl that's wearing the full face. I'm not the girl that's even shaving her legs.
Her beauty hero
"There was a moment — a big beauty moment. I saw this Donna Summer record that my mom had. I'd never seen a woman so beautiful in my life. I had also never seen a woman that I thought was so beautiful that kind of reminded me of myself. Donna Summer and I don't look alike, but I'm five years old and I see this incredible woman that sort of followed through with the way I want to be. I wish I was a glamazon. Donna Summer is the reason I have the short bangs. She's the reason I feel like I'm allowed to be in a full Carolina Herrera look, even though I'm covered in tattoos. I think it's just a nice reminder of what's possible for me, beauty-wise.
Her self-care routine
"My self-care looks like getting tattoos, laser hair removal and getting radiofrequency on my face. I can't really function without those things. Well, I guess I can function. But they make me feel confident. It makes me feel like I'm ready.
"I'm 35, and this skin has to last me my entire life. I'm at this place where skin care isn't just fun. I'm a little bit more pragmatic about my skin care. I don't want 10 steps, I want a routine that works."
Her 'One Thing'
"I love everything about radiofrequency for the face. Oh, I love it. I go to Ject in NYC's West Village, on Christopher Street, and radiofrequency ($440, per Ject's website) has done a really great job in just making my skin feel tighter. The machine generates heat to stimulate new skin cell production, but it doesn't hurt. It helps with elasticity, wrinkles, collagen production — my overall complexion — but it's really, really great for skin-tightening. Makeup sits better on my face, and the integrity of my skin feels smoother.
"There's no downtime. I'm 35 — that's an important thing for me. My dermatologist told me once that everybody either sinks or sags. As a Black woman, I'm very lucky to be someone who doesn't sink much, but I can already tell I'm going to be a sagger. I'm just trying to get in front of it.
"The first time I did it was 2021, and I was going in for a chemical peel. I happened to mention to the provider that I was concerned about skin laxity and I was thinking about it, mostly because of that makeup artist, Nam [Vo], who's famous for her skin hashtag #dewydumpling. Nam is always waxing poetic about radiofrequency. The girl is constantly doing it. And you know what? I wanted to do it, too."
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How often she gets radiofrequency
"I go every two, maybe three months. The best time to do it is three days before an event, because it's not going to irritate you or cause a breakout, whereas microneedling or a chemical peel could mess your face up for a bit. I don't do it as much as I wish I could, but every time I do it, I'm happy. I feel lifted, my skin feels lifted, plumper and thicker immediately after I do it. You can do it every 30 days.
"I justify getting radiofrequency four to six times a year because I don't get my nails done. I don't go get haircuts. I don't color my hair. I probably should do it at home for maintenance, too, but I don't. I don't use any tools at home."
The one beauty treatment she regrets
"I can't do Fraxel. It's just too deep for me. Fraxel is good if you've got really crepey skin — we did a low, very low, low, low frequency Fraxel and I was irritated. It triggered a bit of dermatitis.
"I recently did the Skin Pen, but I don't know if it's for me, though. I bruised during it and I don't like that."
Laser hair removal
"It's no secret. Look at the hair on my head. I'm a squirrel. I'm a hairy girl. I love this body hair acceptance movement that people are going through, but I'm not part of that. No shade — I just want to feel like a dolphin. That's my truth. I started getting laser hair removal five years ago. When I say laser hair removal, I don't want hair on my body. I want eyelashes, brows and hair on my head. Some people will say, well, it's the proximity to the male gaze. Fuck that, man. I want to be slick and smooth for myself."
The one product she'll buy over and over
"There's this product from Natura Bissé called the Stabilizing Mask that I use. It's $72. It's expensive, but it works — and that shit will last me six months. It's one of the only bougie products that I use."
"Aging is just something that's going to happen. I'm not trying to not have it happen. I'm just trying to keep that collagen production going, and I noticed that radiofrequency is one of those things that really helps. My goal is to keep my skin looking nice so then when I get older, I can just pull it up and call it a day in one shot. I don't want to do too much now because I'm going to turn 55 and I'm getting a deep plane facelift for sure."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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