Asking a beauty professional—whether it’s a celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist, or Instagram influencer (hi, 2018)—for advice is always a safe bet. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find there are plenty of other women out there who are legitimate authorities in their own right. In our new column, Unlikely Experts, they’ll give real reviews and recommendations. Whether it’s surfers on the best conditioners, bikers on the best cleansers, or ballerinas on the best foot creams, it’s fair to say these women know best.
When Lauren Hutton chose to get back onto her motorcycle a year after her coma-inducing, near fatal crash in 2000, she told the Los Angeles Times, “A lot of people think it’s a death wish, but it’s a life wish really.” For the alligator-wrestling, ice-diving, and age-defying model cum mogul, no thrill could replace the feeling of being on a bike. “There’s not a lot of steel between you and the land and the sky,” she explained. The way Porsche Taylor, the founder and editor in chief of Black Girls Ride magazine explains it, there’s not much else either. “Women tend to put everything and everyone around them first. Whether it’s caring for our kids, running a business, or taking care of our elderly, [everything] else seems to be a priority. When you’re on a bike, you must be self aware, with a mind on your surroundings. This calls for you to put yourself first.” She joins and profiles the exponentially growing number of women across the globe who hit the road on their own and in packs to disconnect from their phones, connect with friends, and zero their focus on the present.
Motorcycling’s simultaneous mind-quieting and blood-pumping effects may produce an ineffable glow, but does it have actual skin benefits? “Definitely not. It’s hard on my skin,” says Lanakila Macnaughton, founder of Women’s Moto Expo, who can be found photographing women who ride motorcycles when she’s not on one herself. Even beneath all of biking’s protective gear, a day of pore-clogging dust and sweat and hydration-sapping wind wreaks havoc on your complexion. Which is why motorcyclists provide some of the best market research on facial cleansers. “My skin is usually pretty dirty [after riding], so I have to make sure I wash my face,” says Jeanie Sallings, a dental hygienist by day, unknown legend by commute. If a great ride can wash away worries, here, seven women who ride reveal the best clearing, calming, and hydrating face cleansers that can wash off a full day on two wheels.