Resting Mom Face

Romper Beauty Columnist Carly Cardellino of "Resting Mom Face."
Margaret Flatley

The Holy Grail Products This Beauty Editor Can’t Live Without

Meet Carly Cardellino, Romper’s new beauty columnist.

by Carly Cardellino
Originally Published: 
Resting Mom Face
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Introducing Resting Mom Face, a column from Romper’s newest beauty contributor, Carly Cardellino.

Romper! How are you? My name is Carly Cardellino and I’m a beauty expert and writer, as well as a wife and mother to my two little babies, Delfina and Sandro. I’ve been covering beauty for over 17 years and have loved every single second of it — I trace the beginning of my beauty career to age five (LOL, stay with me), when I started taking ballet and my aunt would do my hair and makeup before recitals. As the hairspray fumes overcame me and turned my hair into crisp ringlets, I felt transformed. In middle school, I further discovered that beauty products can actually change your skin, too, thanks to Clinique’s 3-Step Introduction Kit, which I still credit for clearing up my teenage acne.

My love for beauty went to the next level as I began to work in the magazine industry, where I have since tested thousands of products throughout my career. Before my daughter came along nearly three years ago, I had a routine that might best be described as elaborate. It involved cleansers, toners, essences, exfoliators (physical and chemical), peel pads, serums, retinols, creams, lotions, masks, lasers, Botox, and injections. (I told you it was involved!) I had to learn to simplify a bit, especially because doctors recommend avoiding certain ingredients (and injectables) when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Beauty was never far from my thoughts though. It’s my job, of course, and my husband is a hairstylist and founding member of on-demand beauty app Glamsquad, so this passion runs through our family’s blood. Within the past month, I’ve stopped breastfeeding my son and am now diving headfirst back into experimenting, left and right, with every product that piques my interest. And, yes, my first call was to my dermatologist, Shereene Idriss, for lip injections and Botox!

I’m telling you all this not because I expect everyone reading this to book an appointment for injectables, but because I want you to know that I’ll never recommend anything I haven’t tried myself and don’t personally love. Aside from those in-office treatments, here are the products I cannot live without — even on the days when I’ve gotten five hours of sleep and am covered in spit up.

Me back then — a burgeoning beauty lover.
Me now — a skincare aficionado.

Daytime Skin Care

Face wash: I swear by Simple Micellar Gel Facial Cleanser, and the best part is it’s only $9! My skin is super oily when I wake up, so I ALWAYS wash my face (it’s crucial for me, otherwise I break out), but this one doesn’t strip my skin’s natural oils, making it gentle enough for everyday use.

Vitamin C serum: I toggle back and forth between Beauty Stat’s Universal C Skin Refiner, Luzern’s Serum Absolut V15, and Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C Serum. I usually apply vitamin C serum right after I cleanse my skin in the morning, and then I smooth a pea-size amount of my prescription cream Onexton, to help fight breakouts, followed by SPF right after — and I also apply them all over my chest! A derm once told me your face stops at your nipples, so I always apply all of my skincare down to there.

Tinted SPF: I’m always trying out new sunscreens, but Elta MD Tinted SPF is what I’ve been using lately.

Nighttime Skin Care

Gentle cleanser: I’m currently loving Naturium Fermented Rice Enzyme Cleanser... again, I never go to sleep without washing my face (and you shouldn’t either!).

Prescription acne gel: I used Aczone, a prescription gel that helps with my breakouts — I apply it onto freshly cleansed skin.

Prescription retinol: I apply this onto my face, neck, and chest Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Retinol is the gold standard when it comes to cell turnover and thus is the only thing that can topically change the look of wrinkles. It also helps with my breakouts. (You can expect to hear more from me about adult acne. It is... not fun.)

Calming serum: I use Dieux Deliverance Serum and apply this on the nights when I don’t use retinol, so Tuesday and Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday — it really helps with my skin’s redness.

Extras: Alpyn Beauty’s Wild Huckleberry 8-Acid Polishing Peel, Ole Henriksen Lemonade Facial Scrub, and French makeup artist Violette’s Boum-Boum Milk for extra hydration (GOD is it good).


Foundation: I love Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint—it gives the most perfect coverage and glow; otherwise, I’m an It Cosmetics CC Cream girl.

Brow gel: My most recent favorite is from Persona — the brush is amazingly wide and the color of their formula is perfect.

Blush: I use Honest Beauty’s Creme Cheek + Lip in Coral — it’s my favorite and it gives me the perfect I-was-just-outside-running-around flush.

Mascara: I’ve just recently tried clean beauty brand Kjaer Weis’ Im-Possible Mascara and I’m OBSESSED.

Now that I’ve shared my holy grail products with you, I want to hear from you. What do you want to know more about, beauty-wise? Or from me, personally? Best concealers? Potty training tips?! Write me at and put Questions for Carly in the subject line.

As for what you can expect from my column, Resting Mom Face: You’re going to get open and honest discussions to answer all of your beauty questions, including interviews with top experts (dermatologists, manicurists, aestheticians, hair stylists), a breakdown of beauty treatments you might be curious about trying, general parenting questions (we all have them!), and more.

So — shall we?!

This article was originally published on