Sinead Bovell

Clean Swap: A Tech Founder Finds a Clear-Skin Routine That Works

“I don’t think we exist in one lane,” says Sinead Bovell, the founder of WAYE Talks—an organization that prepares students and young people for jobs in technology—and also a busy model. “My life is a back-and-forth between very different industries.” One day she’s at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, helping students build résumés; the next she’s home in New York for a casting followed by a conference call with an MIT professor on the future of the female workforce and automation. “We all have multiple interests and passions—I’m my happiest when mine are all intersecting,” she says.

Finding her balance professionally involved some work, as did clearing her skin after a disastrous skin treatment left it oversensitive and broken out in cystic acne.

Though Bovell tried everything from prescription topicals to oral antibiotics, nothing worked. “I actually stopped using all skin care for about a year because my skin was so sensitive,” she says. “Then I changed my diet, eliminating virtually all dairy, sugar, most carbohydrates, and even meat and fish for a bit.”

As her skin finally calmed down, Bovell began adding products back in—but only clean ones. “I’d been familiar with the dangers of potentially toxic ingredients ever since my sister was diagnosed with Lyme disease. That’s when I took a closer look at what I was putting on my skin,” she says. “It’s no joke that what we put on our skin can impact our health. So it slowly dawned on me: Why am I putting things on my face every day that aren’t clean?” As a model, Bovell can’t always control what’s being put on her face, but she’s found skin care and a few model-off-duty makeup essentials that really work.

  1. 1

    “My skin prefers a chemical exfoliator—it allows anything else I put on to penetrate even deeper instead of just sitting on the top and clogging my already sensitive pores. I’ve been using these glow peels once a week and have noticed a huge difference in the texture of my skin. It’s so much softer and brighter.”

    GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Overnight Glow Peel goop, $125/$112 with subscription
  2. 2

    “For me, cleansing is so important because I have all sorts of makeup applied to my skin almost every day. If I go to bed with any sort of makeup on, it’s over for me. Usually, by the end of the day, my pores are clogged, but if I use the G.Tox cleanser, they aren’t—that’s the big thing I noticed. Even after just one use, my face looked brighter, and I felt any little breakouts I had were gone the next morning. It contains fruit acid, so it really clears my pores without stripping my skin dry.”

    G.Tox Malachite + Fruit Acid Pore Purifying Cleanser goop, $48/$44 with subscription
  3. 3

    “The first thing I noticed was the ingredients. Just pure and natural plants, minerals, and antioxidants, nourishing your skin. The second thing I noticed: how well it works. I have been using it every morning and night, and it’s made a huge difference in the health of my skin—radiant and glowing.”

    Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum goop, $185
  4. 4

    “A good mascara is hard to find. A good mascara with only clean ingredients? An anomaly. This one is so good for lengthening and defining—and I also love that I can apply it at 7 a.m. and it lasts until midnight.”

    Saie Mascara 101 goop, $24
  5. 5

    “Anyone who knows me knows how selective I am when it comes to makeup. I prefer a natural, ‘Does she have makeup on?’ kind of look over glam. This satin eye shadow gives me a radiant, subtle, natural-looking eye. The texture is soft and creamy, so it gives your lids a nice glow. And it goes on easily and smoothly.”

    Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint goop, $28
  6. 6

    “It’s been really hard for me to find a good night cream because so many of them make me break out—this is my favorite, by far. It contains both linseed extract and hyaluronic acid and leaves my skin plump, hydrated, glowing, and firm the next morning. It also really improves the texture of my skin without making it too oily.”

    goop by Juice Beauty Replenishing Night Cream goop, $140/$125 with subscription