Skincare Advisor Michelle Castro Found Her Tribe While Finding Her Regimen

Beauty and skincare influencer Michelle Castro details how she achieves her smooth, clear skin and the ups and downs she experienced along the way.


Image via Sephora/Complex


Dewy skin, or “the glow,” no matter what you call it, a bright, clear complexion is the holy grail when striving for healthy skin. It’s attainable for everyone, says Michelle Castro, the beauty content creator at the helm of the popular Instagram account @JustALittleGlow. What she found as she began to share her own pursuit of glowing skin is just how common the goal is for so many people, and yet, how mystifying it can be as well.

“Everyone wants that ‘wake up ready and just get going look,’ ” says Castro, 32. “Some of the many questions I would get are how I got my skin to glow, or how can my skin look clear, or like glass skin?” 

While Michelle’s skin is radiant now, she admits it’s been a journey. There were phases when she wasn’t as diligent, and times when she went hard…in the wrong direction (which happens to the best of us.) But the results she’s achieved, along with her vital representation as a brown-skinned Afro-Latina, have made Michelle a trusted influencer within the beauty and skincare space.

Michelle’s happy she can be that voice now because growing up there weren’t many people who looked like her. She couldn’t turn to anyone for advice in regards to the conditions she experienced as a little girl, including dry skin, hyperpigmentation, and a patchy skin condition known as keratosis pilaris or KP.

Michelle’s earliest skincare memories are relatable. Like many mothers across the diaspora, her’s would slather her face in Vaseline every day before she left for school. Then came adolescence, where Michelle says she felt her skin start to freak out as she went through puberty. By the time she was headed to high school, she was determined to get ahead of common teenage conditions like acne and began to take skincare more seriously. So, like teen girls across America have faithfully done for generations, she looked to Seventeen Magazine and its DIY remedies for advice. (Remember applying mashed avocados to your hair, anyone?) 

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She found pimples weren’t her problem—but dry skin persisted. Assuming like most people the cure was simply moisturizer, Michelle accepted this as fact and found herself focusing less on skincare after college. Fast-forward to about three years ago, just ahead of the Coronavirus pandemic, and Michelle was experiencing several stressors that upset her skin. 

“My skin was very flaky, she recalls. “And there’s this thing called KP, where it’s like you get chicken skin almost, so you get little tiny bumps. So, I was having that on the side of my face a little bit and in some areas on my body too, which was annoying.”

She figured with social media she could easily find advice on how to get her skin under control. 

“I was looking for groups on Facebook when my skin was dry and outta whack.  I was coming off of birth control so I needed to find a regimen that could help my skin out,” she says. “But I couldn’t really find any groups—especially for Black women—on Facebook, so I ended up creating one myself. I was like, I’m just gonna create one and see where that would take me.”

Where that took Michelle, seemingly overnight, is to an active community of forty-thousand members strong in her private Facebook group, Brown Girl Skincare Collective. Her following also grew on Instagram once she transitioned from the typical product shots and reviews to becoming transparent about her own skincare concerns. Michelle swears by the importance of having a regimen and doesn’t think it needs to be complicated or include as many steps and products as people assume.

Shani Darden Skincare Product

“I was that ten-step girl,” Michelle says. “I would do eight, ten, twelve different products in my routine at one point. Now, yeah, no. I don’t have the time, especially in the morning. I cannot do a twelve-step anything in the morning; I’m rushing to work! Now, I’ll wash my face, I’ll put on a little toner. I’ll put on my serum, my moisturizer, and my sunscreen, and I’m out the door. So, it went from ten-steps to five.”

Some of the products she loves as part of her simplified regimen include retinols and AHAs, which address anti-aging and hyperpigmentation, respectively. The Shani Darden Skincare Retinol Reform Treatment Serum is a cult favorite that contains both. Sold at Sephora, this multitasking serum is clinically shown to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, while visibly firming and brightening. For Michelle, hyperpigmentation has been a particularly obnoxious issue.

“I used to have bad hyperpigmentation around my mouth. I would feel self-conscious about it to the point where I’d wear makeup all the time just to hide it,” Michelle says. “And over time, doing my research to find ways to get rid of it, I’ve learned you have to wear sunscreen all the time, and AHAs like glycolic acid or mandelic acid are good acids to use if you have hyperpigmentation.”

Paula s Choice Skincare Products Sephora Edit

The bestselling Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant by Paula’s Choice is one tool many have turned to for help to fade stubborn blemishes. Michelle says BHAs are effective because they go deeper into the pores than AHAs. But with any acid-forward product, she notes it’s important to carefully monitor how your skin responds. It’s one more tip gleaned through good old-fashioned trial and error. 

For those seeking a gentle option that’s safe for daily use, the vegan brand Topicals Faded Serum for Dark Spots & Discoloration, also available at Sephora, can produce visible results in as little as two weeks. It’s also safe for all skin tones and ethnicities.

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And while we all want to attack uneven skin tone and texture in the quest for clear skin, Michelle had to learn to love the texture of her skin along the way. The same skin conditions she’d spent years trying to erase, like KP, she’s now come to accept instead of treating them as problems to be fixed.

“As long as you know what works for you, drink your water and keep a good diet, you’re good,” Michelle says.

May we all reach a similar place of acceptance, because as Michelle proves, the glow is within reach.

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