How Claire Saffitz Eats Dessert Every Night & Still Has Great Skin

Photo courtesy of Claire Saffitz
Claire Saffitz is a bestselling author, recipe developer and video host with over one million YouTube subscribers. She has a new cookbook What’s for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People out today, November 8th. 
Previously, Saffitz spent years working as a senior food editor at Bon Appetit, where she hosted the sensational, viral video series Gourmet Makes. Using her pastry knowledge, she reverse engineered popular snack foods like Lucky Charms and Doritos. In Fall 2020, she released her much anticipated debut cookbook, Dessert Person, alongside its companion YouTube series. The cookbook became a New York Times bestseller and received the IACP Julia Child First Book Award.
Here, Saffitz takes Refinery29 through a week in her beauty routine, including her love for micellar water, dedication to a drugstore mascara and how a nightly dessert can make everything so much better. The following interview was told to Amanda Mitchell and has been edited for length and clarity.


It’s Sunday, so I give myself the gift of sleeping late. I’m recovering from a long week in which I shot recipe videos on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I spent Thursday and Friday making 200 individual pudding cups for the New York Times Food Festival. I participated in a bake sale with other incredible bakers to benefit City Harvest, which was fun, and I feel like I can enjoy a well-deserved day of rest followed by a lower-key week. 
I get up and brush my teeth and hair, cleanse my skin with a cotton pad soaked in Rodial Dragon’s Blood Micellar Water, then follow it with Savor face cream, which was a recent purchase. I needed a cold weather face moisturizer, and this one is thick and creamy, but goes on lightweight. Then I apply Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF50, which my dermatologist recommended. It’s a mineral formula and protects against melasma, which I am prone to. The texture is so light and silky and it disappears without any white pill. I wear it every day. I have different morning routines depending on what I’m doing that day, and this is my hanging-around-the-house routine. 
It’s a beautiful fall day, sunny and crisp, which is the best kind of weather. I put on leggings, a sweater and an oversized jacket and walk to Birch (my local coffee spot) for a latte. Everyone who works there is lovely and it feels good to have a place that knows you. 
Good coffee is one of my great pleasures and the thought of it literally gets me out of bed in the morning. My coffee experience is a very important and anchoring part of my day, so I’m usually intentional about it. After years of drip coffee, I’m back on lattes, which feel like a treat. 
I stroll a bit in Central Park near my apartment before heading home with the intent to loll on the couch for the afternoon. I tend to a few work emails, but mostly inspired by the onset of turtleneck weather, I Google 'Diane Keaton style inspiration' and vaguely pay attention to TV in the background. I’ve always been a TV lover and it relaxes me to have it on even if I’m not paying attention.
For lunch I eat some leftover Korean soup with rice cakes. This is the time of year when all I want to eat is noodles, soup or noodles in soup. I snack on a blue corn piñon chocolate chip cookie I snagged at the bake sale made by Eric See of Ursula in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It’s so good. 
Later I take a shower and apply body oil on still-damp skin. I really like my Osea body oil. I relax more on the couch while doing a Joanna Vargas sheet mask and roll it in with a jade roller, then I follow with several drops of Costa Brazil Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil. The oil is light, quick to absorb and leaves my skin soft but not greasy — it was a gift from my friend Andy. I take off my old toenail polish and give myself a basic manicure sans polish since my hands did a lot this week and need some nurturing. I feel reset and relaxed. 
I eat dessert every night and tonight it’s part of a pudding cup that I saved.


I wake up and quickly get ready for an early doctor's appointment. I cleanse with micellar water then apply moisturizer and sunscreen. I put on deodorant. I am always trying new natural deodorants to find one that actually works. My current one does not! I put on walking clothes and head out.
After the doctor's appointment, I walk home because it’s another beautiful fall day. My book comes out soon, so I am trying to enjoy a relatively quiet week before I start a book tour and my schedule gets busier. I get a latte from Birch, which is the perfect size, hits at the perfect temperature and has that incredible balance between sweet milk and savory espresso. I thoroughly enjoy the coffee and the walk and feel proud that lately I have been able to slow down, treat myself gently and actually enjoy leisure time. That’s relatively new for me. 
For the rest of the day I work on my inbox, run a few errands, finish an article and take a nap. I am very into napping these days. I recently read an article in the New York Times about a woman named Tricia Hersey who founded an organization called the Nap Ministry, which advocates for restfulness and challenges productivity culture. This quote from Ms. Hersey resonates with me: “I judge success by how many naps I took in a week and how many times I told somebody no; how many boundaries I upheld.” After years of grinding, I’d love to practice this approach moving forward. 
I get ready for bed by washing my face with Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Extra Creamy Cleansing Foam, applying EyeMax AlphaRet Overnight Cream under my eyes, which is good for correcting dark circles, and dabbing some hydroquinone cream on my upper lip to correct hyperpigmentation. I finish with the Costa Brazil face oil and take my multivitamin. 
I desperately need to do my laundry, but it sits in a pile at my door. I eat the rest of the pudding cups and go to bed. 


I go for a walk in the morning. I have been a runner for many years, but during the pandemic I stopped for a variety of reasons. Running is the only exercise I have ever enjoyed and I miss the way I feel in my body when I run. I know I’ll get back into it when I’m ready and I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for pausing. Walking does the trick for now. 
I make myself some coffee and take a shower. I use a solid shampoo by HiBAR, which was an impulse purchase when I was in LA in the spring and I like it a lot. I have no real brand loyalty when it comes to shampoo or conditioner, and frequently shop the hair aisle at Whole Foods. I am definitely a wash-and-go kind of person and rarely heat style. I do very little to maintain my look! I am just sure to not use any orange-toned products, which will affect the color of the silver streaks. I will use Ouai hair oil on the ends, but hardly even use product most days. 
I switch things up a lot and look for a not-too-expensive scalp shampoo (I’m prone to dandruff) and a not-too-expensive shea butter conditioner (my hair is dry). I always use Dr. Bronner's eucalyptus liquid soap because I love the scent of eucalyptus.
I go for a haircut in the afternoon. My stylist Derrick has the best energy and we chat about chickens and life and his yoga practice. I love the way I feel when I leave his chair.
Dessert tonight is a couple of Tate’s chocolate chip cookies and milk that I bought on my way home because I am out of pudding and my fridge is nearly empty. I still do not do my laundry, but I do my nightly skin-care routine and then head to bed. 


I wake up, make coffee and have a virtual therapy session at my usual time. I’ve been seeing the same therapist for nearly 10 years. She has seen me through so many life changes and it’s a great comfort to have someone in my life who knows me so well. Therapy is a constant for me and even during periods of my life when I didn’t do a lot of self-care, I showed up for therapy. I feel proud of that and the work has paid off. 
I have a podcast to record, so I shower, apply body oil and pat some Biologique Recherche P50 1970 onto my face. I’ve been using P50 on and off for several years and it has helped smooth out my acne-prone skin. Then I put on moisturizer and Kosas tinted face oil for just a veil of coverage.
I do more work after the podcast, catch up with my mom and sister (separately) on the phone, then do some dishes and tidy my kitchen. I feel grounded and organized. After dinner I have cookies and milk (I’m an enthusiastic milk drinker) and relax on the couch. I go to bed without doing my laundry (again). 


My lovely nextdoor neighbor texts to say she made a French press of coffee and offers me some. She stops by and we chat. After more than a decade of living in various New York apartments, I’ve finally got to know my neighbors and it feels warm and supportive. We share food, pick up each other’s packages and cat sit for one another. They were also invaluable taste testers throughout the recipe development process for both of my cookbooks.
I answer a bunch of emails, make a few calls and complete some administrative tasks that I’ve been putting off. I acquired some avoidant tendencies over the course of the pandemic and I am trying to work my way out of them. 
I eat one of my favorite lunches: a cold turkey sandwich from the bodega on my corner. The order is always the same. It's turkey on a roll, un-toasted, no cheese, with lettuce, tomato, onion and spicy mustard and mayonnaise. 
Later in the afternoon, my friend Emily stops by to say hello before going on a date. I do her makeup: a subtle smokey eye, highlighted skin and a nude lip. She looks great and I think about how much more fun it is to do makeup on someone else than yourself. 
Emily convinces me to meet her later for dinner so she can tell me about her date. Considering I haven’t left the house much this week, I agree. I shower and do my 5-minute makeup routine: Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer all over, Olio e Oso balm on my cheeks, NARS Creamy Concealer, By Terry Hyaluronic Pressed Hydra-powder, and CoverGirl Clump Crusher LashBlast mascara. I have used a lot of different mascaras over the years and I always come back to this one. It’s inexpensive and does such a good job of lengthening and separating. I comb my brows out with soap brows (an obsession of mine). I put on the easiest and most comfortable thing I can find (a Cos jumpsuit) and get on the subway. 
We go to The Commerce Inn. Emily is a great restaurant picker and everything is delightful: the drinks, the servers and the food. We split apple crisp for dessert. I love this one-on-one friend time. 
Guess what? I’m too tired to do laundry! So I do my nightly skin-care routine and head to bed.


I wake up determined to do my laundry because I want to head to the cabin that my husband Harris and I bought in the Hudson Valley a couple of years ago. He’s been there this week working on various projects while I’ve been in the city and I’m eager to join him. While my laundry is going I run out to pick up a few things I need in the apartment: shampoo, hand soap and laundry detergent. I clean my apartment, take a shower, pack a bag and get on a train. 
My husband picks me up from the train station and we go out to dinner at an Italian place near the cabin. It’s nice to have this time together after a quiet, solo week. We split a cannolo. 


I wake up at the cabin, which is so peaceful and serene. We’re surrounded by woods and the leaves are turning shades of yellow and orange and falling all around us. My husband brings me coffee in bed in my favorite cabbage mug, which is basically my love language. 
I have a slightly different set of beauty and wellness products here, so I don’t have to pack all my products with me each time I go back and forth. I cleanse with Garnier micellar water and apply Apoterra Vitamin C Regenerative Balm, which was a gift from a friend. I love the texture and it makes my skin dewy and hydrated. Then I put on the Savor Beauty moisturizer and Isdin sunscreen.
I do lots of chores and work around the house, check on our chickens and cuddle our cats. One of my major house projects is to build an outdoor wood-burning clay oven, so I do some research and start to draw up my plan. I meant to do it this summer but never got to it, so I will not let the cold weather set in before completing it! I love building and planning things, so this is fun for me. I foresee many trips to Home Depot. 
Harris cooks us dinner, I do the dishes, and we watch tv together while eating ice cream. I usually fall asleep on the couch but manage to do my nightly skin-care routine before bed. 
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