Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the nation's newest face of Democratic Socialism—she defeated a ten-term incumbent, becoming the youngest woman to serve in the US congress, and has already earned praise for her ability to parse complex political ideology. And a large part of this reputation is thanks to her presence on social media, where she educates her more than 2.5 million Twitter followers and 2 million Instagram followers about working in the government.
More than any of her peers, Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated her prowess at using social media in the modern age. Rather than treating posts like press releases, she injects them with humanity—she's talked policy on Instagram Live while meal-prepping in her kitchen using her InstantPot, frequently responds to naysayers on Twitter, and has shared personal notes on Twitter like admitting to the stress of the job. She's also gracefully navigated the GOP's flood of negative coverage of her and has participated in a meme that was meant to shame her. Other Democrats have already followed suit—taking to Instagram to talk policy while in their own kitchens. Ocasio-Cortez even led a social media practicum through the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, to teach fellow Democrats "the most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling."
But it was on Sunday that Ocasio-Cortez finally blessed us with her skincare routine. She posted a series of paragraphs on her Instagram Story, taking followers through every step from cleansing, to toners, to serums. She calls her approach "a blend between K-beauty and scientific consensus." Her routine starts with a double cleanse with "balm or oil to melt off the makeup" followed by "a usual soapy cleanser to wash your skin." Like all of us, she's fallen asleep with a full face of makeup, and understands the necessary cheat of a face wipe, as long as there's "NO ALCOHOL in your wipes (or any skincare product)."
Ocasio-Cortez also describes the use of toners and "actives," which are "serums with active compounds," and gives a mini crash course in layering them appropriately. Toners should also have "no alcohol" and "feel nourishing." She compares finding a good moisturizer to "findings jeans that fit," and reminds her followers to use sunscreen daily.
It makes sense that Ocasio-Cortez chose to answer questions about her skincare routine in such a universal way. Instead of listing product names, or writing a list of her "holy grail" products that suggest skincare is one-size-fits-all, Ocasio-Cortez is teaching her Instagram followers what a good skincare routine looks like as a whole, and how her routine fits into it. This step-by-step explanation makes it approachable and actionable on a budget, and it fits with her reputation for unpacking ideas that can be confusing or seem inaccessible.
Her Instagram story also goes into her makeup routine and offers advice for coping with stress, including tips on work-life balance even when you're working from home, and ways to identify stressors.
This isn't Ocasio-Cortez's first foray into sharing her self-care practices. In December, before taking her seat in Congress, she posted to her Instagram story about burn-out and taking a break as an act of self-care, writing: "I keep things raw and honest on here since I believe public servants do a disservice to our communities by pretending to be perfect. It makes things harder for others who aspire to run someday if they think they have to be superhuman before they even try."
These recent peeks inside Ocasio-Cortez's life reify the idea that self-care is an important part of leadership, and that practicing routines seen as feminine aren't mutually exclusive with holding a position of power.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Nicole Clark on Twitter.