When beauty insiders throw around the phrase “gel cream” they’re not talking about a product or a texture—but a person. Or rather, an Instagram account run by a former magazine editor turned photographer Yana Sheptovetskaya. In just a few years, Sheptovetskaya (who we will refer to as Gelcream going forward) has turned the @GelCream account into a safe space for over 100,000 beauty enthusiasts looking for honest dialogue on buzzy products.
Gelcream’s photography aesthetic is unmistakable: clean and crisp product shots posed weightlessly in a slender hand. Her photos are like a glass of cold water in a social feed dominated by faces heavy with contour. (If you’ve seen a photo of a skincare product held up to an airplane window—that is Gelcream’s influence.)
One of the core pillar’s of Gelcream is that she does not produce sponsored content or ads of any kind. That commitment to authenticity trickles down into the comments section, where beauty junkies can share their opinions on products or ask genuine questions in a manner you won’t find anywhere else on the influenced internet. She often posts Insta Stories aimed at reminding her fans to drink some water, because from her minimalist product shots to her no-nonsense reviews, Gelcream is all about getting back to the basics of beauty.
When did you start thinking about your anti-aging routine?
“I am 30 and I only recently started noticing first signs of aging: wrinkles, my texture is not the same, and sadly, my skin often looks dull. My approach to aging is very friendly I am excited to get older: in my 30s I feel and look way better than in my 20s. I believe that diet, exercise, and mental wellbeing are the key factors of aging naturally and gracefully. And maybe some weekly pasta and a glass of red wine do the trick as well. I like that the beauty industry is changing it’s approach and vocabulary towards aging and that brands include more diverse age range in their advertising campaigns. It’s cool to age, it means you are alive!”
What is your skin type? What are some of your concerns?
“I have normal skin, which looks and feels great when I’m on the right dose of spironolactone, but is my worst enemy when I am off it. Recently, I was traveling a lot and noticed it’s changing towards the drier side. I need to layer creams for it to feel good and drink even more water. I also have some scars and pigmentation after acne.”
What are some of your favorite anti-aging products of all time, the ones you go back to again and again?
“I get a small dose of Botox every year for the past 3 years. I believe it helps to keep my forehead wrinkle-free, however the area in-between my brows needs more work. I use retinol to help skin renew faster and occasionally do mesotherapy, which is a vitamin injection. I don’t like the idea of anti-aging skincare that promises magical results overnight. I’m more into preventative help and long-term self-care. So SPF, lots of water, and diet (diet is the hardest part for me).”
Any new anti-aging products you’re loving right now?
“CBD capsules—de-stressing is so important. Ice face roller–instant gratification! And I am a long-time fan of La Mer Soft Moisturizing cream. Despite of all the controversy, I always go back to it and I feel like it’s doing it’s job to keep me peach. I like Good Genes by Sunday Riley, too. I don’t use much makeup but since it’s something that sits on my face the whole day I try to choose the most natural formulas. At the moment my favorite brands are ILIA and Kosas.”
How do you discover new products?
“Brands usually send me their new launches and this is how I discovered a lot of great products, but the best I find though friends and the community–I ask around and Google.”
How many skincare products do you currently own? How many serums, masks?
“I own a lot of products as it became my job now to try, review and photograph them; maybe 20-30 of each? It’s ironic, because I am very minimalistic in life and my routine is very simple.”
Have you tried any in-office procedures with your dermatologist?
“I get botox and vitamin mesotherapy. I don’t think I am ready for lasers or strong peels as I think our skin is capable of a lot and you just have to stop messing with it and take care of your internal health. However, I am only 30, so let’s talk when I am 50. I believe that women can do whatever they want with their face and body so, I don’t really mind spending more time at doctors’ office if it will make me happier.”
How long do you test a product before posting about it and giving the verdict?
“For masks, cleansers, make-up and perfumes–it’s easy, because I can only try them a few times or days and know enough to review it. Things get much more complicated with serums, creams and toners. I post very rarely about them, mostly because I actually take my time to test the products and form an opinion—I don’t like to rush.”
What are your best tips for skincare while traveling? What do you do before, on the plane, and after?
“I travel without makeup and always make sure I get two liters of water with me on the plane. I don’t like touching my face during the flight and make sure I use a very rich cream before. When I arrive, I wash my face and use a hydrating mask. I also take saline nasal spray with me and echinacea throat spray to prevent dry nose or sore throat on long flights.”
What is the best piece of anti-aging advice you’ve ever received?
“Feel good about yourself, never lose curiosity, make sure you laugh enough and do what you like. And of course, drink enough water, eat well and exercise, make sure to get good quality sleep and surround yourself with positive, fun people. If your skin looks taut and smooth but your eyes are not smiling—what’s the point?”