Illustration by Cecilia Doan. Check out more of her amazing work at Shit Bloggers Wear!
The Insider: Katia Beauchamp
When you have the opportunity to talk to Katia Beauchamp, CEO and co-founder of Birchbox, you have to ask her about beauty products—you’d be a total dummy not to. But we had a whole lot more we were itching to ask this smart, savvy, and supremely accomplished whiz (who also happens to be a taco connoisseur). Dive on in. —monica derevjanik
Q: Ok, let’s cut to the chase: What’s one beauty product that’s totally blown your mind?
A: Shu Uemura has this hair volumizer that has a makeup brush at one end. You pump this powder into the brush and use it on your hairline to create this incredible volume, and you don’t need any hairspray. It’s perfect for that just-messy-enough look.
Q: And what’s the beauty product you’ve used for the longest amount of time?
A: It’s Jouer’s Luminizing Moisture Tint. It’s a tinted moisturizer, and almost everyone at Birchbox wears it now. When you wear it, people are like, “Your skin! What do you do to it? Did you get a facial?” I’ve been using this since Birchbox started in the summer of 2010. They also came out with a matte moisture tint, which provides full coverage, and if I want a little more coverage for an event, I just mix the two—it’s beautiful.
Q: You’re from El Paso, right? What do you miss most about it?
A: Other than my mom, it’s a tie between the sunset and the Mexican food. El Paso is a desert, and people usually live in the more elevated areas where you get amazing views of the sunset. The sky is so big that almost every night it looks like a sunset that you’d see in the movies.
Q: What movie do you think everyone needs to see?
A: My latest favorite movie that makes me so happy is Midnight in Paris. I tend to be attracted to more heavy books and movies, but when Birchbox started, I decided I was going to watch brighter, happier things. This movie is perfect if you ever have that moment where you think you want to be a writer—which I think a lot of people do. In high school, I was obsessed with my English class and all of the authors I was learning about, and watching a movie where the main character was meeting all of these authors made me giddy. I couldn’t imagine meeting these people who were like celebrities in my mind.
Q: Which bloggers are you loving right now?
A: I developed a crush on these girls from Texas who run a blog called A Piece of Toast. They’re so sweet—they’re honestly great people. I love their style and just how authentic they are.
Q: If you could collaborate with any Of a Kind designer, who would it be?
A: I discovered Jade Lai from Creatures of Comfort through Of a Kind, and am such a fan of her philosophy and aesthetic. I mean, who doesn’t want to look fantastic and be completely comfortable at the same time?
Q: What do you do when you want to relax?
A: I love getting massages, but that doesn’t happen very often because you have to plan them ahead of time. I’m really relaxed when I’m just with a small group of people, preferably outdoors and talking about anything other than work. I love the roof of our apartment, so I’ll sometimes make breakfast tacos and bring them upstairs and hang out there for a while. I also love the patio at The Maritime Hotel, which hasn’t been a scene for years, and that makes it perfect. The food is still great, the cocktails are still great, and the breeze that blows through there is so nice.
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Face Time: The 13 Beauty Products We Can’t Stop Buying
When we’re not fixating on designers, Claire and I are probably dedicating too much brain space to 1) snacks and 2) lotions and potions to put on our faces, our skin, and our hair. And since our heads are swimming with so many (too many?) thoughts about eyebrow pencils, shampoos, and highlighting creams, we decided to share at least some of them here. These are the things—purchased over and over again—that fill our medicine cabinets, makeup bags, and shower caddies. —erica
RMS Living Luminizer
This was gifted to both of us by our friend Diana, who is a programmer—she told us it was the only thing that kept her looking human throughout grad school. It is pretty magical how a swipe of sheer shiny stuff on your cheek and brow bones can change your whole face.
Paul & Joe Eyebrow Pencil 02 Duo Brun
For a minute, I thought they had discontinued this product, so I immediately bought 15 of them on the internet.
Revlon Colorstay Lip Liner in Nude
Been wearing this ish since high school—no joke. It’s good on its own with some clear lip balm but also plays nice with a bold lip color.
Restorsea SPF 30 Lotion
This is the only facial SPF that doesn’t irritate my skin. It’s expensive, but so is skin cancer.
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
I’m pretty sure the whole world already knows how powerful this stuff is, but I wanted to remind you guys just in case. You will never see my under-eye area in public without it.
CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain in Saucy Plum
This is one of those marker-style lip colors, but it doesn’t get all dry and crusty like some of them do. I love this shade because it feels like someone just turned up the saturation on my natural lip color.
Lansinoh HPA Lanolin
Technically, this is nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers. BUT NO MATTER. Really, it’s just pure lanolin that has kept my lips unchapped all winter long.
Lorac Front of the Line PRO Liquid Eyeliner in Black
Don’t let liquid liner scare you. This is more like a pen than a brush, and you just rest it horizontally along your lash line, glide…and clean up any mistakes with a Q-tip.
Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
Really, there are about 14 Josie Maran products that I love, but this is like the gold standard. I even convinced my husband to start using it as aftershave (just don’t tell him I told you).
Origins GinZing Brightening Mascara
This stuff has a big, fluffy brush like Diorshow—my former go-to—but 1) it’s less expensive and 2) it’s free of parabens and all o’ that nonsense.
Claire and I both swear by this thing. I know what you’re thinking: I don’t need an $11 sponge, okay thanks bye. But it makes all of your makeup do what you want it to do! Like wizardry! And it’s gotten me to fall for cream blush.
Acure Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo
I’ve tried washing my hair every other day. I’ve tried dry shampoo. And those tactics have left me feeling like a big ball of grease by noon. So, I lather up daily with this sulfate-free clarifying shampoo, which doesn’t dry out my strands or require me to pile on the conditioner.
Nature’s Way Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
God, so much coconut oil. I use it as moisturizer—straight out of the shower, without even really towel-drying, honestly—and as shaving cream. (Yes, shaving cream.)
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In the Bag: Marble & Milkweed
The Company: Marble & Milkweed
The Founders: Briar Winters
The Story: Where’d the line Marble & Milkweed get its start? Out of a clawfoot bathtub in Rivington Street on NYC’s Lower East Side in 2010. Everything that goes into Briar Winters’s products—like rose & chamomile facial scrub, cardamom body butter, and solid perfume—are made with only organic and fair-trade ingredients (which means that cloying, artificial scents and skin-stripping chemicals are officially banned). This no-nonsense approach also applies to the packaging of the goods—which are now produced from a light-filled studio in Tribeca: Everything comes in compostable paper, glass bottles, or metal tins that be reused or recycled.
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See What’s Inside Joy Gryson’s IIIBeCa Bag
Totally cool if you buy her purse and her lip balm.
When it comes to making handbags, Joy Gryson is all about design that works hard. For her line IIIBeCa, each of the clean-lined creations has a snap-out, drawstring nylon lining—meaning you can toss the entire contents of a shoulder bag into a clutch or a gym duffle if you’re on the go. “Those little surprises make me feel like someone really took a lot of time to think about how they were constructing it and how they were designing it,” Joy notes. So how does she make use of the thoughtful details she incorporated into her Of a Kind edition? We’ll go ahead and let her show you. —koun bae
Olivia Harris Tech Wallet: “This wallet has a molded case inside, so you can put your phone in it! I like the fact that my iPhone doesn’t have a case on it since my wallet protects it.”
YSL Volupté Sheer Candy #7: “It’s like a lipstick/lip gloss combination. I don’t like matte lipstick because it dries my lips out, and gloss gets too sticky. I like this one because it’s sheer with a hint of color.”
Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses: “I got these sunglasses from this store called ArtSee in Battery Park. It’s a beautiful, well-curated eyewear store—they do an amazing job of picking out sunglasses you don’t see everywhere.”
Laura Mercier Undercover Pot: “The Laura Mercier undercover pot is this great concealer, cover-up thing that does wonders. It’s two different colors that you mix to help match your skin tone better, and it has a little shimmery powder at the bottom of it. It’s perfect for touch-ups and last-minute things when I have events or a photo shoot to go to.”
Leather Coin Pouch: “That’s a little coin pouch that was made for me for my birthday by my design director Alex. It’s a small piece that he sewed himself, so it’s really special.”
CFDA Sketchbook: “The CFDA does this thing called the Design Manifesto, and every year, they send a big poster to remind designers how important it is to be creative. This year, they sent a sketchpad that was designed by Alex Wiederin, and inside is just clean pages. I use it to sketch and to write down notes and ideas, things that inspire me, places I want to go…”
Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Rose Bloom: “I’m a Laura Mercier fanatic! This is just a great powder blush. It makes me look a little flushed and not like I’m wearing too much makeup.”
Smith’s Rosebud Salve: “That’s just, like, a staple!”
Gryson Mini Wallet: “For some reason, I guess I have a piece from each of my brands that I carry around with me! I love that I can carry around business cards and credit cards in it—so if I don’t feel like carrying around an entire handbag, I can just use it as a tiny little clutch.”
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream: “I do a lot of things with my hands, working with leathers—so they get a complete beating, all the time. It’s imperative to have a hand cream, and I like that this one isn’t too heavy or too light. It smells amazing, and I love the packaging of it, too.”
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The Insider: Patti Pao
Patti, second from right, with Of a Kind co-founders Erica and Claire—and Patti’s mom!
Patti Pao is a FORCE. The Harvard Business School grad is a beauty-tech whiz who created and launched over 400 products while working with brands like, oh, I don’t know, Elizabeth Arden, Guerlain, Peter Thomas Roth, LVMH, and Avon. In fact, she’s credited with introducing glycolic acid to the beauty industry—for reals. Now, she’s making waves with her very own anti-aging skincare brand Restorsea, built around the crazy-powerful enzymes released when baby salmon are born. Basically, you just need to listen to everything she has to say. —monica derevjanik
Q: So, wait, what’s this thing about salmon enzymes and how they makes your face look like an airbrushed Sephora campaign?
A: While I was in Norway, I convinced a client of mine to take me to a salmon hatchery instead of on another hike up the mountains. He took me to, like, the Chanel of hatcheries. I noticed that the workers hands there looked like those of 20 year olds, but they were all 40-plus. Turns out that Mother Nature is quite amazing—when a baby salmon is about to be born, they release an enzyme that has two parts: an exfoliant and a protein. What this enzyme is able to do is give you constant exfoliation without any side effects—while also nourishing and strengthening the skin. And that’s why their hands looked so good.
Q: Besides magical fish, what were some of the other cool things you got to see in Norway?
A: So, I’ve been there 59 times—
A: Yep. I went there once a month for four years, so I know it very well. There’s a restaurant called Julius that you must go to. You take a steamboat from Bergen to the restaurant, which is on a fjord. It’s all seafood that the owner catches in the fjord. I would also recommend going to Vigeland Park in Oslo. This man spent 30 years of his life creating all of the sculpture in this park. It’s magnificent and terrifying because of all of the force and energy in the sculptures. And Oslo has so much natural beauty.
Q: Amazing! So what do you do for your own beauty routine?
A: It’s actually very basic because I believe that less is more. I wash my face using our cleanser, I use the Clarisonic Mia three times a week, and then I put on our day cream, eye cream, and tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 from Laura Mercier. And then I use our revitalizing scalp spray [Ed: Comin’ May 2014]. I got my skin looking good, but then my hair looked middle-aged! So we created this product to help it grow and look healthier.
Q: What’s one beauty trend you would never buy into?
A: I would never buy into lasers and botox. It’s not that I’m against them, I’m just a big coward! Like in the fifties when people were popping Quaaludes because that’s what their doctors recommended, and everyone knows how bad it is for them now. I feel like in 50 years that’s what we’re going to be hearing about botox. And lasers are basically just poking holes in your skin.
Q: Who are your real-girl icons?
A: I love Lauren Sherman [Ed: US TOO.]. She’s so practical in her approach to things. I also love Eva Chen. We just need to be friends—we’re both Chinese girls who are late-bloomers. And also Anna Wintour, Alexandra Parnass at Harper’s Bazaar, Emily Dougherty at Elle,and Ying Chu at Glamour.
Q: What’s the one beauty tip that anyone can follow?
A: Start good habits early. Every woman in her thirties is beautiful, but when you’re in your forties, you get the things that you deserve. When I was in my twenties, I went to bed at 3 A.M. and got up at 6 A.M., but I always took care of myself. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, but you just have to be mindful.
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The Insider: Sarika Doshi
If you’re a product junkie who is all about the latest and greatest, Sarika Doshi is the girl to know. The Rank & Style co-founder is all about corralling the best of fashion and beauty—say, the ten best natural sunscreens or good-looking running shoes—using hard-core data that would pass muster with the folks at Consumer Reports. Let’s just say that we no longer get overwhelmed at Sephora. —monica derevjanik
Q: Rank & Style is so incredibly useful. How did you get the idea to start the site?
A: I was actually planning a vacation and googled “best flip flops” before I left. The internet basically vomited back at me with the search results. I was just so used to typing “best digital camera” or “best laptop,” and I always got structured, linear, awesome results. But my results when I was typing in “best whatever” in fashion and beauty were just pure chaos.
Q: Are there any products you have found on Rank & Style and have fallen in love with?
A: Yes! Definitely Tata Harper’s Rebuilding Moisturizer, which is completely natural, very floral, and amazing for my skin, and Living Proof’s Nourishing Styling Cream, which is great in the summer. I also love my Rag & Bone white skinny jeans because they aren’t overly thick nor are they see-through. They are part of my official summer uniform.
Q: Were you always interested in fashion and beauty?
A: Well, yes, but I was actually a corporate attorney in a previous life, and before that I was a civil-rights attorney. But immediately before Rank & Style, I worked at a start-up for five years, so I was able to try my hand at business.
Q: So, is there anything you can’t do?
A: Actually, I can’t swim! I don’t have a fear of water or anything like that. I was a very shy, introverted kid, and every time I took swim class, there was a lot of interaction. It was my worst nightmare. I went to Columbia, where you have to pass a swim test to graduate. I procrastinated and procrastinated, and then it was two weeks before graduation. My parents were like, “Uh, we’d like to see you graduate.” So I doggy-paddled my way down an Olympic-size pool for the entire test.
Q: I’m guessing that with all the algorithms involved in Rank & Style, your closet at home is pretty organized.
A: There’s a fair bit of coordination in my life. The Container Store is my happy place. If I had to die there, that would be pretty good. One of the big jokes in my apartment is that I have one of those exposed spice racks, which is aesthetically really pleasing until I take my electronic label makers to each one.
Q: So basically The Coveteur should come over your place.
A: Yes! They’re totally invited.
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Sara Gates’s Guide to Having the Best Summer Ever at Rockaway Beach
TripAdvisor, you’ve met your match.
“I live and work in my studio in Brooklyn, so I love having a place that I can escape to,” says Sara Gates, the mastermind behind the badass hand-dyed bag line Cook & Gates. “When I’m in my studio, I’m always working, but in Rockaway, I can actually chill and have time to read and paint.” And Sara’s not letting any hurricane damage dissuade her this season: She’s renting a place and regrouping with the other mega-fans she bonded with last summer—and sharing her list of the best places to chillax if you decide to follow her lead. —alisha prakash
“Veggie Island has great coffee, fresh juices, and vegetarian sandwiches. It’s right around the corner from Rockaway Taco, so skip the lines pick up a sandwich instead.”
(95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd.)
“My Frenchie, Janice, loves the beach, which is only a 45-minute drive from my place in Greenpoint.”
“This summer, I rented a place on 95th and Shore Front Parkway. It’s right next to Connolly’s, where you can get an amazing piña colada for $5 served in a styrofoam cup, so you can bring it to the beach!”
(155 Beach 95th St.)
“Goldies has the absolute best natural beauty products. They’re all made in Rockaway Beach by my good friend Sarah Trogdon. I use every one of these products, and you can get them from Veggie Island at the lowest prices.”
“If you are looking for a place to stay out there, you can stay the night aboard Anyone’s Guest, a houseboat with a rustic-cabin feel in the beautiful Jamaica Bay. It sleeps at least four, and the beach is five short blocks away. And if you are interested in learning to sail, you can cross the dock and take a sailing class with the Rockaway Sailing School!”
(Houseboat contact: email@example.com; sailing school contact: Tory, 908-902-9429)
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In the Bag: The New Black
The Company: The New Black
The Founders: Nicole Ostoya and Robin Coe-Hutshing
The Story: We can’t paint watermelons on our nails—or even polka-dots, for that matter. And we’re pretty sure we’re not alone. But here’s the thing: The New Black, straight outta Santa Monica, is all about making borderline-crazy polish easy: The ombre sets just require the ability to paint each nail a different color, and the typography series entails about as much skill as applying a temporary tattoo. Oh, and everything in the line is free of scary stuff like formaldehyde and DBP. Boom.
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In the Bag: Fig+Yarrow
The Company: Fig+Yarrow
The Founder: Brandy Monique
The Story: Ok, confession: We would buy Fig+Yarrow just for the packaging. (Shame, we know.) But thing is, the stuff inside is just as killer: The Denver-based company produces a truly impressive collection of organic, hand-crafted beauty products from lip balms and clay masks to bath soaks and mouthwash. And, as noted, it all looks pretty dynamite scattered around your bathroom.
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The Insider: Britt Aboutaleb
As beauty director at Who What Wear, the so-fly Britt Aboutaleb keeps us up-to-date about face creams (and discourages questionable lash-lengthening tactics). The only downside: Her rad job took her from New York to L.A. (i.e., 3,000 miles away from us). Below, our attempt to get our fix. Also, while we’re here, how amazing are her eyebrows?! —carlye wisel
Q: You just went to Japan! Tell. Us. Everything.
A: Japan was amazing! It wasn’t what I expected—Manhattan feels ten times busier—but the people were lovely. We were in Kyoto during Cherry Blossom, which was breathtakingly beautiful, and had dinner with two geisha, a spectacular and very special experience. The weirdest thing I saw was probably the food—or me in a kimono!
Q: What about the beauty products?!
A: The beauty products were bananas. I spent hours in the drugstores buying things I couldn’t even identify! Everyone’s wearing a cateye in Tokyo and sure enough, their liquid liners are the thinnest, blackest best I’ve ever tried. Japanese women are obsessed with skincare, so there are dozens of masks and lotions to try. There would be four floors of makeup and skincare—and then one small corner of hair products, which was fascinating. I loved the really weird things like nipple balm, heated eye masks, armpit protectors, and face massagers.
Q: The weather’s gettin’ warm, but we’re still pale. What are the best ways to look sun-kissed lickety-split?
A: Honestly? A trip to the beach—I think I’m the only sun worshipping beauty editor! But I’ve been using Crème de la Mer’s new Soleil de la Mer Gradual Tan and it’s pretty awesome. It gives you more of a glow than a tan. If you’re looking for more color, Clarins makes the absolute best self-tanning products.
Q: Be real with us: Are there any beauty products out there you think are a total waste or scam?
A: Anything that claims to make you look, feel, or be skinnier without exercising!
Q: What’s the most memorable perfume you’ve ever worn?
A: Gap Dream. It was my first fragrance, circa eighth grade. I still have a tiny bottle, actually, and whenever I catch a whiff, I’m immediately back at the lockers at Sonoma Country Day School.
Q: Do you own any Of a Kind editions?
A: When I left New York, a few of my very dear friends pitched in and bought me Mociun’s Black Diamond Cut Out Triangle Earrings. That was almost a year ago—which is crazy!—and I still wear them everyday.
Q: What would you consider to be the perfect day of L.A. eating?
A: Steak and eggs at LaMill in Silverlake for breakfast, followed by lunch at Gjelina in Venice (can we order everything?), then drinks at Goldie’s. I’m tequila’s number one fan, and the Golden Girl is the best cocktail I’ve ever had. For dinner, Bestia downtown. God forbid I squeeze a snack in there somewhere, but if you insist: tacos from a truck or ice cream from Sweet Rose. That is too much driving and too much food for one day, but it’d be delicious!
Q: What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn but still haven’t?
A: How to sew! I’m actually desperate to learn. I have so many things I want to make. There are about a dozen languages I’d like to learn, too.
Q: If you could do a wardrobe swap with anyone, whose would you choose?
A: I think Giovanna Battaglia. Or on the total opposite end of the spectrum, Lauren Hutton. (Funny because my initial reaction was to answer, “An Olsen with lots of Dolce & Gabbana mixed in,” which is basically the same thing.) I usually dress like a boy (with heels) and when I don’t, it’s nice to feel like a woman—and it’s hard to find something more curve-friendly than Dolce.