Sara Abbasi, ITG Intern

Sara Abbasi

Emily came in and said, “Oh, I love your dress! It's so Saved By The Bell. I'm taking your picture for ITG. Right now!” I put my hand to my chest, anticipating the inevitable increase in heart rate. Pinch me, please. And to say I was unprepared is the understatement of the century—I wasn’t wearing any makeup. Okay, maybe a little concealer, but does that really count? Of course, she had to shoot me the day I chose not to do my makeup. But actually, I really love beauty. The makeup, skin care, the hair products—it truly is my thing.

I remember every detail about the day I first entered Sephora: I was with a friend, and her mother was looking for a French Manicure set. I was allowed to buy one small item of my choosing, and left with a marshmallow-scented translucent Urban Decay lip gloss with chunky silver sparkles. I paired it with blue butterfly hair clips, and thought I was the coolest eleven-year-old cutie on the block. Bobbi Brown’s Teenage Beauty book also had a pretty profound impact on me. It wasn’t my book, of course. It was my older sister’s. I would sneak into her room and read the book, open her little makeup bag, put on her Peony blush, Buff lip gloss, and smear Taupe eye shadow up to my eyebrows. The week I started driving, I went to Sephora every single day to spend away my babysitting and birthday money. Of course, I’d have read all the reviews on each product I wanted, but still managed to spend hours in there. To this day, half the staff at Sephora’s Greenwich, Connecticut location recognizes me.

My skin is incredibly dry and sensitive, and in recent months, it’s been fairly prone to breakouts. Right now I use Clarins Cleansing Milk for dry skin—it’s super soothing. Then, I tone with DDF’s Aloe Toning Complex in a convenient little spray bottle. Gotta mist like a boss! Or, like my boss—Emily introduced me to mists and I’m hooked. At night, if I’m a bit broken out, I’ll dot my face with Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 and sleep in it, to my college roommate’s amusement. In the mornings I put on Clarins Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate instead, and give it a few minutes to settle in before I start with makeup. It moisturizes and soothes my dry skin far more than most creams. In the winter, my entire family is obsessed with Clarins HydraQuench Rich Cream—we all have dry skin, and it’s been amazing. If my body is particularly dry, I use argan oil after my showers at night, and put on at least SPF 30 each morning, and SPF 45 on my face. I’ve gotten so dark this summer, even though I’ve been wearing SPF 60 and over at the beach! I care about sun protection, I swear. As for fragrance, I just adore Bond No. 9. I’ve been wearing Union Square for a few years, and people always ask what I’m wearing when I have it on.

My hair—sigh. It’s been an ongoing battle. Naturally, I have very frizzy, tight waves. At twelve, I thought it was a curse and battled it for hours each day with a flat iron. I begged my parents for several Brazilian blowouts, but as the last one grew out, I mastered the art of the blowout. Now, I’m able to blow dry my hair straight in under twenty minutes! I should win some kind of award for that. I wash my hair with a rich moisturizing shampoo, and then a light conditioner. I hate that over-processed hair smell, and I find that leaving my shampoo in for a few minutes really gives your hair a beautiful, long-lasting scent. I absolutely adore Frédéric Fekkai. His salon in Greenwich is perfect, his products smell great, and they will transform the look and feel of your hair. I then comb through my hair with Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue, and spritz with Sachajuan Ocean Mist, divide my hair into a top and bottom sections, flip my head over and attack—armed with a hair dryer and large round brush. After my hair is dry and still a little warm, I’ll tie it in a braid to give it some wave. And presto! Effortless-looking-but-not-so-effortless hair.

As for makeup, I’ve got to say it: concealer is awesome. It gets me through the worst breakout days. Since the beginning of high school, I’ve searched for the perfect one to hide my blemishes, that still looked like my skin. The best trick I’ve learned is to find a highly pigmented liquid concealer, and use only a pinhead’s amount to the very center of the blemish, and to blend lightly with my finger. The best concealer I’ve used is Amazing Cosmetics’ Amazing Concealer. It’s definitely true to its name and the tube lasts forever, especially since you only need a little bit of it. Undereye concealer is a different story. I’m half middle-eastern, so I’ve got the classic purplish undereye circles. I’ve tried everything to cover them—but finally found a pretty useful trick. Using a highlighting pen directly under the darkness will work to reflect light around the darkest part of the eye! I’m pretty proud of this trick. Anyway, right now I’m using a ‘magic wand’ by Clarins, called Instant Light Brush-On Perfector. I’m very particular about foundations and tinted moisturizers, and only use them when I feel I really need some coverage. They have to be incredibly light, look completely natural, not show off my flakiness, and not irritate the skin that’s probably irritated enough for me to want to cover it. There are a few clear winners in my book: Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation, Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer, and of course, Koh Gen Doh’s Aqua Foundation—which I bought as soon as I read about it here. I love NARS blushes—Amour, Desire, Mata Hari, Torrid and their classic Orgasm always look beautiful. I just tried Dolce & Gabanna’s blushes and those are all pretty fantastic too. Tarte’s gel cheek stains are quite lovely in the winter—True Love and Tipsy are my favorites. For bronzer—I’ll never stray from NARS’ Laguna. In recent months I’ve been curling my lashes with a Shu Uemura eyelash curler and wearing them bare. I hate when I can’t fully remove mascara at the end of the day—then my face never really feels clean. When I do wear mascara, I love Clinique because they come off so easily. You just gently rub your lashes—and it dissolves completely! High Impact is the best.

When I’m going to a concert or something, that’s when I really whip out the fun stuff. My favorite thing to use on a night out is Makeup Forever’s 12 Flash Color Case—and I always pick out the craziest color. Last time I wore a bright turquoise, and it stayed on all night. My favorite lip color right now is Joy from Tarte’s new lip stain collection, LipSurgence, and I actually bought the shade by accident. For the past few years I’ve been attracted to sheer plums and reds, and was planning to add another lip stain similar to all the other shades in my collection. I opened the box and found this light pinky-coral. I thought, "What the heck? I have to take this back," but ended up trying it anyway, and it was gorgeous. For nails, I call my favorite color "pasta sauce red", which I describe as an orange just red enough to be considered a red—like Essie’s Geranium.

—Sara Abbasi

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Fiona

    If that's what you look like without makeup, then you definitely don't need to wear makeup! Gorgeous!

  • HeyitsAlexp

    I loved the story of your first visit to Sephora! I discovered makeup in much the same way, but I was a little older and with some friends. So no parental supervision = some pretty crazy purchases. I'm glad there are no pictures, haha.

  • alexandra

    I used to watch your beauty youtube videos when you were still making them and I loved it. And now look at you you're part of the intothegloss team !!! That's amazing , I'm sooo addicted to this amazing blog. So nice to hear about your current favorite beauty products !!! Take care

  • Copper Etiquette

    lol saved by the bell is so right!

  • Marcela

    I don't understand why she was worried she looks gorgeous in this picture.
    Fiona is righ, if that is how you look then dear Sara, you do not need makeup.
    Great post.
    I really found the skin care and the shampoo tip valuable.

  • Alyssa

    I third the motion - you are gorgeous and do not need makeup (but of course, one does not need it, one WANTS it!). I am happy to hear from someone who is breakout prone (solidarity sister)!

  • gorete sousa

    Great Post!!!



  • Lucija

    She looks so pretty without make up, she shouldn't worry at all!
    Great post!
    Follow each other? :)


  • Simona

    NO way! It´s Sara ♥ I used to watch her YT channel but she doesn´t make videos anymore, or very rarely :/

  • The Procrastinator

    I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and emphatically profess how beautiful you are! I love tarte cheekstains too and that Persa-Gel is my saviour. I know they've started selling a clear version, but for some reason I keep buying the one that dries flat-out white on my face! Gotta keep my dork on!

    • Liz

      I am going to sound like a broken record and again state the obvious--Sara is just beautiful--and her tips are great. Also, in reply to the Procrastinator, I think you are smart to stick with the white Persa-Gel. I have been using the clear for the past month or two and I just don't think it works as well. It may just be psychological, but while both help to reduce the size of my pimples, the white Persa-Gel seems to do a better job of removing my redness.

  • Caroline

    First of all, you are gorgeous. Secondly, thank you for your advice regarding dry skin and frizzy hair!!! I'm definitely going to make use of some of these products and tricks!

  • bird811

    This is such a charming post! Your suggestions are great and I have to say, I love your hair! Very impressive about the self-blow out.

    Write more!

  • Julie

    Sara, you are gorgeous and I adore you and this post is magnificent. Can't wait to make another sephora run soon to try out some of your suggestions!

    • Lisa C


      Look forward to more of your contributions!

  • Rachel

    You are gorgeous! And I'm sooo lovin' that dress on you! =) I must admit, I am slightly (read: extremely) jealous that you're an intern! SO LUCKY! Too bad, being on the west coast doesn't allow you to intern/even be associated with the hottest blog out there =(

    Anyway, thanks for the concealer tips! I'm always on the hunt for awesome concealors - try cle de peau for's amazeballs! And you're not the only one out there...I'm a regular at my sephora and nordstroms beauty and fragrance counters as well...just can't get enough of it! =P Sometimes I start to feel like I know more about the products than the sales associates! haha...!

    As always, wonderful post!


  • Colleen

    Wait, I'm confused. Grease paint for nights out? I was curious about the Makeup Forever palette and was very surprised to see that it is grease paint! I wonder how that works...

  • Amelia

    such a real girl, no 'oh i just wake up like this'! kudos for mastering the perfect blow dry, you hair looks fantastic here!

  • Fabrizia Spinelli

    Hi! I like this post so much, great!
    If you want come and visit my blog, and if you like, follow me!

  • katie

    time for a post on grease paints Emily! sara as the model i guess....

  • courtney

    how cute is she? great post. and fantastic hair tips!

  • Ashley

    I love this article and Sara is so beautiful! I also enjoyed the anecdote of visiting Sephora and spending your babysitting and birthday money. That is one of the reason's I don't like to go into Sephora too often - I'll spend all my money. Great post!

    The I on Fashion

  • Ashley

    I love this article and Sara is so beautiful! I also enjoyed the anecdote of visiting Sephora. That is one of the reason's I don't like to go into Sephora too often - I'll spend all my money. Great post!

    The I on Fashion

  • barbara sowa

    I love how Sara accentuates the fact that a little bit goes a long way... as in her case with concealer. Well written, def taking her up on those "blemish-covering" tips!

  • Jill

    Into The Gloss intern? Sign me up.

  • Ally

    Okay, this girl is officially wonderful. I'd buy any of her favorite products. I'm sold.


  • Dawn

    i love your dress too! no makeup? you look amazing!! and yes concealer is great, especially a really good one that covers my dark circles and huge pimples. thanks for sharing sara! pasta sauce red-- hm *im imagining* i love how you describe the just red color.

  • Katie

    oh-ma-gosh! sara you are just the cutest kitten. take a breath sweet kitty are byooo-tee-full. stop with the battle over the frizzy hair. speaking from a girl who had a total of 8 perms in fourth grade, and not even one jessie spano ringlet, i'd give anything for a morsel of frizz.
    kisses from katie

  • Antoinette

    I don't know if anyone has said this yet (i didn't look) but I never knew you could be an ITG intern!!!!

  • Katie

    Finally, someone else with dry, yet breakout-prone skin. I'm checking Sephora now for all the products she mentioned! Btw, you look amazing. I can't believe that's only with concealor. Such a great and informative post!

  • anita

    I wish I looked like that without makeup : )

  • Katarina

    I am so jealous that she can manage to blow-dry her hair straight in that time. Still takes me about an hour now that my Brazilian blowout is pretty much gone....

  • Sophie

    let's go sara!

  • Samira

    Totally adorable.

  • PhotoGirl

    The "super intern" now has interns of her own? Love! And boy does this news make me feel old... :)

  • Bre

    Awesome post! A gorgeous girl who cares about proper skin care and protecting her skin from the sun with daily SPF. A girl truly after my own heart! I adore all her picks, Laguna bronzer and NARS blushes are a daily Holy Grail staple for me and my professional kit, and Essie Geranium is a fantastic and beloved "pasta sauce red" color.

  • Taylor

    Love it. I'm hitting sephora and buying these products asap!

  • TheBeautyPhilosopher

    She is not wearing makeup in that post? *Sigh of envy*. Great article. I find The Face series so inspiring.

  • Christina

    This is so well written! Amazing- this girl is major.

  • katie

    i tried your trick for under eye circles, but i made them worse - almost like the light reflected in a way that made them look darker and more sunken in.

    can you clarify how you did this? i have those middle eastern eyes that are perpetually dark...

    and after the amazingly bright maybelline eye shadow post, a post on grease paints would be amazing. sara could you start some new youtube videos? i watched some of yours and they are awesome!

  • Farah

    Can someone explain the difference between the categories The Face and The Top Shelf to me? Love them both but i don't get it.

    • katie

      i think the face is sort of average people off the street with something intriguing about them. top shelf seems to be more beauty insiders or people who work in the beauty/fashion/perfume/ etc industry. they highlight the same type of thing, but the particular person's background is slightly different.

  • Alexis

    I cannot wait for the opportunity to say to someone "it's so Saved by the Bell"

    Great post, Sara you are truly lovely. I hope my daughter will develop a beauty sense like yours!

  • Stephanie

    Emily, I adore you. Into the Gloss is wonderful! And Sara, I am only half way through this article & I already adore you as well. You had my attention when you said you mastered blowing out tight, frizzy waves. And when you talked about concealer. AND, I just happen to be half Iranian! Is wavy, frizzy hair a trend in people with middle-eastern fathers? Not that I'm complaining. I can't wait to try some of the products you mentioned. Thank you for the blowout how-to!

  • Clara

    OMG where is that dress from? saved by the bell me!!
    Would be so thankfull if someone could tell me!

  • castba85

    LOVE the tip about using highlighter directly below the undereye circles! I have been doing that since I read it here and it really does work!