“I’ve spent much of my career in beauty, which I fell into by mistake, but I think it was destiny at work because I was always obsessed with makeup and makeup artists and models, etc., etc. Originally, I wanted to be a serious journalist, so I interned at the Village Voice and Spin, and then I worked at a small newspaper in Staten Island. The fashion editor there, a lovely woman named Elaine Boies, got Women’s Wear Daily delivered every day, and the fact that there was a daily newspaper for fashion just blew my mind. [Laughs] Eventually I wound up harassing the editor-in-chief of Women’s Wear Daily until he agreed to see me. I wanted a fashion job and he said, ‘All we have available is a beauty job, would you be interested?’ I thought, ‘Ooh, I’ll get in the back door that way.’ [Laughs] When I interviewed with Pete Born, who would become my boss, he said, ‘You better not be one of these people who really wants a fashion job,’ and I thought, ‘How did he know?’ Anyway, I became the luxury news editor for the beauty section at WWD, and it changed my life. There were already some very good reporters on the beauty desk, covering the Lauder brands, and L’Oreal, and Coty, so I had to find my own beat. I wrote about the indie brands: Stila, Urban Decay, Tony & Tina, Hard Candy—I just loved these people who were doing their own thing. I wound up launching Beauty Biz under WWD, which is now called Beauty Inc. Next, I went to Harper’s Bazaar as the Beauty Director for four years, then I went to Lancôme to do PR. I was there for six years and it was like a dream job: I had tons of creative freedom, and worked with amazing makeup artists like Gucci Westman and Aaron De Mey. My legacy will probably be signing Michelle Phan, the self-taught makeup artist from Florida who does how-to videos. She’s now Lancôme’s Global Video Makeup Artist and the most popular woman on YouTube. I had a great time working with her. A lot of my job then—and now, in PR at Coach—was thinking about what’s next, and video was the next big thing. I’ve always been a champion of web—bloggers, vloggers, etc. The online world has changed the beauty industry. Makeup can intimidate a lot of people. I learned how to do my makeup reading Seventeen magazine; now the whole world of beauty can come alive online, and I think smart companies are taking advantage of that.
When I could finally afford it, I guess I was around 13, I bought Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion—DDML, as everyone in the beauty industry calls it. I was very into the 3-Step thing—I’d save my money and wait until gift-with-purchase time. That was my gateway drug into beauty. A few years later, I started buying Lancôme; Lancôme was right next to the Clinique counter. It was during the time of Isabella Rossellini and you couldn’t help but get swept up in those ads back then. I am a die-hard Lancôme user; even when I was a beauty editor, a lot of what I was using was Lancôme. That’s why I took the job—because I was so comfortable with the product. Otherwise I’d have to turn around and pitch something I didn’t believe in to my editor friends, which I would never do. Unfortunately, Lancôme just discontinued my favorite moisturizer, but they have not discontinued my favorite serum yet, thank goodness—it’s called Collaser and every time I run out of it, my skin just does not look the same. I love the stuff—I use it day and night, under my new moisturizer, which is Absolue lotion. Sandy Linter, the makeup artist, suggested I use it. It’s very light and works beautifully under makeup—it layers very well, so if you’re using sunscreen and eye cream and serum and then the lotion, it doesn’t feel too heavy. I was very lucky because I had a mom who was very into sunscreen from early on. She wasn’t as fair as I am, but she was always chasing us around with it. So I stayed out of the sun, always used sunscreen…I wear sunscreen every day of the year. The worst sunburn I ever got was on a cloudy day when I wasn’t wearing any SPF.
A revelation that I had recently regarded neck cream. [Laughs] When I was an editor, I thought neck cream was malarkey to the 10th degree—I was like, ‘There is no way you invented something that knows this is neck skin, versus face skin.’ I think for most people, you take whatever moisturizer that’s left on your hands and smooth it on your neck as an afterthought, but the genius of neck cream is that it makes you pay attention to your neck. Just the fact that you’re paying attention to that body part will make it look better. I also love Clarisonic—I was a late convert to Clarisonic, I didn’t think I needed it—and my skin’s a little sensitive, I can’t use a washcloth on my face, but when I use this a few times a month, it’s astounding. Even my boyfriend will come home and say, ‘What did you do to your skin today?’ It’s that noticeable. If I had oily skin, or normal skin, I’d use it every day. And I use the cleanser that comes with it—they have a creamy cleanser that’s really good that I use every day with or without the Clarisonic. I do use face scrub a few times a month. My boyfriend, who is a big product junkie, turned me on to Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish, which is one of the nicest products I’ve ever used. Please, Fresh, don’t ever discontinue that product. And I use Tracie Martyn’s Enzyme Exfoliant, which I love. In my next life, I’d like to come back as someone who can afford to go to Tracie Martyn and get her facial every week. I also have the Rodin face oil, which I like very much, I’m just trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my skin care routine because I do like serums. There’s an awful lot of technology that goes into big brands’ skin care. And some people might think it’s fake science, but I’ve spent enough time around it to know otherwise. I see the difference it makes in my skin. That said, I think natural products are great too—I love Dr. Hauschka, I love Weleda, I love Rose-Marie Swift’s makeup. I do think there’s a place for technology and natural ingredients, and I think it just comes down to personal preference. However, I’d like to see the big brands incorporate more naturals into their products. I do see the day coming where we’ll see more skin care science combined with naturals—I think that might be the next wave, where you see these things being married. Sadly, as much as I love skincare, now that I have two restaurants, my skin care routine has gone to hell. I went from age 13 to 41 taking care of my skin meticulously, never going to bed with makeup on, to crawling to bed and being lucky to have brushed my teeth. So, skin care has not been the biggest priority over the past year. I’ve learned that the most important things for your skin are not the products you use, but that you have a consistent routine, stay out of the sun, get enough sleep, limit the stress in your life, eat right, drink enough water, all of those things.
When it comes to makeup, I use lots of different things. I’ve been very lucky to have worked with so many great makeup artists, so I learned a lot. I love nothing more than that moment when the makeup artist or their assistant puts all the product out on a table, and you can see what they really love, and what they grab the most. I still do use a lot of Lancôme. [Laughs] The Teint Miracle foundation, the one with Julia Roberts in the ads, that’s a beautiful product if you’re afraid of foundation. It’s light and buildable, and it has a lot of luminosity to it, which is nice. Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer—this is a fantastic product. Kevyn developed this and it’s been in the line since the beginning. It’s a cross between a concealer and a foundation; it’s really thick and you use it very sparingly with a brush. I’m really good about washing my brushes; that’s a biggie. One of the biggest mistakes women make is not washing their makeup brushes, and I thought everybody knew this until I said it to a girlfriend once and she said, ‘I’ve never washed mine.’ You have to wash them once a week! With any gentle shampoo or even Ivory soap, and you swirl them on your palm with lukewarm water and lay them flat on a towel. Your makeup application will be a thousand times better if you’re using clean brushes. Natural brushes take a long time to dry, but synthetic brushes dry overnight.
The older you get, the more makeup you need, I find. Especially if you’re not getting enough sleep, or you go out and have a few drinks, all those things—you see it more in your face than when you’re 25. I don’t wear that much makeup, but I love nothing more than a little concealer, eyebrow pencil, blush and lip gloss. The Kevyn Aucoin is always my undereye concealer, and then the Lancôme foundation I’ll use here and there where I have redness—but I’ll never do a full face of foundation. Then I set my makeup with my Laura Mercier matte translucent powder; I have three of these compacts—one for home, one for work and one for my makeup bag. I love Laura Mercier—she’s a fantastic makeup artist, and her base makeup products are beautiful: her foundations, powders, concealers, tinted moisturizer…they’re really popular for a good reason. A problem I’ve always had is my concealer bunching up under my eye—and Laura Mercier makes this great thing called Secret Brightening Powder, and you just put it on a little brush and dab it under your eye, and it sets your concealer. And another really good trick is if the inside rims of your eyes are reddish, you use this flesh colored pencil and it really brightens—Flawless Fix pencil. NARS makes some of the best blush around, and I have NARS Orgasm blush, like probably half of the planet. Lancôme makes the best lip glosses, hands down, and the best mascara. You cannot go wrong with it—if you don’t have a lot of money, and you’d like to buy luxury beauty products, your money will be well spent on Lancôme mascara. It’s great stuff. And I know a lot of people thought that vibrating mascara was silly, but it really is the best thing in the world. If you can get the hang of it, you can get lashes like Kim Kardashian. I over-plucked my eyebrows when I was younger; I don’t have many regrets in life but one of them is definitely over-plucking my eyebrows, so I fill them in with a retractable pencil; Anastasia makes a great one. I’ve got my YSL blue eyeliner for when I’m tired—I’ll line my waterline with blue. And lip balm, I’m a big lip balm junkie. I like the lip balms from Clarks Botanicals, Eve Lom and Fresh.
I changed my job a few months ago and I cut my hair, because I’m obsessed with Arizona Muse’s hair [Laughs], but it’s been growing out. When we opened the restaurant that’s the other thing that went out the window. I used to get my hair cut every few months, and get it colored every time the grays started to appear again…and now, Clairol Root Touch-Up is my best friend. [Laughs] If you are busy, and need to do something in between your professional hair color appointments, it’s a great product. I’ve cut my hair a lot myself these past few years, much to the horror of my friends and the person who actually does cut my hair. I literally just put my hair in a ponytail and took my boyfriend’s scissors to the bathroom, and when I walked out of the bathroom, he said, ‘Wasn’t your hair longer a minute ago?’ [Laughs] I don’t recommend that for curly hair. My routine depends on how much time I have—I wash it every other day; right now I’m using Serge Normant’s shampoo and conditioner, which I like very much. I love those beach sprays. They are great if your hair is fine because it builds it up. And my friend Ruben at Sally Hershberger turned me on to Shu Uemura Ample Angora mousse, which is really great. I comb it through and then twist chunks of hair, and either let it air-dry or else use a diffuser and break it up with my fingers. And then on the second day I’ll sometimes take out a large-barrel curling iron. But the ponytail is my friend…thank goodness for ponytails.
Let’s talk about nails because I love nail polish. I think the reason I love nail polish and makeup so much is because I went to Catholic high school, and we were not allowed to wear a stitch of makeup or nail polish. If you even showed up with clear nail polish, they would take it off. They kept nail polish remover in the closet. I think I went a little bananas when I got out of high school because of all the freedom. I have very weak nails and I always have my whole life, and the best product I’ve ever used is Nailtiques. Nailtiques works like a charm. I don’t know how it works, but if you use that for a few weeks as a basecoat, or just alone, you’ll be floored. And my new discovery is Karma Organic lavender nail polish remover, made from soybean oil. I saw this at my friend Jessica’s store, Shen, and I said, ‘There’s no way this works,’ and she said, ‘I swear it does.’ So I bought a bottle for twelve dollars, which is a lot of money when you’re used to spending three bucks on nail polish remover. It works so well, it doesn’t smell toxic; there’s nothing worse than that smell of nail polish remover—in your bathroom, on your hands. And it leaves this nice moisturizing residue on your fingernails. I love the nail polish trend right now. I love that people of all ages can wear all sorts of crazy colors. I even like chipped nail polish, because it takes a little pressure off of you to have a perfect manicure all the time. I know some people think it’s awful but I do think, in a weird way, it looks modern. Butter London has fantastic colors; I’ve met the founder, Nonie, a few times backstage. I’ve been lucky to be around so many great beauty people—almost every product is use is because of something I learned from someone along the way.”
—as told to ITG