Carolyn & Dylan Murphy


Carolyn: Since I was a little bit younger than Dylan, every Sunday was beauty day: my mom and I would do masks, and we would do our nails. I have a cool mom. So, Dylan took off her three-week-old nail polish today, and when she was sitting on the bathroom floor, we realized that today is Sunday beauty day!

Dylan: I had on Essie Turquoise and Caicos. My favorite colors are turquoise, aquamarine, and purple.

Carolyn: Dylan is more fashion-forward than I am. She has a lot more style. She really wants a pair of wedge sneakers, and I said, ‘Dylan, you’re already 5’4” at eleven years old. You don’t need to have any more height.’ She’s very opinionated, about her products as well.

Dylan: I like my banana-scented detangler [Circle of Friends Bonita’s Banana Detangler]. It takes out knots. You do it when you get out of the shower; you let it sit for like five minutes and then you brush it. My mom got it for me. We went to the store together and she said, ‘Oh, you need any of this?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ and then I picked out that. They had chocolate and raspberry and banana. I love banana.

Carolyn: For Dylan, most of the things I want her to use are natural or kid-friendly. I gave her that Bigelow lip balm [C.O. Bigelow Merry Mentha lip balm] last week. But it’s all about a balance. You know, there are these things that are geared toward children, like the detangler, and it smells yummy. But then, she loves the Bumble and bumble Seaweed Shampoo.

Dylan: I like it because it smells good and I love seaweed.

[Emily: Really? That’s like saying ‘I love broccoli.’]

Dylan: I love broccoli!

Carolyn: She does. [Laughs] She’s a green baby!

Dylan: I wear makeup sometimes.

Carolyn: Be honest about that. When are you allowed to wear makeup?

Dylan: I’m not allowed to wear makeup out unless it’s a really really really really special occasion.

Carolyn: And then, only lip gloss.

Dylan: And sometimes sparkly eye shadow, but not too sparkly. When we went to New York, my mom bought me this palette thing-y—I’m wearing the pink one. It has purple and blue and white. It was gift from the lady at the makeup counter.

Carolyn: I was buying Estée Lauder, which is funny because the woman then recognized me and said, ‘…Why are you buying this cream?’ and I said, ‘Because I’m so dehydrated!’ Where were we coming from?

Dylan: Australia!

Carolyn: I bought Re-Nutriv Crème. She kind of looked at me after a minute and said, ‘Aren’t you…?’ There was a picture of me in there. Most of the time, people don’t recognize me, but then they think that they know me from somewhere, and then all of sudden they see the credit card and they go, ‘Oh, no, wait a minute!’ But for Dylan, when we’ve gone into duty-free, she gravitates more towards the lip glosses.

Dylan: I just love lip gloss and lipstick. I have one in my purse that I stole from my mom a few years ago. It’s Nude Rose by Estée Lauder. And my uncle Ivan bought this for me—Stila Sparkle Waterproof liquid eyeliner.

Carolyn: I don’t think she’ll be allowed to wear makeup out of the house until she is sixteen. I wasn’t allowed until I was sixteen.

Dylan: I always wear stuff in my hair. Whenever I go to J.Crew, I usually get a new headband. I love wearing headbands, especially the big poufy ones. I guess I was inspired by Lady Gaga. At Zitomer, they have this whole section where they have headbands that are really big.

Carolyn: We love Zitomer pharmacy and Bigelow Pharmacy. Zitomer’s is in New York, uptown, around 79th. It’s just so easy to get lost in there. She got a wide-tooth comb from there that she uses to comb through conditioner.

Dylan: And I use the Tangle Teezer with sparkles.

Carolyn: I brought it home from the salon and knew she would love it. You’re supposed to start from the bottom and work your way up. Tracey Cunningham does my hair, from Byron & Tracey—but this was a gift from Michael Canalé. I see Tracey for color. I love her; she is such a character. I was there last week and she said, ‘You have to be more blonde because blonde sells!’ But I saw Charlize Theron in there the other day, who was just drop-dead beautiful. So beautiful.

Dylan: These are some of my chapsticks. I have a Skittles chapstick [Tropical Skittles Strawberry Starfruit], I have a vanilla chapstick [Carmex Vanilla], I have a Fun Dip chapstick [Fun Dip Razz Apple Magic], and I have a watermelon chapstick [OraLabs Watermelon Lip Rageous]. I keep them next to my bed, with my lavender oil. It helps you go to sleep.

Carolyn: I swear, every time we go into a pharmacy or a grocery store, she’s like, ‘Can I get a chapstick?’ I mean, that’s the fun part about representing a company like Estée Lauder—they send me all the goodies. You know, I grew up with the brand—my Nana, who’s quite chic and still around, had a blue and white vanity area, and she wore White Linen, she had the Youth-Dew, so I had this nostalgia. Working with them has truly been an honor. I knew by the summer of 2001 that they were signing me, and it was huge. It’s like the Holy Grail of the industry. I get to play and I get to be a guinea pig for their products; I’m just always trying new stuff. When the company said they were bringing Tom Pecheux on, I was so excited. He’s modern, and he’s creative. I think you’re always trying to separate yourself from the pack. When it comes to the beauty industry, there is so much out there, there is so much for us to choose from. They’re an iconic brand, and I think that they’re just getting better and better.

In general, I try to keep my skincare routine simple. I’ve been using Cetaphil for years, and I’ve also been using the Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion, which works really well. I have to use a cream cleanser because I have super sensitive and dry skin. Cetaphil is definitely not natural, but I’ve gotten used to certain things, and I believe everything in moderation. I also really believe in keeping everything super hydrated. I sleep with a humidifier by the bed; I think it makes a big difference. But, you know, I didn’t always take care of my skin. Surfing killed it—I’ve had to spend the last two years trying to repair that damage. I believe in Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair. If I had to choose one product that I think is my number one, can't-live-without item, it would be that. I swear to God, it’s the best. After thirty-five—and I’m almost thirty-nine—I think it’s about being aware and paying attention. Not that I was careless before, but I definitely had other things on my mind. Skincare wasn’t a priority because I had great skin; I maybe took it for granted a little bit, too. So now I wash my face at night, and in the morning, I splash it with cold water and that’s it. Then I put on the Advanced Night Repair—morning and night—and Re-Nutriv or, sometimes, Olio Lusso. And what Dylan and I are using right now in our hair and on our skin is this: Spectrum Coconut Oil, unrefined. We just finished a tub of it. I swear by coconut oil, and even raw olive oil. I’ve even been known to take it on the plane with me and slather it on, and people think I’m weird, but who cares? I slather it on my body, and on the tips of my hair. I’m also really into the Oribe hair mask, because my hair is bleached, and it’s curly, so every Sunday I sleep with this on. But more than anything, I believe that beauty comes from the inside out, so I’m very diligent about supplements. I travel with this kit, and I take the Omega-3s, I take Biotin and BioSil for skin and hair. I take vitamin D, which I think is super important if you can’t get 15-20 minutes a day in the sun. I take magnesium at night, which is also really great for the skin. But, you know, I’m debaucherous. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t debaucherous from time to time—I have a drink every now and then—but I just think it’s a balance. I’m realistic; I don’t want to be extreme on anything. If I’m eating well and basically supporting my body 99/98% of the time, when Friday night comes, or Saturday, or whatever, I don’t feel so bad about it.

I don’t usually wear makeup during the day, but I always want to have blush. I like the Estée Lauder Signature blush because it’s creamy; I’m not a huge fan of powder. I’m not a huge fan of foundation or even concealer, but I want a creamy blush, and I always travel with Clinique Black Honey lipstick because I think if you put that on and just have really clean skin, it’s beautiful. I use the Sumptuous Extreme Mascara. For night, the smoky eye thing is kind of new to me. It’s something that I think looks good in photographs—you know, for shoots—but I don’t know about it in real life. I feel like it makes my eyes look super small. Blazing Bronze eye shadow is the one I love; it’s my go-to. I’ve worn it for years. Or sometimes, for fun, I’ll wear Coral Chic lip gloss for a pop of color. But the most beautiful I felt was when I was pregnant. Literally the most beautiful I felt in my life. I was big—I went from 118-120 to 183—but I was glowing. The only picture I have of myself, a fashion picture of myself, hanging in the house is from when I was pregnant. Anna Wintour from Vogue was really curious about my living in Costa Rica at the time, and said, ‘I want to do an article on Carolyn, and Mario Testino is going to photograph it.’ So I show up, and Camilla and Mario, or I guess Mario, who I adore, had this bright idea that he would have me in a bikini coming out of a limousine. I said, ‘No. You’re not going to have me getting out of a limousine in a bikini and I’m seven-and-a-half months pregnant. I wouldn’t even want to get out of a limousine in a bikini anyway, even if I wasn’t.’ So, you know, leave it to Mario—foregoing the bikini was one thing, but I end up naked, just completely naked, in his room at the Mercer Hotel, in Manolo heels and Harry Winston diamonds and that’s the shot. It’s not your conventional pregnancy portrait—it’s not like I have the romantic long hair whisping over my breasts, and cradling my belly. I like that it’s rock and roll.

—as told to ITG

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Phil

    Wow she has amazing skin, it's so radiant!
    Must find out more as to how I could make this work for me :)

  • Anita Rivas

    I love her! What is the white lidded jar next to the tangle teezer? (I have those and love them!)

    • Jessfran1215

      Simply divine botanicals, how now brown cacao, body butter!

  • Akarvelsson

    OH thank you! I was having Top shelf withdrawals, but this one was worth the wait. I love when they are real and descriptive like Carolyn and I love that her 11 year old was a part of it.

  • Helena

    Her daughter sounds so funny and cute! I think it's fine to let kids experiment with make up, as long as the emphasis is on fun and play rather than looking older or worrying about their appearance...... colour and sparkles are key!

  • Bonnie,Clyde and Marni
  • Kath

    Wow!! Love it! Love that she uses night repair morning and night...have wondered about that before. Also have the same tub of coconut oil - one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen! I wonder why she does both biotin and biosil, seems like they serve the samee purpose?

  • Adeola Naomi Aderemi


  • Miss K

    I am also using the Advanced Night Repair! Great to read that she is recommending it.

  • Lisa

    I realize that she has a contract with Estee Lauder. But, wow, that’s a LOT of Estee Lauder references. I wonder if she really uses the stuff – or is just doing her job!

  • Alana

    AMAZING POST! (again). Love the mother-daughter dialogue. It was also refreshing hearing Carolyn talk about her beauty routine and not only hawk Estee Lauder products. It feels like we're getting a more honest story.

    And she is right on with the coconut oil! It smells yummy, moisturizes fantastically and is insanely inexpensive (RMS Beauty is making a killing on packaging pure coconut oil in cute packages!).

  • Theyearofyou

    Yes-- WOW--her skin is beautiful, glowing. Whatever she's doing, it shows.

  • Pim

    wow! very thorough post! i'm satisfied

  • Joanne Choi

    I see my favorite skin care product, the estee lauder night serum!


  • Wendell

    She is gorgeous. I respect how she acknowledges she's a model for Estee Lauder but seems to believe in and use EL products. And she's right: EL packaging, formulation and quality has improved dramatically in the last several years. I also use and highly recommend coconut oil and BioSil. BioSil takes about a month to work, but the results are visibly firmer and clearer skin. It's an expensive monthly outlay, but totes worth it.

  • SykesStyle

    Truly a natural beauty; elegant and genuine.

  • Samantha

    Amazing editorial !

  • Stephanie Liu

    This is such a fun interview! I love the mother-daughter banter. Carolyn's skin is extremely gorgeous, I'm definitely following her routine!

    xo Stephanie

  • Anonymous

    I chuckled out loud a couple of times while reading this - I was so like Dylan when I was growing up. Obsessed with different chapsticks. Of course now it's lipsticks :) I love how close they are and the gentle balance that's described being a part of their lives. Dylan is so savvy - I love it! Really adorable.

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    My God, she is so flawlessy beautiful. She really look so naturally glowing and pretty! And love that she lets her daughter play with certain makeup items but still lets her be a kid--I think these days little girls are so eager to grow up quickly and parents aren't as strict with certain things so you often see 10 or 11-year-olds that look 16. Oh, and LOVE her bathroom!

  • Nic

    I love this post! Carolyn is beautiful and her daughter is so charming... at 11 years old!

    I don't find her hawking only EL stuff, but it makes sense she uses a lot of it, given she's their guinea pig. I love her other picks as well. And Dylan, you're so right; tangle teezer is the best! :)

  • Lindsay Sue

    Like mother like daughter!

  • Dianna

    Carolyn's skin is a pure glow! It was wonderful to read about mother-daughter team, they seem so tight. It's lovely. I just want to say that I love my tangle teezer -cheap and delivers.

  • Lisa C

    Oh joy! I've always loved Carolyn, love that she surfs...and she referenced enough different products that I actually believe she uses the Estee Lauder products she shills. And the funny part is that my beauty routine is more like Dylan's--LOTS of different kinds of chapstick, bright nails, and straight hair :)

  • Maria

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • merrybelly

    the pictures are amazing! I love the bathroom one

  • Capitalist Pancake

    Love ANR too. I think it's the best EL product, hands down. Also have nothing but love for raw coconut oil. I've got horrible dry sensitive skin on my upper arms and everything aggravates it bar this and Aderma exomega emollient cream. Bonus is coconut oil is so cheap! Even if I splurge and buy RMS' 75g version, it still lasts ages. I usually get Fushi though - it's £6 for 250g!

  • mimi

    this is my favourite topshelf! reminds me of my mum and i when i was younger :) im not going to lie, even at 24 im still all about the dr pepper lipsmacker!
    carolyn looks amazing, and the EL products she mentions are really great. she seems very genuine about her use of EL products rather than simply spruiking them because of her position.

  • isabelle chabot

    What a great picture of them...
    When i saw the "Archie's" on Dylan's nightstand, it was such a relief... I taught these had disapeared, read them when I was a kid and I plan on giving my daughter if I have one the big box of it that is at my mom's (some of which I got from my aunts...)

    Chapsticks and glitter shadow (swoon). It would be great to do a post about first makeup experience and first cosmetics we had as kids !

    • Anonymous

      Those comic books are what I noticed too! Amazing!

  • Jane S.

    That first photo is the perfect shot for Mother's Day! What a gorgeous and loving duo.

  • Maryann Hahn

    Someone should correct me if I'm wrong, but I just read that EL tests on animals? Is this true?

  • Nikola

    Where did you get that beautiful print above the bathtub?

  • Court

    Hey em, I know this is really random but I NEED to know where C purchased that vitamin case. I take a ton of supplements and currently have to divide them into two normal carriers. RANDOM! But I would appreciate any help. Thanks and still loving your site!

  • Lauren Ashley

    I love her! Such a sweet post. Thanks for sharing.

  • The Beauty Philosopher

    This is such a beautiful story. I love Carolyn's age-approproate approach to beauty with her daughter. I love Dylan's joyfulness and exploration.

  • Trishelle

    She really had amazing skin. I agree! Love your Top Shelf posts!

  • jewelraz

    Nice story written. It's sad that surfing killed the skin and two years taken to repair your skin.

  • Michelle Lee
  • Ekaterina Leonova

    I've bought the same Tangle Teezer with sparkles as Dilan's on my latest trip to London ))

  • Maria

    I love Lady Gaga, and One Direction! They should see the Sundance film festival!

  • Grace Doen En Ong

    I actually like that as a mom she puts restrictions on her kid when it comes to makeup, honestly, is there a point to having makeup on kids' faces? It just ages them and some of them end up looking far too tarty. So thumbs up to Carolyn for instilling age-appropriate makeup behaviour in her daughter! :)

  • Lux-fashion

    I like the red lip her

  • Stephanie

    I love her! Her diet (from what I understand) plays a big role as well I'm sure in her skin beauty...


Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Seaweed Shampoo
Estee Lauder
Re-Nutriv Replenishing Comfort Crème
Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick Beige
Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Bonne Bell Lip Smacker
Bonne Bell Lip Smacker Skittles Tropical Trio Tropical Fruit Flavors
Carmex Ultra Hydrating Moisture Plus Lip Balm