Molly Young, Writer


“I work at Warby Parker as a copywriter and write the occasional feature for GQ and New York magazine. I studied writing at Brown University—well, they called it ‘literary arts’ and in the yearbook, next to my name, it was misspelled as ‘literacy arts,’ it’s like, ‘I learned to read!’ [Laughs] When I first came to New York after I graduated, I shared a bed with my mom—she was very generous to let me stay with her—and I was washing dishes at Liquiteria in the East Village. At first they wouldn’t even let me make smoothies! I made it to smoothie-making eventually. The shifts were really long and the breaks were really short and we were allowed to have one smoothie per shift, so, what I ended up doing is drinking the dregs from all the smoothies I made for other people—so I always had a medley of supplements in my stomach, or I made myself the most nutrient-dense smoothie I could, with peanut butter, protein powder, an inch of milk, some bee pollen or something...

Anyway, my skin has never been good or bad. It’s just there. But when I turned 25, I suddenly became interested in, like, being really good at doing my taxes, because I always messed them up; I wanted to get a facial, I wanted to start walking normally in high heels, and I wanted a real job. I had all these goals and this was one of them: to take better care of myself, physically—well, to take care of myself, period. And I decided I wanted to get a facial because it felt womanly.

People had talked about this facialist Christine Chin as if it was Fight Club or something. You go and have this very intense, physical, cathartic experience, and you come out stronger. So, I went to see one of Christine’s facialists, Hannah, and it was…so painful. You’re lying there prone and so vulnerable and somebody’s tinkering with you: ten different creams on your face, a little microdermabrasion, which is like having a fish nibble on your face, and the incredibly painful extractions, which were so intense that my nose was bruised for a week afterwards. But afterwards I bought all the Christine Chin products. I’ve actually had to go back twice so they could remind me of the order in which I’m supposed to put them on. They’re funny, these luminescent lilac bottles that say ‘Celebrity Collection.’ There are so many of them, it makes me feel like Patrick Bateman. First, I wet my skin but I don’t get it super wet and put on the Cell Gold Toner. I feel like a cotton ball is probably the appropriate applicator but it feels like such a waste because the cotton ball sucks it all up, so, I just squirt it on my face and then just rub it around. [Laughs] Then, I put the morning stuff on, the Cell Liquid Gold, and then a sunscreen. I don’t know what the Liquid Gold does, it’s straight up potion. Then, at night, I do the toner again and the Retinol Smoothing Fluid, the Christine Chin night stuff, and then I put on a different eye thing. My mother is always giving me eye creams; I think she’s probably projecting.  Right now, I’m using the Boscia Enlivening Eye Treatment. Then, once a week, I do the chemical peel, Cell Gold Gommage Peeling, which makes my skin very smooth.

The jury is still out on whether it’s all worth the money. When you’re there, it doesn’t feel super high-end or luxurious. There’s something very serviceable about it, which I like. The place itself is, you know, you lie on the table and there’s the machine and she puts the machine on your face and then you’re done. It’s like being at the dentist or something. So, no cucumber circles or anything.

I wear makeup maybe sixty-five percent of the time. I wear makeup to work because it makes me feel professional. It’s how I imagine wearing a corset would feel in the 19th century—like, I have my armor on. I use Korres Wild Rose Foundation. It’s really light and it has a very subtle luster, like a pearl. I started to wear foundation pretty recently, because, again, it’s the ‘womanly thing’—it seems like something that a woman does. I’m still getting used to it and I’m not sure if I’m going to keep doing it. I rub it around my cheeks and then put some on my forehead and on my nose. Then, I basically just throw tons of stuff on my eyes. It takes me probably six minutes, but I enjoy  doing it, I guess, because I don’t have that many rituals. Unless you have a family or a husband, you don’t have that many domestic rituals, and my makeup feels like this kind of ritual. I start with Maybelline Great Lash Clear on my big Russian Jewish eyebrows. It kind of shellacs them down. I had tadpoles for a while but then they grew right back when I stopped fucking with them. We all made that mistake. Anyway, then I put Diamond Lil Stila Eye Shadow all over my lids. I use a brush for that and my fingers for the rest: Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow in Brown, and Eye Shadow in #4, a matte black, which I apply close to the lash line with the small end of this Essence of Beauty brush I’ve had forever. I do all the shadows in varying degrees. I put a lot on in the morning and then it gradually comes off throughout the day in a way that’s appealing to me; it’s like my makeup’s slowly being erased. Then, I use the Urban Decay Perversion Glide-On Eye Pencil, which is really just the blackest of the blacks that I’ve found. I do it inside the lash line and above and smudge with my fingers.

Mascara is a sensitive subject. You know how everyone talks about Maybelline Great Lash as the ne plus ultra of mascaras? I think I figured out why everyone says that, and it’s not because it’s the best: I think it’s because-- and I’ve tried a shit-ton of mascaras—most mascaras decay really quickly. So, after a month, even if it’s amazing, it will either congeal or dry out. Maybelline mascara is fine in the beginning, but it just doesn’t change consistency, ever, so you can use it even after a year. It must have a longer shelf life—I’m convinced that’s the secret. Every other mascara is basically ruined after two weeks, or rapidly deteriorates. I’ve had this Maybelline Great Lash Blackest Black for, like, a year. Occasionally, I’m suckered into buying a tube of something else by a convincing sales person, and then I get obsessed with the new one for a week or two and then, after a month, it stops working and I go back to Maybelline. Right now, it’s Smoky Lash from Make Up For Ever. I love it, it’s very inky. It’s a process, but I feel like you have to swing for the fences with the eye makeup. I also can’t do anything else: lipstick comes off in a second because I eat or drink something, and blush I don’t know how to use at all, and brozer I don’t really know how to use, either. So, I concentrate all my resources on my eye makeup.

The one lipstick I wear, if I do a lip instead of my eyes, is NARS Jungle Red. I think it’s the ideal red. I don’t wear it very often but when I do, it’s so effective. It always surprises me how strongly people respond to red lipstick. It’s like how babies are attracted to shiny things—if you just have a strong color on your face, people want to reach out and touch it or look at it. I mean, same for me: If I see someone with a bright red skirt, I want to look at it in a very primitive way.

I love Uslu Airlines polishes. I use about forty coats of HUG until it’s solid silver sparkles. It’s like a topographical map—it’s crusty but so, so cool-looking. You have to be very precise with the sparkle placement and usually, I add a drop of nail-polish remover to it when it’s getting really thick during painting. I keep my fingernails short and use some sort of seashell color, like Jade Rose or Tendresse from Chanel. I have to look at my hands all day since I’m always typing, so I don’t like a statement nail.

Have you ever used this bright orange bath oil, Kneipp Herbal Bath? It’s this crazy German herbal stuff that’s like bathing in a liquified Ricola cough drop. It feels very hard core, like it’s doing something very healthy to your lungs when you inhale the steam. I do it pretty rarely because it’s actually kind of unpleasant. I guess I have an adversarial relationship with all of my products."

—as told to ITG

Molly Young photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on July 26th, 2012.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Madison Bryan

    One of my FAVORITES! I have so many bottles of Mountain Ocean's Skin Trip. It' the perfect consistency for this summer weather.


  • Rose

    Jungle Red! It's my color too, and I haven't found another lipstick that I've loved more. Great interview!

  • Kate {Modette}

    I love her story! And love all the beauty products she uses. xx

    Kate {Modette}

  • larissa

    This is my favorite section of the blog, great post! And that doll's head is very scary!

  • Anna

    What a beautiful lass!

  • SFStar

    Hilarious! Agree about the Maybelline Great Lash - though I have to say in my experience Lancome Definicils works very well over a long time also. The facial experience sounds scary - I don't think your nose should be bruised for a week afterwards...ouch.

  • Joy Jewell

    She's incredibly beautiful. Her skin is perfect - it looks so radiant and glowy, but in a very natural way. I wish I could get away with her makeup - it looks soft on natural on her, but I think it would be too heavy on me.

    Chrisyine Chin products sound pretty awesome. Shame you can't get them in the UK - booo!

  • touchkajal

    HUG is so nice!

  • Jordette Singleton

    Your love hate relationship with your products is interesting, congrats on being upgraded to smoothie maker :) Shop Beautiful Casual Dresses Online at CopperEtiquette

  • bec

    the most interesting top shelf yet!

  • Holly

    Her skin is beautiful. I have to try that toner.

  • laistesgift

    oh my god this woman is hilarious. The Fight Club comment I wanted to die..and yes most things grow back when you stop 'fucking' around with them. LOL!

  • elise

    She's obviously a great writer, when she describes her "adversarial relationship" to her products. YES to the longevity of mascaras as well. The first few days- too wet and sticky, then 2 weeks of heavenly application, then disastrous flaking. True of all the brands, so I buy the 2pack CoverGirl Lash Exacts- the purple ones. Hey, note to cometics companies: please put a flat end on mascara wands so I can set them vertically on the counter inbetween coats and they do not roll away! Honestly, are these things ever tested on women or what?!

  • Jade


  • Tamara

    So great to see a writer featured in ITG. Using clear Great Lash for eyebrows is pretty neat (I usually use Vaseline).

  • claire

    lol I LOVED this post!!

  • 4jsc

    Top shelf is always my favorite! It's interesting that many women buy multiples--particularly Skin Trip. I know, it is often out of stock. But, it wouldn't stay fresh enough if I did that. You've even featured someone with multiples of Olio Lusso. How do they use it before it spoils? This is my burning question.

  • Elizabeth Mensi

    Stick with MAC eyeshadows....and use them as eye liner. SO many colors, lusters, and shades that your eyes change color every time you mix and blend!

  • fairytalesandcoffee

    OMG I want her mdicine cabinet....slobber

  • PradaStole

    Ugh I tried Mountain Ocean Skin trip, it's highly perfumed, I smelled like a Bath and Body Works it was terrible.

  • Alexandra

    Looks like the facials work! Luminous skin!

  • sunni

    I've followed Molly's blog on tumblr for years now because I love her writing, but also because I liked the rare occasions where she'd expose some of her opinions on beauty or fashion. she always seemed very intellectual but effortless. I'm so glad you did this top shelf and satisfied my voyeuristic curiosity with molly!

  • mlle p

    wow, that is one tidy medicine cabinet! also, love the baby head.

  • Dianna

    Funny girl! (and beautiful)
    I find Lancome Hypnose mascara to last forever - mine is over 2 years old and is not getting dry. i have it Platinum color which I have not seen a lot in other mascaras' brands.

  • Jasmine Alvarez

    I love her, she is so funny! Her beauty story is totally relate-able and she is beautiful!

  • Mona

    Wow one of the most down to earth Top Shelf posts by far

  • Guest

    I love her attitude and can definitely relate, she's not too precious. One of my favourites so far.

  • Ane

    Best mascara ever: Edward Bess' Bess-Lash Mascara. Try it - it's amazing! And Molly is a true beauty.

  • AsphodelJones

    I have no idea who this lovely woman is, but I'm in love with her. Her attitude, cadence and style just rock, and I probably think this because she does her makeup like I do mine. :) Also, she must smell gorgeous with all that Mountain Ocean Skin Trip. This is definitely my favorite Top Shelf yet.

  • Jehane

    Great article, very refreshing - the girl can write

  • SF City Editor


  • Kath

    Thank you for introducing me to Molly...very funny and interesting. Maybe she feels adversarial towards her products bc she is using them to try and be womanly..,and she is oly 25!


    her eyes are stunning! love the eyeliner with the sheer pink lip.



  • kate moss daily

    Oh, I adore her! But I have to disagree on the mascara bit - covergirl lashblast is THE BEST.

  • Jen

    molly is such a phenomenal writer, been following her since her this recording days. and such a babe to boot! viva molly!

  • Trishelle

    Urban decay perversion eyeliner is hands down the best blackest lack ever. Love this post.

  • Stuartangel

    emily, what lipstick is she wearing?

    • Guest

      I would like to know too!

  • Una B
  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    Wow--her beauty cabinet is just gorgeous. I have always wanted to go to Christine Chin...or at least try her products

    • Love

      OMG, you guys have to throw your mascaras out after 3-4 months!!! They contain the MOST bacteria. Ew!

  • Eva

    I love her approach, how she feels putting on make-up is like a little ritual which makes her more womanly, but also serves as armour. It's the same for me. Such a funny and entertaining post, 'concentrating your resources' haha made me laugh. Really cheers up a rainy, drab morning here in the UK. :) Thanks Molly and ITG!

  • Shalliwell

    Fab article - gorgeous skin - loving that beauty cabinet..

  • N. E. Youness

    See a tube of Korres body butter in that cabinet! Freaking magic!

    Nota Bene: My skin has literally gone from burlap to baby's bottom because of this cream. Also, I smell like guavas which is totally working...for more than just me

  • Marijka

    This was probably my favorite top shelf. Molly is hilarious and opinionated-- a great combination. I also appreciated that she seems to be a real person with a real job, not just a rich girl pretending to be a stylist or a photographer.

  • liz

    Yay Molly! She writes well about everything.

  • amyK8

    Great post (as always), gorgeous woman. I must make the point though - extractions should NEVER, EVER be that painful, and my god they should never cause bruising. That means the skin was not prepped properly, or extractions were being performed where they should not have been. These are extractions, not surgery - and when done correctly they should ease out of the skin. Yikes.

  • Ej

    She's hilarious! Love this one.

  • Gina Carpellotti

    I am utterly confused by all of the accolades given to Great Lash. I think it's dry, and it adds zero volume. In fact, it made my nice lashes look smaller.

  • TheBeautyPhilosopher

    Oh this is one of my favourite ITG features ever. I'm a writer too, but what I really loved what the 'when I turn 25 I wanted to...' I so clearly remember having 25 as the magical age I'd start wearing heels too, and I think I bought my first 'serious' skincare item at around 25 too. I think it was SKII Facial Treatment Essence. I felt so worldly!

  • murt

    Loved this - I'm very curious now about those Christine Chin products. She looks great & I love her eye makeup!

  • Elif Koc

    So when is ITG going to be a magazine or something?

  • Rola

    She is gorgeous. I want to explore more on Christine Chin's products, they look interesting...I remember liking Korres Wild Rose foundation, it is a good one.

  • Mabelmatilda

    I've always wanted to try the Korres wild rose foundation, great post!

  • Michelle Lee

    great post
    btw I heard that keeping mascara for over 6 months or something is probably bad for sensitive eyes
    so I switch it often

  • Maria

    "People had talked about this facialist Christine Chin as if it was Fight Club or something. You go and have this very intense, physical, cathartic experience, and you come out stronger." LOL. I love her!

  • Randi

    I loved this piece! Anyone who mentions both Patrick Bateman and The Fight Club during an interview talking about beauty products, is clearly pretty awesome.

  • Guest

    If my eyes were that color, I would concentrate all of my resources there too! Gorgeous!

  • Bird

    This Top Shelf is one of my favorites. Molly seems down to earth and relatable, not pretentious or overwhelming. I really like her approach to beauty and her story- I, too, feel like makeup is a "grown up" thing and have similar lofty goals for 25. I hope I can reach them like she has!

  • Meenaxi

    Love the reference to Bateman! And when it comes to eye makeup, I'm a Maybelline girl all the way :)

  • Sarah Sayers

    Love this! Seems like the same kind of beginning many young writers go through (crappy part time work etc).

    Sarah x


    It's a shame that Korres liquid foundation is discontinued!

  • Sandra L.

    No, no, no! Give Kneipp a try!! The scents are amazing and SOOO relaxing ... with the possible exception of the one you tried. The lavender is, bar none, the best herbal soak you will ever experience.

  • Laura Carroll

    Her eyes are haunting! So beautiful.


NARS Lipstick
Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Mascara
MAKE UP FOR EVER Diamond Shadow in Diamond Brown
Stila Eye Shadow in Diamond Lil
Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment
Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow
Urban Decay
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil
Chanel Le Vernis
Kneipp Lavender Herbal Bath