Wendy Nichol, Designer


"I guess my aesthetic is ‘witch.’ Everyone in my studio calls me one. [Laughs] I’m a very sensitive person, so I like using horsehair, leather, skate eggs, natural materials, and making them into a necklace or a bag... I love things that are dark, that have a mystical feeling to them. With my line, I want to make pieces that have an art aspect, but that you can actually wear successfully. Witch and witchy-ness is really key to me—it has to have that darkness to it.

There’s some punk, too, especially in my jewelry. I like a punk vibe, but I don’t want it to be ‘St. Mark’s [Place].’ My idea was that I wanted to load the ear up with a bunch of hoop earrings that had spikes on them that were manageable. I started my line in 2007, and the first pieces I made were pyramid rings. It had that St. Mark’s vibe, but it was higher quality. Then I started making leather handbags, and now I have a small ready-to-wear collection as well. I love to figure out how to make something, how to put together the parts in an interesting way to make a whole. We make everything in our Sullivan Street store, and we just opened up a second store on Mott Street.

I had long, parted hair for a long time, but I got bangs five years ago, just ‘cause I felt like, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I live in Brooklyn, I have a business in the city… Having bangs just helped me pull it together and go. Now I really like my bangs; it’s a little bit of privacy. They can really make a look, too—no makeup, a bummy t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and if you’ve got bangs, that’s your outfit. Sometimes, I wash only my bangs—the rest of my hair is whatever, I don’t worry about it—and put on a pair of sunglasses, a bit of Crème de la Mer, and I feel like I’m ok, like I can do appointments or whatever I have to do that day. It’s about the line, the tightness they bring—having bangs is a very clear style. And bangs have always been a very ‘business’ silhouette for me, since you can’t see your facial expression on your forehead; it’s almost like wearing a pair of sunglasses.

I use Aveda Scalp Benefits; it’s my favorite thing ever. It’s really mild, so it doesn’t feel super aggressive and wash-y. My husband and I, we both laugh because we hate getting wet. We hate taking showers, and we’re always joking about how dirty we are. But the Aveda shampoo, it feels natural, so when we have it in our house, we’re like, ‘Ok, I guess I’ll take a shower...’ And I’ll use Moroccan Oil sometimes, too.

For my skin, I like Valmont Nourishing Cream and Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. I buy them at this secret shop on Thompson Street—Salon de Shyou. In the front, they sell Valmont and Lotion P50 ‘1970.’ If you have any breakout or lax pores, the texture of your skin, P50 just fixes everything. You put it on with a cotton pad and rub it all over your face. It makes you a little red at first, because it’s got vinegar in it, but it just makes you feel clean. It’s unbelievable. It’s the best stuff! Anyway, there’s a tiny room in the back, where they offer facials that use Valmont and Lotion P50. A lot of people guard this secret; the place is amazing and they have this curated group of awesome products.

I only found out about it because I had a customer come into my store and her face was radiant, and I was like, ‘What the hell? What the hell is going on with your skin?’ And she was like, ‘I’m going to tell you because you’re a good person.’ [Laughs] And she told me about it—it’s like two seconds away from my Sullivan Street store!

If I feel like I’m going to break out, I’ll do Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser, with a little bit of Valmont Exfoliant Scrub. I just started using the Zelens PHA+ Resurfacing Facial Pads—for controlling breakouts and keeping pores really tight. I use them all the time.

Every day, I put some of the Clarks Botanicals Nourishing Youth Serum on and then La Mer. The Serum keeps your skin clear and gives it a good plumpness, too. And I use La Mer whenever I can. If I have to go talk to somebody for work, I just put a little on my face—because I just feel like La Mer really glows you, it gives you a natural glow, especially if I don’t have makeup on. It’s that humid-day glow. I use La Mer morning and night, and also sometimes around my lips and mouth, just to brighten. And I always have La Mer Lip Balm on me, which is so nice.

Also important: Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF 50 Anti Glycation Primer. It’s great, especially if you’ve had a peel or you’ve recently exfoliated. It’s so light, it’s clear, it smells great—it’s just the best sunblock I’ve ever tried on my face. That goes on whenever I remember.

In terms of makeup, I have some old standbys, like Tarte Natural Cheek Stain and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. I’ve been using Secret Camouflage for ten years I think. Sometimes, if I’m on my way to work and I see that I have red skin, I’ll just take a brush and basically paint my face with it. And if you put La Mer on first, you have moisture on your skin, and you can spread the Camouflage out. It covers redness nicely, and you can use the lighter side of the compact for underneath your eyes. Real estate-wise, it’s super small and it can get you ‘done.’ I don’t like squeezy, tube-y things in my purse, because they’re messy; I like to carry something more compact.

I also love Bare Minerals SPF 15 Original Foundation in Medium Beige—I use it sometimes on my eyelids, which sounds weird. My eyelids get oily, and I feel like my eyeliner always goes into my crease, so I just put a little bit of that powder on my lids and it keeps my eyeliner from imprinting on the rest of my eye; it mattes it a little bit. I haven’t been very into the matte look lately, but if I do want a more matte look, I’ll just dust the foundation lightly over my makeup. Or, if I’m having a breakout, sometimes I’ll just seal my concealer with that powder. Plus, I always have a Dior Bronze Matte Sunshine in my bag, just in case. I don’t really use it very much, but in the summertime, if I go skin-naked and I have freckles, sometimes I just hit my face with bronzer. But I don’t do super-bronze; I like it because you can use it as a blush.

For mascara, I love Chantecaille Faux Cils. It’s the best mascara I’ve ever had—it’s smooth and doesn’t feel heavy. They have an version that extends your lashes too, but I have a lot of lash as it is. On my lips, I usually just wear some lip balm, but I carry around a tube of Helmut Red. I feel old when I wear red lipstick. If I do wear it, it’s got to be prescription glasses, no makeup, and red lips. I can’t put anything else on. This is a more relaxed version for red lips: Shiseido Perfect Rouge Tender Sheer in RS628. A makeup artist gave it to me—it looks like you ate a cherry and it stayed on your lips. That, I can do."

—as told to ITG

Wendy Nichol photographed by Emily Weiss in Brooklyn, New York on November 16th, 2012. Wendy just opened her second store at 252 Mott Street. 

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Bronze Matte Sunshine
La Mer
Creme de la Mer
Aveda 'scalp benefits' Balancing Shampoo 33.8 oz
Moroccan Oil Treatment for Hair
Valmont 'Prime Regenera I' Cream
Biologique Recherche
The Biologique Recherche Line
Eve Lom
Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser
Valmont by VALMONT Valmont Exfoliant Face Scrub–/1.7OZ for WOMEN
Clarks Botanicals
Clark's Botanicals Nourishing Youth Serum
La Mer
La Mer ‘The Lip Balm’
Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Primer
Laura Mercier
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
bareMinerals Original Foundation
Chantecaille 'Faux Cils' Longest Lash Mascara
Shiseido Perfect Rouge