Having to do my own “Top Shelf” is always a great incentive to go through my cabinet and streamline my routine. The truth is, it’s already fairly curated, but there’s just so much stuff (we’re talking several freezer-bags on the floor, a shoebox of makeup wedged next to the sink, and several empty bottles in the shower) in that lil’ old bathroom that sometimes I don’t even want to go in there. Can I get a "Hell, yes!" from my fellow beauty junkies? I sympathize with those Hoarders, I really do.
But the other day (yesterday) I took a good hard look at myself in that Ikea mirror and said, 'Emily, it’s time to clean.' I plugged my iPhone into the speakers (thus rendering my phone unusable, which is of the utmost importance in this case) and put "Pusher Love Girl" on repeat. What you’re about to read is the freshest, most honest account of the “keep pile,” straight from my I-know-it’s-empty-but-I-really-love-the-packaging heart to yours.
Oh, hair. This might be the first time in my life, I realized when opening my medicine cabinet, that hair products outnumber skin products. And I have a secret: I don’t know what to do with any of them. Okay, that’s being dramatic—shampoo and conditioner, sure—but Microweb Fiber? Refresh Dust? Rough Paste 12? Where are we, Home Depot? Whipping short hair into shape is a whole process where, on a good day, it has just the right amount of grit/hold/volume. There is, unfortunately, a fine line between “textured” and “greasy,” and that line is actually more like a tightrope. Forego all product after a shower and my carefully constructed (thank you, Didier) chop—because, “bob,” really?—naturally parts, stick-straight and shiny, into what I call my “Argo look.” My clean short hair is simply not cool. And so it’s come to pass that I have a small army of goos and dry shampoos/texturizing sprays that I reach for at random. Oribe’s Fiber Groom, Redken’s Rough Paste, and Sebastian’s Microweb Fiber are all similarly effective pastes, which I generally “cut” with Bumble and bumble Texture cream and rub between my palms before manically running my hands through damp hair. They generally impart a je ne sais quoi, insouciant, vaguely French Girl quality to my ‘do. No matter what you’re using, I think the most important thing is not to use too much—that kills the whole thing, and there’s no going back (unless it’s back to the shower, in which case, it’s all about David Mallett’s super-luxurious, paraben-and-sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner). And once the hair’s finally looking right, on goes a mist of L’Oreal Elnett hairspray.
All right, so I’m not such a slacker in the skincare department, either. But I absolutely need the following “Hall of Fame” (around here) products: Tracie Martyn Amla Cleanser (why? See: Stevie), Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser, which also removes eye makeup—2-in-1!, and Bioderma Créaline, for those lazy nights and even lazier mornings. Moisturizers come and go, but the perfect cleanser is hard to come by. Once squeeky clean, I mist with thermal spring water (La Roche Posay, at the moment) to neutralize any minerals from that rough-and-tumble NYC tap water. It’s one of those things a really chic French girl told me was an absolutely essential thing to do, so I just do it. Also, in apparent essentials: antioxidants. I’m still on the Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Gel and AOX Eye Gel, which go on bare skin pre-moisturizer, serum, what have you, to fight free radicals, which, some would say, are evil cousins of UVB/UVA rays. And on that note, confessional time:
I rarely wear face sunscreen. Or, WORE, I should say—I’m a reformed woman, after having been slammed at a dinner party for my ignorant ways. If you have any suggestions for a non-greasy but MOISTURIZING, not stinky, not chalky face sunscreen, send them my way. For now, my favorite solution is Natura Bisse’s The Cure cream—a balm-like tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 that leaves you looking luminous. I sort of forgot about Natura Bisse after my affair with their Oxygen Cream several years ago, but rediscovered it recently and am also feeling the Intensive Tolerance Booster, a silky fluid serum that’s said to combat inflammation. I’d say inflammation is best controlled by martinis-and-sushi in moderation and not a $225 serum, but hey. Sometimes you need to call in the big guns.
Rounding out the face department: still going strong with Clarins Instant Smooth Self-Tanning, after all moisturizing (either the Intensive Tolerance Booster or my trusty Joelle Ciocco Complex Vitamine) has taken place. I’ve also been dabbling with Dior’s brightening DiorSnow eye cream since discovering some brown spots beneath les yeux. More reason to prevent rather correct!
Inspired by the Phoebe Philos and Isabel Marants of the world, I’ve been going pretty bare lately. So much so that when I do do my makeup, I tend to refer to it as “slapping on some rouge.” Funnily enough, there’s not even rouge involved—just some fail-safe staples: my trusty MAC shading powder palette (learn about it here), Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation (in two shades, so I can adjust according to season), Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil Duo in Black/Brown, and Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes mascara. Lips have been getting the royal treatment with Homeoplasmine (the French pharmacy ointment beloved by many a makeup artist) for a matte yet moisturized effect, or else a swipe of Tom Ford’s new Lip Color Shine in Nubile, a perfectly pinky-tinged nude. When I forego foundation but want a little glow, I’ve been reaching for Stila’s Stay All Day 10-in-1 HD Beauty Balm. I’m completely baffled by BB creams and have largely chosen to ignore them, but this one worked its way into my cabinet and heart. If it feels like a tinted moisturizer (or “diet foundation,” as Harry Brant aptly referred to it), and looks like a tinted moisturizer…right? I mean, god bless them if they also nourish and protect your face. The smell of Stila's version leaves something to be desired, but the texture is phenomenal, and it sort of plumps up your skin in an I-just-had-sex-or-did-Bikram-yoga sort of way. In an effort to be a tad more matte—as is the look these days [see here]—I’ve been dusting Bobbi Brown’s White Retouching Powder over my T-zone, and in one final push to “pull it all together,” I’ll groom my brows with Anastasia’s perfect-amount-of-pigment Tinted Brow Gel. I can’t be bothered with a brow pencil, though Sania (of Sania’s Brow Bar) made a pretty convincing case for hers during a recent visit. She also told me my brows were “doing nothing for my face” before completely reshaping them, which made me fall totally and completely in love with her.
I acquire body lotions and creams solely based on the recommendations of others. Garance vouched for Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, saying it leaves a sexy, barely perceptible sheen (sans any glitter) on bare arms and legs. Sold. Azza Yousif introduced me to Topicrem, an instantly-absorbing “body milk” that’s perfect for those of us who suffocate under even the lightest moisturizer. Done. And Tracie Martyn said her hush-hush celebrity clients use her Resculpting Body Cream not only on their bodies but also on their necks and faces because the stuff’s so damn good. I’m not sure how much resculpting a topical product can do, but we are going to find out. I brought Nars' very intense-looking Body Glow oil with me on vacation to see what that was about and am now obsessed—do not be discouraged by all the glitter in the bottle. Just rub a little bit between your palms and over any exposed body part (legs, arms, collarbones) and watch what happens. You glow—glow like Gisele—and it doesn’t look like you have anything on. I exfoliate my legs once a week with Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub (St. Ives Apricot Scrub also rules but is a bit more intense) and hit them up afterward with the matching Body Balm. Oh, and the piece de resistance? Gillette Mach 3 razor. After all, it’s shorts season.
Emily Weiss, in a Kate Young for Target Peter Pan Collar Dress, photographed by Elizabeth Brockway.