Stacey Nishimoto, Stylist & Makeup Artist, Nasty Gal


"I’m from San Francisco, but I ended up in LA because of Nasty Gal. Sophia [Amoruso, Nasty Gal founder] and I were just buds hanging out all the time in San Francisco. We met through a mutual friend, this guy I liked. He said he was going to take me to a birthday party and I was like, ‘OK.’ I remember walking in and there she was: it was love at first sight. She had on these clear slide-heels with these high-waisted bell-bottom pants. At that point, she was totally ‘70s. We were just so mesmerized by each other because, at that time, we were both ‘period-piece girls.’ I was totally into ‘60s and ‘70s and so was she. And we were also just greasy, rocker, dive-bar girls. Anyways, we became friends and we hung out all the time. Around that time, she had just started with her eBay business, and it just grew overnight. At that point, I was a vendor for Chanel, so I worked at the beauty counters at Barneys and Saks and Neiman’s, and I would just go around doing events for Chanel. But eventually, Sophia said, ‘You know, I can’t do this by myself anymore and I don’t know anyone in San Francisco who's in love with fashion as much as you are… Can you come take over and do makeup?’ And I said, ‘OK—on the weekends.’ So, I was working two days a week for her and then it grew into a full-time job. A few years ago, she relocated the whole company to LA. At first, I styled everything and I did the makeup. It was just her and me and the photographer and her buyer, Christina, and an assistant. Now I still do all the makeup, but I just style the vintage because there’s so much to do—we have two other stylists.

I go through beauty stages. It’s weird hearing myself say this, but right now, I think I’m definitely European-based in my aesthetic because, for example, the French make these beautiful fuchsia lipsticks—when something says ‘Made in France,’ you can tell that the pigment is different. They’re really into controlled color, like pops of it; it’s minimal and fresh-looking. So that really speaks to me. Right now, I can’t get over fuchsia lipstick, even if it’s just a dab…or, like, a coral on my cheek. Just something vivid and bright on my eye. But always controlled, just accents… I think it comes from working with Chanel for so long—that style kind of just led itself into my system. I was 21 when I started with Chanel and now I’m 36.

There are some weeks where I just go to work, scrubbed face with just moisturizer on. And then there are times where I get totally inspired by having a creamy, matte face. So, I’ll get up in the morning and create a creamy, matte look and put a gloss on and leave—it just depends on my mood. It varies. But I love foundation. [Laughs] I don’t know why I love it, I think that’s the old-school part of me. I’m just infatuated with the formulas and how innovative they’re becoming and how beautiful the casing is and what they do for your complexion and how the different types of foundations out there are made for individual needs, skin types, and whatever you’re looking for.

To me, foundation is basically a second skin. It’s almost like a veil, making your skin look glowy and pretty. It can be super sheer or something more for evening—heavier, creamier. I think my love for it comes from my mom. I would always watch her put it on. And, you know, growing up as a teenager, I didn’t wear a stitch of makeup at all. I just thought it was kind of weird, a weird step to do as a woman. But I don’t know, as soon as I started in the business, I just loved the texture. I don’t think foundation should be intimidating—it’s actually really easy if you find your right color. All the people at the makeup counter have to hear is a few key words and they can direct you.

Personally, I like a super sheer, almost-not-there formula, like the water-based one from Chanel, Vitalumière Aqua in 20 Beige. You just put your moisturizer on and right before your moisturizer completely dries down, I like to put a little dollop of foundation on, rub it all over my face just like the moisture, so you automatically have that ‘second skin’ look. I don’t mind if the foundation goes all over because it should be all over your face if it's a second skin. And since I like it so sheer, if there’s anything else that needs to be covered, I’ll go in with a little correcting pen—like on the nose or the inner corner of the eye. I like Givenchy’s Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen. It has an amazing little brush and it has really good coverage.

YSL also has a beautiful foundation, Le Teint Touché Éclat Illuminating Foundation, and I love the rose tint to it—especially if you have an olive complexion. My favorite thing about YSL is the colors that are available—they’re super flattering. And it’s really glowy; it makes your skin just glow. In terms of powder, my favorite is a rose powder from Chanel, the Soft Pressed Powder in 30 Rosee. It smells so good. And sometimes, I think using a colored, tinted powder is prettier than a translucent. Translucent powders are invisible; they’re there to set your foundation. But when you actually use a colored powder, it kind of, like, glorifies your skin’s undertone.

My favorite blushes and eye shadows are all from Nars. The Marie Galante Eye Shadow Duo is amazing—it’s blue and purple; I love the vibrancy of purple. And the one I have on now, which I dot underneath my eye—Jolie Poupee. It’s inspired by David Bowie’s music video when he was into the whole clown look… David Bowie inspires me incredibly, yes—he did his own makeup in the ‘70s and ‘80s and he was really flamboyant and it was just so glamorous and elegant. I wear this eye shadow like it’s a taupe or earth brown or something.

What else? Givenchy makes my favorite liquid liners—the Parad’Eyes Fluid Eye Liner—because of their satin finish, which makes the light kind of dance off your lash line. I like liquid-y movement most of the time, but in the winter, I prefer matte liner. In that case, I’ll use a potted gel liner from L’Oreal: the Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner It’s great because it’s like a creamy-velvet feel—even when it gets old, it stays creamy. Really, it looks like a black velvet dress on your eye. [Laughs]

For lips, my favorite products right now are the YSL Glossy Stains. The formula is super modern; it’s a gloss that really stains your lips, so it doesn’t come off, which is great for photo shoots. You don’t have to do touch-ups because the way it looks on the lip is perfect. It just looks so technical. Plus, they have really pretty colors, like 18 Rose Pastel, which is a super pale pink. I like to use it as a base and then put a little drop of color in the center… I just get excited and infatuated by a product and use it until I O.D. on it. [Laughs] And for mascara, this has always been my favorite: Diorshow, for their Azure Blue. It’s the prettiest cobalt blue. For violet mascara, I like the YSL Volume Effet in Fascinating Violet. I’m wearing it right now.

When it comes to skin things, I love Caudalie. I just love how it’s all grape-derived. The Beauty Elixir spray is amazing—it’s a super fine mist, and I love that it sprays the exact perfect amount. Then, I use the Cleansing Water here and there, but I love the creaminess of the Gentle Cleansing Milk—it breaks down foundation and eye stuff super fast, but very gently. For moisturizer, I am really into the Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid with SPF 15. I know, all my skin care is all Caudalie right now! [Laughs] As I said, I’m an obsessive person and when I really get into one thing, I go for it. For me, with skincare, there’s so much out there and I feel like this brand’s really dialed down to the basics—it’s skincare-only, and I love their philosophy. And it feels so great on the skin.

Now, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting old and maybe it's because [my baby] Gus doesn't let me sleep so much, so I felt like I needed a reconstructing eye cream. [Laughs] It's true! I feel like lately my skin tissue is breaking down around my eye, so I just picked up Kiehl's Cryste Marine Firming Eye Treatment because it’s heavy. I’m drawn to Kiehl's for eye stuff because it’s basic and straightforward, and I like the texture. It keeps my under-eyes super moisturized, too.

But Gus really is the best baby—he’s a textbook baby. He only cries whenever he’s hungry or tired. On him, I only use two brands: Aveeno Baby and California Baby. They're the most gentle, I think. I even use their products for myself."

—as told to ITG

Stacey Nishimoto photographed by Emily Weiss in Los Angeles on January 6, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Holly

    I wholeheartedly agree with her favorite foundations -- those are hands-down my favorites, too.

  • Phil

    The Caudalie stuff is top quality after all

  • ritournelle

    I'm sad she doesn't talk about her fragrances, especially my all-time favorite Chanel N°19!

  • Suzanne

    When I looked at the pictures, all I could think was, "Don't leave your Chanels on the sink and the back of the toilet!"

    • sashi

      exactly! The back of toilets? I envision chanel crashing to the ground. Noooooo..... I wouldn't keep my CotySkin Musk there. although, as a bathroom freshener, you could not do better (haha)

  • Restless Blonde

    I've heard about this Caudalie Beauty Elixir so many times - I definately have to try this! And because it's going to be summer -sooner or later- I may use it as a refreshing spray :)

    • Bells

      Don't. Its #2 ingredient is alcohol - it will dry you out and sensitize your skin. Go with the Sanoflore floral waters instead, they're super fresh and soothing :)

      • Guest

        It may dry her skin out and then again, it may not. Everyone is different. I have used the Caudalie Beauty Elixir and loved it -- and I have super-sensitive skin. I would not hesitate to recommend this product.

  • Sara in America

    this was very informative for a non-foundation wearer. what is she wearing on her lips in the photo?!

    • ITGNick

      According to Stacey, she's wearing YSL's Glossy Lip Stain in Rose Encore.

      • mariela

        Could you please ask what blush she's wearing too? Thanks for this great top Shelf ITG!

  • Nomadic D.

    Totally with her on the YSL glossy stains. I'm completely obsessed right now and want to replace all my other lippies with this stuff. Also love my Caudalie moisturizer, it's so perfect, really hydrating without leaving me greasy at all.

  • Sabah A

    This was nice..and I never tire of hearing about Sophia Amoruso

  • KathS

    36?!?! jaw dropped. Going to keep reading now.

    • Bells

      Well, she's Asian! ^^

      • Iz

        She's not Asian, she's a "Portuguese mix". She married a Japanese man and they later divorced, she kept his last name.

    • Guest

      36 is NOT THAT OLD!

  • E

    What's her sweater?

    • ITGNick

      "Sweater is vintage Sonia Rykiel and the pants are vintage YSL," says Stacey. x

  • murt

    I don't often say this about babies, but her baby is super cute. Really liked here makeup picks as well - I wish I could wear Vitalumiere Aqua because I like the finish initially, but the alcohol in the formula is really hard on my dry skin.

  • S

    Wow. The most honest and straightforward thing I read in a while. Amazing woman and info, too

  • Chantelle

    I thought she was in her early twenties. She looks phenomenal!

  • Kristen Dolzynski

    her skin is impeccable!!! i must invest in these products. great post. xx

  • Natalie Lane

    Caudalie is the SHIT! The beauty elixir is a must have hands down.. Great read

  • renaphuah

    finally, a Top Shelf of Stacey!!!!! YAYYYY

  • Milla

    Great top shelf! I love reading what make up artists use personally.

    Also, as a future top shelf, I would love to know what someone like Lily Galilichi (or an over-contoured equivalent) packs on their face every day. So tacky, so fake... but so fascinating.

    • joannanyc

      Or someone like Jenna Marbles!

  • Delta of Venus

    Looks like the Zana Bayne bullet bra. Love it!

  • alexis

    wish i knew someone like her, we share the same love for vintage clothing.

  • Guest

    This is fascinating to me and I don't even know why. I think it's because I'm mesmerized by this woman's beauty. You could have written a thousand more words about her -- or, at the very least, given us more pictures. I want to know more about how she uses foundation.

    I love Nasty Gal, too, and refuse to entertain notions about being "too old" to wear their things.

  • Lauren Ashley

    Wow - what a beaute, fantastic suggestions!

  • Sally

    This post makes me SO happy. As a makeup artist (who primarily uses NARS), her aesthetic when it comes to her work is unique and smart and constantly inspiring. Her Instagram is my favourite thing ever.

  • Camellia

    I'm sorry, but displaying anything on a toilet - is not nice. I feel ill

  • Lana

    Favorite person. EVER.


Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen
Yves Saint Laurent Beaute
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Foundation
Aveeno Baby Essentials Daily Care Gift Set
NARS Duo Eyeshadow
Givenchy Parad'Eyes Fluid Eye Liner in Blue Lagoon
L'Oreal Infallible
L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner in Blackest Black
Dior Diorshow Mascara
Kiehl's Since 1851
Kiehl's Cryste Marine Firming Eye Treatment
Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid
Caudalie Cleansing Water
YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara