I had a wonderful Labor Day off, filled with sunshine, Coronas, and laughter. Psssyyyychhh!!! I locked myself in my apartment (it was raining, so no real point in being at the beach) and did a MC: Massive Cleanse. Not of myself, but of my stuff, the piles of which had grown so unmanageable and scattered that there were a few weeks there over the summer when I’d Citi Bike around lower Manhattan just to avoid being home alone (with the stuff). And then I got delirious with empty-room envy during a weekend visit to the James Turrell exhibit at LACMA. I longed for vast expanses of empty table/counter/vanity space; of reaching for a cream without fear that an entire shelf of products would topple over like a house of cards. People talk about body cleanses like there’s no tomorrow—what about apartment cleanses? Clutter, according to feng shui, drains your energy just as much as a Snickers bar (shove it, Snickers—you are a delicious but temporary fix). In my humble opinion, having tons of products and furniture and magazines and clothes is not luxurious—living minimally is. Why? Because it takes, arguably, more time, more decisiveness, but NOT—wait for it!—more dollars. Unless you hire a professional feng shui specialist, or, I don’t know, a butler, neither of which I could afford. So let’s get to it, shall we? The fruits of my labor, the chosen few: the tactful beauty edit.
I’m pretty excited about powder. The resurgence of '90s fashion (and the fact that I was fifteen when that decade ended) paired with the advent of fall has led me to embrace a Winona-in-her-heyday matte face, which, believe me and my dewy-loving soul, I never thought I’d say. 'But, won’t you look cake-y? Overdone? ‘Made up’?' I hear you ask. Not using the following products, paired with a light hand: Giorgio Armani’s Face Fabric is a medium-coverage foundation with a velvety finish. After sweeping a pump of Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer in Medium over my face, I mash up Face Fabric in shades #2 and #3 on the back of my hand with Bobbi Brown’s Foundation Brush and buff it over my t-zone and under my eyes. Goodbye, blotchy redness! Then come the powder products: using one of the best brushes ever invented, the Beauty Is Life Fan, I’ll do a casual dusting/layering of Bobbi Brown Retouching Powder in White and Tom Ford’s inordinately large flying-saucer of a Bronzer all over. Then, un-blush: a pale, dusty neutral pink—MAC Tenderling—Nike-swooshed under and up the cheekbones. If you can see the makeup from a mile away, alert me, but I’m telling you—it doesn’t look like a lot. It just looks…finished? Polished. Fingers crossed.
On to the eyeballs! So many exciting developments. No, really—like (as one text from a friend read recently), have you tried Tom Ford’s eyebrow thing? The Brow Sculptor. In Chestnut. Thus far in my 28 years I’ve yet to put anything more than Benefit’s wimpy (in a good way) gel on my eyebrows without looking like a terrifying, much older version of myself…until this. It’s a foolproof, chalky, slanted pencil on one end and a spool on the other, and it’ll make you believe that groomed brows “totally change your face.” I go light on shadow, literally, with my latest shadow obsession, Chanel Hasard, a pale lavender that I dust all the way around with Lancôme’s delightful poof of a brush, #17 (the Blending Shadow Brush), to give me that romantic “natural shadow” that French girls acquire from staying out all night. Sometimes, for a little more dimension, I’ll line my lower and upper waterline with Chanel’s Khaki Précieux pencil (an excellent alternative to black)…and when I really feel like going for it, I’ve been going full-blown Rodarte with the liquid liner, courtesy of Nars' ultra-precise Stylo pen. Because, you know, it’s all about a statement eye right now. OH—and I rarely leave the house without a coat of Kevyn Aucoin’s genius The Volume mascara. It creates shiny tubes of jet-black inkiness around each individual lash, which slide off with, I discovered during a freak cleanser shortage, water alone. Much like the Diptyque Tilleul graveyard in my freezer (tap out the remains and voilà! Storage options/vases/drinking cups), you’ve got to see it to believe it.
Also in things you have to see to believe: your skin, after using the Somme Institute’s exfoliating pads, serum, and moisturizer. Nick might as well do their PR, because he kind of does already: between his face, which has never looked more radiant, and the 10-odd friends (including Sophia, Leandra, and me) he’s brought over to the bright side, the man deserves reward points or a lifetime supply or a cruise or something. I did go through a brief phase (well, through a bottle) of Caudalie’s Premier Cru cream, which has the most comforting, enveloping texture, and also gives you a nice glow. And every other night or so, I’ll smear on some Clarins Instant Smooth Golden Glow to continue looking “healthy” even when I’m not. For a little at-home facial, there’s something oddly home-ec about the masks from Eminence Organics, a Hungarian line with a hippie-dippy feel and an emphatically natural message. The Seven Herb Treatment feels like food for your face, probably because it really is food for your face—as in, it separates and goes bad after a while—which means you should enjoy every last drop. This isn’t hard: it’s a once-a-week special treat that soothes, moisturizes, purifies—the whole lot—because how many masks do you really want to own?
Conversely, I want to own at least four…of the same deodorant. Because Weleda’s Sage Deodorant with Tea Tree Oil, ladies and gentlemen, is the first natural deodorant that 1) doesn’t just make b.o. smell like a slightly better version of itself, and 2) doubles as an excellent toner for, say, a pesky bump on your back. I’d gone through two bottles before deciding, hey, I definitely don’t want to run out of deodorant, so here I am with four of them, sidled right up next to the bottle of Gaiac 10—the elusive, no-longer-so-exclusive (hint: in addition to Tokyo, you can now find it at Barneys Madison Ave) Le Labo scent that chanteuse SoKo told me is her go-to because it “smells like clean laundry.” If there were a fragrance equivalent to MSG (or if fragrances can have MSG in them), this is it. I’ve never understood people who say they go through bottles of perfume; I can hardly make a dent in them. But Gaiac 10 is so subtle and weirdly alluring that I spritz like I’m putting out a fire. Again: tell me if you can smell me, while also seeing me, coming. #notagoodlook.
Mona, a freshman at Columbia and loyal ITG reader, saw me outside the Anna Sui show last week and told me, among other things (e.g., that she was the “first person in Saudi Arabia to use Bioderma Créaline”) that L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil is a must-try body product. It is! A welcome alternative to plain ol’ soap, it's got the creamiest lather and smells like heaven. I’ve also fallen into/resumed a regular pattern with my never-ending jug of Shu Uemura’s gentle, ultra-moisturizing Cleansing Oil Shampoo. And if there were some personal beauty-award system highlighting the product someone uses the longest, mine would go to Jurlique’s flipping fantastic Balancing Foaming Cleanser. Unlike Cetaphil, it removes your eye makeup without leaving any residue. And unlike Tracie Martyn’s Amla Purifying Cleanser (my other favorite), it doesn’t have any acid. It’s just a badass basic face wash—no bells or whistles; it gets the job done. It’s the only one I need. For now.
P.S.: When you own a pair of haircutting scissors, you cut your own hair constantly. Especially late at night, especially after a glass of wine. It's as inevitable as death and taxes.
Emily Weiss, wearing a top and pants by Reed Krakoff, photographed by Mathea Millman in New York on September 17th, 2013.