#ITGTopShelfie: Rae Tao, Global Markets Strategist, Coach


"My name is Rae Tao [@aortae], I'm 22, and I live in Manhattan on the Upper West Side and work for Coach. I've always been sort of a slacker when it comes to makeup, but I remember in middle school, when those $1 NYC-brand drugstore eyeliner pencils were popular. I used to only use those—in black, shimmery blue, and white. My best friend introduced me to liquid eyeliner around that time, and the first time I tried to put it on I came out of her bathroom with my entire eyeball painted grey. I've gotten a lot better at applying liquid eyeliner because that's basically the only makeup I use on a regular basis. I say 'regular basis,' but for me, makeup is confined pretty much only to Saturday nights. I use the basic Sephora Collection Long Lasting Eyeliner. I've tried a lot of brands, but I like the narrow tip of this one the most.

For lips, I'll usually just wear Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. If I want color, I go for YSL Rouge Pur Glossy Stain in Rogue Laque. I also read on Man Repeller about this Moroccan Henna Lipstick and loved the idea of it creating my own unique shade based on my pH, and not finding random stains on my clothes from using a traditional lipstick. I bought one off eBay and use it for fun from time to time. Add an eyebrow pencil and some mascara and that's pretty much the end of my makeup routine.

My skincare routine, though, is much, much more involved. My dad lives in Beijing and after college I spent a summer in China with him. All my aunties and sisters—in China, everyone's either your aunt, uncle, sister, or brother, even if they're really not—were drinking collagen supplements or getting weekly facials. I was 20 then, and I still wasn't even using moisturizer. Needless to say, I got a few tips, some of which are more obvious, like moisturizing every morning and night, and some of which sound flat-out kooky, like not chewing gum to avoid a wide jawline and doing headstands for five minutes a day to reverse sagging skin due to gravity. At that point I was pretty terrified for my skin's future, so I think I spent a whole day looking up inversion tables because I couldn't properly do headstands.

So I became a lot more conscious about my skin. In the mornings, I'll wash my face with either Burt's Bees Radiance Face Cleanser or Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil. The royal jelly in the Burt's cleanser is so interesting to me—any bee larva that consumes it becomes the new queen bee of the hive, although I have no idea what that means for my face. I use a Clarisonic Plus with the Burt's and sometimes a Binchotan Konjac sponge, but it's such a pain leaving it in the refrigerator and I always forget that I have it. Every now and then I'll do an at-home mask, either a generic Watsons Bird's Nest mask—a Chinese drugstore brand—or the Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque. Next, I pat on SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. If it's nighttime, I'll apply Retin-A once or twice a week. I buy a lot of skin products because of the packaging, and I loved the packaging for Verso so much that seeing it is actually how I learned about retinol in the first place. Afterwards, as a serum, I'll use SK-II Cellumination Essence Ex. I love love love the matte texture. For moisturizer, I'm currently rotating between Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve, SK-II Cellumination Cream, Koh Gen Do Moisture Gel, Clinique Moisture Surge, ITG's favorite Embryolisse, and Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer.  I'm realizing now I may have too many moisturizers—I really just pick arbitrarily between them.

I work now as part of the strategy team, but when I used to work in consulting I would travel almost every week. My dopp kit was always filled with samples, and hoarding them is still very much a habit of mine. My boyfriend calls me a 'Sample Queen,' because I always have baby packets of Aesop moisturizer, SK-II eye cream, or Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. I feel like I'm always trying to find miracle products, and whenever I see nice packaging I'm always intrigued. One of my beauty philosophies is to always do a lot of research before I invest. Sometimes it's samples, but other times it's reading through pages and pages of reviews on Sephora or Makeup Alley. The more research I do, the more excited I am about a product, which is how I end up with six different moisturizers at a time."

—as told to ITG

The #ITGTopShelfie series puts the focus on the lives and beauty routines of Into The Gloss's lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. 

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  • L.B.W

    Konjac sponge should be kept in refrigerator?

    • Rae Tao

      They don't have to be kept in the refrigerator, but it's an alternative to storing them in a dry place and is supposed to help the sponge last longer

    • bluesky557

      I did a double take at that, too. I keep mine hanging in the shower and it seems to do just fine.

  • Georgina

    Her style of writing/talking reminds me of Rumi Neely

  • Molly

    Love these so much! Is there a way to submit?

    • Katelyn Burkhart

      i think they're pulling people off instagram - just post a pic of your stuff with #itgtopshelfie!

  • Tanya

    I had one of those color changing lipsticks back in the early 90s. They had a luxurious formula and I thought I had hit the motherlode of lipsticks. That is until my colorblind date asked me why my lips had a green tint. They looked lovely and mauve to me, but he could see the green. In the garbage it went.

  • http://theconsciencefund.com/ Divya

    These are really interesting posts! Such a good way to come across perfectly regular but amazing people!

  • http://www.clevergirlreviews.com/ Clever Girl Reviews

    What a list of moisturizers! I'm also a sample queen. My husband hates it! Having finicky skin, I try to always sample first!

  • Geena Glasel

    Where are those ripped jeans from, Loving them!

    • Rae Tao

      thank you! i got them from zara last summer!

  • http://www.mademoisellenature.blogspot.com Mademoiselle nature

    Really lovely post! Just discovered recently the Binchotan Konjac sponge and bought it. Can't wait to try it...(but dont think I would keep it in the fridge..):-)

  • Geraldine

    Great post! Thanks for the advice!



  • thatreadinggrl1111

    Thumbs up for Aveeno! :D

  • http://www.champagnerising.com/ heather adair

    @raetao:disqus , your lips are givin me a serious case of JEALOUS....!

    • charmystique

      I have to agree, her lips are the perfect shape!

    • Rae Tao

      :) thanks!! i think that's the first time i've ever been complimented on my lips!

  • Genevieve

    I like the breakfast pic.

  • http://breakfastatvogue111.blogspot.com/ courtney conway

    Love this new series on ITG! Great post!

  • Alissa

    I too can spend hours poring through makeup alley. Sometimes the research saves me money...or, yes, it can cause me to be really excited and buy like six skincare products at a time :D

  • ni ni

    Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque is amazing.

  • Guest2

    I can't quite read which Keiko Mecheri that is. I always need to know the perfume!

    • Rae Tao

      it's clair obscur! originally called jasmine but it's just a big blast of jasmine which i love

  • Laneeta

    How can she be a global marketing strategist at 22? What am I doing wrong?

    • Shelby

      Ditto! Would love to know also!

      • Rae Tao

        hi! i'm actually young for my age and graduated college a year early, so i had time to do a year and a half of management consulting before joining Coach 3 months ago! i did a few fashion-related/investment banking summer internships, which helped prepare me for my job at Coach today :)


SEPHORA COLLECTION Long Lasting Eyeliner
Burt's Bees
Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain 10 Rouge Philtre
Moroccan Lipstick
Magic Moroccan Lipstick
Burt's Bees
Burt's Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser
Tatcha Pure: One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
CLARISONIC PLUS Skincare Brush Kit
Morihata Binchotan Facial Puff
Watsons Bird’s Next Mask
Cult Beauty Ltd.
Chamomile Concentrate Anti Blemish Masque
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
SK-II Cellumination Essence EX
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion
SK-II Cellumination Cream Illuminating Moisturizer
Koh Gen Do
Koh Gen Do All In One Moisture Gel
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Fortifying Hydrator
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè
Aveeno Positively Radiant
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Aveeno Positively Radiant
Tatcha Polished Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder