#ITGTopShelfie: Elle Blue, Writer

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"My name is Elle Blue [@knownasblue] and I live in New York, the city of my dreams. I'm officially a writer and entrepreneur and an unofficial know-it-all. I enjoy reciting random rap lyrics, not exercising, reading articles on human behavior, and buying items of clothing similar to ones I already own.

My first beauty memory is my early obsession with lip gloss. I adored anything in a vanilla or strawberry flavor, and my love of sugar has stayed with me through adulthood. I haven't found a vanilla fragrance that smells better than Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Extreme EDT. I also love Jo Malone Earl Grey and Cucumber for day and Tom Ford Noir De Noir for night. I also use GAP The Artist, which is sadly discontinued, it has a beautiful violet note and is easy to wear whenever. 

For close to a decade, I dealt with an array of orthodontia and battled skin that incessantly broke out. I call it 'all-inclusive acne': whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, red spots—just angry, constant, mortifying bumps day in and day out. I eventually resorted to Accutane which was a miracle, but when the acne came back full force a year later, I realized I needed to address the root issue that prescriptions and topical products were unable to. I was sick of doctors prescribing temporary cures, or even worse, trying to convince me that my skin woes would fade on their own.

I started googling and ended up ordering some homeopathic pills. I played around with my dosage a bit and hit my skin-beautifying sweet spot after about six months. I was ecstatic! Conquering my skin was one of my life's greatest triumphs. It's so important to listen to what your body is telling you and do your own research. Don't be afraid to say 'yeah right' to commercials and take matters into your own hands. I don't just feel that way about skincare, I feel that way about life.

My special skin cocktail includes one borage seed oil pill, two neem, two msm, two turmeric, and two vitamin a pills per day. I take a few drops of burdock root in my water, and I also cut out artificially flavored foods and any food that feels too tampered with. With my new eating habits, I noticed a difference in my skin, as well as with my energy levels. I don't go crazy though—I still dine out freely and enjoy a daily light and sweet coffee.

I try to stick to beauty products with familiar ingredients because in my experience they've been the most potent, but that has had its own challenges. Turns out I'm allergic to coconut, shea butter, jojoba, and rosehip oil, as well as some fruit extracts, so I'm constantly reading labels. It's a total pain, but as a busy entrepreneur, I don't have time to constantly nurse my skin back to health.

I'm lucky to work from home and although I attempt to stick to a routine, each day varies. I tell myself I should do this or do that a few times a week, but I've taken to looking at my face in the mirror each morning and figuring out what it needs. I believe in a gentle cleanser, a potent day and night treatment and a moisturizer with little to no fillers. Throw a great mask in there, and you're all set. I oscillate between Derma E Vitalizing Cleanser and Derma E Refining Vitamin A & Glycolic Scrub. The scrub reminds me of St. Ives Apricot Scrub, but it's a lot gentler and full of better ingredients. When I need a heavy-duty scrub, I just use a handful of the Cafe Bustelo grounds leftover from my morning coffee. It leaves my skin smooth and supple and even my Clarisonic can't replicate the results.

After that I tone, and again, I go back and forth between two types depending what my skin needs: a 50/50 mix of Makeup Artist's Choice Mandelic Toner with Thayers Alcohol-Free Unscented Witch Hazel or Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar. I'll apply JJ Labs High Efficiency 25% Vitamin C Serum and moisturize with argan oil, unless I'm going outside, in which case I'll apply 100% Pure Argan SPF.

Needless to say, I'm big on skincare. I love Arcona Gentle Solution for overnight chemical exfoliation—the results the next morning are immediate and breathtaking. I use Korres Jasmine Lip Butter as an overnight balm. It smells like oatmeal and is the only thing that makes my post-Accutane lips feel supple. May Lindstrom Honey Mud and Eminence Eight Greens Phyto Masque are my two favorite masks. They are both soothing but effective in calming down my crazy skin. Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil is my favorite makeup remover—it gets the job done and doesn't strip my skin. As for makeup, I try to do the glammed-up version of a natural face, if that makes sense. I feel grateful to have a year-round tan, naturally curled lashes, and sparse brows because it allows me to get away with doing so much less. For daytime, I wear Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Bourbon or Origins Automagically Eye-Lining Pencil in Mulberry and add a touch of bronzer to my face. Both give me a 'lit up' effect. And I love a nude lip—it's so underrated. A lot of women's go-to look for evenings is a red lip and a smoky eye but I find both to look garish on me, so I do a bright lip with a corresponding blush. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes are great because the color lasts. I have Blissful and Exposed and love them both. I have NARS blushes as well, I just hate how dirty the cases get. I own five shades, but my favorites are Lovejoy and Seduction

My eyelids practically disappear once my eyes are open, so I avoid doing my eyes and rely on their hazel color and shape to wow people instead. On the rare occasion I choose to do my eyebrows, I use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in Medium Ash to fill them in. I'm still trying to find a non-irritating mascara, so for now I use clear mascara to separate and define my lashes. I don't do my nails often, but OPI Samoan Sand is the perfect nude, especially if you're tan. I also like Essie Stepp'n Out for a nude polish with a bit of pink to it.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in #8 matches my skin tone perfectly, and I love that it builds well. It's foolproof! Unfortunately, they repackaged it and added fragrance to the formula. My powder of choice is Becca's Mineral Powder in Noisette, which wears nicely and gives my skin an airbrushed finish. Anyone who is prone to oiliness should invest in a good primer. I really like Lancome La Base Pro and how it wears as the day goes on. For lip color I use anything, but Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stains deserve a shoutout since they do what they say. I have #4 Mauve Pigmente and #7 Corail Aquatique.

My hair is fine, soft, evenly curled all over, and semi-dry. I love it, but only learned how to properly care for it in the last few years. Hydration is key to gorgeous curly hair! I wash mine with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Shampoo which is the only one I've found that rids my scalp of all build-up—it's gross, but true. I enjoy the slip that Trader Joe's Nourish Conditioner leaves my hair with, so I'm sticking with that. I don't deep condition my hair nearly enough, but Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque leaves my hair incredibly silky when I do use it. A dollop of grapeseed oil and Kinky-Curly Knot Today keep my hair in great shape, and I don't need to use much of either. The combo leaves my hair completely hydrated and manageable until the next wash. For extra hold, I like Bumble and bumble Grooming Creme. I like creams best for my hair to avoid the  'crunchy and wet' curly hair look. If I slick it back, I use Nexxus Exxtra Sculpting Gel, which combs out nicely after it dries. I love to moisturize with almond oil or Skin Milk Body Cream and I use whatever aluminum free deodorant I can find that smells clean and fresh.

Most days, I'm sitting at home with a blend of oils on my face and my hair on top of my head in a loose bun. Sometimes I think about how chic my nails would look if they were always polished, or how big and Disney-esque my eyes would appear with eyelash extensions. I also may or may not have had literal dreams about obtaining a J.Lo perma-glow. But there are times when I'll catch a glance of myself in a mirror, think 'Girl, you a killer and ain't nobody realer... you fancy, huh?' and forget about all that extra stuff. Less is really more, in my opinion."

—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. Show us your own Top Shelfie on Instagram—tag us @intothegloss, and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie. 

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Amy Mills

    Favorite ITG Top Shelfie yet, hands down. I wasn't so much interested in the dizzying amount of products she listed off, but man, her writing and the attitude she had towards all those products is seriously cool. Something very authentic feeling about it all.

    And I just have to say it -- that first photo rules

    • Ablo

      Agreed. :)

    • http://vainpursuits.com Ruby

      Umm, it's all about "read about me while I sell you my products!" Not refreshing. There's no sass or attitude.

      Ruby

      • overanalyzer

        Well, there's a bit of sass ;-)

    • Evelyn Beagle

      Yep, I agree - favorite top shelf (ever actually) and I read them all. She rocks!!!

  • RL

    Super fun and informative, but woah, it's a LOT.

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      You are telling me! Sometimes I get overwhelmed just stepping into my bathroom.

  • http://theconsciencefund.com/ Divya

    Oh you were a treat to read Elle! I love your attitude to life and anyone with a focussed and minimalist approach to beauty is a hero for me! :-)

  • Bella

    How do I love her? Let me count the ways. I've really enjoyed especially the makeup and hair care routines. Though I must admit I got a bit of a start when I realised she was poised on a bloke in the first picture, LOL!

  • Melissa Hurley

    Love her attitude! Great feature.

  • thesixthbeatle

    Love this! Im intrigued by the homeopathic pills, Ive had acne for 20 years and am desperate for something to help. Id love to know how she found out which ingredients she was allergic to.

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      It all started with some coconut hair grease... the morning after using it, I had tiny little red spots all over. I made a mental note. One time a cleanser gave me red patches and boils, so I combed the ingredient list and found caprylic trigylceride... another time a face mask flared me up... another time it was a moisturizer. Once I knew what an allergic reaction looked like on my skin, I would examine the ingredient list, and was always able to identify the culprit through comparison.

      • Jezseeca

        Ella Blue: This is what I do! It makes me feel like a crazy scientist. And I also love derma e!!! They actually just came out with a new physical sunblock that is matte and no fillers or cones. I'll have to try their scrub now. Great feature!!!

  • tera

    She's so cool! Curly girls are the most interesting ( might be biased ).
    "unofficial know it all" is hilarious- I love the list of interests. Of COURSE I will try her haircare recommendations, because even when you find something that works, you're always on the lookout for something a bit better, easier, faster, cheaper.

  • Jennifer

    Love, love, love this! So great to finally see a good selection of natural and organic brands such as Yuli, Fig and Yarrow and Andalou Naturals. I believe these to be far more nourishing and beneficial to the skin than many high end brands. Great to read and informative.

  • Kiyoko

    Love that you were so detailed, yet got straight to the point & kept it real! I am a minimalist myself so this is a huge help! Thanks Elle!

    -K

  • Amanda

    This is the best Top Shelf ever! Not only is she hilarious, but she reports an interesting set of beauty products - not the same ones that everybody talks about, which get old after a while. More interviews like this, please!

  • MorganHW

    LOVE her! Her products track with many I use, and except for the fact that my hair isn't evenly curly all over, I see a lot of similarities--maybe that's why I loved this Top Shelfie so much?
    Or maybe it was that I felt like reading this this morning was like getting a long, chatty email from my best friend?
    And at some point, I totally am going to make my husband copy that picture with me--adorable! The whole thing made my day!

  • sabah

    Very good writer and love her sense of humour, and she totally fancy. Definitely one of the best yet :)

  • Ivy

    Best ITG Top Shelfie - ever!
    This lovely woman is the real deal... MORE PLEASE!

  • Krissy

    Love this ITG Top Shelf! Great tips! I, too, figured out what worked for my horribly troubled skin and it's so amazing when you do. For me, absolutely no gluten, monthly facials + using my facialists products and taking probiotics and fish oil did the trick.

  • bluesky557

    Makeup Artists Choice products don't get nearly enough love, but they are AWESOME. Particularly their at home chemical peels--top notch.

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      I've used the Lactic and Mandelic peels to fade hyperpigmentation! Persistence is key but the results are unmatched.

      • Aubrey Green

        How often do you use these peels?

        • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

          I used the Lactic peel on my back and shoulders weekly until the spots faded, and I try to use the Mandelic peel very minimally on my face. I've only used it twice in a year actually.

  • http://vanitytalkbeauty.blogspot.com Addison Cain

    Awesome post! Elle's mixture of products speaks to both my natural-ish side and my Sephora-loving side. Also, Tarte Exposed is incredible.

    • Vicki

      Completely agree!! I love natural products, especially once the weather warms up and I can come out of hibernation. But I get withdrawals if I don't do some shopping at my Favorite Place Ever (aka Sephora!) Great mix of products!

      • http://vanitytalkbeauty.blogspot.com Addison Cain

        Amen sister!

  • elis

    i'm super intrigued by taking neem oil supplements (i've heard it's great for troubled skin but the smell is the topical oil is kind of intense). but when i googled neem supplements i got a bunch of scary warnings saying it's not recommended for use internally--anyone have any thoughts/advice on this?

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      I'm not sure about neem oil supplements, as mine look powdery inside, but if it's any help, I use Neem leaves capsules from Nature's Way. The powder inside is pale green.

    • Katie

      Neem oil isn't to be taken internally-- the crushed/powdered leaf is what you'll find in supplements, which is fine. I take a supplement called Skin Renew by a company called Organic India. Ingredients: neem leaf, amalaki (Indian gooseberry, very high in vitamin C) and turmeric. All organic. It's been very helpful to me and I highly recommend it!
      P.S. Cold-pressed neem oil, while not to be ingested, is amazing applied topically to acneic skin!

      • elis

        thank you both! super helpful.

  • Laurie

    luv,luv this top shelf!!!!! I have persistent acne and I am eager to try some of the homeopathic suggestions.

  • http://www.atdorsia.com/ Eliza

    Loving the #topshelfie series--product junkies unite. And I'm very intrigued by the Arcona Gentle Solution Treatment--it has amazing reviews and sounds (fittingly) amazing!

  • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

    Hello, Elle Blue here *waves*. Thank you to everyone for the kind words, this experience has been super cool to say the least. I had to edit myself like hell so that this TopShelfie didn't turn into a novel about every product I'd ever loathed, loved or glanced at. But if anyone is interested in that, I may do an extended post on my personal blog! lol There are a few more products I'd like to cover, and I'm always eager to share my opinion :)

    • Katie

      I'd love to read an extended post! I especially loved the stuff about the homeopathic products you use.

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

      I'd be up to read that! Let us know, please!

  • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

    Thank you! I have Yuli's panacea elixir - a lovely smelling and great toning mist, modern alchemist - after a few hours wearing this, my skin feels so plump it's practically bouncy; as well their cellular lip conditioner - great for my post Accutane lips. I use Yuli's products sparingly because they're such a treat.

  • Lena

    A fantastic ITG Top Shelfie by Elle Blue. Her writing style is very authentic with a sprinkle of sass. I really enjoyed how in depth the article was and that she used natural products, I checked out her blog and it is hilarious, insightful and just as authentic. Looking forward to reading more!

  • Jake

    Love this! I just started a fashion/ style blog so this is super inspiring

    - Jake

  • elise

    wow, this is such a great post, love the honesty about her skin and the challenge she took on in finding a solution that works for her. Just want to add that the remedies she lists are not 'homeopathic' as she states. Homeopathy are natural remedies but not all natural remedies are homeopathic. The terms are often used interchangeably but it can create confusion for those unfamiliar with the ever growing number of supplements out there. Just a hang up of mine! Thanks ITG!

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      Thank you for this, what is a better word? I feel like the word 'natural' often gets picked apart.

      • elise

        I'd probably stick with supplements, or maybe when being specific regarding one in particular calling them herbal supplements, mineral supplements etc, as these are things that we supplement our diet with. Sometimes things in our diet are also being consumed for their benefits, so in that case maybe super foods works?

  • kathS

    Great read, where do you get your supplements? I'm not familiar with borage seed, what does that do?

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      I buy my supplements online or at health food stores around the city. I really like the Nature's Way brand. Borage seed oil is great for skin and body health - be sure to google for specifics.

  • Dana B.

    Excellent post by Ms. Blue, she never fails to deliver a robust amount of informative information with a dollop of humor and sprinkle of intrigue. I love bustelo! I drink it every morning and now I'm delighted that it can do something else amazing to my body other than keep me bright eyed and bushy tailed.

  • fm

    love it. she's gorge and the drizzy line was the icing on the cake. one ? if your allergic or sensitive to shea butter how do you use the shea moisture butter masque?

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      I don't let it touch my scalp. That and a strange combination of twisting and turning while I rinse it out is exactly why I don't use it often.

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

    She's so right about the TJ's shampoo. I'm about to write it up myself! I can totally relate to the hell that is Accutane. I did two courses. Many oils make me break out too. Derm-e cleansers are pretty amazing. I'm about to investigate those toners and the Vit C cream. They sound like winners!

  • Kai

    I love how Elle took her skin matters into her own hands! I've been struggling with acne issues for so long and have tried many different natural remedies but can't seem to find the right cocktail/combination...any tips??

  • CherHorowitz

    'Girl, you a killer and ain't nobody realer... you fancy, huh?'
    Adopting this as my mantra.

  • Aubrey Green

    I would like to know how you came up with the supplements to cure/help your acne? Trial and error obviously, but exactly how...if someone else were to take the same supplements, do you think it would work for them as well? I've had the same problem for years clear skin for a few years and a bad flareup - I've taken accutane twice and choose not to resort to that again.

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      I researched each supplement and determined whether what it did was of any use to me. For example, I don't need a supplement that helps with oil or wrinkles, as I don't have issues with either. But a supplement that is anti-bacterial, or works to fade hyper pigmentation is right up my alley. It comes down to getting to know your skin and what it needs.

  • anita rivas

    What homeopathic pills? Does anyone know?

  • f

    she is the future me.. i'm convinced. quoting rap lyrics, orthodontia and acne, obsessively reading ingredients lists, and similar products/beliefs. loved it!

  • Solange

    Yay, always love seeing a natural infused top shelf!
    The 100% Pure Argan spf is fantastic (20% Zinc Oxide!), it's superb if you're sensitive to sunscreen and/or breakout from every other spf on the planet. It does contain rosehip oil though.

  • D Barr

    Amazing!!! Direct remedy to acne and true and beautiful!! You are fancy...

  • Jocelyn Brown

    None of the supplements she lists for her skin are actually homeopathic. Herbal, maybe, not homeopathic.

  • Laura Rao

    Such a pretty woman! Wow, a beauty! Her skincare is so clean and natural, and her make up was so dirty (toxic ingredients). It's so interesting to me. Yuli is amazing!

  • Ess Tee

    I just read her blog. She...really fancies herself. Can't be mad at that.

  • thatreadinggrl1111

    "Girl you a killer....." oh my goodness, such a classic phrase. Thumbs up for major beauty confidence!

    • http://KnownasBlue.com/ Lady Blue

      ;)

  • perry

    Great tips! Love the natural bent. Derma e deserves the plug. It is an amazing line sold at health food stores. I love the idea of working from home with oil on my face .. sounds divine!

  • DCFG

    Loved this Top Shelf! I've been battling skin issues for SO long (now into my 30s) and feel the same way about dermotologist recommendations. I can't wait to try to figure out my own homeopathic cocktail...but where to start?

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

Comptoir Sud Pacifique
Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Extreme
Jo Malone London
Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne
Tom Ford
Tom Ford Noir De Noir Eau de Parfum
derma e
Derma E Vitalizing Cleanser with Tamanu and Pomegranate
derma e
Derma E Refining Vitamin A & Glycolic Scrub
St. Ives
St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub
CLARISONIC
Clarisonic Aria
Makeup Artist's Choice
Makeup Artist’s Choice Mandelic Toner
Thayers
Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera Formula Toner
Fig + Yarrow
Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar
JJLabs
JJLabs High Efficiency 25% Vitamin C Serum
100 Percent Pure
100% Pure Argan Oil Facial Moisturizer SPF 30
ARCONA
ARCONA Gentle Solution Treatment
Korres
Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine
Rifle Paper Co.
May Lindstrom Skin Honey Mud
Eminence
Eminence Eight Greens Phyto Masque
Tatcha
Tatcha Pure: One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
Urban Decay
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Bourbon
Origins Automagically
Origins Automagically Eye Lining Pencil in Mulberry
Tarte
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush
NARS
NARS Blush
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Anastasia Beverly Hills 'Brow Wiz' Mechanical Brow Pencil Medium Ash
OPI Classic Shades
OPI Samoan Sand
Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani 'Luminous Silk' Foundation
BECCA
BECCA Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation in Noisette
Lancôme
Lancome 'La Base Pro' Perfecting Makeup Primer
Yves Saint Laurent Beauty
Yves Saint Laurent ‘Rouge Pur Couture – Vernis a Levres’ Glossy Stain
Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo with Peppermint, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Botanicals
Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing Conditioner
Shea Moisture
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
Kinky-Curly
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner
Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Grooming Creme
Nexxus
Nexxus Exxtra Sculpting Gel
Skin Milk
Skin Milk Body Cream
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