“My name is Emma Hager [@emmahager] and I'm 18 years old. I am originally from Berkeley, California, but I currently live in San Diego and soon I'll be moving to Montreal to attend university. When I'm not busy with school, or sports I work on creative projects with friends, like making zines or curating pictures on Tumblr. Career-wise, if I could combine writing with my love of eccentric and interesting humans, I would be very happy. I always thought that being an editor or writer for This American Life would be the ultimate occupation.
I come from an all-natural family—my mother never wears makeup, and she takes a very environmentally friendly approach to most everything she does. Instead of buying mascara, she'll donate money to organizations like the Sierra Club and then save the rest. So as a child I turned to classic movies for beauty inspiration. Leading actresses from the mid-‘30s to mid-‘60s had this dramatic, manufactured beauty, and even in black and white I could imagine how vibrant the red lip on Lana Turner must have been as she appeared in front of the quintessential, beefcake-y John Garfield in The Postman Always Rings Twice. To me, watching for victory rolls and half-moon manicures was as exciting as it got.
I think that’s probably why lipstick is my favorite makeup of all time, even though I don't wear it very often. Just seeing a woman with a bold lip always brightens my day! One year for my birthday I received Rouge Dior in 999 Iconic from a friend, and while it's not the best shade for my skin tone, I like to apply it late at night when I am doing homework or studying for tests. I get cranky if I sit for hours on end, so lipstick helps me feel more put together and essentially less brain dead.
Day to day, I don’t have a set course when it comes to beauty. I am not picky about products—if I have a clean face, all the rest is just extra. I’m a runner and all of the dust, sweat, and cheap sunscreen that comes with that causes some breakouts here and there. It's annoying, but in the grand scheme of things it's not too bad. I usually just wash my face with Clean and Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser, Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, or whatever's on sale. I like cheap—I’ll go to the dollar store and pick up these things called Nu-Pore Collagen Essence Masks. My skin always feels more refreshed and responsive afterwards.
Sometimes I'll get ambitious and put on mascara—always in brown because black looks a little harsh with my coloring. In broad daylight, my eye area has very little definition because my lashes and brows are relatively light, so mascara helps my eyes reclaim their spot on my face. Recently I received Benefit They're Real! Push-Up Liner as a gift, and it’s surprisingly easy to use. The consistency is more paste than liquid, so what you see on the end of the application stick is what you get. With a little instruction from Annie Kreighbaum by way of a helpful Disqus comment, I was able quell my fear of applying liquid liner, by myself, for the very first time. And never underestimate the power of Vaseline! I’ll put the tiniest amount on my eyelids for a dewy, '70s look.
As for nails, my main goal is just to keep them adhered to their respective nail beds. Running causes them to go black and pop off my toes, so nail polish does come in quite handy! I love orange so I am going through a bottle of Wet ‘n Wild Shine Sunny Side Up pretty quickly.
When it comes to my own beauty philosophy, I really do believe less is more—especially in terms of packaging! I love beautiful little packages with secret openings as much as the next girl, but all of that is lethal when it comes to the environment, as it often ends up in our oceans among other places. My concern with my own eco-footprint has completely dictated the way in which I consume: over 90 percent of my closet is used clothing, and I've only purchased a handful of products, ever. I don't think indulgence and sustainability are mutually exclusive; rather, it's about finding a system of exchange that complements potentially conflicting interests. I could stand to get better at this.
While hydration, a balanced diet, and plenty of sleep tend to be the typical tenets of beauty, I would argue that connecting with nature is equally as important in the long run. I'm not trying to preach the doctrine of a far-out, outdated hippie who runs an off-the-grid weed farm in Northern California. I'm a realist, but I do believe that connecting emotionally with the earth has magical powers. I have aspirations of living in a large city, no doubt, but I have to call out city dwellers who claim that they never have to leave the city for a quieter, more natural place. Getting away from the man-made intensity may entail leaving running water and your favorite take-out place behind for a few days, but what you gain from doing it is invaluable. While I can't promise you that alpine air will cure your forehead wrinkles the way a fancy French mystery cream will, I can promise you being out in the woods will cure you of your preoccupation with them. Those minor details just start to slide way down the totem pole of world order—there's definitely a beauty in conceptualizing your own place in the world.”
—as told to ITG
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