Phoebe Joseph, PR Executive, Elemis


"My name is Phoebe Joseph [@phoebephoebes], I'm 23 and live in London, where I grew up. I work in PR for the skincare brand Elemis. Before that, I worked on a number of other brands including Lancome and Miller Harris. Always beauty—it's my calling. Amongst other things, I enjoy watching reruns of Gossip Girl and attempting to lecture my friends and family on their skincare regimes.

One of my earliest beauty memories dates back to when I was around 10. Whenever my dad went abroad for work, he'd bring me back a perfume from duty free. My first was Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger. I progressed onto Versace Red Jeans, and then Gucci Rush—all fruity, sickly sweet fragrances. Now I never wear fragrance. I much prefer the smell of shampoo, deodorant, and clean clothes. If you could bottle that I would probably wear it.

For me, the fundamentals of beauty start with great skin. As long as you nail that aspect, you can pretty much play around with all colors and textures. At the end of last year, my skin suddenly broke out in the most horrific way, mainly confined to my cheeks, so I went on a four-month course of Roaccutane. I know this is controversial, but I really can't recommend it enough. It's funny but when my skin was at its worst, it made me resent makeup and the whole application process, because I was using so much of it to try and cover up my skin.

That's the point I'm trying to get to now, where I'm confident enough in my skin not to wear foundation. My skincare routine is constantly changing, but I feel like it's at a place now that I'm really happy with. In the mornings I use an oil-based cleanser, Melvita Rose Cleansing Oil or Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. I've also just discovered Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil. I use nothing with mineral oil or anything too perfumed, and you have to remove them with a flannel or you're left with a residue. Then I always used an acid toner to exfoliate and help rebalance my skin's pH after cleansing. It also helps whatever you're going to put on next absorb better. Currently I'm using First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, which I love because you get a tingle even though they don't contain alcohol—I always try to avoid putting alcohol on my face because it's super drying, and I drink enough of it anyway. I also really like Pixi Glow Tonic. I love acids...I recently bought some Clearasil pads with salicylic acid for my legs, just to help post shaving for any red bumps that appear.

My morning and nighttime regimes are almost identical, apart from in the evenings when I'll double cleanse. In terms of serums I'm using Pepta Bright from Indeed Labs, just on my cheeks to help fade marks. Then I follow with Hydraluron from the same brand [ed note: not available in the US], which is hyaluronic acid in a gel formula and helps your skin retain moisture. I also heard it helps your skin build up resistance to spots. Then I use a moisturizer—at the moment I'm loving Amanda Lacey Oils of Provence but you literally need two drops. The first time I used it, I woke up and my skin looked so greasy and you could practically see into every one of my pores so I figured I'd used way too much. Because of my job, I am constantly trying out new products but I like stick to a couple of rules: no SLS or mineral oil, and silicone-based products tend to aggravate my skin. I've become a bit of an ingredients junkie in that I can read an INCI list and probably know instantly whether it's going to break me out or not.

I love sleeping more than anything in the world, so I have managed to get my makeup routine down to about eight minutes. My favorite foundation is Lancome Teint Miracle, which I wear everyday, or Erborian BB Creme in Light, and I use Benefit Boi-ing Concealer to cover makers or dark circles. It's super industrial strength! My friend borrowed it when she broke her nose and had two black eyes as a result—it covers everything! I just pat it on with my finger and seal with a translucent powder. I'm blonde with fair eyelashes so I always use mascara or I look like I haven't properly woken up. At the moment I'm using YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils in Rich Brown. I don't have time for eyebrow pencils so have developed a weird little trick: I get an old brown mascara that's all dried up, wipe of the excess with a tissue and then just brush up through my eyebrows. It picks up all the little hairs that you can't see so you get a more full effect.

Purple shades definitely suit my skin tone best, as opposed to reds or pinks, so I alternate between Lancome Lip Lover Lip Perfector in 357 and Rouge D'Armani Sheer in 602. Shu Uemura Cream Eyeshadow in Pearl Light Purple is a really pretty shade for eyes. I heard from a makeup artist that children naturally have a lot of violet in their eyelids so purple as a colour can be really youthful. Not that I'm trying to look younger, I get ID'd everywhere already. I also have to give a shout-out to La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Lip Balm [ed note: also not available in the US] which was the the single most effective product at repairing my Roaccutane lips when petroleum jelly products just exacerbated the situation.

In terms of inspiration, I love Tippi Hedren in The Birds and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. They look so put together, but kind of nonchalant, too, like they just rolled out of bed, pulled on a dress and powdered their nose. I suppose there is a sort of elegance to sleeping with your makeup on, but I am definitely not advocating that.

The current trend in London is to wear very minimal makeup. To me, a natural base is more beautiful and modern. Even eye bags can be sexy in that very French way! There's nothing worse than seeing someone with gorgeous skin and a face full of foundation. My mum always says one day, when you're old, you'll look back at pictures of yourself and realize how great you looked, so it's important not to obsess over your looks too much. It's pretty obvious, but look after your skin, find out what products work best for you and try to educate yourself. That's where my obsession comes from—using beauty to look like the best possible version of yourself."

—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
  • sara

    She seems like a Caroline Hirons devotee too, hehe. Like me!

    • Katie

      Was thinking the same thing!

    • Putri

      I thought the same thing too!!

  • Vicki

    This was a great read! And I agree with Phoebe's mom, I always think that one day I'll be old and wrinkly and I'll look back and wish I had the skin I have now so I try not to cover it up too much!

  • Ellen Findley

    What a great article! I love her taste in skincare and makeup, and I totally agree: skin is the foundation (so to speak) for great makeup.

    Also, Hydraluron had better hurry up and get back Stateside.

  • Isabel

    Great top shelf! I can totally relate, I am finally in control of my acne, but have marks on marks on marks of post-acne awfulness. I am excited to try Pepta Bright! Since my terrible outbreak , I have been reminiscing old Facebook pictures of my clear skin with nothing but bronzer on my face. I looked so glow-ey! Now I am shopping for foundations, which I have never worn before, and my face just doesn't look the same. Post acne skin is difficult and time consuming to treat, so all this advice helps. Thanks!

    • Isabel

      Does anyone know if Pepta Bright is non-comedogenic?

      • Poulette

        I don't know, but I do know I went through 2 tubes of it & it did nothing for my skin. And my skin is not particularly young & bright. Much better to use an AHA or Vit C serum than that product.

  • Chelsea Adilia Rojas

    "I always try to avoid putting alcohol on my face because it's super drying, and I drink enough of it anyway."

    Yes. Just yes.

  • Alison

    "I always try to avoid putting alcohol on my face because it's super drying, and I drink enough of it anyway." Hahaha I love this girl!

  • Gauri

    Really amazing post..I love the pictures! :)

  • Suzanne

    SL L'Eau is a single fragrance, not a line. It's easy to find online.

  • Eliza

    I think I say this every time, but this is TRULY my favorite Top Shelfie to date--"I always try to avoid putting alcohol on my face because it's super drying, and I drink enough of it anyway." Love this girl! Gorgeous skin too.

  • Eliza

    Agreed! It's amazing to be lucky enough to have perfect skin, but for the other 98% of us, I like to hear skincare advice from people who have "been there" haha.

  • ellie

    Benefit boi-ing contains mineral oil, just so you know...

  • LJ

    I am laughing reading this post! Th secret to having perfect skin is to BE 23. (Excepting acne.) That said, this is lovely. I'm 39 and get compliments on my skin all the time; less truly is more. Except for sunblock. In which case more is more. I also use moisturizer w hyaluronic acid. And smile a lot. Distracts from the flaws.

  • garliclovers

    Sounds like she follows skincare goddess Caroline Hirons <3

  • kathS

    Loving the lash// brow look, considering brown...

  • sara

    WHAT. I only found Pepta-bright and Snoxin and the eye cream and the face blur, and now I'm no longer in America. I guess Hydraluron is a new thing in the US?

  • SWF77

    True story: my dad brought me a whole bag of Elemis skincare products from a bunch of flights he took (he flies first or business for work, classy dude). I didn't know the brand so I gave them away. I found out later about the fanciness of Elemis and was all like WHAT HAVE I DOOOOOOONE. Sadness.

  • Putri

    I love this top shelf. I can relate so many things from her, especially her makeup taste and philosophy. From her skincare routine I assume she is a Caroline Hirons' blog reader ;-)

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    Can you use Pixi Glow Tonic and the pads at the same time or is it an "either or" type of situation. I've got a decent summer cleanser, I've got a basic oil serum that's decent for summer, but I really need a summer or year round exfoliator that will work. I've heard so many good things about both even from sensitive people!

    • Em

      Simply Divine Botanticals makes an amazing 'peel' for sensitive skin called Honey I Shrunk the Pores. I'm rosacea prone and I've been using it twice a week for a over a year without issue. I'm also only a third of the way through the pot at that pace, and it basically tastes like jam so another 'win' :)

      • ITGFerber

        Sounds like a "must try"

        • Em

          It's pretty gorgeous. I leave it on for an hour or so with no sign of tingling or redness. A quick rinse with water and buff with a wash cloth leaves me with smooth, glowing skin. The only downside is that isn't easy to get a hold of in Canada without high shipping charges :(

  • hahaha

    This girl is literally me

  • Aubrey Green

    She's very beautiful. It's interesting how different she looks in her first photo and the third photo.

    • JY

      Besides the lighting, it must be the pads under her eyes in the third photo. Under eye circles add so much dimension and character to your face. That's why I never cover them up. (I also don't know how.)

  • JY

    Have you used Effaclar Duo?

  • JY

    Alright, okay, but what's in photo 7? Please help. Need to know.

    • Phoebephoebes

      It's bacon!

  • Katerina Nkt

    "[W]hen you're old, you'll look back at pictures of yourself and realize how great you looked, so it's important not to obsess over your looks too much." So true.

  • P

    I wish she would've credited Caroline Hirons which is obviously where she gets all her skincare knowledge from.


Melvita Rose Cleansing Oil
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
shu uemura art of beauty
Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil
First Aid Beauty
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
Pixi Glow Tonic
Clearasil Ultra
Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Pads
indeed Laboratories
indeed Laboratories Pepta Bright
Amanda Lacey
Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation
Erborian BB Creme
Benefit Cosmetics
Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Concealer
YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara
Lancome Lip Lover Lip Perfector
Armani Rouge d’Armani Sheer
Shu Uemura
Shu Uemura Cream Eye Shadow