“I grew up in the upper north of Norway, in a very small village on top of a mountain with about 900 people. Everyone knew everyone. My parents could tell that I was drawn to music at a young age, so they signed me up for piano lessons when I was quite little. I loved Abba, Britney Spears, Robyn—I couldn’t understand the lyrics because they were in English, but I would listen to the melodies. I just love how structured pop music is. You can kind of tell what’s going to happen next, and it makes sense.
I started writing my own songs when I was 15, and when I was 16 a label wanted to sign me as a songwriter. I was in high school, but my parents told me to follow my dreams—they’re the coolest. I don’t think many parents would allow their daughter to quit high school and move to a big city to do her own thing, but my parents did. So I signed with Sony/ATV and went to Stockholm to write. I remember the mind-blowing experience of going to the studio every day with my guitar. It was nice to have that year of trying out different producers, figuring out what I wanted to sing and what I wanted to sound like—it was a big part of finding my identity as an artist. Then, when I transitioned to being a performer, it was natural.
When I write, I’m very visual. I’ll start with a picture—maybe it’s a screenshot from a movie, or something I found on Pinterest—and I’ll try to make the soundtrack to that picture. Other times I’ll play some of my songs over a muted trailer on YouTube. When it comes to my own visuals, I’m very geeky. I’ll make a color palette and send it to my whole team—right now it’s lime green, bright neon purple, orange, and yellow, and then those four colors in pastels, too, plus black and white. I’m like, these are the colors I’m going with for the next few years, and this is the moodboard. When I go on tour, I like something that pops on stage, and that I feel comfortable moving around in. Beyoncé talks about having this alter ego when she performs, but I can’t do that. I feel more relaxed when I can be myself.
I don’t use concealer, but I am a huge foundation person. I’ve used so many, and I’ve spent so much money trying different ones. Guerlain Parure Gold is definitely the best one I’ve ever tried. It’s the weirdest thing, it’s magic—it only covers where it’s supposed to, but where it’s not supposed to cover, it doesn’t. And I like the [shades]. I’m more neutral, and I find that a lot of foundations, even high-end foundations, tend to get very pink or orange. I like to apply oil before putting it on, or sometimes I mix a few drops with it. It gives the foundation such a nice glow, and makes it really sink in. Then I do mascara, some brows. For mascara, I either like Guerlain Maxilash, the gold one, or the one from It Cosmetics. I tried one this morning that’s supposed to be made from the marijuana plant—super weird! But it’s really good, and it’s cruelty-free and vegan. The Brow Duo from Guerlain is like a mascara that you put on your brows, and the other end is a highlighter. I don’t have any other highlighter—I know, it’s crazy, but I don’t know which one I should get. For my lips, I’ll just use a little Carmex or some peach pink lip gloss.
I’m picky about those things, but with eyeshadows there are so many good brands. My version of natural makeup is glitter eyeshadow, but in a nude color. It’s a shimmery, glowy lid. I have some cream ones from Chanel that I really like, Glossier Lidstar, and some ones from MAC. For shows, I’ll use glitter eyeliner. It really pops. I’ve tried some different ones, but the best ones are from H&M. I also like to use a little more blush when I’m performing, and my favorite is this palette from an American drugstore brand. My mom got it [for herself], but I liked it so much that she gave it to me. Other than that, I don’t use too much powder because the lights are so harsh onstage—I think letting my skin get oily makes it look like I have a nice glow.
When I was a student, I had this bad habit of just using wipes for my skin, and even then I’d sometimes forget to do it before I fell asleep. Now I have a skincare routine, but I need to make it as simple as possible—cleanse, put moisturizer on, use products that I like and just stick with that. All my products are Dermalogica. I got gifted a facial for my birthday, and when I went, that's what the aesthetician used. I had always thought my skin was combination-oily, but she actually said I should be using more hydration products. I bought a bunch of them after the facial, and I’ve kept on repurchasing them. They just work so well for my skin. I went back a couple times—once when I had a music video shoot and I had an under-the-skin-pimple just coming at me. I was like, ‘I have to get rid of this.’ She used this high-frequency thing, and it disappeared. I also feel like hiking and skiing out in nature really helps my skin—you know, fresh air. When I moved to Oslo, my skin broke out so badly. The air in Oslo is probably better than the air in New York! [Laughs] But where I grew up, the air was so fresh, and I think that just kind of cleans it.
I have blonde hair naturally, but I’ll get some highlights once in a while. Especially in the winter. I had wanted to cut it for so long, but I didn’t dare to because I was so used to having long hair. I finally did it last August, and now I’ll never go back. It’s so much easier to style it now because the cut is more of a hairstyle—I don’t have to do that much to make it look like I know what I’m doing. To take care of it, I love Oribe products—I use their hydrating shampoo and conditioner, and the Dry Texture spray. My hair is naturally pretty wavy, and I always let it air dry—I hate blow dryers.
When it comes to fragrance, I wear Le Labo Santal 33, but I’ll have to get a new one soon. I’ve used it for a long time, but now when people walk by they're like, ‘Oh! That’s Santal 33!’ Like, fuck, is it that popular?”
—as told to ITG
Astrid S photographed by Alexandra Genova on February 28, 2019 in New York.