Sara Abbasi, ITG Intern

Sara Abbasi
Sara Abbasi

Emily came in and said, “Oh, I love your dress! It's so Saved By The Bell. I'm taking your picture for ITG. Right now!” I put my hand to my chest, anticipating the inevitable increase in heart rate. Pinch me, please. And to say I was unprepared is the understatement of the century—I wasn’t wearing any makeup. Okay, maybe a little concealer, but does that really count? Of course, she had to shoot me the day I chose not to do my makeup. But actually, I really love beauty. The makeup, skin care, the hair products—it truly is my thing.

I remember every detail about the day I first entered Sephora: I was with a friend, and her mother was looking for a French Manicure set. I was allowed to buy one small item of my choosing, and left with a marshmallow-scented translucent Urban Decay lip gloss with chunky silver sparkles. I paired it with blue butterfly hair clips, and thought I was the coolest eleven-year-old cutie on the block. Bobbi Brown’s Teenage Beauty book also had a pretty profound impact on me. It wasn’t my book, of course. It was my older sister’s. I would sneak into her room and read the book, open her little makeup bag, put on her Peony blush, Buff lip gloss, and smear Taupe eye shadow up to my eyebrows. The week I started driving, I went to Sephora every single day to spend away my babysitting and birthday money. Of course, I’d have read all the reviews on each product I wanted, but still managed to spend hours in there. To this day, half the staff at Sephora’s Greenwich, Connecticut location recognizes me.

My skin is incredibly dry and sensitive, and in recent months, it’s been fairly prone to breakouts. Right now I use Clarins Cleansing Milk for dry skin—it’s super soothing. Then, I tone with DDF’s Aloe Toning Complex in a convenient little spray bottle. Gotta mist like a boss! Or, like my boss—Emily introduced me to mists and I’m hooked. At night, if I’m a bit broken out, I’ll dot my face with Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 and sleep in it, to my college roommate’s amusement. In the mornings I put on Clarins Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate instead, and give it a few minutes to settle in before I start with makeup. It moisturizes and soothes my dry skin far more than most creams. In the winter, my entire family is obsessed with Clarins HydraQuench Rich Cream—we all have dry skin, and it’s been amazing. If my body is particularly dry, I use argan oilafter my showers at night, and put on at least SPF 30 each morning, and SPF 45 on my face. I’ve gotten so dark this summer, even though I’ve been wearing SPF 60 and over at the beach! I care about sun protection, I swear. As for fragrance, I just adore Bond No. 9. I’ve been wearing Union Square for a few years, and people always ask what I’m wearing when I have it on.

My hair—sigh. It’s been an ongoing battle. Naturally, I have very frizzy, tight waves. At twelve, I thought it was a curse and battled it for hours each day with a flat iron. I begged my parents for several Brazilian blowouts, but as the last one grew out, I mastered the art of the blowout. Now, I’m able to blow dry my hair straight in under twenty minutes! I should win some kind of award for that. I wash my hair with a rich moisturizing shampoo, and then a light conditioner. I hate that over-processed hair smell, and I find that leaving my shampoo in for a few minutes really gives your hair a beautiful, long-lasting scent. I absolutely adore Frédéric Fekkai. His salon in Greenwich is perfect, his products smell great, and they will transform the look and feel of your hair. I then comb through my hair with Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue, and spritz with Sachajuan Ocean Mist, divide my hair into a top and bottom sections, flip my head over and attack—armed with a hair dryer and large round brush. After my hair is dry and still a little warm, I’ll tie it in a braid to give it some wave. And presto! Effortless-looking-but-not-so-effortless hair.

As for makeup, I’ve got to say it: concealer is awesome. It gets me through the worst breakout days. Since the beginning of high school, I’ve searched for the perfect one to hide my blemishes, that still looked like my skin. The best trick I’ve learned is to find a highly pigmented liquid concealer, and use only a pinhead’s amount to the very center of the blemish, and to blend lightly with my finger. The best concealer I’ve used is Amazing Cosmetics’ Amazing Concealer. It’s definitely true to its name and the tube lasts forever, especially since you only need a little bit of it. Undereye concealer is a different story. I’m half middle-eastern, so I’ve got the classic purplish undereye circles. I’ve tried everything to cover them—but finally found a pretty useful trick. Using a highlighting pen directly under the darkness will work to reflect light around the darkest part of the eye! I’m pretty proud of this trick. Anyway, right now I’m using a ‘magic wand’ by Clarins, called Instant Light Brush-On Perfector. I’m very particular about foundations and tinted moisturizers, and only use them when I feel I really need some coverage. They have to be incredibly light, look completely natural, not show off my flakiness, and not irritate the skin that’s probably irritated enough for me to want to cover it. There are a few clear winners in my book: Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation, Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer, and of course, Koh Gen Doh’s Aqua Foundation—which I bought as soon as I read about it here. I love NARS blushes—Amour, Desire, Mata Hari, Torrid and their classic Orgasm always look beautiful. I just tried Dolce & Gabanna’s blushes and those are all pretty fantastic too. Tarte’s gel cheek stains are quite lovely in the winter— True Love and Tipsy are my favorites. For bronzer—I’ll never stray from NARS’ Laguna. In recent months I’ve been curling my lashes with a Shu Uemura eyelash curler and wearing them bare. I hate when I can’t fully remove mascara at the end of the day—then my face never really feels clean. When I do wear mascara, I love Clinique because they come off so easily. You just gently rub your lashes—and it dissolves completely! High Impact is the best.

When I’m going to a concert or something, that’s when I really whip out the fun stuff. My favorite thing to use on a night out is Makeup Forever’s 12 Flash Color Case—and I always pick out the craziest color. Last time I wore a bright turquoise, and it stayed on all night. My favorite lip color right now is Joy from Tarte’s new lip stain collection, LipSurgence, and I actually bought the shade by accident. For the past few years I’ve been attracted to sheer plums and reds, and was planning to add another lip stain similar to all the other shades in my collection. I opened the box and found this light pinky-coral. I thought, “What the heck? I have to take this back,” but ended up trying it anyway, and it was gorgeous. For nails, I call my favorite color “pasta sauce red', which I describe as an orange just red enough to be considered a red—like Essie’s Geranium.

—Sara Abbasi