'I moved to New York from Saudi Arabia three months ago to attend Columbia University. I had always wanted to move to a big city like New York, because everything is so different here; it’s so much busier than my hometown. I wanted to try living in a place where people were passionate and angry all the time. I love it! I feel like myself here. But I expected New York women to be crazier than they are. [Laughs]
I had my nose pierced back in Saudi Arabia, which is pretty normal for women there. And we usually wear abayas, which are a traditional outfit. It basically covers everything from head to toe—people can only see your face and sometimes your hair, so beauty is really important.
I am very careful with my skin. I like to look natural, and that starts with good skin. I wash my face with water, and moisturize with coconut oil. If I’ve been wearing makeup, I take it off with Bioderma Créaline before washing my face. I am probably exaggerating, but I think I was the first person to use Bioderma in my country. I started using it in 2000, which was right when I started wearing makeup. I have eczema, and when I started putting makeup on, the eczema really flared up. So that’s when I started using it.
Makeup-wise, I don’t like to wear foundation or anything heavy. Instead, I put Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel all over my face. It’s actually a bronzer, but because I’m already dark, I just use it to enhance my skin. On my lips, I love Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic. It’s nice because it doesn’t have any glitter or shimmer. And on my eyes, I just started using Guerlain’s Terracotta Kohl, which I read about on Into The Gloss, actually. I think I’m putting it on wrong though, because it keeps dropping onto my cheeks... I don’t like to pluck my eyebrows, so I groom them with a clear Brow and Lash Gel from The Body Shop. I like the idea of filling my eyebrows in with a pencil, but they look too harsh when I do that. That’s basically all that I use. My sister is a makeup artist, and it actually makes people angry that I have an expert at my house and all I use are these few products. [Laughs]
In the shower, right now I’m using Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap in Lavender on my face, hair, and body. I like L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil, too. It’s an oil, but when you use it in the shower, it foams. The smell is really beautiful. And to keep my hair soft, I moisturize it with coconut oil.”
—as told to ITG
Mona Alsubaei photographed by Emily Weiss in New York.