'My name is Rae Tao [@aortae], I'm 22, and I live in Manhattan on the Upper West Side and work for Coach. I've always been sort of a slacker when it comes to makeup, but I remember in middle school, when those $1 NYC-brand drugstore eyeliner pencils were popular. I used to only use those—in black, shimmery blue, and white. My best friend introduced me to liquid eyeliner around that time, and the first time I tried to put it on I came out of her bathroom with my entire eyeball painted grey. I've gotten a lot better at applying liquid eyeliner because that's basically the only makeup I use on a regular basis. I say 'regular basis,' but for me, makeup is confined pretty much only to Saturday nights. I use the basic Sephora Collection Long Lasting Eyeliner. I've tried a lot of brands, but I like the narrow tip of this one the most.
For lips, I'll usually just wear Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. If I want color, I go for YSL Rouge Pur Glossy Stain in Rogue Laque. I also read on Man Repeller about this Moroccan Henna Lipstick and loved the idea of it creating my own unique shade based on my pH, and not finding random stains on my clothes from using a traditional lipstick. I bought one off eBay and use it for fun from time to time. Add an eyebrow pencil and some mascara and that's pretty much the end of my makeup routine.
My skincare routine, though, is much, much more involved. My dad lives in Beijing and after college I spent a summer in China with him. All my aunties and sisters—in China, everyone's either your aunt, uncle, sister, or brother, even if they're really not—were drinking collagen supplements or getting weekly facials. I was 20 then, and I still wasn't even using moisturizer. Needless to say, I got a few tips, some of which are more obvious, like moisturizing every morning and night, and some of which sound flat-out kooky, like not chewing gum to avoid a wide jawline and doing headstands for five minutes a day to reverse sagging skin due to gravity. At that point I was pretty terrified for my skin's future, so I think I spent a whole day looking up inversion tables because I couldn't properly do headstands.
So I became a lot more conscious about my skin. In the mornings, I'll wash my face with either Burt's Bees Radiance Face Cleanser or Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil. The royal jelly in the Burt's cleanser is so interesting to me—any bee larva that consumes it becomes the new queen bee of the hive, although I have no idea what that means for my face. I use a Clarisonic Plus with the Burt's and sometimes a Binchotan Konjac sponge, but it's such a pain leaving it in the refrigerator and I always forget that I have it. Every now and then I'll do an at-home mask, either a generic Watsons Bird's Nest mask—a Chinese drugstore brand—or the Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque. Next, I pat on SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. If it's nighttime, I'll apply Retin-A once or twice a week. I buy a lot of skin products because of the packaging, and I loved the packaging for Verso so much that seeing it is actually how I learned about retinol in the first place. Afterwards, as a serum, I'll use SK-II Cellumination Essence Ex. I love love love the matte texture. For moisturizer, I'm currently rotating between Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve, SK-II Cellumination Cream, Koh Gen Do Moisture Gel, Clinique Moisture Surge, ITG's favorite Embryolisse, and Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer. I'm realizing now I may have too many moisturizers—I really just pick arbitrarily between them.
I work now as part of the strategy team, but when I used to work in consulting I would travel almost every week. My dopp kit was always filled with samples, and hoarding them is still very much a habit of mine. My boyfriend calls me a 'Sample Queen,' because I always have baby packets of Aesop moisturizer, SK-II eye cream, or Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. I feel like I'm always trying to find miracle products, and whenever I see nice packaging I'm always intrigued. One of my beauty philosophies is to always do a lot of research before I invest. Sometimes it's samples, but other times it's reading through pages and pages of reviews on Sephora or Makeup Alley. The more research I do, the more excited I am about a product, which is how I end up with six different moisturizers at a time.”
—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.