'My name is Erica Choi [@eggcanvas] and I live in New York City. I am currently the Digital Art Director at Barneys New York. Basically that means I'm responsible for establishing the art direction, style, and tone of Barneys.com, and I work with the VP, Digital Creative Director and the web marketing, merchandising, and development teams in coming up with and executing company's creative goals anywhere we're appearing online. Before Barneys, I worked at a number of different agencies designing for various luxury beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands in the digital space. I am an avid consumer—in food, in fashion, in the world around me. I love learning.
I remember when I was in middle school, traveling back from South Korea, and wanting to buy my first Clean & Clear powder compact. My aunt scolded me for wanting makeup at such a young age, but I secretly brought it back with me. The powder puff was the softest thing ever and the little mirror inside made me really happy. I think that was the jumping off point for my love of beauty.
My beauty philosophy is skincare first. I am blessed with poreless skin thanks to my mother, but I believe what she believes: that we must take care of what we've been given. I went through many phases in the last 10 years or so, from having an obsession with eye shadows and lip gloss to trying out all the lotions in the world. I also went through a crazy 'I need to be really tan all the time' phase in university and I would bake in a tanning bed every week. My goodness, that was the most terrible thing I could have ever done! Now realize I look much better my normal color. But since then, I've become much more holistic in my approach.
I think the most essential thing is cleansing my face first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I use Radical Skincare Hydrating Cleanser every morning and at night, the Bioderma Crealine H2o Cleansing Wateror Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water to wipe off any makeup. Then I cleanse with AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam. I also absolutely love AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel for after I cleanse, it's gentle enough to use every day. I started this ritual a few months before my wedding as beauty prep, but still continue to use it at least a few times a week and it does wonders. Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste is also really great to use once a week—it makes my skin feel like tofu! After that, I apply Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum, and Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream. I know a lot of Koreans believe in a 12-step skincare process, but I feel like 12's a bit overwhelming for me. In the wintertime, when my skin is feeling a little dry, I just apply a face oil in place of a moisturizer. I like Caudalie Vinosource Nourishing Concentrate. Face masks are also in my routine a few times a week, either the ones you wash or peel off, or the cloth kind. They give my skin that extra bit of moisture, and in the summertime it's nice to keep them in the fridge so they have a refreshing and cooling effect. My favorite is Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Full Hydrogel Mask. I stock up whenever I go to Asia because so many different brands sell them in packs of 20, which I find more cost effective.
For body, I am particularly loving Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser and Scrub. I use the cleanser every day and the scrub once a week. Then, I moisturize with L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil—it's so moisturizing and makes your skin feel really smooth without feeling sticky.
I've been trying out a lot of Oribe products recently. I have really thin, straight hair and it's the hardest thing to get it to have some volume. Oribe Volumista Mist for Volume is great. Their Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray and Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil also do wonders. They sound like the most unnecessary products ever, but now I can't live without them. They keep my hair really healthy, especially when you consider the extent of time I go without a cut.
I love using Chanel Les Beiges All-in-One Healthy Glow Fluid as my makeup base, or Chanel Perfection Lumiere when I need more coverage. Shade 20 in both are perfect matches for my skin. Highlighters are essential. My guilty pleasure is picking up the limited edition ones from Chanel during the holidays. Nars Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross also gives an amazing subtle glow. I love me a good eyeliner, strong brow, or bold lip—but just one at a time. Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er Precision Pen or Eyeko Eye Do Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner are my holy-grail products. Maybe it helps that I went to art school, but with these you can basically just draw a line and get it perfect every time. Practice is also a big factor. Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette has the greatest set of neutral colors, and is perfect for travel, too. I love Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Brown for my brows and Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Darkhorse if they need some extra oomph. My favorite summer lipsticks are MAC Vegas Volt and Lady Danger, but most days I'm just wearing a Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain—I like shades 7 and 12 a lot. Peach tones tend to be more flattering on my skin than pink.
I am slightly OCD about my nails. I can't stand nail polish chips. I've only gone to the manicurist a handful of times in my life—mostly before big events—and have almost always been disappointed by how they come out. I do them myself at least once a week, sometimes twice if I am not feeling the color anymore. I have a pretty hefty collection of Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colours. They are pretty pricey, but I feel like doing my own saves me a ton of time and money versus going to the salon. Chanel Beauté Des Ongles Protective Base Coat and Laque Brilliance Extréme Top Coat are essential in applying the smoothest and longest lasting color.
At the end of the day, beauty is about feeling your best and taking care of yourself. My basic rules are to always make sure you have SPF on and to drink a lot of green tea. I think the older I get, the more knowledge and the more control I have over my general wellbeing, and that knowledge is what gives me the confidence I need to take on the world. That's the beauty in beauty. Being comfortable and feeling empowered within yourself. Also, you've got to be kind to others! Oh, and a spritz of Byredo Blanche doesn't hurt.”
—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.