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Elle Blue, Writer

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'My name is Elle Blue [@knownasblue] and I live in New York, the city of my dreams. I'm officially a writer and entrepreneur and an unofficial know-it-all. I enjoy reciting random rap lyrics, not exercising, reading articles on human behavior, and buying items of clothing similar to ones I already own.

My first beauty memory is my early obsession with lip gloss. I adored anything in a vanilla or strawberry flavor, and my love of sugar has stayed with me through adulthood. I haven't found a vanilla fragrance that smells better than Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Extreme EDT. I also love Jo Malone Earl Grey and Cucumber for day and Tom Ford Noir De Noir for night. I also use GAP The Artist, which is sadly discontinued, it has a beautiful violet note and is easy to wear whenever.

For close to a decade, I dealt with an array of orthodontia and battled skin that incessantly broke out. I call it 'all-inclusive acne': whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, red spots—just angry, constant, mortifying bumps day in and day out. I eventually resorted to Accutane which was a miracle, but when the acne came back full force a year later, I realized I needed to address the root issue that prescriptions and topical products were unable to. I was sick of doctors prescribing temporary cures, or even worse, trying to convince me that my skin woes would fade on their own.

I started googling and ended up ordering some homeopathic pills. I played around with my dosage a bit and hit my skin-beautifying sweet spot after about six months. I was ecstatic! Conquering my skin was one of my life's greatest triumphs. It's so important to listen to what your body is telling you and do your own research. Don't be afraid to say 'yeah right' to commercials and take matters into your own hands. I don't just feel that way about skincare, I feel that way about life.

My special skin cocktail includes one borage seed oil pill, two neem, two msm, two turmeric, and two vitamin a pills per day. I take a few drops of burdock root in my water, and I also cut out artificially flavored foods and any food that feels too tampered with. With my new eating habits, I noticed a difference in my skin, as well as with my energy levels. I don't go crazy though—I still dine out freely and enjoy a daily light and sweet coffee.

I try to stick to beauty products with familiar ingredients because in my experience they've been the most potent, but that has had its own challenges. Turns out I'm allergic to coconut, shea butter, jojoba, and rosehip oil, as well as some fruit extracts, so I'm constantly reading labels. It's a total pain, but as a busy entrepreneur, I don't have time to constantly nurse my skin back to health.

I'm lucky to work from home and although I attempt to stick to a routine, each day varies. I tell myself I should do this or do that a few times a week, but I've taken to looking at my face in the mirror each morning and figuring out what it needs. I believe in a gentle cleanser, a potent day and night treatment and a moisturizer with little to no fillers. Throw a great mask in there, and you're all set. I oscillate between Derma E Vitalizing Cleanser and Derma E Refining Vitamin A & Glycolic Scrub. The scrub reminds me of St. Ives Apricot Scrub, but it's a lot gentler and full of better ingredients. When I need a heavy-duty scrub, I just use a handful of the Cafe Bustelo grounds leftover from my morning coffee. It leaves my skin smooth and supple and even my Clarisonic can't replicate the results.

After that I tone, and again, I go back and forth between two types depending what my skin needs: a 50/50 mix of Makeup Artist's Choice Mandelic Toner with Thayers Alcohol-Free Unscented Witch Hazel or Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar. I'll apply JJ Labs High Efficiency 25% Vitamin C Serum and moisturize with argan oil, unless I'm going outside, in which case I'll apply 100% Pure Argan SPF.

Needless to say, I'm big on skincare. I love Arcona Gentle Solution for overnight chemical exfoliation—the results the next morning are immediate and breathtaking. I use Korres Jasmine Lip Butter as an overnight balm. It smells like oatmeal and is the only thing that makes my post-Accutane lips feel supple. May Lindstrom Honey Mud and Eminence Eight Greens Phyto Masque are my two favorite masks. They are both soothing but effective in calming down my crazy skin. Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil is my favorite makeup remover—it gets the job done and doesn't strip my skin. As for makeup, I try to do the glammed-up version of a natural face, if that makes sense. I feel grateful to have a year-round tan, naturally curled lashes, and sparse brows because it allows me to get away with doing so much less. For daytime, I wear Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Bourbon or Origins Automagically Eye-Lining Pencil in Mulberry and add a touch of bronzer to my face. Both give me a 'lit up' effect. And I love a nude lip—it's so underrated. A lot of women's go-to look for evenings is a red lip and a smoky eye but I find both to look garish on me, so I do a bright lip with a corresponding blush. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes are great because the color lasts. I have Blissful and Exposed and love them both. I have NARS blushes as well, I just hate how dirty the cases get. I own five shades, but my favorites are Lovejoy and Seduction.

My eyelids practically disappear once my eyes are open, so I avoid doing my eyes and rely on their hazel color and shape to wow people instead. On the rare occasion I choose to do my eyebrows, I use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in Medium Ash to fill them in. I'm still trying to find a non-irritating mascara, so for now I use clear mascara to separate and define my lashes. I don't do my nails often, but OPI Samoan Sand is the perfect nude, especially if you're tan. I also like Essie Stepp'n Out for a nude polish with a bit of pink to it.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in #8 matches my skin tone perfectly, and I love that it builds well. It's foolproof! Unfortunately, they repackaged it and added fragrance to the formula. My powder of choice is Becca's Mineral Powder in Noisette, which wears nicely and gives my skin an airbrushed finish. Anyone who is prone to oiliness should invest in a good primer. I really like Lancome La Base Pro and how it wears as the day goes on. For lip color I use anything, but Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stains deserve a shoutout since they do what they say. I have #4 Mauve Pigmente and #7 Corail Aquatique.

My hair is fine, soft, evenly curled all over, and semi-dry. I love it, but only learned how to properly care for it in the last few years. Hydration is key to gorgeous curly hair! I wash mine with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Shampoo which is the only one I've found that rids my scalp of all build-up—it's gross, but true. I enjoy the slip that Trader Joe's Nourish Conditioner leaves my hair with, so I'm sticking with that. I don't deep condition my hair nearly enough, but Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque leaves my hair incredibly silky when I do use it. A dollop of grapeseed oil and Kinky-Curly Knot Today keep my hair in great shape, and I don't need to use much of either. The combo leaves my hair completely hydrated and manageable until the next wash. For extra hold, I like Bumble and bumble Grooming Creme. I like creams best for my hair to avoid the 'crunchy and wet' curly hair look. If I slick it back, I use Nexxus Exxtra Sculpting Gel, which combs out nicely after it dries. I love to moisturize with almond oil or Skin Milk Body Cream and I use whatever aluminum free deodorant I can find that smells clean and fresh.

Most days, I'm sitting at home with a blend of oils on my face and my hair on top of my head in a loose bun. Sometimes I think about how chic my nails would look if they were always polished, or how big and Disney-esque my eyes would appear with eyelash extensions. I also may or may not have had literal dreams about obtaining a J.Lo perma-glow. But there are times when I'll catch a glance of myself in a mirror, think ' G irl, you a killer and ain't nobody realer... you fancy, huh?' and forget about all that extra stuff. Less is really more, in my opinion.”

—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.