'My name is Phoebe Joseph [@phoebephoebes], I'm 23 and live in London, where I grew up. I work in PR for the skincare brand Elemis. Before that, I worked on a number of other brands including Lancome and Miller Harris. Always beauty—it's my calling. Amongst other things, I enjoy watching reruns of Gossip Girl and attempting to lecture my friends and family on their skincare regimes.
One of my earliest beauty memories dates back to when I was around 10. Whenever my dad went abroad for work, he'd bring me back a perfume from duty free. My first was Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger. I progressed onto Versace Red Jeans, and then Gucci Rush—all fruity, sickly sweet fragrances. Now I never wear fragrance. I much prefer the smell of shampoo, deodorant, and clean clothes. If you could bottle that I would probably wear it.
For me, the fundamentals of beauty start with great skin. As long as you nail that aspect, you can pretty much play around with all colors and textures. At the end of last year, my skin suddenly broke out in the most horrific way, mainly confined to my cheeks, so I went on a four-month course of Roaccutane. I know this is controversial, but I really can't recommend it enough. It's funny but when my skin was at its worst, it made me resent makeup and the whole application process, because I was using so much of it to try and cover up my skin.
That's the point I'm trying to get to now, where I'm confident enough in my skin not to wear foundation. My skincare routine is constantly changing, but I feel like it's at a place now that I'm really happy with. In the mornings I use an oil-based cleanser, Melvita Rose Cleansing Oil or Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. I've also just discovered Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil. I use nothing with mineral oil or anything too perfumed, and you have to remove them with a flannel or you're left with a residue. Then I always used an acid toner to exfoliate and help rebalance my skin's pH after cleansing. It also helps whatever you're going to put on next absorb better. Currently I'm using First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, which I love because you get a tingle even though they don't contain alcohol—I always try to avoid putting alcohol on my face because it's super drying, and I drink enough of it anyway. I also really like Pixi Glow Tonic. I love acids...I recently bought some Clearasil pads with salicylic acid for my legs, just to help post shaving for any red bumps that appear.
My morning and nighttime regimes are almost identical, apart from in the evenings when I'll double cleanse. In terms of serums I'm using Pepta Bright from Indeed Labs, just on my cheeks to help fade marks. Then I follow with Hydraluron from the same brand [ed note: not available in the US], which is hyaluronic acid in a gel formula and helps your skin retain moisture. I also heard it helps your skin build up resistance to spots. Then I use a moisturizer—at the moment I'm loving Amanda Lacey Oils of Provence but you literally need two drops. The first time I used it, I woke up and my skin looked so greasy and you could practically see into every one of my pores so I figured I'd used way too much. Because of my job, I am constantly trying out new products but I like stick to a couple of rules: no SLS or mineral oil, and silicone-based products tend to aggravate my skin. I've become a bit of an ingredients junkie in that I can read an INCI list and probably know instantly whether it's going to break me out or not.
I love sleeping more than anything in the world, so I have managed to get my makeup routine down to about eight minutes. My favorite foundation is Lancome Teint Miracle, which I wear everyday, or Erborian BB Creme in Light, and I use Benefit Boi-ing Concealer to cover makers or dark circles. It's super industrial strength! My friend borrowed it when she broke her nose and had two black eyes as a result—it covers everything! I just pat it on with my finger and seal with a translucent powder. I'm blonde with fair eyelashes so I always use mascara or I look like I haven't properly woken up. At the moment I'm using YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils in Rich Brown. I don't have time for eyebrow pencils so have developed a weird little trick: I get an old brown mascara that's all dried up, wipe of the excess with a tissue and then just brush up through my eyebrows. It picks up all the little hairs that you can't see so you get a more full effect.
Purple shades definitely suit my skin tone best, as opposed to reds or pinks, so I alternate between Lancome Lip Lover Lip Perfector in 357 and Rouge D'Armani Sheer in 602. Shu Uemura Cream Eyeshadow in Pearl Light Purple is a really pretty shade for eyes. I heard from a makeup artist that children naturally have a lot of violet in their eyelids so purple as a colour can be really youthful. Not that I'm trying to look younger, I get ID'd everywhere already. I also have to give a shout-out to La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Lip Balm [ed note: also not available in the US] which was the the single most effective product at repairing my Roaccutane lips when petroleum jelly products just exacerbated the situation.
In terms of inspiration, I love Tippi Hedren in The Birds and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. They look so put together, but kind of nonchalant, too, like they just rolled out of bed, pulled on a dress and powdered their nose. I suppose there is a sort of elegance to sleeping with your makeup on, but I am definitely not advocating that.
The current trend in London is to wear very minimal makeup. To me, a natural base is more beautiful and modern. Even eye bags can be sexy in that very French way! There's nothing worse than seeing someone with gorgeous skin and a face full of foundation. My mum always says one day, when you're old, you'll look back at pictures of yourself and realize how great you looked, so it's important not to obsess over your looks too much. It's pretty obvious, but look after your skin, find out what products work best for you and try to educate yourself. That's where my obsession comes from—using beauty to look like the best possible version of yourself.”
—as told to ITG
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