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Susan Korn, Jewelry Designer

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'My name is Susan Korn [@susan _alexandra] and I live in New York City, where I design my jewelry line, Susan Alexandra. I moved here five years ago without knowing a soul, without any money, and just no clue. I thought I wanted to style and I did some freelance gigs, but at the end of the day I would be so exhausted and paralyzed with insecurities—it just wasn’t the right world for me. Jewelry had always been a passion of mine, so I started taking weekend metalsmithing classes at Studio Jewelers and Liloveve. Metalsmithing takes such precision and patience, both of which I lack, so to cover the wonky seams and mis-matched edges, I started painting the jewelry. All of a sudden, people would ask me where I got my bracelets and rings and I decided on a whim to put them on a website. Two years later, Susan Alexandra is carried all over the world and I’m super busy. It's so fulfilling. Soon I’d like to have my own space and employ a staff and help people with whatever knowledge, connections, and know-how I've picked up in my 28 years.

I try to keep a positive beauty philosophy, which can be tricky since I’ve struggled with acne ever since I was young. On days when I've done a ton of yoga and have a really rosy outlook, I can convince myself that pimples are a blessing—a reminder that I am not my skin, my body, or my looks. But that kind of thinking is super rare. In reality, acne is disabling and incredibly hard to deal with. I've spent so much time and money trying everything in the world. Then I started going to Dr. Gabrielle Francis at the Herban Alchemist, and she changed my life. She really taught me how everything is connected in our bodies and that when the skin is unhappy, it's usually your gut or liver crying out for help. I cut gluten and most dairy and started drinking a daily shake called Bio-cleanse which totally removes toxins from your system—all of which has really helped. I also have her do acupuncture. She uses these teeny Japanese needs that you can barely feel!

Marta, a facialist who works with Dr. Francis, is also amazing. She’s super thorough, fearless, and gentle, and she turned me on to Pangea Organics, which is genius—I use the Moroccan Argan Facial Cream. She also has me putting rosehip oil and frankincense on my facial scars. I’ll supplement her facials with at-home masks—the Erno Laszlo Anti-Blemish Beta Mask or a mix of raw honey and turmeric, which is incredible. Everything you put on your skin is absorbed into the blood stream, so I try to be as conscious as I can; I just ordered Manuka honey and neem oil, so I'm looking forward to making some masks with those. Then I'll rub olive, rosehip, and sesame oils all over the rest of my body. I add a few drops of frankincense and lavender, too.

Now for the fun stuff—makeup. When I was younger, I remember my grandmother saying 'A woman without lipstick is like a day in Florida without sunshine,' so naturally I am a lipstick maven. I have recently fallen under the spell of the Kate Moss Rimmel collection—every color is perfect. I also use NYX Matte Lipstick and of course, the elusive RiRi Woo, which is super chalky, but damn what a perfect color. The best best best liquid eyeliner in the whole world is MAC Liquidlast Liner in Point Black. It will stay on your eyelids for maybe 100 years if you don't remove it, which is perfect if your skin is oily. For the rest of my face, Stila Perfect & Correct Foundation is like an Instagram filter and the Tarte bronzer is very natural and a good oil absorber. Oh, and I'm completely fragrance obsessed. I use the Goddess Line Lakshmi Fragrance Oil and have been stopped in the street by people telling me how sexy I smell. I'll alternate that with Escentric Molecules 01 or a blend of a few of the 1,000 samples I have floating around.

After so many trials and errors both professionally and beauty-wise, I have learned this: When you're doing something that you love and are meant to do, you are energized. There are no rules. Every imperfection makes you more beautiful. Wrinkles and pimples are beautiful. Skin is just skin and you are more than skin.”

—as told to ITG

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