'My name is Annie Kreighbaum. You can say Cry-baum. My dad says Kreg-baum, like 'Craig,' and I say Kree-baum. I wanted it to just be Annie Okay when I started writing online because my last name is hard to pronounce, let alone spell, but my first article went up with my real name and that was that. This was less than a year out of school—I was living in Austin at the time, running a vintage shop on Etsy. I’m from Dallas and went to school in Texas. In college, I interned at Alexander Wang in New York and my mom was pretty mortified when I told her I didn’t want to stay in the city after I graduated. I had interviewed to be Alex’s personal assistant and ended up face-to-face with him in his office, shaking, messing up any word over three syllables, trying to pass the last phase of the interview process. The woman from HR asked what I would give to editors as holiday gifts, and being the thrifty genius that I am, said, ‘Well you could just take one of the sample handbags that didn’t make it into production and tell the editor that you made it especially for them.’ I didn’t get the job. I should have said 'champagne'… He was cool, though.
Anyway, I moved back to Austin, which ended up being a really fun time for me. It was around then that I started reading Into The Gloss and xoJane—particularly Cat Marnell. I adored her, because she was the ultimate weirdo. When she left the site and Jane Pratt was looking for a new beauty director, I thought I’d apply and see what might happen. I didn’t hear back on my first submission, so I submitted a tutorial of me curling my hair in tiny spirals with toilet paper, making it enormous—it looked so cool, and it’s still my favorite way to wear it. They did publish that, so I kept pitching and writing. Eventually, they asked if I wanted to be Senior Editor at Jane’s secret new beauty website, and I was like, 'Sure, that sounds cool!' So I moved back to New York to launch xoVain.
At that point, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to use the camera I was shooting with, or anything about business, or logistics, nothing. But you learn along the way. Google is a girl’s best friend—all the information you need to do anything is right there for you on the Internet. I learned a ton from Emily [McCombs] and Jane—which still makes me feel very lucky. Everything Jane did with Sassy has informed what’s going on with how girls are embracing themselves and are exploring and taking control of life today. I don’t know where the Sassy s or the Rookies or the Burger Records were when I was a teenager—but maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough. I would have been so into it.
Anyway, when Into The Gloss reached out, it was so crazy because I had always read it—I remember thinking Jen Brill was the coolest, and Daphne [Hezard] with her eyeliner—but I never thought I’d be a part of that world, whatever I perceived it to be. It was validating, and inspired me to start taking myself more seriously for a change. Now I’m the Editorial Director and I’ve been working a lot on our new project, Glossier. I’m still so excited about everything that's happening. The shift in how we talk about beauty now is so refreshing to me. It’s a billion-dollar industry, we use these products every day, but before there was that peeling back of the curtain from people like Cat and Emily [Weiss], the only way you got beauty advice was from an interview with a makeup artist or some flowery 'trends' write-up in a magazine. Jane had a rule that you don’t use words like 'mane,' 'luscious locks,' or 'talons' to describe your hair and nails—nobody talks like that in real life. But the best piece of writing advice I ever got was to pretend with whatever I’m writing that it’s just an email to a close friend.
My beauty routine changes a lot—even as often as week by week. When I was younger and had fewer work obligations, I had more time to treat myself really well, experiment, and go to parties and shows every night. I’d wake up at noon, make juice, work a little on my Etsy shop, do some fitness, take a bath, and do it all over again the next day. If I was going out at night, I’d sit and do my makeup and hair for hours—probably for longer than I'd stay at the party.
I had a boyfriend who came through Austin every couple of months or so, so I would gear up every time I knew he was touring back through—work out, be really great to my skin…and then the big event was when I finally got to see him. It was such a thing, I wanted to be, like, the girl at the show. I was always obsessed with Jerry Hall, and my mom is really beautiful, too, and had these glamorous, crazy party stories. So I wanted to always be the girlfriend, not the groupie—big, curly hair, disco makeup, some crazy vintage outfit. I'm pretty shy, so the costume helps with being social and outgoing. And if you didn’t have a ticket to the show, the door guy would just assume you were supposed to be there and let you in.
I’ve always been a makeup hoarder. I’ve been experimenting and collecting products since I tried to make myself into Geri Halliwell back in second grade. You learn over time not only application, but what products work well together, what happens to texture throughout the day, what wears well…Like, long-wear makeup doesn’t exist, I don’t care what the packaging says. Nothing is going to look the same after you’ve worn it for a few hours—but that’s OK! I think it’s fun to have a break in the night where you have to go to the bathroom, take out a beautiful Tom Ford lipstick, and reapply—sometimes it sparks conversation with the other girls in the bathroom and meeting new people is always nice.
I always end up looking a little freaky, even a little ugly, especially at night. That way, only other weirdos talk to you, so it sort of helps weed out boring people. I just got this book called ‘78-‘87 London Youth, which is a collection of portraits of club kids in London. They pretty much exemplify everything I aspire to be with makeup—very glam, very DIY. Or very nothing at all—there’s something super punk about being at one end of the spectrum. But I like having makeup on at night, something weird... A few weeks ago I went to this music festival in Woodstock and only took these Ellis Faas Lights eye pens, which are the coolest makeup product I’ve come across in a while, even though the applicator could use some improvement—the brush frays and it gets messy. But they’re super metallic paints, and you just do a swipe across the lid or underneath the eye and let it dry for a second and you’re good. I drew a crescent moon in the center of my forehead and painted my ears gold, which was fun for a night in the middle of the woods...
I like an imperfect, lived-in makeup look—faded lips especially. I’ll dab Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Lipstick in Stay Mauve on my lips for a wash of color, not really in the exact shape of my lips, maybe a little outside of the lip line. It makes it look like you’ve been making out, which are the best lips to have. The Hourglass Lip Stain is perfect for that too—it’s a minty-scented liquid formula with a felt applicator that you swipe on without having to worry too much about staying in the lines. If I’m going for a more porn-y look I use Too Faced Lip Injection. But that’s a special occasion lip gloss—it irritates lips to make them redder and fuller, so it’s not great for you even if it does make you look cool. Kind of like juicing—it works for a little while, but that doesn’t mean you should do it all the time.
I actually use lip products all over my face—maybe because I’ve grown to prefer creams to powders, because they’re quicker and look more natural. Oh! That’s a good tip—be careful about layering powders over creams. If you use a creamy, dewy BB cream, for instance, you’re going to have a hard time blending a powder blush over it, so try a cream formula instead. Lipsticks are perfect for blush, and for highlighting. I’ve been using the Tom Ford Lip Shimmers on my cheekbones, eyes, and Cupid’s bow, but my favorite is this old NYX white Pearl Lipgloss that’s super sticky and leaves you looking very alien and greasy [ed note: discontinued].
Burberry’s Fresh Glow Nude Radiance is also a really good highlighter because it’s so subtle and feels very light on the skin. People make highlighting and contouring way more difficult than it is. Any part of your face that protrudes forward you highlight, and any part that goes back you don’t have to contour, but if you wanted to that’s where you do it. I think highlight or contour, though—and I prefer to highlight. The Le Blanc de Chanel is great to make you look brighter. If I’m going to contour, and I only do that at night really, I will use a stick like the Nars Altai Matte Multiple or a darker, gray-brown shade from the Kryolan Dermacolor Palette. That stuff is so good, it’s what all the makeup artists use because it covers everything, photographs beautifully, and matches the texture and sheen of real skin perfectly. But it makes me break out, so I only use it for spot coverage if I really need it, and a little contouring every once in a while. I do the tip of my nose—just brush a dark taupe extending up from my nostrils, which makes it look less round. Or at least I think it does…
I get really experimental with eyes. Wearing a red lip looks weird on me, but a lot of eye makeup I can do. I always wet my pressed shadow with eye drops so that it has more of a paint consistency. I’ve always worn MAC Eye Shadow in Amber Lights, and Urban Decay does cool things with powder shadow . I'm really into the new spongey cake shadows—Dior has the best grown-up glitter shade called Fusion Mono in Etoile. I also love Maybelline Color Tattoo shadows, and Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Always a Bridesmaid is perfect for doing that sort of 'teenager' lilac eye. My favorite metallic eye shadow ever, though, is the Laura Mercier Metallic Cream Eye Color in Gold.
When it comes to mascara, you have to choose the look you want. If you want huge Bambi eyes then you have to get a thick, gooey mascara to do on the outer lashes. The L’Oréal Double Extend is great for that—it gives you the wide-eyed doll look, but I’ve kind of taken a step back from that and started using Le Volume de Chanel. I have a little tester that's all dried up and I love it because it deposits the perfect amount on your eyelashes. My favorite brow tool is actually a waxy mascara from Le Métier de Beauté called the Anamorphic Lash Mascara. I don’t really like to fill them; what’s important to me is hold. I have really curly pubic hair eyebrows, and this fluffs them up and keeps them in place.
For day, I usually just do my skincare routine and wear the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint [ed note: launching in October!]. It doesn’t look like anything, it just kind of pulls everything together and gives you a glow. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect concealer; it’s so hard to find one that doesn’t look white in pictures. But I’m not weird about people seeing that I have a zit. I used to be freaked out about it and do a ton of concealer, but now I've come to accept them as part of life—and I realize that nobody cares about another person's zit. They have their own zits to worry about!
When I wake up, I use La Roche-Posay Physiological Face Cleansing Gel. It’s a pretty basic, gentle, straightforward cleanser. I prefer a gel cream; I don’t like acne wash or things like that because I think they’re way too damaging. When I used to have really bad skin, though, the one thing that was good for it was the Clean and Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Cleanser. That was pretty great to me all through high school. I’ll still go through months with perfectly fine skin and then I’ll get to a time that’s…just not good. Mario Badescu's Flower & Tonic Mask is great for immediately bringing down redness, and I use Natura Bisse's Diamond Ice-Lift for a glow if I'm getting my photo taken. One thing that I swear helps with breakouts is using a different towel every time I wash my face. The other thing that’s been really great for my skin was throwing out my magnifying mirror. I pick and do all of that out of stress, I guess. But when I did an interview with Dr. Wechsler for the site, she said to throw it out—so I did. Actually, I think it got smashed during a party. [Laughs]
I shave with an oil and $2 disposable Walgreens razors—I use a new one each time. The Schick Quattro Trim Style trimmer is the best, especially you’re about to get a wax. For hair, I trust Davines, Kérastase, and Aveda generally. Davines makes the best stuff—I only use their masks instead of conditioner, because my hair is so fried on the ends. The Kérastase Oleo Relax serum has to be the best hair product of all time—I've been using it since I can remember. You just smooth it in and air dry. I’ll also mix castor oil into my shampoo if my hair is feeling really crunchy. Sometimes I shampoo every other day and sometimes I can go five days, but that’s, like, if I have something going on in my life. In a perfect world, I’d just go to the hairdresser every week for a wet set and sit under the bonnets and come out with huge curls.”
—as told to ITG
Annie Kreighbaum photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on September 2, 2014.