'My name is Shreya Chopra [@shreyachops]. I'm 19 years old and grew up in London and New Delhi. Currently, I'm living in New York, studying illustration and interning for a wonderful fashion e-commerce site called Indelust, which supports ethical and sustainable clothing—a fashion movement I strongly think modern women should support. Studying art means I spend my days and nights chained to a desk and chair, hunched over a sketchbook or laptop. However, in the end, I find it incredibly rewarding and inspiring, so despite the backaches and whining, I'm really quite content.
Growing up, my approach to beauty was a lot like a kindergartner-Jenny Saville hybrid. When I was seven, I would sneak into my mother's makeup drawer and start painting my face with purple eye shadows and orange lipsticks—not a pretty sight. I don't think my approach has really changed with age, though...I’m pretty sure I've used a lipstick to highlight my eyes and blush on my lips so they match my cheeks. I guess that way my beauty philosophy and artistic manifesto are very similar—to experiment like nobody's business.
I naturally have very dusky skin, so I try and work around that to make it look really dewy and fresh. I always start out by moisturizing with a Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream by The Body Shop and then use Vaseline or Benefit's Sunbeam as a highlighter on my eyes, eyelashes, cheekbones, and nose. Then I use the Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer all over because when you're tan, you might as well work it. I'm a sucker for freckles, even though I've never had them—they add a cuteness factor that I've always wanted, so I usually dot on a few freckles on my nose and cheeks using a brown eyeliner pencil. My eyebrows tend to take up a huge chunk of my face because they are just so bloody bushy, so I try and neaten them up with some more Vaseline. I don't really use a foundation just because it either melts off my face throughout the day or just gets too dirty on my skin, but I use the MAC Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation as a really nice concealer under my eyes and around my nose. For a night out, I use MAC Fix+ to spray over my make up because it gets really frustrating when your make up starts rejecting you and you look like a raccoon by 11pm.
I have an eyeliner obsession and own at least 20 in every single appropriate and inappropriate color. Right now, the Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Turquoise or Korres eyeliner in Olive Green are my staples. My collection should really come with a guide book because you can always estimate my mood depending on which color I'm wearing—silver or grey when I'm feeling tired, gold when I'm flirty, or blue when I'm excited and so on. When I want to do a smoky eye, I usually use Vaseline to smudge MAC eyeliner in Industrial and Grey Print over my eyelids with a red-ish purple eye shadow. For lips, I normally just use a drugstore lip stain by Max Factor or a nude-purple color like Fast Play by MAC.
My friends always crack jokes and call me 'Shreya the Teenage Witch' because I make a lot of my own homemade 'potions' for my skin. I had horrible skin as a tween—really terrible acne that was almost impossible to cover up and only added to my teenage angst. Now the minute I feel an episode coming on I always try to give myself a gentle cleanse and listen to music and dance around to calm down. When I moved to India, I started to use a lot of household ayurvedic recipes or ayurvedic products by Kama Ayurveda, Forest Essentials, or Biotique, which were so effective in making me feel cleaner and more comfortable with my skin, no matter how bumpy it was. For acne, I made a lot of facemasks with aloe vera juice and crushed neem and mridul leaves. When I wanted a natural glow, I would make one using turmeric powder, flour, honey, brown sugar, yogurt, and lemon juice—this works well if you have tanned skin because it works with your natural pigments. I think it's really important to invest in a good toner like Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner. 'Cleanse and tone' is my mantra when I'm too busy for anything else because I think that's the best routine you can have.
I'm really blessed to have a head of thick, Indian hair, so I really don't have to do too much to keep it under control. I swear by Aussie hair products because they use a lot of natural ingredients like their Luscious Long Shampoo with eucalyptus, which really helps keep my hair shiny. I normally add some liquid panthenol—provitamin B5—to my conditioner for good measure to keep it growing and maintain a soft texture. My hair is naturally straight so I always like giving it a boost of texture. I use Aussie Ausome Texturising Spray, Bumble and bumble Surf Spray, or make a homemade salt spray with avocado oil, sea salt, and water, then braid my hair in a fish tail and leave it overnight for a dramatic effect.
I developed a fragrance fixation from my dad because he always had a very powerful scent on him. Because of him I use a lot of men's fragrances on a day-to-day basis like One Million by Paco Rabanne, Bleu de Chanel, and even dabble in a little Old Spice. When I was 14, a friend told me that the smell of vanilla really works a charm on guys, so since then my perfume for dates and going out always has an intense vanilla base—though I'm not sure if the theory is effective. I end up smelling like a cupcake, which is kind of brilliant anyway.”
—as told to ITG
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