'My name is Frances Malcolm [@francypants001] and I’m the editor at the New Museum in New York and a freelance writer. I moved back to the East Coast earlier this summer after living in San Francisco for nearly six years. Everything about the move was surreal, including the timeline—within two weeks of deciding to relocate, my fiancé and I were packed up and on our way, reverse Oregon-Trail style. I've wanted to live in New York for some time now and I’m pleased to report that I'm not riddled with remorse. I’ll always love the West Coast, but the art scene here is much…bigger.
I’m not sure where my love of beauty products comes from. My mother is a remarkably low-maintenance—a real ‘here-is-my-one-oil-and-two-favorite-lotions’ type of lady. And I love her for it. But as soon I was old enough to babysit, I started spending my money on Lip Smackers, Wet ‘n Wild, John Frieda, etc. In high school I even experimented with herbal supplements in a non-FDA-approved effort to achieve luminous—or at least zit-free—skin.
Despite the number of products I buy, I actually don’t wear that much makeup. I’m much more focused on skincare right now. I’ve never had great skin, so my beauty philosophy is rooted in listening to and understanding what it needs. That means being mindful of not just the products I use, but my diet, my stress levels, and just how many times I touch my face a day with dirty fingers.
I once read that Christy Turlington, The Most Beautiful Woman on Earth, slathers herself in oils. Naturally, I now do the same. I’ve been using Josie Maran Argan Oil for about three years and think it’s superb—hydrating, moisturizing, and noncomedogenic, unlike coconut and olive oil, which have resulted in some pretty tragic breakouts. I also use rice bran oil both on my face and all over my body. It's comparable to argan oil in that they share similar oleic acid-to-linoleic acid ratios, but I'm starting to think rice bran might take the cake because it absorbs more quickly and is cheaper. Carrot seed oil—which you need to mix with a carrier oil, like argan or rice bran—and neem oil also help resolve skin problems from acne to eczema, but they stink to high heaven. Forgiving folks use words like 'earthy' or 'musky' to describe their scents, but I find them straight-up rancid.
I typically use Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizer For Blemish-Prone Skin for a little SPF protection after applying a face oil. Whoever invented this line is a genius and a god, because nowhere does it say that wrinkles and pimples are mutually exclusive. At 30, I still have my fair share of blemishes, which have recently migrated to my neck, wedged directly under the jawline. To keep breakouts in check, I use Ren CleanCalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser and Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion with 5% benzoyl peroxide. My solution for scars is more oil—again, counterintuitive, but it works. I’m also a fan of Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum since it smells divine and does seem to help lighten dark spots, albeit slowly. The only place I can't put oil is my hair. Because its gets greasy quickly, I try to avoid products and just stick with the basics— Bumble and bumble Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner and a ton of Batiste Dry Shampoo.
Chanel makes the best foundations. My favorite is Chanel Vitalumiére Aqua in 12 Beige Rosé because it's super light and sinks right into the skin. I've been looking for and failing to find something just as good but without parabens. I don't know what I’d do without Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer in Flesh 4. I just slap it on any imperfections and, poof! Semi-decent skin. And despite being a blusher, I love blush and wear it almost every day. My go-tos are Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Blushed Rose and Cargo Water Resistant Blush in Bali. For nights out, a little dusting of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzeradds a nice touch. It’s bizarre that it purposefully smells like chocolate, but I appreciate its lack of sparkle, which is tough to find.
I have a complicated relationship with eye makeup, specifically eyeliner. Although my eyes are large, something about their shape in conjunction with eyeliner can make them appear beady. Eyeliner also never wants to stay on my face, so three hours later I start channeling Alice Cooper after a particularly rough set. But if I’m feeling daring and I have time to play around, I’ll use Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Black on my upper lash line only. Usually, though, I’ll just swipe a slightly shimmery nude on my lids, like Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Champagne, which really brightens my whole face. I then follow up with a massive amount of Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascarain Black. As a side note, I found Diorshow to be dry and clumpy—a terrible disappointment considering its cult status. It must’ve been a defective tube.
Since my eye routine is so minimal, I like to regularly bust out a bright lip. Nars Lipstick in Heatwave is a truly wonderful, over-the-top 'semi-matte orange red.' For work though, I go for something more subdued, like Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey and 80 Acres of McEvoy Ranch Lip Balm. On my way out the door I spritz on some Chanel Chance Eau De Tendre, my spirit scent, which I’ve been recently layering with the new Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne. The result couldn’t suit me any better. A little classy lady, a little dirty hippie.”
—as told to ITG
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