Hannah Johnson, Beauty Writer

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'My name is Hannah Johnson [@hannahejo], and I’m a writer from Toronto. I’ve been writing about beauty online since 2008 and have my own lifestyle site called Elegant Dirtbag. I came up with that name because I love that blend between masculinity and femininity—it's OK to be pretty, and it's OK to be rough, too, you know? My all-time beauty icon is Mick Jagger, particularly around the time he was in Performance, and his hair was that shiny black, and he was all made up with lip liner and eyeliner. It kills me!

I mostly working from home, which was giving me major cabin fever, so I supplemented my writing with a job at a beauty boutique, Jacob & Sebastian, last year. I get to talk to strangers about products all day, sniff perfumes, and play with customers' dogs. It's great. Both jobs mean I can try everything—every peel, every serum…but it made my skin go nuts. I'm so sensitive that I had to really reel it in and stick with the things that work for me regardless. Mario Badescu's Cleansing Milk With Carnation & Rice Oil is a good example—I've been using that for nearly four years now. I'll still try new things, but I always come back to it. At night I massage it all over my face, and it breaks down all the makeup. Then I run a washcloth under hot water, wring it out, and wipe it all off. If I miss anything I'll do a Q-tip with a bit of Bioderma Sensibio H2O to get any mascara flakes. Then it's Mario's Chamomile Cleansing Lotion, which is a toner, but it's seriously just water and chamomile extract—very, very gentle. Then I really take some time to massage some oil into my face. Kosmea Skin Clinic Certified Organic Rose Hip Oilor Rodin Olio Lusso are my go-tos.

If I have any blemishes, I'll put on some tea tree oil, which usually nixes anything overnight. I pick at my skin though, and I've found the best thing to heal any scabs or scars is Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair. That's another one I've been using for years regardless of anything else I try. I always return to it, defeated like, 'You were right! Now save my skin,' and it always does. Masks every now and then are great—I throw on plain greek yogurt if I'm really red or one of Eve Lom's masks. The Rescue Mask is great for when I'm grossly congested or if I've been misbehaving too much, and the Moisture Mask is great before going out. It plumps up your skin and makes you glow like a newborn.

From the neck down, I need Mountain Ocean's Skin Trip Coconut Moisturizer—it's the only thing that keeps me from scratching my skin off in the winter. I like to finish all my skin stuff off with a good fragrance. I like things that are pretty heady. I'll usually do Balenciaga L'Essence during the day or some amber oil. But I like Love's Baby Soft too—it reminds me of being a kid. Going out, I'll apply Tom Ford's Black Orchid or 1996 from Byredo to the backs of my knees and below my belly button—things that make you smell really sexy, cozy, warm, and stay on the skin until morning.

I usually do my makeup really quickly on the subway as I'm heading to work—I've gotten the daily thing down to about five minutes. I try not to use foundation and go for things that feel really light and creamy. I'm really liking Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint in Light just on the nose and chin—blended up-and-out. Then I use my beloved RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up in 11 around my nostrils and chin where I get the most redness. Then I'll blend RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer along my cheekbones and a touch on my nose and temples to give me color. Also can't forget about their Living Luminizer on the tops of my cheeks, brow bones, inner corners of my eyes, cupid's bow…everywhere really. It's crack for anyone who wants dewy skin. Most days, I use Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anita as a cream blush, then use the remaining product on my finger and press it into my lips on top of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream. The lipstick is just a touch darker than my natural shade so it makes my whole face look a bit more alive and makes my lips look fuller than they actually are. Barry M's Genie Lip Paint is awesome too for when I want a stronger color—it's green in the tube but adjusts to your lips and stains them for hours with this raspberry shade.

My makeup’s very much a multi-step process in the nighttime, though. If I'm going out, then I like the full shebang—big hair, metallic makeup, and a lot of blush. I'll take a bath, make myself a drink, and spend my time covering all my bases with the right music and all. That's probably why I tend to be late to practically every party I've ever gone to, including my own birthday parties. One of the greatest eye products that I use, and was so surprised by, was Essence's Stays No Matter What Jumbo Eye Pencil and Shadow in Chocolate Brownie. I don't think they even make it anymore! I need to scour the drugstores for it. It's this subtly metallic, warm chocolate-brown pencil, and you can just smear it on to create the best sooty, smudgy eye. Sometimes I'll just leave it at that, but if I want a bit more dimension I'll go in and blend other things depending on how much time I have. My favorite eyeshadows are in the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette, the MAC Eye Shadow x15 in Warm Neutral, as well as specific Urban Decay shades like Mushroom and Roach. Then I like to line my upper waterline and between the lashes with mascara and a little wet brush—it works in a pinch if you don't have liquid liner. I'll finish my eyes with some Eyeko Eye Do Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner for a bit of a flick followed by Eyeko's Eye Do Mascara on the upper and lower lashes. It really gives you long, spidery '60s lashes, which I love.

I've always felt beauty should be, first and foremost, really fun. If I'm caking on makeup because I'm trying to hide something, or feel I need to 'fix' something, I get stressed out and end up scrubbing it all off. I'd rather just play around, experiment, and see what works. One thing I'm learning is that the second you look in the mirror and you're satisfied, you should just leave the house. You're done—stop fussing. If I stick around, I start to scrutinize—I start to add more hair product or more makeup. I get really nitpicky, and it turns into a freak show. It can be hard to maintain a healthy attitude when you're constantly getting press releases about some new procedure, some new injection, or whatever. It's best to just smile in the mirror, put on some perfume, get out the door, and live your damn life.”

—as told to ITG

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