'My name is Esther [@estherleeleach], and I grew up on the island of St. Lucia but now live in Denver. I’m a consulting producer for Lee Productions, which is a production company I started at 16 with my sister. At the time, there were no TV shows for teens in St. Lucia, so we produced and hosted our first show, Vibe Central. Then we expanded to other shows and music videos for Caribbean singers. We took our first short film, The Coming of Org, to the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and screened it at the Short Film Corner. My sister still lives in St. Lucia and runs most of our daily operations from there, but we do a lot of concept and script review together. I was also the senior fashion editor for a magazine there before I moved to London to get my master's degree in fashion journalism from the London College of Fashion. I still try to write about fashion in my spare time.
My mom still lives on the island as well—she uses nothing on her skin and she has no wrinkles. I think it's maybe the fish and ginger tea she has regularly. We have so many different skin tones, shades and body types, so I grew up knowing that there was not just one ideal beauty look. But the media are still catching up with the diverse reality of the world, even though a lot of progress has been made. It’s great to see Kerry Washington, Mindy Kaling, Sofia Vergara, and Robin Wright on my television screen.
On a day-to-day basis, I am either wearing bright red, dark red, or nude lips with a cat eye and lots of mascara. I don’t usually stray from that look. I start with Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Golden, then I use the slightly darker stick in Warm Almond to lightly contour my cheeks. I’ve tried so many foundations, and this one is just the best match for my color without looking like I have too much makeup on. Sometimes I use Becca’s The One Perfecting Brush to blend it all together.
I have black eyebrows—not dark brown. Black. So a lot of the dark brow pencils and gels are just way too light. A few months ago I discovered Benefit’s They’re Real Push Up Liner, which is actually the perfect shade for filling in my brows. Bonus points because it does not move all day. I use the same liner to do a cat eye. If it’s date night or I want a stronger eye look, I’ll do a smoky eye with the Bobbi Brown Cool Eye Palette that my mother-in-law got for me. For mascaras, I go hard with L’Oréal Voluminous Million Lashes in Carbon Black and then Voluminous Miss Manga in Blackest Black. I’ve tried the Chanel ones, but eventually went back to the drugstore ones. They just give me that lots-of-long-lashes look.
The majority of my makeup is a lipstick or gloss. If it’s a nude-lip day then I will start by lining my lips with Dolce & Gabbana The Lipliner in Nude, followed by Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Lady, Chanel’s Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in Unity, or Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Mirage. I recently started using Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon when I'm in the mood for red. It dries matte and does not move through dinner, drinks, clubbing, and making out with my husband all night.
Then I use Dolce & Gabbana Luminous Cheek Color Blush in Sole or Maybelline Master Glaze in Make a Mauve. I finish everything off with a dusting of Bobbi Brown Retouching Powder in Yellow. I always go back to Bobbi Brown or Dolce & Gabbana for makeup. The quality of their products are excellent and the colors suit endless skin tones.
At night, I wash my face with Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser because I’ve been a Neutrogena addict since high school. I also use DHC Deep Cleansing Oil if I need to remove lots of makeup. Then, I use SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion followed by SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. My skin always looks really clear after this. My nightly dose of retinol is a must, so I use Roc Retinol Correxion Max Wrinkle Resurfacing System. As I am getting older, I think I’ll need to switch to something stronger, but this works great for now. I will use Voilàve Organics Organic Rosehip Oil on top of the retinol. My husband and I put on retinol at night together. It’s sort of our nightly ritual.
My skin marks so easily. If I have a tiny zit, a huge black mark will follow. To keep my skin toned, I do a 40 percent glycolic peel at home once a month. I also do weekly face masks with Now Solutions’ Moroccan Red Clay Powder.
I chemically straighten my hair every four months with ORS Olive Oil Professional Crème Relaxer. Every week I do a deep conditioning mask for 20 minutes using Kérastase Masque Elixir Ultime or ORS Hair Mayonnaise. L’Oréal Evercrème Intense Nourishing Conditioner is also great if you are in a hurry. Three minutes is all you need because it is so thick and moisturizing. For shampoo I use the L’Oréal Evercrème Intense Nourishing Shampoo or Kérastase Bain Elixir Ultime. I also love Kérastase’s leave-in treatments like Nutritive Nectar Thermique and the Résistance Ciment Thermique. If I am flat ironing that day, I will also use Kérastase Résistance Fibre Architecte. Kérastase products are the bees knees—they always make my hair so soft and strong.
Beauty is all in the attitude. A smile or laugh does a lot for the soul, which translates into how you look on the outside. I grew up with my mom and sister and we always laughed a lot at home—that loud, deep St. Lucian laugh. That’s what’s beautiful to me.”
—as told to ITG.
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