'I always wanted to model. There was no plan B—even though I didn't really know anything about it at first. When I was younger, I started doing beauty pageants...I did Miss Maryland and Teen USA. It was all very odd, looking back, but it was fun for me because I thought it was modeling. I did take away a lot of valuable skills in the public speaking department from them. I know modeling agencies are kind of like, 'Please don’t run with that story because people don’t want to think of you as a pageant queen,' but there are good things that came out of it. I was one to play dress up.
I moved to New York after high school right away and wasn't really in love with it originally. Wilhelmina signed me first—that was 15 years ago, and there weren’t that many plus divisions then. When I came up originally for open calls, I was going to just regular agencies because I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be able to fit in—that there are two different options. There was a lot of 'Can you drop some sizes?' and I was like, oh God. At a certain point, I just figured if it hadn’t happened yet, it wasn’t going to happen ever. There’s some quote I read recently that said it takes 10 years to look like an overnight success or something like that. People don’t know that you’ve been hustling for a long time. In 2010, I was in a V Magazine spread, which was my first big editorial. I was 25 at that point, and I was like, 'What am I going to do? How does this even work? Am I going to have to come up with my pose? How can I be extreme enough?' It was my first time meeting Tara Lynn, and we’re topless pressed up against each other. Like, hey girl! Little did we know, we would go on the next year to do a really big thing together as well. We’re like bound for life.
After that, there was a lot more buzz. I could just tell I was on the radar more...and then that casting came through for Vogue Italia. It was with Steven Meisel and Pat [McGrath]—I know their stories never get cut, but there was still the feeling of, 'What if the magazine didn’t want to do curvy girls anymore?' But they were willing to go for it. My husband framed it for me, and I want to look at it forever. I know you can't really do that without seeming vain, but for me, it really shows that it's not a one time deal. It had other people in the industry perk up a bit and say, 'Why don’t we try this too?' It was what got the ball rolling, which is what we needed. I’ve been in the industry 15 years. I’ve always been available and skilled and knowing that you’re able to do all these things, but you’re like, 'Just put me in, Coach! I want to show you! I m a great model, I can walk amazingly, just let me show you.'
I had great skin throughout high school and then, when I turned 20, I got adult acne. There really isn’t an explanation for it, which is really frustrating because the dermatologist just says, 'It’s adult acne. Here you go, try this medicine.' It’s devastating, and I did not feel confident at all. On jobs, I would be like, 'It’s an allergic reaction, it will be gone by the time of the job.' I used to get cortisone shots and crazy stuff until finally I went on Accutane, which worked really well for me. I just had to go for the big guns because even the antibiotics didn’t work. Now my skin is just generally sensitive, and I try to use products that are a bit more organic and natural—but it's all trial and error.
My morning routine starts with washing my face with warm water and L'Oréal Paris Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser For Sensitive Skin. It's actually really hard to find. This removes my makeup really well, and it has the little scrubby dude. I have the Clarisonic, but I can’t use that every day. I like the Bliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk, so sometimes I’ll use that one, too. But between he two—both are similar—the Bliss one doesn’t get as foamy as I like. I feel like cleanest with little bubbles.
My next step always changes because there are a lot of different options, but I do La Mer's Illuminating Eye Gel, and then I love this Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream, which has some reflective bits in it, so you feel awake. I’m all about an eye treatment. And then, ever since Accutane, I’ve been a Dr. Hauschka girl just because it’s gentle. Dr. Hauschka's Revitalizing Day Cream is really amazing. I found out about Glossier after Alice Lane used some on me at a shoot. I spritz the Soothing Face Mist on before and after getting ready in the morning.
I'm loving face oils right now, so I'll put Fresh's Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil in with whatever other moisturizer I'm using. La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Ultra is a nice, light option, and it also doesn't have a smell. I love a good smell, but sometimes it's too much in the morning. I've also been trying Rodin's Olio Lusso, and you can't go wrong with that. At night, though, I need something heavier. Weleda Skin Food is like a paste, and I put it all over. Moisturizing is really key. I love a mask, and Fresh makes incredible ones like their Rose and Black Tea masks. And I live for the SK-II ones—they're really having a moment right now, aren't they? Something about just sitting there for 20 minutes, and then when you remove it, you feel like a different person. You're fresh. You feel miraculous.
After moisturizing, I put on Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer in Nude if I want all-over, even color. It also has SPF 20 in it, which we need to cover, too, these days. If I’m not doing that, I’ll just throw a few clicks of the YSL Touche Éclat under my eyes. I have two different ones because they added more shades. This is 3.5 Luminous Almond, which is really light and not my color, but it depends on how much brightness or concealing I need.
Somedays I won’t even do all of that‚ just some bronzer and maybe a little contour with Nars' Bronzing Powder in Laguna. Pat McGrath taught me that. I do it as a very light contour and a little cream blush, keeping with the dewiness. The Bobbi Brown Blush in Pale Pink is perfect. I do that one with this Marc Jacobs' The Shape Blush and Contour Brush that's amazing. For my lashes, I use the Sephora Eyelash Curler, and then, just a swipe of mascara, which I like to layer. I like a full one with a big brush, and then I also like to go in and separate them. Maybelline Great Lash is just a standby. Benefit's They’re Real! and Lancôme's Défincils High Definition Mascara are my favorites. Chanel also makes a great one with a really small brush which is good for separating underneath. And then, the eyebrow situation is always vital, too. Sometimes it's just about shading them in with Benefit's Instant Brow Pencil, but that’s only if I want to be really dramatic. Sometimes I just brush them in place and gel them down.
Sephora is like a candy store for me, and I kind of know a lot about makeup. I've always been good at applying it...Lord, I’ve sat in the chair long enough to take a tip or two. If I haven’t learned anything by now, I should just hang it up. Recently, I learned about OCC Lip Tar—it's a bit intense for me, but it's amazing for a cool look. There are times when I really want my lips to have a moment with something that's dark, stays all night, and is yummy. Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are also incredible. Doing a lip for me is always a procedure. It's not a quick, let-me-just-whip-on-my-lip type situation! And because I don't wear something on my mouth all the time, I'm not great at maintaining it through the night, so I need something that stays put. I apply the Nars pencils in layers. My favorites are Red Square and Cruella in the Matte pencils and YU in the Satin kind.
My eyes don't have any sort of special shape, so I like a cat eye. I'm wearing one today, too, because I couldn't help myself. This Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Black is what I really use. Then, it just depends on whether it's daytime, and it will be a thinner line, or nighttime, in which case I'll draw a thicker flick. We’re not going Amy Winehouse-style here, but that’s my signature thing.
I'm actually going on a hair casting after this, and I just emailed my booker that I have no hair! I just cut it, but I like it. My hair's always been fine, but it's usually glammed up into a beehive, which I love. Sometimes I wear extensions, but it's not colored or anything. I use Bumble and bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner, and then I'll blow dry. I do want to start adopting a more 'done' look. I did my hair before a night out with friends—just straight and then pulled back—and everyone was like 'Whoa, your hair!' It was because I was watching Sex and The City, and it was one of the styles someone did. I just decided I was going to do my hair like that one night.
It's also really easy for me to do the messy-wave thing at this point where it’s understated but done. It's simple, but I'm always kind of changing and going for whatever I feel like in the moment. Overall, I just like to be a woman who tries new things.”
—as told to ITG
Candice Huffine photographed by Tom Newton in New York on March 30, 2015.
Read more of the Top Shelf series including Jessica Stam here.
Coco Rocha's Top Shelf features more drugstore than you'd expect.
Anais Mali shares her lipstick for every occasion.