'My name is Francesca Brooks [@terriblecranberry], and I work in the film industry as a script supervisor. Working in film has made me conscious of how feminine I present myself on an everyday basis. Behind the camera, the film industry isn't glamorous at all, and it's heavily male-dominated, so I look more serious about my job if I'm not too groomed. The women working in makeup and costume departments have more leeway with personal expression because their roles are creative by nature, but when I'm making a first impression on a new job, I think I'm perceived as more professional when my clothes and makeup aren't super girly.
That being said though, I've always loved beauty. I grew up in New Zealand and Hong Kong making oatmeal masks and spending pocket money on MAC Lipglass, my sister in tow. These days, I'm quite low-maintenance—my morning routine is pretty straightforward. Cleanse with La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel, apply Korres Wild Rose Face and Eye Serum, and moisturize with Olay Essentials Complete Care Day Fluid SPF 15. I'll put on Avène High Protection Mineral Cream SPF 50 if I'm going to be filming outside.
I also have two very different makeup looks, depending on whether I'm going to work or if I have the day off. When I crawl out of bed at 5:30am for a long day on set, I just pop on some Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer and then go over my whole face with Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent. I smudge on some black pencil liner, put on some mascara, and I'm out the door—no blush, no lipstick. On a big job, or any time I need to feel assertive, I always do my eyebrows extra dark because I feel more confident when I look intimidating. I've been using Nars Duo Eyeshadow in India Song for years applied with a MAC 266 Small Angle Brush. Whenever I'm on holiday in France or Italy, I love the way the women's eyebrows there are dark and groomed but kind of unkempt at the same time. I try to mimic that at home by not filling them in all the way to the edge, so the border isn't defined like a stencil.
When I'm not working, I like to take my time doing my makeup and add a bit more variety to my look. I'll wear Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 if I'm going out, since it actually comes in a shade pale enough for me. I love eye shadow but it always ends up all over my contacts, so lipstick is my thing. I look like an alien in a pale nude, but I like a warm, soft pink like Lipstick Queen's Sheer Lipstick in Saint or Maybelline's Color Sensational in Warm Me Up if I'm feeling like going lighter. Coral lipstick's been my jam since my university days, so MAC's Lipstick in colors like See Sheer and Crosswires are my equivalents to an everyday nude. A dark lip makes me feel sassy—MAC's Rebel is one I wear all the time. Then, I usually do a shimmery brown eyeliner like Marc Jacobs' Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Brown(Out) 54 on my top lash line and then a bright gold like Sephora Collection's Colorful Eyeshadow & Liner in 08 Gold on my waterline and lower lashes. That, with a lot of mascara on top and bottom, is my signature eye makeup. The color combination really enhances my green eyes. I also love a classic black, winged liner, which I do with Collection Fast Stroke Eyeliner—but only when I know I'll have time to fix it if the wings start to get wonky midway through.
I've noticed that as I've gotten older, I'm trying to be more comfortable with my naked face. I use to refuse to leave the house if I didn't have at least concealer and eyeliner on, but these days I'll happily nip to the supermarket sans makeup. It's freeing to see your own face in its natural glory and to be unafraid, instead of doing that female thing of only noticing your flaws and telling yourself that you look like a goldfish. I just try to remember that I don't have a responsibility to the world to look attractive just because I'm a woman. Working with actors all the time, who have every inch of their faces critiqued and perfected as part of their job, has made me grateful that I don't have to hold my appearance to anyone's standards but my own.
At night, I always double cleanse with Superfacialist's Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil first, to dissolve all the London grime, and then I go in with my Clarisonic paired with the Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel. I know St. Ives' Blemish Control Apricot Scrub is the devil and will rip holes in my face, according to the internet, but it's the only thing abrasive enough for me, so I keep using it a few nights a week. I'm obsessed with exfoliating—it's the single most effective way of keeping my skin clear. Then, it's all about facial oil. I went through two bottles of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but now I'm using Pai's Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil, which is amazing for scars and spots. I finish off with Yes To Carrots' Rich Moisture Day Cream, which is actually the perfect night cream for my dehydrated, combination skin. Sometimes I get crazy dry, and the only thing that will bring me back is extra virgin olive oil. Face masks are essential for me, and I always find myself going back to Origins' Clear Improvementand Ren's Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. The Ren packaging says you're supposed to leave it on for 10 minutes, but my skin isn't sensitive at all—see usage of St. Ives Apricot Scrub, obviously—so I usually do it for an hour, and my face feels incredible afterward.
My hair is thick. I hate washing it, so I only do it every five or six days. Hold on though, I've got a very particular routine down so that I don't show up to work smelling like a hamster. It mostly involves a lot of Batiste Dry Shampoo and sleeping with my hair up in a bun. I do wash just my fringe every night, which is a trick my mum taught me years ago. It only takes an extra minute in the shower, and makes me look somewhat presentable even when my ponytail is looking like a bit of a rat's nest.”
—as told to ITG
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