The #ITGTopShelfie series puts the focus on the lives and beauty routines of Into The Gloss's lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Show us your own Top Shelfie on Instagram—tag us @intothegloss, and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie.
'My name is Rena Phuah [@renaphuah] and I live in Sydney, Australia, where I work in advertising at an online media company and freelance as a graphic designer. For inspiration, I'm constantly looking at beauty campaigns that have a little darkness to them—I especially love Serge Lutens' ad campaigns for Shiseido in the '80s. When I was younger I had acne, so I would flip through magazines to study the perfect skin on the models in the ad campaigns—Bobbi Brown, Lancôme, and Givenchy were my favorites. Owning those brands felt like a goal back then.
Actually, my approach to beauty has always been related to having acne. I used to wear a full face of foundation to cover up any imperfection...everything had to be matte, and my skincare had be be oil-free to dry out the acne. Now that I’m older, I'm all about investing in my skin. I start my morning with the Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel, which has a lovely gel consistency and doesn't foam too much. I follow that with First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads to remove any flakiness. Then I spray Glossier Soothing Face Mist, which wakes me up. I believe in using essence, so after the mist I pat on This Works No Wrinkles Wonder Essence. I am super picky with my daily moisturizer—I like it to be oil-free if possible but hydrating enough under my makeup. Philosophy Hope In A Jar strikes that balance. At night, I use Muji Cleansing Oil [ed note: not available online] to remove my makeup, followed by the Ren, or I switch it up by slathering Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm on my face and massaging that in for a few minutes—and finishing with a hot towel to steam my face.
I find applying makeup very therapeutic. I start by prepping my skin with the Kiehl's Micro Blur to fill in my pores, then Nars Foundation because after years of using full coverage foundation, this one still feels really natural and very thin. However, I am a concealer hoarder— Maybelline Concealer for under the eyes and around the nose, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage for blemishes or scars, and By Terry Touche Veloutee for brightening under the eye area and around the mouth. I always make sure I put some Becca Shimmering Perfector in Moonstone on the top of my cheeks and blend with a Beautyblender when my foundation is still wet. Beautyblender is my secret weapon.
Then I curl my lashes with my one and only Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. Mascara is always Maybelline—my favorites are either Volum' Express Falsies or Full 'N Soft, depending on which one is on sale at the drugstore. For eyeshadow I have heavy eyelids so a cool-toned taupe works for me... Bobbi Brown Cement seems to lift my eyes up. My holy grail liquid liner is a Japanese eyeliner called La Rose De Versailles or Kat Von D is near perfect. I like to darken the top lash line as much as possible, which is a very elegant way to look like you have really full lashes without fake lashes. I just smudge as much eyeliner as possible on your top lash line, but tightlining works, too.
For an everyday lip, my current staple is the Laura Mercier Lip Parfait in Cinnful. For fancier days, I use Chanel Rouge Allure in Discrete or Tom Ford Spanish Pink, which I bought for my wedding. Nars does good reds as well. I like their Velvet Matte Pencil in Red Square and their Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red. I wish I could wear red lipsticks all day every day, but my lips are dry all year long. When I do wear lipstick, I apply generous amounts of Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm the night before.
My hair is dyed, and since I started doing balayage, I spend more on good haircare. I've gotten really into Oribe—their Signature Moisture Masque, Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil, and Dry Texturizing Spray. For shampoo I like Aesop's Equalising Shampoo, which is good for my sensitive scalp. Fragrances are where I experiment. Right now, I rotate between Tom Ford Café Rose, Diptyque Do Son and Aerin Evening Rose.
I love movies and am inspired by iconic looks—like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction with her perfect bob, sculpted eyes and Chanel Rouge Noir Nail Polish...and oh my God, Helena Bonham Carter’s smokey eyes in Fight Club. I adore Penelope Cruz with her seductive winged eyeliner in Pedro Almodovar’s Volver, Zhang Ziyi’s luminous skin in Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 and Tilda Swinton’s vampire pale skin in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive. Somehow I'm the most transfixed by Charlotte Gainsbourg—she always look amazing.”
—as told to ITG
Esther MK shares the products that keep her hair fresh between washes, Qianwen Zhang substitutes yoga for skincare (sometimes) and Esther Lee Leach prefers drugstore to designer mascara—all in the #ITGTopShelfie.