Kat Borchart, Photographer

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'Hi! I'm Kat [@kat _borchart] and I live in Los Angeles, in a small area near Glendale called Atwater Village. I'm a freelance photographer, which allows me to dabble in a lot of different things—production, marketing, taking photos, editing, and actually some accounting—so every day is a bit different. In college I majored in commercial advertising at a photography school, and then I worked for a few companies doing in-house ecommerce photography and assisting other photographers before going full-time. Those 'grunt work' years felt like going to college all over again, but now being able to be my own boss is so rewarding...to feel that sense of accomplishment when I get a new job or make a client happy is truly the best feeling.

My work mainly involves shooting models, mostly women, so pulling references for beauty is always a part of my creative process. Even though it's winter, I’ve lately been pulling a lot of summer vibes—rosy and sunburnt skin, tan lines, road trips. If I’m in a creative rut, I love to pick up copies of Russh, Oyster, and Mirage and jump on my secret Pinterest boards to get the juices flowing again. In my teenage years I was totally obsessed with Roxy. I loved the Surf Riders and their golden tans, freckles, and salty blonde hair. I think that gave me my first sense of wanderlust.

Around that time, when I was getting into makeup—and also getting acne—my grandma taught me the importance of cleansing and moisturizing on a daily basis. She took me to Rite Aid and bought me a Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar and two Neutrogena moisturizers, one for day and one for night. I still use the bar! I swear my skin is groomed to their formulas. I wash my face in the shower, and then I wash my body with Rudy's Body Wash or Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Peppermint Bar Soap. I was getting into dry brushing for a minute, but because it's winter, all I want to do is go from one warm spot to the next. So like Cindy Crawford I'll just lather on Whole Foods' apricot or almond oil and pat dry. It really makes a difference, and my skin just drinks it in.

After the shower, I'll put on a coat of Glossier Priming Moisturizer and then do my makeup. I'm of a 'set-it-and-forget-it' mindset because I hate carrying touch-up stuff with me. If I'm just doing a day at home for work, I try not to wear any to give my skin a little break. But for doing errands or taking meetings I'll use Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye in 2.5 and then an all-over pass with Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Sand. It gives enough coverage without making you feel like you're suffocating your face.

Then I'll add mascara—lately I've using Benefit Roller Lash—and I'll fill in my brows where they need it. A producer on set was gushing about the Diorshow Brow Styler and begged me to let her do my brows. Now I’m a convert, and I love sketching them in ever so slightly. If we're going out, I'll add a lip. I love MAC's Sin, although I have Ruby Woo on standby. And if I'm feeling wilder I have a small Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette that I'll go to for a little eyeshadow smudge. I do a mix of nudes and gold with a bit of black, and I apply it with a liner brush.

There isn't a lot of rhyme or reason when it comes to my hair products, except adding texture and a good scent. To wash, I typically use Pantene, but sometimes I'll switch to my boyfriend's shampoo—he's using Rudy's, which has a great citrus smell. I’m a huge Bumble and bumble fanatic, so if it's summer and I’m not drying my hair, I'll use Don’t Blow It with a spritz of Brooklyn Beach Hair in Summer Scent. If I do dry it I'll scrunch in some Brilliantine. I can’t do my hair with irons or anything, but I’m obsessed with my Babyliss Pro Hair Dryer. It's not too expensive and really dries your wet hair without frying it. Also, I learned this one great hair trick... After I discovered that all dry shampoo is mostly made up of cornstarch, I’ve kept an old spice shaker of it in my bathroom to run through my roots if I don’t have time to shower. It works like a charm, although you have to work it through really well.

I’m also pretty obsessed with these Japanese foot exfoliation peels called Baby Foot. I only do them once or twice a year, but you put these little plastic booties on for about 30–45 minutes, and for the rest of the week, all of the skin peels off your feet—including the super rough parts. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I love having super smooth heels after the whole process is over.

My routine is all about good skin and textured hair. So much of beauty is subjective, and everyone has their own preferences and sensitivities, so I try not to think too much about what everyone else uses and focus instead on what works best for me. I assisted on a big brand's beauty campaign once and they didn’t use any of the product on the model at all! That was my first truth-in-advertising lesson—now, I really only take recommendations from friends and coworkers instead of from product copy.”

—as told to ITG

Further reading: Photographer Libby Gray shares the best skin-reset mask, student Ryen Staggers swears by her one “beauty potion in a bottle.” and product stylist Diana del Río believes in wearing a satin cap to bed in the #ITGTopShelfie.