"My path to Glossier has been a bit unusual—I have a different background, that’s for sure. So, I’m originally from Buffalo, New York, and I’ve spent most of my life training to become a professional ballerina. When I was 15 I moved to Boston on my own to study in Boston Ballet’s pre-professional program. I’d leave school at noon every day and train all night. It was really hard…but it’s a life that makes you very efficient. I don’t think I did homework at home for two years because I would do it in every little spare moment I had. After I graduated I joined the company as a trainee, which is kind of like an intern. I spent another year there but they weren’t hiring, so I moved to Ohio to join another company. That didn’t end up being what I expected it to be, so I started auditioning again. The audition circuit is totally and completely unjust, and at the same time, I was dealing with some health issues that made it even harder. You’re waiting for people to give you the time of day, and they just won’t.
I finally got fed up and wrote an email to Amy Astley—she loves ballet and we’d become Instagram friends—and she responded within nine hours. She invited me to come to New York and meet with her. So to me it was a sign. With ballet, I gave and I gave and I gave, and only got the smallest bit back. And I just got tired of waiting, that’s the simple answer. So I sold my leotards for fashion, dyed my hair blond, and moved to New York.
The way I actually ended up at Into The Gloss was through a few internships. I started in the closet at CR Fashion Book, which helped me get some freelance styling work. My main gig was with Leslie Fremar’s team for a couple of months. They took August off, so I started assisting Joanna Hillman at Harper’s Bazaar. One of the other closet interns there was also working at Into The Gloss and she put me in touch. I knew at that point that I did not want to do fashion, I wanted to do beauty. So I interviewed and got an editorial internship with ITG. It was right before we launched Glossier and a full-time position offer came within five weeks. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I had been working on social and that seemed like a natural fit. My role’s evolved from there—Glossier’s grown a lot and so have I. And here we are!
With ballet, there’s so much pressure to look a certain way. I started dieting in high school, I felt like I needed to. I was petite, but essentially I had boobs and wasn’t comfortable with that. I started losing weight, and at first I was like, 'Oh, this is great.' Then it got very rapid and I couldn’t get it to stop. I was losing about a pound a day. I was 90 pounds and didn’t have any energy anymore. Finally I went to the doctor and they identified that I had Hashimoto’s subacute thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease. I was 85 pounds at that point, and couldn’t dance. It really sucked. They medicated me, but changing my diet was really the cure. Now I’m gluten-free and I eat a lot of these superfoods. People have mixed feelings about them, but I figure that if it’s been around for 3000 years it probably works for something. I actually make my own chocolate with things like ashwagandha root, maca, reishi mushroom, cacao—I have it for breakfast and it gives me loads of energy.
Another challenge was figuring out how to exercise when I wasn’t dancing anymore. I didn’t even know what I liked to do, and working out in New York is extremely expensive. I started doing Classpass—which I don’t do anymore—and that gave me the chance to try out a lot of things. And I found my way back to Pilates, which I grew up doing. And I started going religiously to reformer classes and within even just a month, my ballet muscles came back. I felt so good about that. Now my favorite workouts are Pilates and dancing. I go to Moves, which is not a ballet class, but a sexy underground dance class basically that Lauren Gerrie and Marisa Competello teach every other week for an hour and a half. It’s absolutely a blast. I need movement in my life in order to feel like myself. I think more clearly, see the world more realistically, and I just need it.
After I stopped dancing I didn’t know what I wanted to look like, which was why I dyed my hair. I’ve wanted to be Scandinavian blond since probably kindergarten—I identify as a blond even though I’m not really. And so I dyed my hair myself, which turned out to be a disaster. I needed help to fix it and I needed help to maintain it. But the real point was that I needed to look different and feel different because I was different after I stopped dancing. But because I couldn’t put $300 a month into my hair, I did end up dying it back. My color looked bad until about three months ago—that’s how long it takes to recover. Years! Some people have to learn the hard way and that was definitely me. I love my hair now though. It’s just a highlighted version of my natural hair. I go to Colleen [Flaherty] at Spoke and Weal, and she completely understands what I mean by ‘sparkly hair.’
On any given day, I use the Klorane Oatmeal Shampoo because I read that Jeanne Damas uses it, and Ouai Volume Clean Conditioner. Then I’ll towel dry my hair and spray the Bumble and bumble Tonic Primer Lotion, which is a medium-weight pre-styler that smells like tea tree oil. It actually helps to detangle your hair, and it also helps with frizz and poofiness, so I think it just makes my hair dry more to the texture I like. Then there’s Anti Gravity Spray from Kevin Murphy, just a little bit at the roots so it doesn’t fall flat on my scalp. If my hair’s super dry then the Ouai Hair Oil is amazing, it doesn’t weigh down my hair and it smells really good.
At the beginning of the day, I spritz Glossier Soothing Face Mist on a Muji cotton pad and I wipe that all over my face. While my skin is still wet, I moisturize with the Glossier Priming Moisturizer because it has a lot of redness reducing ingredients. Since it’s summer I’ve been mixing it with the Tom Ford Bronzing Primer. Then I wear SPF—I don’t know why people don’t usually mention that in their beauty routines. I put that on top of the bronzer/moisturizer mix. I have a few favorites, but right now I like the La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum with SPF because it doesn’t feel like anything on your skin.
At night, if I’m showering, I use Milky Jelly to take off my makeup. If I’m wearing more makeup and need extra removing powers, I have Vichy's micellar oil, which is an interesting product because it’s sort of two things in one and really works. Then, I just started using these Arcona Fresh Triad Pads, which are almost like a serum to tone my skin after washing it. If I feel like I’m breaking out, I use the Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay Green. You put it on like you would a mask, and you wait three minutes. Then you apply water and it turns into a foaming cleanser, and then you take it off.
My nighttime moisturizer is Murad Essential-C Night Moisture because it has a really nice, thick texture and smells like oranges. In the summer I mix in the Clarins Glow-Booster. They’re super concentrated self-tanner drops that build up gradually. Or, in the winter if I’m really dry I use this Red Flower Illuminating Rose Collagen Renewal Face Oil. I have nothing to say about this other than it’s really good. It just makes your skin glow.
Right now I don’t wear a lot of makeup but I am very into bronzers. Guerlain Terracotta L’Eau Hâlée smells beautiful and has a really nice finish. I put little drops on my cheekbones, my forehead, my nose and my chin and just massage it in. The other bronzer I love is Chanel Soleil de Tan, one of my favorite beauty products of all time. It looks like a hockey puck and I just need a little bit—I put on the tops of my cheeks and on the sides of my nose so it looks like I got a sunglasses tan. If I want more of a glowy, dewy look, I put Glossier Haloscope in Topaz on top of it too because it has the reflecting things in it.
When I started at Glossier, I was doing a very brushed-up brow, but right now I’m obsessed with a very groomed-looking brow, sort of gelled. I use clear brow gel, but the way I apply is just to brush up the fronts and the sides and I take my pointer finger and brush down the hairs in the arch.
Lipstick has always been my favorite beauty product. But the best lip look happens when you brush your lips and they’re sort of red. Any lipstick that replicates that look, to me, is good. I’ll put on a million layers of Glossier’s Generation G in Like and it has a very blotted look so you can’t mess it up. Then there’s also Guerlain's hyaluronic Kisskiss Lipsticks that make your lips look more full. I usually go for powdery pink shades, like the Make Up Forever Lip Artists Balm in Flushed Cherry, which is almost an alien shade. If I do wear something more standard, like the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella or something, I always take my finger and apply it. Draw a line on your lips and put it all over using your finger—it just looks so good. Don’t fill it in with the pencil.
For eyes, I only use things that shimmer. There’s this Sisley Phyto Lip Twist in Nude, it’s like a mauve that has very natural-looking glitter in it, and Kim started putting this on her eyes and it’s so beautiful. I copied her. It’s glossy but not sticky, which is ideal. And I also like a natural looking lash, so I don’t wear mascara very often. But when I do my favorite is the Le Volume de Chanel Écorces. I don’t wear any black makeup. The formula is slightly waxy, and the brush really holds on to your lashes so you can build it but it never gets clumpy. I like how I look with mascara, it’s just not an easy-to-maintain look for me.
My favorite perfume right now is Kiehl’s Musk. It’s $40 which is really good for a fragrance. I don’t know why people don’t talk about it more. It smells expensive and it stays put, and also I tend to like fragrance that are unisex. My #2 is the Bonpoint Eau de Toilette, which I wear in spring and summer. It smells like neroli, but baby neroli. Gypsy Water is probably my actual favorite perfume, but I don’t want to buy it because it’s so expensive, so I just make the samples last. And I also have MCMC's Mociun #2 Perfume Oil. It smells like pine trees so it’s woodsy and musky—beautiful.
I’m usually a very fast shower-er. But then once a week I take a really long time in the bathroom, on a Saturday or Sunday, and really enjoy myself. I start with the Christophe Robin Salt Scrub for my hair. If I have any buildup or anything, it gets it all out. Then I use the Baby Blonde Purple Mask which is a cool product–I think if you’re really blond it works, but I think it tones the blonde highlights. That’s also when I rub off all my tanner and shave with the Harry’s Razor and Foaming Shave Gel.
When I get out of the shower I towel dry a little bit. For my body, I use the Vita Liberata Luxury Self Tanning Gradual Lotion. They have a good website too with a lot of tips, because this is not easy. I already wrote about it, but I like this product because it doesn’t transfer onto your sheets and it fades in the most natural way. Plus it’s the right tan shade for my skin because it’s developed by an Irish woman. I trust a fellow pale gal to make my favorite self-tanner.
—as told to ITG
Eva Alt photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on July 14, 2016.