The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
"Hi, I’m Jessica Yen (@jyenners) from San Francisco. I work for Pythagoras Pizza, which we affectionately describe as art disguised as dinner—it took us eight months to develop our sourdough crust, and now all other pizzas taste bland to me. During the day I handle operational logistics, in the evenings I deliver pizzas, and when I get home at night, I work on the creative stuff. That’s when the fun begins.
I also worship makeup. After I saw Kevyn Aucoin on Oprah, I begged my mom for his book Making Faces, which turned into my bible. Don’t you wish he were still around to create Youtube tutorials? He’d kill it. For makeup, I’m not into cute, infantilizing looks. I love women who don’t ask for permission to enjoy being women, so I try to channel that energy when applying product.
For foundation, I use Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk for a glowy, airbrushed look, and Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation to create a matte, clean canvas, where you’re left with just nostrils and eyes. Very '90s Kevyn Aucoin, actually. If I know I’ll be walking a lot, I’ll layer foundation on kind of thick so that by the time I get where I'm going, the foundation will be beautifully melted in. To keep with that severely feminine, non-cute vibe, I tend to wear just contour and highlighter, rarely blush. Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder in Medium is the best contour because it’s gray toned. I apply it with the Hakuhodo H3094 brush, which is perfectly sized for the hollow and has a pointed end that diffuses powder well. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter in Pearl is easy to blend and not too shimmery, so I use that, too.
Thick brows overwhelm my face, so I keep them thin with an emphasis on the arch. And since I watched Moulin Rouge during my formative brow years, I’ll elongate the ends to get that severely feminine look. Shu Uemura Hard Formula in Stone Gray has the perfect waxy texture. For lips, Kevyn Aucoin always used a nude liner no matter the lipstick color, so I go with that. I think the perfect red is a mix of Nars Dragon Girl and NYX Pure Red, and the perfect coral is a mix of Sephora’s Color Lip Last in Go For Pink and NYX’s Indie Flick. I have a bizarre prejudice against mauves, though... I think they age the face.
As a monolid-haver, I use my eyes as an act of rebellion. I refuse to get surgery or use eye shadow to create the illusion of a crease or a bigger eye because that idea is based on the assumption that a big, depth-y eye with a crease is ideal, and small, flat eyes are things to overcome. I think it's cool to rock your natural features. Never acquiesce. I darken my lash line with purple Banila Seoul Wonder Smooth Gel Eyeliner, then layer purple shadow from Hourglass’ Modernist Palette over that, then repeat. It makes it last all day. And there’s something very attitudinal and rockstar about an Asian woman wearing heavy eyeliner on her bottom waterline. I think the trick to making it look badass is to not drag the liner all the way to the end, and to keep the top line thin.
My skincare involves circumventing and avoiding the sun whenever possible, which includes blackout curtains and wearing SPF even at home. I slather on three sunscreens every day, starting with a thin, all chemical one—La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum. Then the Dr. G Medi UV Ultra Sun 50, which is a mix of physical and chemical sunscreen, and top those off with a thin layer of Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense. If my face is puffy, I’ll apply La Roche-Posay’s caffeine infused Intense Rehydrating Moisturizer and do a face massage. I say, go hard. Let your skin know what's up. When I’m stuck in traffic delivering pizzas, I do face yoga and it helps with the marionette lines and droopy jawline.
For nighttime, I switch off between retin-A and vitamin C serum. I used to make DIY vitamin C, but realized I couldn’t get the pH right so I ended up buying Hylamide Booster Glow instead. So much easier! Retin-A is the best thing that’s ever happened to my skin. It curbed my oil production and cured my cystic acne. If my skin is extra sensitive or flaking, I stop everything and just apply Biafine and La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume. I'm reckless when it comes to exfoliation, though... I use P50 every night, and Ole Henriksen Lemon Strip Peel once a week, which is 25% AHA. I also microneedle at home. It's painful with a 0.5mm roller, but the collagen production is worth it, especially on the lips, since they become thinner over time.
I used to have trouble sleeping, so I would read pages and pages of Makeupalley reviews. It’s deep in their archives that I learned how to grow out the Rachel mullet given to me by this hipster hairdresser. Are you ready for this hot tip? Watered down Monistat massaged into the scalp. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but I got about an inch of growth per month, so there you go—receipts! I became really obsessed with shiny hair after I saw Jennifer Connelly on Chelsea Handler’s show. I’ve never seen light bounce off something like that. So now every week, I’ll mix olive and coconut oil with apple cider vinegar and hit the sauna. It creates so much softness and shine."
—as told to ITG