Laura Yeh, Designer, Glossier


“I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but I was born in New York City. I lived in the suburbs of Vancouver and I really hated it—I feel like I’m much more of an East Coast person. I’m not sure why. I think I just like the fast-paced life better. I get too restless on the West Coast. I came back to New York when I was 18 to study at Parsons. Originally, I actually studied fashion design. After one year of that and a few internships, I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I switched to set design and industrial design, which is very broad. You can do furniture, you can do electronics, you can do interior spaces… I chose that to explore different options. I didn’t know if it was going to work out or not—I just knew that I was more passionate with that work. I’ve always been drawn to three-dimensional things.

I graduated in 2015, but I was still very lost in what I wanted to do. At the time, I was just so worn down by New York City that I decided to leave. I ended up in San Francisco, but that city is for the very tech-cult guy… if you aren’t in that world or don’t want to be in that world, there’s isn’t much there. When I came back to New York, I started looking for jobs. Glossier had an opening for a designer, but with a focus on packaging. I applied and I didn’t really think much of it. My application was really intense—I decided to do a project even though they weren’t asking for one. But I was like, ‘Why not?’ At the time, I kept reordering Milky Jelly and the Mask Duo Set and thought it’d be interesting to explore refills. I did these pouches that were inspired by Japanese food packaging. Emily really loved them too. In my interview with she was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re hired!’ I was like, ‘Really?’

Glossier You was actually my first project here. The bottle is totally custom, and it was a very, very long process. We wanted to elevate what we’d done before, but still have it be recognizably Glossier. We were filling balloons with plaster, 3D printing different sizes to get a sense of the weight, molding and sanding down shapes constantly. Eventually, what we did was take a Boston round bottle, and we carved a finger notch in it so that it’s very grabby and touchable. It sounds simple at the end, but even fitting it into the tray with the rubber band was a very precise process. I was constantly looking at a lot of sculptures, like Brâncuși and Elsa Peretti. It’s very exciting to be able to hold it now—and share it with everyone.

My routine now is very simple because in the mornings, I can’t get up early enough, and I have to walk the dog. I just wash my face with water, then use Soothing Face Mist or sometimes Biologique Recherche P50. P50 makes everything smooth and helps with acne and pores—I hate pores! It helps with that. And then I use Priming Moisturizer with this Clarins Glow Booster Self Tanner—one or two drops. They tan me without looking like I tried self-tanner. It’s really subtle. It does turn my hands orange though. After that, I like to use Tata Harper’s Illuminating Moisturizer. It has light-reflecting particles, which is just basically shimmer. It’s not chunky, so people can’t tell that it’s shimmer. It just looks really glowy. And then I use their under-eye cream. I have natural under eye circles that are really dark so this helps to brighten if I’m not using concealer.

When I get home, I wash my makeup off with coconut oil and a warm washcloth. And then I use honey to wash my face when I’m in the shower. When I used to have more problem skin, I would use an Aspirin-honey mask. You put a drop or two of water on Aspirin and it’ll turn into a powder. You mix it with honey and put it all over your face. I use the cheapest honey I can find—I tried using organic and raw honey, but I have a lot of environmental allergies and I would get rashes and break out in hives. So now, I just use totally filtered honey that comes in a bear. I’ll tone after that and use Super Pure. If I’m feeling dry, I like the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil. I don’t think it diminishes my pores, but it really hydrates my face. And then I’ll put eye cream on after that. I use Dr. Dream Advanced Eye Treatment Cream. Everyone tells me that anti-aging is preventative, so I’ve been using eye cream since high school. I just cake it on.

Once a week or so I use Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask. It’s like three dollars and it lasts five years. It really gets into your pores. You can see a bunch of tiny dots on your face which is where your pores were, and it’s really gross, and I love it. I also use these Bioré Nose Strips. It’s like a compulsion, I have to get them. Even with my boyfriend, I just look at his face and focus in on his pores. [Laughs]

I started getting really into makeup in high school. That was when beauty gurus on YouTube became a thing. My parents are really conservative, so I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup—I’d get in so much trouble if I did. When I moved to New York, I went crazy. I wore so much makeup and at the time, the smoky eye was really big. I would do a black smoky eye every single day, just to class. Because I have hooded eyes and I couldn’t figure out how to do any eye look that looked good on me. You put a little eyeshadow on and it’s gone, but you put on a smoky eye and it shows up.

These days, I don’t always wear makeup. Usually, I’ll at least do my brows. I use Boy Brow in Black and backcomb it in. For foundation, I have Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening in No. 13 with SPF 50. I use a Beautyblender with it. Actually, I use a Beautyblender for everything—I’m totally obsessed. I drench it with water first and use it to apply Stretch Concealer in Medium for acne and discoloration around my nose and mouth. For under eyes, I use the Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation. It’s a lighter color, and it’s a different texture than Stretch Concealer. You can’t blend the foundation as easily and it doesn’t stretch. I like that better for under my eyes because it’s not as creamy so it doesn’t transfer as much.

Because I don’t want anyone to know I’m wearing makeup, I like Haloscope in Quartz. It blends in very well and is very subtle. I also contour, which always surprises people. I do Cloud Paint in Dusk first in the hollows of my cheeks, and I use the Burberry Contour Stick in the same place and then in my hairline. Then I blend it all in with a Beautyblender. I’ll also use Beam on the apples of my cheeks. I love an orange-brown kind of color, which is why I love Nars Het Loo—it’s a lip pencil but it stays on my eyes really well. Sometimes I put some on my finger and blend it out.

I have hooded eyes, but they’re hooded unevenly, so I have this Japanese eyelid tape to help even them out called D-up. I also use Urban Decay Primer Potion to make any eye shadow last. For a winged liner, I use the Stila All-Day Eyeliner. Kelly Wilbur on our product development team always says you’re either a Stila girl or a Kat Von D girl. I’m a Stila girl—she’s a Kat Von D. I feel like the Stila flows super well, and it doesn’t dry up as much as the Kat Von D. On my lashes, I really like Covergirl Lash Blast—it’s super basic. In the winter, when it’s not as hot, I’ll do my lower lashes too.

On my lips right now, I like this MAC Cremesheen in Shanghai Spice. It’s a natural lip color but a little bit brighter. I also like the color of this YSL Rouge Volupté in 13. It’s super soft, so I use my finger to apply it instead of putting it directly on. Sometimes I like putting it on my cheeks as well. To set everything, I usually use the Becca Softlight Blurring Powder. My skin is very yellow-based and this is very peachy—I feel like it makes my skin brighter. It also has shimmer in it, which helps with that. And I use it with our Wowder brush. For the most part, I don’t really use brushes anymore. I used to hate putting makeup on with my hands, but that’s all I do now.

I really don’t do anything with my hair. I’m growing it out because it was pastel two years ago and it got so damaged. I wash it every other day with the Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner—it’s a 2-in-1 product. I feel like when I use it, my hair is a little more textured and a bit grittier. It holds a curl when I put it in a bun. I don’t really use hair products though because I don’t like having too many scents on me. I feel like hair products are always really scented. The only thing I put in it is this Rosehip Balm from AG. I use it on my ends because they can get a bit dry.

I used to get my whole entire face threaded about once every two months. I don’t do it anymore because it was so high-maintenance. I have to do it on a Thursday or Friday because I need a three-day recovery time. It makes your skin super sensitive and prone to breakouts—you can’t wear any makeup or heavy moisturizers after you do that. Now I just wax my upper lip and my cheeks at home every once in awhile. It’s much easier to keep under control that way.”

—as told to ITG

Laura Yeh photographed by Tom Newton in New York on September 28, 2017.