"I grew up in Queens, New York—born and raised. Fashion happened back when I was 14—I worked at a store in the mall where they sold everything that everyone in hip hop music was wearing at the time. I knew how to put outfits together well, so styling came easy to me and around 2005, by virtue of friends that were managers and producers and artists, I had my first styling gig. I think I still have my very first invoice—I probably charged around $200. So I assisted for about two years at an agency in New Jersey whose clients were a lot of athletes. Then I went out on my own. Music was one of the things that got me into styling—Ne-Yo and Rick Ross really put me on the map. I’m still 100% in New York, but I always travel for my clients. I haven’t had a New York client in about three or four years! Even if it’s an eight-hour job, I’ll travel. It’s exhausting to go back and forth so much, but I don’t know… I love New York and I made it out here. I’m successfully still here, so it's working for me.
I wake up in the morning and wash my face with the Soy Cleanser from Fresh. I love that it lathers and that I don’t need to use my Clarisonic with it. If I’m wearing makeup, I use Neutrogena Makeup Wipes first. They just wipe your makeup off without having to use like three or four wipes at a time. I use my Dermalogica SPF religiously. Then, I use the Caudalie Anti-Wrinkle Polyphenol all the time. It’s really, really amazing! And I use my Dior Hydra Life Crème—I just re-bought because I use it all the time—it goes on really smooth. I haven’t found a lot of other creams that work for me. I don't want to feel them on my skin, and this one is really good. It's nice and light.
If I’m going somewhere other than the gym, I’ll apply my Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation or the Nars Sheer Glow in Dark 3—that’s the one I use when I’m going out. It goes on so smooth, and I don’t like looking dry. I use the Cover FX in Orange as my color corrector before concealer, and I'll usually do an eyeshadow in a purple or plum color. I use a whole bunch of palettes, but my main one is from MAC. It’s a make-your-own palette with a lot of plums. To apply, I can’t use my fingers because the makeup ends up under my nails, so I use a brush—I like the Sephora brand brushes. I also love the Beauty Blender, which works really well with foundation. I always line over the plum with this Smolder Kohl Liner from MAC. It’s a pencil and it’s the only liner that works! It’s very creamy. I do it on the outer waterline for some drama. I have really big eyes, so I can play around with eye makeup. But I hate mascara. Instead, I will wear fake lashes—I usually have lash extensions in a thirteen or fourteen. I do like to fill my brows in, starting from the bottom, with MAC in Stud. I don’t like waxing my eyebrows, so I get them threaded instead. I feel like it lasts a bit longer. My blush is a roll-on stick from Nars in Maui that I’m still playing with, and to highlight, I use this one from Bobbi Brown in Almond.
I’m always in a nude lip. Sometimes you’ll find me doing a lip liner, but I don’t always need to. I like Buxom lipsticks a lot, and my all-time favorite nude is Smashbox in Audition. I like nudes that are more muted, and I'll go over with Buxom Hot Toddy Lip Cream, which is my favorite color. There's also Deelight by MAC—I know those names, I buy them in bulk. I never want to run out! If I wanted to play around and do something special, all the Nars reds work really well.
I use this Dermalogica Multivitamin ThermaFoliant a lot, mostly in the shower. I also get laser hair removal once a month. I’m on my ninth treatment, but it’s hard for me to believe that it will go away forever. I’m doing it anyway. [Laughs] It’s made my hair lighter, and I don’t have to shave under my arms as much. I go to Erase Spa on 32nd and 7th.
I use the Shea Moisture Body Oil all the time. Dr. Bronner's is good too—I made an elixir the other day that I keep in my bathroom. It's just Dr. Bronners, a bit of lavender oil, and two drops of rosehip oil because it helps to keep your skin tone even. I'll use that on the extra dry spots, like elbows. That's really good.
I exfoliate in the shower with this lemongrass exfoliant I randomly came across on Amazon. I’m not a huge fan of body lotion, and I also have sensitive skin. This helps keep my skin nice and smooth throughout the day so I don't have to reapply lotion.
Fragrance always depends on where I'm going. Chanel No. 5 is really good, it's what I wear to the gym. This By Kilian one is for days when I’m feeling fancy. I wear it when I'm going out. Tom Ford Velvet Orchid I like a lot. And I go to sleep in this Fiele Fragrances Boswellia—it's so good!
I just tried braids for the first time—normally it's curly. I got them done around the corner on 117th and 3rd Ave. I was walking my dogs one day and just decided to go in. I use Kinky-Curly Leave-In Conditioner, and my shampoo is this Paul Mitchell Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo. It keeps my hair so soft. When it’s curly I just use the leave in conditioner and play with the curls a bit to style. That conditioner makes it easy—it’s $13 a bottle, and I go through like three bottles a week. I use a lot. It says to use a ‘dime size,' but do you know what that’s going to do? One curl! [Laughs]
I get my nails done at Fierce Spa. They play around with acrylics and it's all really nice. I usually do a nude—Tiramisu 2 is the gel color I always use. They were pointed, but I kept scratching Serena [Williams], and she told me to try something different [Laughs]."
—as told to ITG
Kesha McLeod photographed in her home in New York by Tom Newton on August 15, 2017.