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 Jessa Stevens (@jessajs). I work in finance for a real estate investment bank in Washington, DC. In layman’s terms, I am a realtor, but for large, often very complex commercial real estate transactions. Since I started, I’ve been the only female professional on a team with 30+ guys. The day-to-day is fast-paced and 80+ hour weeks are fairly common, making it difficult to prioritize outside of the workplace. I’ve gotten better at making the decision to take care of myself first, and it’s made a world of difference in my stress levels, the way I feel at work, and how I interact with others. Self-care is a muscle! The more you practice using it, the easier it gets.
My approach to beauty is mainly focused on surrounding myself with products that make my day better and feel pampering regardless of their use. That can range from smell, to texture, to appearance—looking at you, Oui Shave Razor! It sounds cheesy, but I feel most beautiful when I’m feeling good—working out regularly, eating well, hydrating, sleeping enough, learning about the world and connecting with others.
I’m very comfortable in my skin today. I don’t feel the urge to cover up my natural imperfections, nor do I spend a lot of time worrying about my appearance. My one main concern is staying out of the sun—I love the idea of laugh wrinkles and already plan to emulate Lyn Slater (@iconaccidental) when I start going grey... Hopefully I have a few more decades left before that. But sun damage terrifies me. I’m the girl hiding under an umbrella at the beach. In high school, I was obsessed with being tan, but it took a ton of burns to even lay a base, and it makes me cringe to think about, so now I’m celebrating my super pale skin and trying to protect it as much as possible.
Oh God, I have a million products. I get such product FOMO. As a result of trolling Caroline Hirons and ITG for recs I am forever chasing the holy grail in any given category and am ultimately after skin like Hannah Bronfman or Hilary Rhoda’s. Since I usually pass out within 20 minutes of coming home on weeknights, I concentrate all my relaxation on the weekends. Sundays are 'spa days'—I light candles and spend a ton of time chilling in the bath with Epsom salt, rosehip oil, arnica oil, bubbles and the works while I watch Grey’s Anatomy or listen to a podcast and drink wine. This is Masking Hour—faves are Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant and Masque VIP 02,
Farmacy Honey Potion, Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial, Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask, and
May Lindstrom Honey Mud. I’ll mix and match, or leave one on for a while.
My main concerns right now are some minimal scarring, preventing new acne from surfacing, and redness since my skin is pretty sensitive. I will say it has improved dramatically since starting regular facials—for DC ladies, Jenny Luu is worth every penny—and using Tretinoin, AKA Retin-A. My skin gets super congested and over the counter retinols, while awesome—highly recommend Dr. Brandt Glow Overnight for those starting to dabble—made me glowy but did not keep my skin clear.
First thing when I wake up I chug a glass of water, then massage my dry face for a few minutes with a light cleanser like the SU:M37 Rose Stick or Darphin’s Intral Cleanser. Biologique Recherche’s Lait VIP O2 Cleanser is my favorite though. It’s like a mini facial and keeps my skin so calm and happy. From there, my routine varies depending on the season and my mood. Lately, I am patting on SK-II Facial Treatment Essence followed by copious spritzing of May Lindstrom’s Jasmine Garden Spray. I have no idea if this is doing anything for my skin, but I have never smelled anything so heavenly in my life. I’ll never be without it. Left unchecked, the Retin-A turns my skin into dry sandpaper, so I follow the spray with Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex and Pestle & Mortar’s Hydrate Moisturizer, which feels like cashmere for the skin. The final layer is EltaMD UV Daily Sunscreen, which is amazing and has a pearly finish. It sinks right in, is moisturizing, and actually improves the texture of my skin. If anyone hasn’t found 'the one' for sunscreen yet, well, it’s cuffing season—get on it!!
I’m a makeup and hair dunce—I have literally no game. Luckily, I am blessed with naturally long eyelashes so that’s usually my 'look.' I swipe on Bobbi Brown
Intense Party Mascara in Black with wild abandon, making sure to start at the absolute base of my eyelashes, then clean up all the smudges with a Q-Tip. I use Boy Brow in Blonde or Brown every single day—it’s as essential as chapstick in my opinion. The finishing touch is running a brush through my hair and a spritz of Santal 33 on the nape of my neck. Sorry, I still really like how it smells.
If I have a party or event I’ll mix two drops of Dr. Perricone’s No Foundation Foundation Serum into my moisturizer. I’m not typically one for foundation since I dread that cakey look and avoid it at all costs, but this is velvety and sinks beautifully into my skin. For eyeliner, I love the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks in Amethyst or Cocoa. The formula is very forgiving, so it’s easy to smudge and fake a smokey eye if I’m attempting to look glam. I love Glossier Gen G in Jam or Like for lips, and Cloud Paint in Puff or Dusk for the cheeks. If my skin needs some life I trace the outlines with Glossier Haloscope in Quartz, which immediately wakes up my face.
At night, I always double cleanse. The first is usually Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser in the shower—the texture and
smell is intertwined with the ritual of ending my day, so it triggers automatic relaxation. Once I’m done, Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip does a great job of resetting my skin, as does Tatcha’s Pure Camellia Cleansing Oil or Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm. The important thing here is a deep cleanse that holds up well with facial massage, but doesn’t irritate. Once my face is good and dry, I apply a pea-size amount of the Tretinoin. I guess you’re supposed to wait
awhile for it to sink in, but I’m usually tired and ready for bed, so I slather on Blue Cocoon by May Lindstrom or Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Serum followed by a dab of moisturizer—lately I’m loving Korres Brightening Sleeping Facial. Iff I’m breaking out or irritated though, I use Darphin Purifying Balm and my skin is magically restored overnight. It’s amazing. One thing I really miss about going on Retin-A is my
acids—Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum and Good Genes were my JAM. Sometimes I skip it just so I can be reunited with them.
I went platinum blonde out of nowhere last year, which was a whole other range of haircare products. When I want a deep clean, I use Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, which felt weird to use at first but now is a regular part of my regimen. Also, I invested in a Mason Pearson Brush last year, and for what it's worth, my hair is never static-y anymore.
In the shower, I like Kiehl’s Lavender and Grapefruit Body Washes for every day, Glossier Body Hero when my skin needs some extra nourishment, Aesop Geranium and Coriander See Body Cleanser, and Le Labo Rose 31 or Jasmin 17 when I’m feeling fancy. I always try to scrub with a Salux Cloth because it makes my skin incredibly soft and exfoliates the perfect amount. Someday, when I have my shit together, I will dry brush and use body lotion every day.
I recently got Invisalign, so this has ratcheted my dental routine to a whole new level. Now that I’m flossing and brushing at least five times a day, I’m extra focused on keeping cute products on hand so it doesn’t feel like such a chore. Marvis is always the winner for toothpaste, preferably the Jasmin Mint flavor, and I alternate between my Quip and Morihata Binchotan toothbrush. I floss with Cocofloss—I'm currently using Strawberry. Sounds weird but smells really yummy."
—as told to ITG