"Pat McGrath found me on Instagram—I thought it was her team that found me, but she was so hands-on. She would come in and touch up my makeup and ask me about how school was, or boys. If I was upset she’d be like, ‘Who made you cry? Because I’m going to ruin their life.’ [Laughs] She is just the queen. I never really wanted to be part of the fashion industry, but I’ve always loved makeup. Especially in high school, when I first started wearing it. I’ve always had kind of a red nose and I got teased for it a lot, so right when I discovered makeup, I piled it on. I didn’t want anyone to know I had any flaws at all. I was obsessed with wearing a ton of foundation and red lipstick and mascara. I think my philosophy now is just to try and take care of my skin, and wear more makeup on days I have a meeting or a shoot.
I wake up and I wash my face with the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, and sometimes I’ll use this Origins Exfoliator Stick—it’s amazing, it’s like a glue stick. My skin can get pretty dry, especially in the winter, and I didn’t really know what to do about that. I just thought that glopping on moisturizer would solve it, but the exfoliating really helps. I like applying it to wet skin—it creates this really nice foam while still gently exfoliating. Then I’ll moisturize with Embryolisse and a drop of rosehip oil. I’ve found that the rosehip keeps my skin extra hydrated in the winter, but it’s also been helping to even my skin tone a lot. If I’m feeling extra dry or just want to wake up, I’ll spray Avène Thermal Spring Water, or the Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray. And sometimes when I’m really, really puffy and need to wake up for a 9AM class or an early shoot, I’ll take an ice cube and kind of trace my face with it to de-puff.
I usually just wear Glossier Concealer under my eyes and a little bit on my nose and on my chin, and then I’ll use Glossier Wowder to set it. I fill in my eyebrows with a Maybelline Brow Precise tinted gel, and brush them out with a dry eyebrow spoolie. For my lips, I’m really into this cherry thing…it’s called Revlon Kiss in Sweet Cherry. I am obsessed with finding the perfect lip balm, and nothing keeps my lips more hydrated with a little bit of color than this stuff. I also put a little on my cheeks. I like to keep it really simple and subtle, because that’s how I feel the best. If I were to go extra I would probably wear Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara and curl my eyelashes. I do really like the Pat McGrath Gold 001 that comes with a little liquid solution. When you mix it, it looks like liquid gold on your eyes. And I’m obsessed with Dior lipsticks and the whole Addict Lip Glow range. They’re the best!
At night I’ll wash my face with either the Kiehl’s stuff or Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser, and then I’ll go over it with Bioderma to make sure everything’s off. I even do that on days I don’t wear makeup because, especially living [in Manhattan], you just get so much dirt on your skin. I like using the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum—I like the way it feels on my skin, and I really feel like I glow.
The first time I dyed my hair was two summers ago, and I went totally bleached white blonde. It was fun, but I kept looking in the mirror and just not feeling like myself. I’d been re-dying my hair back to a really, really dark brown at the salon I go to, Shizen, in Brooklyn. Then one day I went in for a dirty blonde, but it ended up being Strawberry Shortcake. I had never wanted to be a redhead, I never thought I would ever have red hair, and I really like it! I feel like it complements my skin tone in a way that I didn’t anticipate. The stylists at Shizen have been so kind to me. It just feels like a family—you have to find your families in New York, and that’s definitely a big one for me.
I think what I would love to see more of in the beauty industry is non-gendered products—not only stuff for men but stuff for everybody. I don’t think makeup necessarily needs to be labeled as products for women. I think a way to show that is by including people of all genders in campaigns, marketing, and also just making everyone feel included. Because makeup’s just fun! And everyone wants to have fun."
—as told to ITG
Kate Bowman photographed by Tom Newton on December 19, 2017.