“I grew up in Provo, Utah. It’s a suburb right on the mountains—really beautiful and idyllic. I loved growing up there because I spent so much time outside, but I always knew I wanted to move to New York. And I always knew I wanted to be a writer, I just didn’t expect it to be about beauty. [Laughs] My mom actually is a young adult fantasy writer—she writes novels. My secret is that every night before bed I read fantasy novels to help me sleep. And it works! My grandfather is a professor of Russian, so I grew up reading a lot of Russian writers because of that. I’ll read almost anything though. In college, I studied English Literature with a French minor. I actually started with just one semester before taking what ended up being a two-and-a-half year break. That wasn’t intentional, but it was important for me, definitely. When I first got to college, I didn’t feel as invested as I would have liked and I was distracted. I moved to downtown Salt Lake City on my own and got a job as a barista. After that, I worked in restaurants and I saved my money. It was kind of a weird time, but I learned a lot about professionalism and communication. I also feel like I gained a really good work ethic during that period. When I finally did go back to school, I was so excited and so ready. I felt energized and focused.
I get really inspired by books and movies and music...everything I do kind of revolves around that romanticism. Sometimes it gets out of hand—I have a really hard time packing for trips because it all has to feel and look right like, folded in my suitcase. But it’s also why I get excited about products and wearing makeup. It’s a mood, I think? One that’s about feeling kind of dreamy and character-like. I like products that look pretty on their own—that’s what drew me to beauty in the first place. That, and Liv Tyler’s Top Shelf. I was an office assistant in Utah when I first read it. After that, I would just sit at the office and read ITG all day. I didn’t have a lot of money but I was looking for an excuse to visit New York. So I applied for an internship and booked a trip for spring break. Turns out to have been a pretty good excuse.
I’m not too strict about anything I do, but I really never abandon my morning routine. I like the ritual. I get up early, which is difficult for me, but I like having time in the morning. I do Ballet Beautiful at home—that’s my winter exercise. In the summer I’ll go running at Prospect Park. For breakfast, I literally make the best oatmeal ever. Basically, it’s old fashioned oats—ideally steel-cut oats if I have time, but that takes a lot longer. I’ll cook the oats on the stove with vanilla and maybe a little bit of cinnamon, and apple chunks—whatever kind of apple you’d typically bake with. They soften, and then when the water’s cooked out I’ll mix peanut butter in it, or almond butter. Peanut butter’s better, though. Then honey and almond milk. It’s so good. [If I’m lazy], I’ll do a seeded toast with jam. And coffee. Breakfast is important! I try to read in the morning before I leave the house. I’ll read memoirs at breakfast because it’s like a pleasant, nostalgic kind of feeling. Recently I read Romain Gary’s memoir. He was a French writer who went by the name Émile Ajar, and he was married to Jean Seberg. His were some of the first books I read in French, and they’re really, really good.
I like to clean my face with Bioderma when I first wake up because of all the products I put on at night. Especially because I use Retin-A before I go to bed—I think it’s just good to get it off once it's done its job. [I double cleanse every day], but the cleansers I use are all really gentle. That was something that helped my skin a lot—I just stopped using any aggressive cleanser and switched to Milky Jelly morning and night instead. It’s just cleaning your skin and hydrating it, nothing else. When I get out of the shower, I use the Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream. It has caffeine in it so it helps make you not look tired. I have the Sisley Floral Toning Lotion, too—I like it because it smells good. Sometimes I’ll use that instead of Bioderma if my face already feels clean enough.
My favorite product I actually found on Into The Gloss before I worked here—Avène Tolérance Extrême Cream. It’s the product I’ve used consistently for the longest, I think. I have dry skin, so I need a really good moisturizer that’s gentle and doesn’t clog my pores. The Avène has a light version that I use in the summer and a heavy one I use in the winter. It’s kind of a fluffy cream, which is nice. The only thing is that it’s not matte—so, if I want to look a little matte, I have to use powder.
Beyond that, I don’t do a ton of the extra stuff. I like to mask like everyone else, but I always put it off. And I also think it's probably better for your skin to do less. It's hard to stop, though. I do really like Glossier’s Moisturizing Moon Mask, and the Sisley Black Rose and Flower Express Gel masks. I don’t like peels, and I don’t really like clay. I think my skin’s too dry. The masks I use are all really plumping, hydrating, evening…they help soothe redness, too. I like to use them in the morning—especially the Moon Mask if it’s been in the refrigerator. If I wake up and I feel tired, I’ll put that on before I shower because the cold feels so good.
I have a Vitamin C serum from Melanie Simon—I could probably use that every couple weeks. I think a vitamin C serum is kind of intense for me personally. Right now I’m just trying it out because it’s new and I trust Melanie. The process is you put it on after you wash your face and after you’ve toned, but you want to wait a few minutes, because she says vitamin C doesn’t work well with a lot of other products. It’s kind of oily when you put it on, and you just pat it into your skin. Then you leave it for five to 10 minutes, and by then the texture has changed—it’s more watery—and then you can do your regular routine. I probably wouldn’t use it with Retin-A though. That combo would definitely be too strong. It’s something I’ll switch in when I want my skin really glow-y and bright.
I like matte things—I don’t think my face looks its best when it’s shiny. I’m probably the only person at Glossier who will say that, though. [Laughs] Most days, I use Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in the little pot. I think the Secret Camouflage is great, but this one is good because it’s creamier. If I want a more matte concealer, I’ll use the Nars Soft Matte or Dior Undercover Concealer. I use it under my eyes and on the sides of my nose. Usually I blend with a Beauty Blender. Then I use Wowder on top. I just go all over, lightly, and tap it in. I like it because throughout the day it never looks gross. And it’s really sheer, but not white. On my eyes, usually I’ll use this thing that’s like a Caviar Stick but it’s by Eyeko instead of Laura Mercier. It’s just a charcoal color, and I’ll put it on right after my moisturizer and blend it together along the waterline. It’s less about the look and more about the definition. I think people often think I’m not wearing makeup. But I am! People just don’t notice. The eye trick is genius because it just opens your eyes a tiny bit. It’s the same reason I use mascara on my bottom lashes instead of my top ones. Jane Birkin did that. I use Chanel Inimitable every day. My eyelash curler is the Troy Surratt one from the Top 25. It’s really sturdy, and it doesn’t pull at your eyelashes. Other than that I like this YSL blush. It’s a bit of a cool, mauve-y color, so it’s really natural. I feel like I could put on a lot and you wouldn’t notice. Same thing with Chanel Les Beiges bronzer in Medium/Light—it’s really light.
I just got my brows tinted for the first time and it’s helped so much. Dani Vincent at Tenoverten shaped them just by tweezing but they still look so much fuller. On my own I just use Boy Brow in Brown. Go see Dani. It’s my favorite beauty thing I’ve done recently.
If I’m in the mood to commit to it, I’ll wear a red lipstick. Most of my favorite shades are slightly more orange-y reds. YSL Rouge Pur Couture in #01, Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in 56, and Nars in Red Square are the ones I probably go with most. I like Georgie Girl from Marc Jacobs. It’s pink—a conspicuous pink. I also like this Chanel Crayon de Couleur Number 11 in Tangerine. It’s really sheer, but I can wear it with lip balm and it leaves a nice tint. And then, YSL Tatouage Matte Stain in Number 7 is a nice my-lips-but-better stain.
In the spring, I like the idea of a nice wash of color on the eyes—the other day I used the pink from this By Terry Eye Designer Two Color Design palette. I just did it all over my eyelid, and then I used a pink Dior blush that kind of matched. Red blush can be cool. It’s a little more punk-y—Chanel 320 Rouge Profond is good, but it is pretty strong. But usually I just do a cat eye with the Stila Liquid Eyeliner in Black—I’ll go kind of straight out. No flick upwards or anything. Only a tiny baby wing, but straight. It looks better with the shape of my eyes. But I won’t typically do it if I have to be somewhere on time. [Laughs] Sometimes I’ll do actual Twiggy drawn-in lashes. Or glitter—I love the Stila Magnificent Metals. I have a few, they’re really good. I like the silver one. They’re so easy to use, and they stay. I use this Marc Jacobs Undercover primer if I’m going to be using eyeshadow. Sometimes it’s good to use it even if I’m not wearing any [eyeshadow], because it keeps my mascara from slipping.
Never highlighter. Highlighter is bad on me.
The only thing that’s made a difference on my keratosis pilaris is the Cane and Austin scrub. It’s expensive but it works in like a day—it’s got a serious amount of glycolic in it. Sometimes I use the Paula’s Choice 10% AHA body lotion, too. I stay away from that stuff on my face, but it really works on my body. And I really love a body butter. Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile Body Cream is a good one. It smells so nice. I’ll put it on before bed because I think it helps me sleep.
I have two fragrances that I wear pretty regularly. The Le Labo Lys 41 I’ve had for a long time... several years now. It’s orange blossom and white floral, but in a really warm way. I think there’s neroli in it, and I think there’s jasmine and tuberose. And then I have the Vanille 44, which is the Paris city exclusive. It’s a complicated vanilla. I have also Santal 33—everyone has Santal—but I don’t wear that one very much. I like the Aesop Rose by Any Other Name body wash for the fragrance, too. That’s my favorite thing in the shower. When I get out of the shower, I like the Rodin Olio Lusso and then Crème de Corps. The Rodin kind of smells like my perfume, so they pair together nicely.
I wash [my hair] every day, in the morning. I’ve been using the Klorane Oat Milk Shampoo forever. I’ll use whatever conditioner, but sometimes I won’t even condition it. It just behaves better when I don’t. When it’s damp, I use a bit of the Leonor Greyl Styling Creme, and then I’ll put something like a salt spray or the Sam McKnight Cool Girl Texture Mist throughout the ends. Then I’ll dry my bangs with a hairdryer so they lay the right way, but I let my hair sit in a bun while I do my thing. The thing is, my hair’s so straight that I’ll do anything to give it texture. When you first take it out, it’s all tight, weird curls. But mine will just straighten out within seconds anyway.
Jay Braff at Spoke & Weal cuts my hair. I love him! I feel like he gets what I want. I feel like I never liked when other people cut my bangs or added layers and I always trust him. I went yesterday to get my bangs trimmed. I [cut them for the first time since high school] in September. In high school I had long hair down to my waist, and bangs. I think a lot of people feel like they’re a lot of work, but for me, bangs are easier. It’s a look but I don’t have to do that much. And my hair is so thick and heavy that the bangs help take out a lot of it, honestly. It feels balanced and it lays better. The other day I was like, ‘Should I grow my bangs out again?’ And Emily Ferber was like, ‘This is the best haircut you’ve ever had. Don’t.’”
—as told to ITG
Anna Stevenett photographed by Tom Newton in her home on January 19, 2018.