The Executive Assistant Who Loves Music Videos As Much As You Do


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.

"Hiii! I’m Clifton Lyons (@cliftomania). I'm from Chicago, IL, where I'm Executive Assistant to the Managing Principal of an architecture and urban design practice called Studio Gang Architects. My days are a whirlwind of activity. You’ll rarely find me at my desk. Instead I can be seen sprinting from meeting to meeting, desperately trying to avoid head-on collisions with the beautiful scale models that decorate our studio.

Being in a design studio every day, it’s impossible not to think about beauty while I work. I’ve always been fascinated by the psychological implications of architecture, specifically how different spaces influence how people think. What impact does the design of a building have on the physical and mental health of the people who interact with it? I’ve started viewing my beauty routine as my own sort of self-care 'design.' Instead of simply evaluating a night serum on the observable results, I now also consider how the act of applying the serum—the physical ritual of gliding it over my skin—makes me feel.

I. Love. MUSIC VIDEOS! My perfect Saturday morning is one spent lazily in bed, tumbling through YouTube’s New Music playlist, searching for masterpieces. One visual in particular that has brought me immense joy recently is Chloe x Halle’s 'Happy Without Me'. It is truly the dreamiest thing I’ve ever seen.

My mom loved making her own facial masks, and some of my fondest beauty memories—and childhood memories in general—are those spent sitting in her bathroom, watching her concoct the most decadent treatments. She would hold up each ingredient before she added it to the mixture and explain why she loved using it. She taught me the proper way to apply it to my face, and I would give myself junior spa treatments. The entire process was immensely therapeutic for her and established the entire framework for my own approach to beauty. My philosophy is that your beauty belongs exclusively to you. The products you use and the regimens you follow should only serve to make you feel happy and confident. There should never be a sense of obligation or expectation underlying your routines. Have fun, do you, forget the haters. For further explanation, listen to Janelle Monae’s 'I Like That.'

It’s summer, and all I want to do is to glow in the sun. My daily, summer glow routine begins the night before with an in-home mask extravaganza. I’m a multi-masker and I prefer to mask twice a week, right before I go to bed. I start with the Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask. This is undoubtedly the best deep cleansing face mask that I’ve ever tried. I leave it on for about five minutes and it draws out every last bit of grime from my pores and leaves my skin feeling rejuvenated. I follow that with Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. This mask smells like an actual watermelon slice and is packed with gentle AHAs that even out my skin tone and hydrating hyaluronic acid that soaks into my skin. Some people like to wear it overnight like a proper sleeping mask. I prefer to leave it on for about 10 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Afterwards, my skin feels super supple and looks radiant. Next, I use my Glossier Super Pure Serum and layer that with Make P:rem’s Safe Relief Cream or a combined overnight treatment. The Safe Relief Cream is absolutely amazing and my skin always looks polished in the morning. It only has 12 ingredients, and each provides maximum soothing relief to dry, sensitive, and irritated skin. It can be worm as a day or night cream…but I think it does its best work while you sleep. Good night!

In the morning, I like to start my shower with Mario Badescu’s AHA Botanical Body Soap. The body wash is infused with grapefruit extract, which contains AHAs that gently remove dead skin and pore-clogging impurities for a satisfying deep cleanse. I use Glossier Body Hero Oil Wash immediately afterwards which wraps my body in a velvety blanket of orange blossom scent and leaves my skin feeling baby soft. For my face cleanser, I use Whamisa’s Green Tea Foaming Cleansing Gel. I normally avoid foaming cleansers as most are too drying for my sensitive skin, but this one clarifies my skin without stripping it of its moisture, and leaves my face feeling renewed.

Once out of the shower, I spritz my face with Glossier’s Rosewater Spray, as a pre-toner—this step might be a little extra, but I enjoy it!—and then use Glossier’s Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector to balance everything out. Also, sidenote: Solution is THE BEST aftershave I’ve ever used. I’m prone to getting ingrown hairs and this product has been a game changer for my shaving experience. I use the Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid Electric Trimmer and Shaver which gives me a close shave without causing irritation (every single time!) and then swipe a cotton pad soaked in Solution all over my skin. No bumps guaranteed.

For my day moisturizer, I use Make P:rem’s Micro Tension Cream in tandem with Glossier’s Super Glow Serum. The Micro Tension cream is half gel, half cream, but all plumping hydration. It’s lightweight and quick absorbing and leaves my skin looking dewy without feeling tacky. I finish off my moisturizing regimen with a little bit of Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich and Glossier’s Invisible Shield to perfect and protect, respectively.

The final step in my glow routine, involves two of my favorite makeup products: Glossier’s Haloscope in Moonstone and Glossier’s Lidstar in Lily. These two products work harmoniously together and create an ethereal eye look that makes me feel like a fancy Elf of Rivendell. I use my finger to apply Haloscope to my eyelids as a base for Lidstar. I’ve found that this helps blend out the color into a lovely gradient. When I’m finished applying Lidstar, my fingers are covered in the lilac color. I like to tap my fingers along the tops of my cheekbones for a little extra sparkle.

I’m not sure if this is really a secret anymore, but rosehip seed oil is the superhero of my beauty regimen. I carry a bottle of The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil with me everywhere I go. I use it to calm outbreaks, fade scars, and pretty much anytime that my skin feels tired and in need of a turbo boost. I especially like to use it in the evening to add a little extra oomph to my nighttime routine. I’ll take a glob of my Safe Relief Cream and mix a few drops of Rosehip Seed Oil into it before applying it to my face. The combo is perfection.

I would describe my fashion style as '80s teenager who has recently been introduced to Grace Jones and is inspired.' My vintage Jordache acid wash denim jacket is my happy place. My beauty style, especially in regards to makeup, could be described as 'a subtle shimmer when the sunlight hits juuuust right.' In other words, I prefer a light beat. I like for my natural features to shine through and primarily use makeup to accentuate and to add a little extra spice to my look."

—as told to ITG