“I’m from London and I lived there up until a year ago, when I moved to LA for Good American. My background is in entertainment marketing, so I used to do partnerships with cosmetics, alcohol, and mobile brands, and 10 years ago I founded an agency based on those principles—brands and individuals coming together. Mostly artists and fashion designers. Then there seemed to be this huge shift where everyone was like, ‘OK, now I want a celebrity.’ And about five years into the business it shifted again because everyone was saying, ‘Now we just want influencers.’ At that point I’d done a few really successful talent-based equity partnerships, where the talent took equity in the brand. When I saw how well they went, I was like, ‘I’m going to do one of these for myself!’
The idea for Good American came about because I thought there was a shift happening in popular culture. When I was coming up through the ranks everybody was stick thin, and that was what most women aspired to. But it’s so different now, and I thought fashion was missing this. It wasn’t about plus-size or regular size, instead I thought there should be brands that are made for everybody. So that’s how Good American started, from an idea of a beauty ideal that I thought wasn’t being catered to very well. We launched a little over a year and a half ago with just a mission statement. It was, ‘This is how we feel, and if you’re kind of with us jump on board.’ We had this huge public casting with 12,000 people, and we had to shut it down because we didn’t know how we’d count them all.
For me, a good night out starts at an incredible restaurant, and maybe ends in that restaurant’s bar. I’m not part of the pumping club scene. Even in London I was like that. In LA, a lot of things happen in people’s homes. I’ve had a couple of house parties—they’re nice because you do that indoor-outdoor thing in LA, right? So you throw open the doors of your house, you light up your garden, and it’s all kind of fabulous. It’s very different from how you entertain in London, where you’re toasty by the fire somewhere in the countryside.
When you come to LA as an English girl, you find a whole new world of hair and makeup. I’ve kind of embraced that. Chrissy Cassell did my makeup on the launch day of Good American, and that’s when I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve never looked better, I’m not letting this girl go!’ So Chrissy always does hair and makeup on me. I always look at Rihanna because she does so many different things, and I’m constantly showing photos of her to Chrissy—on my wedding day, it was the same. I was like, ‘Can I look a bit like this? Like Rihanna?’ We were looking at her Vogue cover the other day—oh my god, she just does it so well. Everybody says the most incredible things about Fenty Beauty, but I haven’t really let anything new in my beauty regimen since Glossier. I’m an old favorites kind of person—I have my stuff, I stick to my stuff, that’s how I like it.
It feels like I'm always on a plane. The first thing I do when I get to my seat is take every single thing off my face with Neutrogena face wipes. In England I use Simple, but they’re not the same in America. The formula is totally different. So, I use Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes, and then I slather my face in oil—usually Sunday Riley Luna, or the Darphin ones. Luna is my favorite face oil, hands down. It’s not too heavy—I can be quite oily in places on my face, but it goes on and sinks into your skin. The smell is probably not the greatest, the Darphin ones are much better, but if I have a good one I’ll kind of inhale it before I put it on my face like aromatherapy. My skin changes throughout the year—I’m much darker in the summer, and I catch the sun very easily. That’s been the new thing for me in LA—SPF. I switch between Glossier, which is completely translucent, and La Mer. Glossier I use more when I’m traveling and in a hot place. Every day, I use the La Mer SPF 50. You do your hands, you do a bit on your arm and shoulder, and then neck. For everything else I’m a Dr. Lancer girl—I use his whole system, which is Polish, Cleanse, Nourish. It’s simple—you use it in the shower, it’s not some big undertaking. They have this all-over body moisturizer that comes in a big silver tub and it’s insane. Dr. Lancer does microdermabrasion for me, but in London I go to Vaishaly Patel. She’s the brow queen, the facial queen, and she’s done my face forever. You go to Vaishaly and she kind of looks at you and cocks her head, and then she does whatever she does. You don’t ask her for something, she’s like, ‘Here’s what you need.’ She does craniopathy, which is this ancient technique. I’ve had it done on my baby actually—if you have a baby who’s colicky or can’t sleep, they give them craniopathy. They do this tapping motion to your head that’s supposed to alter your chakras and balance you. It’s barely touching, but it knocks you out, and then when you wake up you’re beautiful.
Brows, I just die for them—I pencil them every day. I like the Anastasia pencil—I do that first, and then Boy Brow after just to fluff them up. Oh, and I love lip balm. I’m very, very, fastidious. I use the La Mer Lip Balm—actually, Pat McGrath has a really nice balm that I bought the other day. I like the Tom Ford one, and I’ll use Vaseline, or that stuff I put on my kids’ bums—the Australian one in the red tube, Papaw. If you go through my big handbag, my little handbag, my makeup bag, you could easily pull out 20 lip balms. If I’m going out, I’m not going to do foundation because I just can’t. Instead I’ll conceal my undereyes because I always feel like I have dark circles. I use a little bit of Nars concealer in the pot, but since Chrissy introduced me to it I’ve also been using the MAC Pro Longwear. They’re [both] very blendable, but they stay in place.
When it comes to eyes, I can only do one—a smoky eye. My sister taught me, so I do it the same way as I did when I was 20 years old. I’m 36. Most of my shadows are MAC and Becca. I like using pencils, but I’m very finger happy. I use palettes, but it will always be a mix of black and some beige-y shades to pull it out a little bit. More often than not Chrissy will have things that she uses on me, and I’m like, ‘Oh, can I have that?’ That’s how I got the Becca Ombre Rouge Palette. It’s five shadows—two lighter beiges, one light brown, and one deep brown. It’s perfect. My favorite liner is an Anastasia one. I get my brows and waxing done at Anastasia—you’re always waiting there for a little bit, and you end up looking around that counter. I’m a person who shops off of people, like, ‘What do you have on? What’s on your lips?’ I did that with Chrissy this morning—I was like, ‘What was on your lips last night?’ It was Hourglass Activist. It’s nice, right? If you do a lip on me it’s got to be neutral. I usually have fake lashes, and I get them done by Sandi Schroeder in LA. Nothing nuts, just a natural extension. I’m not a contour girl—I can’t even understand that, but I do use bronzer and highlighter. For bronzer it’s Nars Casino. Then there’s blush. I use an Anastasia palette—always powder. I just feel like they go on smoother. I also use a ton of Charlotte Tilbury products now. She has this Flawless Filter or something, and it’s in a glass tube. It’s a gorgeous highlighter, and I use my fingers to start swishing things around.
My hair has been the same since I was 12—I’m so boring. It’s naturally curly but it blow dries easily, and I’m very good at it. Takes me like 15 minutes. I flick it over, brush it out, and I use a big round brush and blow the whole thing forward because it gives my fine hair a little bit of volume. I use Moroccanoil and Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo. I love Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray—I need stuff that pumps your hair up. If I do a wave, I use the Ouai Wave Spray, and then I love the oil they do as well. You can spray it all over your body, and it smells really nice, like rose. And then Elnett—I always have hundreds of Elnetts all over the place. Who doesn’t?
Every week I get a mani-pedi at Beverly Hills Nail Design. You never need to wait because there are 50 seats there, it’s like a train station. They’re so nice and they know everything about me. I go in and forget what I told them last time, and they’re like, ‘How was the launch in New York? And how’s your husband? Where’s your sister?’ I go on Sundays just before my kids are about to have their dinner. Pretty much everyone ends up at Beverly Hills Nail Design. You always see fun people—last time I saw La Toya Jackson. It was amazing.
I love fragrance—I use Chanel No. 22. It’s an everyday fragrance, like a younger Chanel No. 5. For a night out, it’s a Tom Ford. Fuck Me, Fuck Off, what was it? Fucking Fabulous! [Laughs] I thought that was a gorgeous fragrance. I also like that classic first one he did in the black packaging. And you know what’s really nice? You know the childrens’ brand, Bonpoint? They do this kids’ fragrance—which is so pompous, I would never buy that—but I was gifted it. I use it all the time. I like that on my bed, or around my room. It smells almost like talcum powder, beautiful.
Even though I’m not into the club scene, I still love a late night. I am that person who’s always like, ‘I don’t want to miss something that might happen.’ Even so, I’m still doing my skincare routine when I get home. I will scrub at night—I’ll do the three Lancer steps, I’ll do my eyes. I don’t know, as soon as you get to a certain age you become so aware of your skin. You take it for granted—you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s my skin, it’s always going to be here,’ but now it’s like, ‘Yeah well, in what state?’ Now I’m much more fastidious about it. Also, I see my little kids with such gorgeous, perfect skin. I'm like, ‘Oh. Something’s happening to this 36-year-old face, you need to figure it out.’”
—as told to ITG
Emma Grede photographed by Tom Newton in Los Angeles on August 1, 2018.