"Since we last met, I moved from LA to New York, and then returned to LA. It’s not that I don’t love New York—New York is actually way more fun and interesting—but it made me appreciate the stillness of LA. It’s sometimes too chill. But I grew up here, and that feeling when you’re home is the best. My favorite part of LA is Abbott Kinney, which is in Venice Beach. I went to Huntington Beach for the first time a week ago and spent the whole day. It was really cool.
Clementine Bakery has the best grilled cheese in the world. Or I love Gracias Madre, which is a vegan Mexican restaurant. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Café Gratitude, too. I’m vegetarian, not vegan, but for health reasons I try to avoid dairy. Have you heard of The Little Door? From the outside it doesn’t look like anything’s going on behind it, but then you walk through, you feel like you’re in Morocco. It’s the most beautiful environment, dining-wise. My favorite drink is a Coke and vodka—very simple. Or a red wine, if I’m being more chill. When I first went to New York a few years ago, I remember dancing all night with friends, and going home when the sun went up. It was simple, but those were the most fun nights. I’m more of a homebody in LA. Have you heard of Cinespia? It’s this thing here in LA where you go watch movies at night in the Hollywood Cemetery. That’s fun. I like to wear a t-shirt or a skirt, or jeans and a cool top.
I’m definitely learning more about beauty, but I still have to master my hair. I like an undone kind of look. Before I was super blonde, but my hair is healthier now that I no longer bleach it. Now I get very fine micro-highlights, so my matte brown hair gets a little bit of dimension. I actually only do it in New York with Amanda from Alibi Salon. A thing I’ve learned is that oil is really important, and I'll let my hair soak in it whenever I get the chance. I like the Kerastase one in the orange bottle—that I can wear during the day when I’m doing stuff because it soaks in and doesn’t look too oily. I have a thicker one, the lavender one by Christophe Robin, and I just put it in the night before I know I’m going to wash my hair. If I’m home on a Sunday, I’ll leave it in all day before rinsing it out. I’ve gotten better about trimming, too. Me and my boyfriend have the same haircut person. She was cutting him for a while, and it’s kind of interesting because I needed a trim one day and I was like, ‘Do you mind just trimming my hair?’ When you trim your hair dry, it’s a whole other world. Why, I don’t really understand, but my hair responded really well to it.
It’s been such a journey with my skin. My biggest thing now is that I’m trying to be as gentle as possible. In the past I’ve struggled with hormonal acne—I would get really harsh products to treat it and it would backfire. Now I’m learning that the gentler I am, the better. Last week I went to Skin Worship for the first time and it was really good. They're strictly facials and I found them on Instagram. They integrate spiritual work while you’re in the facial, which is super LA. I don’t see a regular facialist because, you know, it gets pricey. Most of them are like $200 over—I guess it’s a good investment for your skin, but it’s kind of expensive for me.
I recently discovered the White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam. It cleans so thoroughly. I use it at night because in the morning you don’t really need a deep clean. Elemis is my favorite—their Exotic Cream Moisturizing Mask is the best moisturizing mask I’ve ever used. You know when you take off a mask and you feel like the effects go away? When I take this off, my skin is moisturized for the next 24 hours. And my skin gets really dry and flaky—it takes a lot for it to hold in moisture. If my skin’s breaking out, I’ll mix tea tree oil with Nazan Schnapp orchid oil. It’s super moisturizing, and it makes me glowy in the morning. If you do too much it can be too harsh, so I’ll use only one to two drops. I have to adjust what I’m putting on my skin every day. Some days it’s more dry, some days it’s more irritated, some days I can tell the oil’s going to make me break out. As far as toners go, I don’t use them. I used to use the Kiehl’s Calendula Toner, but I felt like after a while it stopped working. I think all toners stop working at some point. I like the Hydra Beauty Micro Serum from Chanel when I need a little more moisture—it’s light but not thick. If I’m going to an event, I’ll use a scrub like Dr. Lancer’s Polish. It’s gentle, but it gets the job done. Or I also like this Cosmedix Glow Bamboo Brightening Mask. I really love their products—I’ve been trying them over the summer. I use the Glow and Clear Deep Cleansing masks the morning after a night out to detox. This Sovereign Silver First Aid Gel is meant for open wounds, and it heals them insanely fast. A facialist told me to use it for breakouts, and sometimes I’ll also use it after I’ve picked my skin. It’s very healing and calming.
My favorite thing to do when I’m going out is to play up my eyes. I love dark eyeliner and a smoky eye. I’m working on my cat eye. And then I love a bold red lip. I like the way that the French look at beauty—kind of lived-in and not overdone, where you can see the skin. I do my makeup really quickly, and even when I’m going out, I’m not doing a whole lot. Before I put on foundation, I put on Bite’s Agave Lip Mask. Oh my god, it’s so good. It’s really thick, almost like honey. You have to put on a good amount, and you leave it alone while you do the rest of your makeup. By the time you get to your lips, they’re tinted and plush. I use Smashed. It’s red and cruelty free. Another great cruelty free brand is NYX. They’re cheap, but the quality is fantastic and the colors are really beautiful. The YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer is amazing—it smooths out the texture of your skin. I use that before putting on Make Up For Ever’s HD Foundation, which I love. I like to mix it with cream—usually Dr. Lancer’s Nourish Cream—because [the foundation] is intense, and I apply it with a foundation brush or sometimes just my fingers. So I’ll do that, and then I’ll do my eyeshadow. Sometimes I like to start by putting blush or bronzer over my whole lid, just to set a base. Also Tom Ford had a rosy lid balm—it’s discontinued now, but I think it was from 2015. I savor it, it’s so beautiful. I’ll put that on top of NYX's Matte Bronzer. There’s this eyeshadow from Ulta, I think it’s called Plum Pop. I’ll do that on top, just with my fingers. Lash Slick by Glossier—and I’m not just saying this—is the only mascara I’ll ever buy from now on. It’s my favorite because it gives you that length, but it’s almost as if you’re not wearing mascara. It stays beautifully. I actually don’t do my brows. I just have this clear Mary Kay brow gel, and that’s literally it. On the other hand, I have an obsession with lip liners and eyeliners. With lip liners you can subtly create a different shape with your lips. I like seeing the line, if that makes sense. My favorite is from Rimmel London, I think it’s Tiramisu. Another one I like is No. 25 from Maybelline. This pencil from NYX called Nutmeg is good. Sometimes I’ll use them all together and go from lightest to darkest. I mix a lot of my lip colors—like, this stain from Sephora in No. 13 Brown I’ll put on first, and then I’ll put on lipstick, and then lip liner, and kind of dab it as I go. I love this Chanel Rouge Allure in 169. This one’s really bright—Victoria’s Secret Velvet Matte Cream Lip Stain. It’s matte, but it stays very active. This is my favorite eyeliner—L’Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner. I like what works, you know? It stays, and I like the way that it blends into your skin as the night goes on. I’ll put it on my waterline. And then I love a liquid highlighter—this is Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting. I do it on my cheekbones, brow bones, cupid’s bow—all the normal areas. Sometimes I want to be matte, and sometimes I don’t. If I want to be matte, I’ll use powder on top.
When I do splurge, I love Chanel. When you buy something from Chanel, for the most part, you’re going to have it for the rest of your life. I mean, it’s classic, and it’ll always be in style. [For fragrance] I love Chance. If I’m exhausted when I get home, I have wipes to take off my makeup. The micellar ones. Other nights I use a melatonin spray if I can’t fall asleep—I got that from Into The Gloss, from Karlie Kloss. And it works! I can be an insomniac sometimes, and it knocks me out."
—as told to ITG
Kenya Kinski-Jones photographed by Tom Newton in Los Angeles on August 17, 2018.