The Best Top Shelf Quotes 2018


Folks, 2018 has been—well you know...the technical term is a year. And in that 365-day ride 'round the sun, ITG learned that the key to surviving summer is by sweating it out in your own human-size burrito; that double cleansing could have triple meanings; and that much of Glossier HQ is on Brilliantine (perpetual lustre behind the copy machine, the lounge, everywhere you look).

Also in 2018: No fewer than 80 fine ladies and gents shared their Top Shelves and After Darks on this very blog. We’re talking Naomi Watts, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, and facial magician Melanie Simon. All were wonderful, of course, but a few soundbites really stood out. The ones that made us laugh no matter how many times we re-read them, the ones that made us feel good, the ones that made a lasting impression. And in the hope that maybe you’ll get a kick out of them too, we gathered them all below for your reading pleasure. The Top Shelf will resume next week, but until then read from…

Teddy Quinlivan, Model

"I really want to play up my sex appeal because I’ve never felt sexier in my life than I do right now. I’ve also worked really hard in my modeling career, and if anyone’s going to dress like a mega hoe, it’s me honey."

Isabel Marant

"I think it wasn’t until the age of 40 that I really felt comfortable with myself. It takes time! I’ve been preparing to be old for a long time, so I think when I turned 45, I put in my head that I’m going to be 50. If you prepare yourself getting old, then you are much more easy with getting older."

Lynette Nylander, Writer And Vice President Of Content, Alexander Wang

"I’m really happy that the beauty industry is as inclusive as it is right now. It’s really encouraging. When I was growing up in London, I would go into Boots and they didn’t have anything for me. I would come out looking like a clown and I’d just have to make do. I don’t think people understood how disheartening that was. I’m glad that a young generation of women of color can actually see themselves in beauty advertisements. I think in terms of diversity, and in terms of ambassadors that are different, I really can see the change. Nice advertising is cool, and I do take it in, but word of mouth is better. I know that’s how me and my friends all wear makeup. We don’t buy anything until someone else has told us to. That’s the trend I’m seeing with so many other people as well. It ties back to beauty being a way more democratic process. And then when you find something that you like, it’s not $2000. It’s a low investment, and it’s so friggin’ fun."

Folasade Adeoso, Digital Designer

"I was like, let me see what will happen if I wear less makeup. Let me see what will happen if I go 30 days with no makeup. And then what would that look like when I start introducing makeup? My skin has healed so much. I’m OK with the spots, if they show, because I know they’re healing, I’m working on it. And it was also just a kind reminder that it’s OK."

Camilla Marcus, Founder, West-bourne

"I totally believe in the slogan ‘everything in moderation,’ even moderation in moderation. I love food, I definitely don’t count calories, I don’t believe in diets or any of that stuff. I do believe in how things are sourced, but I’m not fanatical—I love to eat out. I think you’ve got to have a balanced life. I buy organic when I can at home, but I’m not obsessive about it. I want to live a happy life, and food’s such a vehicle for that for me. I’m not a bar or a smoothie or a power drink person—I want to eat my feelings, really big."

Jonathan Van Ness, Grooming Expert, Queer Eye

"But I really just want [beauty] to be an open conversation. It’s really in the eye of the beholder, and it’s so subjective. Like, in the Olympics—do I think Evgenia Medvedeva should have won? Yes! I do! But a lot of people think that Alina [Zagitova] should have won, and she did, and that’s great. They’re both lovely. That’s what I want to say about beauty—that I really just want to talk about figure skating instead. [Laughs] Beauty and grooming should be these gorgeous bursts of wind beneath your wings so you can figure out how to feel a little cuter and look in the mirror and get those endorphins and be like, ‘I feel good!’"

Carole Radziwill

"Liking beauty doesn’t mean you’re superficial. You can do both, absolutely. There's sort of this sexist narrative, that's like, ‘Oh, she cares about what she looks like, therefore she doesn’t care about these other issues going on.’ I don’t buy into that."

Alison Roman, Writer & Cook

"Before I was 30, I sort of existed in this way where I drank as much as I wanted to, I’d forget to wash my face, and I never moisturized. But recently, I joined the cult of P50. It does fucking work! It’s crazy!...The best thing about P50 is that it has almost entirely gotten rid of my mild rosacea. And I have dry skin, so it always looked really dull because I was washing my face and moisturizing without getting rid of the dead skin. That’s the only thing I use regularly, because it put the fear of God into me that I had to use it every day to see results."

D'Arcy Carden, Actress

"Skincare centers me. Every morning and night I take the time to get out all of my serums, lotions, and eye cream. I don’t know what would happen to my skin if I didn’t! One thing I do that I’m really proud of is use contact lens containers for different things while I travel. The trick is to do two white caps for beauty products, and then the green and the white when there are contacts in there—I have a whole system, don’t worry about it."

Elizabeth De La Piedra, Photographer

"When I’m getting ready the first thing I do is lock my door—no one’s allowed to come in. I’ll have a smoke, light a candle, and put on my true crime podcast—always. Right now my favorites are Generation Why and The Slow Burn. I have an outfit for everything. I’m like, ‘Golfing? Got you. Jury duty? Got you.’ So, I’ll get my outfit out, and then I’ll do my makeup."

Lauren Gerrie, Co-Founder, Big Little Get Together

"The thing that gets the most attention out of my entire regimen, is I wear Texas cedarwood essential oil in my hair. I put it in my hair and at the nape of my neck...For women, there’s got to be something with pheromones, because I will hug someone and they’ll be like, ‘What are you wearing, what is that smell?!’ It’s been crazy! I’m not going to say where I get it. I’m just kidding, it’s from fucking Whole Foods."

Or Gotham, Writer

"The best way to fake smooth skin is, I think, a silicone-based primer. Dr. Brandt Pores No More is an oil-controlling primer that has this effect where, rather than getting oily in my t-zone, it diffuses it around my face. That’s not actually what happens, but I notice my whole face getting dewier instead of just in parts. And then I use the Tatcha Silk Canvas Primer for all the pores that weren’t successfully covered up by the previous primer. I could genuinely stop there. I actually feel like more people should try using smoothing primers on their own, because once you create a smoother surface, you don’t need much coverage."

Georgia Louise, Facialist

"As kids, we’re taught how to properly brush our teeth, but really they should do it for skincare as well. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and people look at it as a luxury—they are so wrong. I’m hoping more and more people will protect themselves with the right products and tools."

Elizabeth Chambers Hammer

"If I have an event where I want to add a little more evenness to my skin, I love Body Blur. Ashley Graham told me about it. We were hosting a show together and I thought, ‘Why are you glowing? My legs look like a fifth grader who just finished soccer practice.’ And she was like, ‘Because you don’t have Body Blur. You need this in your life.’"

Kirsty Godso, Master Trainer, Nike

"We all do this to ourselves—you know, you’ll be like, ‘I look really fat today,’ or something like that. The moment you say that, you just spoke that into your being, and you’re going to keep seeing yourself that way. Whereas if you have a performance goal, you’re more invested in it. You could be like, ‘I really want to feel fitter when I do that move,’ or ‘I want to be able to do more reps of this,’ or ‘I want to be able to achieve something.’ You’re always aesthetically going to improve—that all happens at the same time. But if you’re too invested in the aesthetic thing, you’re often feeling disappointed, because you’re determining it based on something that changes every day. We all look more fluid-y some days, we all look more bloated some days. Sometimes the days where you actually look leaner are after you had a big night out—there’s no way to make it make sense."

Lisa Eldridge

"If you have a breakout, you need really good concealer. The worst for me is if I go to pop it and it isn’t ready, and it doesn’t come out. I’m like, ‘Oh no, I should’ve left it!’ It’s so swollen. I think I’m getting better at judging if it’s gonna come or not. Then, I would put on some some translucent powder over the spot, and then foundation on top of that. Then it’s locked in. When you put the concealer on, it’s got something to diffuse into. Usually when you put concealer on it has that definite edge, whereas when there’s something under it, it has something to blend into."

Danielle Nachmani, Stylist

"I'm a night owl, so I don't get sleepy. I have to do things to relax my body. I just got a weighted blanket—it's like a 10-pound blanket with sand in it, and I sleep with it on top of me because it makes me go to sleep. In the middle of the night sometimes I'm definitely like, 'Oh my god, I can't move,' but it definitely helps."

Jill Kargman, Actress & Writer

"I went to my dermatologist once and I was like, ‘Hi, I want some Botox.’ And he said, ‘I don’t do Botox, I think that’s disgusting—you need a scumbag dermatologist, I’m a medical professional.’ I was like, ‘Alright…’ so I went to a ‘scumbag dermatologist’ who was not a scumbag at all, and she gave me my Botox. While I was there I was like, ‘By the way, this mole keeps bleeding, and my other doctor said it was fine, but it’s annoying me.’ And she was like, ‘That’s weird. Did you tell him it was bleeding?’ And I had, but he said I was being hysterical, which is a super sexist word. I don’t think he would have said that to a male patient. She took it off, and it was melanoma. It had spread into my groin area. I was at Sloane Kettering a week later—it was a shit show. I was like, ‘What if I hadn’t gotten Botox?’ She said, ‘You would’ve been dead in four years.’"

Isabella Rossellini, Actress

"I feel that the word anti-age is not so positive, because it promotes a negative way of looking at yourself. To me that is a sad way to start the day. [Laughs] I’d rather something positive—for example, the cream I use helps my skin feel more elastic, nourished. And I put red on my lips because it gives me a sense of joy. To me, the definition of glamour and sophistication is that sense of joy, that sense of translating to a joyful act rather than an act of being ashamed of yourself and using cosmetics to hide yourself. I don’t really dream to stay young—I’m not young, I want to celebrate who I am. I’m not afraid of getting old. I think that is a stereotype about women. It has to change."

Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Editor-in-Chief, Teen Vogue

"I don’t use coconut oil—it’s drying, it’s not good for your hair. Everybody lied!"

Melanie Simon, Electrical Aesthetician

"I always, always use gauze—gauze is my number one, cannot-live-without staple. The reason I love gauze is because it pushes the product into your skin instead of stealing it, and I also like it because I can see things coming off. People will come in for their treatments all the time, and they’ll tell me, ‘My skin’s totally clean.’ Of course I go through it, and show them the gauze, and show them how dirty it is."

Naomi Watts

"I tend to only wear mascara when I have to for work because I’ve got sensitive eyes. But I do get my eyelashes and eyebrows tinted. That’s been going on since I was a kid because my eyes can disappear if they’re not framed. I do black eyelashes and brown eyebrows. I’ve definitely been on movies where they say, ‘We want to thin out your eyebrows,’ and I say, ‘No, I won’t. Not for anyone!’ Because I saw my mum’s in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and they never came back. I’m proud of my eyebrows."

Perfume Genius, Musician

"Fuck that. Fuck the body. It’s about the face."

Photo via ITG