Stacey Nishimoto, Makeup Artist & Owner, The Corner Store


"Last time I was on Into The Gloss, The Corner Store didn’t exist. I was an in-house stylist and makeup artist for a company called Nasty Gal. And I was pregnant, too. It was such a different time in my life. I made an Instagram account where I started selling my vintage collection, and it started doing really well. It wasn’t the thing back then to use Instagram to sell things—I didn’t know anyone else who was doing it, and I kind of felt weird about it. Since I was selling things on my phone, in a small square, I called it The Corner Store. I wanted it to be this little fun general store where you could get your stuff. I think with vintage, it’s like a bus—another beautiful dress is going to come your way, so you don’t need to get attached.

The root of my style goes back to when I was a teenager in the '90s, when grunge first became kind of mainstream. It was all about thrifting then. I'm still the same, but I'm also an inspiration junkie—I’ll get inspired by Annie Hall and dress really masculine, or I’ll be inspired by a millennial look, and wear low-waisted jeans and strappy sandals. I get inspired by years, and right now I love 1982. It’s really architectural, powerful but extremely elegant. In the vintage world, you succeed by being a good buyer. And there are people that just buy, and they have access to these secret 'rag houses,' and they know how to find the best estate sales. I actually have a buyer, and he’s super talented. He probably buys around half my stuff—and that world’s very secretive. The other part is that I’m always on eBay. I have my local shops in LA, like SquaresVille, and Painted Bird, but eBay’s that one little weird place that’s kind of dark, and it feels empty. If I get obsessed with something obscure and weird—like Ungaro from the ‘80s—you can always find it on eBay.

I like science-y skincare. I’ve been using a Skinceuticals retinol since I turned 40—I realized my skin texture was changing, and I wanted to keep these freckles that were popping up under control. But I do have a weird philosophy [about sunscreen]. The only time I wear it is when I go to the beach. Skinceuticals’ sunscreen is my favorite because it’s a super sheer veil that I can tolerate. I’ve been traveling a lot, and between planes and different time zones, I’ve gotten really dehydrated. My skin just soaks up these Nuxe products I got in Iceland—this oil, this honey lip balm and hand cream. I also use their rose water cleanse to remove makeup and wash my face. What’s amazing about it is that I don’t need water, which I prefer because washing with water makes my face feel dry.

This year I went to Paris for the first time, and I got lost. That’s how I accidentally found Buly. I walked in, and half of it was an espresso and chocolate bar, and the other part was all body and fragrances, and they had a calligrapher in the back wearing a little jacket. I was like, ‘What is this place?’ They’re based out of Paris, and they have a store in Tokyo, and I think one in London. The cream I got there is called Virginal Pomade. It’s so over the top, it’s like the new Guerlain. Being an extravagant tourist, I was in heaven—and their price point is good. That beautiful cream is barely $40.

I got laser resurfacing for the first time a year ago. It was to break up all the spotting I was getting, and it’s also intense, deep exfoliation. They zap your face, and then you’re glowing for a few weeks. It is really addictive. It’s super expensive—it was like $500, and that’s a lot for me. You’re supposed to do it three times a year because it’s upkeep—freckles will come back. But anyway, I’m totally about heavy duty shit. I haven’t gotten Botox, but I’m so tempted to find an artist in LA that can do super subtle work that no one could ever notice. When you have the same face forever and all of a sudden it changes overnight, it’s hard to look at yourself and get used to it. It happened to me when I was 40. I’d been super skinny since I was a little girl, and then all of a sudden I started gaining weight. I’d look in the mirror like, ‘What? Is that me?’ But I think what beauty comes down to is really whatever makes a woman happy—if they want to get something done, super subtle or extreme, that’s what they should do.

Makeup is a tool to punctuate your look, to add some edge. I just think it’s fun to walk out of the house with a bare face, but with a neon fuchsia lipstick on. That’s so cool! Just something. Especially when you’re young. I really love day into evening looks. I have an apricot silk, floor-length wrap dress from the ‘70s—it’s very Michelle Pfeiffer. But I thought, I’m going to wear this today to run my errands, and I wore it with red silk ballet slippers and my hair stuffed in a baseball cap. So it was definitely an evening or a cocktail dress, but I wore it with a baseball hat, and I think that was a lot of fun. Going to the symphony or the opera is the one time I can wear a severely elegant gown or something, and that’s fun because you don’t always get to do it. I’d probably wear a red lip and a soft smoky eye [with that].

My day-to-day is really up and down. There will be a week where I don’t wear a stitch of makeup because I work out of my house and I’m a mom in my 40s. Then I get in these weird moods where I’m like, ‘Ooh, I want to start wearing a really heavy cat eye again.’ Or I’m in the mood to wear a sultry plum eyeshadow. Even though I’m not going to see anyone, I’ll just smear it all over my eyes and walk around the house. And then I love a delicate, pink translucent powder—this is Make Up For Ever Supermatte Loose Powder. It’s like a rose. The best concealer on Earth is Givenchy Mister Light. It’s super silky and creamy, and it’s packed with pigment so you need very little. It also works as a great eyeshadow base. On freshly moisturized skin, I use Glossier Skin Tint in Medium, because when you have mature skin, foundation shows like crazy. I use a wet Beautyblender, which gives more coverage for sure, especially when you stamp it around the eyes.

I found this Givenchy ‘80s eyeliner in burgundy and rose pink and—ugh. Gorgeous, gorgeous. So I use that one. It's vintage makeup, and you’re not really supposed to buy it on eBay because chances are it’s going to be dried out, but I do it anyway. I really love this mauve lip color from YSL, 407, which is a super innovative formula. But I look dead in it, so the key to that is this color from Stila Stay All Day Lip Liner in Rose [Ed note: discontinued] that’s a neon coral. It creates a halo of glow, and it pumps life into the mauve. It flushes your lip line, so whatever you fill in the center of your lip, it looks more dimensional. I go buck wild in the center, and then I just take my lip and smear it around to give it a very lived-in look.

Eyeliner’s like putting on glasses for me—whenever I do makeup, it’s just part of the routine. The shape and the color varies, but it’s something that’s so a part of me. I use the Givenchy black liquid liner—I find that European liners have a super fine, almost calligraphy style, that makes it easy to flick out and do a very clean line. I also have that one in a blue that’s called Marine. It’s such a beautiful sapphire—a little more pop and depth than a black. The classic Diorshow mascara is my ultimate favorite because even when it starts to get old, it never dries out. And it always smells like roses—I think only Dior and YSL do that. I like to dust on a little bit of rose powder, which is really pretty when you have green skin like I do. It just gives it life. I love Guerlain powder, it’s my favorite. I love the Meteorites—I feel like when you have different spheres of color and you blend them, it’s just a kaleidoscope of bouncing color on your face that’s really pretty and angelic.

Blush is really important to me. I think Nars makes the best—they have a beautiful aubergine color, and sometimes I’ll put a little bit of that high on my cheekbone into my temple, but super sheer. I think it’s called Seduction. And then I’ll do a bright pop of pink right on the apple. Not because I’m trying to make my cheekbones stand out—it’s because a contrast between hot pink and wine is so beautiful. It’s mainly for the color effect. Everything is powder—I have textured, porous skin, and powders are just easier to blend. When you get the right color and texture, it’s very natural-looking. And then Stila has a super sheer blush that’s also a lip stain. It’s silky and sheer and has a slight shine to it, and it’s like a sponge. You kind of stamp it on a bit and blend it out, and it’s really beautiful.

I live right on the outskirts of Elysian Park [in LA], where the Dodgers stadium is. It’s this little hidden canyon, with little rolling hills called Solano Canyon. It neighbors Echo Park. My partner and I have a date night, but it’s always like, ‘Let’s go see a movie,’ or ‘Let’s go to our favorite café.’ I have a few in LA—one is Bottega Louie, the other one’s called Café Stella, and it’s just bistro-style comfort food. When I used to go out, I loved to dance, and I would dance all night. I would totally make a game plan of what I was going to wear that night, and planned everything out with the makeup, hair, and the outfit. Since I don’t do that anymore… Well, I’m such a late bloomer. I grew up in a really strict, cult-ish church—I’m like third generation into it. We weren’t allowed to cut our hair, or wear pants or jewelry or makeup. I didn’t rebel until I was in my 20s. I was totally sold on it—I mean, there were things that I didn’t agree with, like you couldn’t wear any beauty. Anyway, the ideal thing was to get married and have a family. So when I was 24 I got married, and I quickly realized, ‘Oh my god, this is not what I’m about,’ and I kind of just woke up from all of that. We were married for like five years, and when we divorced, that’s when I finally became worldly. Thirty was like my twenty. So I was a party girl in the sense where I loved to go out and dance, but I never got into drugs or anything. It was more about the act of dancing and looking like a creature. It was just fun."

—as told to ITG

Stacey Nishimoto photographed by Tom Newton on October 9, 2018.