“When I was younger, plus-sized fashion wasn’t really a thing, so I would wear random outfits with the most amazing makeup looks. That’s how I fell in love with beauty—it was how I could show my personality and look glamorous at the same time. I used to think beauty was a little more one-size-fits-all, but now I know this isn’t always true—you can always find something, even if it’s just lipstick, no matter your size or shape. Growing up in Australia, my mum let me get facials once every month at a little local place, as part of hygiene and self-care, rather than as something really luxurious. It was there I learned that beauty is an extension of your hygiene, and then makeup and hair become part of your self-expression. Even working in the industry now, I still find new products and I’m like, ‘Oh my god.’ It just makes me so happy.
So why am I in PR? A careers lady came to my school in Sydney and told me I should do it. I’m very loud and I like writing, so I had the right personality and the right skills. I went to university and studied communications, and I was eventually hired as an assistant at an agency that worked with brands like Nars. But I wanted to see what else was out there in the world—Sydney’s an amazing place, but it’s kind of like a small town. So my friends and I planned a trip to Europe, and I ended up moving to London. When I moved there I was 22, I had no friends, I had no job. I slept on friends of friends’ siblings’ couches. I interned at an agency to get some experience in the UK, and then I got the job that I currently have at TCS.
TCS stands for The Communications Store, and I head up the US beauty team now. I worked out of the London office for seven years before moving to New York five months ago. My clients are Glossier and Yes To, which is a natural drugstore skincare brand. I also look after Decortè, which is Kate Moss, House 99, which is David Beckham’s grooming brand, and All Even, which is a new brand by a Spanish supermodel who basically wanted to create a body veil. When I was in the UK I worked with Charlotte Tilbury, Ouai, Sunday Riley, and Nuxe.
PR used to be media relations, and that was kind of it. It was print, broadcast, and slowly it was online. Now we’re part of the journey of how [our clients] brand themselves and how they present themselves to the world. The most exciting part is when you know you’re working on something really special. The first time I met Charlotte Tilbury, we were in a tiny little studio in Queens Park in London. There were like six people who worked in the office, and we all sat around and filled plastic cases with glitter. The product names were still being finalized, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is a pretty special moment.’ The best relationship between a brand and a PR agency is when there’s trust and respect, and a dialogue—that’s when you get the best results.
This is going to make me sound so lazy, but I cleanse in the shower. I like to keep my skin really clean because I’m prone to breakouts. I cleanse in the morning with Milky Jelly for something a little bit more gentle, and in the evening I use Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip. Ceramic Slip gets everything off at the end of the day—it’s the best cleanser I’ve ever used. It’s a clay cleanser, but it doesn’t dry out your skin. When I go to a different cleanser my skin has a meltdown. Because of my pore obsession, I’ll wait until my bathroom isn’t steamy anymore and my skin’s a little cool before I put on the rest of my products—I don't want me skin to be too soft when I’m putting stuff on my face. Creams are too heavy for my skin, they break me out, so I use Elizabeth Arden’s old-school ceramide capsules instead. You snap them open, and inside is a serum that makes my skin feel really hydrated, but it absorbs quickly enough that I don’t feel filmy after.
With your skin you have to really listen to it, so rather than just have one routine the whole year round, I try to change it up slightly each day, depending on how my skin’s feeling. For evenings I’m obsessed with Belif, that Korean brand. I use their Hungarian Water Essence, which is just a really light fluid, and I mix that with 111Skin Hyaluronic Acid Booster. On Sundays I mask—and it’s never just one mask, always two. I’ll do something super detoxifying and something super moisturizing. Of the detoxifying ones, Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask is a game changer for me. If I’m doing a morning mask and my skin’s feeling a bit off, I’ll do the Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask. It’s good after you’ve worn a lot of makeup. I also love Mega Greens Galaxy Pack. And then I’m pretty much exclusively on Summer Fridays when it comes to hydrating masks. I really like it—it’s not too complicated, says what it is, and does it.
A facialist in London told me to leave any jade tools in a glass of ice water in the fridge, and it will help instantly with depuffing. So anything I use for depuffing—eye masks, mists, certain moisturizers, and my tools—all stay in the fridge. I use a jade roller and a gua sha jade stone once a week. Just for blood flow, and I get quite puffy. For treatments I go to Teresa Tarmey, who’s a British facialist. She actually just opened up a clinic in Tribeca. I like a cryo or oxygen facial, and I like a proper dermatologist peel. I go to Nichola Joss also, and she’s my queen. She does this facial where she moves her fingers really fast, and then she puts these latex gloves on and actually puts her hands inside your mouth. She hits all of the pressure points along your jaw, because you hold so much tension there. It’s this amazing feeling when you leave her. They’re both my go-to for treatments.
Every person who has curly hair is different—and every day is different, it’s very unpredictable. The only reason it’s straight today is because I ran out of conditioner. If I’m doing my hair curly, I wash it at night, double condition the roots, don’t wash all the conditioner out, and brush it through with the Tangle Teezer. A hairdresser I worked with years ago told me the key to great curly hair is to shampoo upside down. When you’re in the shower, the pressure from the water pushes everything down, making the curls on top flat. So I do that, and I use Ouai’s curly shampoo and conditioner. Another secret to getting my curls good are the Ouai treatment masks, which come in these little packets. I used to scoop out half a thing of Oribe hair mask, but each scoop is like a mortgage. The Ouai packets help me portion control. I put it in my hair and I brush it through and I leave it—I don’t brush it out. That’s the amount of intense moisture my hair needs for it to have a curl. And for styling products, I’m very simple. I use Hair Oil from Ouai.
My hair colorist is Reece Walker. He lives in LA and I do my color with him once every four months. I have been every color—I’m a real hair dye-er, because my mum is. You know when you look at your driver’s license and you look like a completely different person? That’s my mum. I went blonde because I started going gray when I was 23. I was like, I can go dark and it won’t suit me as much, or I can trick people into thinking the gray hair is blonde, and that’s what I did. I started off doing balayage highlights, and just put in more and more color as time passed. Blonde’s like an addiction—you always think, ‘It could be blonder,’ or ‘It could be more to the roots.’ So that’s what I did.
My makeup routine starts with one of two products. I love the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Illuminating—they’ve got really good shades for my skintone. Or I’ll use Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder. I use a whole bunch of different Charlotte Tilbury products. I use The Retoucher and Magic Awake Concealer. If it’s winter, I’ll use the Tarte concealer, Shape Tape, which is really high coverage but not drying. One thing I’m really obsessed with is Kosas’ Tropic Equinox—it’s a cream blush and highlighter. When it’s on your face, it just makes you look like you’re well. It’s not shiny, it melts into your skin. I was told once by a makeup artist not to use a peachy, pinky, coral-y blush for my complexion, but to wear a bronze blush. That’s why I’m so obsessed with the Kosas, because it’s kind of an extension of a bronzer.
Mascara I have a really love-hate relationship with. I haven’t been able to find the one mascara that changes me. Today I’m wearing It Cosmetics Superhero. This sounds bad, but I like a little clump in the lash. Thickening is a nicer way of putting it, but I like them to be dense, rather than really long. Charlotte would call it a ‘Slut Lash.’ [Laughs] I have very hooded eyelids, so I don’t put so much focus on mascara. But I play around—I like drugstore mascaras generally, L’Oréal Paris, Max Factor.
The one thing Charlotte [Tilbury] would always say is to understand your coloring, especially with your eyes. I think that is what’s so good about her products—the packaging will say like, ‘This is copper, if you have green eyes it’s going to be great.’ So if I’m doing an eye, I always go with a copper tone. I use a pencil for eyeliner—I have so many. Obviously Charlotte Tilbury ones, and I like her powder pencils, not just the kohl. She also has these Color Chameleons which, if I’m late, and just want to put something on, I can literally just smudge it across my eye for a very quick smoky eye. I also like Marc Jacobs’ eyeliner, in Black. Because I have hooded lids, I have to use an eyeshadow primer—Primer Potion is the best, and I’ve literally tried them all. Everyone’s hooded eyes are different, but one of mine is heavier than the other, so I’ll slightly change the way I wing my eye on that side to make it more open. Another thing that I’ve learned, which people are normally scared of, is to mix powder and cream. For my skin, I always do cream, powder, cream, powder, to kind of layer and set it. And I’ll do the same on my eyes. I’ll start with the Primer Potion, then do a powder shadow or a loose pigment, and then I’ll finish with a cream to give it a little more texture, shine, and hold. If I do a dark eye, I use the Glossier Lip Gloss—it’s the best lip gloss in the world. It’s perfectly glossy, not sticky. Or—it depends what kind of eye. If I do a shiny, wet-look eye, then I’ll do more of a matte lip.
Sir John [Beyoncé's makeup artist] told me once to use eye cream on your lips before you use matte lipstick, because the skin under your eyes and your lips is the same. So I do that with the Belif eye cream—it’s like a water cream—and I think it really helps. I love Anastasia’s liquid lipsticks still. And I love the Huda Beauty ones—the makeup-makeup brands that did the liquid lips first. I’ll normally do the cooler-toned nudes. And I love the Fenty Stunna Lip Paint, the original one in the triangle that’s a really universal red. I’ll be stopped on the street by people asking about that lipstick.
I’ve only worn four fragrances. When I was really young I started with Ralph Lauren Polo Blue, which now I’m sure if I smelled it would make me physically ill. Then Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche, the light one. And then I moved into Byredo Gypsy Water, and I wore that from when the brand launched to maybe about the beginning of last year. I’m now on Glossier You, and it’s a really special fragrance. When I’ve worn it, taxi drivers, say to me ‘What is that fragrance?’ And they’ll write it down. I think that one really adapts to your skin. Fragrance and hair are probably the two things I spend the least amount of time on. But I think with fragrance you’re one of two people—you either wear the same fragrance your whole life, or you change it all the time.
For body I sleep in Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose, and I’m obsessed with it. My legs are like peeling off right now, but that is an amazing body scrub. It’s dry, so you can control how much water you add to it, if you want a lather, or whatever. That is my body hero—I’m obsessed with it. And I use Body Hero, too. [Laughs]
Every single day, morning and night, I use Deborah Lippmann’s cuticle oil. It’s incredible—that’s my key to healthy nails. I always have something fun on them. About once a month I go to Elena at Marie Nails, or Vanity Projects, to get them done. I’m like a psycho, I follow every single nail account on Instagram, and I put photos of the nails that I like in a folder. Then I’ll show [the nail technician] the folder when I want to do something next. I think nails really complete the look.”
—as told to ITG
Bec Wilson photographed by Tom Newton in New York on November 24, 2018.