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“Hi there! I’m Victoria Reed (@victoriareed), writing from my current home in Mexico City. I’m a musician and a singer-songwriter, which means that my work life often intersects with what I do for pleasure and vice versa. I’m always writing away at my piano, in the studio recording, out on the road playing shows, or otherwise staying busy hustling. My new album comes out later this week, so I’ve been working on becoming an expert in all things home recording and adapting to the world of live stream concerts and Zoom interviews. As a musician and performer, being seen is really just part of the job description.
I grew up with a pretty glam mom (she was a Playboy Bunny back in the day!), so I was allowed to experiment and play with beauty from a very young age. I can remember going all out dressing up as Geri Halliwell for my best friend’s Spice Girls themed birthday party—I’m talking full makeup, false lashes, red tinted hair, unreasonably long fake nails, and giant turquoise foam platforms at least three sizes too big for my tiny child feet. I looked totally ridiculous, but felt amazing. Looking back to the ‘90s glory days is still a major source of inspiration, and I’ll always love a good XXL band tee or platform shoe. But now, if something is itchy or otherwise uncomfortable, forget it. I’m always seeking to find a balance between flair, comfort, playfulness and practicality.
I decided a few years back to switch over to almost all natural beauty products, and the switch actually resolved some hormone related health issues I was suffering from for years. I’m no doctor, but I highly recommend anyone suffering from fibrocystic breasts or other premenstrual issues to give it a try. You might think deodorant is the hardest natural product to transition to, but I can say with a totally straight face that the one from Nala Care in the scent Detox is magical. It’s aluminum free, yet surprisingly effective—the peppermint and activated charcoal makes this amazing cooling effect when I sweat, even hours after application. Plus, it smells like a spa. I actually catch myself lifting an arm up to catch a refreshing whiff every once in a while. I don’t think I’ll ever use another deodorant.
For my skin, I start with the coconut cleanser by Yucatan Senses, which is technically a body wash. I ran out of my usual facial cleanser and, in a pinch, started using this stuff on my face. For the first time since middle school, I’ve barely had a blemish in weeks. So even though it might be a skincare sin, I’m sticking with it! Then, instead of moisturizer, I use The Mist by Nucifera. I find it to be a great alternative to regular moisturizer for my sometimes-oily-sometimes-dry combination skin. It’s gentle and hydrating, balances excess oil, and has the perfect amount of spritz per spray (very important). My absolute favorite skincare product is Tata Harper’s Restorative Eye Crème. I use it around my eyes and on a line between my brows that came in pretty loud and proud at 29. It’s on the pricey side, but less expensive than Botox. Within two weeks of using it, the line between my brows was completely invisible and my eyes looked dewier and more supple than they had in my early twenties! And whereas most eye creams tend to irritate the eczema that likes to flare up around my eyes, this product actually soothes it. I then use my refrigerated Skin Gym facial roller for an added dose of cooling and calming. But when I’m due for a little extra pore cleaning, I turn to my trusty one-two mask combination. Origins Clear Improvement leaves me with a clean skin feeling and noticeably tightened pores, and then I use the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, which adds a noticeable glow and softness.
I’ve dealt with hormonal acne for almost two decades now—I’ve considered doing some kind of laser treatment, but I’m too afraid to go through with it. I have this fear of accidentally making my scars worse, or something going horribly wrong. So for now, I’m sticking with the virtually risk-free plan of acceptance and makeup. I don’t always feel like baring my breakout ridden face to the world, so I give myself full permission to cover up as I please. I used to wish I was one of those women who had no desire or need to wear makeup, but maybe it’s OK that I feel more like myself with a bit of makeup on. Feeling beautiful helps lay a foundation for me to feel confident on stage and comfortable in front of a camera, and my getting ready routine is almost a meditative act at this point. I find it empowering to have some kind of control over my appearance.
After searching high and low for the right natural brands to replace my usual makeup shades, I’ve yet to find anything that quite measures up. Some sacrifices must be made! For the past eight years I've worn the same lip color almost every day, and at this point it feels more like my lip color than my actual lip color. First, I apply Lancôme's foundation stick to neutralize my natural color, and then I follow it with Revlon’s Va Va Violet, which I apply with my finger and blot off with tissue. It’s a deep dark purple, but with the way I apply it, it ends up looking like a very lowkey berry hued lip stain. I add a light dab of Charlotte Tilbury’s Secret Salma to the center to finish, and voilà! For my eyes, I like to draw a slight wing with Revlon’s liquid liner in Black Brown. Black eyeliner always ends up looking blue on my skin, so I always opt for something warmer instead. I used to be into lash extensions, but found that I much prefer the freedom and comfort of an extension-less lid. Now I give my lashes a quick curl with a Shiseido eyelash curler instead, which works so well I don’t even need mascara. I haven’t tweezed my brows since I was a teenager and don’t think I ever will again. To enhance them, I use Benefit’s Gimme Brow gel, which has little fibers in it for a natural, filled-in effect.
I’ve had bangs for about 90-percent of my life. I’ve tried growing them out, but by the time they get long enough to tuck behind my ears, I just don’t feel like myself. The only problem is that I have a pretty pronounced cowlick, which means I can’t just let my bangs air dry without looking like Joe Dirt. Instead of styling them into submission with hot tools, I have this totally genius trick. I simply slide my satin eye mask from Catbird over them like a headband while they dry, and by the time I’m fully made up and dressed, they’re perfectly styled to drape in just the right way across my forehead. I wonder how many former bang-havers would happily still have them had they only known."
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author