The Small-Town Event Planner Whose Lipstick Never Feathers


The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

“Hey hey! My name’s Andrea (@write_editrix), I’m almost 42 years old and I live in St. Marys in southwestern Ontario. We cheekily call our quirky, busy little town of approximately 7,000 the Stars Hollow of Canada. I am the events coordinator here, and in a normal year I’m in charge of planning, promoting and running events like street fairs and Christmas light displays. I also own a funeral home with my husband—we joke that I plan the happy parties in town and he plans the sad ones.

I’ve had my current job for just over two years, but my background is actually in journalism. I went to university in Ottawa for Journalism and Communications, and when I graduated became a fashion editor. Despite this dream position, I wasn’t happy. I suffered from debilitating migraines and my husband and I rarely saw each other because we were both working so hard. In 2003 we decided to move out of the city—we bought the funeral home, and I became a reporter for the local newspaper. From covering town council meetings to taking pictures of giant tomatoes, it was a fascinating way to learn about my new home. After my daughter was born I switched to being the weekly recipe columnist, which left me with more free time on my hands. I volunteered more around town, learning by doing, and eventually became in charge of events. Despite having most of the town’s upcoming events canceled or postponed, I’m still busy with work. My writing and social media skills are being put to good use! But the good news is there are few COVID cases in our community, and we’re safe and secure.

I’ve still been doing my makeup routine every weekday morning. The routine adds a sense of normalcy to my day, and since we live above the funeral home, it helps to be presentable if someone stops by. You know how heritage brands riff on the same concept for decades or even centuries, and if they move away from this, they falter? My look is a heritage brand—it hasn’t changed much since I began experimenting with makeup almost 30 years ago. My first lipstick purchase was Covergirl’s Bistro Burgundy, a perfectly early-‘90s earthy berry that I would probably still wear today. You’ll never see me with a very dark eye and pale lip, nor a very bronzy, monochromatic J. Lo face—one has too much contrast, the other, not enough. I need pink tones to literally look alive!

Clear lip liner is a staple for me, and right now I’m using Sephora’s version. As a perpetual lip purser, this keeps my lipstick or gloss from migrating into the creases. MAC’s Hot Tahiti [Ed note: discontinued] is my platonic lipstick ideal—neutral, but present. I’m also loving a coat of Nars Dolce Vita pencil followed by Charlotte Tilbury’s Adore gloss, and come summer, I’m all about the coral Dior Lip Glow. I’m devoted to the Nars Portofino multiple in the summer, but come winter, a Make Up For Ever dusty rose cream blush gives me an ethereal ice princess glow. A tidy brow, some Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara, and a flick of Stila Stay All Day liquid liner in Dark Brown make me feel most like myself. For fancy occasions, MAC Handforged [Ed note: discontinued] gives me a good bronzey smudge, and Stila’s liquid eyeshadow in Kitten is so glowy. Both last impressively long. I’m on my second pot of Laura Mercier’s Secret Concealer—its combination of moisture and long-lasting coverage is perfect. And I think I’m on my third compact of Smashbox Halo powder, which somehow adds glow while reducing shine.

My hair color is usually au naturale, save two summers ago when my daughter and I went bright fuchsia. We hid inside for the remainder of that fine summer day, shocked by the brightness. I have lots of hair, but it’s so fine that it’s finicky. I generally have a variation of a layered bob that lands somewhere between my chin and my shoulders. I like the no-brainer giant bottles of Aveda Shampure shampoo and conditioner—they’re reliable and last forever—and a purple shampoo every few days keeps the rust from our old Victorian house’s pipes off my hair. When I get out of the shower, I have to wrap my hair in a turban towel for half an hour before I blow dry it to get any volume. Living Proof Full Thickening Cream adds enough oomph without hold or stickiness, and Ouai’s volume spray does the same but with a nice fluffiness.

I believe in preventative skincare—it’s not about looking younger as much as like the best version of myself. In the morning and nighttime, I begin with Cerave Hydrating Cleanser and then use a moisturizing toner or essence (currently it’s Dr. Jart Ceramidin.) This step has literally kept my skin attached to my face through cold Canadian winters and adds a nice plumpness the rest of the time. I’ve worn SPF 30 daily since my teens, and Olay Sensitive SPF 30 Daily Moisturizer is truly an unsung hero. It absorbs nicely, plays well with makeup, and protects.

At night, after the Ceramidin comes retinol, which I like because it treats all my skin concerns and has a long track record of success. Right now, I’m using The Ordinary’s Granactive 2%. I’ll follow it with a coat of the Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask. You’re only supposed to use it occasionally, but I use it every night because it feels so lovely. I’ve even gotten my sensitive-skinned husband to use it! Ideally, once a week I also have a spa night. After a wash and steam over the sink, I do an exfoliating mask like the gentle yet effective Caudalie Glycolic Peel mask, and then a charcoal mask to really suck everything out. I tend to go for Origins’ Clear Improvement Honey Charcoal Mask, the gentler sister to the amazing original. My skin looks and feels like perfection the next day.

When we moved to this small town, I made my health a priority by slowing down. I walk my daughter to school most days, and cook from scratch most nights. My husband and I often exercise together—I find there’s something deeply connecting about that. In the winter, I like to go to the weekly badminton night at our high school, do a mix of cardio and weights at our local Y, or do Aquafit at the pool. Don’t laugh! My arms have never looked more toned. When it’s warm out, my town is blessed with great trails, a gentle river that's perfect to paddleboard on, awesome tennis courts that I helped rebuild, and hills that make a great workout for one's ass. I like variety, but I am truly a master of none.

I’ve now been working from home for six weeks, and the biggest change has been in my exercise routine. I’ve signed up to Yoga International and do an hour-long class three to four times a week, and occasionally drop in to my husband’s Zoom cardio kickboxing class. But our sweet little miniature dachshund Agnes is getting tired of her frequent walks—she’s almost 14 and would prefer to nap in the sun.

As practical as I am, I find the world of perfume fascinating and love smelling good. I have almost found my signature scent, or at least my signature notes! Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb is incredibly cozy (but not cloying), L'Artisan Parfumeur Bucoliques De Provence smells like melting snow or falling leaves, and when I actually want perfume in the summer, I go for Chanel’s Gardenia. Heat and humidity turn it into something incredibly sexy and rich. I typically don’t subscribe to inspirational quotes, but Coco Chanel once said ‘elegance is refusal’ and this lingers with me. With each passing year I feel more confident in my fashion and beauty choices, and my personality as a whole. There is definitely something to be said for knowing when to refuse what doesn’t feel true to you.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author