You know the #ITGTopShelfie—our interview series that shares the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Now we're taking you into the bathrooms, cabinets, and makeup bags of some of Glossier’s own. These folks work in beauty, and they bring to the table lots of capital-t Thoughts about it. Submit yours on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“I’m Kata (@kataknez). I’m currently in Chicago, where I grew up, but I normally live in Brooklyn. I miss going for a cheap massage, grabbing a scoop of Van Leeuwen pistachio ice cream on my way home, and then making some spaghetti pomodoro. But what I miss the most is the people I met at work! At Glossier I’m a paid media manager, running digital ads and then evaluating how they performed. It’s not the sexiest job, but it’s cool to watch someone’s path to buying something on the internet. There’s a lot more happening than you may think.
I used to read ITG articles on my high school library computers and would try to picture the girl I’d become when I was an adult living in New York—would I wear a ton of mascara? Or always have a red lip? I admire those looks still and love watching YouTube makeup tutorials, but they don’t feel very me. Instead, I’m inspired by my mom, whose medicine cabinet has maybe five things in it but is the most naturally beautiful woman I know. I truly believe she could have been a ‘90s supermodel if she didn’t have her hands full with five kids under eight years old at the time. My mom grew up in a village in Croatia, and her approach to beauty is really straightforward, and about working with what you have. As a young teen, I didn’t understand why she was so against me waxing my eyebrows and wearing a lot of makeup, but now I totally get it. I feel the most myself with less makeup and undone hair, and I want my effortless look to actually require less effort. On average, I get ready in 20 minutes max.
I focus on what I’m going to wear in the morning more than I ever would on makeup or hair. For the most part I only buy vintage. It’s more sustainable, but I also love knowing that there is only one of whatever I have and somehow it landed in my hands. I spend hours on the internet looking for gems—I’d describe my style as something tight somewhere, and have some finds I’m very proud of. I wore an orange chiffon Roberto Cavalli gown from 1999 to my sister's wedding, which is probably my favorite. The one that got away was a Vivienne Westwood dress I favorited on 1stdibs. After it sold, I saw that Kim Kardashian wore the same dress to Diddy’s 50th birthday party. I should have bought it.
Before I started working in the beauty space, my skincare routine was super simple. I have had acne (full blown, hormonal cystic acne that’s required a lot of medicine and treatments) since I was 14 and I kind of gave up on having amazing skin. With so many product options, I’ve come to think every new thing I try needs to outperform what I already like, and nothing ever seems good enough. I want to learn to appreciate my skin even when it’s just fine—it doesn’t need to be perfect. Actually, one big pimple or a newly visible wrinkle teaches me that fine is more than enough.
For about a year I have been using an acne starter kit version of Biologique Recherche products. I’ve started to get compliments on how glowy and dewy my skin looks, so I’m sticking with it. I use Lait U to cleanse, followed by a cocktail of serums in the morning: first the Serum Complexe Iribiol to control my breakouts and then Serum Extraits Tissulaires to hydrate and soothe. In the heat, I use Gel ADN Silkgen during the day and seal it all in with Serum Fluide VIP O2. When I’m not wearing makeup, I use the tinted Elta MD sunscreen. My skin tans very easily, so I like that the tint adds some color to my face to match my body. At night, I repeat my morning routine but skip the SPF and add P50 1970 to exfoliate. I also mix in some Serum Placenta, which is helping me get rid of a lot of dark scars. To moisturize, I use Creme Dermopurifiante. I also mask with Masque Vivant two to three times a week, and one of those times I mix it with baking soda. Diana at Rescue Spa said to do it—it helps give the mask a boost and my pores a deeper clean. And if I’m feeling extra dry or have an event coming up, I use Dr. Jart’s Ceramidin sheet mask. It makes my skin look very plump, which kind of fills in the scars. It’s a perfect primer.
I don’t really use makeup brushes—I prefer to use my fingers. Back when I was going to the office, I’d start with a rice grain amount of It Cosmetics CC Cream in Medium, which looks nicer as the day goes on. I add Nudestix cream blush in In the Nude and Sunkissed to my cheeks, forehead-slash-hairline area, and the tip of my nose so it looks like I was in the sun. In fourth grade a teacher thought I went on vacation when I had stolen my sister’s Physicians Formula bronzer—it does the trick even today, but I like Chanel Soleil Tan better. Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Custard goes under my eyes, and I blend to fade it into my cheeks. I don’t get my brows done or pluck them, and I like when they look untamed and thick—my dad gave me these brows. But I do use a little Black Boy Brow with most of the product wiped off the brush, just to give my brows a little color. After that, I must line my lips with either MAC lipliner in Oak, or Charlotte Tilbury’s Iconic Nude. I wish my lips were permanently lined. Gen G in Like is in all my bags, because it adds just a little bit of color and the matte texture makes it look natural. And I only wear mascara when I have an event (taking it off is such a process), but I still keep Lash Slick or L’Oréal Voluminous mascara on hand.
My hair has always been super long with a slight wave, and I only cut it once or twice a year. I’ve been going to the same hairdresser since 2008, when I was an eighth grader who wanted Victoria’s Secret Angel hair. Ashley at Salon Buzz in Chicago still cuts it the same way today. And I pretty much only wear it in three styles throughout the week. The first is just down and natural with the volume that comes with sleeping with it slightly damp. The next day I use a clip (I have one of these in every bag) to pull the top part back and leave my front pieces falling around my face. Think Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I could do that for another day if I add some dry shampoo or something like the Oribe volumizing powder to make sure my hair isn’t flat. Or I might throw it all up in a clip like Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich. On the last day before washing, I do what my sister calls my ‘police officer bun.’ I put some jojoba oil in my hair and start brushing it back with a boar bristle brush. Once it’s back and smooth, I tie it into a low ponytail with a soft scrunchie. Then I make a bun and tie that again with another scrunchie. It gives me the right amount of tightness, and the scrunchies prevent any pieces from getting caught and hurting my head. And the jojoba oil nourishes my hair until I wash it out. If you did the math on that, you noticed I wash my hair twice a week. I’ll use whatever in the shower as long as it’s not a super moisturizing shampoo, and I always comb it wet with a big wide-tooth comb.
I started painting my nails when I was five, and a lot of my baby dolls have the evidence on them. But now I’m really good at it! I even did my sisters' nails for their weddings. My friend Priscilla and I call our nails ‘the girls,’ and my girls come and go. I like to keep them as long as possible, but they need humidity or a lot of care to stay super strong. I use winter to moisturize more and take a break from polish. I found this nail strengthener from Eveline Cosmetics at a Croatian pharmacy one summer and it works wonders. When I am wearing polish, I try to do my nails once a week. I usually file them into a square shape, then buff so the tips aren’t sharp. The smooth edge helps your nail polish stick. I don’t cut my cuticles because that makes them grow back like weeds, but if I do need to trim a straggler, I use a cuticle stone instead. And if you soak your nails with some ACV, water, and essential oils, dead skin and cuticles come off easily. You end up with whiter nails, too. Then I do a layer of Seche Vite base coat and usually use a red, pink, or nude polish. My ultimate nude nail is one coat of Essie’s Adore-A-Ball with a coat of Mademoiselle on top. It is just enough color but still very natural. I finish with Seche Vite’s Gel Effect top coat. The most fun is when I have nail parties with my friends. When everyone leaves, my apartment smells like a salon.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author