The Celebrity Stylist Who Uses Ice Cubes As Cleanser


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.

“Hi! My name is Allison Bornstein (@allisonbornstein6). I am originally from Michigan, and now I live in Bedstuy, Brooklyn where I work as a stylist. My job is all about making people feel good. I work with celebrities for appearances, and help nurture their personal style by creating looks that are genuine to their tastes. I find that's when people feel their best. I also do the same exact thing for non-famous women, and recently launched FaceTime styling sessions. I had the idea at the beginning of COVID, with the dual intention of raising money for the Food Bank of NYC during the pandemic and giving women permission and space to escape their lives. We often think of fashion as an intimidating, elitist industry—and it is in so many ways. I want to create a warm, safe, judgment-free space where women are encouraged to take the time to actually think about what they wear and why. I don’t think we allow ourselves permission to think about these things (especially in times of crisis!) because it feels shallow or unimportant. But I also think that we do our best work when we feel confident about what we're wearing. Fashion can be an incredible tool for wellness if we use it for good, and not evil! My favorite thing is helping someone find a formula for dressing that not only makes getting dressed easy, but also makes them feel powerful, strong, and confident.

Similar to my styling philosophy, I don’t think you need a ton of things… just the right things. Once you find what works for you, it’s nice to nurture that. I always have my nails and toenails painted CND Dark Lava Shellac, because I like the way it looks with my skin tone and my rings. I’ve been doing that for six years. In terms of makeup and hair, I have pretty much always had the same general look (for better or worse). I've gone through phases where I try a cat eye or think, ‘I am going to be someone who wears lipstick,’ but it just never feels quite right. It’s the same thing I tell my clients when it comes to clothing: it is so amazing to admire and be inspired by something on someone else, but it’s important to know yourself and what works for you. Of course, figuring that out takes a lot of experimenting and trial and error! Personally, I feel most like myself when I go a little more natural. Because I'm so focused on clothing, I try to keep my beauty look really minimal and sort of undone. I like the idea of that balance.

I have been so lucky to have so many beauty insiders in my life. One of my first New York roommates, Jayme Cyk, was a beauty editor at Womenswear Daily when we lived together. Jayme would bring home the most amazing new beauty products, and our small apartment was always filled to the brim with fancy candles that we couldn’t afford, unreleased Chanel nail polish, and eyelash growing serums. I am a very curious person, and I wasn't afraid to experiment with beauty, ask a lot of questions, and try new things. Although, when Jayme moved to LA, I realized that all these products I was getting for free were NOT in my budget! I was left with an addiction for Aedes de Venustas perfumes, Tata Harper creams, Tom Ford eyeshadows, Frédéric Malle hair mists and La Mer hand lotion... which led to a lot of strategic rationing.

I also met the makeup artist Violette early in my career, and styled her for her first YouTube video! I really didn’t understand the concept of her videos at first, but once we did the first one I knew they were going to be huge. Collaborating with Violette has taught me so much about the intersection between beauty and fashion and the ways we can inspire each other. Sometimes she’ll let me know the beauty concept for a video before I pull looks, but other times she lets the fashion inspire the beauty. I look up to her so much and really feel lucky to have her as a mentor.

I am a very regimented person, but my skin is pretty good, so it took me a really long time to figure out a skincare routine. Neada, the founder of Lesse, was just on my YouTube channel and told me that an esthetician recommended she rub an ice cube on her face when she feels a zit, or in the morning instead of cleansing. I have done that every morning since she told me, and I think it has helped with puffiness. Then, I use the Tata Harper Illuminating Moisturizer—I like anything that says illuminating. I just got an Adipeau Fat Balance Activator cream that is supposed to help skin achieve proper balance, and though I haven’t seen results yet, I’m optimistic. At night, I use the Doctor Rogers Face Wash and then circulate between a few serums. I like Omorovicza products a lot, and use their Miracle Facial Oil, Reviving Eye Cream and Illuminating Moisturizer.

For some reason, I'm more precious about my body skin then my face skin. I love to use a ton of oils. I was told by an Ayurvedic healer that, because I'm sensitive to my surroundings and the energies of others, I should use body oils as a barrier to protect myself. I love the Costa Brazil Kaya Jungle Firming Oil and the body oil from F. Miller. I used to wear the Aesop spray deodorant, which smells great—my fiancé still uses it, actually—but I wanted a more dynamic scent mixture. Now I base all of my product curations on my fragrance. For example, I wear Frédéric Malle’s Carnal Flower almost every day, and I like the way it mixes with my Corpus Rose deodorant. If I do that, then I’ll go for an unscented lotion. I use a lot of the Nécessaire one, and if my fragrance isn’t too complicated I mix it with a few drops of the F. Miller oil before applying because I love the way it smells. In the summer or when I’m on vacation, I opt for the Fleur D'Oranger from Le Labo and complement it with the Corpus N° Green deodorant. They smell so nice together. I like to use a different scent on vacations because then memories become attached to it. I brought the Fleur D'Oranger to Martha’s Vineyard so now when I spray it in Brooklyn, it reminds me of our trip. It is so amazing how that works!

I am so inspired by the ‘70s with what I wear, and I feel like that spills over into beauty as well—I like that bronzey, glowy look. I have tried almost every tinted moisturizer from the highest end to lowest end and my favorite is L'Oréal Infallible Pro-Glow in 206 Buff Beige. I usually put it on, then use a tissue to wipe it off my nose. Violette once said in a video to avoid putting foundation on your nose because then it looks like you aren’t wearing any makeup, and that really stuck with me. I then use Too Faced bronzer on my cheeks and forehead, and use an eyeshadow brush to apply it on my eyelids and under my eyes. It all kinds of blends nicely and is an easy way to achieve a really effortless look. In the summer, when I'm a little more tan, I use the Kosas Golden Bronze in Medium instead. Then, when I want to look a little fancier, I take some Vaseline and put a little bit on my lids to make them look shiny, dark, and glossy. It’s the perfect car trick—I apply it over the makeup I’ve been wearing all day without a mirror, and then take any excess Vaseline and use it as a little highlight on my cheeks. I use Lancôme Hypnôse mascara on the top and bottom eyelashes, and skip the eyebrow pencil. I get my brows done by Jimena and in between appointments I try not to touch them at all—she does such an amazing job that I never have to use any makeup on them. I haven’t been able to see her in a while so right now I use Anastasia Beverly Hills clear gel on my brows to tame them a little. I also live and die by the Dr. Devgan Lip Plump. It makes my lips tingle, brings some natural color into them, and gives me that glossy look without feeling sticky.

I have really fine, kind of boring hair. It doesn’t really hold a style so I don’t have many options! I am also one of those people who shampoos and conditions my hair every day. I've tried to stop but I can’t—I know it’s bad, but it feels good to me. When I get out of the shower, I use a detangler meant for babies from The Honest Co. because my hair gets so tangled (even after conditioner, and with a Wet Brush). I also recently got an amazing brush from Crown Affair. Dianna Cohen, the founder of the company, told me to think of my hair as silk—as someone who loves silk and takes such good care of her silk garments, that really hit home. Now I obsessively brush my hair before bed and in the morning.

I also just started coloring my hair—at age 30! I saved about 100 photos of women with blonde hair and then went to Courtney at Kinloch. She flipped through all my photos, laughed at the photo of a six-year-old I had in there (who was obviously a natural blonde) and was honest with me about what was and wasn’t possible. I was super nervous while she foiled my hair, but the result was exactly what I wanted. She totally understood that I’m not someone wants do a lot of upkeep and leaned into the lived-in look. Courtney is the absolute best and I cannot recommend her enough!

I love reality TV. It is such an escape for me, but it’s also such a good vehicle for me to observe the way women wear clothing! Of course I love looking at magazines and watching runway shows, but what really inspires me are the choices women make in their daily lives. I also like seeing how those choices affect the way they act and, similarly, how others act towards them. Those Real Housewives make some bold fashion choices! I love to dissect them. Am I just trying to justify my reality TV obsession? Maybe.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author