An OG Influencer Who Trusts Herself With A Pot Of Hot Wax


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! I’m Teni (@tenipanosian). I’ve been a content creator since 2012—I started with my blog, Miss Maven, and then went to YouTube. I still think YouTube is where it’s at for beauty tutorials, because long-form is better for instruction and storytelling, but Instagram has been my main focus for the last few years. And Tiktok, which shook things up a little bit (though I do think bite-sized videos are more entertaining than helpful). My interest in beauty started in high school, because I had to do my makeup for dance team competitions. I remember I would beg my family for a Costco makeup set, which included palettes, nail polish, and brushes. This was maybe 1998, and I remember loving to play and discover—I’d be like, ‘Fuschia’s a color? Wow!’ By the time I was in my early 20s, I went to my local Sephora so often that the employees knew me by name.

The bulk of what I do is promote products, but I will never sign an agreement if I haven’t tried the product and believe in it. If it’s a bigger project we’re talking about, I make sure to block out at least an hour to sit down with their entire team to ask questions and figure out how to tell an accurate story. Understanding what my audience responds to has really helped me create more successful campaigns. Plus, it would keep me up at night if I knew that somebody was using their paycheck to buy something that I don’t really think is great. I think that’s why people still trust me in this digital space.

When I did my Top Shelf four years ago I was constantly changing my skincare—now, my beauty philosophy is ‘less is more.’ I’m like the poster child for not over-exfoliating. I’ve always had a lot of little bumps that really annoyed me—I couldn’t even wear highlighter because it made the bumps so obvious. In my 20s I over-exfoliated to try to get rid of them, and it turned my skin kind of leathery. I’m actually glad I went through that, because it led me to start my line Monday Born and create Rebirth, which is a lactic acid serum. People always want to use that as often as possible, but I use it three times a week and my skin finally cleared up. I’m not so particular about masks because it’s more of a self care activity, not something I do to transform my skin. I normally just look for anything that’s hydrating. The last one I tried was by Sulwhasoo, their Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Creamy Mask, and then I did a little bit of jade rolling over it. Outside of that, I get Botox done by KarriAnn Khalil at Ava MD. I love Botox. I used to only get it in my forehead, but more recently I’ve been getting a little bit in my crow’s feet.

I’ve always thought of cleansing as a chore—at the end of the night, I really don’t want to do it. Still, I’ve been double cleansing for at least 10 years. I remember when the Shu Uemura oil came out, and nobody was using it because they didn’t think it made sense. But I’m such a beauty researcher. Logically speaking, oil melts off makeup without having to tug and rip out your lashes, and it probably also conditions them. So now I use my cleansing oil first, emulsify that and rinse, and then use my gentle cleanser. I use Source immediately after, which is an essence. Essences aren’t a western thing at all, and like oil cleansers it’s a category that really confuses people. But I’m very dry, like an iguana, and always looking for ways to make my skin more hydrated and soft. I think the first essence I tried was SK-II. Amorepacific also has a great one called the Vintage Single Extract Essence, and Huxley’s oil-essence hybrid, the Secret of Sahara Oil Essence, is really cool. After an essence I’d use Rebirth if it’s an exfoliation day, and then I use my moisturizer The Seven. I’m very skeptical of eye creams, but I’m testing out Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask right now. Peter Thomas Roth makes one with retinol too, and I found that one to be pretty good.

I don’t wear too much makeup, but when I do, I like my lashes to stand out. The YSL Effet Faux Cils Volumizing Mascara is the mascara—I’ve been using it since before I could afford it. Even with one swipe, you get this intense volume and length. Another one of my favorite products is Dior’s Forever Skin Glow Foundation. I’m olive-skinned, and I have a really really hard time finding a match for my complexion. 4WO is perfect for me. Same with the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation6.5 is very good for medium olive skin. With Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint, my shade is Matira when I’m pale and Papakolea when I’m a little more tan. The Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder is another staple. So pretty. I’m actually such an anti-powder person, but I like that and Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, which I use under my eyes and on the sides of my nose so I don’t crease my concealer. There are so many Charlotte Tilbury products I love—the Iconic Nude Lip Cheat is the perfect nude for a little overlining action. Victoria Beckham’s Lip Definer in #2 is another really good nude.

I don’t get my brows done professionally because I know exactly how I want them to look, and the person I go to may or may not get it. So I wax my brows myself. I know how to do it, and I know what I want, so why not? I use a Gigi wax pot. I like that laminated effect, where they look kind of fluffy, and I’ve tried lamination a few times but right now I’m just using the Persona Swipe Up Brow Gel. My natural hair texture is wavy-curly and extremely frizzy. I like to style it in loose waves, so I’ll blow it straight with a paddle brush and then put curls in it with a one-inch barrel from Target. This is the lazy, broke girl’s guide to beauty. I wish I had the time to go to the nail salon, eyebrow salon, hair salon… but even if I did, I’d probably just read a book.

I take Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omega-3 Fish Oil, which is the only fish oil I actually want to take—it’s peach-mango flavor, and it’s great. I also cook a lot, which is for health but also sustainability. Every time I order in, I feel so bad about all the plastic packaging. I have a peach tree, a fig tree, a pomegranate tree, a lemon tree, and an orange tree in my backyard, and think of gardening as a spiritual experience, because it takes so much patience. My trees all have names, and I stand out there talking to them like a lunatic. I also have five rescue dogs: a chihuahua named Bambi, a dachshund-chihuahua mix named Keiko, a beagle-dachshund named Zelda, a probably yorkie-maltese mix Pepe, and Piglet, who’s either an Italian greyhound mixed with chihuahua or a rat terrier. Being with my dogs and family, just sitting around, is when I’m my most relaxed.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author