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 Emely (@emelygee). I currently manage influencer partnerships for MAC Cosmetics North America. I was recently brought onto the team to help develop and implement the U.S influencer marketing strategy. This includes strategizing on key messaging we send to consumers via influencer marketing, ideating creative concepts for the talent to bring to life, and ensuring our campaigns and castings are culturally relevant. Because of this, I am constantly searching for relevant and fresh creators to partner with, which is probably my favorite part of the job. I enjoy finding creative ways to collaborate with creators who aren’t necessarily expected to be partnering with a beauty brand but in a way that tells a story for both the creator and the brand. Before working in beauty, I worked for my friend and mentor, Shiona Turini, one of the most talented stylists, costume designers, and consultants in the biz. I was lucky enough to support her on various projects, from styling Beyonce’s “Formation” music video to creative consulting for brands like Dior and Oscar De La Renta. It allowed me to hone in on what I enjoyed most within the industry and paved the way for my next move into influencer marketing.
My mom grew up in the Dominican Republic in a low-income family. Because of her upbringing, she did not have many options for beauty products, but she made the best of her situation and taught herself beauty hacks and how to look put together on a budget. She has passed on a wealth of beauty knowledge and advice to my sisters and me. Growing up, I remember watching her perform her simple yet effective skincare routine and me sitting next to her asking her a million questions. I, of course, used to steal her makeup and attempt to give myself a makeover, mainly to look like JLo or Aaliyah, although it always looked like a hot mess. She used to tell us, ‘What if the house burned down while we were at the grocery store? How you look in this moment is all you would be left with.’ This is a typical Caribbean parent saying and a bit overboard. Still, it stuck with me, so now my partner must constantly remind me while running errands that it ‘is not always a fashion show.’ My mom saved me - or tried to - from so many beauty regrets, like getting my eyebrows done at a nail salon in the 8th grade. Of course, I did not listen and ended up with thin brows for years.
For my skincare, I use Cetaphil Daily Facial cleanser; from there, I either use the Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Water or the Dior Hydra Life Micellar Water to remove any excess makeup. For daytime, I use the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream or Belief The True Cream Aqua Bomb and EltaMD on top for the days I am outside and in the sun. My skin is super sensitive and does not need much, so I try to keep it light and simple for the daytime.
For the nighttime, once or twice a week, I apply the Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment or, very rarely, the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. On the days I am not using those, I use the Sunday Riley Luna Night Oil, which is probably my favorite skincare product. Not only does it leave your face feeling soft as ever, but it also has a small amount of retinol in it, so it helps with anti-aging without irritating the skin for sensitive skin gals like me. During the wintertime, or if I have a sunburn, I always finish off my routine with the Dior Cica Recover Balm. It’s thick and has the gentlest chamomile scent, so it helps soothe dry or irritated skin. I even put it on weird dry patches I get on my body during the winter, and it makes all the difference. This is another product I probably couldn’t live without.
For makeup, I try to keep it as natural and glowy as possible. During my time at MAC, I discovered the Studio Radiance Face and Body Foundation, which has changed my life. Whenever I put it on with the Glow Play Blush in ‘So Natural,’ at least one person tells me I look like I just got home from vacation or that I’m glowing, It’s my new go-to combo topped with a bit of Jones Road ‘The Face Pencil’ for concealing, and Diorshow Pump ‘n’ Brow to tame my curly brows. For the lip, I add some MAC lip liner in a neutral color like Whirl or Oak, topped with a neutral gloss. My lips are naturally super pink, so I try to tone them down a bit with neutral tones. To finish off, I always go in with Benefit They’re Real Mascara, which is one of my favorite makeup products of all time. I have put so many people, including my entire friend group, onto this mascara because when you wear it, it truly looks like I have lash extensions on. If I’m going for a more dramatic “falsies” look, I go for MAC’s newly viral MACSTACK Mascara. I don’t do this every day, but when going out or going to a work event, I always add a lightly feathered out small wing that I create with brown eyeshadow. I am currently trying to be a bit more creative and experimental with my makeup. I see so many cool looks that I have saved to try and feel like I need to expand my makeup horizons, especially given that I have enough makeup to open a small store.
Haircare is a huge part of Dominican culture hence my life-long obsession with hair products. I remember returning from spending my summers in the Dominican Republic with tubs of different hair products that you couldn’t find in the states. My mom and favorite aunt were also hairdressers, so that added more fuel to the fire. They taught my sisters and me how to make homemade natural hair masks with things like Aloe Vera, avocado, olive oil, nutmeg, and even mayonnaise at times. I still implement these learnings into my haircare routine today. Since my curly hair is still recovering from 10 years of being platinum blonde, I try to be as careful as possible. I mask with my Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Mask once a week. Depending on how my hair feels, I may add honey, olive oil, or avocado; it gives it some extra moisture. I then wash (only once a week to retain moisture) and layer with my hair stylist’s (@thesunnyalchemist) Lumiere Vive Organic’s Strength and Grow Hair Oil. This oil has truly saved my hair during a time when there was nothing I could do to get it to stop breaking. I typically slick my hair back in a bun on dirty hair days using leave-in conditioner and Eco Styler Gel. The kids today call it a “model-off-duty bun,” which would’ve boosted my middle school self's confidence after wearing it for years only because my hair was dirty.
I’m not denying that social media has a way of warping our reality and setting impossible beauty standards, especially for the younger generation. Still, I think because I am behind the scenes and know how the content is curated/edited, I try not to let it affect me. I am grateful to live in the age of social media; it inspires me and has taught me much. Now I’m not telling you to run off and listen to what everyone on TikTok’s beauty philosophies are, but it has helped me learn many tips and tricks on skincare, makeup, and haircare. It’s also particularly special to experience people of color’s creativity and interpretations of beauty amplified on social media after the media's long history of not doing so.
It sounds basic, but just do what makes YOU and your body happy. If you like extenuating your natural beauty and using minimal makeup, do it. If you love a full beat and expressing your current mood through makeup, go for it.
My entire family is from the Dominican Republic, and I grew up in Florida, so the beach is my happy place. It is my favorite way to decompress when the weather permits. During the wintertime, when being outside is almost unbearable because of the cold, I like to come home from a workout, complete my whole skincare routine, use my Gua Sha, and give myself a facial massage. I’ll light the most luxurious candle I own, which is currently the 1986 Home Marble Candle. They smell divine and are the most stunning candles I’ve ever seen. I’ll usually order sushi or make a cute charcuterie board and watch the best show I can find on any streaming service. If I feel overstimulated or have had too much screen time that day, I’ll usually opt for music instead of TV. Stevie Wonder will always do the trick for me.
I’m currently in the process of decorating a new place, so I have found lots of inspiration from vintage and antique furniture shops. I’ve been living on Instagram pages like @midcenturyla and @vandermostmodern to help guide my vintage furniture search. One of my best friends, Amir, recently put me onto the app Chairish, an online consignment marketplace, and I will say it’s a dangerous place because, naturally, I want everything."