Purple Blush Is The Sleeper Hit Your Makeup Routine

It’s time purple blush gets the recognition it deserves. It’s beautiful! It’s versatile! It’s especially flattering on people of color. If you’ve never thought to try one before, at least hear us out.

Why it works

It goes without saying (though we’ll say it for good measure) that anyone can wear any color they want. If purple’s your favorite color, and you want to wear it on your cheeks, it works because purple’s your favorite color and you want to wear it on your cheeks. Moving on.

If you need some more convincing, we can also get technical. “You’ll typically look best with a purple blush if you have a yellow undertone because it’s a complementary color to your skin,” explains Fenty Beauty Global Makeup Artist, Priscilla Ono. Ever notice how some brightening primers have a lavender tinge? That’s because purple is opposite to yellow on the color wheel, and when combined in equal doses, the two hues cancel each other out. Both golden and olive undertones can veer sallow when you’re tired, and that’s when you’ll see a brightening effect the most. On the other hand, if you punch up the pigment so color sits on top of skin rather than totally blending in, the opposite tones amplify each other. You’ll find that sheer lavender shades end up reading more pink than even pink does, and richer plums add a really natural, glow-enhancing flush, like you’d get from going on a run.

What to buy

You don’t need to have golden undertones to love yourself in purple blush. And actually, says Priscilla, “The best thing about purple blush is that it can be worn by any skin tone—it’s all about finding the right undertones.” For fair skin, she suggests a lighter lilac with a little bit of pink in it, like Em Cosmetics’ Little Lilac, Ere Perez’ Hey, or Clinique’s Pansy Pop.

Medium to tan skin tones should choose a violet-y fuschia, like Nars Aroused, Lorac’s Ultra Violet, or Glossier Cloud Paint in Eve.

And deep skin tones can handle the true purples—Nudestix blush in Moodie Blu, Rare Beauty’s Faith, and Dehiya’s Warrior are good examples. If all that sounds confusing, you can also just go with Priscilla’s favorite universal shade, the Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in the shade Drama Cla$$. Don’t be intimidated by its blue-ish tone in the pan. “It starts sheer on skin and turns into a pinky-violet shade that was designed to suit all skin tones.”

How to use it

There’s no special way you need to use purple blush. Priscilla uses it to shape the face in different ways, just like she would any blush. “If you want a more youthful look, I always say to apply blush to the apples of the cheeks. If you want your cheeks to appear lifted, apply blush where you would typically apply your highlighter. And if you want a more contoured look, I would apply blush in the hollows of the cheeks.” You can also use it to create a soft monochromatic look: purple blush looks beautiful smudged onto lids and lips. But a nude or brown-y mauve lip is also a winning match.

See? Surprisingly wearable! A true sleeper hit. Would you try out purple blush this fall?

Photo via ITG

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The Singer-Songwriter Baking Her Way Through Anxiety

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 Gracie Abrams (@gracieabrams). I’m a singer-songwriter, and writing is my favorite thing. Connecting with people after writing about something super personal feels like such a relief. It’s a very nourishing job. The non-writing related parts of my job… those can feel challenging sometimes. I sing my own songs, and because I struggle with anxiety, the performative and public aspects of that can feel tricky. When I get anxious, I have to just remind myself that I’m so lucky to be able to do this for work. Crazy lucky. My new song ‘Feels Like’ is about living in New York with my best friend. Ordering in SomTum Der is up there on my list of favorite things, and after living in LA for a while, having actual conversations with strangers every day is like heaven. (Even if the conversations aren’t always pleasant.) In LA, strangers like to pretend like you literally do not exist when you pass them on the street.

As a writer, I’m very much compelled by the non-physical—the way relationships, books, and places make me feel. That’s really important for me to remember, because it’s easy to get into a habit of thinking the external is what’s most valuable and beautiful about ourselves. That could not be farther from the truth. I think people spend unnecessary and unhealthy amounts of time on social media looking at the external. The way I feel about the poetry behind my favorite songs is so much more intense than the way I feel after going down the shitty rabbit hole of comparing myself physically to others. Everyone I’ve really idolized in the beauty and fashion world has a bare face, and is just showing themselves. I like that most.

I went to Barnard for college, and when I got there I developed really bad cystic acne. It’s since gone away, and even though I still break out, now I just appreciate that it’s less of a big deal. Anything that’s not cystic acne is literally fine. Another thing that happened when I was in college is that the makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes invited me over to her house for a makeup playdate. That was the most fun—she’s a genius, obviously. Katie turned me onto Augustinus Bader….though I’m not sure if she remembers that. She put their moisturizer on my face, and it made my skin so happy. It took me a while to actually incorporate it into my routine because the price tag is almost unthinkable, but here we are.

When I started being nicer to myself I began feeling a lot more beautiful. I’m sure it looks insane, but I do talk to myself out loud semi-often… That feels like a beauty secret to me. Now, I use a face wash from Christie Kidd that just says ‘clean’ on the bottle. That is exactly how it makes me feel. Next I use the Augustinus Bader Rich Cream, which is like butter for my skin. I know it’s ridiculous, but relying on that cream is massively helpful. After years of cystic acne, finding a product that really does what I need it to do makes me feel generally better. I use the Elta MD sunscreen for acne-prone skin. I fall into that category for sure. And at this point, Boy Brow basically feels like a part of my skincare routine, too. I want huge, messy brows all of the time.

I like feeling boyish with my makeup. Minimal. Most days I use Boy Brow and nothing else, but I’ve also been using Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder recently, because I’m on tour. I truly sweat so much during shows. The Westman Atelier foundation stick is my concealer above all else but also the best foundation if I need it to be. I use my fingers to apply it, and it ends up looking and feeling like skin. I love that the Tower 28 cream blush in Power Hour makes me look sunburnt in a good way and also sort of works as a bronzer. It’s pretty dark and I’m super fair, so a little blended into my cheekbones goes a long way. I truly hate lipstick. But I love lip balm. Ultralip in Trench is the first balm-lipstick hybrid—I actually carry it with me everywhere. It’s the perfect color and makes me feel less dead inside. I also use it on top of my blush as a kind of glossy highlighter situation, and even swipe some right under my brow bone sometimes. (Professionals would probably advise against this but I cannot lie to you, reader.) I also line my lips with Charlotte Tilbury’s Iconic Nude. Finally, my last product is Lash Slick. I don’t wear it every day, but the truth is that it improves my life and I probably should. Even though I have zero French heritage, I feel quite French whenever I wear it.

I keep a tiny rollerball version of Le Labo’s Santal 33 in my bag. It reminds me of LA, which… there’s absolutely nothing wrong with! But I’m much more into their Jasmin 17 scent, which reminds me of the east coast. I have an actual spray bottle of it at home. So far it’s my favorite perfume I’ve ever found. To unwind, I love stretching. It feels like doing therapy on my body, and has helped so massively with my anxiety the past year. The other thing that’s helped my anxiety is baking. I bake a lot. A lot. One of my favorite recipes is the New York Times one for Banana Everything Cookies. I make variations of these constantly—I don’t even look at the recipe anymore, that’s how many times I’ve made them. If you’re looking for cookies to eat for breakfast but also every other time of the day, start here.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author

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This Is The Key Going (Or Staying) Blonde In The Fall

I think everyone should go blonde at least once. Whether or not blondes have more fun is a moot point compared to all the extra attention—an experience worth experiencing. But while going blonde the first time feels like stepping into a foreign land where the shampoo’s always purple and the drinks are always free, going blonde a second time is more like an icy cold rinse. You know the discomfort you’re getting yourself into (long, expensive salon sessions and frizz), but it’s worth it, for the extra shimmer.

I knew I’d never go pure white platinum again, like I did my first time around. I actually didn’t think I’d ever go blonde again, until I saw Margot Robbie on the cover of August’s Vogue. Her hair color was… well, I wasn’t totally sure how to describe it. Bronde? Sandy? Golden? It was perfect. So while everyone around me started creeping deeper and redder for fall, I quietly nursed an obsession: on commutes I saved photos of Sharon Tate, Peggy Lipton, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Uma Thurman. Early in the morning, before my alarm started buzzing, I screenshotted Olsens, Hailey Bieber, Magdalena Frackowiak, and Facebook photos of dirty blonde girls from my highschool. I zoomed in on Lily-Rose Depp. I paused on one surprisingly compelling shot of Dylan Sprouse. None of them were not the same shade of blonde, and none of them quite reflected Robbie’s hue either. But something about them was similar? I couldn’t quite place it, but had faith that a professional could. After I had amassed my dossier, I reached out to colorist Lucille Javier.

I met Lucille when she worked at Sally Hershberger, an old-school editor watering bowl. After cutting her teeth there under notorious blonde-maker Aura Friedman, Lucille took her 15 years of experience to Mark Ryan Salon, a brand new Chelsea space with big, sunny windows and luxe teak accents. I showed up at my appointment with way too many images. (Showing one reference picture to your colorist = helpful, 20 pictures = muddling.) But Lucille was up for the challenge. The through line, it seemed, was that everyone I saved was just… a natural blonde. Their hair already grew out of their heads pretty light, and instead of being bright, beachy, and streaky, it was even and a little bit anemic. In other words, not what most people asked for from their colorist. Which isn’t to say it couldn’t be replicated. Lucille just took an extra second to think before mixing up a concoction.

The next few hours were a chemically-scented blur. As I dug into my bag of pre-packed snacks, slammed on my laptop keyboard, and slurped up iced coffee, Lucille slapped acrid white paste on my hair confidently and quickly. An Edward Scissorhands of bleach! Midway through, after giving my stinging scalp a rinse and satisfying scrub, Lucille showed me what’s essentially a colorist’s underpainting. My hair was not Khaleesi white—actually, it was a little orange, which she explained was kind of the point. She knew if she bleached me further, she’d just have to add in warm tones later; instead, she left some warmth from the bleaching process and worked with it as a base. And that helped her maintain my hair’s integrity, too. If she had left the bleach on for longer, damage was inevitable, and my hair would veer more punk than towhead. Natural hair is glossy; frizzled bleached hair is not.

The next step was adding dimension. Instead of using highlights, Lucille did it with glosses. The tone itself was something she called “wheat.” It was buttery but muted, warm but not brassy, and the exact same contrast level as my skin tone. This was surprisingly flattering: far from washing me out, it made my blue-and-yellow eyes instantly brighter and replaced the redness in my skin with a creamy, milky glow. My roots and ends ended up being slightly darker than the swath of hair from temple to temple, which sounds a bit funny until you remember that’s exactly where the sun hits. And though I’m not sure if anyone would believe I’m a natural blonde, no one would question how perfectly normal it is against my complexion. It doesn’t look like any of the photos I had saved, but it does for me what those shades did for them.

Is that all there is to an autumn blonde, then? Shine, warmth, embracing a little neither-here-nor-thereness. After I posted a photo, my Instagram DMs blew up with messages from women saying that whatever this tone is, it’s making them consider a dunk in bleach for the very first time.

Which brings me back to my original point: you’ve got to go blonde at some point in your life. Season be damned; now’s as good a time as ever.

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG

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The Best Products Team ITG Used All September

*Welcome to Our Favorite Products, a monthly feature in which ITG’s editors discuss our favorite products. They’re the best things we’ve tried all month long, reviewed, photographed, and anthropomorphized before we have the opportunity to get sick of them and move on to something new. This month, you’ll find a few running themes: there are 2 Victoria Beckham products, 4 products under 20 bucks, and at least 3 holy grails. From a mascara that hits every lash, to a serum that brings down mystery zits fast, to a sunscreen that you can pile on, find your next ultra satisfying purchase below. *

I… found my holy grail mascara this month: Victoria Beckham Future Lash. I love a really natural mascara that lengthens, defines, and separates my lashes. The goal is baby lashes: fluttery and soft. And I don’t want to have to use a makeup remover or makeup wipe to take it off. In the past I’ve loved using Lash Slick and Covergirl Clump Crusher, but Kackie’s Youtube video reviewing the best tubing mascaras sold me on trying something new. She deemed Victoria Beckham’s the best middle ground between volumizing and lengthening. The tube is glass, heavy, and luxe, and the brush itself is very small, thin, rounded, and precise: literally my dream applicator. The formula is black and matte, and, obviously, it’s tubing. All I have to do is apply warm water, and the lash tubes literally glide right off still in their pointy lash shapes. It will definitely flake if you rub your eyes, because the tubes break up, but if i don’t touch my eyes I completely forget it’s there. But it builds if you want to, is really lengthening, is slightly volumizing. 10/10.
—Sam Sonntag, Senior Design Manager

They say the eyes are the windows of the soul. If that’s the case, I want those babies bright and well lit! After the devastation of learning my favorite eye cream was being discontinued, I was on the hunt for the next best thing. That’s how I discovered The Inkey List’s Brighten-i Eye Cream. Standing in the Sephora, I was intrigued not only by the price ($10, it’s a steal y’all) but also the unique ingredient callouts. It combines skincare (an ingredient called Brightenyl that’s apparently four times more potent than Vitamin C) and cosmetic (microscopic peachy pearlescent pigments) components to target dark circles and brighten the under-eye area. I’ve been using it for about three weeks, and can literally see the difference in my undereye area. it’s just the best lightweight brightening eye cream! Plus it’s vegan, geared for all skin types, and comes with a metal applicator that glides on perfectly. What started as curiosity is now a guaranteed repurchase.
—Berto Morales-Brown, gTeam Editor

I’m a big fan of Japanese sunscreens, and more specifically Rohto’s. I’ve tried a lot of them before (they’re all great) but last time I was at oo35mm in Chinatown I picked up The Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Essence Gold SPF 50+. It checked all my boxes: powerful UV filters (the ones you can’t find in the USA), high UVA/B protection, no added fragrance, with a non-drying, non-greasy finish. It’s a dreamy lotion-gel that spreads easily and, despite a little alcohol in the formula, doesn’t dehydrate my oily, acne-prone skin. Actually, feels hydrating—it leaves a lightweight sheen that helps me embrace a little glow. I can apply it liberally, as all sunscreens should be applied, using the two-finger rule because it leaves no white cast on my medium skin tone and costs less than $15. Seriously, it’s a great bang for your buck—I can even cut the tube open to get all the product out once it’s nearing its end. It’s the first chemical sunscreen I’ve tried that doesn’t irritate my eyes. Moving forward, I will always have a backup bottle on my top shelf.
—Tiffany Pham, Analyst, Global Supply Management

Lightweight facial oils are the workhorse of transitional skincare. The weather in New York has been a mixed bag, but an oil? Good for all of it. On t-shirt days I’ll press it into damp skin for a sheer sheen of moisture; if I’m layering a sweater and soft blazer on my body, I’ll layer my oil on top of a cream for extra insulation on my face. The one I’ve been returning to over and over lately is this one, from Le Prunier. Mostly because it’s so neutral. Every other oil I have right now has some active element (enzymes, retinoids, bakuchiol) which is cool but less versatile. What is inside is plum seed oil. Nothing else! It’s naturally high in protective antioxidants, and even though it’s full of nourishing fatty acids, it also has a really low comedogenicity rating. (Read: it’s unlikely to clog your pores.) If anything, though, buy this oil because it smells like straight up marzipan. Did you know plums and almonds are closely related? Each time I apply, I make sure to take a long, calming inhale in my palms. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve figured out how to work it into my routine so often.
—Ali Oshinsky

Neutrogena’s Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel took two hours to get rid of a bout of cystic acne I’d been dealing with for months. Seriously. Months! These nightmare pimples dominated my summer: I tried everything, including steroid shots from my dermatologist, and nothing worked to bring them down. A week ago I bought this tube from my local pharmacy in total desperation. The maximum strength packaging had “stubborn acne” written on it and promised to “reduce size and redness in just 2 hours”. But even though we’re talking 10-percent benzoyl peroxide here, it doesn’t feel like a max strength acne gel at all. It’s creamy and soothing, and the 1oz squeeze tube has so much more product than you’ll ever need. I applied a thin layer (anything more than that is too drying and/or results in a white crustiness that’s difficult to rub off) and waited. I have NO IDEA why this worked and other products didn’t. None. I have stared at the ingredients over and over again trying to figure it out, and honestly just think Neutrogena may have made a deal with the devil. After two applications, I looked in the mirror expecting to see more acne and I saw my skin again instead. I cried.
—Melodie Bonnano, gTeam Editor

Ouai x Byredo’s latest collab is as fantastic as I expected. Technically you’re purchasing Byredo’s iconic Mojave Ghost fragrance for 26 bucks. A mega steal! Though this sandalwood-scented leave-in is more than just a pretty face. I’m picky about products, constantly reading ingredients, and I was hesitant to swap Ouai’s into my well-established hair routine. (I’m a loyalist!) Unlike the leave-in conditioners I’d been using in my (2c/3a) curly hair, this one comes in a spray bottle, which… actually makes styling easier. I spray all over, then use a detangling flexi brush for better distribution. It’s also SLS/SLES and cruelty-free, and contains vitamin E, which leaves my hair soft and manageable. And I’ve been getting so many compliments! This is the best leave-in conditioner for those who care about scent AND style.
—Adamarie Laboy, UX Researcher

I love a facial mist in the middle of the workday. After a long stretch of meetings, I’ll reset with a little spritz and feel ready to go again. Am I saying I’ve found bugs in my code because I took a second to spray my face and take a breath? I’m not not saying that! My current favorite is the Youth to the People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist. I have sensitive skin, so I love that this spray is gentle and includes soothing ingredients to reduce redness. But it’s also powerful in that it gives me real hydration from the shea butter and hyaluronic acid. It’s honestly amazing that they pack that stuff in, because the mist itself is super fine and settles really gently on my skin. I love it! In fact, I think it’s about time for another spray right now!
—Courtney Bohrer, Senior Engineer

Against all odds, it’s been a banner year for lip products. My latest obsession is this gloss from Victoria Beckham Beauty. There are two kinds of glosses in my book—cushiony, thick-as-nail-gels glosses, and thin, super glossy, lip oil-adjacent ones. VB’s sits in the latter camp, although I’m partial to either kind, depending on the day. The thing about Posh Gloss is that it’s perfect in every way. It’s not sticky at all, instead feeling more balm-like than anything. But you wouldn’t know it by the way it wears—glassy, crystal clear, ultra glossy shine. It’s also super comfortable and everything I would love in a gloss anyway, but somehow better. If VB doesn’t come back with a few tint variations of this gloss, I will riot.
—Ashley Weatherford, Senior Editor

I’m queen of the frizz, as evidenced by the crown of two-to-three inch broken hairs that sits atop my head. The situation is this: 2b waves in some places, 3a curls in others, very fine and tangly all over. Curly products I’ve tried in the past have weighed my hair down or mysteriously stopped working after a month (my research tells me this might be due to silicones creating a coating on curls that makes them feel soft, but doesn’t actually let moisture in). I’ve never been loyal to a shampoo and conditioner before, but I’m happy to report that I’ve officially made my first repurchase of Bread Beauty’s Hair Wash (they call it a co-wash meats gentle cleanser) and Hair Mask (I use it as conditioner in the shower). They’re both silicone-free and sulfate-free, the shampoo lathers the slightest bit and smells like fruit loops, the conditioner has the texture of thick buttercream icing and smells like bread. It’s packaged in a piping bag-type thing that really makes you feel like you’re decorating your head like a cake, and sometimes I slick my hair back into a bun and sneakily wear it all day.
—Amanda Keffer, Senior Copywriter

Photo via ITG

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Thread Your Best Beauty Buys Under $35 Here

You know that feeling when you’re having a generally crappy day? One of those where you spill coffee on your shirt in the morning and don’t have a Tide Stick, where there are too many meetings and no one’s aligned or wants to pivot, you forget to eat lunch and get blisters on your heels and miss your ride home and get canceled on by a friend? Well, beauty can fix that.

There is something so unfailingly fun about beelining to the beauty aisle. Each product on the shelf is there to put on a brightly-colored, airbrushed performance for you and your discerning consumer eye. A mascara promising daddy-long-legs lashes that slide off in tubes! A mask as thick as buttercream that spins straw to silky hair! Imported sheet masks that turn your face into a panda’s face and then a very hydrated version of your face! Indulging in a day dream of a you who’s not quite you is literally free. Go do it right now! Much like deep frying, it just makes everything a little better for a sec. It can also reinvigorate your whole night. You might go home excited for a solo evening activity where you previously had nothing planned. Or get inspired to change up the vibe, go out, and actually enjoy yourself. Either way, a success.

But there’s a catch. The fantasy gets kind of smushed when that thing you’re impulse buying puts a strain on your budget. By our calculations, a small investment in a self-self-care gift sees its greatest return when it’s under 35 bucks. So if you buy beauty for the thrill of it, this one’s for you: What makes your heart flutter, without a price tag that’ll give you a heart attack? What’s the best, most satisfying beauty product you can buy for cheap, drugstore or not? We’ll see you in the comments.

Photo via ITG

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There Are Still Different Ways To Do A Monochromatic

We’re living in a time of eyeshadow maximalism. The trend swelled in the perfect storm: protective masks, high pigment at low price points, a boom of Gen Z television, time to fill at home, and so many social media posts enviably “giving Cher.” But now we’re left feeling like the day after a big party, reeling with an eyeshadow hangover and craving something simpler. Softer. “After years of heavy eyeliner and lash looks, I think we need to switch things up a bit,” says makeup artist Benjamin Puckey.

A monochromatic eye look is a lot more subtle than what’s currently dominating your feeds, but it’s also beginner-friendly and easy to wear. It also leans into your tendency to only use your one favorite shade in a palette anyway—everyone does it, which is what inspired Glossier’s new Monochromes shadows. Benjamin is kind of the king of the single-hued eye: just look at this 70s editorial he did for ITG back in the day, which beautifully demonstrates how fresh a wash of color across the lids can be. “When it comes to a monochromatic eye, you can make it look more exciting and three-dimensional by playing with different textures and finishes within the same color family.” Below, several options to bring you back to basics this fall.

The One-And-Done

Eyeshadows used: 1
There’s no rule that says you need to use multiple eyeshadows for an eyeshadow look. You can (seriously) just use one, patted or smudged all over your lid and diffused around the edges. If you use a matte shade, try a bright or pastel. It looks cool! And it’s also a great way to take the edge off a color that’s out of your comfort zone—avoiding precise application keeps you from feeling fussy. On the other hand, a shimmer is best when you want to cheat the dimension you get from multiple shades. The natural curvature of your eyelid means that its center will naturally catch the light and cause your crease and corners to recede. It’s so simple.

The Light Layers

Eyeshadows used: 2
Blending, and blending, and blending is the trickiest part of eyeshadow application. But by limiting your palette to similar shades, you can kind of get around it—it takes the responsibility off of your skills. They’re always going to blend together! “Playing with subtly different matte tones in the same color family creates much-needed depth,” says Benjamin, who likes to add dimension by using a softer, lighter matte shade on the lower lid and a slightly deeper one on the upper lid.

Or you could: layer two versions of the same tone, one shimmer and one matte, on top of each other. It’s another way to add dimension without getting too fancy. The luminosity from the shimmer means instantly brighter eyes, while the matte shade bumps up the opacity and helps the rest of your eye look more shadowed. Put a wash of your matte all over as a base, and then dab on some of the shimmer just in the center.

The 3rd Dimension

Eyeshadows used: 3+
All of that being said, a monochromatic eye can be as complex and nuanced as you have shadows, brushes, and time for. Benjamin likes to work with a mix of matte and shimmer shades. (His favorite palette for this look is Clé de Peau Beauté’s 303 Baby Universe.) He places the shades to maximize their impact: the lighter matte shade goes on the lower lid for definition that isn’t too heavy; the deeper matte on the upper lid as a toning base; the warmer mid-toned metallic shade gets layered on top of that, for added texture; and the lightest shimmer is used as a highlight, on the inner corners and very center. “All [the tones] work together to create a monochrome eye that has more depth to it,” he says. It’s still pretty subtle overall, but as Benjamin explains, “it has the right amount of play to it, so it doesn’t look boring.”

The Finishing Touches

Are… not much! If you’re trying to keep the look modern, fight your instincts and let the shadow shine on its own. “I like to skip mascara for a monochromatic eye look,” says Benjamin, who prefers a bold lip pairing instead. And we agree: a soft eye and richly hued lip just feel right, especially for fall. Play with a contrasting color, like a burnt red or patent plum, or, if you’re already in the brown family, go tonal with a sheer cocoa. It’s your go-to look, but elevated. You won’t need any practice.

Photo via ITG

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The Professional Opinion-Haver Who Met His

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 am Evan Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz). I am a writer and general opinion-haver. Having strong opinions on the internet and being able to articulate them quickly trickle down into my normal work—I’m on the social media team for @Most, which is Netflix’s LGBTQ+ channel, I have a weekly column with Paper Magazine, and I host two podcasts. (One is called Shut Up Evan, which is an interview series with LGBTQ+ celebrities and allies, and the other is about Survivor.) I try to treat celebrity culture like a reporter would breaking news. It’s not all frivolous—there are moments where pop culture rises to be critical culture, and certain important conversations can spawn from pop culture. But I also have the wink in my eye about this brand of breaking news. There’s a lot of calibration between seriousness and being self-effacing. On the whole, it’s just meant to celebrate and have fun.

Pop culture had a foothold on me from the get-go. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and lived there until I moved to New York for college. Growing up as one of the only out gay kids in my part of Pittsburgh, pop culture was very escapist. When Britney Spears’ first album dropped, I wanted to know every single song, every single lyric, everything I could about her. I was fascinated by it from a historical perspective, and studying Britney Spears lyrics was engaging to me in a way that studying a history textbook wasn’t. Eventually I started submitting pieces to Huffington Post’s Queer Voices, which was a great initial venture into the internet even though they didn’t pay. A friend told me that once I had three articles published on three different outlets, I’d really start to feel the momentum, so I started sending cold emails. It was a lot of luck and a lot of tenacity, but I was able to capitalize on the newness of digital media to get myself in.

I try to always have my ears and eyes open when people are bubbling up about a celebrity, and I follow a lot of fan accounts—those fan accounts, god bless them, are doing a lot of the boots on the ground work. But one thing that’s changed as I’ve gotten more quote-unquote successful is that I’ve been able to be in conversation with celebrities more. We tend to separate the celebrity from their humanity, and through my Instagram DMs I’m often reminded how much celebrities are people in all of the ways that make us people. For example, celebrities love gossiping about other celebrities. There was a long time where one of my default questions was about skincare, and I now know from experience that more often than not celebrities are giving you a skincare routine, not their routine. The products celebrities would like to message to you that they use are different from the bar of soap they actually use. For me, skincare is less about what I put on my face and more about the dirt I get off my face. Especially living in a city like New York. I actually think that I sleep easier, that I rest my face better on my pillow, when I know it’s clean.

My night routine starts with a foaming cleanser. I’m the king of using 10 pumps when it says to use two because I want to feel it on my face (suds are important) and know that I got into every crevice. I used to be really focused on my cheeks and forehead, but now I make sure to get behind the ears, under the beard, and all up in my hairline. Right now I’m using Peter Thomas Roth’s Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel, but I also like Hyram’s gel cleanser. Every third night I’ll do the Kora Turmeric BHA Brightening Mask. Then I do a mist, the Fresh Rose Floral Toner, maybe a serum like the Kora Noni Bright vitamin C. I use a lot of Kora products, and it’s not spon-con at all—it’s just one of those brands I discovered, really liked, and kept buying more of. The Hyram Niacinamide & Maracuja moisturizer is good for nighttime. Then I’ll put on overnight patches from Starface and an eye mask—for sleeping purposes, not beauty. It feels very Meryl Streep in She Devil.

I’ll wake up in the morning and rinse my nighttime products off before I go for a run. Running is a huge part of my life—I ran the 2017 and 2019 marathons. I love getting to see the city, and not having my head buried in a laptop or a phone. Then when I get home I take a shower. I swear by Molton Brown products—all of their shampoos are a delight, and I love their Purifying Conditioner with Indian Cress. My boyfriend fancies the Infusing Eucalyptus body wash while I love the Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel or Russian Leather most. I also wash my face multiple times in the shower. I don’t love doing it over a sink, because stuff drips, and in the shower I feel like I can go apeshit. I’m always going back and forth about morning moisturizing. It’s fucking humid as fuck in New York, and the first thing I’m going to do when I leave the house is wait on the subway platform, where everything is at its worst. For a while I tried bringing my moisturizer to work and applying it in the air conditioning, but I would forget, and also feel like I had to re-wash my face. And I can’t not moisturize, because I can see the difference in my skin. So I need to moisturize right out of the shower, and I need something that sinks in quickly. I like the Kora moisturizer, or I use the Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream. Finally, I use Supergoop’s Mineral Mattescreen and some Le Labo lip balm.

I’m a big proponent of facials. My preferred facial place is Rescue Spa, which is not a unique answer. I originally went there for a massage, which was not great. It didn’t feel like they wanted to hurt me. (Without saying too much, I’ve since found a Broadway celebrity masseuse, and I will never ever go back. The Broadway masseuse circuit is the best of the best because they’re massaging talent who are constantly working and straining their bodies.) Anyway, Rescue Spa: shitty massages, the best facials by a longshot. They’ve given me the most consistent results. You how after a facial you just feel a little more buoyant? I wasn’t sure if I could achieve that feeling at home, but Tata Harper has an eight-step at-home facial that I’m obsessed with. The clay mask is really great in particular. Now I think you can do facials on yourself rather effectively.

I have to explain to a lot of men, even gay men, that the pedicure is not just getting your toenails painted. Pedicures have become so important to me as a runner, because I put my feet through so much. I always pay extra for them to wrap my feet in Saran Wrap, put honey on me, or what have you. I don’t want to touch my feet, I don’t know what’s down there, but I can mostly take care of my own nails. I didn’t used to notice people’s nails, but now that I do it’s the only thing I can ever see. You learn a lot about a person by getting a glance at their nails. When I go to Jinsoon for a manicure I do a clear coat, but I’m not opposed to color.

I wasn’t gifted with great hair—I’m not Jake Gyllenhaal—but I have great eyes. When I’m blonde my eyes pop more, which makes my whole face better. I wouldn’t even say it’s blonde as much as white. I really like that sort of Anderson Cooper color. David Lopez, who does Chrissy Teigen and Ashley Graham’s hair, is my hair colorist. He does really fine-tuned, adept work. And Davide Marinelli, who is the best hairstylist in the city, does my cut. Oribe was always my hair guru, even though I never met him, and I somehow got invited to his funeral. That’s where I met Davide, who was one of his disciples. I’ve been going to him every two weeks since. It’s much more expensive than going to my local barber, and me of two years ago would have just gone to the barber. But the me of now understands that I move about the world differently with my Davide haircut. The artistry of something I once thought was so simple! Getting a great haircut, getting a facial so my skin looks good, getting a pedicure… all of these things are extremely important. I feel better!

My relaxation time starts with a joint, or my Volcano, which is much healthier. Jazmine Sullivan on the stereo. A Pelegrino… or a case of Pelegrino. A white wine and a red wine—I don’t want to stick to one. And then I sit around and watch TV. I unplug when I watch Survivor, Housewives, or Buffy—although I guess that’s still somewhat “plugged,” because it’s plugged into a wall. Right now I’m rewatching season one of Girls, which I’m really enjoying. It’s a lot smarter than I was aware of the first time around. I pride myself on not being that person who’s checking their phone under the table at dinner. (Although, obviously I’m making this assessment, so it might not be totally objective.) When I am on my phone I am very on my phone, and when I’m not I try to be very not.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author

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It’s Fall! Time For A Beauty Routine Reset

The transitional seasons have always been my favorite. Of course, the mildness of fall and spring offers a reprieve from punishing weather patterns that seem to last forever. Also because, by contrast, they don’t last forever. There’s value in their brevity.

With these seasons comes the need for resetting. (Please reference: clocks.) We change our duvet density. We exchange our flats for boots. We adjust our wardrobe. While you’re tucking your crop tops away for the year, you might as well glance towards your beauty routine. There are some swaps to make.

Showers → Baths

There’s an old proverb that goes, “Never do anything standing that you can do sitting.” This is the best argument I have in favor of baths. In July, a hot bath can feel oppressive and masochistic, like you don’t respect being alive. Come September, it makes all the sense in the world. The key is to be well prepared.

When the tub itself is cold, thermal energy is wasted while the ceramic comes to room temperature. So, fill the tub hotter than you think you need. Your bath will stay warmer, longer. (Obviously, don’t submerge yourself until it’s a tolerable temperature.) Don’t forget to season your bath, too. Bathing Culture’s Mineral Bath Salt has earned a spot on my bath ledge thanks to the of-the-earth scent and skin-softening Jojoba.

Light → Rich

If I can count on anything, it’s this: my eczema will make a reappearance in the coming weeks. That’s why I trade in my sheer moisturizers for the heavy, emollient stuff. (This is where the bulk of my swaps happen, so buckle up.)

For my face:
Oquist’s Anti-Aging Serum is the consummate last step of my skincare routine. It features my favorite kind of oil—rosehip, which never causes any uproar with my fussy skin. Plus, I couldn’t talk about this product without talking about the terracotta vessel it comes in. If I ate salads, I would surely repurpose it into an olive oil decanter.

For my body:
For the last three months, I’ve hardly moisturized my body. I’ll usually just throw whatever’s left on my hands from my face routine onto my arms and call it a day. (Anything more makes me feel too sticky.) That bird will no longer fly. It’s onto shea butter-based Nourishing Body Creme by Natureofthings, slathered onto my legs before I launch into my house sweatpants like the bobsled team in Cool Runnings.

Crisp → Cozy

I’m not one to talk smack about pumpkin spice candles. I like them. I get the stigma, but I believe you can be both inescapable and lovely. However, if you don’t feel the same, I still recommend giving gourmand scents a shot this time of year! Just like the pastry it’s named after, Croissant by Overose is comforting, transporting, and soul-warming. Even non-dessert people like croissants, right? [At the time of publishing, this candle is sold out! However, a contact at Overose tells me to expect a restock next month! 👀]

Bronzer → Blush

This time of year, the goal is to look less like Tan Mom and more like you just came in from a horse-drawn carriage with no heating infrastructure. (This woman should come to mind.) Achieve this look with a liquid blush, like Freck’s Cheekslime. It’s translucent, moisturizing, and weightless—as all liquid blushes should aspire to be.

Soft focus → A single point of interest

I find that the general philosophy surrounding summer-era beauty is: “A Little Bit, Everywhere.” A little skin, a little brow, a little lip. Focus is spread about the entire face to allow for minimal product application during ass-sweat season. Makes sense, no? With that in mind, I’ve always enjoyed the way that shifts in autumn to: “Find a Focal Point.” It’s the time to try a big brow, a graphic eye, a stronger lip. Wanna try it? Dior’s Ultra Rouge wears like a stain with the impact of lipstick. Blot it on and head directly, dome-first, into the largest hoodie you can find.

—Or Gotham

Photo via ITG

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Maybe “Sunscreen Masking” Should Be A

Last year, at the peak of lockdown, I got into the habit of doing something weird. I called it “sunscreen masking.” At the time, my skin was going haywire with stress breakouts, and to make matters worse, I was in lockdown at my parents’ house in Florida, where the constant sun made my acne spots dark and lingering. My solution at the time was to slather my face in Zoca Lotion, a creamy, zinc-based Whole Foods-y sunscreen recommended to me by a facialist. It was… not wearable. The white cast was crazy. But I wasn’t seeing anyone, and the whiteness made it easy to guarantee I’d be covered everywhere. I told myself that slamming on my keyboard with a face covered in zinc was no different from writing in a clay mask, which had at that point been a generally agreed upon luxury of working from home. Plus, I also knew I was getting real skincare benefits. From the zinc, and its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties! My angry red breakouts subsided faster, my oily t-zone chilled itself out, and my dry patches stayed soothed and happy. Ergo, sunscreen masking.

It’s not like I totally made this up. Experts love zinc for reasons beyond its UV-blocking ability. Dr. Macrene Alexiades (derm to Kaia Gerber and Sienna Miller, among others) uses topical zinc to support lots of treatment plans. “Zinc is effective for inflammatory disorders including acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis,” she explains. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and effective against many infections. Plus, she notes, zinc is a “key component” to wound healing. It’s often paired with niacinamide in serums; it’s in basically all of the La Roche-Posay products aimed towards acneic skin; and it’s sometimes mixed with acids too, like in the Allies of Skin Multi Nutrient Cream.

Zinc is also in U Beauty’s latest, the Multimodal Defender, a brightening SPF 30 cream that isn’t marketed as such. It’s recommended for use in the daytime and at night. Which sounded like a mistake, at first. And then I realized! It was just like sunscreen masking. 20-percent zinc is no joke, but I could lay it on thick after my nighttime cleanse without worrying about a white cast or it gumming up my eyebrows. Though the cream is rich, zinc itself is kind of drying and mattifying, so when I woke up my skin was generally calmer, less red, and balanced. Overall… a success?

To be clear: you should not sleep in all sunscreens. But if you have a creamy high-zinc lotion with good-for-skin ingredients, give it a go! The Zoca Lotion is an easy swap under 30 bucks, and Supergoop’s new Cloud 9 Balm seems like another good option. Diaper rash ointment, like Desitin, would work too.

Sunscreen overnight masking: maybe it should be a thing? Let me know if you try it. Sweet dreams!

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG

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Stylist + Creative Michelle Li

“I recently realized that I’m a grown-up. What the hell? I’ve always thought of myself as a kid. Grown-ups are always so serious, and they’re scared to make mistakes, whereas I think I still am more fearless. I grew up in Indiana, after my parents emigrated from China for graduate school. I loved it—biking to people’s houses, playing tennis with my brother, going to the ice cream stand in the summer… In high school I realized that I really liked fashion. I read a lot of Nylon, and rewatched Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and 13 Going on 30 so many times.

I was lucky enough to move to New York after high school, and while I was at Parsons I did about seven or eight internships in all aspects of the industry. I did marketing and wholesale at Valentino, worked at Karla Otto as a PR intern, and my first magazine internship was at Nylon. I wanted to do styling, but I also wanted to write, and when I got a job at Refinery 29 I really started stepping into that hybrid role. While I was at Refinery, Lindsay Peoples reached out to me, and I remember the subject line was ‘TV Editor.’ I was like, ‘What is that? I don’t think I’d be a television editor.’ [Laughs] So I put it off for a while, and when I finally clicked into it I saw that it was about a fashion editor job at Teen Vogue. I had been working with small budgets and I wanted to see how creative I could get at a bigger corporation with more resources and support. So I said yes. As soon as I got there, we just started banging out shoots. I had so much creative freedom to define the style and visual identity for the brand, which I would say is colorful, fun, whimsical, thoughtful, and really smart. I started a franchise that was about styling groups of girls within big fashion trends of the season; we did one with rollerskaters, and we did ice skaters of Harlem for a winter story. We were also shooting a lot of celebrities, and learning how to analyze a celebrity’s style and what makes them comfortable, then helping them push it a little bit more. And I really loved supporting young designers in New York.

I left Teen Vogue in May. Now I’m doing a lot of freelance styling and some consulting. And I’m also working with this luxury secondhand marketplace similar to The Real Real called Tradesy. Ever since working at Tradesy, any time I shop, I’m going to go secondhand first. That’s the priority. Sure, you can still be susceptible to trends when you shop secondhand, but at the end of the day, you’re really asking yourself, ‘Is this something I’m going to wear?’ To me, personal style has been trumping trends for a long time. Anyway, I’m making sure that all Tradesy’s best stuff is curated, and I’m working on content creation. Something I wish I had known is that I think you can always go back. I’m glad that I freelance, but I can always go full-time again, and maybe have a better role. No decision is ever as permanent as you think it is.

Grown-ups are always so serious, and they’re scared to make mistakes, whereas I think I still am more fearless.

Now that I’ve kind of gotten the hang of beauty, I feel like I can experiment more and really elevate an outfit. It’s like an accessory. But sometimes I think, ‘Oh man, this look is complicated and crazy enough that I should keep the makeup simple.’ So either I’m doing a full look, or I’m not wearing makeup. I use Glossier Futuredew as foundation, basically—it evens out my face and makes it glowy enough. Then I use this reddish Milk Makeup Quirk stick for my cheeks, and Saie’s Dew Balm as highlighter. Cream highlighter is so much easier to blend in than powder.

The Relevee Lash Curler from Surratt is flatter, so it gets all of my eyelashes at one time, whereas I would have to move around something that was more curved. It’s better for Asian eyes. Then I either use the Saie mascara or the Byredo one. I love the packaging, and the mascara is really good. I care a lot about the brush—I don’t want the bristles to be too long—and it needs to be able to hold the curl in my lashes without being waterproof because waterproof mascaras are so hard to take off. I also use a Byredo lipstick called Earth Dust. The lady at the Byredo store said that my lips already have a pink tint, so that one would be a good nude for me. I really like it. And I also have a tooth gem. [Laughs] I always wanted one, and when one of my friends did it I thought it was really cute. Mine is a little heart.

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I started coloring my hair about four years ago. I went to Colleen Flaherty at Spoke + Weal in Soho, and the plan was always to go pink. I thought I’d try different colors afterwards, but I like the pink so much I can’t imagine doing anything else. It has become such a neutral for me. I can style my hair with anything—any color works with pink. I think I’ll stay pink for a long time.

I’m so loyal to Colleen because at this point, we’ve been doing it for so long. She knows that I like a dusty pink that’s not too purple. We don’t talk about it, we just do it. My first appointment took like seven hours, because I had to go platinum before I went pink. But now I get my roots done and the pink touched up once a month. If I don’t see Colleen for a while, then I’ll use an Uberliss Bond Sustainer in Pink Rose to re-up on the pink. I wash my hair twice a week with purple R+Co Sunset Blvd Shampoo, which keeps the pink from getting yellow. Then I actually don’t use conditioner, because I use K18. That has been such a game changer for my hair. I thought that bleaching it for so many years would leave it brittle, but it’s totally fine. It honestly feels so soft and shiny. I’ve tried a good amount of hair masks—my favorite is the Amika one because it smells so good, and I do use their Supernova Hair Moisturize and Shine Cream every time after I shower. But if I want to actually repair my hair and make it feel better, it’s the K18.

It has become such a neutral for me. I can style my hair with anything—any color works with pink.

I had really bad psoriasis and dry patches all over my face, and honey cleared it up. Dermatologists always gave me some kind of cortisone, but it wasn’t very good and I’d kind of accepted that I’d always have very dry skin. Over winter break in college I went to work on a Manuka honey farm for fun because I’d always wanted to go to New Zealand. It was so much fun, but I got really sunburnt. The mom of the family that owns the farm told me to try the honey we were harvesting on my face. Every night, we’d sit in front of the TV with Manuka honey dripping off our faces. Now I only wash my face at night, and I use Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, which is really gentle and still gets the job done. My favorite product of all time is this Worker B Honey Face Wash, which I actually use as a mask after I cleanse. I got the recommendation from my friend, Mi-Anne Chan, who I met when she was a beauty editor at Refinery29. It’s completely changed my life—I think honey has magical properties.

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Sometimes I’ll use this Dieux Deliverance Trinity Serum. I don’t love having a lot of product on my skin, so I don’t use many serums, but this one absorbs really well. And I think it helps a lot with inflammation—especially when I’m starting to get my period. It’s good for hormonal acne. Then, I use this Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Oil. I started using face oils maybe two or three years ago—the first one I really liked was the Circumference Pure Balancing Botanical Face Oil, which was also from Mi-Anne. I gua sha, and massaging in a good oil feels really nice. When I do that, I don’t have to do as much work in the morning. I just wake up and my face feels moisturized. In the morning I’ll just wet my face and use this Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer. I’m really obsessed with it. I found it when I was in California, because it’s so dry there and I really needed a good moisturizer. I’ve been using it a lot since. Then I’ll use this ZitSticka Megashade Sunscreen Serum. It’s creamy, which makes me feel like it sinks in more quickly, and it’s very lightweight, so I’m not totally aware that I’m wearing sunscreen.

I get two totally different types of facials: Face Gym, and dermalinfusions at Glo Spa. I love Face Gym. I love having people touch my face—it feels so chill and relaxing. That being said, I don’t think I go frequently enough to actually see any results. The dermalinfusion though, my skin is glowing afterwards. I honestly don’t really know what it is. All I know is that they use a tube to suck out all of the clogs and pollution, and then infuse [my skin] with other things.

Even though I don’t have to deal with eczema and psoriasis anymore, I still like to use a gentle body wash. I love Nécessaire’s fragrance-free one. I use the Kate McLeod Daily Stone as a moisturizer, or I’ll use the Costa Brazil Kaya Jungle Firming Oil. I got it as part of a gift box, and it’s so nice. I don’t know if it’s firming though.

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I’ve started getting really into fragrance. I either love when they’re really smoky and have a hinoki wood scent, or I like it to be very clean with small floral scents. D.S. & Durga Rose Atlantic has a really nice, clean, sweet smell, and I think it mixes with my body really well. Especially when I’m sweating a lot, I like the way it makes me smell. That applies also to this ERL Sunscreen Eau de Toilette made by Comme des Garçons. It does kind of smell like sunscreen, but in a clean way. The smoky ones I love are Le Labo’s Thé Noir 29, and Byredo’s Mixed Emotions.

I never get my nails done, so this manicure is very exciting for me. I got it done at Paintbox, with Holiday The Label. I usually wear my nails short, with no polish. It’s laziness, but I also don’t want to spend the money. If I had to spend money on one thing, it would be clothing.”

—as told to ITG

Michelle Li photographed by Alexandra Genova on September 14, 2021 in New York.

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