You know the #ITGTopShelfie—our interview series that shares the beauty routines of Into The Gloss’ lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. But starting this week, we’re also 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 your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“Hiiiiiii! I’m Sam Sonntag (@samsonntag), a graphic designer and art director at Glossier. It’s not lost on me that my day-to-day revolves around making decisions that influence how people consume and understand beauty. Sometimes they’re big ones, like choosing which face will appear on a billboard, or small ones, like placing Glossier’s tiny happy face on the back of a bottle. I have so many opportunities to increase diverse representation in beauty, incorporate unexpected humor, or even just help people better understand their skincare needs. I can make an impact in someone’s everyday life, and I find that aspect of the job really exciting and motivating.
My creative expression always seems to manifest through beauty. I’m originally from the Arizona desert, and from a very early age I would sneak into my mom’s makeup bag to put on fierce looks, ask for my nails to be painted, and give my boy cousins drag looks in the summertime. When I got older I went to a very conservative, religious university, and became hyper-aware of anything that would label me as queer. It was a means of survival. I got into skincare and would slowly sneak in makeup I could use without anyone really noticing, like brow gel. And then eventually I left that school and re-learned how to live and express myself freely.
My style tends to skew classic and clean, and I gravitate toward brands that look boyish and youthful and simple. Jacquemus, Bode, and Acne Studios are my favorites. For a while I was shaving my head and wearing a bolder brow to look older, but I’ve always had a babyface, and as I approach 30 I’ve liked playing with that a lot more. I’ll curl my eyelashes to look a bit softer, use more pink on my cheeks, and let my hair grow wild. And lately I’ve been enjoying contrasting my mostly neutral wardrobe with bright, optimistic nails. I usually end up in some shade of baby blue, or Essie Play Date, or some sort of transparent shimmer.
My skincare routine always starts in the shower, where I can be as messy and unfussy as I want. I’ll brush my teeth, and then cleanse with either Milky Jelly Cleanser or the Elf Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser, and then once my pores are de-greased and gaping I’ll deep cleanse with the Neutrogena Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Wash. Look, don’t judge me—I used this cleanser all through high school and it just works for me. I’ll usually leave that on like a mask and let it simmer while I shampoo. The Sol de Janeiro shampoo smells like a snowcone on a hot beach: super beachy, buttery sweet, and tropical. But if I’m not feeling the Rio vibes I’ll use R+Co Television shampoo which just smells hot.
The rest is pretty simple. I always always start with The Ordinary’s Niacinamide and Zinc, and then choose a second serum depending on how my skin feels. I toggle between three from Caudalie: Vinoperfect for evenness and glow, Vinosource for a boost of hydration, and Vinoperfect for when my skin is being an absolute jerk. A few years ago I used a product that gave me a bad skin reaction for several months—before that I didn’t know my skin type, rarely broke out, and just chose my moisturizers by scent. But the experience turned into an obsession with knowing my body super well, and becoming my own expert. Now I know I’m sensitive to essential oils (especially linalool), and anything with harsh alcohols or chemical exfoliants. Since moisturizers sit on your skin all day, they can often be the worst offender for irritation. I usually stick to Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, my ride or die, but recently I’ve been reaching for the Dynasty Cream by Beauty of Joseon. It’s a super light, hydrating gel-cream that curiously smells just like Chanel’s. I finish with SPF 50 or higher—I order the fragrance-free La Roche Posay Anthelios Shaka Fluid from Care to Beauty over and over.
After skincare I’ll dive right in with Boy Brow in Brown, and follow up with Brow Flick to fill in some empty spots. I curl my lashes every day with the Kevyn Aucoin eyelash curler. If I’m feeling self conscious, I’ll take a few drops of Glossier Skin Tint in G10 and press it into my skin, but most days I skip it and go right in with blush. I think cream blush in either a pot or a chubby stick looks the most natural, and I’ll feather it on with a Real Techniques Setting Brush. That’s literally the only brush you need—it can do everything. When it’s sunny out I use Ilia’s Multi Stick in Dreamer, and in the winter I go for pink tonee like RMS Lip2Cheek in Demure. Then, if I want more dew, I’ll pat a bit of RMS’s Living Luminizer just under the outer corners of my eyes to look like I’m breaking a sweat. I’m a lip balm addict—I’ve tried them all, I have way too many, and I always go back to my two favorites, Glossier Coconut Balm Dotcom and By Terry Baume de Rose. I can’t choose between them. They are my children!
My very last step is always BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Spot Concealer. The best way to keep my skin looking as natural as possible is to conceal once it’s hydrated and juicy—I can see exactly where I need to go. I only cover up red spots or healing breakouts, and leave my natural ruddiness and dark circles alone. It’s much sexier to work with what you have than try to force a different complexion.
Since I’ve been home, my pastimes have included playing video games, slowly tie-dying my entire wardrobe, and cooking. Sometimes I run on the bridge to Manhattan and back, which helps me reset and feel balanced after a long work day. I also bought a gel lamp on Amazon, which is perfect for when I’ve got a lot of time on my (ahem) hands. And, if I’m still bored after all that, planning my hypothetical post-retirement injectables by following Cosmetic Derm on Instagram is entertainment enough. My mother is screaming.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author