You know the #ITGTopShelfie—our interview series that shares the beauty routines of Into The Gloss’ lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Now we’re 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 yours on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“Oh, hello! I’m Leaya, a senior copywriter at Glossier. The copy team touches so many more aspects of the business than I think people realize: I help write Glossier emails, but I’ve also edited the language on a retail receipt, written a podcast ad, and come up with names for new shades and products. There are a lot of different moving parts to my job and it’s definitely not boring. I think my work has influenced how I think about beauty, especially what I’ve come to expect from products. I’m more skeptical about claims now, and the products that do make it into my routine really have to do what they say they will—and then some.
I live in Brooklyn with my husband and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter (plus our 14-year-old cat). These days, I’d describe my style as ‘tired working mom,’ but even under better circumstances I have an aversion to dressing up. I like my clothes to be high-waisted, vintage, or denim, and I’m on a forever quest to find the perfect black jumpsuit. Even if I wear a dress, I’ll have sneakers or some really chunky boots on my feet. The same thing is true of makeup—for my own wedding, I snuck away to the bathroom after the makeup artist finished with me to blot and smudge everything until I felt like myself again. I like it when my real skin shows through (freckles, scars, and all), and then might add some winged eyeliner and lip color. Less is definitely more.
I can categorize different phases of my life by fragrance: CK One will always bring up angsty feelings of high school, and one whiff of Chanel Cristalle, which my mom wore when I was growing up, and I’m immediately back in my parents’ bathroom. There was my college/post-college on-off relationship with Chanel Chance, punctuated by flings with Kai Perfume Oil, and followed by a brief but intense affair with Douce-Amère by Serge Lutens. I went pretty steady with L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Bois Farine for a while, which smells like pencil shavings and peanut butter in the best way possible. These days I’m loyal to Chanel’s Beige, which smells clean and warm with a hint of woody. In the winter I’ll layer it with Sycomore, and for special occasions I break out the big guns: Coromandel or Tom Ford’s Lost Cherry.
Watching a toddler full-time on top of working makes it’s hard to get ready in the morning, but I do try to carve out five minutes for a quick face of makeup. I start by filling in sparse areas on my brows with Brow Flick in Brown, then fluff with Boy Brow in Blond. Once, on a trip back to Taiwan to visit family, my younger sister and I got semi-permanent tattooed eyeliner. We were assured it would last for at least six months and that we would barely feel anything—not only was it very uncomfortable and alarmingly close to my eyeballs, it ended up only lasting maybe a month! Definitely not worth it. It’s easy enough to do a super fast cat eye with either Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner in Rockstar or Colorslide in Brack—I prefer Pro Tip or KVD Ink liquid eyeliner, but since quarantine started, that really hasn’t happened. I need more time! I finish my eyes by curling my stick-straight Asian lashes with Shu Uemura’s eyelash curler and adding some Lash Slick mascara.
I use YSL Touche Eclat in Luminous Ivory or Glossier Stretch Concealer in G11 under my eyes and around my nose to quickly even out and brighten my skin. If I look super pale, I might add a bit of Julep Skip the Brush Blush Stick in Sweet Peach and some RMS Beauty Living Luminizer on my cheekbones. Then, I put a little color on my lips—I once snuck into my older sister’s room and swiped on her Revlon Rum Raisin and I’ve had a thing for lipstick ever since. I don’t even know how many I own now, and they are all mostly variations of red or berry. My go-tos are Chanel Rouge Allure Ink in Experimente, which I always smudge and blur a lot with my fingertips, and Glossier Gen G in Jam and Crush, depending on my mood. If I’m going out and want my lip color to last, I’ll apply a thin layer of Benefit Benetint to my lips, let that dry, and then apply my lipstick.
I swear by Shiseido Oil Control Blotting Papers, which have a powder-coated side to take away shine and leave my skin looking smoother. I almost had a panic attack a few years ago when I thought Shiseido stopped making them, but really they just changed the pink sheets to blue ones. Now I have at least two packs in my medicine cabinet at all times. I also fold a few sheets and put them in all my pockets, so if you see a lone pink blotting paper on a bench, chances are I’ve been there (they tend to fall out). It’s not that I want to look matte… It’s just, my skin can get so oily that ‘dewy’ often reads as ‘total greaseball.’ I’m actually super embarrassed to admit that I only started using moisturizer a few years ago—I spent my teens and twenties avoiding it like the plague because I thought it would make my oily skin worse. The dermatologist I see now was the first person who took the time to talk to me about what I was using and explain why oily and acne-prone skin needs moisture too.
I stopped using prescription retinol when I got pregnant, and after I gave birth my hormones plummeted and my face went nuts with breakouts. I’m very particular about the products I use now, and definitely stick to my routine. In the morning, I wash my face with Cetaphil and always follow with Purito Centella Green Level sunscreen, which is the only one that doesn’t break me out. At night, I’ll remove any makeup with my beloved Bioderma Sensibio micellar water, then alternate between Glytone’s Mild Gel Cleanser and a prescription sulfur cleanser from my dermatologist. Then I apply a thin layer of prescription azelaic acid cream—seven months ago I ran out of those two products and just started using whatever, and my skin broke out terribly again. I learned my lesson! For serums, I love the Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid Vitamin C because it makes my skin tingly, and I pair it with hyaluronic acid from The Ordinary or Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum. Then…I apply moisturizer! I either use Chanel Solution 10 or Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, and I pat it in, never rubbing. My grandma always used to say in Chinese, “I pat and pat and pat, and I don’t even have one wrinkle,” and it was true for the longest time. My last step is pressing some Sundari Chamomile Eye Oil under my eyes for extra care around that fragile area.
After seeing a photo of model Soo Joo Park in 2013, I went blonde. The whole process took around nine hours and my scalp felt like it was on fire—and maybe seven hours in, I fainted. EMTs were called, and they wanted me to go to the hospital to get checked out but I refused. I was so close to being done! I had to sign some waivers saying I went against medical advice, which I now realize makes me sound crazy, but I knew I was totally fine. Now, the only reason I still have any hair left is through the grace of God and my colorist, Jeanise Aviles at Seagull Salon. She’s a color magician—it’s crazy how long and healthy my hair has been since I started seeing her. She’s also just a warm ray of light as a human being. I haven’t cut my hair in a long time because I’ve been growing it, but when I do, it’s always by Topher Gross. He has given me some very sharp bobs in the past.
I don’t know what I’m going to do with my hair next. I’ve been contemplating a literal return to my roots and just dyeing my hair back to black but…we’ll see. To keep my hair healthy at home, I use Milbon Plarmia Hairserum Shampoo and then Milbon No. 4 Weekly Booster for Medium Hair or a Briogeo Hair Mask. If I’m looking brassy I’ll do a purple treatment, either Christophe Robin’s Baby Blonde Shade Variation Mask or EVO Fabuloso Platinum Blonde Color Boosting Treatment. I only wash my hair twice a week, so I love Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo for non-wash days—it works well and the scent isn’t overpowering.
When I can find the time, I try different dance cardio and HIIT workouts on YouTube and Classpass on-demand. Pre-quarantine, I loved running outside to clear my head, but now I find it pretty tough to run with a mask on. If I really want to unwind, there’s nothing better than drinking wine, putting on a funny podcast (Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend and How Did This Get Made are current faves), and cooking. My parents are from Taiwan, and food is the way my mom expressed love to us growing up. It’s something that’s stuck with me—I’m always thinking about my next meal. I recently made dumplings with my daughter Sabine for the first time, and she loved it! She’s at the age where she’s starting to make up stories and songs, and even cracking little jokes (though they’re mostly poop and fart-related). She’s pretty hilarious.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author