My Beauty Uniform: Jenny Gordy

jenny gordy beauty uniform 3My friend Jenny Gordy, a designer of handmade clothing, moved from Brooklyn to Iowa City and now has a sweet baby girl. She’s warm and thoughtful and is one of those people you want to ask a million questions because she always has the best answers. Here, she shares her secrets, including a game-changing eyebrow trick and the “mocktail” she swears by…


What’s your daily beauty routine?
My usual routine is pretty effortless because I prefer a natural look and am kind of lazy when it comes to makeup. Most days I just groom my brows, curl my lashes, and then put on mascara, cheek stain and Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose. My favorite cheek stain is Vincent Longo Gel Stain in My Sunshine, a coral color that matches my natural flush. For a rosier pink, I like Benefit Benetint. Sometimes I wear L’Oreal Paris Youth Code BB Cream mixed with moisturizer because it has sun protection and evens out the tone of my skin while still leaving it dewy.


Do you do things differently when you’re dressing up?
When I’m in the mood to go all out, especially for date nights, I wear eyeliner and lipstick. Bright lipsticks lift my mood, and a bare face accented by a bold lip color is pretty and fresh. NARS lipsticks are my favorite—they’re creamy and highly pigmented. Heat Wave is the best bright red and Schiap is a great shocking pink.


What’s your bedtime routine?
My whole life I was always such a night owl, staying up late into the night and tinkering around with secret projects while everyone else was asleep. But now that I have a baby, sleep has become so important to me! I go to bed very early and make my bedroom as cozy as possible. Before I go to sleep, I read for 20 minutes, and I’m obsessed with block-printed bedding from Kerry Cassill, especially the pillowcases. They’re just the softest thing to lay your head on, and I love mixing and matching the beautiful prints.

What’s your everyday skincare regimen?
It’s really simple. I wash my face and moisturize with gentle CeraVe cleanser and moisturizer from the drugstore twice a day. At night I use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Cream. Once or twice a week I exfoliate my lips with Sugar Lip Polish by Fresh. (This step is especially important if I’m going to be wearing bright lipstick!)


Is there one stand-out product that changed everything?
A friend who has amazing eyebrows recently let me in on her secret: Ck One Brow Pencil + Gel Duo. I just started using it, and I’m obsessed because it’s so easy to use and looks very natural. Even when I don’t have time for any other makeup, I use it because it makes my eyes look prettier and makes me look more put together.

What’s your hair routine?
My hair is so dry that I wash it only once a week. I use Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner, and they smell so good! My hair has some natural wave to it, so I work with that and rub some jojoba oil into the ends and let it air dry. After it’s dry, Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine smoothes the frizz while leaving it a little piece-y and messy.


What was a time in your life when you felt really beautiful?
Most recently I felt beautiful and strong when I gave birth to my daughter. I definitely had some fear leading up to it, but in the moment everything fell away and I had faith in myself that I could do it. I was tired and probably didn’t look so hot, but at the same time I was flushed and glowing with exertion. It was just a beautiful, exhilarating moment. While I was pushing, my husband Joe said, “Did you shave your legs once you started going into labor?” Yes. Yes, I did.


Did you have any beauty rituals when you were pregnant?
Almost every night while I was pregnant I would go for a long walk or go to the gym. Then I would come home and take a warm bath and drink peppermint tea. It was so relaxing and luxurious! I miss having the time to pamper myself like that.


What other little tips do you swear by?
Last year I started wearing tiny gold studs in my ears, and I really feel like they subtly brighten my face and make me look prettier. Now I never take them off.


What foods or drinks make you feel healthy and glowing?
I have dry hair and skin, and my hairstylist friend once gave me the best advice: “Moisturize from the inside out.” Meaning eat healthy, drink lots of water, and take prenatal vitamins and fish oil pills. When I do those things my hair and skin look their best. I find drinking plain water so boring, so one year for my birthday I was given a Soda Stream for making sparkling water. I’m obsessed with it and drink so much more water now! If you add a spritz of lime or a sprig of mint, it’s like you’re always drinking a fun cocktail without the alcohol.

Do you have a signature scent?
I was never a perfume person until my friend Anne McClain, who owns MCMC Fragrances, introduced me to her subtle, sophisticated scents. When I go on a date with my husband I always wear Noble. Every single time I’ve ever worn it he’s commented that I smell amazing. Lately, day to day I’ve been wearing the new MCMC x Mociun collaborative fragrance, and sometimes I throw on my husband’s sweaters because they smell like Dude No.1 Beard Oil.


What do you hope to teach or pass onto your daughter Iris about beauty?
I want to help instill in Iris a sense of self-confidence. It’s challenging because, like any human being, I’m guilty of sometimes comparing myself to others and feeling insecure about my looks. I don’t want Iris to think that beauty can only be found in attaining an unrealistic level of perfection. I’ll have to lead by example to show her that true beauty is deeper than that. It shines through in moments of bravery, kindness, gratitude, joy and laughter. And it’s something we see in those we love just because we love them. I hope that her dad and I will make her feel beautiful for the person she is and she’ll know that makeup and all that other stuff is just there for her own amusement and self-expression.

Do you have an overall beauty philosophy?
“Less is more” pretty much sums it up.

Thank you so much, Jenny!

P.S. More beauty uniforms, and 16 hair tutorials

  1. M Embry says...

    What a deliciously pretty human being.

  2. angie says...

    HELP!!! I bought the CK one brow pencil duo back when this post originally came out — It just now ran out and it appears they don’t make it anymore. I don’t want to be dramatic, but this guy was a life changer for me. What now??? Anyone have any other recs?

    • Melissa says...

      I know this is a little late but if you haven’t tried boybrow by Glossier, I highly recommend it.

  3. I had a pair similar to Jenny’s and I was so sad when I lost them and couldn’t find them anywhere again to buy! Just purchased a pair from the General Store, thank you so much for the suggestion. xx Honor Bright

    • ^pair of earrings :)

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. You are so beautiful and your family is blessed to have you, to nurture them…..

  5. Beautiful! I love this series. The women you feature are so inspiring, in their personal philosophies and, of course, in their beauty uniforms. Are you going to share yours Joanna? :)

  6. Christie.,
    Thanks! The dress is the Circle Dress by Black Crane.

    Julie Barron,
    Thank you! And yes, I would love to meet up for coffee! Please email me at

    Thanks! Iris is wearing leggings by Hansel from Basel. We have a couple of pairs because they’re so comfy and fit for a really long time.

    When my hair was longer I’d just put it in a top knot on days it was unmanageable. But now that it’s shoulder length I braid it. I agree with you that it’s not always easy to go without washing!

  7. She is so beautiful! I loved her tips – I’m all about less is more so this really spoke to me.

  8. ss says...

    my goodness, she is gorgeous.

  9. This is possibly my favorite series of yours :)

    I must admit this – I went out and bought the eyebrow pencil she recommended, and it is amazing! I’ve never had nice eyebrows, and now I feel like I do, and they look totally natural!! Also, I finally bought her Tova pattern, once I realized who she was :) (I’ve been eyeing it up for a while and loving the tops I’ve seen made from it, but have always chickened out!)

  10. Wow, I found Jenny on Flickr 8, maybe 10, years ago. I followed her because her designs were so cute and she’s so darn pretty. (She had these great bangs at one point that I totally envied). I didn’t know she was in BK for a while. Small world. :) Fun post, thanks Joanna.

  11. She looks like a doll! Like Alexis Bledel! And what a sweet little baby.

  12. I love Jenny. she’s just so pretty!

  13. She is so gorgeous. This is my favorite “Beauty Uniform” post so far – which says something because I’ve loved them all. I feel like I relate very much to her and her style.

    Also, I am biased but Iris the best name. I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone younger than me with the same name.

  14. Love this! And she is absolutely stunning.

  15. I love my soda stream also! It’s great with real grapefruit juice!

  16. WOW! You can tell she is just an in and out beauty…and her advice is great. I love this series so much. I, too, am in the less is more club and it’s so refreshing to hear about the few products that other women use…..

    Her daughter is gorgeous too! Iris..what a sweet name.

  17. Oh, I love Jenny Gordy! I used to read her blog but must have lost track when darn Google Reader went away. I loved her interview and was pumped to see she now lives in Iowa City — GREAT place to live. Miss it all the time.

  18. Joanna – These beauty uniform posts are so fantastic. I always learn something new whether it is a great natural beauty product or an uplifting, nurturing beauty ritual. I can’t remember if you’ve done one yourself but I’d love to read about your own beauty rituals!

  19. she’s so pretty and lovely! The epitome of beauty :) :) :)

  20. Oh my goodness, she is STUNNING.

  21. Yay for Iowa City!! I live here too. I loved this!

  22. I have loved reading Jenny’s blog. It is great to see her beauty routine. Thank you!

  23. She is stunning and so naturally beautiful! Great ‘beauty uniform’ post! Loved her tips and her outlook on life!

  24. This is my favorite segment, Joanna! So helpful and refreshing to hear from lovely and natural, inspiring women.

  25. Yaaaaaaaaaay, I have been following Jenny´s blog for ages an love her style. It is amazing so she is :)
    Thanks for sharing.

  26. This is so great! I love hearing someone else’s routine and products. Beauteous!

  27. She has the loveliest complexion, looking forward to more in this series!

  28. Holy cow she is gorgeous. I love reading these and picking up little tips and tricks to try out. I’m going to try out some gold studs and see if I like that. Also I might give Benetint another try. I gave up on it because it is so annoying to apply, but I think I might give it another go. :)

  29. thanks for these lovely comments!! ali, good question, we should—and will! felicia, yes, that’s a good question, we have a few beautiful ladies with different body types in the pipeline! kimberly, she made it herself—in her shop (click on the link on her name). jeannine, julie and alexandra, i’ll ask! xoxo

  30. Thanks so much for this, I love Jenny’s style and have been following her work for years. She is a real inspiration!

  31. She is just stunning. As a non-make up wearer, her natural beauty and style is very inspiring. And my word, I can only hope to look that gorgeous following my upcoming delivery!

  32. she’s beautiful! and i love how she’s wearing my friend’s knitwear, micaela greg!

  33. i have a question for jenny! how does she manage her hair all week between washes?! i have incredibly dry hair and my hair stylist has always suggested i wash it less often but i find i just don’t know how to style it on days I don’t wash it.

  34. She is breathtaking! Thanks for sharing! I just posted this evening about my obsession with red lipstick- now I have another red I am going to have to try! xoxo

  35. Joanna, your friends are the absolute chicest!

    x Lily

  36. What a wonderful post! Jenny is so lovely! I just moved to Iowa City too (from Chicago)! It’s a great town! But it is hard to make friends as a new mom. Jenny: want to meet up for coffee? :) is that too weird?

  37. So lovely!

    Can you tell me what brand those adorable black and white baby leggings are (in the picture where Jenny is wearing the red sweater)?

    Thank you!

  38. an says...

    Jenny is gorgeous & so is her simple style!

  39. Would you kindly ask about the beanie she is sporting in one of the shots?

  40. Jenny is beautiful, as are all the mothers in this series. And I hate to be nitpicky, especially since I love these posts, but could you maybe feature someone of a different body type? Maybe someone more than 130 lbs?

  41. Ah! Nobel by MCMC is my signature scent as well! And my boyfriends the same, he’s constantly telling me I smell amazing. It’s such a good perfume.

  42. Joanna, Any possibility of doing a tutorial on eyebrow pencils/gel? A few of your beauty uniform ladies have mentioned it and their brows look great. Thanks. Love the studs idea, great when you have small babies/kiddos.

  43. Jenny is not only beautiful but the sweetest person!! xoxo Amy

  44. If you haven’t tried that shampoo and conditioner- you have to! She’s totally right they smell amazing! My sister and I work at different salons and mine carries it but hers doesn’t and now I’m shipping it to her across the country every few months because she’s hooked! xo

  45. Yayyy for the Midwest!!! Iowa is such a great place…loved this interview!

  46. PS – Jenny, please share where you bought that beautiful black dress you’re wearing in your pregnancy picture, it’s lovely!

  47. This is one of my favorites so far too, and really gels with my own personal style. :) Jenny has such a natural style, and seems like a really genuine person. I check in on her blog and instagram every so often and she always looks so happy and healthy.

  48. LK says...

    She is stunning! I love her tips and attitude. This series is great!

  49. LK says...

    She is stunning! I love her tips and attitude. This series is great!

  50. I love this series and have picked up a few tips. Jenny’s beauty philosophy totally jives with mine. With two kids under three I’d have to agree, less is more and sleep is valuable!

  51. Jenny (and her family) is gorgeous! Love her beauty tips, and her general positive outlook on life. What a great message she and her husband have for their daughter, they seem like great parents. Thanks, Joanna, for coming up with such creative ways of sharing the insights of your vfriends. Makes me want to go interview some of mine for their best kept tips.

  52. Just came to say yay Iowa city! And that ELF makes a sugar/jojoba lip exfoliate for $1 that rivals Fresh. :)

  53. I drink almost the same thing. Instead of lime I put a dash of elderflower with crushed mint, and then add the soda water. It’s addictive! :)

    Great post!


  54. I love these beauty uniform posts! Please keep writing them, they are so inspiring!

  55. I just want to say Joanna, I really appreciate the way you curate these things. “My Beauty Uniform” could be such a boring concept, but you asked really thought-provoking questions that not only invited anecdotes, but also transformed the definition of ‘beauty’ from ‘make-up’ to ‘holistic self-improvement and self-expression’.

    Thanks for creating such a beautiful, thoughtful blog!

  56. This is my favorite beauty uniform so far. She is just simply beautiful.

  57. She is absolutely gorgeous and I love all of the pics of her and the baby!!!

  58. She is a stunner! I love the minimalism she uses for beauty. Love it!

  59. She looks very pretty and lovely, I would love to be mom in the future. xoxo

  60. Oh my gosh that picture of her with the red lipstick taking the selfie in the mirror! I “tumbled” that picture years ago and just oved it. Love her style!

  61. She looks straight out of a Madewell catalog, love the effortless style!

  62. Joanna I love these posts so much. You have such beautiful friends!

    Dakota Barber

  63. Gosh lady, do you have *any* non-gorgeous friends??

  64. I can’t stop staring at how beautiful she is. The lip exfoliator sounds like an interesting idea. I want to know which bright red lipstick she is wearing in the photo with the camera.

  65. Jenny is seriously the prettiest girl I have ever seen! She even looks gorgeous right after giving birth!
    I also always make sure to keep my eyebrows looking their best, it really does make a difference.

  66. I’ve been following Jenny’s work online for a while. I’ve always thought she was stunning. You’re right – her answers to questions are so good!

  67. love this! i’m a “less is more” girl too when it comes to makeup and beauty. small studs are my favorite as well!

  68. My favorite beauty uniform post so far!! She reminds me of me lol. Similar looks and everything! The tiny gold stud thing is uncanny as well… I bought a pair a few months ago and can’t stop wearing them either!!

  69. Oh wow! I used to read Jenny’s blog and then kind of list track when she moved TO Brooklyn. Great to see everything is going so well!

  70. My goodness she’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  71. She is so lovely! I LOVE this segment! My best friend told me about the MCMC fragrances a little while back and she adores them!