Cup of Jo editor Caroline is AMAZING AND ALWAYS KNOWS WHAT’S UP. (She told me to say that, but I also think it’s true.) Here, she shares her beauty uniform, including her secret morning ritual, an offbeat shampoo and the one tool she can’t live without…
What’s your daily skincare routine?
I’m epically bad at mornings, so I keep my shower routine as simple as possible. I wash with Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, which tingles a little and helps me wake up. For overall moisturizing, I was on the coconut oil bandwagon for a while, but I got tired of smelling like an Almond Joy. Now I use avocado oil, which is equally cheap and blissfully fragrance-free.
What do you use on your face?
For my face, I swear by NUDE Nourishing Cleansing Oil, which is made with 100% natural plant oils. Oil cleansing has made a huge difference in my skin—it completely eliminated dry patches, oily spots and break-outs. For daytime, I’ll smooth on Clinique Smart Repair Serum, a genius product that figures out your specific skin needs (dryness, dark spots, wrinkles, etc.) then fixes them, via the majesty of science. At night, I wash my face again and go to bed without putting anything on it. A dermatologist once told me that your skin needs to breathe and re-balance itself overnight, and that’s what I’ve done ever since.
We know you love lipstick. Do you wear other makeup?
I wear makeup every day, but try to keep it light—I’m hoping people will think I look nice, not that my makeup looks nice. I use MAC Face & Body Foundation, which is lightweight and slightly dewy—it doesn’t completely erase imperfections, just makes you look like a better version of yourself. For under-eye circles or blemishes, I love Tarte Amazonian Clay concealer. On weekdays, I’ll usually wear a neutral lip (Lipstick Queen’s Jean Queen is especially foolproof) and then dab a bit of that same lipstick on my cheeks. Finally, I’ll curl my eyelashes to look more awake and finish with a coat of mascara. I get the Maybelline Great Lash with the “Lots of Lashes” brush—the brush is key.
What if you’re dressing up?
If it’s a special occasion or I have more time to play, I’ll swipe on some highlighter (NARS Copacabana) and apply one of my (many) lipsticks. I’m currently obsessed with All Fired Up, a matte reddish fuchsia. It’s a beautiful color that feels like a fresh alternative to red.
What do you love about your look, even if it’s unconventional?
When I was in middle school, the mean girls made fun of my furry, slightly conjoined eyebrows. (“Um, have you ever heard of a tweezer?”) Now bold eyebrows are back in style and I actually try to make them look bigger. Take that, bullies!
Do you have any game-changing beauty products?
Two! Benefit Gimme Brow is an eyebrow gel that makes brows look darker and fuller. It’s much easier than using an eyebrow pencil but still gives you definition. I use it every day, even when forgoing other makeup, since it helps frame your whole face. And if I’m especially sleepy (or hungover), MAC Fast Response Eye Cream is a lifesaver for tired eyes. You dab a little on, wait a few minutes, and your eyes are noticeably de-puffed. It’s wizardry. It really works.
Do you have any favorite tools?
It might be the least sexy thing ever, but my tiny shaver is a total necessity. It’s the best at removing a scary nose hair or Teen Wolf-esque sideburns. I have random hairs that grow in places I don’t want them (I’m looking at you, lone goat chin hair), and this is the easiest, fastest way to make them go away. I’d bring it to a desert island.
Do you have any regrettable beauty moments?
Yes. The entire decade spanning from 1996 to 2006 was spent making questionable aesthetic decisions. These include but are not limited to: over-tweezed eyebrows, liner that was darker than the lipstick within, one big stripe of bleached-blond hair à la Rogue from X-Men and glitter. So much glitter. Sigh.
Are there any foods or drinks that help you feel your best?
Food is one area where I definitely don’t lead by example—I would live inside of a doughnut if I could. But I’m fanatical about hydration, and find that drinking obscene quantities of water makes a huge difference in how I look and feel. Drinking peppermint tea or hot water with lemon does wonders to cure bloating. And when I’m feeling stressed or having trouble sleeping, I’ll make this drink to help calm my nerves.
Do you have any other rituals that help you feel good?
I don’t look at my phone after 10pm—or even bring it in my bedroom. If I do, I’ll never fall asleep. It’s important to have sacred, uninterrupted space! I’ll usually read a book before bed (I just finished this one) and write a few thoughts in a notebook. Last but not least, I surround myself with pretty candles, crystals and lots of green plants. While you probably can’t prove that these things have magical properties, they make me feel better, and that’s evidence enough for me.
What do you do to care for your hair?
My aunt recently gave me WEN Cleansing Conditioner (a shampoo and conditioner in one), and it has completely changed my hair. You put it on at the beginning of your shower, leave it in while you shave or whatever, then rinse it off at the end. I’ve been using it for a month now and my hair is much sleeker and completely frizz-free! I may never go back to regular shampoo. I wash my hair every other day, and on the off days, I use Lulu Organics dry shampoo. I love the lavender scent, but mostly am a sucker for the pretty packaging.
And for styling?
I always use my magic hot air brush. And Bumble and Bumble Cityswept Finish is magic in a can for creating shiny, tousled, slightly messy looks.
Do you have a signature scent?
Right now I’m into solid perfumes, since I can tuck them in my bag for on-the-go touch-ups. My current go-to is Nirvana Black, which smells dusty and sexy, like violet and sandalwood. My long-time favorite, though, is Eau Duelle. It has a warm, subtly spicy vanilla scent. I was once told (by a male) that it smelled like “a sexy marshmallow,” which was meant as a compliment.
What was a time in your life when you felt beautiful?
Every morning, I spend my commute listening to an uplifting song. It can be anything from Fleetwood Mac to Sam Cooke—whatever mood I happen to be in that day. This morning, for example, I embraced the cheese and indulged in…Taylor Swift. Taylor was like, “WELCOME TO NEW YORK,” as the skyline breezed by. It was the ultimate in ridiculousness. There’s nothing better than sharing a train with a bunch of stony-faced businessmen, smiling to myself because of what’s secretly streaming out of my headphones. Happy music makes me feel alive and like I can tackle whatever comes my way—and that, to me, is beautiful.
Were there any influential “beauty figures” in your life?
I grew up doing a ton of community theater, where experimenting with makeup and costumes was part of the process. This also meant spending time in a communal dressing room with older women who were completely comfortable with themselves, regardless of their age, size, shape…not to mention willing to don a coconut bra, a Colonial lady outfit or whatever their role required. I loved how they thought of makeup as play and that they didn’t take it—or themselves—too seriously!
Last but certainly not least: do you have an overall beauty philosophy?
Do what makes you feel great, and don’t feel too pressured by trends or the overall pull of society. I often feel torn because lord knows I LOVE my beauty products, but then I’ll wander into Sephora and feel suffocated by all the things being marketed exclusively to women. I’ll think: If I added up all the time I spend applying makeup or straightening my hair and spent that time working instead, would I have a Pulitzer by now? Ultimately, though, I think beauty can be a positive force. Anything that makes you feel great isn’t silly; it’s empowering. The trick is blocking out all the other noise (“Wear these! Wax this! Tweeze that!”) until you’re left with whatever makes you feel best.
Thank you so much, Caroline!
P.S. More lovely women share their beauty uniforms and Caroline’s 30-day lipstick challenge.
(Photos via Caroline’s Instagram)