My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

San Francisco-based Courtney Klein is the founder of the maternity line Storq and one of the funniest, most effortlessly chic people we know. Today, she shares her tips, including the (organic!) lipstick that looks good on everyone and the sweetest lesson she learned as a kid…

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

What is your daily beauty routine?
It sounds silly, but my husband Zach and I created something we call the “Morning Captain.” The captain is responsible for our daughter Nell from wake-up until we leave for work, while the non-captain has the morning to do as they please. We alternate every other day, so on my captain days my beauty routine is pretty minimal. I’ve used Klorane’s dry shampoo forever. It’s one of those things I used once and was like, “This is my thing.” I used to use the spray-on kind, but started feeling guilty about the environment, so I like that this version isn’t aerosol. It kind of poofs onto your hair, as opposed to the powder kind you have to shake on. It’s not quite as awesome as the aerosol, but this is the best non-aerosol dry shampoo I’ve found.

After my shower, I spray on Glossier Face Mist, which wakes me up and makes me feel like I’ve done more than I have. Your skin looks dewy right after you use it. A lot of rosewater sprays can have super heavy smells, but this one dissipates, which I like. After I use it, I’m ready to face the day.

Last but not least, I use Keys Rx Moisturizer with SPF 30. I started using it after my dermatologist told me we should look at the zinc content when choosing a sunscreen, since that’s what protects your skin. This one has a high zinc content, but doesn’t go on white and rubs in very well. I use it on my face, and if there’s any left over I’ll put it on my hands to protect them, too. That’s another thing I learned, that sunscreen for hands is critical.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

What about the days when you’re not morning captain?
The mornings I have to myself, I take my time getting ready. I have long, stick-straight hair, and it gets really tangled. I use the Tangle Teezer. It’s not a pretty brush; you don’t want anyone to see that you have it. But it’s amazing how easily it cuts right through. I brush my hair with it before I get in the shower, get all the tangles out, then finger-comb it when I get out. I use VERB Shampoo and Conditioner, which is made by two Bumble & Bumble alums and is one of the few sulfate-free shampoos I’ve found that doesn’t leave my hair feeling like straw.

I wash both body and face with The Dead Sea Warehouse Original Salt Bar. I have no idea how I first found it, but its quirky packaging and promise of “kissing the itchies goodbye” won me over. When I want to linger, I’ll use some Fig + Yarrow Sea Scrub, which I kid myself into believing is especially detoxifying because it has “sea” in the name. For moisture, I use Portland Apothecary Body Oil. It keeps my skin smooth and soft, especially when I use it right after the shower. It smells lightly of rose and cedar, but it’s not an overpowering scent, and you don’t have to use much.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

Do you wear makeup?
Some days I do and some days I don’t, depending on where I’m going. On makeup days, I always use Stowaway Creaseless Concealer because it does double duty under my eyes and on any blemishes, plus it’s small enough to take along for touchups in even the tiniest of clutches. I’ll use Alima Pure Mascara, which is a natural mascara that works as well as any department store brand. It goes on smoothly and doesn’t clump. And then have you heard of this amazing blush called NARS Orgasm?!! Just kidding. I know everyone uses it, but it really is the best.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

Do you have a “game-changing” beauty product?
Everyone says lipstick is a great pick-me-up, and it definitely is. ILIA Wild Child is bright, chic and organic. It just makes you feel good. I might have huge bags under my eyes, but if I put on red lipstick it changes my outlook for the day. I’ve given it to a bunch of friends, and everyone finds it flattering.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

As a New Yorker who sometimes dreams of relocating, I’m curious to hear: Has California influenced your attitude towards beauty?
I’m not sure if it’s the relaxed vibes of California or simply growing older, but these days I’m more generous with myself and my appearance. Of course there are things I’m self-conscious about, but where my New York self tended to nitpick and obsess, my California self practices letting go. It might be a while before I achieve full enlightenment on this front, if ever, but I feel good about moving in this direction.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

Did you have any cringe-worthy beauty moments?
I sported a side mullet in college. I wanted to get a pixie cut, but something got miscommunicated and I ended up with hair that was very short on one side, while the other side swept across my face, like one huge, long bang. There was also the terrible perm I begged my mom for in the fourth grade and all of the lipstick I ever purchased at Hot Topic. They’re not regrets, really, just moments in time. But I’m grateful for the absence of social media back then.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

Do you ever splurge on treatments?
Every now and then I’ll treat myself to a facial. I used to know nothing about them — and thought they were extraneous — until a good friend took me to get one. Having that hour where you’re sitting in a room and you can’t look at your phone because there are cucumbers on your eyes feels like meditation. I love that you walk out with glowing skin; I always leave with no makeup on and feel super confident.

Facialist Kristina Holey just relocated to California, and I’m eager to try out her holistic approach. She not only works on your skin, but also interviews you about everything in your life, like what you’re eating and drinking. I like when someone’s approach is not just about getting the blackheads out, but about having an overall sense of well-being.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

What’s the one thing you always have in your bag?
I love Smith’s Rosebud Salve. I use it on dry lips and hands, even on my knees! Now that I have a kid, I wash my hands much more. They can get dry and cracked, and this is a great moisturizer. I’ve used it for so long now that I keep it in my purse and find it comforting to have around.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

What is your nighttime routine?
Does wine count as a ritual? I’m not a wine expert at all, but I’m trying to learn more. One thing that my friend is doing is focusing on a different type of wine every month, so she can figure out what she likes. She’s learned a lot. I also use an app called Delectable. If you see a wine, you can scan it to see the cost, how other people have rated it, and keep track of what you like. One thing that’s awesome about California is the abundance of amazing local wines. Even the supermarkets carry them!

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

Have you read any good books lately?
When you’re running your own company, it can be hard to step back. So I’m trying to spend my evenings doing things that don’t involve my phone or computer. I like to alternate between reading something light, like The Girl on the Train with reading something more serious or nonfiction. It’s kind of like watching Boyhood, followed by a rom-com, followed by 12 Years a Slave. It helps me enjoy each book. I just finished reading Making The Mummies Dance, about the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was fascinating.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

Your home looks beautiful. What are some of your favorite creature comforts?
The funny thing about home photos is that the photographers move everything unsightly out of the frame. Ninety-nine percent of the time it doesn’t look the way it appears online! Right now, I love my houseplants, which my friend Amy got me into. Another friend of mine is a shepherdess, and her goats graze around Berkeley to keep the chances of fire down. She started a company called Shepherdess. We just bought one of her fluffy, beautiful hides and I’ve been laying on it every night. It’s so comfortable and my daughter loves rolling around on it.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs, or anyone thinking about starting a business?
I feel like I’m still in the boat where I should be getting advice rather than giving it, but here goes! These are a few truths I’ve learned along the way: 1. You can’t do everything yourself. You just can’t. So find people you can trust, and give them the freedom to do their thing. 2. You will make mistakes. There’s no way to avoid it. Don’t waste time beating yourself up; just take stock, move on, and try not to repeat them. 3. Go with your gut. People will tell you a million different things you’re doing right or wrong. Everyone has an opinion, but it’s your company and you need to trust your instincts. 4. Don’t be afraid to hear the criticism. Don’t get upset. Don’t get mad. Just listen. Obviously this one is hard, but even if you’re rejecting it in your heard, you will have listened and that is never a bad thing.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

Aside from Storq, where do you like to shop?
I do most of my shopping online. For special pieces, I love Of a Kind, and for vintage finds, I turn to Passenger or Where I Was From.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
My husband somehow managed to import a Japanese snow cone machine for my birthday one year. Sometimes we’ll go out on the street with it, and our neighbors will gather and eat snow cones. We make flavored ones for the kids and boozy ones for the adults.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney Klein

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

What lessons did your mom teach you about beauty?
I had an eye patch for a few years when I was younger [far right, above], which was pretty cute in retrospect, but definitely didn’t feel that way at the time. My impulse was to hide, but my mom took the opposite tack and encouraged me to flamboyantly decorate the patch (with heart stickers on Valentine’s Day, for example). Her reasoning was that it was going to be noticed either way, so if I celebrated the way I looked instead of being a shrinking violet, then others would perceive that and treat me with respect. I can’t say it always worked flawlessly, or that I always felt beautiful, but her message always stuck with me.

My Beauty Uniform: Courtney

Last but certainly not least: Do you have an overall beauty philosophy?
Go with the flow. Actually, it’s less of a philosophy and more of a reaction to what I see in the mirror everyday and learning to take it in stride. At this point, I feel like this is how I look. I do my best to view makeup as my ally rather than my dark master.

Thank you so much, Courtney!

P.S. 18 inspiring women share their beauty uniforms.

(Photos courtesy of Courtney Klein. San Francisco trolley, dog walk, backyard garden and overhead couch shot by Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio. Yellow dress shot by Noah Kalina. Interview by Caroline Donofrio.)

  1. Justine says...

    That green sweater!!! I think it’s my soulmate sweater. Any info about it would be greatly appreciated. What great style.

  2. siri says...

    Mom of 2… love the clothes you design. :)
    Wondering if you have a contact name on etsy for the legs on your dining room table. In love with it…making a live edge myself and have searched everywhere for dining table legs like the ones you have (featured on Ann Street Studio).
    Thanks too much.

  3. Melissa says...

    Fell in love with the green sweater as well! Love the striped turtleneck and trench outfit. Is the turtleneck black/white or navy/white? Hope to hear from you.

  4. Charlotte says...


    I absolutely love this series–it’s a gift to see such an eclectic group of beautiful women. As always, each woman is wearing some make-up or clothing item that I immediately covet. In this case, I’m dying to know where the green sweater with the open back is from and if it’s still available.

    Anybody have any leads on this?

    • Yes!! This. I can’t stop thinking about that sweater. Send help.

  5. Kim says...

    Wonderful interview!

    I think one block of text might be missing, between the snow cone story and “That’s wonderful advice.”. I’m curious about the advice :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes, kim, thank you! that was an editing error — we had moved the entrepreneur section up a little bit, but that line about “that’s wonderful advice” was about that. thank you!!

  6. She’s pretty dang cool. Love her.

  7. Julie says...

    I love, love, LOVE that you are showcasing real women who are 1) beautiful, 2) an occasional mess and an all-the-time fabulous lady, 3) have a REAL history and a present, and 4) aren’t afraid to show the world who they are. It took me more than 45 years to accept me for me. Thank you to each lady who has shared herself with your readers. It is so refreshing!

  8. Jennifer says...

    I had the pleasure of attending high school with Courtney and I can attest to the fact that she is as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. So happy about all the success you’re having with your business! I’m pregnant with my 3rd baby and can’t wait to make my first Storq purchase.

  9. SM Taylor says...

    Courtney, you are inspired and inspirational!
    I love the bed linens in the photo of you and Nell asleep … where are they from?

  10. Court is not only an inspiring woman… she is a beautiful and kind person in the flesh. I’m grateful to call her a friend and I’m also grateful that many folks can learn about her through visually appealing and well written interviews such as this. Cheers!

    BCB Shepherdess

  11. Jill says...

    Where is her fantastic coat from in the 7th pic?

    Thanks so much

  12. jenna says...

    I’ve had a slight girl crush on this lady ever since I found her tumblr Tydepool. Her style is great and I think she is really beautiful and interesting looking! Courtney, I know being a Mom and running a business is time consuming, but if you wanted to get back into that Tydepool posting game then I wouldn’t hate it ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agreed! i met her and THEN realized she was from tydepool and freaked out :)

    • Thanks Jenna! Getting back into the Tydepool game is definitely on my to-do list.

  13. Love it, love it!
    Great advice for entrepreneurs, thank you!

  14. tunie says...

    She’s awesome, thanks. Also LOVED the shepherdess link – so cool!

  15. Sarantha K. says...

    I enjoy this series aesthetically, but sometimes I wish one or two things on this site would feature normal looking people/women, people who do not appear to be human Pinterest boards, people who have actual rolls and wrinkles. The way women are presented here so often is not realistic; in fact it sometimes feels anxiety-provoking, frankly. If I were surrounded by all these impossibly beautiful people and things, I would be having constant panic attacks about the fear of measuring up. I am grateful for the blog because I get awesome moments of authenticity, especially surrounding feelings, but then the rest of the time (the part about beauty, or kids, or food, or basically any part of the blog that isn’t about feelings) it’s just another place where women have to be perfect all day everyday, which is a bummer.

    • Vannah B says...

      I have to agree with you. I absolutely LOVE this series, all the women seem to glow, and Courtney is really beautiful and down-to-earth. However, I keep hoping to see a few more women who aren’t necessarily a size four, with great skin, easily managed hair, and a relaxed attitude towards makeup. The features on Abbey, Erica, and Latonya felt the most relatable to me. More please!

    • shawn says...

      i agree! i volunteer to be your next beauty uniform – i’m lovely but i have rolls, and though i have no children i have tons of opinions on how to make life easier and richer.

  16. Summer says...

    I love this! She seems hilarious – that Nars comment craaacked me up. And the picture with the bottles and the baby – looove it!

    Of course, I also love her mom’s beauty advice. I’ve always noticed that no one picks on the confident kid. I may not have been popular, but I wasn’t picked on. :P

  17. I really truly deeply love your beauty uniforms. There is such a celebration of femininity as well as nurturing inner beauty that I really appreciate.

  18. Taylor says...

    Woah, loved this one!! She is radiant. Of course all of the women you’ve featured have been beautiful inside and out, but the mothers in particular have this deep glow…it’s like they’re lit from within, and that love comes through in each photo. It’s inspiring and beautiful.

  19. Lauren says...

    Love her style and what a natural beauty! I do disagree with her point about California being a laid-back or relaxing place on the beauty front though. While that mentality does exist in small earthy (or nerdy) clusters in SF (or Tahoe or Venice) California is by and large a state of glamazons! I moved there for 7 years after growing up in Portland, Oregon and couldn’t believe how done up most women were. Foundation! Highlights! Lowlights! Tans! Gel nails! Certainly not everyone, but its definitely a dominant school of thought. Maybe it doesn’t come with the same emphasis on perfection that you find in New York? Californians definitely have fun with it!

  20. Noemi says...

    That army green jacket in the photo with the dog – SO STUNNING! Any idea where it’s from?

    • Julie says...

      Forget the jacket. What about the dog? I love his/her folded ears and his/her mottled front paws! What breed (if known) is he/she?

  21. Amy U. says...

    I do love this series also. This was a particularly lovely installation, and I REALLY appreciate her closing words, about makeup being an ally rather than dark master. Strangely, I’m latching on to a) those shoes (in the first dog photo)…so perfectly broken in and understated-yet-classic and b) that green sweater (handknit? if so: pattern please?) Would Courtney share those particulars with us?

    • Amy U. says...

      Oops, guess I should have read all the comments before asking about the green sweater and loafers. Read to the bottom!

  22. Jo says...

    Thank you for yet another wonderful post!

    Courtney is gorgeous and Nell is just too adorable!!! What a beautiful baby girl… The picture of her sweet face totally made my day just now!

  23. So funny Court went to Hot Topic as a kid to purchase lipstick. I, too, cringe at the thought I used to go there and thought I was so cool…agree with her that I’m relieved there was no social media back then to capture those hilariously hideous looks!! xo


    adorn la femme

  24. Ah! Such a good one, that Courtney!

  25. She’s lovely. She also seems to have the same color hair as me (strawberry blond), which is a color that not all shades of makeup/clothing look good with–definitely stealing some ideas for both from this post! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Ally says...

    Gosh I just love this series! She’s a beaut. I second the lipstick, Ilia Wild Child is my fave!

  27. Ariana Alfonso says...

    My friend was visiting and brought the tangle teaser along. I was very confused why a horse grooming brush was in my shower. I LOLed when Courtney said you don’t want others to see that brush. I for SURE made pony jokes and winnies when I found out it was HER hairbrush. Teaser indeed.

  28. Anna says...

    Love this interview, her mother’s wonderful advice and go with the flow attitude. And that parka is amazing! xo

  29. Claire says...

    She is GORGEOUS. Wow.

  30. Lisa says...

    What a beautiful woman! I love the beauty uniform series, but I have a request – a woman who actually DOES wear make up! It might sound crazy but even if I really get inspired by all the women who “sometimes wears makeup” and then basically dabs on a teeny bit of mascara, I just can not relate to them. I would rather call in sick than leave the house without makeup. Seriously. I have super sensitive, reddish skin and dark circles under my eyes, pretty much white eye lashes and eyebrows.. My features just need some help! Would love to read about someone who is more like me, because I surely can not be the only one?!

    • Anna says...

      Agreed! All of these woman have perfect, dewy skin. If I don’t wear some kind of tint, I look halfway to dead. And I am very comfortable in my own skin…but I know it’s a skin that needs some color to it. I’d love to see a woman who was less preternaturally (thanks, yesterday’s vocab post!) beautiful and more like a normal person who has flaws I can relate to.

    • Cathe says...

      I am pretty much like you! Can’t leave the house without at least BB + Concealer + Bit of powder + Blush tint + Mascaras black for eyelashes and clear for brows! My makeup routine might not be extremely time consuming (Maybe 15 min top if I feel like doing an eyeliner that day) but I need it every morning haha!

    • Cass says...

      Seconded – as a strawberry blonde/ redhead, I have to wear mascara on my white eyelashes!

    • Joanna says...

      Hear, hear! All of these women have been exactly the same, from their skin to their style. Mix it up a little! Not all of us wear “a little lip tint” and boyfriend jeans.

    • pd says...

      AGREED. This is such a great idea for a series, but it’s WASTED on people who don’t wear makeup! C’mon! These women are beautiful, but if I read one more “just a dab of lip balm, maybe some concealer if I’m feeling adventurous” post I’m going to scream! I get that that is the Cup of Jo vibe, but if you’re going to feature people who don’t wear makeup in a series about BEAUTY, then what is the point?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you for these comments!! COMPLETELY hear where you’re coming from, and we will definitely focus more on women who love/need to wear makeup every day. We have some great ones coming up, and will keep more of an eye out for different vibes/jobs/styles to show a wider range, while still adhering to the CoJ sensibility. Thank you so much for this feedback!! Your thoughts and opinions are enormously important to me, and I really appreciate your taking the time to write.

      Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for a makeup-obsessive beauty uniform, check out gemma’s:

      Also erica’s:

      PS I also NEED to wear foundation or I’m totally blotchy and red, so I hear you on that!

      Thank you again xoxo

  31. jennie says...

    LOVE her style! Where’s the beige trench from? So classic and well-cut!

  32. Oh this was such a great read before bed! And here is why: My son is now wearing an eye patch for amblyopia. He just turned 3 and it’s been tough to say the least. Anyhow I just thought it was great that this woman shared and I enjoyed seeing the photos! It’s tough getting a kid to keep an eye patch on and people want to keep coming up to us and talk about pirates ( I’m sure they mean well) but my son doesn’t like them and doesn’t like to be fussed over either. Anyhow thanks for sharing that part on the Beauty Uniform, an unexpected surprise for me to read.

    • Awwww! From one amblyopia kid to another, tell your little one it does get better. Sending hearts your way!

  33. Love this lady! I follow her husband on instagram and am always blown away by her effortless beauty (and unsurprisingly beautiful baby)

  34. Alex says...

    Great beauty uniform! I adore those glasses in the ILIA Wild Child lipstick photo, any chance you know where they are from?

    • Hi Alex! They’re actually just Warby Parkers. I end up losing my glasses so often that I decided to ditch the expensive frames for the time being and go with something easily replaceable.

  35. Emily says...

    I am with everyone – I want to know where her clothes are from (esp that green sweater and the drapey jacket)!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we should do a FASHION uniform with her!

    • Sabrina says...

      My thoughts exactly! That green sweater!!

  36. but seriously! where’s that draped green jacket from??

  37. Really enjoyable read, and very inspiring :)

  38. Erin says...

    Ha! I LOL’d at her last statement about makeup as a dark master! Loved this post, she is a natural beauty. And I echo others’ requests for where that gorgeous green sweater came from.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i know right???? she has the CUTEST childhood shots on her instagram.

  39. Mariah says...

    Where is that green sweater from? It is gorgeous!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Tibi xo

  40. I’m a fan!

  41. You all are too sweet! Seriously.

    The green sweater is Tibi, the loafers Dieppa Restrepo, the woven top Jess Feury, and the jacket All Saints. As for my pups (they are the best!), Erie with the spots is a plott hound mix, and Scout with the stripes is a terrier whippet mix. I think I answered all the questions, but definitely let me know if I’ve missed anything. Xx.

    • I LOVE your shirt at the very end. Any chance you can tell where it’s from. It’s so perfect :)

    • M says...

      Hi Courtney!

      Fellow SF’er here! Any chance you can tell me where your denim is from in the shot w/ the Tibi sweater? I’m constantly on the hunt for a good high waist with nothing on the pockets. Thanks in advance!

      See ya around the city! :)

  42. Terran Wilson says...

    I want to know where that burlap looking top from the last shot is from! So cute!

    • textile lover says...

      looks like a Jess Feury to me!

    • Textile Lover you are spot on! It’s Jess Feury and one of my all time favs.

  43. Liz says...

    Another great post, especially since I love CA style beauty. I’d love to see a beauty uniform with Ashley from Hither and Thither sometime.

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes, same!!

  44. Lauren E. says...

    You really should start asking each person where all their clothes are from! Gosh, every single piece she’s wearing is gorgeous!!

    • Emily says...

      Totally agree! I would buy everything she’s wearing.

  45. Megan says...

    Love this post, and may I say that Courtney has the cutest dogs in all the land! Would love to know what mix of breeds they are. Thanks for writing the posts that fuel my afternoon :)

  46. LCD says...

    I love these series. They both inspire me and make me feel more at home in my own skin. Thank you!!

  47. Courtney seems so centered. I am also curious about that cool green sweater and her lovely navy slippers…effortlessly chic is right!

  48. Amy Lauree says...

    I found myself loving every single outfit in her pictures. I wish I could dive into her closet!

  49. Where is that green open back sweater from? I must own it. I must.

  50. Jennifer says...

    Where is that drapey green jacket from?? Looks great for travel!

  51. Mary Jenkins says...

    Courtney seems like a wonderful and well-rounded person. I LOL-ed at the NARS comment! Everyone and their mom uses that blush, for good reason.

  52. Stella says...

    lovely post! and oh man, where is that awesome green sweater with the cool back from??

  53. Emma says...

    Love this series. Courtney’s natural beauty really shines through…but let’s talk about that green open-back sweater for a sec. Where is it from?

  54. I love this series more than anything. Love reading about all of these different women