Reagan Baker, the brilliant stylist of hair tutorial fame, knows everything about everything when it comes to beauty. And she’s also one of the funniest, most down-to-earth people we know. Here, she shares her secret weapon hair products, her experience as a single mom and her happiness philosophy…
What’s your daily skincare routine?
In the shower, I cleanse my face with Cetaphil, which I happily started using after reading that it’s Iris Apfel‘s favorite. She said she’s tried everything at every price and that’s what she liked best. I’ve loved her since the Bill Cunningham documentary; she stole my heart. At the end of the day, I remove my makeup with Pond’s cold cream, which is so soothing and the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t feel drying. For night cream, I’m into Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream for maximum hydration. The people in the store told me it’s for old ladies, and I was like, “Yup, that sounds good.”
Do you wear makeup?
Yes! For under-eye concealer, I use a few dabs of Make Up For Ever, in a shade lighter than my skin, to brighten my face and trick people into thinking I’m super well-rested. I just got the Dr. Jart+ BB Matte Contour Kit. Contouring can look like stage makeup, but this one is really light. I’ll just put a little highlighter under my eyes and on my forehead, and put a little of the dark contour color in the hollows of my cheeks. I have a round face, and it helps bring out my cheekbones. Then I’ll do a quick swipe of Sephora Mineral Face Powder all over. Lastly, I swear by YSL mascara. You only have to do a few swipes to get both volume and length. My whole routine takes just a few minutes — if only high school Reagan could see me now!
Did you wear a ton of makeup in high school?
Oh yeah, a ton. I was an awkward child; I’ve been the same height — 5’8″ — since I was 10, with the same size feet. I was really skinny growing up, but then I filled out my junior year in high school and started caring about makeup. Not only did I wear a lot of makeup, but I would touch it up in between classes! I had this white, white eye shadow and tons of lip gloss. I’d also put handfuls of gel in my hair, so it was crunchy. I wish I could go back in time knowing what I know now.
What was the attitude around beauty like where you grew up?
I grew up being homeschooled in Tennessee, and my friends and I were sporty and kind of awkward. When I was 14, I moved to Utah, and the friends I made there were completely different — they were years ahead! They were going to tanning beds and getting highlights and acrylic nails. I was fascinated by how these girls looked. My mom was really nervous and wouldn’t let me start wearing makeup. I needed help from my friends. From their perspective, I was far behind. It was like Clueless. I think it’s part of the reason I wound up going to beauty school.
What was it like going to school after being homeschooled?
It was a huge change. The workload was a struggle because I wasn’t used to that much. Back in Tennessee, I had helped my mom a lot at home. We were a Mormon family with lots of children, and we had a hot dinner ever night, and I babysat my younger brother, so a lot of my home schooling wasn’t school at all. When I started public school in Utah, I suddenly had homework every night and tests. It was intense.
Nowadays, where do you like to travel?
Growing up, I always wanted to travel. Now I try to do one big trip a year. The best one I ever took was Thailand. It was my thirtieth birthday present to myself, and I went with a girlfriend, Sarah. Before we left, everyone was asking us, have you traveled together before? We were like, no. People were making us nervous, but we got really lucky because everything fell into place. We had the same budget, liked the same food, were hungry at the same time. It was so beautiful.
Do you pack any particular beauty products for trips?
I hate the way my nails look when they chip, so I always take individual nail polish remover pads, plus clear nail polish. I’ll go crazy if my nails are chipping all over the place.
Your hair is so beautiful! Do you have any inspirations?
My first ever “girl crush” was Daryl Hannah in Splash, because she was a mermaid and her crimped hair went right down to her bum. I’ve had a thing for long hair ever since, because it feels like a blank canvas that can be taken in any direction.
What are your favorite hair products?
I wash my hair about once a week, and I love the moisture shampoo and conditioner from Matrix. My highlighted hair is so thirsty, and their conditioner is super rich and makes detangling easy. On the other days, I couldn’t live without the dry shampoo SachaJuan Volume Powder. It makes hair look clean AND gives the best volume. Holding the can about six inches away, I’ll spray all around my hairline in front, and then down my part. Then I’ll lift sections of hair and spray around. Let it sit for 5 to 10 seconds, then massage it in with my hands.
Can you recommend any magical styling products?
Oribe Crème for Style is the product I use most, by a landslide. It smoothes down flyaways and adds volume. It works well whether you air dry or heat style, and is great for any type of hair.
Do you have any “splurge” items you’d recommend?
I have three Mason Pearson hair brushes. You don’t need three, but you should really have one. It makes sense to have the nicest version of your most everyday tool. They last forever and are so good for your scalp. By brushing scalp to ends, you’re loosening up the oils and letting them condition the ends, which is why we produce oil in the first place!
What’s your bedtime routine?
My big thing the last few years is wearing real pajamas, which was inspired by Betty Draper. She always seemed to have a whole matching nightgown, robe and slipper combo. I have a few pretty sets from Victoria’s Secret and cute sets from Gap. They make me feel grown up and ladylike.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Dubsmash! I have a couple friends I do it with. We’ll get really into it. I’ll go through phases where I’ll look at the clock and it’s two in the morning. I’m like, I’ve been setting up my camera and popping out of nowhere for hours! I try too hard to make them unique. I’ll add a dog into them.
Do you have any non-beauty rituals that help you feel great?
It may seem a little corny, but I make an effort to be positive and smile a lot, which to me is a major part of beauty. I listen to music when I get ready for work, and the first song is always something that gets me excited about being awake — like Beyonce, Mariah or Britney.
Do you have a signature scent?
On special occasions, I wear Do Son from Diptyque. It’s a sexy, moody scent. That’s not my usual aesthetic — I like bright colors and I wouldn’t consider myself very mysterious — but I love how it balances things out. You can also get a tiny, beautiful container of the solid form to carry in your bag.
Where did the name Reagan come from?
My name came from my Republican parents! I have an election button that says “Reagan ’84” from the year I was born. When I was a kid I was envious of my friends with more popular names, because I could never have personalized notebooks or pencils, but it’s nice to have an unusual name.
What did the women in your family teach you about beauty?
My mom always praised us for saying something funny or for being creative. I never once heard her or my three older sisters talk about dieting or beauty trends. I remember caring a lot about looks from when I was very young, so I appreciate their grounding influence. Their balance is what prevented me from turning into a beauty obsessed monster! When it comes to “outer” beauty, though, they’d be nothing without me. Just kidding. They might read this.
Do you ever make any impulsive changes when it comes to your appearance?
I have four small tattoos. The first is a flower on my foot that I got when I was 19. Ten years later, I got my second tattoo, a quote from my favorite movie, Harold and Maude: “Go and love some more.” I have a “P” on my left wrist for my daughter, Piper, and a broken arrow on my other wrist, which symbolizes peace.
How has motherhood changed your perspective on beauty?
My experience with motherhood has been different than most because my little girl, Piper Jane, has pretty serious physical disabilities that prevent her from being able to live at home with me. When I was pregnant, the doctors knew there might be something wrong, but she was very small and it was hard for them to see. Everything was vague, I didn’t know what to take from it. She was born two months early and then they were able to see her abnormalities. She has a syndrome that affects her lungs and rib cage. Her rib cage is too small, so when she inhales, her lungs can’t expand all the way, which is why she has to be on the ventilator all the time.
I have this big scar across my lower abdomen because I had to have an emergency C-section, and it’s something I’m weirdly not self-conscious about. It represents my child’s life, and that’s beautiful. We have so many expectations from ourselves for perfection — everything from our appearances to decorating our homes to how the timeline of our lives will go. There’s something beautiful about not getting your way all the time, and choosing happiness despite that.
What’s Piper like?
She’s both the sweetest person you’ve ever met and the most mischievous child. She’s still snuggly like a baby. She never walks next to me without reaching to hold my hand. But then she gets a look in her eye and this giant grin, and it’s like she has an idea and is about to go through with it. You have to keep an eye on her!
Do you have any advice for parents of children who have special needs?
The challenges can consume you, so I believe in celebrating the situation as much as possible. That has made everything worlds easier for me, just noticing every little thing about Piper that makes her special. My favorite thing about her is that she does what she wants to do. She doesn’t know what’s cool with other nine-year-olds. She likes things because she likes them, not because she’s trying to impress anyone else. I want to be like that, I don’t want to care about what other people think. It’s inspiring and amazing to be around someone like that. She marches to the beat of her own drum.
Thank you so much, Reagan! We love you.
(Photos courtesy of Reagan Baker.)