A Cup of Jo

My Beauty Uniform: Julie O’Rourke

Julie O’Rourke lives on a tiny island in Maine with her partner, Anthony; toddler, Diogo; and dog, Violet. The owner of Rudy Jude, a children’s clothing line, she has a playful sense of humor that complements her laid-back beauty. Ahead, she talks about DIY haircuts, the best thing to bring on trips, and the beauty product you can find in the kitchen cupboard…

How does living in rural Maine affect your beauty routine?
Maine is very beautiful, but the seasons are drastic and can change very quickly. It can go from summer to winter overnight, so you have to be ready to wake up in the morning with cracked lips and static-y hair. The only thing that helps this transition for me is Lansinoh. I know, it’s nipple cream, but its great for chapped lips!

What do you love about life there?
Nature. It’s hard to be inside so much in the winter, but the summertime is magical. We spend every day picking blueberries, hanging at the beach and going out in our little boat. Our son Diogo is able to be independent — it’s so cool to watch him tool around in the woods at such a young age. He has great balance already, probably from all that exploring.

Have you always lived in Maine?
I grew up here, but went to college in Providence. I also spent a funny weird year traveling with my best girlfriend, before moving back here six years ago.

Tell us about that!
My friend and I had both been working, but didn’t know what we wanted to do with our lives. We decided to figure it out together. We went to California, where we worked on a farm and saved up some money. Eventually, we used that money to fly to Hawaii, where lived in a tent on the beach for six months and got landscaping jobs. Neither job was very fun, but they made ends meet.

How did the trip affect your beauty routine?
We were both young and single, so even though we were in a tent, we still wanted to go out and look good. We were both into natural beauty, so we basically had the tent filled with coconut oil. We smelled like a couple of macaroons. We also were inspired by Born to Run, which we would read out loud to each other in our tent. The book was about the Tarahumara people in Mexico, who would eat chia seeds before they went on these really long barefoot runs. So, every morning, we would take a cup of water, add the seeds and a little bit of lime juice, mix it with our fingers and chug. We were like, ‘This is the path! We’re going to be so healthy and so beautiful!’

Do you still take road trips?
Yes, last winter, our family drove to California and back with our dog. Diogo was only seven months when we left, but it went surprisingly well! We’re also planning a short road trip around Portugal this fall. We’re hoping to explore where Anthony’s dad was born. We’re excited for Diogo to see where he comes from.

Do you have any on-the-road beauty tips?
I got into the habit of doing late-night hotel beauty sessions. I brought along French green clay — a powder that you mix with water to make a face mask. It makes your face really tight and your pores super small. I then use Night Swimming toner and Rosa the Beautiful cream, to refresh my skin post-mask.

What’s your regular skincare routine?
As a mom, it’s hard to stick to a consistent routine, but I try to use Aesop exfoliating wash with a Clarisonic on my face every other day. Last year, I went on a trip to Joshua Tree with my cousin and she had all her Aesop products and a Clarisonic laid out and she was like, ‘You need these.’ I just do everything that my friends do, ha! So, I basically took her whole skin care regimen. Then my sister saw me using them, and bought the whole thing, too. I switch that up and cleanse with Everyday Oil every other day, too.

What is that?
Oh my god, it’s the best product in the world. I use it on my face as a cleanser and on my body as a moisturizer. My skin responds really well to oil cleansing (essentially, washing with a hot washcloth and oil) because it allows for the natural oils to balance out. So, if I have to run out the door with a screaming toddler, my skin won’t feel too dry or too oily by midday. The whole family uses it, it works for so many things. It has rose geranium in it, so in the summer it works as an insect repellent. We even use it on our dog to repel ticks!

Do you wear makeup every day?
When we’re having a seasonal shift, my face goes from looking tan and glow-y to pale and wintery. At that point, I’ll take things up a notch and wear foundation, bronzer and some mascara. Last spring, I switched to this Italian mascara called Grande that really works. I haven’t been wearing much mascara this summer, so when I put it on now, I’m like ‘Woah, baby, they’re like a foot long!”

How do you change things up for special occasions?
I’ve been watching lots of contouring videos on Instagram. Instagram suggests video feeds they think you would like — mine right now are “natural beauty,” “goth style,” “cake decorating” and “trampolines.” I wouldn’t have picked them myself, but it turns out in the sleepless hours of early parenting, these are exactly my interests. Who knew! I wish I could say I use my new beauty skills on nights out, but really I just put on Grande brow gel. It feels pretty glam to have a bold brow.

Do you have any beloved drugstore buys?
Cornstarch! I use it as dry shampoo and armpit powder (to cut down on sweating and odor). I add a few drops of essential oil, usually lavender or rose, and apply the mixture with a big fat brush.

What’s your signature scent?
People always tell me I smell like cedar, which is nice. We do live in a cedar house, but I think it’s more from the mixture of scents I wear. I use a little perfume called Maison Louis Marie No. 4 that smells of cedar and sandalwood. Then the Everyday Oil has a bit of an earthy palo santo scent. Together they make their own smell.

What’s the most drastic thing you’ve ever done with your overall look? 
Many things feel drastic while they’re happening, but end up not being so crazy in hindsight. Like many moms, I cut my hair after I had Diogo so he wouldn’t pull it. If you had talked to me then, I was being so dramatic you would have thought I buzzed it all off, even though it was only to my shoulders. Anthony had even longer hair then. When Diogo was a baby, I wouldn’t let him sleep between us because I was so nervous about Anthony’s hair getting around the baby. Now, Diogo does this thing whenever he gets any hair in his mouth, he goes, ‘Ugh, Daddy.’ I cut Anthony’s hair to his shoulders, but it’s still everywhere.

You cut his hair?
It’s been an ordeal. Anthony and his mom, dad and sisters have all been getting their haircut by the same woman, Sharon, for most of their lives. So, every time I cut his hair, Anthony gives me this long lecture on how to cut it just like Sharon. I’ve actually gone to a few appointments with them and watched and learned. She cuts each cluster individually and does this kind of swoop with her hand, so that’s how I do it. Friends now ask me to cut their hair, too. Basically, I am a professional now. I think Sharon would be proud.

Do you remember any beauty disasters?
When I was 11, my mom was dropping me off at school and noticed that I had shaved my legs. She was like, ‘What did you do?!?’ I was mortified. When summer camp came along, I worked up the courage to ask her if I could shave again. She of course said no, and I was devastated. She came from a family where her mom wouldn’t even let her wear clear nail polish. It was a very old New England kind of mentality — no makeup or anything flashy. But she ended up sending me a care package with a razor in it — you know, the kind with the soap around the edge.

Do you ever do beauty treatments?
There is a little spot in town that does non-toxic spray tans. I’ll get one if I have a wedding or special event. All my friends make fun of me because it’s basically the antithesis of how I feel about anything else, and every time I say I’m never doing this again. My sister does it, too, so I can seek comfort in that. She and I are really good at egging each other on. One of us will talk the other into being the guinea pig. I just convinced her to get eyelash extensions.

What are your beauty inspirations?
I was visiting a friend who just had a baby the other day, and I know it sounds cheesy, but I don’t think anyone is more beautiful than a new mom. Maybe it’s because your appearance at that point is the last thing on your mind; or it’s the tired eyes and the extra bit of fat under your skin; but there is something so beautiful and truthful about a mom’s face in those early days. I try to carry that with me whenever I look in the mirror to remind myself that all of my experiences — good, bad, exciting, traumatic, exhausting — are as much a part of my overall beauty as the routines I keep.

Thank you so much, Julie!

P.S. More women share their beauty uniforms, including a therapist and hair stylist.

(Photos courtesy of Julie O’Rourke.)