Connie Wang is a senior features writer at Refinery29, and she’s the kind of woman who, as soon as you talk to her, makes you want to a) be her best friend and b) know where she found every single product she’s wearing. Here, she shares her surprising wedding look inspiration, the best smudge-proof lipstick and the scent that almost ruined her relationship…
First of all, tell us about your wedding ceremony look.
I was lucky to have my bud, Ashleigh Ciucci, do my hair and makeup. She is a pro when it comes to doing up almond-shaped eyes. My two notes were: 1) I wanted to look like me, but the Instagram filter version of me, and 2) I wanted insurance against a red nose, since my schnoz goes full-Rudolf when I cry. I was very happy to see that my nose was skin-colored in every photo despite the amount of times I lost it.
Did you have an inspiration for how you wanted to look?
This may be embarrassing, but for inspiration I sent Ashleigh a dozen photos of 2008-era Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. I was a senior in high school then, which I think is a time in a woman’s life where peaks and valleys of beauty are established. There was no one doing 2008 better than those two women, with their piece-y waves and smudgy brown liner.
Do you usually wear makeup? What products are part of your ‘daily face’?
I always wear eyeshadow and black liquid eyeliner. I’ve recently started using brick-red eyeshadows, and I love the ones in the Venus Palette from Lime Crime. For liquid eyeliners, I’m partial to Stila and Kat Von D. I touch my face a lot, so I need something that’s a rub-proof situation.
Do you wear anything else, like concealer or foundation?
I don’t. It’s not that I don’t have zits or redness — I do! — it’s that I hate the feeling of wearing anything on my face. It feels claustrophobic to me. I actually like having dark circles under my eyes. If I cover them up, I look two-dimensional.
What’s your daily skincare routine?
I have moderate eczema, and am allergic to a bewilderingly random mix of things, so most of my skincare revolves around three products: my humidifier, Fluocinonide steroid cream (from my doctor), and Cetaphil moisturizing cream. Without them, I would be distracted by itchiness 100% of the day instead of just 10%. During the winter, I’ll add Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask as an extra daily moisturizer.
Let’s talk lipstick. You’ve rocked some amazing reds and oranges on Instagram lately. What are a few favorites?
The NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in Don’t Stop and Done It Again make me feel like a pro. They’re super pigmented, won’t smear, and don’t dry out my lips. If I’m going for a more subtle color, I’ll use the NARS Precision Lip Liner all over my lips. It creates this matte/puffy effect I find really appealing — like you’ve got a pair of smooth croissants for lips.
Are there any funny tips or tricks that you swear by?
My mother (who has great skin) always told me that washing your face every day with cleanser will ruin your skin. The more beauty editors I talk to, the more I suspect this is not entirely true. But one month, I tried properly washing my face — with oil cleansers, mild soaps, that sponge that looks like a black pebble — and my skin was a nightmare. So now I’m back to using Neutrogena face wipes or just hot water to wash it.
What must-haves do you pack on your frequent trips?
The one thing I never travel without is a Salux cloth. It feels like a loofah, and removes every bit of dry skin on your body, but it’s not so rough that you’ll damage your skin. They’re so cheap, and very long, so you can scrub your back like you see in cartoons. After using it, you feel really clean and smooth.
While traveling, have you discovered any standout products everyone should know about?
I am obsessed with Cure Natural Aqua Gel, which I first stumbled across six years ago in Tokyo. It’s a clear gel that somehow, after being rubbed onto dry skin, gathers every bit of gunk and debris on your face into these tiny white balls. It’s disgusting and intensely satisfying, and I only allow myself this joy every few weeks.
I loved your couples matching outfit experiment. Do you and Nathan also share products?
I think the only people who didn’t like the matching story were my husband and me! Reaching a consensus every day was torture. He is a product vulture in his own right, with an impressive collection of bottles and potions. The only thing of mine he doesn’t understand are the sheet masks. I don’t blame him: I imagine the sight of a person sitting on the couch, reading a book, while wearing what looks like the face of another human would be a little unsettling.
Do you have a beloved scent?
Most fragrances make me nauseous, but I swear there is some sort of voodoo in good old original Old Spice that makes me go insane (in the good way). Nathan doesn’t use it anymore because it started staining his clothes, which has been a very difficult relationship hurdle we’ve had to work through. Once in a while, I’ll smell it on a random stranger and go ‘Ohhhhh.’
What’s your haircare routine?
I hate doing my hair. I always feel like I should, because I’ll see candid photos of myself with tragic, stringy hair that make me want to commit to a weekly blowout. But the inertia of my laziness is too strong. The only thing I do is rub Shu Uemura oil on the ends.
Any tips for people with bangs?
I cut my own bangs. I bought a pair of Muji hair scissors, and have learned (after years of trial and error) to cut them in two layers, making sure the outer layer is slightly longer than the inner one, which helps them lie right. My hair texture allows for mistakes, and I am very thankful for that! My only advice is: don’t cut too short. You can’t recover from too short, but you can always recover from long and uneven.
What’s your biggest splurge?
I use the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence every morning as toner. It really is magical. The first time I used it, I saw a dramatic change in my skin the very next day. One of the joys of working in an office with a beauty department is that companies send amazing gifts. One year, we got a display of SK-II toners that was the height of a five-year-old child. I saw it and literally starting taking all of them — it was a Hunger Games situation and I was going to win.
When’s one time in your life when you felt especially beautiful?
Summer. The sun is out, the humidity is right, I’m always outside and doing stuff. That confluence of things is the perfect environment for me to feel beautiful.
Last but certainly not least: what’s your overall beauty philosophy?
Don’t look too closely.
Thank you so much, Connie! You are wonderful.