Every so often, we spy a woman with The Perfect Hair — you know, those shiny, bouncy, just-curled-enough tresses that are worthy of their own Pantene commercial. And every time, we ask ourselves the same burning question: How the heck does she get her strands to do that?
For us, more often than not, that woman is girl-about-town Monica Garcia. With impossibly glossy locks, glowing olive skin, and to-die-for wardrobe, it's safe to say that the Maryland native has got her personal style on lock. So naturally, we had lots of questions to ask her. To remedy that, we spent a sunny morning discovering how the 28-year-old masters "wavy, dry, and frizzy" hair and where she scores discounted Alexander McQueen in Washington (yep, you're gonna want that tidbit!). Click through to meet this so-sweet style maven and pick up a few new tricks along the way.
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Photographed by Sebastian Marin
Run us through your weekday morning beauty routine — how do you usually style your hair for work?
"During the workweek, I wash my hair the night before, and apply a small amount of Moroccanoil to my still-wet hair — from mid-length to ends — and sleep on it. It helps reduce the frizz, defines my waves, and adds volume. In the morning, I polish my look with a curling iron to the ends.
My beauty routine starts with skin care — your skin is the foundation to your look. Never take short cuts or neglect the skin — don’t lose that luster! I wash my face with Chanel Gel Pureté cleanser
and use Chanel Lotion Pureté Mattifying Toner
: the tulip-tree extract and other sebum-controlling ingredients help with my oily skin. My newest addition is Lancome Génifique Yeux Light-Pearl Eye-Illuminating Youth Activating Concentrate
— it works, I tell ya. During the winter, my skin tends to be a bit drier than usual, so I apply Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum
. It’s the perfect synergy of ultimate hydration and protection. I top it off with Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Crème
, and my skin is radiant and ready to take on the day’s agenda."
Zara top, Forever 21 pants, and Alexander Wang shoes.
Monica's well-stocked dressing table holds her favorite products, including the super-affordable drugstore eyeliner she swears by and her other must-have, a NARS Illuminator
in Copacabana. "I use it to make me look fresh-faced, especially in the winter, because my skin can look a little dull," she notes. "But I do think I use more than a makeup artist would recommend."
What about for a night out? Since you often go out straight from work, how do you transition your look?
"I make sure to use a primer, so that my makeup lasts throughout the day and I only need a touchup. I enhance my eyeliner by giving it a thicker and darker winged cat-eye effect, and I plump my lashes with Diorshow Extase Mascara
. (It can be paired with the Iconic, and adds volume to my lashes.) I use the Anastasia Brow Pen
on my brows to give me a solid, defined eyebrow, and I apply NARS Illuminator on my cheeks to give me a shimmery incandescence. It literally transforms my skin from ordinary to extraordinary."
What type of beauty girl are you? Are you minimal on the makeup, obsessed with skin care, all about hair, or a tried-and-true beauty junkie?
"I think I am a conscious consumer in the beauty market. I am eager to try the newest technology; take recommendations seriously; read up on the product descriptions like it's homework; and then, in a pragmatic manner, decide if the product suits me. Ultimately, I am skin care-obsessed. I do as much as possible to keep that luster and radiance. It all starts with a cleanser, exfoliator, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, night cream. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect neck cream."
Those Alexander Wang heels are officially on our want list.
Do you switch up your makeup look depending on how you wear your hair?
"I switch up my makeup and hair depending on what I wear. If I wear a high-collared, patterned blouse, I would put my hair up and have nude lips. If I go for more solid colors or a less dramatic look in clothes, I add volume and drama to my hair and eyes."
Now that's a well-edited wardrobe! J/k, this gal's got closets galore.
What's the craziest beauty mishap you've dealt with lately?
"Over-plucked eyebrows! I had a permanently surprised, washed-up look for a couple of days. I laid in my bed, giving up on my weekend while listening to music that helped exaggerate my pain. I’ve learned to have patience, and no event is worth doing a 'quick fix' to your eyebrows. I’ll stay Chewbacca for a couple more days until my thread lady is available."
If you could swap your hair for anyone else's, whose would it be?
"The Olsens. They have the perfect, unkept-yet-uber-polished waves ever! I will go blonde for their hair."
RVCA blouse, Zara necklace, thrifted pin, Devite lipstick.
Is there a makeup or hair look you think should be retired?
"The only things I think should be retired are a caked face and over-treated/over-processed hair. No hairstyle is worth damaging your hair in the long-term. I believe in complementing the natural beauty of the face and hair — it saves the battle of forcing something that just won’t work."
What about one that should be resurrected?
"Once my hair is long enough, I am bringing back the beehive — I have a vision! Also, feathered hair — the volume and the layers are the perfect face-framer."
Zara pants and heels.
Do you use any special tricks to combat hair issues like frizz, tangles, or limp hair?
"Any issues I have, I consult with my hairstylist and I am put on a regimen. I have frizzy, dry, thick, unruly hair. Phyto products are heaven-sent — they help solve all my issues, and I’ve seen the benefits. I use Phyto Intense Hydrating Shampoo
and Phyto Intense Hydrating Mask
, which gives me shine and vitality, and my hair regains its softness and elasticity. The right shampoo and conditioner does wonders."
Monica uses Spin Pins to achieve her messy updo.
Chico's earrings, scored on eBay.
If there was a signature "Monica Garcia" beauty look, what would it be?
"I have almond-shaped eyes, and I like to define the shape by adding winged cat-eye liner. My hair tends to work best with side-swipe bangs, and slightly tinted cheeks help bring out my cheekbones."
Do you have any secret hairstyling weapons or techniques?
"Psssssst Instant Dry Shampoo Spray — I never travel without it. And I don’t comb my hair; the only time my hair sees a brush is when I blow-dry it, and that’s not often. My technique would be 'less is more.' Moroccanoil
has me covered as a prep-and-prime styling product. I do sometimes use Bumble & bumble for that beach-wave look that I aspire to achieve, but usually I let my hair dictate the day."
What do you think your beauty look will be when you're 70?
"Pure white locks in a bob, a top-notch hat, and bright lips. A few wrinkles to show that I have lived, loved, and laughed to the fullest extent."
What are your favorite makeup and skin-care products, and why?
"Bite lip products
are creamy and wearable; the color is intense, but beautiful on me.
Fresh Crème Ancienne
, handmade in a monastery with high-quality ingredients, is a must-have. I use it as a night cream; it makes my skin supple and is an age-delaying solution.
Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey cologne
is my favorite scent. It's truly a seductive combination."
This gal knows a thing or two about showstopping baubles — her secret is to search "statement necklace" on eBay and see what pops up.
Do you have any weird beauty secrets that you swear by?
"Curling your lashes with a spoon — it really works wonders!"
What's something you'd NEVER try in the beauty or skin-care realms?
"I don't think that I will ever get a perm. That's a big commitment."
Monica uses a NARS pencil to add drama to her lower lash line.
Gap shirt, thrifted bracelets.
Since she lives just a stone's throw from two of the best thrift stores in the Maryland 'burbs, Monica knows a good deal when she sees one. Her other favorite place to score a deal? Nordstrom Rack in Gaithersburg, where she scored some majorly discounted Alexander McQueen booties.
Rachel Zoe leather jacket, Gap shirt, thrifted skirt, Zara necklace.
Desert-island scenario: What one beauty product would you take with you if you were stranded?
"Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil
. The oil helps smooth, soften, and refresh the skin, and can be used on the hair, too. A little goes a long way, and the fragrance is very uplifting."
Where do you get your makeup and hair inspirations? Do you have any beauty icons?
"Sophia Loren — that woman is stunning, charming, and witty. To see how she has evolved gracefully throughout the years is inspirational. She has tried several styles and each has highlighted various aspects of her look and personality. She is otherworldly and glamorous.
She once said, and this sticks with me: 'There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.'"