3 Beauty Pros On The Products They Swear By

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Scouting out the best in beauty is a daily mission for us, whether we're mastering how to grow your hair out fasterhow to match bronzer to your skin tone, or how to hack your morning routine. And, who better to reveal the latest and greatest in the beauty industry than some of its most influential pros?

For an inside look, we asked three New York experts to open up about more than their secrets: We had them actually open up their medicine cabinets and makeup cases, and give us the lowdown on the products they can't live without, the makeup mishaps they regret, and the things people always get wrong about working in the beauty biz.
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Elaine Welteroth
Beauty & Health Director, Teen Vogue

Describe your daily beauty routine. What products could you not live without?
"As any dutiful beauty editor will tell you, I’m all about a clean face before bed. But, let’s be honest, sometimes the whole bazillion-step Korean skin-care philosophy that I write about goes right out the window when it’s 2 a.m. and the trek to my bathroom feels like an impossible feat. It’s cool, though — that’s why facial wipes were invented, and why I keep a pack of Simple Nourishing Facial Towelettes at my bedside. There’s no shame in a quick wipe down. In fact, I have a very seriously enforced policy that anyone who stays the night must clean their face with these, and I've converted some loyal believers who now buy them in bulk."

Are there any products you always use on-the-go?
"Living in New York City has made me the world's leading expert on backseat cab makeup applications. (Yep, I'm that girl. Don't judge me.) So, pretty much any product I use has to be transportation-friendly. I'm big on multitaskers, like Chanel Les Beiges SPF 15 sculpting powder, which I swipe across my cheeks and eyelids, and RMS "Un" Cover-Up, a foundation/concealer made with coconut oil that leaves a pretty, dewy finish on my skin. I couldn't survive without several applications per day of Burt's Bees Vitamin E and Peppermint Lip Balm. And, there's usually a lip color involved because I'm convinced it puts me in a more pleasant mood. I go through phases with shades, but right now my two favorites are: YSL Vernis A Levres in Fuchsia Cubiste and MAC's limited-edition RiRi lipstick in Pleasure Bomb. They're SO good."

Do you have any unconventional parts of your routine?
"See train-makeup admission above. Also, while I'm by no means a proper makeup artist, I do like to brag about the fact that I can apply makeup on anyone, anywhere. Seriously: in the back of a speeding, swerving cab, on a bumpy boat ride, shame-free on the train, and — my most proud moment — on a teary MOB [mother of the bride]. True story!"
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
What are the greatest challenges you've found in terms of proper organization and space for all of your products in a New York apartment? Have you discovered any storage tricks that work?
"I recently downsized from a huge apartment Uptown to a tiny alcove studio in the West Village, so if you have any suggestions, holler. So far, I've upgraded my bathroom with a shiny new beauty cabinet that's larger than the one that came with the apartment. It wasn't expensive at all (plus the super installed it at no cost) and it makes me happy every time I open it. I also threw away excess towels so I could dedicate a shelf in my linen closet to display a carefully curated arrangement of my favorite fragrance bottles. (Because I am a beauty editor and we do ridiculous things like that. That's why.)"

Did you go through any crazy beauty phases? Is there one you wish you could take back?
"Most of my crazy beauty phases happened in my teenage years, and then again during my pseudo-teenage renaissance when I started working at Teen Vogue. I dyed my hair green, then blonde, then chopped it all off, and honestly I don't regret a single thing. However, I blame my prom hairstylist (who ironically now works with A-listers) for giving me blue extensions to match my blue dress, and then the next year a full-head of finger waves to go with my DIY fascinator (it makes me cringe to this day). I'll admit I was also guilty of rocking the god-awful brown lip liner trend with crispy ramen curls and flat ironed antennae in junior high. I'm still shaking my head on that one."

When did you first fall in love with the beauty industry? Is this always a career that you wanted to pursue?
"I grew up watching my mom apply her makeup ritualistically before work, church, and yes, at stop lights in the car as we were usually running late somewhere. (Apparently, I inherited both the makeup-loving gene and the perpetually-tardy one.) But, it was really an all-consuming obsession with magazines that landed me on this career path. I never could have predicted that my love of writing and storytelling could intersect so seamlessly with my lifelong interest in beauty and personal style. In fact, I never even knew this job existed until my first magazine internship in New York City. From there, I sort of fell into beauty. But I have to say, I hit the job jackpot."

What's the biggest misconception about working in this industry?
"My non-fashion friends probably think that my life is a lot more glamorous that it really is. (Don’t get me wrong; there are definite perks, like a fully-stocked beauty closet!) But, what they might miss at first glance is that the job is 24/7 and requires you to fire on all cylinders. Beauty editors work around the clock and strategically across all departments to deliver compelling, inspiring content on various platforms. It's a demanding job that requires long hours and lots of hard work. It's worth it when you also have free reign to paint your nails at your desk and get your hair cut in the name of 'research.'"
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Lena Ott
Editorial Hair Colorist and Salon Owner, Suite Caroline

Describe your daily beauty routine. Are there any products you couldn't live without?
"I have a thing where I wash my face twice in the morning and evening, use a toner, and then apply moisturizer. I feel like the double-face scrub-down gets the city grime off and gets a deeper clean. It's been my strategy for as long as I can remember towards not getting pimples.

"I've been using La Prairie products since I was 23 years old. I had just moved to New York, and I was assisting a stylist at Bumble and Bumble who had beautiful skin; she was all about fish oils and moisturizer. One day, she took me to Bloomingdale's on our lunch break and said La Prairie is the best. It was very expensive for me at the time, but I figured, it was my face! Now, my skin is probably one of my best attributes."

Are there any products you use on-the-go?
"I love Young Living Essential Oils and their LavaDerm Cooling Mist."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
What are the greatest challenges you've found in terms of proper organization and space for all of your products? Have you discovered any storage tricks that work?
"I recently moved to a new apartment, and during that time I listened to the audiobook The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. Consequently, I threw away everything I didn't love or wasn't using, so now I have plenty of space. I highly recommend it."

Did you go through any crazy beauty phases? Any regrets?

"I started cosmetology school in the late '90s...I choose not to look back at those photos [laughs]."

When did you first fall in love with the beauty industry? Is this always a career you wanted to pursue?
"I'm a Libra, so I've always loved beauty and design. I didn't necessarily know that I'd take so well to hair and hair color, but I always knew I'd be doing something creative."

What role do you think beauty plays in the lives of New York women?
"Confidence is extremely attractive and powerful. Taking care of yourself through beauty is a sign of that. I think it's very important."

What's the biggest misconception about working in this industry?
"That it's easy."

What is the number-one tip you give your clients for maintaining their look?
"Use professional products. It really does make a difference! When I was just starting out, I attracted a lot of young clients who would splurge on their hair color, but buy bargain drug store shampoos and conditioners. That's like purchasing a nice cashmere sweater and washing it in the washer and dryer."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Julia Sloan
Vice President of Global Communications and Fashion Relations, NARS Cosmetics

Describe your daily beauty routine. What products could you not live without?
"The items I use every day are:

Makeup Removers:
- NARS Makeup Removing Water
- NARS Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Cleansing:
- La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser with Clarisonic Moisturizing Cleanser Duo
- Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate
- Shiseido Future Solution Eye Cream

Moisturizers:
During the Day:
- NARSskin Luminous Moisture Cream
- La Roche Posay Melt-In Sunscreen Milk
At Night:
- NARSskin Restorative Night Treatment

Body:
- Mecca Cosmetica Elixir Body Oil"

Are there any products you use on-the-go? 
"Luca’s Papaw Ointment — I carry it with me everywhere. It's versatile and lightly scented, and can be used on lips, cuticles, sunburns, and dry patches."

Do you have any unconventional parts of your routine?
"Does coconut oil count? I use it for everything including moisturizing, as a makeup remover, lip gloss, and on my knees and elbows (and in smoothies)."

How has your routine changed since becoming a mom?
"My routine hasn’t changed much, except that I have less time in the morning — no more than five minutes, really — so I have to move quickly. I've also started using products with more coverage and pigment. For example, I switched to a concealer with more coverage (I have a few more dark circles than before!). I also use a brighter blush, as it helps combat days when I have a dull complexion."

What are the greatest challenges you've found in terms of proper organization and space for all of your products? Have you discovered any storage tricks that work?
"My biggest challenge is finding the room to house everything — skin care, fragrance, makeup, nail polish, tools, and more. Since I'm constantly bringing home new items to try, I have to sort through everything on a regular basis and decide what to keep, toss, and give away in order to make room."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
How has your beauty routine changed as a result of living in NYC and working in the industry?
"I have definitely become more experimental with my makeup. I've always used the essentials — lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara — but I used to focus on a more natural look. Working with NARS has pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me try new things, like contouring, a bold lip, and a smoky eye."

Did you go through any crazy beauty phases? Is there one you wish you could take back?
"Too much bronzer and self tanner. Everywhere."

When did you first fall in love with the beauty industry? Is this always a career that you wanted to pursue?
"I have always loved beauty. When I was very young, I used to raid my mother’s makeup drawer. My go-to look at five years old was an electric blue eyeshadow from Christian Dior and a bright red lipstick. I always wanted to wear makeup to school, but was never allowed to! For as long as I can remember, my aspiration was to work in fashion and beauty. The walls in my room were covered with tear-outs from magazines featuring different editorial shoots and ads."

What's the biggest misconception about working in this industry?
"It’s not just about glamorous parties and events! There's a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes at those parties and fashion shows that make this the multi-billion dollar industry it is. And, we don't play with makeup all day."
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