Woodley & Bunny's Co-Founder Teaches You How To Pick The Best Beauty Products



woodley-bunny-misha-products As one half of the sister duo behind Woodley & Bunny, the ultra-hip Brooklyn (and now L.A.!) salon and apothecary, Misha Anderson has a knack for knowing when a beauty product is awesome. She's uncovered and introduced us to some of the under-the-radar beauty brands that are now can't-live-without-'em staples in our bathrooms: Ellis Faas, Brad BioPhotonic Skincare, Sachajuan, Sentara — the list just keeps growing.

Misha is the last word in quality control for the apothecary, personally testing and seeking out new products to add to the shelves. She's turned shopping for beauty goodies into an art form, knowing the most effective way to suss out a beautifier to see if it's up to snuff. And since we know finding the right products can be overwhelming, we asked her to share her shopping secrets. Read on to get the scoop on Misha, plus her best tips for finding your new beauty must-haves.

Tell us a bit about your background — how did you get started in the beauty industry?
"Before Woodley & Bunny I was working at Rolling Stone, developing cross-promotional platforms and working directly with film studios, major record labels, and fashion brands. I’ve always appreciated the art of beauty and the way it can transform you. I remember watching my mother’s ritual of transformation, from the moment of leaving the bath into the very image of '70s glamour or, at other times, a look out of Love Story – assisted by her 'kit' of beauty essentials. It showed me that one could be anything or anyone they chose at any given point in time, that sensuality can be embraced and enjoyed through beauty and fashion, and to be a literal chameleon is a wonderful way to express individuality and how you are feeling on a particular day."

How did the idea of Woodley & Bunny come about?
"I opened Woodley & Bunny in 2005 with my sister Erin because we wanted to bring to beauty the sense of adventure and discovery that you find in travel, fashion, and music. We wanted to provide an independent luxury experience without the dictations of selling particular products because people already knew them and would buy them."

You have such a unique and amazing mix of products in the apothecary, including some that many people have never heard of before. How do you find such cool brands?
"Constantly traveling, beating the pavement, and doing a lot of research! I source the brands mostly through my travels abroad — we work with independent luxury brands that we mostly import directly from Europe."

What's your process when you're picking out new products for the shop? Do you test them?
"The process usually will begin as a consumer — I see something and if it looks interesting or efficacious, if it excites me, then I test it. My test is using it over and over again, paying attention to how it works, how it makes me feel, and if I am thrilled by the results. And of course if it looks good in my bathroom. For potential brands, we have a very specific mantra: superior efficacy, inspired aesthetics, innovative platform, and value for money, regardless of price point."

Photo: Courtesy of Woodley & Bunny
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What are your can't-live-without-them beauty products?
"Sentara All Weather Cream is, without a doubt, one of the most important products in my bag. It's innovative, incredibly hydrating, easy to carry, and makes me look like I've had eight hours of sleep when in reality I've had two. Brad Ultra Elastin Lift and Ultra Elastin Cream are a face lift in a bottle. Not only do they tighten the skin, but they add an incredibly elasticity. This is what makes them so different from 'tightening' products — tightening the skin can make it look older as it accentuates all the wrinkles when you move your face. This combo does the opposite. Sachajuan Volume Powder is a volumizer and a dry hair shampoo in one. It's easy to apply, offers fast results, and brushes out the next day. Simply the best product of its kind, hands down. For the body, I like Sans Activator 7 Body Oil. It's luxurious, great smelling, and my skin has never been softer. I love oils because just like serums, they penetrate much deeper than a lotion. Finally, Belmacz Glow Lip Gloss in Scarlet. Those 24-carat gold flecks make the lip look plumper and the color is a wonderful orangey-red that looks great on anyone."

What's the best beauty advice you've ever received?
"Skin and hair are affected by what you do, eat, and feel — every day. To believe that one set of products can address this on a daily basis doesn't make sense. You need to build an array of products that address different issues you might have on a daily basis. There is no need to buy everything all at once — beauty products are often over-used and should really last several months. Buy a different product each month and over time you will have the arsenal you need to have great-looking skin and hair (and makeup!)."

What would you say to someone who is completely overwhelmed by all the choices currently out there in the beauty category?
"Beauty and hair products are not like fashion, music, or film, which are products we buy based on a visceral feeling. Beauty products have a technical function, and unless you are a dermatologist or a hair stylist who has been trained and is knowledgeable in the category, it’s hard to know what to buy. It makes sense to have an advocate who understands the technical side — and not just of one brand.

"Find a knowledgeable sales person who can guide you in the right direction. Use what they recommend and give feedback the next time you see them — build a relationship. If you didn't like something, tell them. Just like a doctor, over time they really get to know you and can start to really hone in on what is good for your particular issues. Choose someone who can cite ingredients and give you an articulate reason as to why a particular product is being recommended to you. Don't buy into a 'system' of products. To buy all of one brand because it works together is generally a fallacy. Yes, there are times that products work 'better' together, but overall, you should choose each product specifically for its intended best result."

What's the biggest mistake you think women make when they are looking to buy a new beauty product?
"They are guided by price. For instance, many women skip the serum because fundamentally they do not understand the price point vs. the outcome. Serums are the most important product in all of skin care. Also, a lot of people do not have a good advocate, someone whose advice they actually believe. They end up being wooed or picking the wrong product. If women had a good advocate, they could actually save money over time, not buying lots of products that are wrong for them."

What's one beauty trend you are dying to try?
I'm a doer — if I wanted to try something, I would have done it by now. Though I would say I would love to be able to pull off sorbet-colored hair — it's incredibly feminine and when done correctly, looks quite chic."

Photos: Courtesy of Woodley & Bunny