Emma Chamberlain On Quitting TikTok & Her Accidentally-Trendy Haircut

Photo: Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images.
It seems like everyone wants to work with Emma Chamberlain. Over the past five years, the 22-year-old former vlogger has become so much more than an internet personality. She owns her own coffee company, Chamberlain Coffee, hosts her own podcast, Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain, and regularly partners with fashion and beauty brands from Levis to Lancôme.
We're chatting specifically about the latter, Chamberlain's partnership with the iconic French beauty house and her hosting role in the brand's short-video series, "How Do You Say Beauty In French?," now in its second season. Although clearly very comfortable in front of a camera or microphone — "I talk a lot," says Chamberlain — she divulges that her current relationship with posting on the internet is complicated. "I'm not anti-internet," she admits. But you won't find her filming GRWMs on TikTok.

On why she deleted TikTok

Like many of us, Chamberlain says being chronically online makes her feel bad about herself. "My headspace can go south fast if I'm on it too much," she says, explaining how scrolling in general erodes her sense of self. "I get self-conscious and I see myself differently in the mirror." The problem, Chamberlain has identified, is that online comparison is automatic — even though we understand it's harmful, it's still happening. "We know that things are retouched, perfected," explains Chamberlain, "we just don't remind ourselves of that in the moment. Our subconscious is digesting that [photo or video] as being real. Of course that messes with us."
To gain perspective, Chamberlain has started stepping away from the noise (i.e. social media) whenever possible. "My dad always says that there's the digital world and the real world," she says, "you want to be living in the real world as much as you possibly can." Of course, Chamberlain still maintains an online presence (she has 15.4 million Instagram followers), but she says she has boundaries with it. "I think there are ways to use the internet and social media safely and effectively and in a way that's beneficial for your life," she explains. "But number one priority is boundaries."

"My dad always says that there's the digital world and the real world — you want to be living in the real world as much as you possibly can."

For Chamberlain, it's not about becoming reclusive, but taking accountability for her online presence. "I put things on the internet for people to look at," she says simply. She loves to share, but only if it benefits the person on the other side of the screen. The goal of her posts is to make people feel good, says Chamberlain. "[I'm] making them smile, inspiring them to wear an outfit or do their makeup a certain way, making them excited to adopt something into their life."

On her experience with Accutane

Another relatable part of the Emma Chamberlain-brand is her experience with acne (which most everyone deals with at one time or another, to various degrees). A few years ago Chamberlain started on prescription Accutane. "Acne was my main skin concern," she explains, adding that it was all-consuming. "Everything else didn't matter; I had such bad acne that I couldn't think about any other piece. But after going on Accutane — and I still break out, it happens — but it's more about maintaining my skin."
While Chamberlain says going on Accutane "changed everything," she has also started on a journey of researching skincare and trying to better understand her own skin needs. "I have to hydrate all the time because my skin is dry," says Chamberlain. "I always thought that the last thing you wanted to do when you break out is to soak your skin in as much moisturizer as you can. But the more research I do, I realize that [acne] might be an issue with my skin's moisture barrier. When I figured that out, I was like, woah. Now it's like, I'm breaking out but I'm not going to strip my skin until it's raw trying to clear it out. That's not how it works."
A big part of Chamberlain's current skin maintenance is hydration and routine (every few days), chemical exfoliation. Chamberlain says she uses the Lancôme Clarifique Serum. "I love the Clarifique exfoliant," she says. "You don't want to overdo it because that will make you break out." She's right, over-exfoliation is real. But gentle, every-few-days exfoliation, using something like the Clarifique Serum which uses PHA (polyhydroxy acid), which are structurally larger than AHA or BHA to minimize irritation, is a good idea.

On her "accidentally trendy" haircut

While skincare may be practiced and simple, Chamberlain experiments when it comes to her hair. "I had the platinum bob that I adored," she explains. "But my hair is pretty fine and thin and every time I bleach it, I can only do it for a few months and then it all starts to break off."
Chamberlain has since reverted back to her darker brown roots and the cut is a very trendy, layered lob. Though she says the cut is really a result of bleach-induced breakage. "It's so unintentional," she says when I tell her that people are googling her haircut. "This is just how my hair fell out," she says, pulling at the shorter front layers. "Actually, when I had a really short shag it was really challenging for me because it wasn't the haircut that I wanted. I didn't know people liked it."
For now, Chamberlain says her hair is "hibernating" until she figures out her next move. "I will do something fun because I can't help myself," she says. "Then I'll regret it six months later when all my hair is falling out. But it's worth it because it's so fun."

On her French-girl makeup routine

Chamberlain likens her makeup routine to laminating croissants. But instead of butter and dough, Chamberlain layers a skincare serum, specifically the Lancôme Genifique Serum, into her foundation, Teint Idole. "The Genifique mixed with the foundation feels like you're just laminating it on," says Chamberlain. "It's hydrating and it soaks into the skin really nicely that way."
She's light on the concealer. "I don't even do my under eyes anymore, it's just for blemishes," Chamberlain says. Then she'll use bronzer for definition. "The [Lancôme] powder bronzer is the best," she says. "A lot of times I'll put concealer on the blemishes and then powder bronzer on the eyes and then a lip." The lip, Chamberlain tells me, is a Juicy Tube.

On her red nails

Finally, I ask Chamberlain for her nail routine. (She talks with her hands and her glossy manicure has been on my mind during our entire conversation.) "This is a gel builder — I love builder gel," she says. Builder in a bottle gel (also known as BIAB or structured gel) is a bit thicker than regular gel, so it creates a stronger overlay to the nail, but it looks almost identical to a gel manicure, maybe just a little plumper. For color, Chamberlain says she loves red nails. "Maroon is probably my favorite," she says. You know that Gucci bag that everyone was dying over? Like that color for the nails. It's so good."
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