Can you imagine being on the Eras tour with Taylor Swift? At just 24 years old, Sabrina Carpenter is living that reality. Coming out of her own musical "era" following the release of her new studio album, Emails I Can't Send, the former Disney star turned musician will be opening for Swift during the Latin America leg of the Eras tour, starting in late August.
Before she left the country, Carpenter sat down for a quick chat with Refinery29 to talk about her upbringing and how it ties into her side project as a perfume designer. On the latter, Carpenter has been working on a new fragrance (a followup to her first perfume, Sweet Tooth, made in collaboration with Scent Beauty) for the better part of this year. This new perfume, Caramel Dream, is "sexier," by Carpenter's admission but still aligned with her natural inclination towards sweet, sugary scents.
On channeling Willy Wonka
Like Swift, Carpenter grew up in the state of Pennsylvania, specifically a small borough called Quakertown. For Carpenter, childhood smelled like chocolate. "It was my house and then there was a forest. On the other side of the forest was a chocolate factory," says Carpenter. "I would wake up every morning and I would smell chocolate. It was such a distinct scent from my childhood; when I smell it I think of being a little girl. So when I did finally get the [opportunity] to start working on my own fragrance, it only made sense that it was something inspired by that, but also combined with what I love now."
On creating a "cool older sister" perfume
Carpenter's debut fragrance, Sweet Tooth, was chocolate-forward and literally an homage to a chocolate bar. Think: woodsy cocoa. "My favorite scents are cocoa and vanilla," Carpenter explains, describing her first fragrance. "I also love the smell of campfires because I grew up in the woods, there's smokiness from cashmere wood." But with the new fragrance, Caramel Dream, Carpenter set out to create "Sweet Tooth's cool older sister," which has more complexities.
"There's caramelized amber, which I think is really beautiful," says Carpenter. "There's sandalwood. There's also almond milk and sugared lemon, which are top notes. There's some orange zest as well. It's a bit different from Sweet Tooth. This one has a fruity element but it's not super strong. It feels sexier than the first one."
On her "high maintenance" hair
While on tour, Carpenter says she'll be spritzing Caramel Dream all over her body before heading onstage, and she already has a pretty good idea about how she'll be wearing her hair.
Carpenter says her hair, specifically her bangs, require some TLC, but she loves them. "It's a lot of maintenance, I'm not gonna lie,"she says, adding, "but I feel the most like myself with [bangs] and I think it's important to recognize when you feel that way." Luckily, on the road, Carpenter has her hairstylist Scott King to help her with styling. "Sometimes we'll do hot rollers," she says of her signature full-body blowout. "But I'll be honest — and this might piss a lot of people off — I just have natural volume. I'm very lucky."
On her "therapeutic" makeup routine
In comparison, Carpenter has a DIY approach to makeup. She's not bringing a dedicated makeup artist on tour (which surprised me). "I do my own makeup for my shows, I've always done that," Carpenter says. "It's a therapeutic part of my night, getting to envision what I want to do before I get onstage."
Though she loves doing makeup, Carpenter says she doesn't wear that much of it. Instead, she has a practiced routine that nails the basics: brows, blush, and lips. "The most important thing for me is my brow gel. I have really thick eyebrows and they're really the center of my face and they're not tame. I use the got2b hair gel on my eyebrows. I've tried other things and I always come back to that. Blush wise, I've been obsessed with the Makeup By Mario blushes, I think those are amazing. Classic lip liner for me is either Makeup Forever or Charlotte Tilbury. I kind of wear the same lip all the time, it's a mauve-y pink. I do a lot of mixing. When people are like, 'What's on your lips?' There's usually like five different things. It's fun to color-mix and find your shade."
On what she's learned this past year
Touring plus creating art and products can't be easy for a young person. But Carpenter says this year has been full of growth. "Naturally, I feel like these are some of the most formative years of my life in general," she explains. "The past year of my life — being on the road — has been super transformative in a lot of ways. There's so much thinking on your feet and having to adapt to your surroundings. That teaches you a lot. Funny enough, when I started making this fragrance, I wanted it to feel grown. It was important to align this with where I'm at and where I'm headed."
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