“I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but I’ve been in New York since I was seven. I was super into storytelling and fashion as a teen. I had a really embarrassing fashion blog called the Glamorous Eccentric, and I was a Ford model in high school—I modeled for Seventeen and Teen People. It was fun because I got to learn how images come to life. I also interned in the features department at Vogue when I was 17—my mom had worked with Bethann Hardison and she wrote a recommendation letter for me. But there came a point when I realized I wanted something else. I ended up going to Stanford to major in English and it was the opposite of fashion. People were doing the craziest, coolest tech stuff. I thought maybe working in tech was cool for me because as a young person in fashion you can’t do anything, right? You’re not allowed to speak or have an opinion, you just steam clothes and pick up coffee. With tech I could have more of a voice and contribute to the work.
After college I got a job at Burberry in their London office. At the time Burberry was doing really interesting digital tech stuff, so I thought it would help me marry tech with fashion. But then a week before my first day of work they asked me to send my Visa and I didn’t have one. I remember calling my parents hysterically crying. But I still moved to London and started applying for roles at other companies. Nokia was launching a music streaming service in the US at the time, and they thought I would be a good person to help. I was there for two years and I made all of these short films about music culture. I got to do cool content marketing work, so it worked out for the best.
I met my now-husband in London during the 2012 Olympics. We were dating long distance, and a year later he proposed. When I moved back to New York to live with him I got a job as a social media manager at Ralph Lauren. I did Instagram and Pinterest there for just over two years. After that I went to Viacom to do marketing strategy more broadly—I was working with BET one week, and then MTV, and then Nickelodeon. And then, chasing what the future was going to bring, all roads pointed to Instagram. I’ve been working there for a year and a half now. I feel really grateful to have a job there at this time in history. We’re seeing this democratization of media, where anyone with a story to tell can do it without barriers to entry. I work on video, so IGTV is a big part of my everyday work. Figuring out how we help the people who are on Instagram—whether it’s a musician, a makeup artist, a fashion designer—level up their IGTV production with the best practices. Most of these people are using Instagram as a tool for business; they’re building their audience and brand. And I just love seeing the young creators present new interesting modes of storytelling.
I started educating myself about oils and aromatherapy when I went natural in college. I didn’t know what I was doing, and it wasn’t exactly like the Palo Alto drugstore had the products I needed.
NAKED BEAUTY PODCAST
I’m obsessed with podcasts, but the podcast I really wanted to listen to was with real women having transparent conversations. Eventually in 2016 I decided to make one myself. I had no idea what I was doing. I loved reading longform stories about how women approach beauty, like The Top Shelf, and I found it to be such an interesting way to get to know someone. So much comes up about a person when they talk about their approach to beauty; you learn about their background, their culture, what they value. And I thought it would be so cool to have a podcast interviewing women I admired. Not necessarily beauty professionals, but different women from all different backgrounds. I still love clothes, but beauty forms your identity in a way clothes can’t. So I started it in my living room, ordered mics on Amazon, and now here we are.
I started educating myself about oils and aromatherapy when I went natural in college. I didn’t know what I was doing, and it wasn’t exactly like the Palo Alto drugstore had the products I needed. This was also during the rise of ‘YouTube natural hair land’—people making their own potions and lotions. So I got really into aromatherapy and started making my own body and facial oils. It was this ever-growing obsession that never stopped. Sea buckthorn oil is my absolute holy grail oil—I basically reverse engineered products I already loved and realized sea buckthorn was in most of them. Vintner’s Daughter serum has it, for example. It’s bright orange and it really brightens my skin. If I mix it with a little argan oil and put it on my face, the next day it’s instant glow.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve had horrible breakouts mixing my own things, but that’s how you learn. It took me a long time to realize coconut oil wasn’t good for my hair or skin. At the time I was reading things like, ‘seal your ends with coconut oil’ and do a coconut oil mask, and I had to learn that that didn’t necessarily work for my hair type. However, I do like evening primrose oil to soften my skin. Australian sandalwood—that improves circulation and I love the fragrance. I add it to my homemade sugar scrubs. Frankincense is good for firming. I buy my oils from Mountain Rose Herbs—they make the best bulk natural ingredients. We’ve gotten to this point where everyone wants to know what they’re eating and putting in their body. And I think this evolution is happening where people realize they need to learn about the products they put on their skin as well.
I have naturally dry skin, so when I first started using retinol, my dermatologist, Dr. [Elena] Jones, told me to try Altreno because it’s a lotion-based retinol and not as drying. I think it’s made the biggest difference in my skin. I use it two or three times a week at night, and I only wash my face in the morning if I’ve used the Altreno the night before. I love my Rosehip Gel Cleanser from Epi Logic. It’s gentle. When you use really harsh, squeaky-clean type cleansers, your skin just gets too dry.
After that it’s essence and serum time. The Tatcha essence is my go-to. The Epi Logic essence is also good because it has aloe vera and hyaluronic acid in it. Or I’ll do Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence, but I try to pair that with the [Vintner’s Daughter] serum. It depends on my mood. Paula’s Choice BHA is one of the best skincare products I’ve ever tried—it just works. It really helps with skin texture in a way I was not expecting. One of my favorite serums is from Face Hero. It’s natural, good-quality, and it gives me a glow. Anything that makes my skin look more glowy and dewy is what I want. It looks really good under makeup—it shines through in a very nice way. Then I love my vitamin C serum from Epi Logic.
I’m not very loyal when it comes to facial oils—I bounce around a lot, but I use one every day, morning and night. The Saint Jane oil is really good, and so is Vintner’s Daughter. Then I do my sunscreen. If I’m doing a makeup makeup look I’ll do the Unseen sunscreen because it’s also the best primer, but the Supergoop moisturizer is what I normally use. If I’m using Unseen, I’ll layer Protini under first. It’s unscented and it works with everything. I also like High Five Cannabis Facial Moisturizer a lot, too. It calms my skin in a way that other moisturizers don’t. It has sativa oil in it and my skin loves that ingredient. I also like Origins’ Hello Calm mask for the same reason. It helps with redness or any weird breakouts. For my eyes I use Shiseido Benefiance eye cream. And this seems so extra, but I always do a facial spritz. Tata Harper or Gua Sha Rose Facial Water. I got the Gua Sha one from Turkey—it does a really good job of refreshing my skin.
Pharrell goes to my dermatologist as well, and I’m always like, ‘what did Pharrell pick up the last time he was here?’
At night I’m a double cleanser. I have my own cleansing oil mix with pumpkin seed oil, squalane, and castor oil. I used to buy eye makeup remover pads, but then I realized apricot oil with my Shiseido cotton pads is so much better—store-bought pads are too oily. Rafra Balm Oil Cleanser is my new thing from Japan. It’s a cleansing balm and it feels amazing. I’ll do my oil cleanse first, and then I go in with a cleanser—either the Epi Logic or Cerave Facial Cleanser. I also like the Kate Somerville Exfoliating Cleanser. I just like double cleansing because getting your skin clean is half the battle.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel is something I use at night because I think it makes the base for really good skincare—it exfoliates without being harsh, and I’ll do it once or twice a week. Then I’ll go in with one of my serums. My nighttime serum is from Isdin—Melatonik. Isdin is one of the brands I learned about from my dermatologist. Pharrell goes to my dermatologist as well, and I’m always like, ‘what did Pharrell pick up the last time he was here?’ It has a really great texture and it plays nicely with vitamin C. And if I have a breakout, one of the things I love is Pratima Sandalwood Soothing Lotion. It’s not cute; it’s like calamine lotion.
Skincare is where I’m more clean, but makeup is where I get more toxic. I am obsessed with Kevyn Aucoin’s Glass Glow Face in Prism Rose—it’s just life. I’ll use it as a base under foundation, or as an additional highlight on my cheekbones and clavicles. Kevyn Aucoin knows how to make products that’ll last your entire life—I feel like I’ve had my Sensual Skin Enhancer for years. It’s the best concealer in terms of coverage ever made. But when I don’t want as much coverage I’ll do the Nars Radiant Creamy concealer.
Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is my ‘I am flawless, I have an evening event and want to look perfect’ foundation. I really think it’s the best foundation ever made. And then I love the new Fenty foundation. It has grapeseed oil in it, and when I put that on I can be confident my skin won’t suffer from dryness. I also love Pat McGrath’s foundation—it has a very beautiful finish that doesn’t feel mask-y—but I can’t wear it all the time because it has alcohol in it. No matter which foundation I’m wearing, I set it with MAC’s Mineralize Skin Finish. It’s such a staple. And then I’ll do a few pumps of Urban Decay’s All Nighter. I used to wait until the end to spray everything, but now I spray after every step and I feel like it makes everything last longer—a huge difference.
My bronzer is from Becca, and I always follow up with a cream blush. I love the Tower 28 blush, Kjaer Weiss Above and Beyond, Kosas Longitude Zero, Cloud Paint in Dawn, Manasi 7 Heliotrope All Over Color. I got the Heliotrope at Onda Beauty in Sag Harbor. And then I go over the cream blush with a powder. Pat McGrath’s highlighter is still one of my favorites. And then I have a Laura Mercier highlighter called Candleglow that I think is really pretty. I don’t like shimmer or glitters on my face as much, so even the clear Tower 28 balm works as a highlighting balm for me—your skin looks dewy and nice. I’m all about that glazed makeup aesthetic.
Eyeshadow is one of those things where I’m just not there yet. I keep it really simple with cream shadows. I love the Kosas 10-Second Eyeshadows—it’s as easy as putting lip gloss on, but for your eyes. It’s just a wash of color and pretty much impossible to make a mistake with it. Charlotte Tilbury also has easy-to-use eyeshadows. I started microblading my brows years ago at New York Lash Eyeland, and it makes a huge difference for people like me who don’t have eyebrows. For the fine hairs that I do have, I love Saie’s gel and Boy Brow in Clear on top. And when it comes to mascara, I love Thrive’s.
Another thing about me is that I am a lip gloss queen—I love lip gloss plus lip liner. I love the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Foxy Brown and the Pat McGrath Permagel Lip Liner, and then I’ll go in with a lip gloss on top. Chanel makes great lip glosses and I really like the Tower 28 Lip Jelly in Fearless. Thrive also makes an amazing lip gloss called Ruth. I just love a nude lip gloss. And Fenty’s Universal Gloss Bomb—love. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it.
I’ve tried all of the high end gels and the green Eco Styler is it. You get that hold without the crunch or flakiness.
Illeisha Lussiano goes by The Hair Artiste on Instagram, and she does my braids. I’ve been getting braids since I was eight years old and she does them the best—they’re light and never stiff. I get braids only two or three times a year because I believe in hair vacations—natural hair is very demanding, even if you’re in a protective style. But when I do have my hair in braids I’m really into scalp care. That’s when I use my own detox scalp spray with patchouli, lavender oil, and mint.
Illeisha’s also the person who got me to embrace the wash ‘n go. Before I was doing these complicated twists and Bantu knots, and now once a week I use Curl Smith before I shampoo. It has a lot of probiotics in it, and rice as well. I’ve seen the rice challenges on YouTube, where the idea is that your hair will grow faster if you apply rice water to it, but I don’t have time for that. I buy one shampoo a year, the Devacurl No Poo, and then the Curl Smith Post-Biotic Conditioner. My leave-in is Kinky Curly Knot Today. I’ve used that religiously for like five years. It’s the absolute best leave-in because it really gets the knots out of your hair; it makes detangling so easy. And I’ll just do gel after that. Green Eco Styler gel is the best wash ‘n go gel. I’ve tried all of the high end gels and the green Eco Styler is it. You get that hold without the crunch or flakiness.
Byredo makes some of the best fragrances; Flowerhead is what I’m using now. It’s technically a spring fragrance, but I like wearing things that remind me of springtime in the winter because it lifts the mood. 1996 is very strong and specific, but there’s something about a powerful fragrance that speaks to my personality and I’ve loved it since the moment I smelled it. My everyday is Diptyque’s Tam Dao. It’s creamy and woody, and I love that it’s gender nonspecific. My most interesting fragrance from a chemical perspective is from Escentric Molecules. There’s something so interesting about the idea of a super iso e that smells different on other people, and sometimes you can’t even smell it all. It’s also a really cool fragrance to layer for a whole new experience.
Pilates is how I get in touch with my body, how I get to not think about anything. I go to a few different places—New York Pilates near Union Square is really good, and so is Body Rock. I also love barre classes and Physique 57. It’s so hard but you have to focus on the moves. The other workout I like to do is dance. I take Banana Skirt Fitness classes and do ratchet Zumba. You shake your ass for an hour and learn choreography, like Beyoncé’s Homecoming choreography. I just love those classes—ridiculous but so fun. I try to work out three times a week. I try.
My homemade sugar scrub cuts through my need for a post-shower moisturizer. And then I have my Santa Maria Novella products, which I love. From a fragrance perspective they’re just incredible. I also love handmade soaps. We go to Turkey every summer and all of my soaps are from there. They’re made out of goat’s milk and honey. I just prefer soap to a shower gel—the lather of a soap is better. Go-to Exceptionoil is super moisturizing and great for rough areas. It kind of reminds me of Pawpaw; it’s more like a balm. And I make my own shea butter, or I use shea butter from Hanahana Beauty. Those butters sink into the skin immediately and the ash is immediately gone.”
—as told to ITG
Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli photographed by Alexandra Genova in New York on January 11, 2019.