YouTuber Christine Nguyen On Embracing Her Grays

“Hi! It’s me, Christine (@chrissstttiiine), writing from up a small hill in northeast Los Angeles. My work is mainly YouTube, which is kind of crazy—I was just using it to upload projects for school, but stumbled upon the beauty community and fell in love. In the beginning, there were so many topics that no one was talking about, so I tried to fill those gaps by doing research and talking about them myself. Over a decade later, I’m still smitten by this platform and community. But when I’m not researching the latest beauty trends, you’ll most likely find me at the ceramics studio working on… my arms and abs. Sometimes I make things, too.

If it wasn’t for YouTube, I think my view on beauty might be a little less adventurous. Less glitter, more concealer. I was a huge advocate for natural beauty—not natural as in ‘clean’, but natural like the kind of makeup that looks like you’re not wearing any. After I turned 30, all hell broke loose. I love ’80s makeup for color inspiration and ’90s makeup for the sass. I remember, around that time, being obsessed with my older sister’s glittery blue Urban Decay eyeshadow. I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. The confidence that blue eyeshadow and my plucked-into-oblivion brows gave me was priceless—so glitter’s become an everyday thing.

Can you imagine what you’d look like if I sprayed your face with Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Mist, then grabbed a fist-full of glitter and blew it your way? That’s how I like to wear my glitter. I want it to look as messy as possible. My old favorite was the Glossier Glitter Gelée in Phantasm [Ed note: discontinued], but now I use Smith & Cult’s Violet Glitter Shot layered with the chunkier Lemonhead Melrosé. If I need something more subtle, even office-appropriate, I’ll reach for the metallic Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Rush. Working backwards, I usually rotate my foundations but Kosas’ Tinted Oil is at the top of my list. And Noto’s Multi Benne in Ono Ono is another staple—it’s not a natural shade, but looks like it naturally belongs on my face, you know? Sephora’s Always Red is more distracting. If I’m trying to redirect your eyes away from a big hormonal zit on my face, I’ll wear that one. It works like a charm.

Skincare is where I’m not a loyalist. I’ll try anything and everything, and actually have to for my job. Certain products or ingredients will get hyped for a moment, until the next big thing comes along and resets the cycle. I’m a geek at heart and I love researching what’s new—I’d say my job is 70-percent research. And in the name of research, I test products for a bit and then give them to my friends and family so I can move on to something else. Right now I’ve been using the entire Moon Juice line—did y’all know they made skincare? Groundbreaking. It’s four steps (cleanser, acid exfoliant, serum, and moisturizer), which is six fewer than my usual MO. It’s been about a month and a half and I’ve seen a significant difference in my fine lines. The acid seems to be working.

People often ask me how I feel about people who dye their grays and, to be completely transparent, I don’t give a flying fuck. Do whatever feels right to you. I personally have lots of gray hair. It’s mostly concentrated at the top of my head, so recently I thought it would be a good idea to bleach a few strands at the bottom to blend them. Honestly, it’s made upkeep a lot harder. I use a special shampoo and conditioner from Celeb Luxury to keep the brass at bay, but if anyone has a better suggestion, come at me! I’d like to be completely gray soon but I just don’t see it happening.

When I’m having a stressful day, I’ll play with makeup even if I don’t have anywhere to be. For me, it’s another form of creative practice and self love. But what I love most about beauty is that it truly is the great equalizer. If I like someone’s eyeshadow I’ll let them know; suddenly, we have a bond—a sisterhood, some would say.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author

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