The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss’ lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“I’m Annalisa (@itannalisa), and if you saw me on an excursion to the bodega, I’d probably read as your friendly neighborhood queer goth. I work in tech, primarily helping early-stage startups close new funding rounds and scale rapidly. I love that my job allows me to work strategically and collaborate with people in all different roles. Plus, I have a lot of freedom when it comes to style—sometimes I’ll get into a glitter mood, or wear a red lip every day for a week.
I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer when I was 25, and my hair started falling out in clumps during treatment. I chose not to shave it, and to keep the lucky strands that stuck around healthy, I would cover my head in Olaplex for 90 minutes. I still use it a couple times a month, and it’s the most helpful thing now that I’m growing out my hair. (Goal: mermaid.) I’ve only needed one trim with Kelsy at Spoke & Weal in the last three years—how’s that for a freakin’ endorsement? I also discovered this amazing Japanese hair brand called Komenuka Bijin when my hair was thinning. Their conditioner provides moisture to my fine, long hair without sacrificing volume. But most importantly, the line doesn’t have any essential oils, which started giving my sensitive skin chemical burns. (!!!)
I wish I had more selfies before I started using the DHC cleansing oil, because if one product made a long-term difference in my problem skin, it was that. I love rubbing it in and watching it melt everything off. To finish, I soak a small towel in hot, steamy water, shake it out, and press it onto my face. It feels like a mini facial every evening. In terms of masks, I basically use the Benton Snail Sheet Mask and nothing else. It’s my tried and true for an extra hit of moisture. I gua sha a few nights a week, and when I do that I use the Pai Rosehip Oil with it. It feels really light on my skin, almost like a dry oil. That’s my final step at night.
In the morning, my most important steps are vitamin C and sunscreen. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is the single most expensive product in my collection—and everything you’ve heard about it is true. I keep it in the fridge and avoid sunlight for 20 minutes after applying for the biggest oomph. On the other end of the spectrum, Rubber Ducky sunscreen is a budget dream. I learned about it a few years ago from my facialist Joomee Song, who uses it on her kids. It’s a zinc-based, reef safe, non-irritating formula I was able to use during treatment. That’s all I need for daytime moisture in the summer.
Then, my makeup. I’ll start with Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base and Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Treatment. I find these play really well together and give me a juicy, even tone. If I need more coverage, I’ll apply Stretch Concealer with my fingers and a sponge. Recently I’ve been turning myself into Peppermint Patty with Freck. A couple women in LA started the brand, and after stealing a friend’s itty bitty tube, I’ve gotten my own (and replaced hers!). I backcomb my brows with Boy Brow in Blonde to fluff them up, and then set them with Anastasia’s brow gel in Clear. Gold often looks very harsh on my coloring, but there’s enough silver in this Josie Maran highlighter that it catches the light in a natural way. For a night out, I just straight up rip off any one of Robin Black’s eye looks. I’ll tightline with Nars Larger than Life—but the only liquid liner I will ever really love is Wet n Wild Mega Liner. A girl handed me this $3 eyeliner in a bathroom once and it changed my life. It’s super opaque, never flakes, and the felt tip is easy to use. Not even the Tom Ford one can hold a candle to it.
Now that I’m so satisfied with all my face products, I’ve been experimenting with body. Cicabiafine is my favorite winter moisturizer. It’s thick and absorbs quickly with a soft cotton scent. When I don’t want such a heavy lotion, Topicrem is perfect for glossy legs. I stock up on both whenever I’m in France for work. I’ve been using natural deodorant since my diagnosis—this Baxter of California stick smells like sexi boi and holds up on a hike even in LA’s dry heat. I also keep a spray deodorant in my bag for a refresh during the day. These formulas are generally high in alcohol and help dry off my chest and back quickly.
Coping with a chronic illness turned me into a pretty radical nester, and recently, I’ve been getting a lot of calls from friends asking for quarantine advice. First, and foremost, I’m acknowledging I’m scared. When confronted with uncertainty and mortality I find that exercise helps me unstick my emotions. The be.come Project is a digital, body-neutral workout platform, and I follow along with their tutorials for 30 minutes in the morning. It helps me wake up gently, and is a good time to check in with myself. I also love to be surrounded by scent. These Papier d’Armenie perfume papers smell incredible even when they’re not burning—a warm myrrh and vanilla blend that’s totally unique. Or I burn hinoki incense, which pairs well with sachets from Tortoise General Store I put in my drawers or throw in the tub.
In the evening, solo dance parties or cry seshes help clear my head and wind me down. My playlist includes “People, I’ve Been Sad” by Christine and the Queens, Laura Marling‘s “Semper Femina,” and basically anything by Of Montreal. I’ve been playing Settlers of Catan or Cribbage with my roommates, and I’ve also been staying connected with friends and family digitally. On Saturday night I FaceTimed with my seven-year-old niece, who helped me pick out colors for an eye look. We ended up with a pretty rad, blown out sunset moment. If nothing else is going on, Better Things from Pamela Adlon is good for a feel-good laugh, and The Marx Brothers are an old stand by—Harpo flipping hats in Duck Soup brings me to tears every time. I’ve also been reminding myself that these are acts of service to my neighbors. I find when I focus on caring about the well being of others, I remember the changes I need to make.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author