As a BHLDN accessories buyer, Alexa Egeck curates all the pretty odds and ends that make a bride's big day extra special — everything from beautiful lace lingerie to vintage-inspired shoes to delicate hairpieces. She's enviably stylish, exceedingly kind, and incredibly well read. Today, she shares her beauty secrets, including an affordable, game-changing eyeliner and why Clémence Poésy is her beauty icon.
What's your daily skin care routine?
My daily skin care routine is pretty simple, and I've been learning more about skin care as I get older. My roommate is French and very knowledgeable about skin care (aren't all French people?), and she introduced me to Caudalie, a French skin care line that is très chic. I've been using their Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet, which is ultra hydrating and not at all greasy. I have pretty oily skin and hair so I try not to use any products that make me feel greasier and opt for more clarifying products instead. I know everyone is using all these oils that are supposed to be super good for you, but I have plenty of the natural stuff.
I have about a million Sephora points and I spend them all on the skin care samplers, that way I can try a bunch of really fancy products without having to commit to a big price tag. But, at heart, I'm really a drugstore skin care kind of girl. My skin is still pretty acne-prone, so I use CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, which does have salicylic acid but is super gentle and not at all drying.
I also love a good scrub. My current favorite is the St. Ives Green Tea Scrub. I use a lot of green tea and tea tree oil products on my skin — they keep it clear without using a bunch of harsh chemicals. If I do have a blemish, I zap it with Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum, which has tea tree oil and other natural ingredients but will literally make any bumps or spots disappear overnight. I love to play around with face masks, too. Just not a peel, I did one of those once and am pretty sure it ripped tiny invisible hairs off of my face.
What makeup do you wear regularly?
Ah, now makeup. Here's where I really shine. I love makeup. I've loved it ever since I was a teenager and I was only allowed to wear eyeshadow to school on Fridays, but I would bring it in my backpack and apply it in my locker mirror as soon as my mom dropped me off at school. During the week, I keep it pretty simple and don't actually wear that much makeup, but if I'm going out to an event or a nice dinner, I love to spend two hours sitting at my vanity applying makeup.
Face: My first step is always Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This gets my oily skin ready for makeup and allows it to go on smoothly. Even if I'm not wearing makeup, I still use this primer — it just evens everything out.
For everyday, I wear NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, it's pretty sheer but offers a nice amount of coverage, and I blend it using a beautyblender sponge. If I feel like I need more coverage, I like Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, it kills shine and is especially great for long wear and photos. I also always use Hourglass' Hidden Corrective Concealer on the dark circles under my eyes — it goes on really smooth. I used to shell out money for the Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer, but I swear this one is just as good and a fraction of the cost.
Next, I use a light dusting of the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder, followed by the fan-favorite duo from NARS, the bronzing powder in Laguna and and blush in Orgasm. Then, I swipe Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand on my cheekbones. I also like the Josie Maran Argan Englightment Illumizing Veil powder, I use it around my eyes to get rid of some of the shadow. I've been trying to read up on "contouring" but apparently there's also such thing as "strobing" which is essentially just the highlighting without the darkening. It's less Kardashian, and a lot easier.
Eyes: I do really like the shape of my eyebrows, but I brush them up and fill them in with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo. I don't typically curl my eyelashes (I feel like I never quite got the hang of it), but I do use my Shu Umera curler for special occasions. I do normally wear mascara, though. Although, I'm really not partial to a particular one — my opinion is that the best mascara is a new mascara. Right now, I'm using Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara because I like the big brush, but for long-wear mascara you can't go wrong with Benefit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara, that stuff is like glue. To get eye makeup off, I use Sephora Instant Eye Makeup Remover. I figure, if they're going to sell you all the stuff to put on, they should be able to make a decent product to take it off.
Lips: I'm a pretty big sucker for lipstick, too. I love that I can wear ripped jeans and a cozy sweater, but if I wear red lipstick somehow it makes me look put together. I start with a moisturizer, my favorite is the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (the tinted versions are great, too!). For everyday wear, I like the Anna Sui Star Lipstick (it's actually shaped like a star!). Plus it's really moisturizing and wears well. For a more dramatic matte finish lipstick I like MAC Film Noir or the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Tortola.
Have you discovered any game-changing beauty products?
I discovered felt-tip eyeliner in college and it really changed my makeup game. I was interning in the Vogue office in LA, and there was this lovely girl named Claudia who always wore winged black eyeliner, she looked fabulous, very understated and chic. I love that I can use it to create a really thin, barely noticeable line, or a dramatic wing, and it's so easy to use — like a marker! I've tried a few of the name brand ones, but my favorite is actually L'Oreal Linear Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eye Liner, which you can snag at the drugstore. I also just got a T3 Twirl Convertible Styling Wand for Christmas this past year, there's definitely a learning curve to it (and I burned myself more than once in the beginning), but it gives you perfectly loose mermaid waves.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at BHLDN? It sounds like a dream job!
Thank you! I've been with BHLDN since 2011 when it first launched and am currently in charge of buying Honeymoon, Lingerie, Belts, Bags and Shoes. It's been great to grow up at BHLDN, it's a pretty unique blend of a charming little start-up and a really cool corporate environment. The URBN offices in Philly are amazing, ultra-hipster, and dog-friendly! Plus, the dress code (or lack thereof) is a dream. My favorite game to play on campus is to guess which of the URBN brands somebody works for (Urban Outfitters, Free People, or Anthropologie) based on what they're wearing.
I love my job because I get to make decisions, and then watch those decisions translate directly into sales. Reading a sales report and seeing your items succeed feels like a "high" of sorts. It's empowering. And sure, selecting bridal accessories isn't exactly curing cancer, but if I can work with one of our super-talented artisan vendors to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece that someone ends up purchasing to make them feel beautiful and special on their wedding day (i.e. the MOST important day of their life), then I feel pretty good.
Being in the wedding industry, have you learned any great beauty tips?
We did a really fun photo shoot at the office last year featuring real bridesmaids instead of models (including yours truly!). We got the full model treatment, including having our hair and makeup done by professionals. They used these genius Precision Tips Q-Tips to touch up makeup and I've been hooked ever since! Such a simple tool, but really useful for everything from eyeliner to lipstick.
Do you have a DIY treatment you love?
I wish I could answer yes to this question because it would sound so cool, like I use egg yolks in my hair or something, but unfortunately no — I'm just not much of a DIYer. I did one time accidentally apply too much Tiger Balm (okay way too much — it burned), and after a desperate Google search I managed to take it off with Pam cooking spray. I'm not sure if that counts.
What's the last product you used 'til there was nothing left?
My other favorite moisturizer (besides Caudalie) is belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb, which is amazing. It's more of a gel than a cream (it's actually light blue in color) and just sinks into your skin, leaving you really refreshed. Like your face just drank a gallon of water. I got a sample size tub and scraped every last drop out of it.
What perfume do you wear?
I actually just switched my perfume, I've been partial to Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb for the past few years, but I recently tried Chloé's signature Eau de Parfum and I love it. It's really strong (one spritz lasts all day), but it doesn't smell overpowering. I tend to gravitate toward musky florals, and this one is predominantly rose-based, so it's very feminine but still light and fresh. I also love the Elizabeth & James Nirvana scents, I have the rollerballs in both Black and White and like to mix them together. That's for when I'm feeling a bit more adventurous.
Is there anyone you turn to for beauty inspiration?
Clémence Poésy is my everything inspiration — fashion, beauty, life, etc. She has that perfect air of French effortlessness; she always looks perfectly undone and naturally sexy. I've read tons of her articles and interviews, all promising to spill the secrets of French beauty, but of course she's completely unhelpful and self-deprecating in a very endearing way.
When do you feel most beautiful?
I'm a bit compulsive when it comes to showers, I take at least one a day. But I actually feel most beautiful fresh out of a shower, nothing beats clean hair and scrubbed skin.
Thank you, Alexa! Check back next week for our latest installment of 52 Faces, a weekly series that spotlights a real woman's beauty routine. If you missed last week's interview, we spoke with Sheiva Shideh, an account manager for a PR agency specializing in beauty brands. Read all about her game-changing beauty recommendations here (trust us, she knows a thing or two about the industry). In the meantime, here are six second-day hair looks to try.