Oh Cool, It’s Brow Month!

Hello! And welcome to Brow Month on Into The Gloss: a celebration of something that we at the office have been especially fixated on over the past several months…because Glossier for brows is coming soon. (I’m wearing it above.)

If you go by square yardage of the brow area, I’m the default choice to write the opening letter for this most joyous occasion. Also, I’ve received some recent feedback that my eyebrows are pretty great. They’re dark, thick, and long, with wiry stray hairs that hang where they please—something I was teased about growing up (and still get offers to “fix” by stranger aestheticians I pass on the street). They compete with my big toe for being the first part of me into a room, and they’re forever in my field of vision. If you were to see the world through my eyes, you’d be looking through an awning of grey fuzziness.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that this kind fascination with my eyebrows is relatively new to me, and I guess I’ll enjoy it now while large eyebrows are the thing; soak it all up on the greener side of the grass before the seasons change and another type of brow is more desirable. Though if Brow Month does anything, we hope that it will help curb the idea that there even is such a thing as a perfect brow. The Fable of the Over-Pluck is one that’s been passed down from generation to generation of women, but as the pendulum swings away from the tadpole brow, we’re suddenly overcompensating with stenciled-in twins twice as large as nature intended—brows requiring four products and 10 minutes to create. Either way, we’ve been doing too much. It’s time we start acknowledging that your best brows are the ones you were born with, and that brow maintenance should be about grooming, not remodeling.

Over the next 30-ish days you’ll find inspiration, education, and discussion on all things eyebrow-related here. In the theme of brow diversity, you’ll be seeing and hearing from women with great brows of a variety of shapes, sizes, and plucking histories. This is a safe zone where no brows are shamed and all brow-related questions will be answered—ask away below. I’ll let the edit team take it from here while I work on putting the finishing touches on Bo—ah, I can’t tell you the name yet.

—Annie

Annie Kreighbaum photographed by Brayden Olson.

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New Glossier Alert!

Hello! It’s been a while, nice to be writing again! The new Glossier I'm about to tell you about feels like it’s been a long time coming, too.

Actually—funny story—the new product was the very first incarnation of what later became known as the Balm Dotcom. Way back when Glossier was little more than a figment of our imagination, we gave our wish list of perfect balm adjectives to our lab. It had to be hydrating and long lasting and not particularly shiny. It had to be able to go anywhere and do everything—lips to cuticles, etc. It had to be the balm to end all other balms.

After reading our notes, they whipped something up and sent it back. It was one particularly cool chemist who added the special touch—so cool that she doesn’t even know how cool she is. The type of person that wears stuff from Target, but somehow makes it look like Comme. Anyway, the sample came back to us coconut-scented. Not exactly what we wanted, only because we didn’t know we wanted it yet. But with everyone in the office vying for a dab and huffing the stuff straight out of the tube, Coconut Balm Dotcom was quickly added to the We Are Definitely Making This calendar.

From there we, the Glossier creative team, kicked off campaign ideation as we always do with a shared photo stream where we upload photos and videos and memes—a digital moodboard, if you will. Lots of The Blue Lagoon screen grabs, and a few O.T. Genasis references... Helen and Adriana got to work on the packaging—a chic little laminated foil tube with an orange punch-cap with an equally chic, leafy outer box. Emily and I, along with our model, Earth angel Belle (Emily met her on Instagram), flew to Hotel Esencia outside of Tulum for the shoot. This part was **absolutely critical** as the visuals had to accurately portray the transportive nature of the scent. When talking coconuts, go where the coconuts are.

I can only hope we did the Coconut Balm Dotcom justice. It smells like coconut, obviously—although it’s important to note no actual coconuts were harmed in the making of this balm (which is to say, if you have an allergy to coconut, this is still totally cool for you use). More so than coconut, it smells like vacation. A mix of warm sand, piña colada, and Banana Boat Aloe After Sun Lotion is what I’m getting. My fingers are constantly covered in the stuff so I’m never far from the scent—and my cuticles look better than ever for it.

I could go on, but it’s probably better for you to just try it for yourself—on us. Get yours, right this way.

—Annie

Photographed by Emily Weiss.

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Introducing The Rolls-Royce of Curling Irons

Didier came by the office a few weeks back, and after months of trying to nail down a date, we were ready. We booked Louise Parker (Saint Laurent exclusive, 18 perfect inches of thick, sandy hair), and Katrin Thormann (“A baby Kirsten Owen” according to Tom with a shoulder-length whispy blonde cut like golden silk). And when I say “we” I mean Claire and Tom—I had nothing to do with Project Didier until day-of when I happened into the brainstorm session for what to do with Louise’s hair. The problem was that it looked pretty great as-is, and same for Katrin. They were, by Didier’s standards, already finished works of coolness, and since a big cut was out of the question, he wanted more to work with. Some raw material—a lump of clay, ripe for the molding.

“I can do you!” he said, smiling in my general direction. I was standing close enough to Claire to assume he meant her and asked for probably the fifth time if anyone needed “Water? Coffee?” before saying I had lots of work to do and thankyousomuchforcomingin. It’s not that I didn’t want to have my hair done by one of the most acclaimed visionary stylists—Helmut Newton-, Guy Bourdin-level hair—but I really did have a busy day and roughly 39,000 unread emails. “You can bring your computer in here!” Tom insisted. Damn, got me there. Blast these portable computers! I figured that I definitely needed a trim anyway, so let’s do this. I would be that lump of clay. And Didier, Patrick Swayze.

He went in and began fluffing it around a bit. “No, we don’t need to cut it.” Damn, foiled again. Though secretly, this was sort of gratifying—I liked the length, and it’s high time we stop split-end shaming women that don’t get their hair cut every six weeks. It had been around five months and quite some time since brushing it as well. No matter, Didier and his assistant, Takashi, began curling tiny sections with a 1’’ iron—a Hakko Digital Perming Iron, to be exact. Didier calls it the Rolls-Royce of hair tools, insisting that the best hair appliances come from Japan. “They’re very precise, the Japanese for hair,” he said. And as with most good things, it costs around $500 and is impossible to find online. New Yorkers can try Japanese hair supply retailer, Shear World on West 23rd Street—also highly recommended by Didier.

At one point Takashi paused to comb out a section before curling it, as one does, but Didier was insistent that he lose the comb and continue curling over the tiny rats’ nests—going against everything anyone ever told anybody about how to properly style hair. They continued to curl as my brain quietly exploded on the inside. And then came the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray—half a can, at least.

The result was big, messy, curly volume—way different than the other times I’ve taken a curling iron to my hair. It looked…real, like perhaps it grew out of my head that way? Or like if Janis Joplin ran some Oléo Relax through her ends. It got that much cooler each time Didier mussed it up between shots—lobbing the top section to the opposite side, picking up other sections and letting them fall down through a mist of what remained in the Oribe can. That seems to be the key behind his technique—getting that imperfect, I-just-woke-up-in-my-Saint-Laurent-disheveledness. It’s about embracing the imperfect that’s already going on.

But! Do you try this at home? I think yes for the Part 1. I’m a big advocate for the no-brush, no-trim, no-wash lifestyle. The styling part, I think I’d leave to the Didiers of the world, for fully embracing the no-cut life means no-heat as well. No Oribe spray either, though I do need to give it credit for making the curls last well into the next day (which seriously never happens with heat-set curls) and looking even cooler for it. That and the $500 very precise Japanese curling iron. And Didier. Thanks, Didier :)

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photographed by Tom Newton. Read how Didier got started in The Professional.

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How To Buy (Good) Vintage Clothing On The Internet

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to tell people where I got my shoes or jacket or any of the other 60 percent of my wardrobe that I’ve purchased on Etsy, the only place you’ll find vintage Alaïa capelettes sold alongside hot-glued hair accessories for toddlers. It’s a strange, confusing place, that Etsy, but it is more palatable than the mess that is eBay’s women’s clothing selection. Neither are very chic in design, and they don’t come with some cute shop boy offering sparkling water while you sort through cabinets of Chanel (shout out to James at What Goes Around), but there are treasures waiting to be discovered, and deals to be had on said treasures. A lot of my friends are too intimidated to buy anything, or had a bad experience and have sworn off vintage E-tail entirely. Rather than try to convince these people individually, I’ve compiled a list of some of my more helpful findings over my many years of buying cool people’s used clothing online:

Assume final sale. Most eBay and Etsy sellers are small one-person operations and accepting returns could effectively put them out of business. Unless they provided untrue information on the condition of the item or item details, don’t ask to return or exchange your purchase unless their shop policies say that they accept returns (mini tip: read the shop policies before purchase). This goes even if the item doesn’t fit, which brings me to my next piece of advice…

Know your size—in inches and centimeters. But don’t bother with trying to measure your actual body, chances are you don’t have a fabric tape measure lying around, and even if you did, it’s easy to measure incorrectly. Instead, find and item that you already own and fits well that’s a similar cut to the one you’re looking to buy, lay it flat, and measure that for comparison. Even if it’s a high-waisted skirt you’re looking to buy, you can measure the waistband on your favorite pair of high-waisted jeans to see if it will work for you.

Pay attention to fabric content. Lots of clothes today are made nice and stretchy, especially bottoms. We’ve gotten too comfortable. Don’t assume that any pair of pants made before the year 2000 will contain elastane, and buy to your true, comfortable size or larger, and get the piece tailored.

Know what’s not fixable. I caution against buying anything you feel might be too small with the assumption that you can let it out. You can, however, take things in. Leather will usually cost more to tailor and fur coats will cost way more. I was once quoted $800 to take in the shoulders of a vintage fox, an extra $400 to make it shorter. Embellished pieces—sequins, beading, studs, cutouts, grommets—might be both expensive and impossible to tailor correctly, so keep that in mind before purchasing. If you buy something with elastic banding that’s gone…flaccid(?) this is an easy repair for your average seamstress. Too-small shoes are more likely to cause permanent damage to your bone structure than stretch out over time, so consider it money saved if an amazing shoe is not your size. (Why are vintage shoes always so tiny? Were people smaller? Did these sizes just never sell? Does having small feet correlate with better shoe maintenance?)

Ask for more details. If the seller didn’t provide measurements, or all the measurements you need—ask! Keep in mind that vintage sizes and contemporary sizes are not the same. If you’re a size 6 in today’s sizing, you will probably find that a size 6 dress from 40 years ago is way too small. I usually have to ask for shoulder-to-shoulder measurements on jackets and rise measurements on pants after buying too many low-slung pants with a 26-inch “waist”band.

Ask for more photos, too. If you’re unsure about what the seller means by vague descriptions like “average vintage condition,” ask for detail photos of any areas that they wouldn’t consider pristine. If they didn’t provide it, request photos of the linings on jackets and the condition of the wrist openings—especially with furs.

Go silk or go home. Lots of blouses and dresses from the '70s, '80s, and '90s photograph beautifully, but chances are they’re made of some disgusting flammable polyester that you wouldn’t even use to sop up spilled coffee. Read the fabric description—some sellers include a “silk blouse” tag on the item so that you can find it in search, even though the material is listed as polyester. That’s not to say that there aren’t troves of immaculate, chic silk blouses and dresses to be had on Etsy and eBay—they’re my favorite things to buy. See also:

YSL Mary Janes. I can’t believe I’m blowing up my own spot here, but eBay has so many amazing YSL Mary Janes and '90s Manolos. Just remember to:

Repair vintage shoes before wearing them. If you buy vintage heels, take them in to have the heel cap replaced—even if they’ve never been worn. If you’re dealing with any sort of platform situation, especially non-leather soles, have the sole detached and glued back in place as a preemptive measure or rue the day you’re left stomping around Soho in the rain with the sole of your left shoe flopping loose. Twenty-year-old shoe glue is not to be trusted.

Sign up for eBay alerts on items you know you’re interested in because nobody has time to regularly sift through page after page of random postings—and you want first dibs when a great item is posted. For me, it’s “vintage Vivienne Westwood,” in the off chance that the platforms Kate and Naomi were wearing in that photo on the stairs will surface. Or that shearling. Oh God, that glorious oversized shearling.

Search misspellings—I learned this one from a throwback Sea Of Shoes post. You might never find anything this way, but you also might find an early Norma Komali (née Kamali) silk satin jumpsuit for $34.

Etsy is for immediate purchases, eBay is for patience—that is unless the eBay seller is offering the “Buy it now” option. Set an alert on your phone to remind you to bid on an eBay item you want shortly (like 20 minutes) before the auction ends rather than get into a bidding war before that time, driving up the price. A few years ago eBay added a “max bid” feature that will allow you to enter the highest price you’re willing to bid on an item without automatically bidding that full amount. If another bidder tries to cop your Mugler while you’re gone, eBay will automatically outbid them for you until another bidder bests you, in which case you’ve got to bow out or cough up more money. For an endangered species (such as Mugler), it’s usually worth it to up the ante.

Visit the seller’s shop page to check for promo codes. Many Etsy shops will offer sales that coordinate with major holidays and end of seasons, but the only real place to advertise that without going through and editing each of their listings is at the top of their main shop page. Chances are you found their listing through searching something like “cyber punk marabou” and won’t know that they observe Presidents' Day with a 20 percent discount.

Keep obsessively checking Instagram. It seems that all the great vintage shops, both online and brick-and-mortar, are now on Instagram. Some only exist on Instagram, like Stacey Nishimoto’s the_corner_store (I died a little the day I missed out on the Albert Nipon minidress). Every shop has its own special rules for playing their Insta-game—something along the lines of commenting “sold,” calling the shop, or just checking out their Etsy. It’s a dangerous game when buying vintage becomes as easy and gratifying as playing Candy Crush, but here we are, and here I am with a leather leotard and four old sweaters scattered around the country waiting for me to make shipping and pick-up arrangements. Fast fashion this is not.

And I’m all out for now. Surely I’ve missed something or am entirely unaware of something else that will make my online vintage shopping experience exponentially easier—help me out in comments.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photos by ITG.

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5 Acid Body Peel: A Review

Ever since someone used the word "micro tears" to describe the adverse effects of grainy physical exfoliants, I've treated my face like that of a newborn babe, my cheeks like overfilled balloons ready to pop at the slightest stroke of a microbead. For my body, though: almond scrubs, Velcro-textured washcloths, fine-grit sandpaper, grill brushes—anything that might in theory be effective in scraping off the uppermost layer of my dermis to uncover glowing, unblemished skin beneath. Pain is progress, although I hadn't seen much progress since my first jar of salt scrub thirteen years ago. Then I read that you could buy acid peels online. Acid! The most diabolical-sounding exfoliation method I’d yet to try. Why slough off the dead skin and various bumps and scars when you can annihilate them?

I did some research and decided to order the 5 Acid Body Peel from Makeup Artist’s Choice. Sephora doesn’t sell anything peel-related for the body, and there’s something about the risk of ordering a product like a chemical peel online from a brand you know nothing about that adds to the excitement. In my mind it could either be a complete miracle or a full nuclear disaster. But experimentation is what body skin is for! Plus Makeup Artist’s Choice is as legitimate as you’d hope that a DIY chemical peel site would be—third-party accreditations sprinkled throughout (Doctor verified! Better Business Bureau approved! FDA regulated! 10 stars, would buy again!), and the same random graphic design elements of any credible medical practice’s website.

The five acids are lactic, glycolic, mandelic, citric, and salicylic—and they’ve also included licorice root extract for it’s skin tone-evening effects. The consistency is like a thick serum, and it’s meant to be applied using your hands on clean, dry skin which is a slight annoyance, as you have to shower, apply the peel, wait five to 10 minutes, and shower again. I patch-tested first. There was no actual peeling, which was both a relief and disappointment, but no stinging or redness either, so I gave myself the green light to smear the stuff all over my back, arms, thighs, and upper thighs (butt, OK?). I itched, but the uncomfortableness was a 2 on a 1-10 scale and only lasted for the first couple of minutes of marinating. Then I rinsed in the shower and followed with moisturizer, as directed.

I’ve been using the 5 Acid Body Peel for eight weeks now and am very pleased with the stuff and mostly myself. What would have been a very satisfying peeling action never came, but I’ve realized that violent exfoliation is never the answer—for face or body. Instead, the peel gently coddles the dead skin cells away, kindly ushering them down the shower drain during the rinse cycle. The results are not immediately drastic, but I did notice softer, smoother skin after the first two uses. With continued use, the bumps on my upper arms (keratosis pilaris, very common, more than 3 million cases a year in the US alone, not ashamed) are no more. Scars and unevenness have faded, I haven’t broken out, and my entire body skin now constantly feels like freshly shaved legs under clean sheets. I look better naked.

—Annie Kreighbaum

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