Beauty editors are a dime a dozen. Amy Keller Laird is one in a million. The Deputy Editor and Beauty Director of Allure is not just a verifiable cosmetics guru, she is hysterically funny and charming. I met her on Twitter, after getting captivated by her irreverent musings – she refers to herself as Pegasus Unicorn Snob, naturally. Not only is she entertaining as hell, offering up constant tips and suggestions, Amy is a must-follow for the beauty obsessed, myself included.
Amy originally arrived in New York from Missouri, knowing she wanted to do anything as long as it revolved around fashion. After starting out as a copy editor for Redbook, she worked her way up to her current position at Allure, and now she pours over 50-100 bags of products a week! Amy’s clearly the woman to trust. Which is why you should do what I did: take note of her five essentials and add them to your stash, pronto. We can thank her later!
I am very high-maintenance with my hair in terms of color–thanks to some gray roots that annoyingly show up right in the most visible spots along my hairline, I have to get root touch-ups done every two to three weeks. So when it comes to styling, I keep it low-effort. That’s where Sachajuan Ocean Mist ($28) comes in. A few pumps on each side of my head and at the back give my natural waves shape and definition, never crunchiness. The key is to spritz into damp hair, scrunch, and then hands off till the hair air-dries. My coworkers who have even the slightest wave in their hair get a good beachy look from this, too.
I love lipstick. It’s so much more luxurious than gloss. But rarely will you catch me in a mid-tone shade (think rose, mauve). I like extremes: either full-on nude or seriously hot pink. My latest bright-pink lipstick obsession is Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in L’Exubérante. It’s a new formula–out in November–that goes on matte but feels creamy, and the color is unbelievable. It’s electric pink, shocking almost, but somehow in a way that’s flattering rather than jarring. At the Chanel press event for the lipstick line, five or so beauty editors with different skin tones–including me–had chosen the hot pink to try on, and it looked amazing on everyone.
When I want to add definition to my eyes but don’t have time for shadow, I trace black liner along just the lower inner rims. It works like a charm–it takes seconds but looks like you’ve actually made up your eyes. Problem is, many liners disappear almost instantly from the inner rims. But Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil ($19) in Onyx really locks into place, and the deep black color doesn’t fade to gray halfway through the day. It also has a smudger tip on one end if you decide you want a smoky look.
Every dermatologist I’ve ever talked to says that, besides sunscreen, a retinoid cream is the most important anti-aging product. It’s the most tried-and-true for smoothing lines and stimulating collagen production. Being a bad beauty editor (slap wrist now), I’ve never really stuck to a retinoid regimen over the years–until now. I was persuaded to try La Roche-Posay Redermic [R] Intensive Anti-Aging Corrective Treatment ($55) after a slew of top docs raved about it. It’s a lightweight cream with ingredients that make the retinol penetrate quickly and effectively (retinol is the most potent over-the-counter form of a retinoid). It actually doesn’t irritate like so many retinol creams do, even applied around the outer corners of the eyes (just don’t go near the inner corners, because that will sting and you don’t want the cream getting in your eye).
I don’t often wear foundation but do need something to control shine, cover pores, and even out my skin a bit. I normally rely on loose translucent powder, but it can get messy, especially when you’re traveling. I just discovered Shiseido Makeup Translucent Pressed Powder ($32)–it gets the job done without caking up in dry patches, which is one of the things I hate most about some powders. But definitely apply it with a big fluffy brush instead of the included puff, or else you’re likely to OD and end up with Casper-colored streaks across your face.