Glossier: In-Depth Brand Review (featuring Milky Jelly Cleanser, Skin Tint, Stretch Concealer, Boy Brow, Haloscope and Balm Dot Com)

glossier makeup review
An all-Glossier look featuring Skin Tint and Stretch Concealer in Light, Haloscope in Quartz, Boy Brow in Blonde, and Balm Dot Com in Cherry

When one of my favorite beauty blogs, Into the Gloss, started a makeup brand two years ago, I felt twin, ambivalent feelings – lust for the perfectly-branded products, and worry that it was all hype. So I waited, read reviews, used up other products, thought it over, and finally placed a large order this summer. The products arrived with stickers and a baby pink bubble-wrap pouch that works as a dopp kit for a weekend-long trip. Over the last few months I’ve been road-testing the products, and to my delight, they’re really great.

My full stash: Milky Jelly cleanser, Skin Tint and Concealer in Light, Haloscope in Quartz, Boy Brow in Blonde, and Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry

Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18 for 6 fl oz)

Milky Jelly Cleanser is a rose-scented gentle cleanser with a very pleasant, squishy texture. Think micellar water in a jelly texture. I enjoy the cleanser, but this is the one item I don’t plan on re-purchasing. Instead, I’ll refill the well-designed bottle with a cheaper alternative, Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($7 for 12 oz).

Perfecting Skin Tint in Light ($26)

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light review
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, unblended on the left, blended on the right

I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect base makeup for years (seriously – I wrote about the “Foundation Quest” three years ago). After I wrote that post, I took a couple years off foundation entirely, sticking to sunscreen only and focusing on skincare. I still like the no-foundation look, but Glossier’s skin tint is great option if you want to subtly cover redness while letting freckles peek through.

No makeup on the left, Skin Tint in Light on the right

Skin tint is lighter than every foundation, BB cream and tinted moisturizer I’ve tried. It is very sheer, with a dewy finish. If you are looking for a light-coverage base, it’s a wonderful option. I find that it’s best applied with fingers.

Stretch Concealer in Light ($18)

Glossier Stretch Concealer in Light, unblended swatch on the left, blended out on the right


Stretch Concealer comes in a small screw-off jar, similar to RMS Un-Cover. It has a creamy texture and light coverage.

Glossier Skin Tint and Concealer
Skin Tint in Light on the left, Skin Tint plus Stretch Concealer in Light on the right

Some people might dislike a sheer concealer, but I find it works well under the eyes. It doesn’t entirely erase dark circles, which looks more natural to me than opaque coverage.

Boy Brow in Blonde ($16)

Glossier Boy Brow Blonde
No makeup on top, Boy Brow in Blonde on bottom

I’ve tried a lot of brow products over the years – brow powder (fades quickly), brow pomade (fussy application, a brush that requires cleaning), brow pencil (hard to make it look natural), and brow gel (the shade I got, Anastasia Beverly Hills in Caramel, was oddly glittery). Boy Brow is a brow gel with a waxy, pomade texture. This shade, blonde, is a nice neutral taupe. It is by far the simplest and fastest way I’ve found to tidy up and define my eyebrows.

Haloscope in Quartz ($22)

Glossier Skin Tint and Concealer in Light, Haloscope in Quartz, Boy Brow in Blonde, and Balm Dot Com in Cherry
Glossier Haloscope in Quartz on cheekbone

Haloscope is Glossier’s highlighter, and it comes in three shades, Quartz (champagne), Topaz (light bronze), and Moonstone (white/blue opal). I have Quartz, which I like for a very natural glow. It comes in a chubby twist-up stick, with a shimmery outer ring and a solid oil core. The stick allows for easy application, blended out with finger tips. This is not an over-the-top metallic highlighter, but rather imparts a dewy glow with very fine shimmer. If your skin is sensitive to coconut oil, you may want to find another product, but it hasn’t bothered or clogged my skin.


Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry ($12)

Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry
Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry

Balm Dot Com is a petroleum-based lip balm with lanolin, similar to Aquaphor. They work as great lip balms, but I also like them as cuticle creams. The balm comes in an unscented version as well as four flavors (Mint, Rose, Coconut, Cherry). Coconut and Mint are clear, Rose is slightly pink-tinted, and Cherry has a subtle rosy tint, similar to Benetint.


skin tint, concealer, boy brow, haloscope, and balm
Before and After: no makeup on the left, Skin Tint and Concealer in Light, Boy Brow in Blonde, Haloscope in Quartz, and Balm in Cherry on the right


If you are interested in trying Glossier, you can use this link for 20% off:



Water Towers

My newsletter experiment over the last few months has been a lot of fun. If you’re interested, you can sign up anytime here:

Here is the poem and sketch from this week’s newsletter:




Water Towers

There’s only enough
power to deliver
water to six floors
in Lower Manhattan.
Taller buildings need
pumps that suck up
water to a spout at
the top of the tank.
Gravity does the rest.
Remember, remember
it’s just artificial pressure.

New York Harbor

I’ve had a lot of fun with my illustrated poetry newsletter, Echo Echo. I just sent out my fifth letter, which you can read below. If you like it, sign up for more here:


New York Harbor

I sit in the lunch room listening
as I look out on the New York harbor.
Colleagues plotting, parents visiting,
small talks, coffee chats, walks for more napkins.

I went to Ellis Island in sixth grade
and I remember vaulted tile ceilings,
filled with cattle lines bustling, processing
each being with chalk, ink, paper, and rods.

The next year the towers fell, and I, a selfish,
oblivious preteen, was sad we wouldn’t
have our eighth grade graduation cruise
in the glittering New York Harbor.

Color Challenge: Harajuku Birthday Party

Harajuku makeup tutorial
Featuring not one, but two Polly Pocket necklaces.

When my friend invited me to his Harajuku themed birthday party, I had one thought: how will I do my makeup? In day-to-day life I prefer a fairly natural look, but it’s fun to go all out on occasion.

The day before, I did a quick run-through, featuring teal halo smokey eyes and bubblegum pink lips. I wasn’t satisfied – not as colorful or playful as I wanted. Also, the birthday party was a brunch, so I didn’t want to deal with my lipstick wearing off during a meal.

teal smokey eye tutorial
Bright, but not quite wacky enough.

Instead, I decided to play up my eyes and wear a simple pink lip stain that would require no touching up.

How to Get this Ridiculous Look in (Only) 10 Steps: 

1. Apply eye primer. My current favorite is Wet N Wild’s Fergie (yes, from the Black Eyed Peas) primer.
2. Brush a skin-toned matte shade (I use Lorac Cream) below your eyebrows at the edge of the smokey eye, so that you can blend it with the pink. If you don’t have a shadow that matches your skin, you can also use a translucent setting powder, like Make Up Forever’s HD powder.

3. Apply the pink shade to the crease and outer corner of your eye using windshield wiper motions. I used Urban Decay in Junkshow, a fuschia pink with a shimmery blue shift.

4. Pat on teal eyeshadow to the mobile lid and the center of the lower lashline, just below the iris. I used Urban Decay Deep End, which has great pigmentation.

5. Blend the pink and blue with a clean, fluffy blending brush. This will create a purple shade along the lower part of the crease.

6. Pat black eyeshadow with a small brush to the outer corner, and blend with circular motion. I used Urban Decay’s Blackout, the deepest, matte-ish black I’ve ever tried (I did side-by-side comparisons of the half dozen black shadows I have from various palettes).

7. For an inner corner highlight, I used a L’Oreal lime green loose shadow I bought in … 2004? Ssssh, powder makeup doesn’t expire quickly, and you’ll know it when it does.

8. Apply black liquid liner in a dramatic wing. I used Urban Decay’s 24/7 liquid liner. It has an ultra-fine brush for pointy wings, and once you put it on, it doesn’t budge. It has a slightly glossy finish. If you want a matte black shade, try Kat Von D’s liner in Trooper.

9. Brush on a coat of lash primer and several coats of black mascara on top and bottom lashes. I’m currently using Lancome’s lash primer and Givenchy Phenomen’eyes mascara. False lashes intimidate me, so I stick to lash primer and mascara.

10. Don’t forget your eyebrows! I brushed on a coat of Maybelline clear mascara and lightly filled in with Anastasia Dip Brow in Blonde. I brushed in the pomade with a clean spoolie.

I finished off the look with a ballet pink lip stain by heavily applying Revlon balm stain in Cherish, and then wiping it mostly off with a tissue (ok it was actually a piece of toilet paper).

With so much going on with the eyes, I kept the skin simple, with no foundation or concealer, but you do you. I did use two (2) highlighters – Benefit High Beam, a silvery pink, topped with Colourpop Fanny Pack, a white cream shade. To add color to my cheeks I used a lavender pink glittery blush, a shade from Tarina Tarantino’s blush pallete that I rarely get a chance to wear.

 I finished off the look with two powders: Make Up Forever HD powder, which blurs, mattifies, and preserves the makeup, and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, a soft yellow powder that adds a radiance back to the conplexion, and reduces redness. 
Luckily, living in New York City means even a dramatic look like this doesn’t attract second glances on the subway.

Announcing my newsletter: Echo Echo

Springtime puts me in the mood for new projects. I’ve recently subscribed to some fascinating TinyLetter newsletters and thought I’d join in on the fun. So, every Friday afternoon I will send out a short poem and illustration.

Sign up here:

To give you a taste of what’s in store, here’s my inaugural post:


A façade is a face

screwed up that stays

stuck in one way forever.

Its makeup cannot

be washed away

at the end of each day.

It is tethered in place by

stucco and laws that try to pause

the progress of passing days.



My Favorite Makeup Looks from the 2016 Oscars

1. Sophie Turner

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 2.51.31 PM

Top awards go to Sophie Turner, wearing a beautiful champagne smokey eye. The lower lash line is darker than the top, which usually makes eyes look smaller, but it’s expertly blended and makes her seafoam green eyes pop. To recreate the look, I’d use the Lorac Pro palette, with Champagne on the lids, Taupe in the crease, and Pewter blown out along the lower lash line. Sophie keeps the rest of the look natural with feathered brows, soft pink cheeks, and a pinky nude lipstick. For a close match, try  Bite Amuse Bouche lipstick in Fig.

2. Alicia Vikander

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 2.53.35 PM.png

Alicia balanced out her dramatic Belle from Beauty and the Beast gown with natural makeup that added definition. She wore a matte brown smokey eye with black eyeliner along her top lash line. To recreate the look, I’d use the Lorac Pro palette with Taupe all over the lid, and Sable blended in the crease and outer corner. I’d contour with an apricot blush and wear a muted coral lipstick, like Urban Decay lipstick in Rapture.

3. Olivia Munn

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 2.51.54 PM.png

Olivia Munn matched her one-shouldered tangerine dress with a bright orange-red lipstick. To recreate the look, I’d wear Urban Decay’s lipstick in Bang, with clear gloss added on top. The rest of her look was simple, with false eyelashes and coral blush.

4. Saoirse Ronan

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 2.52.54 PM

Saoirse Ronan wore a very smokey silver eye and peachy nude lipstick. To recreate the look, I’d wear Colourpop Liberty on the lid, tightline with black eyeliner, and smoke out the line with a charcoal eyeshadow, like Lorac Slate. Saoirse wore Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in Adrienne.

5. Lady Gaga

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 2.52.21 PM.png

Lady Gaga had an interesting take on vintage glamour. Rather than wear traditional red lips and a black cat eye, she wore a copper pink smokey eye with shimmery coral pink lipstick. To recreate the look, I’d wear a BareMinerals eyeshadow in Bragging Rights all over the lid, up into the crease, and alone the lower lashline. I’d define the crease with a darker red eyeshadow, and blend it out into a winged shape. I’d wear a coral lipstick like Nars Audacious lipstick in Julie, and pat some of the eyeshadow in the center for a frosted effect.

Color Challenge: Amethyst and Orange


0EBAC7ED-6730-4C69-BF73-044A0B14898BYesterday it was nearly 60 degrees in Brooklyn. Warm enough to grab a bottle of rosé and head to my friend’s backyard. To celebrate, I chose a spring-like combination of purple and orange eyeshadow.

Here’s how to get this look:

  1. Apply a copper eyeshadow (from Sleek’s Sunset Palette) with a fluffy brush to your eye crease, blending above and below.
  2. With a small brush, pack a purple eyeshadow (Urban Decay Omen) onto the lid near from your lash line to your crease.
  3. Blend the crease and lid color using windshield wiper motions along the eye socket.
  4. Apply a matte dark purple shadow (Lorac PRO Palette’s Deep Purple) to the outer corner of the eye and blend with small, circular motions.
  5. Apply black mascara to top and bottom lashes (Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes).
  6. Define eyebrows with a gel, and brush through with a clean spoolie (Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde).
  7. Apply a soft pink tinted lip balm (Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rosé).
  8. Using your pinky finger, apply a white highlighter (Colourpop Fanny Pack) to the top of your cheekbone.
  9. Sweep a powder peach blush (Tarina Tarantino’s Feather) on your cheeks.
  10. Using your ring finger, apply a reddish-brown cream contour (Colourpop Aphrodisiac) to the hollow of your cheek, and blend upwards.
  11. Brush on a bronzer along your hairline (BareMinerals Warmth)
  12. Finish with a blurring powder all over (Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light).