Courtney Dunlop is my supercool beauty friend who you guys need to know. I've known her for years--we were both beauty assistants around the same time and moved up in the ranks together over the years. She has worked as a beauty editor at Jane (R.I.P.) and YouBeauty.com, written for tons of magazines like Allure and Real Simple, co-authored a book with her sister about how to score a job in the beauty business called Break Into Beauty, and most recently, started a new blog called You Look Great In Green (more on that below).
She's also really cool and has the most incredible skin and hair ever. But, even though I've known her for years, I never knew her beauty secrets. So I recently demanded she share them with me (and you!) and she obliged. Read on for great products, editor-tested tips, and what may go down in history as the world's most insane skin-care routine. (Sorry, Courtney--you know I love you, but you skin-crazy, girl!)
First, tell me a little bit about your new site. "You Look Great in Green is my new financial blog for stylish people, targeted to creative types working in fashion, beauty, design, and the arts. No one in these fields seems to have any clue about what to do with their money, and it stresses them out. They know they should be doing something, but they don’t know what it is, and all the financial advice out there is too boring or complicated or targeted to people in wildly different career circumstances. I love math and economics and do a lot of financial research for fun (I’m super cool), and on the blog I boil it down to only what you need to know so that it’s simple and not stressful."
Tell me a little bit about your breaking-into-beauty book. Who should read it? "Break Into Beauty is for anyone who is looking to get his or her foot in the door in the beauty industry, whether it’s at a magazine, in PR, buying, sales, and more. My sister and I wrote it (we both graduated from the cosmetics program at F.I.T), because so many people had been coming to us over the years for career advice. We’re from Missouri and didn’t have any connections, money, or clue what we were doing when we started out, so people always wanted to know how we did it. We realized that there were tons of resources for finding a job in fashion, but there was not one book out there for people who want to work in the beauty business, other than in cosmetology. So we wrote the first! It's packed full of very specific, detailed advice on how to find your dream job, from who to follow on Twitter to how to build up your resume when you have no beauty experience. There's even a comprehensive list of beauty companies across the U.S., categorized by state."
And now onto your beauty routine: What's your favorite skin-care product? "Ok, I’m afraid you’re going to think I’m psycho. My skin is my biggest beauty priority, and I have a complex skincare layering routine based around nourishing serums, creams, oils, and sunscreen. In the morning, I rinse my face with water (no cleanser), pat dry, and mist with a spray like Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence. While my face is still damp, I apply Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Serum. While that absorbs, I use Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage for my chronic puffiness, really going to town in a circular motion. Next is Dermalogica Pure Light SPF 50 moisturizer on my face and neck. While I wait for that to absorb, I apply Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Eye Cream SPF 20 to my brow bone, and all the way around the outside of my eye and underneath. I’ve been using sunscreen around my eyes for close to 10 years and no crow’s feet yet! Now for the double sunscreen, which I do rain or shine. That’s my skin secret. Since I’ve already applied chemical sunscreen and it’s absorbed into my skin, now I do physical sunscreen with zinc oxide that sits on top like a little bodyguard. Either Dermalogica SkinPerfect Primer SPF 30 or Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen SPF 30. Finally, lip balm with sunscreen. Ocean Potion Moisturizing Lip Potion SPF 45 is my favorite for everyday and the beach. It doesn’t get greasy and run into your mouth like most of the others. For very cold winter days, I like Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25, which is more like a salve. If it’s warm enough to show some skin, I use Pratima Neem Vetiver Body Sunscreen SPF 30 on my shoulders, back of neck, chest, arms and hands. I have a whole different routine for the beach and pool, but that’s a different article."
Whoa. Okay, so now I'm almost afraid to ask, but what you do in the evening? "I always double-cleanse and I recommend everyone do it, especially if you have clogged pores. Regular cleanser is not enough to remove sunscreen, makeup, and pollution—you need something to dissolve it all first. I use cleansing oil from Boscia, Tata Harper, or Dermalogica. I massage a small pump onto my dry skin, including around my eyes, then I get in the shower (I am a nighttime shower-er) and wash my face with a really gentle, non-foaming cleanser. I love REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel. After the shower, I pat dry and mist (just like in the morning), then apply Dermalogica Pure Night, which is a brightening cream with a wonderfully soft, non-heavy texture. While that absorbs, I apply Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate. I can’t use thick eye creams or else I get even puffier. Then I do another light mist and apply my secret weapon: Liquid Gold Cell Quench. It’s a concentrated plant stem cell serum that makes your skin all dewy and plump. I love it. When I haven’t used it for a few days I start to see faint forehead lines creep in. Can’t have that! While that absorbs, I mist my neck and chest with the Evian or Avène water spray and apply NIA 24 Neck Sculpting Complex. I am super paranoid about getting a crepe-y, spotty chest and turkey neck. Then I massage on a small amount of Fresh Crème Ancienne Soft Cream on my face. It’s so hydrating and the texture is to die for—kind of like spongy marshmallow whip. Now, sometimes, even after all of that, I will use either a face oil or a sleeping mask to seal it all in for the night. Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex roller ball is wonderful, or Tarte Maracuja Oil, which I’ve used for years and swear by, or Boscia Tsubaki Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask. By now my face is really sticky, but when I rinse in the morning, my skin feels like a baby’s."
Do you do anything else for sun protection? "My life revolves around sun protection. I keep a foldable, canvas bucket hat from J. Crew in my bag so it’s always with me on sunny days. Athleta UPF shirts are lifesavers—I wear them when I’m outside in the sun for any extended period of time, swimming, or if I have a long car ride. I only wear big polarized sunglasses from Oakley—once you go polarized you can never go back. And…please don’t roll your eyes…I have a UPF sun umbrella from Totes! It saves my life in the summer when I’m walking around the city. If you see a girl with a hot pink umbrella on a sunny day, stop me and say hi."
Whew! Okay, moving on: What's your favorite lip color? "I take my lipstick very seriously. My favorite look is bold lipstick with a bare face and eyes. I either do bright red or very dark, almost-black purple, like a Peter Lindbergh photo of '90s models." [Note: Her favorite colors are above!]
Blush? "Besides lipstick, blush is my next favorite thing. All I ever want in life is to look like a flushed lady from a frothy Fragonard painting. I like bright pink cream blush, applied to the apples of my cheeks with my fingers, and then sometimes topped with a pink powder. Two favorites: Tata Harper Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint in Very Charming and Laura Geller Baked Monochromatic Blush in Bora Bora."
Eye Shadow? "I wear eye makeup maybe three times a year, usually for weddings or fancy events. When I do, it’s very pale, shimmery shadow rubbed on my lid with my finger. I like Make Glitter Eyeshadow in Alabaster and Surratt Beauty custom eyeshadow palettes."
Foundation? "Never. If I have to be somewhere and feel like I should wear makeup, I’ll do the genius Dermalogica SkinPerfect Primer SPF 30, which has a slight tint. Makeup artist Emily Kate Warren turned me on to it and it’s been a life-changing product. It makes your skin look flawless. I use YSL Touche Eclat under my eyes and around my mouth for brightening, and if I need to spot-cover something, Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Waterproof Concealer is the best.
Mascara? "Like the eyeshadow, maybe three times a year. I love the look of bare lashes. When I do wear it, I curl my lashes with the Rolls Royce of lash curlers from Surratt, and use Surratt Pointilliste Mascara because the tiny brush makes my lashes look long and inky. I hate the clumpy, fake look of most mascaras."
Your long hair is legendary. Talk to me about it. "I’ve had extremely long hair since preschool and the same hair color since birth. It’s very fine and straight and it grows fast—right now it’s touching the waistband of my jeans. Most people assume that I keep it this long because I’m afraid of cutting it or I don’t want to change, but honestly, it’s just so easy to take care of and I can’t be bothered with my hair. The way it stays so healthy is that I never do anything to it! I don’t own a blow dryer, I only wash it every seven to nine days, and I don’t even brush it every day. The only high-maintenance thing I have to do is get the roots in my gray streak colored every six weeks by Mai at Bumble and Bumble Downtown. She’s a genius."
What are some of your favorite hair products? "I really only use shampoo and conditioner. My requirements are that they are hydrating, smell good but not fruity, and leave my hair soft. I’ll also load up on a hair mask now and then because my ends get tangly. The only two hair products I use other than shampoo and conditioner are both leave-in detangler/anti-frizz products that I use when I’m combing out my hair after I wash it. I'm currently loving Pureology Hydrate Hydra Whip, Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner, Aveda Shampure Shampoo & Conditioner, Biolage Hydrasource Shampoo & Conditioner, Rene Furterer Naturia Gentle Balancing Shampoo (my husband loves this one!), Pureology Colour Fanatic, and MILK by Reverie (this product is amazing)."
|"Note the vintage bunny cotton ball dispenser," says Courtney. "His tail is where you pull out the cotton ball!" (All photos courtesy of Courtney Dunlop)|
How long does it take you to get ready? 15 minutes.
What's your best time-saving beauty tip? "I get a gel manicure at Paintbox with an ombre design because it grows out and you can’t tell. I can go four weeks!"
Take a guess: How many beauty products do you have at home? "Well, I just moved and cleaned out a bunch of stuff, so it’s less than usual. I’d say 100, maybe 115."