vanity_james2James_Barneys_small copy

I’ve been asked by several of you for an update on my current beauty routine, which I am happy to oblige. One of the perks of being an editor at Mother is that it allows me to try new products all the time, which is not only fun, but it also introduces me to some really great new lines that I most likely wouldn’t have tried otherwise. One thing that I would like to mention that has really helped my complexion is drinking a lot of water. I notice that when I don’t drink a lot of it throughout the day my skin looks a little dull, so the more the merrier. Without further ado, here are all of the skin care, makeup, and hair essentials that I am using right now and why.

Verso Foaming Cleanser. I use this cleanser in the shower each morning with my Clarisonic or a Konjac Cleansing Sponge, which is a great alternative to the Clarisonic with similar results. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean, without over drying. At night, I usually use cleansing oil to remove make up. I like Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil and the Milk Cleansing Oil from First Aid Beauty. Both literally dissolve foundation and leave skin ultra soft, without any residue. I am also completely obsessed with Bioderma Crealine Micelle Solution. It’s a French pharmaceutical product that is a favorite among women, beauty editors, and makeup artists around the world. It’s inexpensive, removes eye makeup like no other, and is water-based as opposed to oil-based, which is something I dislike about most eye makeup removers.

Somme Institute Transport Pads. These will take you back to the days of fighting pimples with Oxy Pads back in junior high school, only these actually work and are a lot more expensive. I cut these babies in half, because you really don’t need a full one to swipe your face, and it makes the price tag much more affordable. They tone the skin and go deep to even out skin tone, tighten, and prevent bumps and acne. I love them! Totally worth the extra bucks, but remember, cut them in half.

Verso Super Eye Serum. This stuff kicks ass! It has retinol 8 as one of its main ingredients and really fights fine lines and wrinkles. I see dramatic results and can’t preach enough about it. One bottle has lasted me well over 7 months, too, so do the math—it’s well worth it. I still love my Tatcha Brightening Serum that I have been using for years, but have found a couple of other great ones that are less of an investment. Aria’s Firming Serum and Earth Tu Face’s Nourish + Balance are both great alternatives.

Rodin Olio Lusso. Okay, okay, this “luxury” face oil has a lot of hype. Truth is, I didn’t really get it when I first started using it, about a year ago. Sure it was lighter than most other oils I have tried, but I wasn’t a fan of the smell. It smells like jasmine and if you’re not a fan of jasmine, which I am not, it will take some getting used to. The price is a little steep, as well, but this stuff lasts a really long time, so in actuality it’s not too bad. After a few weeks of continual use I became a believer and keep coming back for more. It really is incredible. It sinks into the skin quickly and leaves it looking heathy and beautiful. That said, there are plenty of other oils out there that offer similar results—some less expensive, some more expensive. I’ve tried several, but I keep coming back to this one because all of the others seem to lack somewhere. I still moisturize after applying my sacred Rodin oil. I use Embryolisse, which is another French pharmaceutical industry fave. It works wonders for my skin and I can order it from Amazon on the cheap.

Dr. Jart BB Cream. I apply this every day, instead of foundation, using my fingertips. It has SPF 25, as well as some other really great botanicals that nourish the face. It’s much lighter than regular foundation, but still delivers a good amount of coverage. The only problem I can see with it is that it comes in one “universal” shade, and I don’t see how people with darker complexions could use this. If I have a slight tan in the summer, it’s too light for my liking. There are several other BB creams on the market that are up to par, but this one is my favorite. When I need a little extra coverage I reach for my trusty NARS Sheer Glow Foundation. It’s not cake-y, like other foundations. When I apply it I use this brush. I only started using a brush to apply foundation in the past year, and the difference in even application is huge.

YSL Touche Éclat. Hands down, the best concealer ever.

It’s So Big! Mascara. I’ve tried dozens and dozens of mascaras over the years, hoping that they would do what they claim to do. Many of them have delivered somewhat, but none as much as It’s So Big. Try it—your lashes will thank you. I really don’t wear too much eye makeup these days, usually just a few coats of mascara and a little brow love using Anastasia’s Brow Wiz in soft brown along with a clear brow gel. But, when I’m dressing up a for an event, a night out or am wanting a more dramatic look, I use the same Stila Liquid Eyeliner I’ve been using for years.

Earth Tu Face Skin Stick. Buy this! It’s amazing! I keep this in my purse and use it throughout the day. Mostly on my lips for a dose of serious moisture without a lot of shine, but it can also be used on dry skin. It smells good, too! I love a good red lip from time to time and have found the perfect shade for my skin tone. It’s called Wild Child by Ilia—love it.

Aesop Resurrection Hand Balm. My skin gets really dry in the winter—especially my hands. This concentrated cream works to keep them soft. For my body, I use several different products. Two favorites have been the Earth Tu Face Body Butter and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. Both are really wonderful. I also exfoliate once a week. My husband bought me a really nice one from Omorovicza to pamper myself with earlier this year—and I’m not going to lie, it’s F-ing great—but it’s too expensive and I won’t be replacing it. Burt’s Bees actually makes a pretty decent body scrub and it gets the job done. I also recently tried Fat & The Moon Deodorant and it’s so, so good. Seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else. And it’s all natural—bonus!

Le Labo Santal 33. I found this scent right around the time I got married—I’ll be wearing it for the next ten years.

Davines Momo Anti-Frizz Fluid. I’m a wash and go kinda girl, but with all of the heavy dyeing I’ve done to my hair over the years, and then attempting to get back to my natural color, came a lot of damage and breakage, which left me with crazy fly-aways and unmanageable frizz. I found this miracle liquid recently and let me tell you, it has been a life saver. I brush my hair after I shower, apply a quarter size of this starting at the ends up to the roots and let air dry. Sometimes I will blow dry the very front of my hair to calm crazy cowlicks, but my hair routine is really so simple, which is a plus when you have little time to dedicate to getting ready each day.

Illustration by Alessandra Olanow for Bleubird.


  • Rachel

    James, you’re beautiful and I love your hair. Thank you for sharing your current beauty routine and for the reminder to drink more water (I just grabbed some, hah). You inspire me to “step up” my regimen and splurge a little on some new goodies (I may have to save up a little, heh). Your skin is amazing so it appears your routine works ;) I’m turning 29 in a couple months and starting to worry about eye-wrinkles (crow’s feet? I forget what it’s called). Your kids are awesome and super cute, but love seeing more of you :) Long-time reader here and looking forward to checking this space more frequently… best wishes ~

  • Valentina

    Love it!
    I have a ton of things I’m trying to finish before going out and buying anything new.
    I live in France and YES Bioderma is very big here ;) I do use it (…as should everyone! it’s so good…) I also love Ducray, another french brand I believe. Their stuff is amazing as well.


  • Emily

    I so love getting a peek into others’ routines – and I have to say – those beautiful illustrations just top it off perfectly!

  • Hannah | Fox & Willow

    this reminds me, i need to drink more water ;)

  • kim

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and thorough post! I am definitely going to try the BB cream and anti-frizz fluid. I’ve been searching for these and have gone through several duds.

  • Jen

    I am going to investigate some of these products, but first and foremost I’m pretty hung up on the necklace in the picture– so simple and beautiful. Mind sharing the origin?

  • lilimoncello

    La marque Aseop me plairait beaucoup ! Je commanderai une crème un jour bien que la gamme soit un peu chère!

  • Sarah

    I thought the YSL Touche eclat was a brightener not a concealer?

  • Archana

    How do you find the Clairisonic? Does it live up to the hype?

  • Steph

    I’m an all-natural girl! Currently experimenting with Lavilin. So far so good!

  • thinking about… | french girls do.

    […] moving back towards wearing eyeliner every day. I love how dramatic it feels! plus by contract my dark eye circles practically fade away. my go-to is Stila’s, primarily because my hero Miss James uses it. […]

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