Beauty Secrets We Learned From Erin Parsons

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In high fashion, there’s almost no such thing as effortless beauty. From facial treatments that leave your complexion dewy and luminous to the perfect winged eyeliner, experts reveal their most-trusted, insider hacks for CR’s series, Beauty Secrets.

When Erin Parsons was 18, she joined the Air Force but left after 9 months, just after she finished training at the technical school. She needed a job, so she worked at the Dillard’s in Texas and applied for the Lancôme counter. She had always loved makeup ever since she was six years old and first discovered Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, and Marlene Dietrich. „I loved the way they used makeup to create character,“ she tells CR. „I would steal my mom’s makeup, of course, and draw on big black eyebrows because I was trying to look like Linda Evangelista.“ Parsons eventually stayed in retail for 10 years, before moving to New York at 28 and assisting Pat McGrath. Parsons inked her own contract with Maybelline and began working with fashion darlings Adriana Lima, Gigi Hadid, and Kendall Jenner.

Here, Parsons shares what helped her acne-prone skin the most, her beauty pet peeve, and her take on what product you can leave out of your makeup kit.

Walk me through your skincare routine.
„I hate to say this, because this is #notsponsored, but I only use one product line. I start in the morning with my Le Mieux Phyto Nutrient Cleansing Gel. I started going to this facialist in the East Village called Bloom Skin Care. I used to get really bad breakouts and I went to everybody and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I went to this woman and she had no mercy and squeezed out every pimple. It hurt; I physically cried. It’s the only thing that seems to keep my skin clear. I use the EGF DNA Serum. This stuff keeps my pores tight. The toner I use is the Le Mieux Essence. I use the Le Mieux 24-Hour Age Defying Cream and the last thing is the La Mer Eye and Expression Cream. It’s insane, but I’m wrinkly so I need to get the best stuff. I use the Stem Cell Serum at night and to take off my makeup, I use the Dior Hydra Life Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser. I like the SK-II and the Shiseido ones as well.“

What helped with your acne the most?
„The acne was internal. What I was doing at the time, the reason why I switched all my skincare to what [my facialist] recommended was because she told me my skin was so dehydrated. Of course, because I have acne, I’m putting every product on there to dry up pimples. My pores were looking really big, my skin looked more wrinkled, and it looked dry all the time. She started recommending things and I just found that I really love the Le Miuex products. Because I’m older, my skin just needs extra. Working all the time, drinking a lot of coffee, those things affect you. Eating healthy, drinking tons of water are the best things you can do for your skin.“

Five makeup products you’re loving now?
„Right now, because I’m all about hydration, I have this Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclait Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation. I use it with a damp Beauty Blender, I don’t put any primers on or anything. It looks best when I use one or two pumps. For me, and for everybody that I put makeup on, I use the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer. Sometimes I only use the concealer and no foundation. It keeps the skin hydrated and I love the color selection: it’s not too yellow. The product I’m using constantly on myself and on everybody is the Color Gloss Face Duo Stick in the shade Hustle/Burn. It’s very sheer and a natural blush like you just got a workout. I begged Maybelline to make this because I wanted something that gives hydrated dewiness to the cheeks. I’m really obsessed with the Bye Bye Pores It Cosmetics Powder. I don’t like to wear a lot of powder so my skin can stay radiant, but I really like that powder for pores. Another one I would say is the Maybelline Snapscara. I love it because with the models, when you’re putting that on them, they can just walk the makeup off. It comes off easy and there’s no struggle.“

Favorite makeup trend?
„I’m loving that designers at the shows are giving more looks. For a minute there, it felt like everything looked natural. No makeup, no hair. The clothes are cool, but we want the whole package. Doing looks is going to get you social media coverage, people want to talk about something fun or sparkly or whatever. As far as makeup trends, I honestly can’t think of a trend right now. With social media now, it used to be that trends would start on the runway and trickle down to the real world and editorial, but now people are just trying to do something different. Then everybody else recreates the same thing, like the Bratz Doll challenge. It’s hard because you have the fashion side and the beauty side, and then the Instagram side and the social media side. They’re such different worlds. I don’t know if trends really exist as much anymore.“

Is there a product you think people don’t actually need in their makeup kits?
„I have tried different primers but I’ve never found that it really changes anything. Sometimes, the pore-minimizing primers help, but not usually. With the sprays and the primers, I wonder if [companies] are just trying to get people to buy more. I don’t think that most of it is really necessary. I don’t use them in my kit. The one thing, let’s say if you were very red-skinned and you wanted to tone that down, a green primer does help. Setting sprays are kind of silly, honestly. People use them because they put so much foundation and so much powder on and then spray their face really wet and they think now my skin is gonna look like skin. It does for like a minute, but these setting sprays are like 24-hour wear. I’ve tried many times and it almost makes my foundation look heavier after it dries.“

Favorite makeup look you’ve done?
„One of my favorite looks I’ve ever done to this day was on Gigi Hadid for Maybelline and it was for their NYFW posters that they hang in the subway. We did this ‚graffiti eye,‘ but on Instagram everyone started calling it the mermaid eye and it became a huge trend. Companies started coming out with mermaid palettes, and it seemed like all the Instagram girls were not doing color, they were doing browns with eyeliner, and then it got really colorful. I feel like I sort of inspired something and I’m pretty proud of that.“

Do you have a beauty pet peeve?
„I’m not a huge fan of heavy skin products. I know sometimes that they’re necessary, and I understand that people want coverage, but I hate when people try to make themselves more tan and they put a heavy darker foundation on and you can see their hands are completely different colors. I have a technique, that if people did something more sheer, it would look more natural. I do this to Gigi a lot too, because her body is often a lot more tan than her face. Lately, she’s been really pale during winter, but we even made this product when her makeup line came out. It’s just a very sheer golden base, and I would just put it in my hands, mix it, and put it on the face like a moisturizer.“

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