The model, who has spoken widely about her vitiligo, poured her own experience with sun sensitivity into her debut SPF range, Cay Skin. It’s all about a healthy glow: “I want to put the sun in the bottle.”
Born in Canada to Jamaican parents, the model is accustomed to toggling between warm weather and cold. (During the pandemic she joined the westward migration to Los Angeles, signaling her preference for backyard pool life.) The constant throughout, no matter the season, is a protective dose of SPF. “I just remember running on the beaches, and my dad slathering sunscreen on my skin with his rough hands from being a mechanic,” Harlow recalls of her childhood visits to the Caribbean. At age four, she was diagnosed with vitiligo, a condition that disrupts the melanin production in certain regions of the skin, leaving them especially vulnerable to the sun. Her unique pigmentation became a topic of conversation in 2014, during a turn on America’s Next Top Model, which jumpstarted a career that has included marquee runway appearances (Marc Jacobs, Schiaparelli), fashion editorials, and a TED Talk about evolving beauty norms.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #79 series on my blog.
But it wasn’t until 2018, while on a modeling job in the Bahamas, that the seed for Harlow’s new beauty brand, Cay Skin, was born. “I was shooting from sunup to sundown both days, and on set no one wanted me to reapply sunscreen because of that blue-silver shine that isn’t very complimentary to any skin tone, especially to darker skin tones,” the model recalls. A serious flare-up followed. “I had to have doctors come to my hotel to give me injections for pain and inflammation.”
The experience reinforced the idea that there was plenty more room in the sunscreen space, particularly with inclusivity in mind. Cay Skin—the name nods to the landscapes of Caribbean islands—arrives today with four products to suit different preferences and needs. For fans of mineral sunscreen, there’s an ultra-sheer SPF 55 with zinc oxide, alongside skin-nourishing squalene and sea moss. (The butter-yellow tint comes from plant-derived antioxidants.) Harlow’s daily staple is Isle Glow SPF 45, which sets a trio of broad-spectrum chemical filters within a luminous base. “I wear this under makeup, but I also wear this insteadof makeup because it just adds such a beautiful glow,” she says. Meanwhile, the SPF 30 body oil delivers the throwback appeal of a 1980s tanning mist with modern protection.
“Everyone always forgets about the lips,” Harlow says of the last product, a plush SPF 30 balm that avoids the chalky texture of other formulas. “I wanted something that was going to be hydrating and nutrient-rich, but also protecting the lips.”
As Harlow picks up a couple of the tubes, it’s clear that the palette of the packaging—pale peach and chestnut brown—isn’t just about good-taste neutrals. In fact, the colors are practically Pantone-matched to her skin tones: a visible reminder of the brand’s something-for-everyone ethos. She’s also left her fingerprints on other elements of Cay Skin. The natural scent hints at a vacation mood while steering clear of “artificial coconut”—a pet peeve of hers. The ingredients pay tribute to the Caribbean, including aloe vera, which her mother used to cut fresh to apply to mosquito bites and the occasional pink sunburn. Even the visuals have Harlow doubling as model and creative director, giving her a 360-degree look at the process. “I had so many hats to wear on that campaign shoot day. But it was so rewarding,” she says.
Even more satisfying will be the feeling of settling into the sand, with her own products in tow. She ticks through a few of her beach favorites. Her snack of choice is a whole coconut: first the water, then the scraped-out jelly. “Melissa Simone, she’s also Canadian; she’s a Black girl. She makes the most beautiful swimwear,” Harlow says, describing a blue-and-green bikini she wore for her birthday in Mexico a couple years ago. “I just loved the way that it held onto my body.” And for music? “One of my favorite artists from Jamaica is Vybz Kartel—but anything dance hall. I want to have fun and dance on the beach,” Harlow adds. Her skin, well shielded, will be ready for it.
To get more comfortable during a presentation, people often suggest imagining the audience in their underwear or assuming a powerful stance. Ariana Grande, while swatching the new shades from her r.e.m. beauty brand, has a different method: she announces that she’s going to swatch while impersonating actress Jennifer Coolidge. “This one’s called Boca Mocha,” she says in a pitch-perfect Coolidge voice while running her finger with the chocolate-brown eye shadow over her arm, “because it’s got a nice warm shade.” Grande’s right—it does make everything more comfortable.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #69 series on my blog.
The singer has a lot of nervous energy to expunge while launching her new brand. In fact, she was the first person to log onto the Zoom call to discuss r.e.m. “I was way too excited,” Grande explains. “Like obviously way too excited. I was the first person here that was talking to the wall. I am smiling so hard. My teeth hurt. I’m so proud and grateful, and this is such a special moment for team r.e.m and me.”
R.e.m. beauty is Grande’s baby: the project has been gestating for two years now and finally launched on Friday, Nov. 12. The brand’s first drop, called “chapter one,” includes highlighters, false lashes, eyeliner pencils and markers, a shadow palette, liquid eyeshadows, and lipsticks that are all vegan and cruelty-free. And for “chapter two,” Grande shared that a possible foundation and concealer may or may not be in the works.
Below, in Grande’s words, here is every detail you need to know about the launch of r.e.m. beauty.
Grande was nervous about stepping into the beauty world at first
“I was nervous about [starting r.e.m.] because I don’t ever want to just jump into something that is popular. It has to feel super intentional and super fueled by passion. It has to feel super authentic to me. So let’s experiment, let’s dig in, and let’s play with some products. There are so many different versions to tell this makeup story and these formulas are so inspiring. We can bring our own version of this into the beauty space and I’m so excited.”
All the products have been world tour-tested
“We were doing shows and finishing the tour and were able to test the highlight on stage and then make notes on the formula. It’s been such a long road… going into the labs and trying everything and coming up with names.”
The Voice is another r.e.m. testing ground
“I’ve been wearing all of these products on The Voice. I wear them all the time to work. I wear them on TV. I’m always wearing the marker and the lip. And everyone asks, ‘What are you wearing?’ And I’m like, I don’t know, so this is exciting to finally be able to say [r.e.m. beauty]. It’s been really cool to secretly test and see them on TV.”
The brand is named after a favorite song she’s made
“I decided to name it r.e.m. because I feel like that song really encompasses a lot of my favorite parts of my sound sonically. And also REM rapid eye movement: focusing on dreams and focusing on the eyes and eyes being kind of like our best way to articulate–better than you can with words sometimes.”
Creating a beauty line and creating music have a lot of parallels for the singer
“The obvious answer is that music and makeup are incredibly different. They are so polarized, they’re so opposite, but the way that they sort of help bring each other to life is unspoken and right here in front of our faces. I feel like a lot of my music comes to life more when we shoot the video, which is accompanied by makeup. I am so appreciative of that because they’re both totally different outlets of storytelling, but they hold hands in a weird way. When you’re writing a song—spending time with the pre-chorus to make sure that the notes set up the hook in the proper way or that the harmonies aren’t fighting with the bells in the background or the strings and that everything is sort of complimentary of one another—is the same process as putting together these formulas and making sure that each note is perfect. Although they’re so wildly different, they feel so similar because it’s the same meticulous spending time with formula and formula is in music as well.”
Her love of makeup comes from her mom
“I was probably in my mom’s closet and I was using her black eyeliner. My mom loves black eyeliner. She only wears black. Her whole closet is, like, fields of black fabric and shoulder pads and you’re like, ‘Where am I? What is happening? Are you Cersei Lannister?’ I don’t get it. But I was using my mom’s black eyeliner and I wanted to look like a Spice Girl. And also my mom is super into Halloween and goth, and in the middle of July, she would paint me as a skeleton. That’s an early one. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, your family is super into Halloween.’ I’m like, ‘That was the summer. It was my third birthday. I’m just kidding. I’m not though.”
Meet the Products
THE BABYDOLL EYESHADOW PALETTE
On the packaging: “I wanted to make sure everything looked like a prop from Star Trek or Black Mirror. I wanted to treat it like Apple or Tesla and not treat it like makeup, because I’m obsessed with vintage sci-fi horror space stuff. I wanted to create my own world with the packaging.”
On the name: “My grandpa used to call me ‘baby doll’ and my nona calls me that and it’s on my finger. It’s the most personal name with warm and neutral yummy tones. The other palette is called ‘Principessa’ [princess in Italian] and ‘Midnight Snack.’”
On the packaging: “I’m obsessed with this packaging in a way I don’t even know how to articulate. It’s our little space human-alien pod. It’s kind of the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I love that you can peek through and see the colors. I love that it’s spacey and fun and it’s very soft and smooth.”
On the formula: “It’s super matte, but also super creamy and hydrating at the same time. This one comes in six shades, which is very exciting but there will be more. We’re starting with six and they’re all really strong and beautiful.”
COLLAR-PLUMPING LIP GLOSSES
“The glosses come in nine shades and the names are all kind of nostalgic like the ‘90s: away messages, jelly sandals, and scrunchies. It was just like pulling for things that make us feel warm and nostalgic because it makes me happy. This scent is like vanilla, minty, yummy, delicious scent and it’s super plumping. I have to say it’s one of my favorite glosses I’ve ever seen in my life. The plump was very important to me because I just remember being in middle school and having lip venom on.”
UTMOST IMPORTANCE PLUMPING GLOSS
On the product: “These are in my top-three favorite things in chapter one. It’s just the perfect clear top coat. It’s so ‘90s, like no color, no anything, perfectly there. And it has the yummiest warm vanilla scent and has the same pumping sensation, but it’s its own separate thing because that’s how imperative it is for the lip.”
How to wear it: “My favorite thing to do is pair this with my other favorites from chapter one. First, the practically permanent lip marker. It’s like a stain. I love stains. I’ve always loved stains more than lip liner or lipstick because I feel like it’s going to be there for you. You know, we gotta go, we gotta work, we gotta do things. Also, it doesn’t move. My favorite combination is the lip marker with the gloss. I love it and I’m wearing it right now.”
INTERSTELLAR HIGHLIGHT TOPPER
“We did 10 shades and named them after most of the planets in the solar system. We wanted to create them to have range but also to create fun eye looks, but you can use them anywhere they’re not just highlights. I love the way this feels, and it’s super pigmented.”
THE VOLUMIZING MASCARA
“I wanted to launch with two [mascaras]. This was a big debate because mascara is so important and so personal. I wanted to launch with two—one that’s more like lengthening and clean that separates the lashes. But another one that’s more dramatic, which is this one. And I love it so much. And I hope you do too.”
“I’m happy to tell you these are faux mink. They come in two styles for now. They are named ‘Eternally Meowing’ and ‘Grow and Show.’”
AT THE BORDERLINE EYELINER MARKER
“I love this marker because it’s super precise and I like that you can make the perfect little simple cat eye with it, but also just create more graphic looks with it because it’s so pointy and precise and thin and flexible. I love this marker at the borderline, a little nod to my song ‘Borderline.’ We have three colors: ‘Midnight Black,’ ‘Teddy Bear’ (brown), and ‘So Mod,’ which is white. This is like super, super white because a lot of my inspiration is from ‘60s mod: Twiggy, Barbarella, stuff like that. You can create more graphic, vintage stuff or just use it on your waterline.”
MIDNIGHT LIQUID SHADOWS
“We have several matte shades and then several super metallic sparkly shades. The coverage on these is really, really insane. They’re super pigmented. I feel like sometimes I can just wear them without any base or anything because the coverage is so insane.”
Ever wondered what the Duchess of Sussex uses in her beauty routine? Whether it was during her days of playing Rachel Zane in Suits, or while she was a working member of the British royal family following her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan has always been a woman with immense style in the beauty department. Rarely erring from a fresh face, nude lip and smoky eye combo, the Duchess also serves excellent hair inspiration – and she’s revealed some old favourites in the past. Here British Vogue takes a look at her go-to beauty products, from the ultra-cheap body lotion she loves, to a number of cult favourites you might just have in your make-up bag already.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria
A matte suede-taupe nude lipstick which is made with a blend of oils to help nourish lips, it is thought Meghan wore this lipstick in her engagement photos with Prince Harry.
Nivea Skin Q10 + Vitamin C Firming Hydration Body Lotion
The Duchess has previously said she uses this body lotion “religiously”, and praised it for its affordability and the fact it makes her skin look and feel amazing. With antioxidants Q10 and vitamin C, it sinks in quickly and helps firm the skin.
“For my flyaways, I spray this hairspray on a small boar bristle toothbrush (a regular toothbrush also works great) to lightly brush them down or smooth the hairline – this is especially good for a sleek bun when I’m off camera,” Meghan previously shared.
One of Meghan’s favourite facialists is Kate Somerville, who is based in Los Angeles, and the Duchess also uses her skincare line to “maintain that glow”. This serum is excellent for deeply hydrating the skin, and contains an array of antioxidants to fend off external aggressors, too.
“I love Nars blush in Orgasm,” Meghan previously told Allure. “I use it on and off camera because it gives you a nice glow from within.” Universally flattering, this blush is a favourite of beauty editors, make-up artists and celebrities alike.
A cult classic, the Duchess included YSL’s concealing and brightening pen as part of her “five minute face”. From lifting under-eye circles to adding a highlight here and there, it’s a multi-tasking wonder.
Having worked closely with hairstylist George Northwood over the years, including on her wedding day, it is likely that the Duchess will be using his new line of hair products. The latest are these tongs, which make achieving his signature beachy waves a breeze.
To get that dewy finish on cheekbones a la Meghan, her wedding day make-up artist Daniel Martin previously said it was all about layering textures; Aquaphor, he said, helped highlight the skin and impart the right texture “especially in a photo [when applied] on the high points of the face”.
In her Suits days, Meghan used to swear by Laura Mercier’s discontinued Illuminating Primer – she wore it on her days off instead of foundation. While it’s no longer available, the brand now offers this formula, which helps bring a similarly dewy finish to skin.
One of my favourite people in the world, dead or alive, has always been the ICONIC Audrey. Beautiful inside and out, here are some things to know about her beauty regime.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #51 series on my blog.
As one of the most enduring beauty icons of all time, it should come as no surprise to learn that Audrey Hepburn took a considered approach to her regime. From the hair mask that was made especially for her (and remains cult today), to her religious use of a good SPF, British Vogue takes a look at some of the things that helped to make Audrey a timeless beauty – inside and out.
Her signature eye make-up
As well as the feline flick she used to define her almond-shaped eyes, Hepburn also used another trick to help create her signature doe-eyed look. She and her makeup artist, Alberto De Rossi, would use tweezers before and after applying mascara to painstakingly separate every one of her individual eyelashes. If that isn’t dedication to the clump-free life, what is?
She knew the power of a strong brow
Way before Cara Delevingne wowed the fashion world with her fulsome brows, there was Hepburn, whose thick arches were immaculately groomed using a dark brown eyebrow pencil. Her look continues to spawn countless how-to videos even today, because who doesn’t want brows like Audrey’s?
Staying hydrated was key
In his book Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen, Hepburn’s son Luca Dotti revealed the importance she placed on drinking water and staying hydrated. “She was really about drinking a lot of water and eating a lot of vegetables,” he wrote. “It was a matter of how she was brought up.” Evian at the ready.
Her secret to combatting dry skin
As well as ensuring she was well hydrated from the inside, Hepburn said that she used “a lot of moisturisers and oils, because I have rather a dry skin”. As well as these two skin saviours, she also applied yoghurt to her face, leaving it for half an hour, before washing it off. Fresh, Greek yoghurt contains lactic acid which helps to gently exfoliate while hydrating the skin.
She had the same dermatologist as Marilyn
Alongside the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner, Hepburn used to see Hungarian dermatologist Erno Laszlo, whose skincare line still exists to this day. “I owe 50 per cent of my beauty to my mother, and the other 50 per cent to Erno Laszlo,” she once said.
She always removed her makeup – thoroughly
“Working in the theatre, I’ve seen what not removing makeup well can really do to the skin, so I’m very careful about that,” said Hepburn, who referred to herself as a “soap-and-water girl” (with some of Laszlo’s skincare products thrown in). While nowadays soap is very much not recommended, using a good cleanser every morning and evening is.
The cult hair mask she swore by
Heard of Philip Kingsley’s now-cult Elasticiser? A repairing hair mask that delivers moisture directly into the hair cuticle, leaving it shiny, soft and bouncy, it was originally created for Hepburn after the pair met in 1974. She loved it so much that she is said to have had large tubs of it couriered to her regularly – and it’s just as good today as it was then.
As well as lots of fruit and vegetables, which she bought in local markets, surprisingly potatoes were “her bread and butter”, said her son. Hepburn also ate minimal amounts of meat.
She took a holistic approach to her skin
Having proclaimed that “good health is the key to good skin; if your skin isn’t good, it’s a signal that something is wrong” – a very modern ethos – Hepburn ensured she got lots of fresh air and sleep, while keeping her exposure to the sun to a minimum.
SPF was a beauty essential
You know it, I know it – and Audrey did, too. Sunscreen is essential for healthy skin, and while she stayed out of the sun as much as possible, she was religious about wearing SPF.
Her signature scent
Still a classic scent to this day (although it had a revamp in 2018), Givenchy’s L’Interdit was created especially for Hepburn in 1957. Hubert de Givenchy commissioned perfumer Francis Fabron to create the scent, which has notes of orange blossom, tuberose, vetiver and patchouli. It is called L’Interdit, which translates from French as “forbidden”, after Hepburn’s jocular response to Givenchy’s request to make it widely available to the public – not just for her.