“I’VE DISCOVERED THAT SKIN HEALTH IS 20% WHAT YOU PUT ON AND 80% IS WHAT YOU EAT, YOUR HORMONES AND THE CONDITION YOUR LIFE IS IN,” SAYS EMILY FERBER, SENIOR EDITOR OF INTO THE GLOSS FROM THE LIGHT-FLOODED GLOSSIER SHOWROOM ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF SOHO. “I’m very aware of the market but I also know what skincare works for me and I’m very wary of silicones and artificial fragrance.” To glance at her incandescent complexion, you want to know what Ferber’s using and you want to know now. Luckily the writer opened her personalized La Ligne cosmetics pouch and let us rifle through her clean beauty faves. We also talked self-care, workouts and the healthy meal she can’t get enough of.
Photos by Jeffrey Rose
You must try every product under the sun. What sparked your interest in non-toxic beauty?
The reason I gravitate towards natural stuff is because it feels like it was made to love me. It doesn’t feel like some marketing team came up with it. After a couple of years in the beauty industry and just feeling pushed around by products and abused by professionals that tell you a million different things, finding products that felt like they loved me was really a nice experience.
What do you think about the movement towards clean beauty? Do you feel like it’s a trend?
It’s definitely trending and not in a bad way. People are gravitating more towards it for a reason and the science behind it is getting much stronger so the products are getting better. Now, because more people are paying attention to it, it’s getting better so if you want that option, it’s there.
Do you use non-natural products?
I have no problem with products that are not all natural, I use plenty of not-all-natural products but I have had a really great experience and a great time exploring all-natural products and I enjoy using them. It’s so fun discovering new products and the stories behind them are great.
Has it taught you what works best for your skin and what doesn’t?
As a beauty editor, there’s this concept that you have to try everything, that you have to “suffer for your art” to know what works and what doesn’t work. But I reached a point where I said, I don’t want to be rash-y and broken out or unhappy with the condition my body is. Nobody is making me try this besides me. Now I’m pretty comfortable with where I am and the products I use. It’s not that I don’t add new things to my routine, it’s that I’m very specific and purposeful.
Which products work the best for you?
I have one really important hero: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. When I wasn’t struggling with my skin, it was a perfectly great face oil but I didn’t know if it was working any wonders. I put it away and my skin drastically changed. I was breaking out all of the time – it was like playing Whack-A-Mole on my forehead. I’d get a cystic zit, I’d nurse it back to health and then I’d get another.
Do you think that was a reflection of what was going on in your life, similar to what you were saying earlier?
I think my hormones changed. They say that if you break out on your cheeks, it’s diet and the forehead is hormonal. I think a lot of acne is generally from what your body is processing. I was taking a lot of supplements and when I went off the supplements that helped – I don’t think that I needed all of them. Some oils for acne-prone skin were helping but nothing struck it out cold. Finally, I had this idea that I’d revisit Vintner’s and my life has changed. I’m very grateful for it. It allows me to do one thing instead of five steps before bed and five steps in the morning.
What is its main role?
It balances and clarifies. My skin is pretty fair and clear, I don’t have a tone or texture that masks if I have any redness, you can see everything. It’s helped with some of the redness and discoloration. And it smells nice and I really enjoy the process of using it. It has 22 very active oils in it and I feel I don’t have to do a serum and an oil and a moisturizer, I can do one. If you have dry skin and love oils, you’re going to need this and a moisturizer. I also add things to it. Right now, I’m adding Odacite Pure Elements Black Cumin + Cajeput – it’s this little serum concentrate. At night, I do three drops of the Vintner’s and two drops of this and it’s enough oil to really cover my face and to my breastbone. I do that over a toner Serozinc from La Roshe-Posay that is not all natural. It’s super heavy in zinc and zinc is really good at absorbing oils so it really clarifies the skin.
What is the next step in your regimen?
I just do the toner and Vintner’s after cleansing and that’s my routine, nothing else. I don’t need to do twelve-steps. It doesn’t matter if I’m at my boyfriend’s place or traveling or out late – it’s so easy. I get the whole self-care thing and the “I want to do an at-home facial,” but I also really get the luxury of only needing to take two or three minutes and I don’t have to worry if I’m going to break out or if my skin is going to be unhappy.
Are there any other non-toxic products that you’re loving?
I love Kypris’ clearing serum – it’s got a very heavy texture. You can just do a drop and smells like menthol. That for really congested skin is great and their Moonlight Catalyst is an overnight exfoliating treatment that I us, at max once a week. I have super calm and bright skin after using that. It’s a super beautiful line. I’ve heard really good reviews of their sunscreen called Pot of Shade. I gravitate towards people who are doing great work and I feel there is a lot of effort being put into these products. Tammy Fender is based out of Florida. It’s a super luxurious line and the Restorative Radiance Masque is amazing. It’s a hydrating clay mask with jasmine water, rosewater and chamomile water. They are formulated with super high concentrations of gorgeous ingredients. It leaves my skin radiant. I really like clay – I’ve been washing my face with clay and I’ll do anything with clay or mud. I will take my makeup off and put a clay mask straight on and let it sit for a couple of minutes and use that to wash my face.
What kind of clay do you wash your face with?
Omorovicza – I love it so much! They use this beautiful Moor mud from Hungary. It feels like you are smoothing butter onto your face – it’s so lovely. A lot of people associate clay masks with that really drying, pulsating effect and I don’t like that. There are a lot of really gentle clay products that are really amazing at soaking up oil.
What are the rest of your products?
In the morning, I’m loving True Botanicals Antioxidant Booster mixed into a hyaluronic acid serum now that my skin is oilier. I love the dewy look but I was getting to the point where I was looking like I just ran a 5K all of the time. I don’t mind a little glow but it was getting to be a lot. This is a powder and it’s all crushed up antioxidants. It has an entire apple peel and is really high in resveratrol. It smells like the dried up red fruit in Special K. I mix that into a serum and put that on. Because it’s a powder, it actually mattifies a little. Now I feel like I have a moisturized face for makeup but I’m not slipping around. Then I’ll do sunscreen. The best natural sun protection in the game is MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield Liquid Tint SPF 50. Most mineral sunscreens are tinted or else they are too white. This is a really nice way to not have a white mask. The blend on it is just gorgeous and it’s SPF 50 which is great. It has a matte finish which I also really like.
What about makeup?
For makeup, the one all-natural makeup brand that I really love is Jillian Dempsey. She is a lovely, gorgeous makeup artist and is really talented – she does Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart. What I really like about her is that she doesn’t market herself on the all-natural, it just happens to be all-natural. These are the lid tints and I like “Glimmer,” which is a warm bronze. Her lid tints are like watercolor on the lid and it warms up that area and gives you a bit more definition. Then everyone needs Olio E Osso. I’ve had them for forever. The colors are great and they smells like grapefruit. All of the tints are super universal because they are really light but they look really concentrated. I love French Melon, it really perks up your face. Not everything needs to be complicated. Sometimes things can just be fun – it looks like a tiny deodorant stick.
What about other self-care, do you workout?
I’ve started working out two or three times. I go to SLT religiously. It’s changed my body! I went into 2017 not with any goals to lose weight but I’m very conscious at 25 that I’m establishing habits for the rest of my life and I was like, “I need to start! Now is the time!” I grew up dancing and doing ballet and left it with a bad taste in my mouth so I can’t do dance cardio or barre, but I grew up moving my body so Pilates is a really good fit for me because it’s not dance-y but it’s very much based in those movements.
And your body must remember.
Yes, my favorite workout in general is Pilates. I want to retire and just do Pilates everyday. I think the Joseph Pilates was a genius. Even if you have a class where you don’t feel like you worked that hard, the next day you are like “Oh God!” You feel it and, to me, that’s what I need or else I feel like I’m not doing anything.
What inspired you to start incorporating workouts into your weekly routine?
My clothes weren’t fitting how I wanted them to fit and I wanted to feel good. I wanted to feel healthier but I didn’t want to change my life so drastically. I kicked off working out probably last January once a week. Now I go two or three times a week depending on my schedule. It’s a part of my life now and I don’t have to think about it, which is sort of the luxury of it all. I’m definitely a lot more body confident than I used to be.
Does it give you energy?
I feel very happy. I used to feel miserable after working out but now I feel calm. It calms me down and resets my mood.
Do you do other self-care things?
I fantasize about baths and then I get in the water and I’m bored. But I try to force myself when I’m at a hotel or at my mom’s house. She has a beautiful bath. I really do believe in Epsom salts so even if I’m not happy to be in the bath, I’m like “Do it!” The best bath I ever took was at the spa at The Standard in Miami. They have a hammam. I got a Biologique Recherche body treatment and then they force you into the hottest bath of your entire life. You’re sitting there and sweating and then you walk back to your cabana and you’re barely conscious – it’s the best. The massages at The Now in LA are super worth it. They’re very affordable and if you tell them to go hard, they will go hard!
Who are some of your other “people”?
Renee Rouleau. She’s an incredible facialist based in Texas, when she’s in town, I like to see her. Spoke & Weal give the best blowout in my opinion If you have frizz-prone hair, they knock it out totally. Jon Reyman cuts my hair and I won’t let anyone else touch it. Christophe Robin colors my hair, I won’t let anyone else touch it. His products are very natural-leaning and very lovely and I really like his color masks because I don’t like it when my blonde gets too light. I do the chestnut glaze on it myself.
You made a feast for Thanksgiving! Do you love to cook?
I learned to love cooking in college. I’m from the Midwest so things like meat, potatoes, starch and cheese are comfort zone. But I want to naturally know how to cook things that make me feel good. I don’t have a food allergy or a problem digesting anything. I just wanted to be able to make things that aren’t always an indulgence. I want to be able to cook and not feel like, “Now I have to eat a bunch of salad to make up for this.” So that involves thinking beyond simple carbs. I don’t cut out pasta or pizza – because when I cut things out, they become the only thing I want to eat – but I’ve tried eliminating bread or pasta at times just so I can focus on how to make broccoli or a vegetable based dish.
How do you make a vegetable or broccoli-based dish delicious?
Red pepper flakes! My boyfriend and I have a meal that we make all of the time and it’s turned into my favorite meal. It’s salmon fillet roasted at 400 degrees with oil, sometimes garlic or sometimes a chili-garlic sauce, slices of lemon on top and salt and pepper. I roast it longer than they say you should roast it on the internet because I get big pieces. Then we’ll do what he calls “Il Buco kale,” which is any kind of kale washed and sautéed in oil with garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon until it’s really soft. One thing I have learned about my digestion is I can’t eat raw kale or raw roughage because I get super bad heartburn. Another thing that we do with the salmon is a yogurt sauce that has yogurt, lemon, dill and oil. I like to mix it all together in a bowl so you get the yogurt on everything. It’s so easy. It’s my favorite meal.
Where do you order lunch from?
I eat lunch everyday and I’ve been doing Poké bowls with salad instead of rice. I order from The Poké Spot. They’ll do tuna and salmon over salad. And then I’ll get jalapeños and cilantro and whatever sauce is spicy but is not mayonnaise-based. We’ll also go to The Smile To Go because it’s close. I’ll get the rotisserie chicken and a side. Sometimes, if I’m not feeling that hungry, I’ll just have bone broth. It’s so comforting to just have a large coffee cup of broth.
What about eating out?
I’m in a ramen mood right now and there’s a place near my boyfriend’s that’s called Minca that he loves. My first ramen ever was Momofuku so, to me, that’s ramen. I like Lil’ Frankie’s for pasta. When I’m in a really bad mood, I’ll order the thrice cooked bacon from Mission Chinese. I was trying to be healthy for you.