“I was born in LA, and then my family moved to The Berkshires when I was very little. We lived there until I was nine, and then we moved to New York City. It was this perfect combination of being a kid in the countryside, and then it was great to have my adolescence in the city. Speaking of beauty, my dad’s middle name is James, and when I was really little he would blow dry our hair after our bath so that we didn’t go to bed with wet hair. He would call it House of James [laughs]. Sometimes I would sneak into my mom’s bathroom and put on some makeup. And being the youngest of sisters, I grew up watching all of them and copying, learning from them. I was the first in my friend group to wear lipgloss and put makeup on, so I was always the one doing my friends’ makeup at dances.
I always knew I wanted to act, but I didn’t always know I wanted to be an actor. Those can feel like very different things. I wanted to forge my own path and try different things. I did theater all through middle school and high school, but when I went to college I wanted to have a moment of self discovery and reinvention. I studied psychology. After college I got a job as a floor salesman at Clare V. at their Elizabeth Street location, and I worked with a modeling agency at the same time. When you’re 22 and someone says you could be a model, you’re a little like [smiling] ‘oh, really?’ But it was not all that it was cracked up to be. It was not good for my self-esteem, and I just didn’t really belong there. And there was this whole part of me that I wasn’t exercising. I applied for a job at an advertising agency I had interned at before, and I got a job there as an account coordinator. I loved having a steady job, the routine of that was really comforting, and I felt really independent all around. But the work itself wasn’t completely fulfilling. I started to dip my toe back into the acting world, and I was auditioning while working, and then I decided to apply to drama school. It was the best decision I ever made; the happiest three years of my adult life thus far. When I graduated, I booked a small job on a pilot for a show that ended up not getting picked up. I got a job playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at this great regional theater in San Diego, and while I was in tech rehearsals I auditioned for The Gilded Age. We weren’t slated to start until March 2020, and you know… We waited six months and we were one of the first productions to start back up that fall, and what a crazy way to be introduced to TV acting in those circumstances. It was a very intimidating experience and I learned a lot and clocked in a lot of work, so it has all been very valuable to me.
In the morning I wash my face with Goldfaden MD Detox Cleanser because it’s nice and gentle, and it feels like it cleans my face. And then I put on a toner, January Labs. I went into Credo Beauty one day and asked for a toner that doesn’t exfoliate, and they showed me that. Beauty is funny because I never really know how much of it is placebo and how much of it is actually doing something. I don’t have a real trial and error process for most products. The toner feels really good, it’s a cool mist and smells like roses and it makes me feel happy and refreshed. Really, my morning and nighttime routines are the only times I’m actively taking care of myself. Then I use Joanna Vargas’ vitamin C serum, Rescue Serum. I think it brightens my face and adds an extra layer of moisture. And then I use Goop Genes All-in-One moisturizer cream. I love that stuff. It took me a long time to find a moisturizer—I have combination skin—so I was very happy to find this cream because it feels very rich but it does not clog my pores. I use that morning and night. And then twice a week I’ll use African Botanics’ enzyme exfoliator cleanser. It smells so good.
If I’m going to an event, I’ll wear foundation and a concealer. But day-to-day is just a little concealer around my eyes, my nose, and my chin. I mix Ilia concealer, shades Mallow and Yucca. And then I put on a Kosas bronzer—it’s a great light, soft bronze. And Glossier Cloud Paint, in Puff or Haze, which I’ve been using a lot. It really stays on. I usually use a Chanel eyeshadow. Or PYT’s big eyeshadow palette in Cool Crew Nude—there are so many colors and I use maybe two of them. If I’m going out and I want something a little extra special, PYT also has a great liquid liner. For my brows I use a brow pencil from Charlotte Tilbury—your face is incomplete without the brow. And I’ll do a lip. I don’t like pinky colors, it has to have a berry or brown tint to it.
I don’t really do anything to my bangs, just brush them down. Ever since I dyed my hair, it doesn’t really dry nicely naturally, so I blowdry it. I find it so annoying. My hair can get quite curly, especially in the summer when it’s humid. I use Oribe’s Signature Shampoo. I used to use Milbon, which I really liked, but it became hard to get a hold of because of supply chain issues. I always put on either Kerastase or Oribe hair oil after my shower, otherwise it gets dry and frizzy. And then I blowdry it. I don’t get my hair done–unless it’s a shoot or event. Jenny Kim is great, and so is Ben Skervin. But I never go get blowouts or anything like that because I like the way I do it—’just done enough, but not too done.’
I’ve been taking baths lately and it really does help to calm my nerves. I have eczema, so I’ll use Eucerin body cream when I’m breaking out. I love smells, I love smelling good, so usually I use Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm mixed with Osea’s Anti Aging Body Balm and it smells amazing. My sister-in-law is an acupuncturist and has her own line of products that are all natural, so I use her eucalyptus lavender essential oil and also Dr. Bronner’s.
I feel like beauty is such an empowering way to turn a day around. On days when I feel pretty low or when it’s hard to get out of bed or stress is high, getting ready to go somewhere can completely turn the day around. It’s so much more than just what I look like. It’s a remedy for my soul to start over and reinvent my mood and emotional state. To do something that makes me feel beautiful or powerful or more like myself. I feel beauty does that for me.”
—as told to ITG
Louisa Jacobson photographed by Alexandra Genova in Brooklyn. Makeup by Andrea Tiller, hair by Ben Skervin.