When 26-year-old Emily Weiss launched Into the Gloss, a blog chronicling the highly detailed beauty routines of fashion insiders, she was already a fashion-industry veteran. She logged in years on fashion shoots while interning at Teen Vogue during college, and became a fashion assistant to Vogue contributing stylist Elissa Santisi after graduating. "On shoots, I was always interested in the hair and makeup," she explains, "and all of my favorite blogs are about personal style. But no one was talking about beauty. And that's a major aspect of personal style!" Her blog, which she started this past September, gives a window into the face-washing, eyebrow-plucking side of fashion-world titans like Karlie Kloss, Anna Dello Russo, Julia Frakes, and Freja Beja. Of her high-profile interviewees, Weiss says, "They're trying everything — it's all at their fingertips, the best skin-care and makeup brands. And most of the people working in beauty and fashion, I've found, don't actually wear a lot of makeup. But what they do do, they do for a really good reason." We caught her between styling jobs and blogging to hear about her own favorite beauty stuff, shopping spots, and how she keeps her bathroom cabinet from overflowing.
How did you get the idea for Into the Gloss?
I’ve always been obsessed with beauty. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, and I don’t like to put anything in my hair. But I love changing up color, and putting on lipstick, and I’m really interested in skin care. I was always bothering all the beauty editors, like the Teen Vogue editors when I was working there, or even Sarah Brown at Vogue, and being like, “What should I get?” I trusted their authority. I had the idea for Into the Gloss last August when I realized that my favorite blogs are all about personal style, particularly the personal style of these fashion people, but no one was talking about beauty. And that’s a major aspect of personal style! Like, who cuts your hair? Or what is that mascara that you can’t live without and you’ve been using for ten years? Just like clothing, a lot of these fashion girls and fashion people have very curated beauty routines. They’re trying everything — it’s all at their fingertips, the best skin-care and makeup brands. And most of the people working in beauty and fashion, I’ve found, don’t actually wear a lot of makeup. But what they do do, they do for a really good reason.
How did you first get into the fashion industry?
While I was at NYU, I interned at Teen Vogue for three years, from my sophomore year to my senior year. I started in the fashion department, in the closet, and after a few months I got to work with Jane Keltner de Valle, in fashion news, for the remainder of the time. And then they made me a contributor, which was really cool because they had me styling and writing some things that I had pitched. I did a lot of street scouting, too. I would go and scout outside of the schools uptown — like, those girls’ schools on the Upper East Side, and look for girls to put in the magazines. Now I work with Elissa Santisi, who’s the former style director of Vogue. I joined her when she became a freelancer in 2008. In between [Teen Vogue and working with Santisi] I worked at W for a minute, as a fashion assistant, but that was mostly market and calling things in, and I really like the more creative aspect of styling and making the picture.
Your subjects are surprisingly forthcoming about their bathroom cabinets. How do you get them to open up?
It’s kind of fascinating how honest these women are who perhaps wouldn’t say as much about another topic. But when it comes to beauty, even the most simple, self-described “plain Jane” girls will find that they do have a lot to say. Whether it’s about why they don’t use something, or why they do. I don’t just want to hear people be like, “Well, I’m really low-maintenance.” Give me the nitty-gritty! When you get them talking, and it turns out maybe they just get their eyebrows threaded, and they go to some 90-year-old Indian woman on St. Mark’s Place. There’s always a story!
You don't write about celebrities at all. Why is that?
At this particular moment, that’s not really what interests me. When a lot of people write about beauty or talk about it online, it’s like, “Oh, get the look of Angelina Jolie on the red carpet!” And there are so many press releases I get that are like, “Here’s so-and-so’s Oscar makeup look!” I’m not really into a totally made-up face, or perfect beauty. I don’t want to talk about how to achieve the perfect barrel curl, with the tan, and the whole look — it’s just not my thing.
Who are some of your favorite interviewees?
Sally Singer. Oh my God, love her. She’s so cool. The way she even speaks about beauty is so thoughtful and intellectual. She’s definitely a constant source of inspiration for me. And Marie-Amelie Sauve. She’s so French! But I love that she’s obsessed with Japanese people and Japanese food. She goes in some chamber — it’s called an Iyashi Dome — and it’s supposed to detox you or something.
What’s the weirdest beauty advice you’ve ever heard?
Well, this happened before I started Into the Gloss, but somebody told me that you should put pee on your face. First pee of the morning.
How would you describe your personal style, fashion-wise?
I love old, old dresses — like those dresses from the twenties, thirties, and forties, and Victorian things. I find them at vintage stores in Connecticut, and I have ones that I’ve literally worn to shreds. Last summer I was obsessed with this one dress that soon I’ll be able to break out again — it was this long, loose, romantic Victorian dress, and I wore it with these big Céline wedges. I wore it to death. But I also really love tailored things. I have a few Margiela blazers that are my investment pieces. I buy almost one a year. They’re really sharp.
Were you into fashion from a really young age?
Oh yeah. I grew up outside of Atlanta, in Georgia, but then we moved to Connecticut when I was 10. I had just been allowed to see Clueless, and on the first day of sixth grade, I showed up for orientation in these thigh-high stockings, high-heeled loafers, plaid skirt — it was like, the whole 5-7-9, Contempo Casuals thing. I had those feather pens, you know, just like in Clueless. My poor mother. I think the other mothers in Connecticut were like, “Whoa.”
Have you thought about turning Into the Gloss into a book?
Sure, yeah, and I’ve been approached by some publishers. At the moment, I’m not going to because I’m too busy. But definitely I would love to! I think the pictures would lend themselves well to a beautiful book. But it's sort of a one-woman show right now.
Do people always ask you for advice about beauty stuff?
Totally, but I don't mind at all! It’s my favorite thing to talk about, and I could talk about it forever.
Do your friends ask you to do their makeup?>
Yeah! Lately I’ve been having mini facial parties at my apartment. My friends just come over and — actually, now that I think about it, maybe they have an agenda, because no one has come over so frequently as they do now! But I'll have them sit in my tiny bathroom and I’ll give them a facial. One of the best is this three-minute peel by La Prairie. It’s really expensive, and it comes in this huge box that looks like it has a pair of shoes in it or something. Anyway, it’s a peel, and you put it on with this brush, and I have all these clean washcloths, and I’ll give them a peel and a serum. So maybe I have a ninth life as an aesthetician.
How does your live-in boyfriend deal with all your beauty products?
He is the more organized one of the two of us, and he does get frustrated if I don’t keep it together. I have a tower that my mom bought me from the Container Store, you know, with all the drawers. I try to put things in Ziplock bags and label them with the press releases. But you can’t keep everything! If I kept everything, I would be on Hoarders, that TLC show.
And finally, because we have to know: What beauty products are your favorites?
It’s always changing. People send me so many things to try, and it's like giving a 2-year-old bags of candy with no parental supervision. Actually, I tried so many things over such a short period of time, since the blog launched in September, that my skin completely freaked out. I woke up one morning and I looked like a burn victim. My face was all red and scaly and peeling. So I took a break from products and just used really gentle thing for a long time. I’ve been using this really creamy moisturizer, Avene, it’s called Cicalfate. I’m all about moisture. People think that putting moisturizer on oily skin is bad, but no. I slather it on. At night, I go to bed with like, an oil slick on my face. And I've always used the same cleanser — it’s Jurlique foaming balancing cleanser. It’s great because I’m so lazy about taking off my eye makeup and this gets it off without all the cotton pads and the oils. It’s just one step.
What's the best beauty trick you've learned from doing Into the Gloss?
I love a good mist. Like the Caudalie Beauty Elixir — I just mist all day long. I mist after I do my makeup. People don’t realize that it’s a great trick. A lot of makeup artists do that — at the end of doing makeup, they spray something on top just to make it look a little less perfect.