What Works: Tiffany Masterson
One benefit of working in the beauty industry for so many years is that I've encountered dozens of smart, savvy professionals (beauty company CEOs, product development VPs, power publicists, colorists, stylists, makeup artists, etc.) who've tried thousands of products and treatments, and, thus, have uber-informed/effective beauty regimens. I've certainly swiped tips and recs from them—and now so can you. As part of a regular series, I’ll be asking inspiring, in-the-know women (all 40+, of course) to share their best tips and favorite products. The point? As always, to find out what works.
Today's beauty insider: Tiffany Masterson, 48, founder of Drunk Elephant Skincare
I met Tiffany more than ten years ago when I was an editor at Marie Claire and she was working with a skincare brand whose hero product was a cleansing bar. It was a fledgling company based in Houston, and I’d agreed to meet with her primarily because we had a mutual friend, Dixie. I found Tiffany lovely and her pitch sincere; she was very passionate about how this cleansing bar had changed her skin. A longtime rosacea sufferer, she told me that washing her face with this bar (and using nothing else), had finally cleared things up.
Fast forward to present day. I spoke with Tiffany on the phone at her Texas home earlier this month, and she revealed that she now knows the real reason that (now-defunct) bar made a difference in her skin. It had less to do with any miracle ingredient and more to do with what was not in the cleanser. By using just the bar, she'd undergone an unintentional detox, removing whatever in her regimen had been causing the flares. It was that epiphany that turned Tiffany into an ingredient junkie—and parlayed into her creation of Drunk Elephant, a highly potent skincare line that’s full of anti-aging actives like glycolic acid and vitamin C but free of common complexion irritants like fragrance, silicones, dyes and chemical sunscreens. And it would appear that all of that researching has paid off because, while Drunk Elephant launched just three years ago, it’s already Sephora’s fastest-growing skincare brand.
So what can Tiffany, a woman who clearly does her beauty homework, tell the rest of us about taking care of aging skin? Ditto haircare, makeup and nutrition? I asked. Here, what works for her:
Create a skincare cocktail (but don’t be too consistent) Tiffany doesn’t waste time layering products on her face. She squirts everything she’s going to apply into the palm of her hand, mixes them together, then slathers it all on. In the morning, this typically means a combo of Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum, B-Hydra Gel and Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30. At night, the cocktail often includes the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Serum, Marula Oil, and, if her skin is feeling dry, Lala Retro Whipped Cream. But her routine’s not set in stone. “I listen to my skin to determine what it needs on a given day. It’s not unlike the way we eat. Sometimes this means adding Marula Oil to my morning regimen, other times it means using my deep-cleaning, exfoliating Juju Bar several nights in a row. My goal, always, as well as the goal of the Drunk Elephant line, is not to target specific skin types or issues, but rather to get skin to its healthiest state so it can take care of itself.”
Don’t leave home without oil Most of us toss a lipgloss or balm in our bags; Tiffany brings a shrunken, travel-sized version of her Marula Oil. “It is so healing and moisturizing. I apply it to my face if I’m feeling dry, but I also use it in my hair to flatten frizz or on my arms or legs to smooth and add shine,” she says.
Splurge on treatments that tackle what skincare can't Brown spots and sagging skin are notoriously hard to treat with at-home topical creams. So Tiffany follows her Drunk Elephant regimen to keep her skin healthy, then springs for in-office treatments to combat what she can’t on her own. This includes IPL treatments to zap away brown spots and Ultherapy to tighten slack skin. “I like IPL and Ultherapy because they will never alter the way I look so much that I can’t recognize myself. My goal is not to look younger than 48; I just want to look like a healthy 48.”
Fight frizz every step of the way Tiffany has naturally wavy hair and lives in humid Houston. Thus, fuzz-flattening is a priority. She is addicted to Living Proof’s No Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner (one of the brand’s creative consultants, celebrity stylist Chris McMillan, is her childhood friend from California. You can thank him for our '90s obsession with the Rachel cut.). She pairs that duo with Living Proof Prime Style-Extender and Morrocan Oil’s Original Treatment. Similar to her skincare routine, Tiffany squirts the stylers into her palm, mixes them, then applies to her hair all at once. Throughout the day, she may add Marula Oil, as needed—or anything else that adds hydration. “Chris [McMillan] has cut my hair on and off since the seventh grade, and I do whatever he tells me; he once said scrunching residual product you have on your hands from lotion, sunscreen, whatever, into the hair will tame frizz and create a beachy, textured look.”
Keep it moving After blow-drying, to give her hair soft hold, Tiffany swears by Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. “I spray it in just at the roots. It gives my hair lift and body that lasts all day.”
Stick to the basics “I never wear foundation—unless I have to for a photo shoot. I don’t like the way it feels, and it usually makes me break out. The only makeup I consistently apply is a dark brown eyeliner (I’m not picky but I do like L’Oreal’s), Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, Anastasia’s Brow Powder (I get my brows done about every three months at her Beverly Hills studio) and Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Kim K.W. It is the perfect nude pink.”
Be disciplined about your diet Tiffany credits her slim shape primarily to a fast metabolism, but she is also diligent about clean eating. “A few years ago, I did a cleanse for 21 days, and I had to give up all these things: alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy, gluten. It was really hard, but by the end, I felt so good. My eyes were whiter, my skin was clearer, I slept better. And after that, if I would eat anything with gluten, I felt terrible. So I’ve eliminated gluten from my diet permanently. I also gave up red wine for good because it gave me headaches. Now, if I’m going to drink alcohol, it’s just straight tequila with a squeeze of lime.”
Age with grace “One thing that’s surprised me about getting older is that my eyelids are droopier—and it does not bother me. I’m not fighting to get into a bikini. I don’t care. The further I’ve gotten into my forties, the more confident I feel. This decade has been a blast. I love my work. I love what I’m doing. I have a great husband who loves me. And that matters so much more than taut eyelids.”