What Works: Natasha Cornstein
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: Natasha Cornstein, 42, CEO Blushington Makeup Studios
I met Natasha on a photo shoot about five years ago, when I was the beauty director at More and she was the Director of Brand Management for CIRCA Jewels. We were photographing another executive at CIRCA for an upcoming issue, and Natasha popped by the set to offer moral support to her colleague. She was curious and fun and warm—and asked the shoot makeup artist and hair stylist lots of questions! So it did not surprise me at all to hear that she’d rerouted her career out of fashion and into beauty.
As she tells it, her switch to beauty happened largely because of an exceptional customer service experience. Natasha was in Los Angeles for work and she’d agreed to get a “grownup” head shot for CIRCA while she was there. Her friend, beauty publicist Amy Ryan, suggested she go to Blushington, a California makeup studio, to get her makeup done for the photos. “I went reluctantly, as I did not enjoy getting my makeup done; it made me feel like I was entering the witness protection program because I never looked like myself afterward,” says Natasha. But her visit to Blushington changed her mind. “The second I walked into the store, I could tell this was going to be different. The décor was elegant but inviting, and the artist who sat down with me was friendly and asked a lot of questions. I also didn’t feel like she was pushing products on me—the end goal was to make me look great, not to meet some sales goal.” Natasha said her makeup look was surprisingly natural and she felt radiant “like Heidi Klum.” She was even happier when she went to check out, and the service was under $50.
Taken with the quality and affordability of the experience, Natasha got in touch with Blushington’s owner. That initial encounter blossomed into Natasha joining Blushington as president in 2015—and ascending to CEO last summer. Under her leadership, Blushington blossomed as well, opening a second location in California and one in Natasha's hometown of Manhattan, with a second NYC location opening its doors tomorrow, December 9. (There are plans to open more locations in Manhattan next year, as well as explore expansion into Miami, Las Vegas and Chicago.) Natasha has also helped to grow the Blushington retail experience, tripling the offerings for women who do want to purchase the products they’ve put on.
“I didn’t grow up a beauty girl, but working in the industry has been a tremendous discovery. What I enjoy the most about what we are doing is the education, that transformation women feel. You see a customer rush in feeling frazzled, then watch her walk out with confidence. It’s empowering,” she shares. So what has Natasha herself learned in the makeup artist’s chair? I asked that (and more). Here, what works for her.
Start with a bright idea “As I’ve gotten older, my dark under-eye circles have become more prominent. A Blushington artist introduced me to Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector, and now I cannot live without it. I tap it under my eyes, as well as on red spots. You can apply concealer on top of the brightener, but I find it works well enough on its own. And a little goes a long way.”
Try this nude and improved trick “An artist showed me how to use a nude liner just on the water line inside your lower lashline. It is amazing and brightens up tired eyes like nothing else I have tried. I use Julie Hewett Omit Concealer Pencil.”
Get in the glow “I am obsessed with my Girlactik Matte Bronzer in Casablanca; I’m amazed at how natural it looks—it imparts a true, sun-kissed effect with no orange undertones. I apply it as you would a traditional bronzer, then I also dust the crease in my eyes,” she says.
Take a shine to your lips “I prefer lipgloss to lipstick because it looks natural and is inside my comfort zone. I always have four to six tubes rolling around in my bag, all in a nude palette. Some of my favorites are Kevyn Aucon in Dahliana and Tulapina. I also adore Jouer Lip Topper in Skinny Dip, which I put on first thing in in the morning.”
Go faux for a special event Like me (as I wrote about here), Natasha believes in amping up your eye fringe for formal events. “Blushington offers an a la carte faux-lash application service so I will often have my lashes done there before an evening event. Sometimes I go for drama and have a strip applied corner to corner. If, however, I'm just going to a dinner or business meeting, I may opt instead for a few individual lashes at the outer corners.”
Suds less for sustained color “I used to wash my hair every day, sometimes twice a day if I worked out. But I found, as I’ve aged, that this routine was drying out my hair and impacting the tone of my blonde color. So now I limit washing to every other day and just do a slicked back ponytail on the non-wash days.”
Act like an adult when it comes to skincare “In my twenties and thirties, I was not dedicated to taking care of my complexion. And I could get away with it. If I was traveling or just exhausted, I’d fall into bed with my makeup on and wake up no worse for the wear. But seeing the first signs of aging has changed everything. Now, even if it’s 2 a.m., I am religious about cleansing and applying my products. I am pretty loyal to the Beauty Rx line. We offer Beauty Rx Peels, which were developed by New York City dermatologist Neal Schultz, MD, at all Blushington locations because makeup application looks so much better on freshly-exfoliated skin,” she says. Natasha does a monthly peel at Blushington, then, at home, uses the Beauty Rx Glycolic Progressive Kit, the Gentle Cream Cleanser, Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50 and the Gentle Exfoliating Eye Cream. She also subs in Clinique Moisture Surge if she is feeling really dry: “Sometime I apply it to my body too because it absorbs so easily and is not sticky,” says Natasha.
Pick a scent that makes you smile “Fragrance has become a bigger part of my regimen as I’ve aged. When I was younger, I was always wearing something different. Then I fell in love with Aerin Evening Rose. I’ve been through four bottles. I find it very uplifting. I put it on in the morning and again in the evening. I even go to bed in it.”
Take the good with the good “Being positive as we age is so important. Aging is always talked about in a negative way. But I love my forties. I’ve never felt better about how I feel and look. Sure, my weight may be harder to control, but I appreciate the challenge. That's what Soul Cycle classes are for; I’m certainly not going to stop eating!”