"When I was little I lived in Chicago, and then later my family and I moved to a suburb just north—Evanston, where Northwestern is. Right after high school I moved to New York to go to NYU, but then I started working, so I ended up not going to school. It wasn’t that crazy of a transition, weirdly. I always wanted to be in New York—it was never a question. The first time I came here I was like 12 years old, and we were visiting family in Jersey. I was with my mom and my brother, and we drove through the tunnel and got out in midtown. It was so gross, but I was like, ‘I’m home!’ I just knew I was going to live here.
I like makeup, but I feel like I was always more into skin and hair stuff. I was pretty lucky growing up, skin-wise. I think it was really mostly hair—growing up mixed and having a white mom who had no idea what to do with my hair. It was a struggle and I had to figure it out by myself—I was always trying to read and do research. My dad’s side of the family lived really far, so there wasn’t anybody around to teach me. When I started modeling, my hair died—literally all of it fell out—and I didn't know how to take care of it. [Certain on-set hairstylists] just do not know what they're doing with black girls' hair. That's when I started watching YouTube videos and reading Be The Gloss, so I could try to do it on my own. What helped the most was learning to be more vocal at work and not let people burn the shit out of my curls. Olaplex is amazing—that really helped protect and re-grow it. I deep condition all the time now, and I don’t put heat on it at all unless I have to for work. I really like the Shu Uemura deep conditioner in a pot—the dark brown one.
Right now my skincare regimen is all over the place because I’ve been traveling so much—it’s hard to stick with your routine when you’re gone all the time. I always have my face wash from iS Clinical, and I always have my Aesop blemish mask. I also love the iS Clinical Active Serum. I’ve recently been struggling with acne, which is new for me. It’s been really shitty. Maybe it’s happening because of all of the traveling, or maybe it’s hormones or whatever. I see Shani Darden in LA for my skin—my routine is very Shani. I use sunscreen every day, and it’s the one Shani gives me—the oil-free sunscreen from Control Corrective. I got my exfoliating wipes from her, and I have her retinol. I text Shani pictures of my zits all the time like, ‘Help meee!’
At night I wash again, and I alternate between the Active Serum and retinol every other day. I was doing the iS Clinical moisturizer, but since I was breaking out so much, [Shani] said the moisturizer was a bit too heavy for me. Now I’m doing another one that’s in an unmarked white jar that she gave me. [Laughs] I was using P50 for a while, and I like the Active Serum more. P50 smells like garbage. It’s amazing, and I know people love it, but it’s too intense! I don’t know how you get in bed with somebody afterwards—it’s not cute! P50 must kill relationships. I would have kept doing the P50, though, if I didn’t find the Active Serum. I feel like the Active Serum, for me, is a little better and it doesn’t smell bad. It’s a good replacement.
I use an almond oil from Whole Foods to moisturize my body. I was doing coconut oil for a while, but it was really greasy. I realized that I use a lot of chemicals on my face, and that kind of freaks me out because I wasn't doing any of that stuff for a long time. But when my skin went crazy, I had to do more. So I thought, I'll use something natural for the rest of my body, and maybe that balances out the chemicals I put on my face. That's my thinking. Anyway, back to the oils, I also really like Nuxe for my body—and in the summer I do the sparkly one on my legs. I don’t know though—you can only get it in Europe, and that shit’s expensive. When I go to France, I stock up. I also like to stock up on Bioderma and cotton pads. French cotton pads are so much better—they scrub a little, which I like, and you can kind of scrub your lips a little. On the other hand, there’s this Christophe Robin Balm with Prickly Pear Oil—it’s for everything and it’s the best. It smells amazing. I go to that one pharmacy where people are always shoving each other to get the best products, City Pharma, to get it.
My friend just brought back this orange blossom oil from Morocco for me, and it’s the best thing ever. I’m almost out, and I can’t get a new one. I’m in despair—I don’t know what to do! It’s in this tiny vial that says something in Arabic. I wear it all the time, and people are always commenting on it like, ‘You smell so good, what is that?’ It’s down to the last drop.
I found my hair and makeup team on Instagram. I looked at the people whose glam I always think looks awesome, and I figured out who they work with. Nina Park, who I love, works with Zoe Kravitz a lot. I always ask Nina and Lacy Redway for beauty advice so I can learn more, but what they do for me is so beyond what I could accomplish myself. Makeup is still easier for me than hair, though. I’m really excited about this BlacKkKlansman press tour because Lacy and I have a lot of good hair looks planned. We talked a lot about how the hair should celebrate blackness and black culture for the tour—we want to be really representative of a lot of different styles.
When I do my own makeup, I like having one thing to focus on. I might just do a lip because I can handle that. I can’t do a cat-eye and everything. I just love looking glowy and alive and highlighted—I never want to look like I’m wearing a lot. I love those creamy Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate palettes. For daytime I use the Glossier mascara because it’s lighter, and for night I’ll do the L’Oréal one—the one in the black and gold tube, Voluminous Million. I use Boy Brow in Black on my eyebrows every day. I’ll do a liner on my lashline, and that’s it. I love all of the Glossier lip things, for sure. If I’m going out, there’s this one Nars red lipstick that’s awesome, and it’s in more of a tube, like it’s liquid-y, and lasts forever. It’s an orange-y red. There’s also a Dior plum one that I love in 956 [Ed note: discontinued]. Daytime I just do a little, and at night you can make it dark. But also, Ruby Woo… for all the time."
—as told to ITG
Laura Harrier shot by Tom Newton in New York on July 29, 2018.