As a promotions manager for a global travel retail company (think: high-end airport shopping), samples of luxury beauty products and fragrances regularly come across Allie Hoover's desk. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about beauty, and she's always ahead of the latest trends. Today, Allie shares her beauty routine, including the strangest beauty supplement she's ever tried, the shade of nail polish she's obsessed with, and the best beauty buys she discovered while living in Hong Kong for four years.
What's your daily skin care routine?
When I lived in Asia, I was doing the full Korean skin care routine with like nine steps each night, but I'm trying to simplify. I'm down to about five steps, which sounds like a lot, but takes no more than five minutes.
I have super dry, temperamental skin, so I use a lot of products designed for sensitive or "mature skin" (a.k.a. for older ladies). To cleanse, I use Fresh's Soy Facial Cleanser, which is ultra gentle but still takes off any eye makeup I may be wearing. I tone with witch hazel then I apply Cremorlab Mineral Skin Essence before putting my moisturizer on. I experiment based on the season and how temperamental my skin is being, but Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Cream is always in my medicine cabinet. I'll then pat in Fresh's Seaberry Oil on top, which locks everything in.
I try to exfoliate every other day with Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Skin-Brightening Exfoliator to really clean everything out. I use a mask about two to three times a week at night, depending on what I feel like my skin needs. Kiehl's Rare Earth is perfect for helping clear up a breakout, and Fresh's Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask is for when your skin needs to look like you didn't drink an entire bottle of wine the night before.
What makeup do you wear every day?
If nothing else, I'll fill my brows in with Benefit's BrowZing in medium. Brows are still relatively new to me, like within the last three years. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and talk to College Me about the importance of filling them in. I really feel like it was a missed opportunity in my life.
Assuming I didn't press snooze for 30 extra minutes (happens at least twice a week), I'll then do the rest of my face. Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Ivory is my secret weapon. It hides everything, and blends so well that I don't usually need foundation to even things out.
Then, I will apply Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder to give my face some dimension. I'm definitely not adept enough to attempt contouring, no matter how many YouTube videos I watch. Next, I apply a Dior blush to the apples of my cheeks. This is crucial, because when I leave the house without blush everyone asks me if I'm sick. To top it all off, I use Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara.
How about for special occasions?
If I'm feeling fancy, I'll put on eyeliner. Usually, it's me finding whatever black powder I have lying around, and applying with a slanted brush and some water. I normally line from mid-eye to the outer corners, and don't attempt anything advanced like a wing. I know my limits. I'm also a fan of a bold lip. MAC's Ruby Woo and Hang Up are favorites, but I just got the Estée Lauder Color Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Lethal Red that I like a lot. If I'm looking for something slightly more natural, TonyMoly's lip tints are great.
What haircare products do you use?
I try to do as little to my hair as possible, somewhat out of laziness, but mostly because I have no clue what I'm doing. I normally wash it every three to four days (more often if I've been working out), and I feel like my hair has really adapted to that. It doesn't get too oily — I don't even use dry shampoo, which is perfect for me because I never quite got the hang of it.
I have about four different shampoos in my shower right now, mostly drugstore brands like Herbal Essences and OGX. I rotate based on which smell I prefer. Very scientific. For conditioner, I use Living Proof full, and once a week I'll use the Drybar Mudslide Mask.
I let my hair air dry most days and just run a Tangle Teezer through it. I like the tousled look, so if I am feeling especially ambitious, I use a the ghd Platinum Professional flat iron before bed to make tight curls in my hair. When I wake up, it's got just the right amount of wavy for me. Mostly though, I tie it in a low bun with a deep part or do a crown braid to keep it out of my face.
I hate my natural color, so I haven't seen that in about 14 years. Since moving back to L.A., I've been getting it colored by Shu at Object Salon in Santa Monica. He pretty much has my dream hair, so when I go in I tell him to give me hair like his and it seems to do the trick.
What's the last product you used 'til there was nothing left?
My obsession with OPI Samoan Sand is real. I think I have like two extra bottles in reserve, just in case my current one gets too thick or seals itself shut.
Are you trying out any new products you don't typically use?
Since it's starting to warm up and I come from a long line of very white people, I've been experimenting with self-tanners. So far, I'm really into the Sephora Collection Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist. It's the best one I've found that gives good color without looking orange after two coats. Plus, it doesn't smell terrible and I've yet to stain anything. Considering it a success.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I'm the promotions manager for a global travel retail company, which means I spend a lot of time at airports. More specifically, I execute all of our in-store activations, events, and campaigns across my company's North America locations. I oversee all of our categories — from cosmetics to spirits to luxury fashion — so I get to do a little bit of everything. The best thing about my job is working with so many brands I love (free samples come in at a close second!). I'm lucky enough to get invited to a lot of amazing brand events and launches.
You lived abroad for four years for your job. How did you decide to make such a big life change, moving from Los Angeles to Hong Kong?
Like all major life choices, I decided to move to Hong Kong on a whim. I had graduated from UCLA about one year prior, and I was working at a job I hated and living with a roommate who was an absolute terror. I was stressed out, anxious, and just in need of something different. I had always wanted to live abroad, so I woke up one morning and made the decision. I was fortunate enough to have a few connections in Hong Kong, so I was interviewing within a few days and moved out about three weeks later.
What surprised you about life in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong itself is a crazy place. There is absolutely no way to describe it unless you've been there. It's so overwhelming, but also oddly comforting in a way. It was chaos — I was always working crazy hours, then going out for dinner turned into drinks until midnight — but there was always some element of order. Buses ran on schedule and the train came every two minutes. It just didn't feel like real life. It felt like summer camp.
While you were living abroad, you visited so many beautiful places in Southeast Asia! How did you maintain your skin while traveling?
I'll be the first to tell you that I thrive in a pampered environment. I was never exactly roughing it, so my routine was pretty similar at home and abroad. I have small sizes of my favorite products, so I am never without my essentials (face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen). If the trip was longer, I'd pack more products but my skin does fine with the bare minimum for three to four days at a time. I'm the type of person that keeps all the samples they give you at beauty counters and uses every last drop. Those are great for travel, especially for things like eye creams and serums.
I'm also the crazy person wearing a sheet mask on the airplane. The TonyMoly Snail Mask is my favorite because it's super hydrating and doesn't look as creepy as other masks can. Plus with a sheet mask, you don't have to rinse everything off because any leftover liquid is just absorbed into the skin like a serum.
Has your beauty routine been influenced by your time in Hong Kong?
The girls in Hong Kong are insane! They all have perfect skin and hardly wear makeup. If anything, it's some lip color or eyeliner, but nothing super obvious. Skin care is so much more important, and I really learned how to properly take care of my skin while I was there. I also became much more comfortable wearing less makeup — high heat and humidity meant it usually melted off within two hours of leaving my apartment.
Did you pick up any great beauty tips or discover any new products that you love?
My coworkers were great at turning me onto cool Korean products, like the Etude House Eyebrow Tint (weird), the Wonder Pore Foaming Cleanser (amazing), and any sheet mask ever. Seoul was a quick flight, so they'd always go on weekend trips and bring me back tons of goodies. I finally got to go before I left, and came back with an entire suitcase full of products I'm still working through.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to live abroad?
Don't think, just do it. You can always come back home, but the opportunity to live abroad won't always be there. Take the chance while you can. It was incredibly difficult, being out there on my own, but it forced me to look at what I wanted out of my life and make it happen. I wouldn't have gotten that perspective if I had stayed in Los Angeles.
How has being back in Los Angeles affected your beauty routine?
This is going to sound so L.A., but living here really does make you look at your beauty routine so holistically. It's not just what products you use, but what you put into your body. For example, it's so much drier here than in Asia, so I am constantly chugging water wherever I go. Eating plant-based meals also really helped to clear up my skin in a way that dim sum never could. I swear I ate more vegetables in my first month back than I did during my entire four years there! I've also become obsessed with all things fermentation. The probiotics help with your gut health, which means your skin is clearer and brighter.
What's one thing you do every day that makes you feel great inside and out?
I try to do something active every day, no matter how small. It's just that one thing I do for myself. Usually, it's a walk around my neighborhood in the morning or when I get home from work. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll catch one of Journey's classes at The Studio MDR. The workout is so intense that you can't focus on anything else, like work or that ex who is sending you photos from his Iceland trip for no discernible reason.
When do you feel most comfortable in your own skin?
I'm probably far too comfortable with myself when I'm naked.
How would you describe your approach to beauty?
I'll pretty much do anything in the search for perfect skin. I love to experiment and try new products. The weirder, the better. I once took these horse placenta jellies for 10 days straight because they told me it would give me a glow. You just slurped it down before you went to bed. I didn't notice a difference, but they actually tasted pretty good so I'm not mad about it.
Be sure to follow Allie on Instagram, and check back next week for the latest installment of 52 Faces, a weekly series that spotlights an inspiring woman's beauty routine. Last week, Lauren Silva, an L.A.-based graphic designer for FOX, talked about making the switch to clean beauty products, including the organic camellia and rose cleanser she can't get enough of.