Lex Lee is an LA-based furniture designer whose modern creations have been featured on sites like Design Milk. She's kind, absolutely hilarious, and a master of crafting the perfect Instagram caption. Today, she shares her beauty routine, including the best concealer for covering up dark circles and her secret for finding the best beauty buys on Amazon.
Tell us about your skin care regimen. What products do you use regularly?
I spend the majority of my time at my workshop overseeing the production of my furniture line — where there is zero climate control. In the summer, I'm constantly sweaty, I mean glowing, and in the winter, my hands are almost too cracked and dry to draw! My skin care regimen, therefore, leaves very little room for makeup, but requires a great deal of skin savers. Right now, that means a lot of breathable moisturizers like Murad's Balancing Moisturizer with SPF 15 and lots of water. In the winter, it means balms for lips, elbows and knuckles, like Honest Beauty's Magic Balm and Smith's Minted Rose lip balm.
What makeup do you wear daily?
During the week, the only makeup I wear is IT Cosmetics' Bye Bye Under Eye so that I don't worry clients about whether or not I'm getting enough sleep. I do, I swear! Other than that, no bronzer, blush, or mascara. It would simply melt off by 11 a.m.! I clocked it at 84 degrees when I walked in the door at 8 a.m. last Thursday.
On the weekends, I take full advantage of the fact that my best friend works in beauty PR and sends me everything I could ever want. I wear Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation Stick and apply it with a beauty blender, which I recently learned how to use (it's embarrassing, I know). I then make a pouty face and contour my cheeks with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit in Light to Medium. I also highlight my cheeks with the Anastasia Beverly Hills So Hollywood Illuminator. At this point in the makeup routine, I have usually forgotten to put on eyeshadow, so I scrap it altogether and go straight for my brows with the Glossier Boy Brow in black. I will either put on Chapstick and call it a day, or put on Sake by Bite Beauty, if I want some color.
Are you trying out any products you don't typically use?
I recently stopped wearing eyelash extensions to give them a break, and I've started using Wild Wild Nest Castor Oil on my lashes and brows to help them grow. It's doing wonders for my brows, but my lashes still need some help. I will definitely be going back to my friend and esthetician Eydie Anne at Dermaluv Skin Care.
I'm also playing a lot of tennis before work and my chest and back are pretty prone to breaking out from the sweat. I've been using Murad's Acne Body Wash and it's not super drying like most acne washes. Can you tell I really love Murad?
Do you have a go-to hairstyle?
Hair is definitely not my strong point. Working at a furniture shop means my hair is pulled back and out of my face. Always. I usually wear it in a tight low bun when it's still wet after showering, or high on my head like a high school cheerleader. When I was in design school, I had most of it completely shaved and that was a lot easier to maintain. I'm thinking a buzz cut is in my future.
Do you prefer your nails natural or polished?
Years ago, I had the long stiletto nails and always had crazy designs (this went along with the shaved head too). Today? Nothing. They are filed short and the fanciest I go is a nice buff. I am constantly burying my hands in old furniture or drawing, gluing, sewing, cutting; I need my hands to be ready to work. I was tired of looking at chipped nails and gel took too long at the salon, so I just decided to do away with all of it. I still get a basic manicure and pedicure regularly to keep my cuticles in check.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What's it like designing furniture and seeing your visions take shape?
I design furniture in Los Angeles and oversee everything from the selection of the wood for the frame to the stitch detail on the cushions. I do all of my construction drawings by hand and work closely with a group of very talented woodworkers and upholsterers who help me create products of the highest quality. The first chair I made was for a competition back in 2014, and seeing it completed was the closest I've been to feeling like I had given birth. It was difficult, long, but extremely rewarding. Debuting my collection to the public at Dwell on Design was like inviting the world to watch my kid play in his first piano recital. He could have forgotten all the notes and run off screaming, and I still would have been proud. Luckily, my furniture was met with such a positive response, and I'm already working on the next collection!
Are there any home luxuries you love?
I recently moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend, Hunter, and we got a Sonos Playbar and Subwoofer. I come home every day and blast one of two things: smooth jazz (usually when I'm cooking) or 80s style synth pop (usually when I'm cleaning). Yes, I cook and clean, too. Hooray for traditional gender roles! That last part was 100% sarcastic.
Another home luxury is a result of my work experiments. I made meditation cushions for our living room and made a matching dog bed for my dog, Morty. He doesn't really meditate on it, but he definitely is the least stressed member of this family, so he's doing something right.
Is there a particular part of your daily routine that makes you feel great?
I am the queen of routine. Monday: groceries. Tuesday: dark clothes. But, ones that make me feel GREAT? Espresso and tennis. I also schedule a massage once a month. TREAT YO SELF.
Is there a DIY beauty treatment you swear by?
I put coconut oil on everything. I swirl it around in my mouth first thing in the morning. I rub it all over my body after a shower. I let my dog lick it off because it's safe, good for his skin, and I'm not like a regular mom; I'm a cool mom. I leave some in my hair overnight because why not? I bought a huge tub Carrington Farms Coconut Oil on Amazon and it will be a while before I have to re-order.
What's the most radical thing you've done to change up your look?
I shaved off most of my hair and bleached whatever was left. That was back in 2013. Recently? I kinda just stopped doing my eyebrows. If you're keeping score: I've ditched makeup, eyelashes, nail polish, and now eyebrows. OK, not ditched completely, I am just letting them be in their natural state. Some call it laziness, I call it efficiency. It's like how Steve Jobs only wore black turtle necks: one less decision. Steve and I are basically the same person.
Are there any sites you frequent for beauty tips or product recommendations?
Between having a best friend who is a beauty expert @badgalsheeshee and boyfriend @huntermarch who is in the entertainment industry with an amazing makeup artist @julie4makeup, I am so spoiled with the access I have to amazing products. They all just tell me what I should be using and I... listen. So no beauty site per se... but I check reviews diligently on Amazon when I am looking for a particular type of product (like the castor oil). HOWEVER, I would stay away from products with over 2,000 reviews... something seems a little suspicious.
Who do you look to for beauty inspiration?
My mom has instilled in me the importance of washing my face every night and properly moisturizing. She wears a funny headband thing when washing her face that I have not yet adopted. It's zebra print and it goes with her snow leopard bath robe. My mom is clearly a style icon. My other style and beauty icons are Georgia O'Keefe, Catherine Deneuve, and Sherilyn Fenn.
Be sure to follow Lex Lee on Instagram, and check back next week for our latest installment of 52 Faces, a weekly series that spotlights a real woman's beauty routine. If you missed last week's interview, we spoke with Tiana Okoye, an LA-based actor currently playing Elsa in the live stage production of "Frozen" at Disney's California Adventure theme park, and she revealed the easiest-to-apply eyeliner that she swears by for auditions and shows.