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Fajer Fahad on Beauty

Photographed by Cibelle Levi

Fajer Fahad is a bonafied It girl. The stunning Kuwaiti— who splits her time between Los Angeles and Paris—  is currently the director of collaborations and contributing editor at Violet Grey as well as the global correspondent for luxury fashion brand Chaos following a previous stint at Azzedine Alaïa (at the age of 23, no less). She certainly knows a thing or two about beauty and fashion.  Fahad also counts makeup artist Pat McGrath and celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkins as part of her inner circle, the latter with whom she will be hosting Dubai’s first edition of Beauty Pop, alongside Marianna Hewitt and Olivia Culpo. Here, Fahad talks her favorite makeup products, breaks down her night time skin routine, and discusses Arab beauty.

On her introduction to beauty
“I was introduced to beauty at a very young age— 11 or 12 years old. In the Middle East, I feel culturally that we’re more open to trying and experimenting with makeup at a young age. I always wanted to learn all things beauty – and I think that’s very important for a lot of the women in the Gulf. To me, Arab women are the most impeccably put together in the world – down to makeup, skincare, wellness and hair and so educated when it comes to knowing which product to use when, how to use it, and how much to use.”

The first product she’s ever used
“My first product was a Chanel eyeliner that used to come in a palette. They had a black and a blue color with a little brush that you’d have to dip in water to transform, and that was the way I learned to use liquid eyeliner. The other thing I learned to do at a relatively young age was contouring because of Scott Barnes. Remember him? I recall being very young and at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, and when he released his palettes he had highlighter and contour. Scott Barnes is still one of my favorite brands that unfortunately has become increasingly difficult to find.”

Shop her makeup bag
“I can’t live without the DiorShow black mascara , Dolce & Gabbana Intense Liquid eyeliner, Charlotte Tilbury Magic foundation, Anastasia Beverly Hills stick foundation , and the Anastasia Beverly Hills stick contour.”

On diversity in the industry
“I feel like my skin color was very difficult to match before, but now brands are understanding the importance of diversity, variety in ethnicities, and catering to women of all skin tones and shades – the options are so much better now.”

On the three products always in her purse
“In my purse, I always have the La Mer Moisturizing Lip Balm , my little Bvlgari perfume that they make in a travel size, and a setting powder from Make Up For Ever that I use to keep shine down. Also this isn’t always in my purse, but I adore the La Prairie energizing body spray and when I remember to pack it, it’s there when I travel.”

Photographed by Cibelle Levi

On skincare
“Depending on where I am in the world, or on how hot or cold it is, I change my cleanser. I usually like the Elemis balm because I find that when I use it to remove my makeup, it is extremely gentle and hydrating. Then I use a retinol – I’m currently obsessed with Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform. Lastly, I use the La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Lift cream. I always keep a hydrating mist with me, usually by Tatcha.”

Her night time skincare routine
“The most important thing when I go to sleep is removing any makeup and debris that I have leftover on my face from the day. I see two facialists in L.A. – Shani Darden and Crystal Koro, from Crystal Clear Skin & Beauty. Crystal (who’s at Beauty Pop this weekend) introduced me to the SpaCells Facial Sponge, which come in different colors and literally remove all the makeup that you have on. It’s what I swear by. At night I try to use a moisturizer that’s a bit more heavy than what I use for during the day, just to help my skin heal and repair overnight.

Earlier this year, I was introduced to the Augustinus Bader’s Rich Cream and I love it. In the summer I only use it in the evening but in winter I tend to use it AM and PM. It has such an interesting story behind it. The last step in my night time skincare routine is the most important – moisturizing my neck and my chest – I think people forget that as you age you have to pay special attention to those areas.”

On beauty secrets
“It’s simple, but I was always taught to take off all of my mascara before I go to sleep and use a Q-tip to really properly remove everything. I use a Lancôme remover that has a bit of oil in it to remove all the residue because if you don’t properly cleanse your mascara you end up seeing it the next morning and it causes creases and lines, as well as contributes to the dark circle and aging process. The other thing I learned that removes makeup while offering hydration is coconut oil.”

On her every day makeup look
“My everyday makeup look is simple. I try to use as little products as possible to let my skin breathe, because the foundation of a great everyday makeup look is your skincare regime. It’s like a house— if you don’t have a good foundation, there’s no real reason to build a house. You can have the best foundation, blush, etcetera, but without good skin none of it really matters. The ultimate glow comes from skincare, so during the day to keep it minimal I use the foundation stick from Anastasia, the DiorShow mascara, Dolce & Gabbana liquid eyeliner, and the Kohl by MAC Cosmetics. My favorite lip pencil is MAC’s Spice, which is a staple at this point and compliments every skin tone. When I want to be a little more glam, I add a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick over the liner for added oomph.”

On turning up the glam
“I love using false lashes at night. Then I follow with contouring. Highlighter is very important for me, I love the Amrezy Anastasia Beverly Hills collaboration. I also love all of the Huda Beauty highlighters. I use two different types of mascara and then fringe my lashes on the outer edge for more of a cat eye look. For lips, I love a beautiful red for the night. There’s a great Dior lipstick that I use and a Saint Laurent one. I alternate between the two depending on how bold I want the finish to be.”

Photographed by Cibelle Levi

On hair
“My natural hair is wavy. I try to take care of it as much as possible since I put it through a lot with blow drying and different styling products. I love The Ouai formulas. I use the dry shampoo to make my blowouts last longer. Christophe Robin has an amazing citron hair cleansing mask. Gisou by Negin Mirsalehi smells incredible. Lastly, I always keep a L’oreal hairspray for the days that I’m doing my topknot look. I’ve learned to always spray the brush and comb in for best results.”

On traveling
“I drink a lot of water when traveling. I also take several masks with me. I apply an oil rich vitamin C serum on my skin first, then layer the mask on top. I also bring a cleanser with me to clean my skin before and after I put the mask on. I’ve learned that it’s super important to wash my hands before I indulge in any hydrating skincare routines when traveling. I always carry hand wipes to keep it all clean. Three essentials are face wipes, any oil serum, and a face mask. If I’m lucky and remember, I also bring eye patches for extra hydration where it’s most needed.”

On working with Beauty Pop
“I have known Bodour Al Hilali for years and I was so happy to be a part of this. To create the first real beauty conference in the Gulf, bring in such great global industry leaders, and like-minded individuals together is really great. The schedule of masterclasses, panels, and educational opportunities are an important offering today, since every consumer is looking to learn and educate themselves on grooming. Beauty has now become and escape for us, and so many women are discovering who they are through the process of it, so I couldn’t be happier to a part of this process of discovery.”

On fitness
“My sister, Farah, is a nutritionist and we always discuss different diets and fitness plans. She’s been such a pillar of wisdom for me. I try to exercise any time I can, which ends up being 5-6 times a week. When I’m with my trainer, we do body work with weights and squats. When I’m alone, I do high intensity training to keep it simple. Get on the treadmill, walk for five minutes, stuff like that. I’ve realized the hardest thing is getting your mind right. Once you’re 10 minutes in, you don’t quit. For health, I eat clean for my skin and find it helps when you eliminate dairy. But each person is different.”

Her beauty black book
“I go to Belle Femme Beauty Salon for all my beauty needs. I love SoH for nails. I also go to the Bvlgari spa or the One & Only— I love their hammam treatments.”

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