It takes a lot for me to buy a beauty product. Having been a beauty editor for 25-plus years, I’m used to getting boxes upon boxes of products to try, all of them free. I could practically wash each strand of hair on my head with a different shampoo and apply a serum to each pore without making a single purchase. I’ve met beauty editors who use Crème de la Mer on their elbows.
When I left the magazine world and started working on Flesh, I made up for lost time by becoming a major beauty consumer. I bought so many of my own products in one month that I quickly became a platinum member of Ulta’s loyalty program. (A purchase of a Drybar blow-dryer, $195, also helped push me into that echelon.)
Here are the top five products from Flesh that I buy with my own money. And I have the receipts to prove it.
5. Tender Flesh Blush
I always carried a blush in my makeup bag, but I never got really excited about blush as a category. When I was with the makeup artist in Italy working on the products, I started salivating over these shades. They’re so fresh and innocent; that’s why I named them Tender. I alternate between Bloom, a quiet whisper of peach, and Pinch, a pink that makes you look like you went for a morning hike in the alps. The formula has coconut and sunflower-seed oils, along with pomegranate and ginger extracts to feel incredibly soft. It’s as close to a cream blush as you can get with a powder.
4. Fleshy Lips in Gorge and Lick
I was always on the hunt for a lipstick that looked like a slightly intensified version of my natural lips, and I would sweat the minuscule differences between pinkish brown and brownish pink. For Flesh, we worked hard to create 10 shades of nude to work on every shade of lips. I love that you can apply Fleshy Lips blindfolded in the dark in the back of a Lyft; it’s that easy. And it’s loaded with moisturizers, rose hip, lavender, and white tea extracts to give your lips some TLC. The tip of the bullet looks like a teardrop, which is a little surprise. And the top of the package has a window with a little lozenge of the lipstick tucked in it. Someone on YouTube figured out that you could pop off that clear piece and use the color inside, which is something I never thought of. I can’t see why you’d need to do that, but I admire the imagination; it’s a great MacGyver move.
Fleshpot, a gloss that works on eyes, cheeks, and lips, on every skin tone, is a glimmery wonder. I got the idea for Fleshpot from makeup artists at the fashion shows. They’d rub some version of petroleum jelly on the models’ eyelids before sending them down the runway. The gel would catch the light and make the models look cool and sensuous. What’s great about Fleshpot, besides everything, is that it doesn’t get runny or mess up your mascara. And I love that it’s multipurpose. Imagine going to some island for a long weekend with just this and stick foundation in your pocket.
2. Fresh Flesh Illuminating Primer
I never cared much about primers. To me, they seemed like a way for beauty companies to sell another product. I find so many primers are loaded with silicones and feel too slippery and pore-clogging for my taste. But my opinion changed when working on the formula for our primer. It’s filled with provitamin B5 and glycerin to help boost skin’s natural moisture. It has a slight hint of photo-reflecting blue and feels refreshing and cool on the skin. Basically, it’s like getting eight hours of sleep on a cloud.
Bottom line: I’m on my third bottle.
1. Firm Flesh Thickstick Foundation in Birthday Cake
Firm Flesh stick foundation in Birthday Cake (and when I have a spray tan, Honey). I love everything about this foundation, which we developed with one of the most brilliant makeup artists in the business. (He’s in the Witness Protection Program… Not really, but he loves his privacy.) The formula is creamy and goes on like a dream. I pat it on with my fingers, something I learned by watching makeup artists backstage at the fashion shows. I’ve heard people object to that, saying it’s unsanitary. But I wash my hands a lot more frequently than I wash my makeup brushes. That said, you can also apply it with a brush or a dry sponge.
The undertone of Birthday Cake is pink, like me. And the formula is seamless and buildable, so I can apply as little or as much as I please. I also love that it’s portable and TSA-friendly, which is why I have one in my day bag, one in my gym bag, and one in my travel kit.