Samantha Shaw spent six years working as the Director of PR at Alexis Bittar, and recently left to join Bumble and bumble as the Director of Global Communications and Fashion Relations. Damn girl. Born and raised in New York City, this uber cool Brooklyn based wife and mother (to one ADORABLE little Ollie), proves that you can have it all. When it comes to her career, she’s got one goal in mind – to make an impact. I sat down with the sweetest Sam to talk beauty (we both seem to share the same obsession for perfect, dewy skin), Bumble, at-home facemasks and tattoos. This girl has most definitely nailed down a foolproof skin routine that I am SO getting involved in.
AA: I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering how you landed such killer positions. Could you tell us a little more about your career path and what lead you to where you are today?
SS: I never planned to work in PR, (I was a theater major in college) and just sort of fell into it by chance; but I quickly found that it allowed me to do all the things that I loved – styling, branding, creative direction, working with editors, event planning and so much more. I’ve learned that in this industry, seeking out diverse experiences is the most useful preparation for growth. Any chance I get to learn new skills I see as my way of moving forward. I worked my way up at multiple agencies, then a few in-house- all before landing my dream jobs at Alexis Bittar and now Bumble and bumble. Career progression often depends upon taking risks and advocating for oneself.
SS: I’m in the process of a torturous “grow out” process. I’ve had an undercut for the last 6 years. After I had a baby I decided it might be time to attempt the dreaded grow out process and get back my full head of hair (and not be a 50 year old mom who still has a Mohawk—mid life crisis much?).
I wash my hair about twice a week and use Color Minded Shampoo and Mending Conditioner. Then I spray my entire head with Prep to prime my hair. Then it’s a dollop of Styling Creme and Thickening Full Form Mousse for body and lift. Then, I finish with Dryspun Finish on my roots and then run a few drops of Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil and Brilliantine through my ends. It creates the perfect languid, slept-in look. I’m also obsessed with the Thickening Serum – it’s a nightly, leave-in treatment that fattens and fortifies over time for thicker, stronger strands and fuller hair- and it seriously works. I always put a few pumps in each night before I go to bed.
SS: To bring out the best in your hair’s natural texture and achieve the ultimate lived in look, Bb. Stylist Edward Lampley taught me the best technique. In the shower, only use small amount of shampoo on roots and around the hairline, then condition through ends and rinse with cold water to close the hair cuticles and lock in moisture.
To create messy waves, towel dry hair out of the shower and apply Prep spray throughout hair (do not comb or brush through) and immediately throw it up in a top bun. Sleep on it overnight to air dry. In the morning, take the bun out, flip hair upside down and spray Dryspun Finish into roots and then the throughout rest of hair. Massage your scalp with fingertips for a few seconds, then flip back up- perfectly imperfect bed head texture achieved!
For wavy or curly hair types – use a soft jersey t-shirt instead of a towel to squeeze excess water out of the hair. The rough texture fibers of a towel disrupt the direction the hairs naturally fall, so using a smooth soft fabric to absorb the moisture will not only reduce breakage but also keep your waves defined and frizz free.
AA: When I think of you, I think of perfect skin. Give us some of the highlights of your beauty routine… What are some products you can’t live without?
SS: First, I wash my face with cold water and Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil – this stuff is amazing. After cleansing, I apply Estee Lauder’s Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator before my moisturizer. This serum is liquid gold in a bottle – seriously MAGICAL. It just gives this instant brightness and energy to my skin that’s hard to even explain unless you try it and see for yourself.
Then I moisturize. I’m obsessed with La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream: This lighter formula delivers the same radiance and renewal that made the original Crème de la Mer a legend, without the heaviness.
Now that I’m in my early thirties, I’m starting to see that less really is more when it comes to foundation/ concealer/powders. I try to avoid anything liquid that has a matte finish – it just seems to creep into any little lines and enhance any imperfections vs. camouflaging them. I always mix my own “base” combo to dilute and add glow.
I use MAC Prep + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer SPF 35 in ‘Illuminate.’ This amazing little tube acts as a treatment, a broad spectrum sunscreen, tone perfecter and redness calmer all in one. I mix a dab of this with a dollop of MAC Strobe Cream to give my skin the perfect amount of dewy radiance. In the summer, I’ll add in a bit of sheer liquid bronzer to this combo for a beachy, sun kissed glow. In the winter, I switch out the liquid bronzer for a dab of Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15.
I’m extremely picky when it comes to bronzer – it has to be matte (no sparkle) yet sheer and be the perfect shade of brown without any traces of orange or pink tones. I’m determined to master the art of contouring; it’s like magic when done right. I either use Tom Ford Beauty Shade and Illuminate (an amazing duet of shading/ highlighting creams) or a customized palette of MAC powders and shade in areas where the sun would naturally hit my face using a MAC 129 Powder/Blush Brush. Apparently Diane Kendall uses these same exact colors and brush backstage at Proenza –enough said.
I love to use Smashbox Eye Shadow in Oyster as a highlighter on the tops of my cheekbones, under brows, on the inside corners of my eyes and a touch on my cupids bow. Then I use MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter Pen in ‘Radient Rose’ under eyes and on sides of my nostrils to brighten and even out redness.
I realize this all sounds like I do a LOT to get ready – but I swear to you, I can do all of the above in 10 minutes or less.
AA: Lipstick, gloss or au natural?
SS: It’s all or (close to) nothing for me when it comes to lip color. Most days I go sheer with just a hint of pink on top. Whenever I wear liquid liner on my top lids I love a hint of pastel/ bubble gum tint to my lips. It feels very 1960’s Brigitte Bardot to me. I apply Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment first and then top it with either Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in ‘Nude Vanille’ or Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Colour Balm in ‘Curvy Candy’.
Other days, I’m all about a highly pigmented, super bright red lip (always matte). The key is to not just line the lips first, but to fill in the entire lip with pencil before applying the lipstick- this makes it last all day long with no need to touch up and ensures the boldest, brightest hue. I have a few favorites that I rotate – right now it’s usually MAC Lip Liner in ‘Cherry ‘or ‘Beet,’ topped with ‘Ruby Woo,’ ‘Russian Red’ or ‘MAC RED’ Lipstick.
AA: Do you have a special evening beauty routine?
SS: My nighttime cleansing and treatments are really the only things that differ from my morning routine. I never go to bed without removing my makeup-I prefer an oil-based makeup remover, like the MAC Cleanse Off Oil – it emulsifies with water and basically melts away the makeup. If I’m too tired or too lazy, I always keep a pack of MAC Makeup Remover Wipes next to my bed on my nightstand.
Then I usually use a toner. My skin can be pretty sensitive, dry and prone to redness – I love Darphin INTRAL Toner so much! It smells incredible and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and cleaner than clean. I just started using Estée Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum and already notice a huge difference in my skin. I experiment all the time with different eye creams – right now I’m loving DARPHIN lifting and Firming Eye Serum and Origins Starting Over™ Age-Erasing Eye Cream with Mimosa.
AA: You are a full time working mom. Do you have an DIY tips for at-home beauty?
SS: Of course! Once a month, I’ll make my own DIY scrubs at home, using sugar, olive oil, white vinegar and lemon. It sounds like salad dressing but it actually does wonders for my skin. After vigorously scrubbing my face and body I rinse in the shower, then apply some La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan – it’s the only self tanner I’ve ever used that actually has no awful scent.
AA: Regular manicure or shellac/gel? I’m dying to know what colors you’re into lately…
SS: Regular manicures don’t last more than a day or two on me before I ruin them – but I love Tom Ford Beauty Nail Lacquer in ‘Carnal Red’ and ‘Geranium’ by Essie –it’s the perfect hot red/orange hue that looks so chic on short nails. My favorite Shellac is CND Shellac in ‘Cocoa’. It’s kind of a nude/mauve/peachy color – it reminds me of a cool grandma- and why I think that’s chic? I don’t know, I’m kind of a weirdo like that I guess.
AA: Your eyelashes are putting mine to shame. I know that these are your natural lashes, but have you ever tried extensions?
SS: Yes, these babies are my own, but I do love getting eyelash extensions done every once in a while for added fullness, rather than length. I’ve literally tried every place in NYC and my favorite by far is this tiny hole in the wall called Fabulash. I get the thickest and blackest set they have…it basically gives me that pinup cat eye look.
AA: Loving your tattoos. Tell me, why Iris?
SS: I met Iris about 5 years ago through Alexis when he won the CFDA. The two of them are dear friends and she came as his date. We had this indescribable, instant connection and she quickly became my surrogate, “fairy godmother.” My husband and I would go over to her apt for dinners with her and her amazing husband Carl, who’s 98 and equally as incredible. They’ve been married 65 years and have the most loving and affectionate relationship I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to explain all that is Iris, you could fill a novel and still not capture her fully. She is inspiring, wonderful, witty, whimsical, genuine, and to me the ultimate style icon. The tattoo is a homage, my way of acknowledging and paying tribute to her influence and friendship.