Meet two of the chicest and savviest girls on the accessory design scene: Miami born and bred sisters Jenny and Alicia Halegua. The duo works together out of their Upper East Side pad on METALSKIN, a brand that launched just last year. As the name suggests, METALSKIN derives from the 2 main components that make up the line – metal and skin. At the moment, they are specializing in cute candy-colored clutches that come in bright and perfectly gorgeous contrasting colors. Online fashion destination Moda Operandi even picked up the line, and with a wave of press and a new design season ahead, these girls are insanely busy.
With their family back home in Miami, and their love of traveling (St. Barths, Aspen and Hawaii all in the same month!), you would most definitely consider these two professional travelers. Their love for beauty almost matches their passion for fashion and design, and they even designed the bags with their own personal handbag beauty essentials in mind. They know what a girl needs on a night out to look her very best and on the airplane. The two are also super chic ecologists, and steer towards organic and all-natural products, and I wanted to share their worldly knowledge with you.
Annie: You are each one half of METALSKIN. How do you divide the responsibilities and work together?
Jennifer Halegua (pictured left): It was challenging at first, but over time we each were able to find our own space to thrive. We are only 15 months apart and extremely similar but by sharing different aspects of the company our differences balance out. Alicia focuses more on design, working closely with the skin distributors and manufacturers, while I focus on PR, social media, and product development. We are both very hands on and opinionated, so our responsibilities often bleed together.
Alicia Halegua (pictured right): We focus on our strengths and then focus on executing them to better the business… Jenny happens to be very ‘in-the-know’ so having her control our social media is amazing as it is such a valuable tool for a business like ours…
Jennifer: The fashion industry is obviously the biggest motivator behind METALSKIN. We have both been following fashion for as long as we can remember and value being well dressed and put together. Fashion, for us, is a vein of expression, and we love playing with different looks for different moods. Travel is a huge part of our lives and has helped influence different color combinations for our styles. We’re Miami girls at heart, and fun, vibrant, happy colors are a big part of our designs.
Alicia: To put it simply, I’m inspired by travel, food, art and the people….
Annie: Speaking of travel…I need some inspiration myself! What is your favorite travel destination?
Jennifer: St. Barths, I would have to say, is one of our favorite places ever. We have been going for 15 years and have had so many great experiences there. The island is filled with nostalgia for us. It has the perfect balance between undeveloped beaches and natural beauty with great shopping and restaurants still allowing you to feel mesmerized. It’s really a magical island.
Alicia: And I really love Italy… I enjoy the people, the colors of the water and the food… the fashion is also very fun.
Annie: Describe your in-flight beauty secrets and essentials.
Jennifer: I love a fresh face when I travel so I never wear makeup. I have been recently obsessed with Organic Pharmacy serums and moisturizers and re-apply them all throughout the flight. I won’t go anywhere without Aquaphor and use it for my lips or eyes if I feel overly dry. Decléor also makes a night balm that is really moisturizing as well. Also, Pond’s makeup removers are always with me. I love the feeling of having a fresh face when traveling. I use Simply Divine Botanicals face wash after Pond’s, and follow it up with a ton of serum and moisturizer. All my friends know I never travel without my own products!
Annie: Do you have any beauty tricks to appear rested after a long flight or a late night?
Alicia: Clé de Peau Concealer stick is crucial for me to dab under my eyes and also on any blemishes or discoloration… I also love to wash my face with Eve Lom Cleanser, which also removes makeup… I just started using Biologique Recherche P50 [I’m a devoted user as well…this is why] and it makes my whole face dance and really brightens up my skin… a little blush and a good gloss I’m good to go!
Annie: Whatever is happening with that hair, I need to know! Describe your products and process.
Alicia: The hair… We have a lot of it… So I am now using Oribe and also Kérastase Cristal Shampoo. I switch it up. I try and do my hair myself, but as of late, slipping downstairs to Warren Tricomi has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a wash and blow dry!
Jennifer: Haha. This hair is a process! Our father is from Greece and we were definitely born with a ton of hair! My hair reacts to different shampoos so I make sure to stick to moisturizing ones (Kérastase and Oribe are my current favorites). Kérastase Nutritive Masquintense is incredible after being in the sun, sometimes I will leave it in and clip it up while sitting in the steam room for 10 minutes to get a really deep conditioning. Sachajuan Leave-in Conditioner is also a great product for me.
Annie: Date night handbag beauty essentials…
Jennifer: (below): I cannot leave home without RMS Cocoa Shea Butter Lip Balm. Anastasia eye brow pencil is also a necessity of mine. RMS Living Luminizer is incredible for those little areas you want to give a little glow. I’m also currently really into Lipstick Queen colors.
Annie: What’s your favorite snack or meal that provide beautifying benefits?
Jennifer: I am obsessed with making a smoothie for breakfast every morning. I make almond milk weekly and use it as a base for the smoothie. I put a ton of vitamin and mineral powders from my nutritionist in it and it provides me with lots of energy. One Lucky Duck in NYC is one of my favorites and JugoFresh in Miami. As long as I stay away from meat, dairy and gluten I feel great!
Alicia: Grilled fish and arugula with lemon and Dijon mustard fills me up – healthy and tasty. Oh, and water…lots of it.
Annie: What’s your best trick for glowing skin?
Jennifer: My facialist for years has been Mzia Shiman and she is incredible! Whenever I feel like I need a boost or a healthy glow I go to her. Between her microdermabrasion and glycolic facials I am hooked.
Annie: What’s the best beauty trick that actually works?
Jennifer: Honey masks! I use raw honey and put a thick layer on a cleansed face weekly. I tend to gravitate towards products that have the shortest list of ingredients and are chemical-free. Whether with food or beauty products, I feel the most organic and natural ones are the best. Oh, and it sounds crazy, but a great friend introduced me to Emu Oil and it is incredible!
Alicia: Beauty sleep, 8 hours. And coconut oil. It is great on my legs when I decide to show them in Miami!
Annie: How do you protect yourself from the sun and what about post-sun skincare?
Jennifer: My skin tans super quickly and very well. I wear Organic Pharmacy or Skinceuticals Sunscreen (depending on how much coverage I need) and always do a moisturizing/mask while away. Dr. Alkaitis makes a great cooling clay mask that I’m currently obsessed with.
Alicia: Yes, after growing up in Miami with fair skin it’s definitely a priority of mine to use 50+ on my face and chest. I use Skinceuticals and post-sun I use a Decléor cream. Sunscreen has basically changed my skin.
Annie: Describe your workout routines.
Jennifer: I absolutely love my trainer Mikey Victor. He is beyond dedicated to fitness and has motivated me in so many ways. He focuses on yoga and pilates style movements.
Alicia: I would say Mikey Victor… His energy and dedication to his method is admirable, and makes me want to work harder.
Annie: As designers, I’m sure you’re all about shopping around to see what’s out there. What are your absolute favorite online beauty and fashion destinations?
Jennifer: I can’t find something that I really want I always resort to Shopstyle. It aggregates from many different sites so you don’t have to shop around. For beauty….She’s in the Glow, duh! Annie and I really do see eye to eye with beauty products. I love SITG and love learning new tips and about new products.