Emery Coopersmith, associate creative director at VICE, has long been interested in makeup and skincare. But because the beauty world didn’t cater to men, much of what he’s mastered has been through his own research, and trial and error. In this series, he shares his tips and picks. This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Thanks to having a dermatologist as a parent, VICE Associate Creative Director Emery Coopersmith has long been enmeshed in the world of skincare samples, cleansing techniques, and active ingredients. But as his personal interest in makeup and beauty grew, there was one problem: the beauty world was not interested in him.
“I did not grow up with beauty brands caring about me—I was not marketed to [because] I'm an individual who's not their specific target, cliché audience,” he says. So “when I felt like I wanted to dip my feet in and experiment with [skincare and makeup], I had no idea where to start. It was really overwhelming.”
Even with his mother’s dermatology background, Coopersmith felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available about skincare and makeup—especially when that information rarely, if ever, discussed practices in relation to men. He credits sites like VICE’s i-D and Into the Gloss, the beauty blog started by Glossier founder Emily Weiss, for eventually helping him explore his passion for makeup and skincare.
With inspiration from those publications, he soon developed his interest into a full-blown passion following plenty of “trial and error.”
Coopersmith has since developed an expertise in the world of beauty due to his line of work at VICE, where he frequently works with beauty and fashion clients. Luckily, his career and interests went “hand in hand.”
“As I started to work with more fashion and beauty clients specifically, I became more attuned to what makeup actually was,” he says. “It's incredibly important to my job to be knowledgeable about what's going on in the beauty industry, so that learning process and discovery was crucial to my career.”
Now, he’s gotten to the point where he can form knowledgeable opinions about the formulation and marketing of the beauty products he’s encountered both through brand partnerships and in his own experimentation. Though he still likes to keep his everyday makeup look natural—usually just some BB cream and brows, he says—Coopersmith knows his way around an ingredient list and won’t recommend a product unless he’s thoroughly tested it first.
To kick off The Emery Edit, Coopersmith shares his favorite beauty picks for others who might feel lost in the world of skincare and makeup. Here are all the basics you need for—as he describes it—“boyish glam.”
EMERY’S SKINCARE PICKS
“I use this every single day, no joke, and it is 100 percent the product you should start with for great skin and safer skin,” Coopersmith says. He especially loves how it’s one of the rare SPFs“that go on totally clear and feel completely weightless.”
Coopersmith recalls how adamant his mother, a dermatologist, was about using sunscreen. “She was always very overprotective in terms of having me my brother wear SPF all the time, which I still do, and I think it helped my skin growing up,” Coopersmith says.
“If you’re starting out or just haven’t tried products with retinoids or similar ingredients, you should be careful. A retinoid can cause irritation at first if your skin isn’t used to products that accelerate cell regeneration (retinoids and acids like salicylic do this),” Coopersmith warned. Another option Coopersmith recommends is a product with bakuchiol, a newer, plant-derived ingredient on the mainstream market that offers similar results to traditional retinoids without the side effects of irritation or sun sensitivity.
“I’ve been using Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol serum for about two weeks and am obsessed, though every other day because the price is a bit hard to stomach!” Coopersmith says.
Coopersmith calls Tatcha’s The Water Cream moisturizer “life-changing.” “It’s been my summer moisturizer because it’s incredibly light and smells expensive—which is good, because it is,” he says.
EMERY’S MAKEUP PICKS
Coopersmith’s current favorite is Dr. Jart’s Beauty Balm, but he does note that it has a very limited three-shade range.
“It has SPF and some other skincare ingredients but it’s buildable, meaning you have a fair bit of control in terms of coverage,” Coopersmith says. “A little goes a long way, too. Most days I only tap it under my eyes to conceal a bit. It doesn’t look like I’m wearing anything at all.”
Another option that’s comparable to the Dr. Jart Beauty Balm but offers far more shade options is this face oil foundation from KOSAS. While it doesn’t come with SPF, Coopersmith says it can easily be layered with his Bioré sunscreen pick and offers light but buildable coverage for a “clean beauty” feel.
“It doesn't have the thickness of a cream. It's really something that blends out to an oil and soaks into the skin. I really like it,” Coopersmith says.
“I started experimenting with makeup using eyeliner and think that’s a great place to begin your collection,” Coopersmith says. “Everyone’s eye shape and personal taste is different. Mine are deep-set and hooded so finding a product that doesn’t smear onto my upper lid is tough. I bought this Maybelline Lasting Drama matte eyeliner in ‘rusty terra cotta’ the other week and it’s honestly amazing. Great color payoff and stays put.”
“Hands-down, the best mascara in the universe is Glossier Lash Slick,” Coopersmith, who uses mascara every day to boost his blond-tipped eyelashes, says. “It looks like you are wearing nothing, but somehow have perfect lashes. Lengthening and tinted, but not goopy or thick at all. I highly recommend it whether or not you’re a beginner.”
WHAT YOU SHOULD PROBABLY SKIP
“It’s not bad, but I’m not convinced anything happens when I use it, other than an extra-oily complexion,” he says. “Not worth the premium, plus the brand is embroiled in fake review controversy. Oops!”
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