Beauty Interview

Interview with Jen of From Head to Toe

Today’s post is with one of the first beauty bloggers that I ever read (and watched on YouTube) – Jen of From Head to Toe. Jen is an designer, beauty blogger and makeup artist whose YouTube videos have been viewed over 37 million times, and for good reason. Jen is not only incredibly talented at what she does – creating beautiful makeup looks – but she is also able to do it in a way that’s relatable and clear to even novice beauty dunces like myself. Reading and watching Jen over the years has helped me  learn so many tips on beauty, skincare, and more – and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Jen. Enjoy meeting her!

Beautiful Jen

Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?

My name is Jen “From Head To Toe” and I’m a designer/beauty blogger born and raised in the good ‘ole Midwest.

A snapshot of just Jen’s traincase

I have to ask this. Just how big is your beauty collection?

Seriously, it’s pretty embarrassing. I’ve never actually counted how many items are in my beauty collection, but suffice it to say that my lipsticks alone fill about three drawers. I’m due for a major makeup purge but I get attached to some items past their expiration date and it’s tough to throw them out. I’m also constantly getting new items in for PR samples as well so it can be a big project just to organize and maintain a reasonable collection.

Jen featured on the Urban Decay website

What’s a tip/trick about makeup or skincare that you wish you had known earlier on?

There are two major things that stand out for me.

1. I wish I had known about eyeshadow primer (Urban Decay Primer Potion is my holy grail) when I first began experimenting with drugstore eyeshadows and was disappointed in the pigmentation and lasting powder.

2. I wish I knew what mascaras would hold a curl for my straight, Asian lashes. Although it’s long discontinued in the States, Max Factor 2000 Calorie waterproof mascara really opened my eyes (haha) to the world of visible lashes. My drugstore standby is Covergirl Lash Exact Waterproof mascara while my current favorite is Urban Decay’s Cannonball mascara.

Two of Jen’s favorites

What are some of your favorite products of all time?

Ahh, what a difficult question! Since “all time” seems to transcend “current favorite” I’m going to go with items that I’ve been loving for years and keep repurchasing time and time again.

First is Seche Vite top coat. It literally dries nails to the touch in under a minute and nearly indestructible in about three. I’m impatient in waiting for nails to dry and I haven’t found a top coat that leaves my nails as glossy and dent-free as this one.

Next is the Shiseido eyelash curler. It’s pricier than drugstore $5 curlers but there’s something magical about the curve of the curler and the springs that keep it taut. This curler was one of my first beauty splurges ever and I’ve never looked back.

Finally, my favorite eyeshadow palette that I recommend every girl to have is the original Urban Decay Naked Palette. This one neutral palette has gotten me through endless day-to-night looks and the value for the number of shadows you get for the quality is unbeatable. After two years, I still grab this more often than any other selection of eyeshadows I own, and trust me, I own a lot.

A turquoise aquatic look

What type of products would you suggest scrimping on (buying at the drugstore) vs. splurge on (purchase at department stores), and why? 

Since I have sensitive, acne-prone skin my rule of thumb is to skimp on eye products and splurge on face products. Especially in the last couple of years, drugstores have really stepped their game up with quality eyeshadows, liners, and mascaras. It is possible find a good drugstore foundation or concealer but it’s much more difficult just because you usually can’t test out the products or get color-matched before you buy it. I’ve had better luck finding a good match that doesn’t break me out at mid-to-high end retailers like Sephora or department stores. Rules can always be broken though, so the most reliable thing to do is research before you buy.

Jen and her beloved Clarisonic

What’s the most expensive makeup item that you’ve ever purchased? Was it worth it? How about some favorite cheapies?

Does the Clarisonic count as a makeup item? At $120 it’s by far the most expensive beauty/skincare item I’ve purchased and although I love it, I do think it’s a luxury item. It leaves a lovely, smooth feeling on my skin immediately after use and cleanses the skin well but I approach it as an exfoliating product since I’ve been warned by both my dermatologist and aesthetician that it shouldn’t be overused. I stick to 2-3 times per week and I’m happy with it.

Some of my favorite cheapies include Covergirl waterproof mascaras, Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF30 face lotion, Wet & Wild Mega Eyes Creme Liner, and Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait.

Jen barefaced

I love that you post photos without makeup. Can you share more about your thoughts behind this – do you go makeup free a lot?

I’m a huge advocate of finding confidence and beauty in yourself from the inside out. While that’s easy to say, it’s much more difficult hearing that message when we are constantly bombarded by images of airbrushed perfection in every magazine and TV screen. It’s important to remember that we are all human with our flaws and imperfections intertwined with our natural beauty. I don’t think makeup should be a mask to hide what we are afraid of, but instead a means of expressing creativity and feeling beautiful and confident! Once we embrace ourselves in our most vulnerable state we can appreciate the fun of things like makeup and fashion that much more.

I try to go makeup-free whenever I can since it’s best for your skin. Obviously not on filming days or when I’m meeting with companies or clients, but when I’m staying at home and need to run to the post office, I don’t mind stepping out bare-faced.

I’d love to hear about your style. What’s a typical day look for you, and what are some of your most worn and favorite items?

My style is a mixture of casual and classic staples with some bright colors and patterns splashed in. I might wear a neon yellow tee with a black blazer and dark skinny jeans or a silk blouse with white shorts. The more defining part of my style is probably my jewelry since I collect gold and sterling silver rings and I love to stack them on several fingers. My favorites include a vintage sterling artichoke ring which was a prized eBay find!

Jen’s beloved artichoke ring

Can you share a piece of advice about style and shopping that you’ve learned over the years?

This is a continual learning process for me, but I’ve learned that it’s more important to splurge on a few select things that you passionately love than to buy pieces just because it was on sale and was a really good value. If an eyeliner was on sale for $5 but you never used it, it has a really expensive value per use compared to a $40 lipstick that you use everyday. Fashion works the same way in that I try to only keep the shoes I love and wear the most and bags that I can use on a regular basis even if they were initially expensive.

 What are your other hobbies and passions?

I’ve always had artistic tendencies like painting and drawing and have a special place in my heart for illustrators like Audrey Kawasaki. I also love anything creative like photography, music, dancing, and acting, although I don’t claim to be particularly noteworthy in any of those areas. “Away We Happened” was quite the fun acting experience for me since it was very much outside the box compared to my daily life but it definitely filled up my creative happy meter. I’m also a huge bookworm and am currently on book four of the Game of Thrones A Song of Ice and Fire series.

On set for “Away We Happened”

One of my favorite photos of Jen

Finally – please share something surprising about yourself!

I actually didn’t wear makeup on a regular basis until I was a junior in college, about 21 years old, because I wanted people I met to judge me by my character instead of my face. Since I had been suffering from fairly bad acne for 10 years prior, I had fought to accept the fact that I was not traditionally beautiful but gained my confidence through my head and my heart. Difficult experiences can really change a lot about a person and I’m really hopeful that being honest about what I’ve gone through can give hope to others who are struggling to love themselves because no amount of makeup can create that real, true beauty.

 

I had acne when I was younger and still struggle with the occasional breakout myself (am I just going to have to go from worrying about pimples to worrying about wrinkles?) and so Jen’s words really spoke to me. It’s clear that Jen is humble, hardworking, and as beautiful inside as she is out. I am so happy to have been able to follow Jen’s journey these past years and I’m sure that there are many more successes to come. Jen thank you for taking the time to share some of your life and learnings with us today – and for more of Jen please check out her blog here, and YouTube channel, here.

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40 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim
    August 22, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Wonderful interview! I love the aquatic eyeshadow look and the fresh-faced look as well!

  • Reply
    miss xu
    August 22, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Love the interview series! Especially her interviews. I have a clarisonic and swear by it!

  • Reply
    Sonya
    August 22, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Jen is one of the first beauty bloggers I read too. She seems sweet and down to earth. Great interview!

  • Reply
    emmabovary
    August 22, 2012 at 7:15 am

    That is one of the best interviews I’ve read in a long time, well done! Jen is great, I follow her YouTube videos and adore her style. Honest and fun, I like it!

  • Reply
    Chic 'n Cheap Living
    August 22, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Thanks for introducing us to Jen! I didn’t wear makeup until my late 20s! I grew up with a mom that didn’t wear makeup and I suppose that habit passed along to me. I’m going to research Covergirl mascara (Chanel gets pricey but I love Inimitable) and Shiseido is really a holy grail eyelash curler!

    xoxo,
    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

      My mom wasn’t a big makeup wearer either so I’m like you – got a late start! I still don’t wear much today but am always trying to find new products that work 🙂

  • Reply
    adele
    August 22, 2012 at 8:21 am

    This is one of my favourite interviews. I also swear by the UD Naked Palette & eyeshadow primer!
    Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/
    Vote intotheblonde BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012
    http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blog-awards-2012-vote

  • Reply
    preppylawyer
    August 22, 2012 at 9:57 am

    How refreshing to see a beauty blogger who will go barefaced (and not fake barefaced). I really respect her last answer and it means a lot coming from someone so obviously adept with makeup.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 22, 2012 at 10:01 am

      I totally agree with you, I love the “real” barefaced – makes everything else Jen says so much more authentic

  • Reply
    Jess
    August 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Great interview! Wow, I’m at the age you started getting into makeup. Same story, my mom isn’t really into makeup and I’d never really felt the need, but now I want to make my small asian lashes a bit bigger. I’ve tried the Lancome mascaras but whenever I blink I feel like my lower and upper lashes are sticking together. Can someone recommend a mascara that doesn’t do that? Thanks:)

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

      I really want to try the mascaras that Jen recommended but I also personally love the Dior mascaras – Dior show, Dior Ultimate, etc. Also have you tried eyelash extensions? I heard they are amazing!

    • Reply
      Chic 'n Cheap Living
      August 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

      I’m in love with Chanel Inimitable for really dramatic lashes! i compared it to Laura Mercier and Lancome and there was a big difference! I am trying to find a good drugstore equivalent too!

      xoxo,
      Chic ‘n Cheap Living

  • Reply
    Shopping Obsession
    August 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    great interview! I’m a big fan and follower of Jen and find her makeup tips and tutorials extremely helpful. She seems to be very down-to-earth.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      Totally! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Reply
    Anoushka
    August 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    She is so beautiful! Love the aquatic look.

    LUXESSED

  • Reply
    Katherine
    August 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Loved this interview 🙂 It was interesting to have a deeper insight on this beauty blogger 🙂

  • Reply
    New Petite
    August 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I love her videos! Thanks for interviewing her!

  • Reply
    mary
    August 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Here’s another interesting tidbit about Jen, before she became a YouTube beauty guru she used to post photos on a site called xmike.com. remember Jen?

  • Reply
    Jessy
    August 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Great interview! I enjoyed reading this and learning a little bit more about Jen. : )

  • Reply
    Eva
    August 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    I really enjoyed Jen’s interview! She looks so fresh and though she’s successful in her field, she seems down to earth!

    Personally, when I was in my teens, I wore make-up even to school! I had acne and wanted to cover it, so I wore make-up daily – didn’t know back then that this actually makes things worse! Anyway, when I stoped having acne (it was due to anxiety, so I worked on that and problem solved!), I reduced the amount of make-up I wear on a daily basis. What I do when I go out is wear a foundation (with SPF protection), some blush and some lip-gloss and I’m ready to go!

  • Reply
    chocolatecookiesandcandies
    August 23, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I remember reading about her sometime ago and was impressed by her work ethic and can do attitude. I’ve heard so much about Urban Decay naked palette that I should just go and get one. Ooooh…Wong Fu sketches are funny beyond words. Will have to check out her videos.

  • Reply
    arvin
    August 23, 2012 at 7:15 am

    the artichoke ring is so quirky

  • Reply
    chanello
    August 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Jen is my makeup GURU. She really taught me about the Ulzzang look and circle lens and all sorts of goodies that make me look youthful and fresh!

    That girl has SO SO SOOO MUCH TALENT!!!

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      I remember you said that! Glad to hear you’re a fan 🙂

  • Reply
    Maja
    August 24, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I love Jen! I also read her make up blog, so talented!

  • Reply
    Sonia
    August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Really enjoyed reading this interview. I didn’t know Jen, but she seems like a very nice person (and clearly very talented too).

  • Reply
    Felicia
    August 25, 2012 at 1:07 am

    This is so well written. She’s the first person that I go to when it comes to makeup tips (and I love to twit her when I have questions). One reason I love watching her make up tutorials is because we have the same skin color. I tend to find that its easier to get an idea of what looks “good” on your skin color when there is someone who is similar. It’s so heart warming to hear that she isn’t just beautiful outside, but someone to radiates her beauty from within. I definitely can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us in the near future. All the best

    Felicia

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

      So glad you enjoyed it – I adore Jen as well and she has been so helpful for me! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    urbanjunglefashion
    August 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    WOW! I really loved this interview. Jen seems to be a genuine person inside and out. I love how she uses make up as an artistic outlet, rather than a mask, to shows her true identity.

  • Reply
    Audrinajulia
    August 28, 2012 at 2:33 am

    I agree with you on the last photo and she’s so pretty too on her bare face. love cosmetics in gradual, but great to find what you’re looking to base on individual needs. i believe you should have a good canvas so that wearing make up could only enhance and not to be a mask.:) Great interview Katherine and will visit her site to know more some tips.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Thank you and yes you must visit Jen’s site – she’s amazing!

  • Reply
    KKim
    August 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

    There were a lot of typos. Did anyone edit this before posting?
    It’s “straight” not “strait, and “taut” not “taught.”
    I didn’t read any further below that. It was too ridiculous.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Thanks for your feedback KKim, I’ve fixed the typos.

  • Reply
    Julee
    August 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Omg! I knew I recognized her! I totally watched “Away We Happened” on youtube when it came out. Its a cute series. And she is breathtaking. Honestly though, she doesn’t need make up at all! But I love her philosophy that make up can be a creative outlet to express yourself and that its not always needed. I, myself, still don’t use make up in my daily life whatsoever but I’m a strong advocate for caring for one’s skin, so hearing all this coming from such a successful but grounded individual is very encouraging to hear:) She seems to have a good head on her shoulders.

  • Reply
    Julee
    August 29, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Omg! I knew I recognized her! I totally watched “Away We Happened” on youtube when it came out. Its a cute series. And she is breathtaking. Honestly though, she doesn’t need make up at all! But I love her philosophy that make up can be a creative outlet to express yourself and that its not always needed. I, myself, still don’t use make up in my daily life whatsoever but I’m a strong advocate for caring for one’s skin, so hearing all this coming from such a successful but grounded individual is very encouraging to hear:) She seems to have a good head on her shoulders.

    Also, I love that artichoke ring! Did she say where she got it?

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Hi! She said she got it on eBay 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen
    September 16, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I love Jen! Thanks for sharing this insightful interview!

  • Reply
    Jubah Fesyen
    August 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Saya agak cerewat dalam menerima pendapat… tapi setelah
    membaca karya nie… saya rasa … saya perlu bersetuju dengan awak…
    tahniah atas persembahan idea yang menarik…

  • Reply
    lynn ong
    June 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Hi Jen,
    I love watching all your YouTube videos,you are someone who is so real, you are a natural and confident girl,you are not fake.
    I love it, keep it up babe!
    I really love to see you in person .
    hopefully soon.

    Yours sincerely,
    Lynn.(from Singapore )

  • Reply
    irene
    July 22, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Jen,
    love you too, you are so special

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