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Beauty Hotline | Summer Beauty Essentials

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The Violet Files

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Celebrity makeup artist Kira Nasrat shares her summer vacation beauty recommendations.

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Kira Nasrat

Known for giving out her cell phone number to our Melrose Place flagship shoppers, VIOLET GREY makeup artist Kira Nasrat is as beloved for her easy charm and humor as she is for her sophisticated smoky eye looks. Clients (who include Gwyneth Paltrow, Margot Robbie, and Jamie Chung) rely on the forthcoming honesty and sage beauty advice she dispenses at a moment’s notice, and most have her on speed-dial. Here, Nasrat brings that same personalized service to Beauty Hotline, her monthly column for The Violet Files.

As summer vacations beckon, Nasrat shares her beauty tips for always looking your best when on holiday—no matter what the destination.

I’m going on vacation and I don’t want to overpack—what multitasking products do you recommend?

It’s important to prioritize. If you have to narrow it down to only five things, I recommend the La Prairie Cream Blush, Leonor Greyl Oil, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, and Serge Lutens waterproof mascara.

You can use the La Prairie Blush in multiple ways for a fresh-faced look: on cheeks, across the eyelids, and on lips. I love the Leonor Greyl Oil because you can use it on both face and body—it’s essential for keeping hydrated after you’ve been in the sun. You can even comb it through your hair before going swimming to protect it from chlorine.

I never bring a whole bottle of foundation with me on vacation—Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream acts as a moisturizer and a primer, and it eliminates the need for foundation because it has such a beautiful, radiant finish. You will, however, want to keep a concealer on hand in case any discoloration or blemishes show up. The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is perfect for those long nights out on the town because it delivers good coverage—and can double as foundation in a pinch, should you want that Photoshop-quality finish.

Last but not least, you can’t go on vacation without waterproof mascara. Serge Lutens is perfect because it lengthens and defines lashes, and stays in place all day without flaking.


I’m about to hop on a plane to St. Tropez—how can I keep my skin hydrated in-flight?

Make sure you drink a ton of water—and chase every cocktail with a few glasses of H20. My favorite product for the plane is the SK-II Sheet Mask, which I put on an hour before landing. Your seatmates might be confused by your appearance during the 20-minute masking process, but when they see your bright, glowing complexion afterward they will understand. After you remove the mask, I recommend rubbing a drop or two of Sisley’s (TSA- and Violet Code–approved!) Black Rose Oil over your face and neck. It will plump your skin, smooth fine lines, and make you look refreshed. Finish with a spritz of Avène Mist to seal in the moisture. While you’re sipping your mineral water, your skin will be drinking too.

I’m heading to the beach next week and I haven’t seen the sun in months. How can I get bronzed by vacation time?

A great self-tanner is your answer—but first make sure to exfoliate. The Caudalie Divine Scrub is wonderful for sloughing away dead skin. For the faux glow, James Read’s products will give you that burnished Capri sheen before you even step into the sun. I recommend using his Sleep Mask and Gradual Tan every other day the week before your vacation. You can even mix the Gradual Tan with a body lotion like the Avène Cold Cream for additional hydration. Don’t forget to use the mitt so you get an even application!

Once you have let the self-tanner set, use an oil to hydrate the skin—self-tanners are not a replacement for moisturizer. The African Botanics Marula Firming Oil is perfect because it’s super hydrating (it even prevents water loss), plus it promotes firmness and elasticity. Bring the Tom Ford Bronzer on your trip to touch up your glow. It comes in two shades, Terracotta and Gold Dust. I like having both. I use Terracotta, which is matte, during the day, and Gold Dust, which has shimmer, at night. Apply it on the high points of the cheekbones, across your eyelids and nose, and a little under your eyes to get a sun-kissed effect.