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My Five Beauty Obsessions: Rony Vardi

Rony Vardi Catbird
Vardi was pre-med and worked as a seamstress and graphic designer before opening Catbird in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Photo: Catbird/Rony Vardi)

Catbird may occupy a tiny 200-square-foot Williamsburg, Brooklyn, storefront, but it’s got a mega following among the cool, jewelry-loving mavens of New York.

The boutique, stocked with covetable knuckle rings, handmade stationary, luxe natural beauty products, and more—opened in 2004. Fast-forward ten years to a Saturday afternoon and the space is harder to get into than Dirt Candy.

Its founder, Rony Vardi, attributes the store’s success to its focus on quality and elegance over trendiness (something increasingly hard to find in the ‘hood).

“Things that are timeless and classic withstand the test of time,” Vardi says. “I made the decision early on to focus on things that are not disposable.” To that end, Vardi and her team of 35 “extremely opinionated” female employees personally test every single product before selling it in the store.

As you can imagine, she’s pretty picky when curating products for personal use, too. Here are five that have stood the test of time in her own beauty routine. —Jamie McKillop

L. Rodin face oil1. L. Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil ($150) The heady, floral scent is intoxicating. My six-year-old son loves how it smells. He holds my face in his hands and inhales. That alone makes me want to wear it all the time.

2. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick ($13) I come from a lip balm obsessed family. True story: my mom would buy Avon’s Lip Dew by the case when we were kids. I have had hundreds and still can’t resist new ones. But Palmer’s is really my one true love. It’s moisturizing, natural, and you can really use it anywhere on your body or face. We put it on our lips before bed, and I put it on my kids’ noses when they have colds… And I have given them as gifts and created tons of converts. Testify!

Tarot Deck3. Tarot Deck Solid Perfume ($34) The scent is sexy and feminine without trying too hard, with a little bit of darkness and mystery thrown in. I can’t get enough of this smell and the formula is moisturizing and easy to put on. I am a real klutz with sprays, so a solid perfume is really my speed.

4. Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara ($30) Confession: I am a mascara addict. Makeup Forever MascaraIt’s my favorite makeup item (can it be my favorite thing overall?), and I have a zillion of them. I recently got this one as a birthday bonus sample size at Sephora and I quickly ran out of it and bought a full-size one. It’s a great mix of darkening and lengthening, without having to put on fifty layers.

5. Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ($26) This is my go-to for almost everything. Nutiva Coconut OilAfter a shower, for my kids after baths, if I run out of eye makeup remover, if my scalp feels dry, and even for making popcorn! Yup, it’s that good.

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