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My Five Beauty Obsessions: Emily Dougherty

What do you slather on your skin, when you’ve been interviewing cosmetic chemists and beauty CEOs for 15 years? ELLE Magazine's beauty director dishes.

ELLE_EMILY_DAs Elle Magazine’s beauty director since 2002, Emily Dougherty has a heightened understanding of beauty products—from their trends and ingredients to whether or not they work. “All the topics my readers are into, I am, too,” says the discerning 39-year-old. “But I get to interview MIT chemists, and herbalists from San Francisco, and go backstage and watch genius makeup artists like Pat McGrath.” You could say she’s got a beauty PhD.

So, what does Dougherty choose for herself, armed with all this intel? Professionally, she’s testing products for about 28 days (“the time it takes to tell if a product works”). But personally, she has a simpler motto: “I stick with what works. If it’s working, don’t change it!”

What’s included in her own personal beauty stockpile? Heaps of natural products that she’s grown to love: “It’s so much easier to find great natural and organic products now. A few years ago, I’d be, ‘No way, I need preservatives in my mascara.’”

Here are Dougherty’s five beauty obsessions of the summer—including a must-have mascara. —Melisse Gelula

Earth tu Face cleanser

1. Earth Tu Face Wash ($48) The very first thing I do when I get home from work (after saying hello to my dog) is wash my face with this gentle cleanser. It’s made by two herbalists in San Francisco. The coconut-oil and aloe-based suds don’t irritate my cranky skin prone to perioral eczema. It’s a no trade-off eco-cleanser that would satisfy anyone used to shopping in a drugstore or department store for one.

2. Tammy Fender Spontaneous Recovery Cream ($165)
It’s rare to find something so transformative: I’ll put a layer of this on before a long flight and come off the plane looking better than when I checked in. The combo of super-healing, mega-moisturizing ingredients erases redness and deeply hydrates. Tammy Fender is an amazing aesthetician. She offers a skin-care treatment at the Elle Spa in the Eden Roc in Miami, so I’ve had a facial with her. You really feel like you’re in the presence of a true healer. And I love that she really respects the plant energy of the ingredients.

3. Marie Veronique Organics Pacific Topical Marine Treatment ($375)
Yes, it does have an intense algae aroma, but I was blown away by the results: after three months, my skin acts five years younger, and my rosacea has disappeared. I do feel like it resets the clock of your skin in just 30 uses. It really helped my broken capillaries.


4. Kjaer Weis Mascara ($38)
When was the last time you stopped and smelled your mascara? For me, just this morning, thanks to Kjaer Weis! I’m not usually a person who likes scent. I try to be as sensitive as the most sensitive reader…but I love the rose scent of this. (Even if I often leave the house with a smudge of mascara on my nose from smelling it.) My lashes look amazing, too. I like how it comes off easily, because my lashes will often fall out before the mascara comes off. If you have really oily eyelids or rub your eyes a lot, it’s probably not for you.

5. Ilia Beauty Lipstick Crayon ($24)
“Call Me” is the same shade as my dream car (Molly Ringwald’s Pretty In Pink Karmann Ghia). For me, this lip crayon doubles as a skin-brightening blush. It reminds me of a Versace shade. A sick mauve. I’ll use it with smoky eye when I want an understated lip.


Beauty Bonus: Apotheke Charcoal Soap ($8)
I’ve been obsessed with the purifying power of bamboo charcoal ever since my favorite department store in the world, Tokyo’s Tokyu Hands, dedicated an entire beauty corner to it. And now I can shop local: this Brooklyn-made wonder bar keeps my skin soft and clear. I was that kind of person who was like, a soap’s a soap. But this helps pimples go down. If I had any body acne, I think this could really help with that, too.

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