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My Five Beauty Obsessions: Mollie Chen

The editorial director of beauty-of-the-month-club Birchbox shares the skin-care products she can't do without. (This month, at least.)
(Photo: TK)
(Photo: Tom Newton)

Mollie Chen is the editorial director at Birchbox, a super hot beauty site that has thousands of women (and men) squealing at the sight of a little pink (or canvas) box in their mailbox each month.

While her colleagues are deciding exactly what gloss you’re getting next and what moisturizer is best for March’s fickle weather, 30-year-old Chen designs articles around how to use the beauty products like a pro.

“It’s my job to create videos and articles that are accessible and appealing to all our customers,” Chen says, “from the woman who can contour with her eyes closed to the guy who’s wondering, ‘What the heck is an exfoliator?’”

But for a woman who works at a game-changing beauty company, Chen’s beauty routine is pretty low-key. “I rarely put on much eye makeup or go crazy with my hair—but I love skin care,” Chen says. “I get ready at the gym most mornings and the other morning regulars laugh because I zip out so fast.”

Here’s what Chen has in her beauty bag right now. (Something tells us she’ll be doing a product overhaul come March…) —Jamie McKillop

1. Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner ($52) I’m a total deadbeat when it comes to styling my hair—I admire my colleagues who come to work with beautiful loose waves or glam blowouts, but I don’t have the patience. Over the years, I’ve figured out that if I use a really hydrating shampoo and conditioner and a styling cream, I can let it air-dry and still get a silky, shiny look. I love that Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner has olive oil in it—so good for your hair, body, and skin.

2. Living Proof Prime Style Extender ($23) About that styling cream: Living Proof’s Prime is one of the most versatile, effective products I’ve come across. I use it on damp hair and I swear it does some magic juju to make my hair dry smooth and shiny. On the occasions that I do blow-dry, it makes the finished look last much longer. It also has a fluid, gel-like feel that isn’t sticky or heavy—great if you’re pairing it with other stylers.

3. Caudalie Divine Oil ($32) I discovered oils a few years ago and haven’t looked back yet. I come back to this one again and again because you can use it on hair, skin, and face and it’s light enough for combination skin like mine. It has a bunch of delicious ingredients in it—argan, grape, hibiscus—and smells gorgeous.

-14. W3LL PEOPLE Universalist Multi-Use Color Stick in Creamy Peony ($33)  Cream-based products give skin a really velvety, natural finish and—bonus—don’t require brushes. I’m a fan of this two-in-one because it blends easily and lasts, plus the Peony shade is a perfect pick-me-up pink.

5. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask ($37) For instant gratification, you can’t beat a clay mask. This Origins one uses both charcoal and china clay to scoop out oil, bacteria, and toxins—without drying out my skin. It also temporarily makes you look like a sea monster, which is kind of fun.

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