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Pro Files: A Luxury Beauty Buyer Spills Her Trade Secrets

We cornerned Elayne Damian, one of Cosmopolitan US' most beauty-immersed individuals, and begged her to give us some professional advice.

Surrounded by some of the most luxurious skin products on Planet Earth, Elayne, who has spent the past year shuttling between New York and San Francisco, has helped put industry cult brands on shelves and in the hands of adoring consumers—but not before she’s tried and tested them thoroughly herself. From the perspective of product packaging, to formulations that are more than just a fad, this girl knows what beauty is all about. She spares us time in her hectic schedule to answer some pressing beauty questions!


Elayne with friends


Depending on where you’re from, beauty regimens can have anywhere from 3 to 17 steps. What do you personally include in your routine?

Every essential routine should involve a cleanser, toner, exfoliator, serum, and a moisturizer. It can get a lot more advanced with adding other steps for targeted treatments, but the key is to listen to your skin and let it tell you what it needs. It can all get so overwhelming, there's a constant need to get your hands on every new "holy grail" product. But really ask yourself if this is something your skin will truly benefit from. If hyper pigmentation is a concern for you, retinol may be something you'd like to add to your regimen. Choose products that address your primary concerns, don't do it just because the trend is leading you there. Case in point, while exfoliation is an important step, I don't find it necessary to do it every day. Twice a week works for me. 


The Nuface Trinity


What are the most crucial products every girl needs to invest in? What brands are your favorite?

Right now, I'm loving Dr. Barbara Sturm. Everything in her line is magic. Dr. Sturm got it right in so many ways. The products work to nourish, hydrate, protect, and regenerate your complexion. Most of all, it's uncomplicated, just the way I like it. I'm especially drawn to the Darker Skin Tones collection that was developed with Angela Bassett. The range is a game changer that addresses and represents the concerns of women of color with a focus on hyper pigmentation, inflammation, and evening skin tones. In terms of investment, beauty devices are having a well deserved moment. I use Nuface Trinity—it’s an at home tool with microcurrent technology that feels as luxurious as a spa facial. It's designed to tighten, lift, and contour the skin. It's five minutes of my routine and it goes a long way. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm with Angela Bassett


What products, if any, can you get away with buying at a drug store?

Even the most seasoned beauty connoisseur will have a drug store pick they swear by. I love asking my makeup artist friends for recommendations, especially when I want to try out a new trend, say a coral lip look, but don't necessarily want to spend a lot. You can get away with buying anything at a drug store! What makes it hard is not being able to try it on - so do your research before hand. Ask friends or read reviews. 


What other time-tested beauty secrets have you learned along the way?

Above all, great skin comes from the inside. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water. What you eat really affects your body and energy levels so pay attention to that. Use SPF everyday. The great thing is a lot of products already include it, so it makes it that much easier to protect your skin. Keep skincare easy and make it fit your lifestyle. I love doing a sheet mask and a hair mask when I'm doing house chores. It makes washing dishes a bit more enjoyable!