These days it’s nearly impossible to know what women are spending on the way they look. Someone with Instagram-flawless contouring might have honed her craft using the finest from the drugstore aisles, and the utterly makeup-free type might be spending thousands on laser treatments or face serums. Enter our series “What It Costs to Be Me,” where we’re asking interesting women for radical transparency.
Up this week: TyLynn Nguyen, 31, a lingerie designer and mother of three from Calabasas, CA. Her annual total? $9,585.
There are few people to whom the adjective “luminous” can be applied 100 percent un-ironically; TyLynn Nguyen is one of them. (Go peruse her Instagram; it’s simply a fact.) This truth is all the more extraordinary given that Nguyen has three kids (an eight-month-old, a three-year-old, and a six-year-old) and runs her gorgeous, eponymous lingerie line, TyLynn Nguyen. Her pared-down, radically sleek aesthetic seems effortless, but her particular brand of self-care does take rigor, especially when it comes to her skin care routine (regular facials, scrubs, masks, et al.) and exercise (intensive, one-on-one ballet lessons). That said, it isn’t about cloaking reality. “I’m really about looking like yourself,” she says. “I’m for accentuating whatever greatness God’s already given you.”
My Simple Morning Skin-Care Routine: $155
My general philosophy is consistency. I always wash my face twice a day: In the morning I usually use Chanel La Mousse ($45) and then follow with an oil moisturizer. True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil ($110) is so, so good. I like that the ingredients are very clean. It doesn’t feel heavy, but it’s definitely there—and most importantly it doesn’t feel like you’re getting your skin dirty. I love the smell too—even the color.
My (Triple!) Cleansing P.M. Skin Ritual: $610
I wash my face again at night with an oil cleanser if I’m wearing makeup during the day—Chanel L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil ($45) is incredible at taking off makeup. The oil cleanser is mostly just to lift and release the makeup, and then I’ll cleanse again—either with the Chanel cleanser from the morning or African Botanics’ Buchu Enzyme Polish ($75)—to really wash my face. Then I go to a scrub; I literally scrub every night. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a black woman or what (my mom is a mix of German, Dutch, Swiss, and Ukranian, and my dad is Sudanese African and Cherokee Indian), but I think with the combination of all those beautiful ethnicities, maybe my skin just turns over more quickly? Omorivicza’s Facial Polisher ($95) is gentle but it does the job really well. Then I use Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W ($67)—it just zings dirt right out of my skin. Last, I layer on Crème de la Mer ($325) to moisturize.
My Two Failsafe Complexion Fixers: $460
If I’m home with the baby and I have a small breakout, I’ll go the whole day with a mask on wherever those problem areas are. Yeah, I’m so extra—pimples, begone! I spot-treat with the African Botanics Mineral Cleansing Mask ($85) anywhere there’s a bump and literally leave it on all day.
I also use the La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask ($375) twice a week. It is so good. Because I live in Calabasas and it’s the desert, I need a lot of hydration. I’ve never spent money on Botox, and I feel like my skin looks the way it does because I think about moisture. That, and food—I try to stick with fruits and vegetables. It’s about eating what you like, but making sure it’s good and from the ground.
My At-Home Face Massager: $25
I’ve been loving using this rose quartz flat facial tool called gua sha ($25)—one side has three carved indents, the other side is shaped like a fin of a dolphin. I got it from Julie Civiello Polier, who does shamanic facials in L.A. You can use it to massage your face with whatever moisturizer you usually use—I like to use it with my True Botanicals oil. I just kind of push it around my face in an upward motion. Julie says when you’re finishing the massage to sweep the flat side of the stone from the middle of your face outward, and then down your neck, which helps to drain your lymphs. It boosts circulation in your face, and it feels so good. I use it almost every night now. And so does my husband!
My Crucial Shower Regimen: $297
I shower twice a day. I just really like being clean. That’s probably annoying and I could save water, but I’m basically always juggling something—either running around for work or the kids during the day, then up all night with the baby. Plus, my metabolism’s fast, so I sweat. For my body, I use the Oribe Côte D’Azure Body Wash ($42) and Body Scrub ($65). They smell like the French Riviera. And I’m using this razor by Mave ($75). It looks like a little sculpture.
Then there’s my hair. My mom has blond hair, my dad has really fine curly hair, so mine ended up somewhere in between. It’s pretty curly, but when it’s straight it’s like baby hair—it’s strong, but it’s thin. I don’t know how else to describe it. I only shampoo twice a week and condition four times a week. Right now I’m using Obliphica Seaberry Shampoo ($24) and Conditioner ($26); they’re great to my curls. Every three days I leave a deep moisture mask on my hair for 15 minutes. Leonor Greyl Masque Fleurs De Jasmine ($65) is amazing.
My Low-Key Hair Maintenance: $1,704
I usually wear it slicked back in a low bun—pretty low-maintenance. When I get out of the shower I put Leonor Greyl Secret de Beauté Hair and Body Oil ($66) in my hair right away. Then I use Oribe Star Glow Styling Wax ($42) and Oribe Airstyle Flexible Finish Cream ($42) together with a Mason Pearson bristle brush ($150) to achieve the combdown for my flat little bun. Finally, I spray Oribe hairspray ($38) in the front to toothbrush-comb down the flyaways. It’s an old wooden toothbrush by Goodwell Co. ($6) and it’s wonderful.
Twice a month I get my hair blowdried because I like it straight sometimes: $40 at the new DryBar here in Calabasas. Twice a year I get a haircut at Spoke and Weal (about $200)—I see Lindsay or Chelsea, and they’re both fantastic at cutting and blowdrying. I’ve never colored my hair.
My (Mostly) Subtle Makeup: $288
I have a lot of makeup, but I don’t wear a lot on. Right now the foundation I’m using is Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Number 50 ($50), which goes on like a tinted sunscreen. It has a very slight luminescence; not overbearing, because I don’t want to look like a lightbulb, and I think this does it without shouting, “Look at the shimmer on my cheekbones!” They’re really pronounced as it is. When it comes to blush I’m into Kosas Tropic Equinox ($34)—the darker color in the cream duo, not the illuminator. I think cream disappears into your skin more easily than powder; it’s that little touch that still feels natural, where you can still get that flush to your skin without being too extra about it.
I don’t like that whole superdark eyebrows look. So I use Josie Maran The Good Brow in Medium Deep ($24), but I don’t smush it on. I use it very lightly to reinforce areas that are sparse. On my lashes, I use the Utowa eyelash curler ($22) and follow with Chanel Inimitable Mascara ($32). Sometimes I wear Chanel Les Quatres Ombres eyeshadow quad in Candeur et Expérience ($64), which I apply with my fingertips. It’s super-easy and saturates your lids nicely.
On my lips, I like Pat McGrath’s lip pencil in Done Undone ($25), which is pretty close to my actual lip color. It feels great on and looks very natural. When I put on my face oil I include my lips so they’re really moisturized. And I color in my whole mouth with the pencil like it’s a lipstick. I also wear a red lip often, depending on my mood. I love Chanel Rouge Allure Ink Matte Liquid Lip Color in Choquant ($37), which means “Shocking” in French—that particular red looks so good on my skin.
My Must-Have Body Products: $346
I love my deodorant: Aesop Herbal Deodorant Roll-On ($35). I like the way it smells, that it’s good for you, and that it feels great going on your skin. And you don’t smell like a flower garden. No offense to anyone who does, but it’s not my thing.
For body moisturizer, I use one of two things depending on the day. If my skin’s super-dry I use La Mer The Body Crème ($275)—or I use Topicrem ($36), a French moisturizing body milk I discovered in Paris. I went to a pharmacy there because I needed some lotion, I picked it up randomly, and I was like, this is amazing! I’ve been using it ever since. It smells like a baby bath—like a clean, fresh baby in the bathtub.
My Favorite Facials and Body Treatments: $4,800
I get facials once a month from Camille Fields. She uses only Biologique Recherche products, and I spend anywhere from $200 to $500 on my treatments. But she’s just so good with skin—the way she extracts, the way she builds her treatments. I think that’s such a huge thing, finding someone who understands your skin.
I like to do a sauna or a massage occasionally—I think it’s good to be massaged, to just move blood around your body, make sure your muscles aren’t tense. With three kids I’m always carrying somebody, so I want to make sure things aren’t out of line. I’ve been trying to find somewhere out here in Calabasas and the only spa I’ve liked so far is Burke Williams. It doesn’t exactly give me the vibe I want but it does the job. I go for an hour to 90 minutes, which is about $100 to $200. It’s so important to go a couple times year. I also try to see a chiropractor maybe once a year to get my body aligned correctly. Those appointments are about $300—but can be less depending on your health insurance.
My Splurgy-But-Necessary Return To Exercise: $900 so far
For a long time now I haven’t been doing anything exercise-wise—I’ve been adjusting to having three children. I mean, all praise to God because I was given good genes. But I love working out, and I used to take ballet before my kids and when I was pregnant. I love how it stretches your mind and body. Now I’m taking ballet again two or three times a week with a private trainer named Romi. She’s the owner of Ballet Bodies—it’s $900 for 10 classes a month. I think I’ll probably stick to that frequency. The discipline, poise, and sculpting is important to me, and I enjoy the rigor and precision that having a one-on-one trainer provides. It teaches you mind control too. There are a lot of life lessons you can learn from being in a position you don’t enjoy. Ballet does that for you.