In the summer of 2007, at the age of 15, if I was dancing around in my room singing into a hairbrush, it was to Aly & AJ's pop hit "Potential Breakup Song." With their smudgy eyeliner and bright blonde hair—one with straight, one with curly—the sisters and former Disney Channel stars (Alyson and Amanda Michalka, formally) were the sassy, edgy mid-2000s pop-rock stars of my teen dreams. Last fall, when the duo resurfaced with a new EP, Ten Years (in addition to a new version of "Potential Breakup Song"), reacquainting former stans with their charming personalities and hypnotic voices, we thought that was as good as it got. But as of 2018, Aly & AJ have even more new music (their new single, an infectious pop ballad called "Good Love," premiered last month), and they just wrapped up a multi-city tour. At 27 and 29, Aly & AJ also have a cool remastered beauty vibe to match their updated sound (one of them has gone brunette!). To my delight (and the delight of my 15-year-old self), I got to hop on the phone with Aly & AJ to talk all about their grown-up beauty routines, their best and cringiest makeup moments of the mid-2000s, and the single best glitter eye shadow for feeling like a rock star.
I was such a stan of you two back in the day and would love to hear how you’d describe your beauty routine/aesthetic when we all first met you 10 years ago versus now.
Aly: Our big obsession when we were teens and tweens was Limited Too. That was my beauty regimen—Limited Too products. I have no idea how good that is for your skin. The roll-on glitter, the face wash, the glitter shampoo that would leave sparkly flakes in your hair. It smelled like berries? And now people kind of kill me, and I should just lie and say I have an intense beauty regimen, but I kind of have zero. I know that’s really weird. I guess I’m just lucky that I never really had super difficult skin. When I’m on set and wearing lots of face makeup, it gets a little more sensitive. But I literally just use Neutrogena face wipes to wipe off my makeup.
AJ: Aly is horrible, and I tell her all the time that when she’s 50, her face is going to look like a paper bag because she doesn’t do anything. Wait, that sounds so mean. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever said that to you. But with Aly and how good her skin is, she probably will never have an issue. She’s just an anomaly with her face.
Aly: In a way, I feel like if I all the sudden started using a bunch of stuff, my skin would get weird. “Don’t fix it if it’s not broke” is my motto. But I’m definitely a sunscreen wearer. And there’s a friend of ours who started a skincare line that I really like. She was on the road with us. It’s called Dewyer. Using her stuff is just really easy. It’s super organic, cruelty-free. And it’s good for someone like me who only wants a couple steps doing any sort of routine. There’s a wash, an oil, and a toner. That’s basically my routine. Neutrogena face wipes or Garnier or Simple. I’m actually an expert on face wipes. I’ve tried them all. I think my favorite ones are Comodynes. And we’re big fans of Glossier. We’ve been wearing their makeup pretty much since they came out. So they are always in our makeup kit—their highlighters, their mascara, their cheek stain. I just love all their stuff. I just think their product is really good, cute, affordable for the everyday girl.
AJ: I have way more of a skincare routine. I’m a lot more fair than Aly and have way more sensitive skin. I definitely break out more, especially on my chin. For me, there’s a line that I use that’s not sexy in any way. It’s not cool; it’s expensive. It’s dermatologist-recommended. It’s this line called Prescribed Solutions. That’s what I use every day: a really great face wash, collagen, a daytime serum, and sunscreen. I’m crazy about sunscreen. But for me, my face routine is fun. I go into my little cabinet, and I do my routine. And I’m very anal about switching out my pillowcases and my washcloths.
Aly: We’re totally different. I couldn’t care less. I’m like, oh I haven’t washed my pillowcase in a month, who cares?
AJ: Our makeup artist that came on tour with us brought all these cool sparkles with her, and we ended up doing a cool different sparkly eye every performance. Aly would do a coral eye and I would do a mint green. Or we’d do an aquamarine. We just played with fun colors and a lot of sparkles and highlighter. We’re loving this brand called Lit Cosmetics. They do really fun sparkles.
Aly: It’s like really highly pigmented. Not stuff that AJ and I would normally wear day to day just walking down the street. It’s like heavy glitter. But it looks great onstage. You use this liquid glue and it sets the glitter, so it doesn’t flake. We would also do cool graphic eyes. I would do lids where it’d be like a liner that would form an almond shape but not fill in the inside. So like a cobalt blue or a gold.
AJ: I fell in love with graphic eyes when Emma Watson did that really cool black eyelid for the Beauty and the Beast premiere. That made me feel like, oh, this really works. You can have really simple, fresh skin and then a really bold eye. That inspired me, so we had a couple nights where we did that sort of eye onstage. We also love the Anastasia eye palettes and contour kits, which we played with a lot. Those are cream-based; they’re great. And Kevyn Aucoin has these eye glosses. I love them. We ordered one that looks like moon dust—like clear with just a light glitter if you’re going for more of a wet eye. And we also ordered a smoky black that comes in the same little jar. It’s really wet, so it can get creasy, but it’s really cool-looking if you just want to do a smudge on your lower lash line. I really like it. But back to skincare. Miranda Kerr has a really great all-natural skincare line called Kora. There’s almost a deodorant-type stick that you can use as a body glow on your legs and arms, and that’s been my favorite body thing lately. Your legs feel like butter.
It’s like the updated Limited Too body glitter. Do you remember any specific favorite looks you rocked back in the day?
Aly: Yeah, remember when you would do those little stars around your eye? Those glitter stars on the side of your eye? There are a lot of photos of us looking like that at concerts.
AJ: Which I kind of think is back in a weird way.
AJ: You know what brand reminds me of ’90s aesthetic? I’ve only played with their makeup a little bit on a photo shoot, but their stuff totally reminds of that era.
Aly: I agree. I think Milk is really cute. Also back in the day, we used to do really heavy makeup. Our skin looked really pale and matte. And I’m just like, what was up? We were 15-year-olds; our skin should have been really dewy. But I guess that wasn’t the look at the time. Now I look back and it just seems so incredibly dated.
The glow-up is real, my friends.
AJ: It is.
Aly: It really, really is.
Shop some of Aly & AJ’s beauty favorites below.
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