Ever since the Freaky Friday remake starring Lindsey Lohan came out in 2003, I've secretly always wanted to switch bodies with someone. Sadly, the laws of physics prevent this; but last week, Byrdie news editor Victoria Hoff and I got pretty close.
As professional beauty aficionados, our makeup, skincare, and hair routines tend to get all tangled up with our personal identities. When Victoria summarizes her beauty vibe as "natural, but elevated," "low-key and fresh-faced," it almost sounds like she's describing her personality. Meanwhile, my natural instincts (aesthetically and otherwise) are colorful and experimental. I like bright lips and shiny eyelids and androgynous, lacquered hair. In beauty as in life, I don't like to take anything too seriously.
So when Victoria and I, two different editors with opposite approaches to beauty, were tasked to switch routines for a week, it almost felt like we were swapping bodies, à la Lindsay and Jamie Lee Curtis. (I don't know who would be Lindsay and who would be Jamie in this analogy, but that's beside the point). We knew the beauty swap would be a challenge—but we were curious to see what we'd learn. Would stepping outside our beauty comfort zones give us some much-needed perspective? Or would it just get weird? To find out, we designed detailed hair, skin, and makeup routines for one another and ordered all the necessary materials. Read on to see the results of our week-long beauty swap.
Victoria's Beauty Routine: A Review by Amanda
To me, Victoria's beauty routine reads eco-conscious, well-crafted, and aesthetically pleasing (just like Victoria herself… is that a weird compliment?). I was especially excited to get my paws on the iconic skincare products in her collection, like Shani Darden Retinol Reform and Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. In the spirit of becoming "natural but elevated," I even went to a Sunday morning yoga class. (My weekends are usually far more sedentary—sleeping in, drinking two and a half mimosas, reading a few chapters of a depressing memoir…). But for one week, I was determined to become Victoria in every physical way.
Victoria's luxurious skincare routine made me feel like I'd won the lottery. I was obsessed with how moisture-focused it was: Drunk Elephant's lightweight B-Hydra Gel, Sunday Riley's creamy antioxidant moisturizer, and Grown Alchemist's rich Hydra Repair Masque all gave my normal-combination skin a necessary gulp of hydration.
The potent serums were also a welcome switch-up. I wasn't used to retinol, so I started using sparing amounts of the Shani Darden celeb-approved serum a few weeks prior to make sure my skin didn't freak out. That combined with the Skinceuticals antioxidant serum made my skin glow like an orb. (I'd also be remiss not to mention my torrid affair with Victoria's favorite lip-plumping serum from Niod, which smells like tar but temporarily swells your lips by what looks like a good 500 percent.)
A few months ago, I gave my personal skincare routine a make-under, so it was fun to reacquaint myself with a more intensive regimen. I can definitely see myself using Victoria's sophisticated picks moving forward (sorry, bank account).
My experience with Victoria's hair routine was a slightly, not-so-slightly different story. My hair is short, fine, and naturally straight; Victoria's is long, thick, and curly. Her routine required me to wash with a natural shampoo and conditioner from Rahua, apply some Verb curl cream, and… that's it. No hair treatments, no heat styling. Part of me actually thought this routine might surprise me—perhaps my hair could air-dry wavy and voluminous if I hoped and prayed and scrunched it enough? But sadly, despite how much I wanted it to work, this curly-hair routine just rendered my hair dull, crunchy, and very confused. Let's just say someone at work asked me "what I did to my hair," and not in a good way.
I get that embracing your natural texture is cool right now, and I know Victoria's products are great for her hair type—but for someone who doesn't really have any natural texture to embrace, this approach doesn't work. This experiment confirmed that I simply need to spend a few minutes styling my hair for it to look the way I want it to. And I've made peace with that.
On the other hand, I did avoid curling and straightening my hair all week, and that saved me a ton of time. I realized that by simply brushing my wet hair straight and letting it air dry, it looks almost as polished as it does when I blow-dry and straighten. This is great to know, as the less time I have to spend styling my hair, the more time I can spend on other things, like sleeping.
Victoria's daily makeup routine is the minimal beauty uniform I've always aspired to but am too neurotic to actually do. While I spend my mornings fiddling with colorful eye shadows, brushes, liquid eyeliners, and a drawer full of impractical lipstick shades, Victoria's comes down to five core products: RMS Un Cover-up and Master Mixer, Glossier Boy Brow and Generation G, and a few coats of YSL mascara.
It was actually a relief to rely on this simple routine every day—it took three minutes and required no brushes or delicate handiwork, meaning I could do it in my car on the way to Byrdie HQ (which I did and loved every single day but can't officially endorse for safety reasons). I'd also completely forgotten how much I loved Glossier Boy Brow, and I have definitely found my new favorite concealer in RMS. The only product I really missed was my signature bright lip (okay, and my blush), but I'm totally hooked on the rest.
I was also very curious to try (and pleasantly surprised by) Victoria's beloved natural makeup brand Rituel de Fille. Victoria designed a "going-out" look for me, consisting of a deep berry lip and bronzy eye, both courtesy of Rituel, and I was impressed by the products' color payoff—especially for a line that isn't packed with all the wacky, unnatural ingredients that usually make makeup so pretty. Though the pigment faded a few hours after application, it did so gracefully. I was delighted to see progress being made in the chemical-free makeup world. In the end, I can confirm that Victoria's makeup picks were as natural and elevated as she is.
Amanda's Beauty Routine: A Review by Victoria
I have to admit, I was a little nervous to tackle Amanda's routine—not because she doesn't look amazing on a daily basis (her makeup is always on point), but because she definitely favors a more done-up, colorful look than I'm used to wearing myself. I'm also pretty picky about the products I put on my skin since I have a very dry, finicky complexion, and I've only recently nailed down the perfect balance of really effective, mostly all-natural products.
Of course, any good makeup look starts with a flawless canvas, and I was wrong to be nervous about swapping in new skincare products—I loved Renee Rouleau's incredibly refreshing Mint Gel Cleanser, which is the first cleansing gel I have ever used that did not dry out my skin. Another winner was Glossier Moisture Priming Rich, which smells delicately of lavender and left my skin silky smooth and hydrated for hours on end. And it turns out Amanda and I share a love for Tatcha's ridiculously silky Pore Perfecting Sunscreen, so no surprises there.
Amanda's and my hair could not be more opposite: Hers is sleek and fine, and mine is extra-thick and wavy. Fact: Prior to this experiment, I did not own a blow-dryer, and I hadn't plugged in my straightener in five years. (The ever-so-generous Harry Josh was kind enough to send over one of his dryers to help remedy that situation.)
Amanda's hair is naturally straight, but in the interest of mimicking her look as much as possible, I decided to style mine that way. Fortunately, since I only wash my hair once a week, I only had to go through the hassle of heat-styling it one time. The blow-drying part was a breeze (so to speak)—after shampooing with Amanda's shampoo of choice (Drybar Blonde Ale), I just used the Harry Josh Dryer to rough dry my hair, before heating up my straightener to make it as sleek as possible. It was at this point that I remembered exactly why I don't do this anymore—I winced every time I ran the straightener over a lock of hair. I spent my teen years and early twenties frying my hair into oblivion, and it took several years to restore my strands back to health. All this, and I was late getting to work, since styling my hair took about 45 minutes. (I think I'll stick with my don't-care hair.)
One of the silver linings was that I really fell in love with two of Amanda's go-to hair treatments ("I'm passionate about masks," she half-joked). The first was Shu Uemura Essence Absolue, which I'd been dying to try for some time—and yes, it's worth the hype. My hair drank it right up, and it added the perfect amount of sheen to my newly straightened 'do. The second was Gloss Moderne's High Gloss Masque, which smells exactly like Bath & Body Works' Warm Vanilla Sugar and for me, functioned like an ultra-conditioning styling paste: I used it to slick back my hair (one of Amanda's signature looks) for a night out and fell asleep with it in. When I woke up, my strands weren't at all greasy or sticky—just hydrated and smooth.
Every time I walked into the office this week, someone stopped me and said something along the lines of "Oh wow, VH, you look so glam today!" "Am I even that glam to begin with?" Amanda wondered aloud whenever I relayed these reactions to her. If you're comparing it to my typical everyday look, the answer is a resounding yes.
In addition to adopting Amanda's go-to products, I also tried out one her go-to tricks: She swears by using lipstick as an eye shadow. On Day one, when I was still kind of wary of trying on a completely new makeup look, I half-cheated by using my beloved Glossier Gen G Lipstick in Cake, a muted orangey-nude. Long story short: This makeup hack is genius, and I'll be using it on the regular. Thanks, Amanda!
Another big obstacle for me to traverse: the fact that I never use blush. I just find it to be kind of an unnecessary step and have never really liked how it looks on me. But I had to be Amanda this week, so I did my best to brush a little on. And, who knew? It turns out I kind of have cheekbones. ("I feel like a damn ghost," Amanda grumbled from her desk chair.)
The one complete daytime look Amanda instructed me to try involved pink eye shadow, the aforementioned blush, and a brown-red lip. Other than the lip, I really liked this look—mascara wariness aside, I actually liked using Benefit Roller Lash, as well as the Goof Proof Brow Pencil. But the two standout products were definitely Milk Makeup Eye Pigment in After Party, as well as Nudestix Luminous Eye Color in Rustique. Together, they made for this really shimmery pink eye color that I would definitely try again. (Plus, that Nudestix pencil does not budge.)
The nighttime look was my favorite moment of the week—it had a throwback, late '80s-glam feel to it, which is definitely something I can get behind. While it was definitely nice to break out my eyeliner for the first time in a while, the look really revolved around the velvety red lip. Tatcha's Lipstick is just unreal—from the silky texture to the pigment, it's simply perfect.