One scroll through Maria Alia Al-sadek's Instagram feed will make it clear she is someone you should know. The 29-year-old spends her days documenting her life as a model, creative consultant, and digital strategist. The Palestinian and Puerto Rican influencer has been featured in Vogue and modeled Nike's first athletic hijab (and that's just scratching the surface of her career highs). The Brooklyn-based creative says her affinity for fashion and beauty began at an early age. As a toddler, she recalls digging through her "Puerto Rican grandmother's makeup drawer and pulling out her teal-packaged Clinique lipsticks."
"My first experience wearing makeup was in my early teens when my older Palestinian cousins introduced me to kohl, which is similar to eyeliner," she adds. "They lined my top and bottom water line with it, and I remember feeling so cool and grown."
Throughout her teens, Al-sadek says her relationship with beauty came from an idealized place of what was "cool" at the time. However, as an adult, her perspective has evolved. "As I grew up, [beauty] became a way to feel good about myself, have fun, and even express an emotion I'm feeling or would like to evoke. I think the magic lies in a ritual done solely with and for yourself. Taking time to indulge in yourself and do something that makes you feel good is really therapeutic." Ahead, Al-sadek walks us through her beauty routine and the beauty tricks she swears by.
On Her Beauty Philosophy
"My beauty philosophy is really simple. Beauty is subjective. There's beauty in everyone and everything—it just depends on how you choose to look at it. This takes the pressure off of traditional beauty standards for me. I know there is no one true attainable beauty standard and that's what makes me comfortable with my appearance. Feeling good and being happy is most important for me."
On Her Everyday Beauty Routine
"I usually start with a really simple cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I've been loving the Chanel Le Lift Creme ($170) in the evening and the La Solution de 10 Chanel Sensitive Skin Cream ($80) for the daytime. On days I wear makeup, I'll go in with a skin tint like the Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint ($70). Or, for a bit more coverage, I'll use Les Beiges Water-Fresh Complexion Touch ($70). Depending on the current state of my under eyes, I may or may not use a concealer there. I like to do a bit of contour and blush to highlight my cheekbones. I'm really into brushing my brows up and using a minimal brow pencil to shape them. For eyes, my go-to is a soft brown wing with a minimal amount of mascara to tie it together. For nighttime, I've been into lining my eyes with a black pencil and feathering it out in the corners a bit. I finish up with a little highlighter on my cheekbones and under the brow bone before lining my lips and adding a Glossier shade to the center."
On Her Favorite Beauty Product
"It's Le Volume De Chanel Mascara ($38) because of how insanely major it can make your eyelashes without looking like you're wearing a ton of mascara."
On the Beauty Rituals She's Learned From Her Family
"My mom has incredible skin, and she passed down the importance of skincare at a young age. I'm always super inspired by the beauty rituals from my Palestinian Arab side, which puts a ton of emphasis on the eyes and frames them in a way that enhances their natural beauty. I always gravitate toward these techniques when I'm going for a more glam eye look."
On the Best Beauty Trick She's Learned
"Icing your face in the morning will really get your face looking right for the day."
On the Secret to Camera-Ready Glam
"I always focus on having a really stunning, flawless base, and everything else falls into place from there."
On Luxury Beauty
"Chanel was the first luxury brand I got into in my early teens. I can't remember what drew me to the brand initially, but I did my 'World Heritage' history project in ninth grade on Coco Chanel. I had to write a research paper on her life and even had to dress like her for the day. Since then, I've always independently purchased and supported the brand—it's one of those rare brands that really embodies luxury in every facet."
On Using Her Platform for Good
"This is something I always am working towards bettering. Being honest and amplifying the stories and voices of people who may not have the same size platform is really important. Making real human connections, sharing resources, and staying in touch with reality is so important."