New York vs. L.A.: How 2 It Girls Do the Season's Top Beauty Looks

When I think of my fellow Angelenos, “low-maintenance” isn’t exactly a term that comes to mind. We’re talking about a city where it’s normal(ish) to get Botox before your 30th birthday and everyone is somehow connected to the entertainment industry. Not that I imagine NYC to be much more chill: Streets are jam-packed, the hustle and bustle is no joke, and people are out until the crack of dawn (and then some). Different coasts = different types of daily insanity = different beauty routines.

To get a better picture of how NYC and L.A. girls approach beauty, I reached out to a few beauty pros—namely, L.A. transplant Sona Gasparian and native New Yorker Arshia Moorjani. Do girls on the West Coast really keep their looks laid-back and natural? Is it true that New York girls prefer a little more edge? We figured there was only one way to find out. We had Gasparian and Moorjani each create their take on day, night, and weekend looks.

NYC day beauty trends

In New York City, the days are either sweltering hot or insanely cold, but that doesn’t affect Moorjani’s makeup preferences. “As much as I love myself without makeup, my preferred look is full glam, no matter the time of day,” she tells us. “I usually pick one feature to accentuate depending on my mood.” Here, she’s all about the eyes; Moorjani created a smoky eye look and paired it with a natural pink lip.

To get the look yourself, it's important that you know this look is as much about the skin as it is about the eyes. So start by prepping your skin with a dose of hydration; then move onto foundation, concealer, and blush (every look needs a pop of color, no?). Next come the smoky eyes—sweep a light base color onto your lids, then work a darker shade into the outer corners of your eyes. Finally, swipe on some eyeliner and finish up with mascara. Bring it all together with a pink lip and a hint of gloss on top.

Products used: Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly ($28); Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Infusion de Rose Nourishing Crème ($68); Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment ($48); Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation in Suntan ($48); NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger ($30); Laura Mercier Blush Colour Infusion in Rosé ($30); MAC Dazzleshadow Liquid in Love Yourself ($22); Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Eyeliner in Black ($30); Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara ($32); Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color in Boss Pink ($38); Sulwhasoo Essential Lip Serum Stick ($38).

L.A. day beauty trends

Gasparian likes to embrace Los Angeles’s more low-maintenance aesthetic. “In general, L.A. is a more casual environment, so simple makeup is the go-to,” she explains. “When I think of NYC, I think of a more corporate environment with more polished makeup.” A New Yorker may prefer sophisticated matte lips, while an L.A. girl may opt for a comfortable lipstick or lip balm, she says.

When you're doing a look that can only be described as "fresh," your skincare routine is crucial. Start with products that hydrate the under-eye area, de-puff, and always, always include SPF. Next, to even out skin tone, apply a tinted moisturizer and concealer as needed. Remember, the point is to have an effortless complexion. To finish the low-key look, you can use your fingers to apply a cream blush, fill in brows with a pencil, and then add lip serum for a hint of shine.

Products used: SHIFFA Jade Facial Massager Roller ($63); Kiehl’s Glow Formula Skin Hydrator ($38); Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment ($48); Trish McEvoy Even Skin Water Foundation ($60); Trish McEvoy Jumbo Instant Eye Lift ($45); The BrowGal Highlighter Pencil ($20); Sulwhasoo Lip Serum Stick ($38).

NYC night beauty trends

Makeup-wise, when hitting the town in New York City, anything goes. “NYC is such a melting pot, and evening looks totally reflect that,” explains Moorjani. She loves going bold by adding a hint of sparkle to the eyes while toning down the lips. Case in point: this sparkly smokey eye.

If you want your makeup to last even through the latest of nights, start your going-out look from scratch. Prep and hydrate skin, add an eye cream, and work it all in with a jade roller, which will help depuff tired end-of-day skin. Then add new life to your complexion with base makeup, concealer, and a pop of color on the apples of the cheeks.

To make this a true night-on-the-town look dress up your eyes with a dab of sparkle atop a classic smoky eye using a liquid shadow or cream formula.Top it off with a swipe or two of mascara, coating the top and bottom lash lines. And for the grand finale, add a nice neutral lip that’ll balance out the perfectly extra eye look you just created. 

Products used: Kiehl’s Glow Formula Skin Hydrator ($38); Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream ($27); SHIFFA Jade Facial Massager Roller ($63); NARS Natural Radiant Foundation in Syracuse ($49); NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger ($30); Sulwhasoo Radiance Blusher ($55); MAC Dazzleshadow Liquid in Love Yourself ($22); Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara ($32); Sulwhasoo Lip Serum Stick ($38).

L.A. night beauty trends

“In NYC, the makeup is cooler—people take more chances,” says Gasparian. “You’ll probably see a vampy lip and a wild eye look. L.A. girls are more hesitant to take those kinds of chances.” But that doesn’t mean the makeup isn’t unique: “We’re really into glowy, dewy skin, lots of highlighter, and shimmery eyes, and most likely a nude or natural pink lip.” Gasparian also likes to think of all the photo ops that’ll happen throughout the night—you know there will be a selfie moment.

To get this photo-ready look, start with a primer as well as long-wear foundation and concealer, and secure your base with setting powder. Add subtle definition to your cheekbones by sweeping bronzer into the hollows of your cheeks. Then apply a matte blush to the apples of your cheeks. For shimmery eyes, start with a creamy matte brown shade as a base. Then draw on gel liner, winging it out slightly at the outer corners of your eyes. Finish with “eyelight” (a sparkly, highlighter-like shadow) in the inner corners of your eyes, lining the waterline, and adding mascara. Apply a neutral lip gloss, and make everything smudge-proof with a matte setting spray.

Products used: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation ($48); NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer  ($30); Laura Mercier Blush Colour Infusion ($30); Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Eyeliner  ($30); Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara ($32); Vamp Stamp Black Liquid Eyeliner Ink ($19); NARS Duo Eyeshadow  ($35); Laura Mercier Lip Glacé ($27).

NYC weekend beauty trends

Weekends are the best, not just because we’re typically out of office (although that’s definitely a big part of it), but also because we’ve got more time on our hands, meaning we can take as long as we need to get ready. Even though Moorjani likes to keep her weekend looks simple, she does take advantage of the extra time by focusing on her skin.

Start by exfoliating and moisturizing the skin, plus dabbing on an under-eye cream. Then make sure it's all absorbed by going to town with a jade roller, massaging the products into the skin. The goal is to make your skin look refreshed, just as if you strolled out of a luxurious facial. Keep your face makeup extra light, only using foundation and concealer where absolutely necessary, plus a hint of color on the cheeks.

Fill in the brows, add a touch of eyeliner, and swipe on a little mascara, because no one can live without it, even on the weekend. Since you kept everything else soft, why not go all out with a statement lip? You can’t go wrong with red—but if you want to tone things down, layer on a gloss. 

Products used: Shiffa Jade Facial Massager Roller ($63); Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly ($28); Trish McEvoy Beta Hydroxy Pads ($67); Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment ($48); Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation ($48); NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger ($30); Sulwhasoo Radiance Blusher ($55); Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara ($32); Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Eyeliner in Black ($30); Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in Power ($28); MAC Plenty of Pout Plumping Lip Gloss ($19).

L.A. weekend beauty trends

Gasparian, on the other hand, likes wearing a bit more makeup on the weekends. It depends on her plans, but you’ll likely see her in a little bit more concealer, subtle bronzer, and a toned-down lipstick or pink lip gloss. “People in L.A. love skincare and comfortable, natural-looking makeup. It’s more about enhancing our beauty on the weekend than trying to make a statement or look perfectly done-up,” she explains. And this look is all the proof you need.

Nourish your skin with an oil, like Gasparian does, then follow up with an eye cream and your base makeup. Fill in your brows; then focus on your eyes: add a neutral shadow as a base, layer on a shimmery but neutral shade, and line your upper lash line and lower waterline to open up eyes. Finish with a pop of mascara. Coat on some gloss and you’re ready for a weekend in L.A.

Products used: Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream ($27); Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Rose Nourishing Oil ($65); Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift ($45); Sulwhasoo Radiance Blusher ($55); The BrowGal Skinny Eyebrow Pencil ($23); Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara ($32); Clinique Pop Splash Lip Gloss ($20).

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