The Difference Between L.A. and NYC Beauty, According to Bicoastal Influencers


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The NYC versus L.A. showdown is hardly new, but this comparison game feels especially relevant during this season of New York Fashion Week. Much of the conversation has circled around the fact that several designers (Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Comey, and Tommy Hilfiger, to name a few) have decamped for Los Angeles, and it seems that more and more New Yorkers are swapping coasts all the time (including yours truly).

But even as L.A. continues to cultivate the same kind of fashion crowd, there's no arguing that there are still distinct styles that set the locales apart. And no one knows this better than Sara and Erin Foster, the hilarious sisters who star on VH-1's reality show parody Barely Famous—in addition to traveling between the two cities throughout the year, both share an eye for beauty and are unflinchingly unfiltered in their observations. (When we speak to them, the pair happens to be in NYC for a fashion week event put on by Birchbox.)

"L.A. and NYC beauty is so different," Erin says. "In Los Angeles, it's a lot of heavy makeup with fake eye lashes and spray tans. You start to get used to it and think you need it. Then you come to NYC, and it's so minimal, you don't see anyone walking around with a ton of makeup on. Everyone is simple and classic, and it reminds you that less really is more."

"I love how NYC women are more about clean skin and clean eyes," Sara says. "I feel like they put more of an emphasis on a chic outfit. You can tell women really take care of their skin here. You rarely see women wearing caked-on foundation, which is a look I particularly can't stand. Even when I'm dealing with pimples and redness, I always spot-cover rather than use all-over foundation. It's just not a good look."

In fact, the California natives are hoping that the NYC exodus has a good influence on the L.A. aesthetic. "I think this intense, overly done contoured look is just not as interesting as letting your natural beauty show," Sara says. "People don't look like themselves, and it has become totally acceptable. You never want to feel like people would be shocked to see you without makeup."

Trends aside, commuting between the two climates requires an overhaul in your beauty regimen—particularly in the dead of winter. Both cop to doubling down on moisturizer upon arriving in New York. According to Sara, however, there might a secret to maintaining a relatively seamless routine. "Using more organic and natural products [works for me] and keeps it the same no matter where I am."