The Beauty Routine Makeup Artist Erin Parsons Has Been Loving As Of Late
In the age of "no-makeup" makeup, "clean girl" aesthetics, and an understated, dewy visage, celebrity makeup artist Erin Parsons is a breath of fresh air. Her social media portfolio serves as an ode to old Hollywood glamour, with vintage-inspired tutorials that transport you back in time yet somehow maintain an elevated, modern twist. (One day she'll test a 1930s Rigaud Rouge; the next, Westman Atelier's cult-favorite Lip Suede.)
"I really feel like I've seen every vintage classic film you could possibly watch," she gushes over the phone. "I'm so inspired by Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Josephine Baker…how they do their makeup is so fabulous." On camera, Parsons can pretend she's starring in one of those classic films—her "fantasy world," she calls it. Her commitment to various roles and genuine passion for makeup history feel refreshing among the swarm of "effortless" beauty looks; it's what no doubt fuels her 1.7 million TikTok followers.
As you can probably guess, Parsons has no shortage of application tips and techniques. But recently, I got the chance to catch up with Parsons about her personal routine, the products and rituals she gravitates toward when she's not Marilyn, or Josephine, or Joan Crawford, or Lucille Ball, or Clara Bow—but the striking, warm, fabulous Erin.
The tried-and-true: A milky cleanser.
"As the 44-year-old woman I am, my skin is maturing rapidly. And for years I always used a foaming cleanser. I liked the squeaky clean [feeling], like my skin literally squeaked if you rubbed your finger over it. I found later in life, especially in my late 30s when I started to transition to different skin care, that foaming cleanser was actually kind of rough on the skin. As you get older, the skin gets dehydrated really fast, especially if you're overdoing it.
"So I switched to a milk cleanser. My current favorite one is from a brand that's pretty unknown; it's called MBR—Medical Beauty Research. I have to double cleanse because I wear a lot of makeup, so I always have an oil cleanser. There's no specific brand; I will use anything because they all work. And then I use a milk cleanser.
"[It] completely transformed my skin. It used to be so dehydrated… So that's what I found that worked."
MBR ContinueLine Three in One Cleanser
The surprise hit: An LED mask.
"I'm really loving this LED mask, and I feel like I'm seeing a difference… Omnilux actually sent me this mask, and you can move around in it. It only does one light… This is just the red light. This is for wrinkles and fine lines, and every night I put my skin care on, I turn on YouTube, and I watch makeup tutorials or fragrance reviews, and I just put the mask on for 20 minutes.
"I've been doing it consistently every single day for two weeks. I'm literally looking in the mirror, and [my skin] just looks a little more radiant."
The secret: A hair growth serum.
"I have shared it before, but I'm not necessarily screaming from the rooftops that I use Rogaine. I'm not ashamed or anything, but I think we always had this idea that Rogaine was for men, but I started to lose hair [around my] temples, up in those corners on the sides. I still struggle with it, but it's so much better since I started using Rogaine. I mean, the stuff works.
"You do basically have to use it for the rest of your life, and that's fine because I use moisturizer every day, so I just make it a routine. It's kind of wild how well it works."
Women's Rogaine 2% Minoxidil Solution
The steal: Witch hazel.
"This is the easiest one: Dickinson's witch hazel.
"I wear hard-core waterproof makeup, and just micellar water doesn't remove my waterproof makeup. This product actually removes my waterproof makeup, and it doesn't feel greasy after I use it.
"If I mess up my liner, I'll always dip a [cotton swab] in micellar water, but sometimes that can even mess up the wing when you try to straighten it out. Whereas with Dickinson's, there's no grease. It wipes everything off, it cleans everything, and it's very inexpensive. I have a bottle on my vanity in my office; I have a bottle on my vanity at home. It's great, and it's cheap.
"I use it in my kit, too. So when a model comes into my chair, I'll use the Dickinson's to clean their face, and then I go with moisturizer, and then I go into all the makeup products. It's just kind of a staple for all facets of my life. But for me personally, dipping a [cotton swab] in and sharpening up a line, or even creating designs on the face… It's fantastic for that."
Dickinson’s Micellar Witch Hazel Makeup Remover
What working in retail taught me.
"When I worked in retail at 19, there was this woman who told me about how Erno Laszlo would suggest that you rinse your face with water like 50 times. So if you're in the bathtub, you just cup your hands with water and splash the face 50 times. That stuck with me.
"I don't know if it makes any difference. I don't do it all the time, but if I'm laying in the bath, I will literally start to splash my face 50 times thinking that this water is going to miraculously make me look like a teenager. It's this weird Erno Laszlo–developed routine.
"Marilyn Monroe used Erno Laszlo, and they found the paperwork at the end of her life that she was doing this Erno Laszlo routine, which I believe included that face-splashing thing. So maybe there's something to it!"
The carry-on: A portable vanity mirror.
"Everyone knows that hotel lighting is the worst lighting in the world, [so I use] a Riki Mirror. I keep one in my vanity here. It's an amazing mirror. You don't even have to plug it in, so if you're traveling, you can charge it… It's very thin, so it's easy to travel with."
The seasonal staple: Moisturizing masks, socks & gloves.
"I have these little socks. They're toe socks that have this silicone-like lining. And I find especially, in the wintertime, my feet will get really dry. So you put on [a moisturizer], you put on the socks, and you just lay there for an hour. I have my LED mask on, and then I also have some moisturizing hand gloves. Both of these products you can find on Amazon for pretty cheap. Total staples for the winter when you're getting dry."
KNESKO Amethyst Hydrate Face Mask
The signature: A crisp cat-eye.
"I used to do this look on Gigi [Hadid] all the time: A classic staple '50s look but with a nude lip. It would be that gorgeous cat-eye liner—my favorite is the Maybelline Hyper Easy Liquid Liner. Love that stuff. A bit of a false lash with a flare at the end…and lots of mascara, mainly on the top because I like to lift the eyes.
"I do not do highlighter. I don't do bronzer. I like the skin to look velvety, so I do like powder. But blush—I love to put on blush. It just gives so much color to the face. So I think if someone were to associate something with me, it would be that particular nude lip, eyeliner wing with lots of blush. I think you would see that on my page all the time."
Maybelline Hyper Easy Liquid Pen No-Skip Eyeliner
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.