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Who I am and who I’ll be
Andrea's career in beauty involves a lot of product testing. She shares her secrets to glowing skin.


19/99        Take us through your daily beauty routine.

Andrea Lee        In the morning I wash my face with water, then I put on a Vitamin C serum, a hyaluronic acid, followed by an oil, let that sink in, and put on my make up. I have to do it while drinking my coffee. It is part of the routine. I have to make the coffee, and I have to be sitting down. A lot of people want to do it very fast; for me it is a ritual and I want to sit down and take my time while I’m doing it. I sit in the washroom, and have a little mirror and slowly put on my make up. I do the skincare and then put on some sunscreen and then my make up.

For make up, I use a Nars tinted moisturizer. I love using a brush; I don’t like using my fingers, I always use a brush. I thought I didn’t bring my brush to the gym the other day, and I had to put my make up on. I was so upset that I had to use my fingers all over my face. And then I found my brush at the bottom of my bag, and I was so sad that I missed out on that glorious feeling of the brush.

19/99        What brush do you use?

AL        I was using a Fenty brush before, but then I started using a Chanel brush that comes with one of their very light tinted moisturizer, and it is so good.

So I use tinted moisturizer, and then I do a little contour with Kevyn Aucoin; one of his powder contours with a brush that one of my friends told me to get from Make Up Forever, which was really expensive. It is one of the double-sided ones. I asked her, “Why would I want this?” and she was like, “Trust me; it is the best one ever,” and it really is. Then I put on some blush maybe, and a highlighter; which apparently I have problems blending in because it has been pointed out to me that sometimes it is just a streak on my face. I use a cream highlighter; it is Pat McGrath. It’s a really really old one – the double ended one. I have used so much of it that I have started digging into it. Then I do my eyebrows with an Anastasia pencil – with the spoolie at the end. The spoolie is part of the routine because I love using the spoolie more than I love colouring my eyebrows. Then I do a cat-eye liner with Stila. I was using Marc Jacobs, and then Kat Von D, and then I started using the Stila and like it so much better. I love the Marc one when it is a brand new pen - it is so good. But I find it happens with the Kat one too; it dries really fast so if you go over the existing eyeliner it just grabs it off your eye. With the Stila one, I find you can go over it and that doesn’t happen.

And then I do a bit of mascara; I use the Shu Uemura curler, and then I put on a black lash primer from Estée Lauder. I think it is called ‘Little Black Lash’ - I don’t know what it is called, but it is amazing. My eyelashes are super stick straight so if I don’t do the primer then I find that my eyelashes with the mascara just droop down. I use mascara; any type of mascara. I’m not super picky because my eyelashes don't respond to mascara that well so it doesn’t really matter. If someone gives me a sample I just use it. Oh and I forgot; I use an eyelash serum for growth because I have very sparse eyelashes. I think that is it.

The most important thing is skincare and sunscreen. Right now I use a La Roche Posay 60 SPF that is matte; cause I have an oily t-zone.

In the evening I wash my face, with a First Aid Beauty cleanser and it is amazing. It doesn’t smell like anything, it takes away all my makeup. It is a cream formula. My friend said you can just put it on your face without water and wipe it off, which I think it amazing. I have to wash my face in the shower; I don’t like washing it over the sink, it doesn’t feel clean if I do that. I shower at night time - I can’t bring the dirt from the day into my bed.

So back to my evening routine; I wash my face and then it depends on what I’m feeling. Right now I’m using retinol, which I’ve never used before, but I’m trying it for work, and it’s not bad. Another time I was using an AHA for dark spots from Paula’s choice – that wasn’t bad either. Sometimes I use a toner for large pores and black heads and stuff like that. And then I use a hyaluronic acid, and an oil. Now, because it is so cold and I’ve started using a retinol, I put another moisturizer over that. And that is it.


19/99        How has your beauty routine changed over the years?

AL        There is more of a focus on skincare for sure, and a focus on skin. When I was younger, my skin glowed; it was not problem. Sunscreen, sometimes if I felt like it. But now it is all about the skincare, which I’ve heard is super common as you get older.

19/99        Was there an age when you consciously that switch?

AL        It evolved; it was probably around 35. It was because I got more into beauty, starting to work in the industry then. Being part of it, I read about a lot of new products and heard about a lot of new things coming up. And there was a big transition to skin back then; about healthy looking skin, different products, and just how to take care of it. So I think that is also part of the reason why I started to focus on that too.

19/99        Do you use any anti-age products. If yes, when did you start?

AL        I use a vitamin C, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic -  It’s anti-aging I guess if you want to call it that, but for me, in particular what it does is it helps brighten the skin and helps with dark spots or sun spots, which is super common for my skin type, my ethnicity, and my family. It runs in my family so that is part of our aging process. We don’t necessarily get wrinkles early but we get sun spots early. So I use that. And then a retinol. I don’t use eye creams because I don’t think there is much of a difference between them and regular moisturizer. And if you want to consider sunscreen anti-aging, because I do, then that too.

19/99        Do you think they work?

AL        Yes. Well I mean certain ones. I have used different types of vitamin Cs, depending on how much budget I have. Sometimes it is the Ordinary, sometimes it is Paula’s Choice, but when I have the budget it’s SkinCeuticals; and there is a big difference between then. The SkinCeuticals one works the best for me – but it is the most expensive. 

19/99        Do you feel pressure to look a certain way?

AL         Sometimes, but do I actually do it… no. I think that is true. Sometimes when I am around like…super girly girls, I think, ‘Oh maybe I should wear more make up, maybe I should wear tighter clothes, maybe false eyelashes aren’t such a strange thing,’ and then I realize that I can’t, I can’t – I’d just feel so uncomfortable.

As I’ve gotten older I care less about how I express myself in visuals. When I was younger, I’d express myself in the way I dress and the way other people may perceive me because of how I’m dressing…you know what I mean, like little cues. But now I don’t really care as much.

I mean, obviously there are societal pressures to look a certain way and I’m not free of them. I do care about how I look. I just told you about my morning routine, and if didn’t care I would just wash my face with water and a washcloth maybe, but I don’t because I do care, but I don’t think I care a ton.

19/99        Expressing yourself visually; I would say that you have a very specific aesthetic, well curated aesthetic…

AL        I would say before, because I was in the fashion industry it was more ‘oh I’m wearing Commes Des Garcons’ to signify that I know about certain things. And now I don't care.

Yes my style is very specific, and it’s not that it matters less to me; it’s more like I just throw it together. And as long as I am comfortable, then I am fine.

The other day, I was like, “I’m going to put together a super cute outfit today”, thinking I was going to be looking really cute. And then I looked at myself when I got to work – and I was like, “oh god I look like a lumberjack – and this not the look I was going for.” I mean lumberjack can be a good look but it is not the look I was going for. That was not the goal, but it was fine. Before I would have actually looked at myself before I left the house. But instead I was like ‘Mmmm I’m so confident’ and marched out of the house and then got to work and was like ‘Okay’…

19/99        Does the term ‘age appropriate’ mean anything to you?

AL: Oh ya! I have definitely been tested recently and I definitely think more about what is age appropriate for me. I think it is just because I realize that I am more self-conscious about it than I thought I was. Age appropriate does mean things; it means a lot of things. I mean what is age appropriate for me in terms of what my life should look like; kids, family, car, house, that kind of stuff – no I don’t have that, and I have never really had the drive to have that. So when it comes to being age appropriate in your early forties, I don't have a drive to have an age appropriate life in those terms. When it comes to age appropriate looks, like physical looks - I think I am not wearing the same things I was before. I think about my friend May, we are the same age, and she really gives zero fucks. She is like. ‘I’m going to dye my hair blue, and I’m going to do it now,” and she does it. And consistently she just does stuff like this, and doesn't care. I definitely care more than she does; but when I think about that…I mean I don’t care about being age appropriate within the general population.

19/99         If you could ask the younger generation one question what would it be?

AL        I talk to the younger generation all the time…..

1999        Okay…well generally – not one specific person, just generally..

 AL        Hmm.. I don’t really have one, because I am very curious about them, so it doesn't seem removed. I look at them and remember how no one else understood what necessarily made sense to me at that point in my life. And people would say, “Oh your so silly, you’re just a kid.” And now when I look at kids, I think, “Just express yourself. You guys are definitely expressing yourselves a lot more than people my age were when we were teenagers.” I guess I don’t really have any questions for them. Just comments….

19/99        What kind of comments?

AL         Actually maybe it is a question; do you understand what the world is like without it being so easy to access it at your fingertips? Imagine a world where you actually had to research something your really liked; going to the record store to find the album you read about somewhere. You couldn’t download the album; you actually had to go and find it. Or with clothes; if you wanted something and couldn’t find it, you would have to try to make it, find it at the thrift store, or alter it.

19/99        There is something in that that Trish [Patricia Ewanika] was talking about; the idea of care and creation that goes into things. Some things seem much easier in certain regards now, so there isn’t the appreciation of the craftsmanship or energy that goes into something; whether it is someone’s life and cutting them down on twitter…or the creation of an actual product or garment.

AL         Yes, I think that is the thing about the younger generation now; things are very temporary. And that is okay…because things are really temporary now. Nothing is forever.

19/99        If you could ask the older generation one question what would it be?

AL         I’ve never thought about that. I talk to people who are older too. I am really nostalgic so I want to know what it was like when people were whatever age. When I meet older women, who are amazing and strong and have a strong sense of being, I always want to ask them how they got there, what they were like when they were younger, did they have a certain path, and what lead them there. 

19/99         If you could share advice with younger self, what would it be?

AL        I don't know actually. I don’t live life with many regrets, so it’s not like I would say to myself, be careful with this. I guess it would be, and this is something I struggle with still, to vocalize desires, hopes and plans for the future. Because my life, the way I’ve always lived it, has just happened. I didn’t plan a certain career, I didn’t plan to have a certain life, I didn’t have the mindset that by the time I’m this age I want to have kids, by the time I’m this age I want that. I’ve never planned my life out like that. Whereas someone like my brother planned his life out very methodically; he knows when he is going to retire. Where as at this point, I probably will never retire. I would give a younger version of myself, even if it was last year, the advice to allow myself to vocalize hopes, desires and dreams, and know that it is okay if they don’t come true, but it is okay to put them out there.

19/99        What makes you feel beautiful?

AL        I don’t know, some days I feel really amazing and other days I feel like …ugh. I don’t really know what it comes down to. Some days I’m think my skin looks great, and I  feel beautiful. It is very much internal. That is all I can say. It’s not like some one can tell me I’m beautiful and then I feel beautiful… it is very internal.

19/99        Is there anything that scares you about aging?

AL        The thing that scares me the most is that my body is going to fall apart. It is more the physical things. Because I think to be active…okay its’ not that I like to be active, I’m not climbing mountains or anything…I like to work out. I realize when I get injured now that it actually has a lasting effect and I have to take care of myself. So I am worried about stuff like that – having my body not be able to carry me through. I think that is one of the things that I worry about the most. I have some concerns about the physical, what I’m going to look like, but hopefully I will just embrace it and go with the flow. For the most part I just don’t think you notice.

19/99        Do you think there is a point where we stop learning and growing?

AL        No, of course not. You can learn new stuff every day. It would be sad I think, to stop. If I were independently wealthy right now, I would want to take a class or go back to school or something. I would still want to learn new stuff. It could be ‘facts’ or something like that, or learning how to use my hands to do something different. Like pottery or something like that. I love learning different things, and I don’t think anyone stops learning or growing.

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Who I am and who I’ll be