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SHOP HER BAG:

SARAH
BROWN

Our new Executive Director of VIOLET LAB, Sarah Brown (of VOGUE fame), shares her previously well-guarded beauty secrets and her eternally-favorite VIOLET CODE APPROVED products.


Written By SARAH BROWN

Portrait By EMILY SOTO

True confession:

I have been a fan of VIOLET GREY since even before VG launched—I’m talking the early, early days, when VG was nothing more than a presentation deck on Cassandra Grey’s laptop and I was VOGUE’s Beauty Director, meeting this mysterious tornado of chic who’d just flown in from LA for breakfast at the Bowery Hotel. 

Now, several years later, here I am, working at VIOLET GREY and officially AT YOUR SERVICE. In my new role at the VIOLET LAB, my mission is to bring you the best-of-the-best-of-the-best and to work with the ultimate industry insiders and most exciting brand founders to make sure we miss nothing and deliver everything. We exist to help you build a world-class, expertly-edited wardrobe of beauty essentials. 

Below, I’m sharing some of my favorites off  THE SHELVES–from longtime can’t-live-withouts to brand-new discoveries. 

I want to hear what you love, too. Tag us on Insta and let me know what you’re putting IN THE BAG. 

XO.

Sarah 


 

#ShopMyBag | @sbrogue | @violetgrey 

SHOP HER BAG

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Wanna know the best trick for someone who loves a professionally blended eye but is not a professional? It’s what I call an eyeshadow crayon. I use the smoldering dark shades as (foolproof) liners and the twinkly opalescent light shades to add a highlight in the corner, and sometimes to softly line along bottom lashes. Super-smudgeable. Instant smokeshow. Very little talent required. One day if I get brave enough and frankly, if Cassandra Grey forces me, I will (maybe) show you in a mirror review, but until then, trust me. So easy.

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I have a new and dangerous obsession with Christophe Robin shampoos, conditioners, and basically everything else. It’s a problem. But not for my hair. I call this decadent wonder worker my “salt shampoo” and it basically guarantees a good hair day. It lathers up immediately into a rich froth, leaves hair and scalp feeling clean yet hydrated, and smells like a spa.

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I try loads of different skin care (all day every day! Cool job, right?), but I always find myself coming back to La Mer’s Soft Cream. I could go on about the ingredients—the kelp-rich Miracle Broth—or about how the texture, which is rich yet also light and sort of air-whipped, is as perfect in summer as on a ski trip, but the thing for me is just that my skin always looks better in the morning after I’ve used it. Soothed, soft, happy. I just love it.

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When we left New York City for a family quarantine upstate at the beginning of the pandemic, I quickly threw a few—a very few—basics in my bag, and this was one of them. It’s just everything I want in a body wash: clean formula; crisp yet not cloying or perfume-y scent; just enough suds; kind of a huge size so I don’t have to feel guilty about using a lot. I left it in the shower—in a house with many showers—and suffice it to say, the next time I returned, after a few weeks away, it was gone. Someone in the house stole it! From my shower! Good taste!

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I will always cherish the memory of feeding Lord Jones CBD gummies to my father and step-mother one evening after dinner and watching them sit around wondering if they were high “yet,” giggling like teenagers. Look, these don’t make you high, but they do sort of chill you out. They are a crowd-pleaser, the very best hostess gift, and just nice to have in the bedside table drawer or on the coffee table. So, feel a touch naughty without actually being naughty, tell yourself it’s self-care, eat something chewy and delicious, fall asleep happy, enjoy your life!

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Disclaimer: I have not actually tried this item yet but I have been literally dying to ever since Cassandra Grey casually mentioned it during a phone call, oh, six, seven, eight months ago? So, anyway, listen to this: You light the candle and fill the room with a sexy santal-y scent and then, when it has burned long enough to melt the layer of wax on top, which has transformed into a seductive, massageable oil, you blow it out, allow it to cool very slightly, and pour said oil (the vessel has a spout!) on to your hopefully already-disrobed and into-the-idea partner. And total amour ensues. As far as I am concerned, this is a must-have.

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Credit where credit is due. If you want long, lush, separated lashes that do not smudge, this is the one. Super skinny brush. Total icon. Accept no substitutes.

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I am forever recommending Avène to people who want wonderful skin care but don’t want to spend a fortune, and I am forever glamorized by the fact that the mineral-rich water in each product comes from a mountain-fed spring in the Languedoc that has been visited by pilgrims since the 1700s. It is the height of French apothecary chic and the gentlest stuff on Earth, a true find for prickly, dry, and easily irritated skin. And they make everyday staples, like this multitasking rinse-free cleanser/toner/makeup remover, still manage to feel like a luxury.

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If you, like me, suddenly require reading glasses to put on makeup—which is a major impediment to, you know, putting on makeup—a magnifying mirror with a Times Square-strength light comes very much in handy. This one is brill because you can also attach your phone to it, which is convenient for (a) the person filming a video/tutorial/mirror review or (b) the person enduring yet another FaceTime/What’sApp/Zoom call who wants perfect lighting (really, I look like a movie star somehow) and a hands-free phone stand in one. You’re welcome!

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I have a very simple lipstick test: Can I put it on in an elevator? While walking down the street? Or in the back of a taxi, now that we are all taking taxis again? Is it sheer enough to be pretty much mistake-proof (no mirror needed), but does it have enough oompf (color payoff) to be more than a gloss? And is it chic enough that I want to take it out of my bag at a restaurant or a party? Yes, yes, yes.

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Yes, I feel vaguely Joan Crawford and a silk sleep mask admittedly has a kind of high-maintenance vibe, but I live for this gorgeous pillowy thing. Not only does this featherlight pink wisp feel great on, and likely help prevent sleep-induced crow’s feet for all of us side-sleepers, but if you have any problem at all getting to sleep, or staying asleep, I promise this will help you. It is instantly pitch-black. It is instantly calm. It’s like being inside your own silky dreamscape.

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Here is something I’m putting in my bag because I don’t actually have it yet, and, yeah, I think I need it. O.G. NY power-derm Dr. Dennis Gross is generally the first out of the gate with major DIY innovation—the office-strength home peel? All him (put that IN THE BAG, too!)—and this futuristic LED mask is no exception. 100 gentle yet potent lights to kickstart collagen and elastin production, ease redness, even tone, treat and prevent acne. And in a pinch: it’s a potential Halloween costume. Sold!

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When someone sees you take VIOLET GREY’s signature cosmetics case out of your bag, they instantly know that what’s inside is an expertly edited batch of luxurious pro products. Now you know what’s inside mine. XO.

INTRODUCING:
SARAH BROWN 
EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR,
VIOLET LAB

by Cassandra Grey

After pursuing her for five years, VIOLET GREY finally persuaded the former VOGUE Beauty Director to head up our curation via VIOLET LAB.