My Beauty MO

Kate McKinnon’s Makeup Artist Swears By This Red Lip

Bobbi Brown makeup artist Cassandra Garcia gives us the lowdown.

By: Alicia Cesaro

The fun thing about working in the beauty and fashion industry is that you meet a lot of people, and then you get to call some of them IRL friends afterwards. Such is the case with Bobbi Brown editorial makeup artist Cassandra Garcia. We met Garcia when we were on a shoot together and then bonded after we had her assess the entire Cov crew and give us personalized lipstick recommendations based on our skin tones (yes, this is the kind of thing we make strangers do). But this is probably nothing new for the makeup artist, whose personal client roster is filled with hilarious, smart women, like, uh, Kate McKinnon, Gabourey Sidibe, Aidy Bryant, and Vanessa Bayer (yeah, we weren’t joking about the funny part). And because that’s not enough, she’s also backstage prepping and making up models for Tibi, Jenny Packham, and LuLu Frost. Not to mention that she has a killer red lipstick and Chanel collection (her closet is for a whole other time, honestly). All of this leading us to continually ask her what color lip she’s wearing *and* how she manages to make it last all day (because we swear that day we were on set, she didn’t have to touch it up once). Herein she discloses all her beauty secrets (including that time she waxed her eyebrows off).



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What’s your AM & PM skincare routine like?

“In the morning I splash my face awake with this treatment lotion—I just place it in my hands and put it all over face, neck, and décolletage (trying to keep the neck and and chest looking soft and fresh). Then I use Bobbi Extra Repair lotion and proceed to makeup.

“After washing my face in the evening (or sweating it off at Tracy Anderson), I apply a Barbara Sturm moisturizer—she took my blood and mixed it into this amazing product thats perfect for your skin type because your own blood repairs skin. If I’m feeling extra dry (I always am in the winter) around my nose and chin, I use Bobbi Brown’s Repair Balm and top it off with La Mer Eye Serum.”


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You have five minutes to do your makeup. Go!

“First, tinted eye brightener under my eyes to wake my face up. I fill in my eyebrows with a really old Bobbi Brown eyeshadow and smoke that I’ve had forever—it’s literally crushed into pieces, but I can’t let it go because I love it and I have to use it till the end. My eyebrows are out of control, so I tame them with clear brow gel. Then I warm up my complexion with bronzer in stonestreet and pink or coral blush, and layer with Bobbi Shimmer Brick just to give an extra gloss. I finish with lots and lots of mascara— two layers and a layer on my bottom lashes.”

Any beauty disasters you care to mention?

“When I first moved to New York, my skin went crazy and I had to get it under control. I used to use Benzoyl peroxide face wash and salicylic acid, it’s calmed down now after being here about nine years. I am also such a pimple picker—I can’t seem to leave them alone—but I always do it the right way with clean hands, a sanitized needle, and alcohol.”



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What’s your version of self-care?

“I am a total Tracy Anderson devotee, I became a member in August 2016 and haven’t looked back. I go every day and afterwards I use CBS-infused Bea Butter for pain relief all over my body to help with soreness. My friend Vanessa [Bayer] always told me how important meditation was, and I trained in Transcendental Meditation (TM) and it’s been such an amazing experience for me. My schedule is usually all over the place, so I need a way to unwind and this has been the answer.

“I try to do masks at least once a week for my hair. I love the hair masks from Davines, but recently I’ve been alternating with castor oil. It’s supposedly amazing for hair growth, so I place it near my lashes and brows, too (stay tuned).”


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You can bring one product to your desert island?

“Lip balm! Can’t live without it and you can use it anywhere in a pinch—cheeks for glow, eyes as eye gloss, mascara…”

Okay, what’s really in your kit?

“EVERYTHING. It weighs about 60 pounds and has every piece of Bobbi Brown makeup, from vintage to new, and some sprinkles of Armani, Pat McGrath labs, Chanel, Nars, Tom Ford, La Mer. Yeah, it’s excessive.”

What feature do you love most about yourself?

“My skin. I am so lucky my mom taught me how to take care of my skin from an early age. She brought home my first moisturizers for day and night from Neutrogena, and I felt so special because I used to watch her do her skincare routine every day. When I’m home for the holidays she leaves remover and cotton balls next to my bed to make sure I remove my makeup every night before bed. She also taught me never to touch my face with dirty hands, and to use the back of your hand. I am also blessed to have long lashes—that one is thanks to my dad.”



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Who inspires your work doing makeup?

“Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Penelope Cruz, Grace Kelly, my mom, Maria de la Luz. I am very much into classic movies and love to see the makeup in black-and-white, the trends back then were classic.”

Cities and airplanes are gross. How do you deal?

“I take Thieves Essential Oil Spray with me everywhere there are germs, like planes or workout rooms. You spray it in your mouth to purify your system. I have an insane vitamin routine, but I usually only remember to take them every three days. I love kombucha and Moonjuice brain and beauty dust, which I mix in my coffee. I try to drink water and lemon first thing every morning. I am just learning that body maintenance takes more and more time [as] I get older.”


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You’re always wearing red lipstick—what’s your go-to?

“If I’m feeling glam, I’ll pop a red lip on—some of my favorites are Bobbi Brown Red Carpet Creamy Matte (this [is] also the color I used on Kate [McKinnon] when she won her Emmy), Tom Ford Cherry Lush and Nars Cruella and MAC Ruby Woo.”

What beauty advice would you give your younger self?

“You really shouldn’t have used Nad’s to wax your eyebrows and turn them into hooks. Those college years were rough, it wasn’t until I started working at Nordstrom that my friend Melissa from Anastasia Beverly Hills whipped them back into shape—she still reminds me of those tragic brows to this day.”

Part of the series:

My Beauty MO