The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss’ lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“Hi! I’m Sandra (@sandramuunoz). I’m originally from Peru, and was born and raised in Lima until I was 16. Moving to the US was never really part of the plan—but my mom fell in love with an American guy, and when things got serious, we moved to Tennessee. To be frank, I hated living in the countryside, and I felt very out of place. Most people there didn’t even know where Peru was. After graduating from high school I studied fashion merchandising and marketing in LA, and now I live in Dubai. I visited for the first time in 2019, and knew immediately that I wanted to move here. It was futuristic, cosmopolitan, modern, clean, and safe—plus, because it’s an emerging market, there were so many opportunities. After 10 years in LA, it felt like time for a change!
Even though I love fashion, after dipping a toe into the fashion industry in LA I quickly realized that I couldn’t pursue that path and have the kind of lifestyle I wanted. Instead, I wanted to generate income while I was young, and maybe put myself in a position to start my own brand later. Pursuing a job in the tech startup space seemed like the smartest decision to help get there. I’ve been in tech for over six years now, focusing on Influencer Marketing and Brand Partnerships. The tech industry is disruptive and innovative—we don’t follow corporate standards, and constantly think outside the box. That’s what I love about it. Plus, I adore working with brands and strategizing ways to create a buzz. I worked at Tiktok in its early stages, right after its rebranding, and I currently work as the Creator Partnerships Manager for Nas Academy. The platform’s goal is to democratize education, and to make it fun, engaging, and insightful. My job is to onboard creators, and research artists or entrepreneurs that would be ideal candidates to teach a masterclass.
When I moved to the US, all of the beauty products available here made me feel like Alice in Wonderland. Makeup and skincare aren’t as big in Peru, so the beauty industry wasn’t something I had much experience with. Once I started to discover different products, and each thing’s effect on the skin, there was no going back. I actually think Dubai and LA are quite similar, in terms of how beauty is approached. Both societies have a really strong beauty culture, especially when it comes to things like fillers and Botox. And both cities offer so many different amazing treatments. In LA, I love to go to Beauty Factory in Beverly Hills. The owner of that spa gives the best facial I’ve ever found. Seriously! In Dubai, I love to go to AIG Clinics. I try to do microdermabrasion once a month to give my skin a deep clean and start each month fresh. And once a year I do laser resurfacing to even out my skin tone and help fade any scars.
I struggled with acne for so long. I had a hard time finding the right combination of products, because most things were not strong enough to actually make a difference. I tried everything and went to countless dermatologists—no luck! But after a round of Accutane, doing tons of research on my own, and buying way too many products, I finally have a routine that I love. In the morning, I start by exfoliating with Dr. Lara Devgan’s Microdermabrasion Scrub and follow with the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex. Then I use toner, which really makes a difference in my skin’s overall glow and moisture. I mix La Prairie’s Cellular Refining Lotion with a bit of Biologique Recherche Lotion P50—trust me, if you can afford it, it’s worth it to mix the two! Instant glass skin. I follow that with Dr. Lara Devgan’s Hyaluronic Serum and iS Clinical’s Reparative Moisture Emulsion, then top it off with SPF. Chanel’s SPF 50 is my favorite.
I love a nude makeup look. I put Nars’ Creamy Concealer in Macadamia under my eyes, skip the foundation, and go straight to bronzer. Chanel’s cream bronzer and the Maybelline shade and light stick are my favorite to contour with. The Pink Dior Backstage blush is a great soft pink for my cheeks, and I always wear brown eyeshadows. The Natasha Denona Camel Palette has so many great shades. I am very picky about mascara—my winners are the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir and Lancôme Hypnôse L’Absolue De Noir Mascara in the darkest black, 011. And lastly, for lips, I use a brown liner and top it with a tinted balm or lipstick. Nyx Beyond Nude and the ones from Kylie Cosmetics are my favorite liners; on top, I love to use Byredo Argila (it’s such a pretty color, I’m in love) or the classic Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk. Before I go out, I spray myself in fragrance. For daytime, I switch between Gris Dior and Bibliothèque from Byredo. But at night, I love YSL Libre Intense, Gucci Guilty Black, Baccarat Rouge 540, and Dior J’adore L’or.
If you want a massage in Dubai, the spa at Address Sky View is my favorite. But I also discovered hammams here, and the spa at Palazzo Versace has the best one. I try to go once every two months or so—they prep my skin with black soap and then exfoliate all over with a special glove. I can literally see all the dead skin coming off, as if I hadn’t showered for a month. Afterwards I have baby skin for weeks! To maintain it, I just moisturize with Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel. It absorbs very well and fast.
To relax after work, I love to jump in the pool at around 5:30PM and watch the sun go down. After a swim, I wash my hair with the hydrating line from Moroccanoil. I use all of the products—the shampoo, conditioner, leave-in treatment for softness, and oil. I try not to brush my hair when it’s wet, because it falls out a lot more when I do that. But after my hair is dry, I love brushing it with the Mason Pearson brush (Junior size!). I also love the Tangle Teezer for when my hair is the most sensitive. It’s so gentle. Every six months I get a keratin treatment for shine. I get a lot of compliments on my hair, and that’s my secret! For the first month it looks a little flat, but after that it gets just enough volume. It’s just so easy—I wake up and I am ready to go! If I do want to style it, I find that the GHD straighteners are the best. I’m a fan of the Dyson Airwrap too, but when it comes to straightening my hair it doesn’t beat GHD.
I wash my makeup off with Drunk Elephant Melting Makeup Butter Cleanser, which isn’t bad, and then do a pass with Chanel’s Bi-Phase Makeup Remover on the stubborn stuff, which is the best! I follow with P50 and Dr. Lara Devgan’s Vitamin C+B+E Ferulic Serum. When I’ve had too much fun (and too much to drink), I use her Retinol + Bakuchiol Serum. And if I really want to make my skin glow, I use the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. When I wake up, it looks insane—in a good way.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author