A personal skin journey around acne was the catalyst for LA-based content creator Cynthia Ess’ foray into the world of beauty and skincare and we, for one, are pretty happy for it. Cynthia, who you may know by the name of her uber-chic IG @cynthialions, is responsible for some of the best beauty recs and most stunning product photos around. When it’s time for a makeup bag refresh, you want her on your side. We recently caught up with Cynthia to learn more about how she’s defined her aesthetic, how motherhood changed her take on beauty, and more. Read on and be sure to check out Cynthia’s favorite Nette candle, Another Life.
Hi Cynthia! Tell our readers a little about yourself.
Hello! I’m a freelance graphic designer, content creator and mom of two based in Los Angeles.
What inspired your interest in beauty?
My own skin and acne journey led me to discover the beauty and skincare community on YouTube about nine years ago. I became obsessed. I love how transformative makeup and skincare can be and how good they can make someone feel. Simple little tips and tricks can really boost your confidence and mood.
Your Instagram is the minimal feed of our dreams — have you always had such a defined aesthetic?
It’s definitely evolved over the years! When I first started out, I only did product flatlays on a white surface. I was kind of just following along with what other beauty accounts were doing. Slowly, I was able to find my own aesthetic, incorporating more of my personal space and home. And once I taught myself how to use Adobe Lightroom, that really helped me define and play with my feed.
What words would you use to describe your aesthetic?
Rich, moody, and neutral.
Where do you find your inspiration (fellow Instagram accounts or otherwise!).
Recently I have been very inspired by interior design. Being at home 24/7 this past year, I have become obsessed with styling my own home. I’m constantly on Pinterest! I definitely find inspiration in fellow content creators on Instagram, too.
How has becoming a mom impacted your approach to beauty?
I started paying more attention to ingredient lists when I became pregnant with my first son. I became a lot more mindful of what I’m putting into my skin. And in general, as I age, I enjoy a less-is-more approach — I feel more beautiful and comfortable in my own skin. When my son looks at me first thing in the morning with no makeup on and tells me I look beautiful, it’s the best feeling in the world.
We’re always looking for new recs — can you share your favorite new skincare and makeup products?
Skincare definitely comes first for me. I love double cleansing and my favorite cleansing balm is the Farmacy Green Clean. Sunday Riley Good Genes will always be my favorite go-to serum — I can see visible results when I use it. More recently, I have been enjoying the Superegg Sound Renewal moisturizer and Ilia Beauty Lip Wrap Lip Mask. And I’m obsessed with sunscreen — I’ve gone through so many Krave Beauty The Beet Shield fluids. On days when I don’t wear any makeup, I still like to apply some Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas all over because it gives the skin a nice smooth and soft blurred effect!
What are your five favorite take good care rituals?
- Drink water.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Gua sha/facial massage.
- Take naps.
- Light a candle!