Breakfast with Barneys’ Beauty Guru Jason Ascher

In New York City, it often seems like you can’t turn a corner without hitting a beauty emporium, especially now that Duane Reade has given itself a Sephora-like makeover. Standing out from the pack isn’t easy, but Barneys New York continually manages to do so by securing a slew of exclusives from both established and up-and-coming brands. They’re constantly getting in notable new products, many of which you won’t be able to find anywhere else. The Madison Avenue flagship recently hosted a breakfast with beauty guru Jason Ascher (his official title, per Simon Doonan) to introduce this season's trends and some of the most notable new and soon-to-be-launched beauty products. Here are some takeaways:

  • 8:30 A.M. breakfasts at Barneys include muffins, scones, and coffee cake along with iced coffee and green tea.

  • As the weather changes from warm to cold you MUST ditch your light moisturizer in favor of something heavier. Even if you have sensitive skin this is an imperative switch. That doesn’t mean that you have to put the heavier moisturizer all over your face; instead target areas that are most affected by icy winds (chin, forehead, between the brows, etc.)

  • Ascher isn’t a fan of physical exfoliating preferring instead to use pads with fruit acids to gently exfoliate without irritating skin.

  • Many of us think that we’re experiencing a breakout because of a skincare or makeup product, but most breakouts result from stress, alcohol, smoking, and other bad habits. In fact, Ascher recommends wearing a “nice layer of skincare and makeup because it’s a protective layer” when you live in a city like New York where grime quickly accumulates on skin.

  • Must-haves for fall, according to Ascher:
  1. A tinted moisturizer instead of the oil-free formula you’ve likely been using in the summertime
  2. An SPF higher than 15. SPF 15 can give a false sense of security because if you don't re-apply it every hour, it’s useless. Ascher recommends Chantecaille’s SPF 50 primer.
  3. A good lip balm. Ascher likes balms formulated with rose because it’s naturally healing.
  • If you have a good skincare regimen, you don't need a facial more than two to four times a year at the top of every season.

  • The top makeup trends for Fall, according to Ascher, are brighter lips in lieu of a dramatic eye and nude lips. The guru told us that a bold lip is a good way to step up your look. Ascher is particularly feeling the “fifties socialite red or fuchsia lip with strong eyeliner and mascara.” He suggests opting for a matte (over a glossy) finish for a more polished end result and using makeup primer on your lips before applying color for a long lasting stain. Another favorite for the season is navy liner, shadow, and/or mascara because “navy is softer than black and an easy way to brighten the whites of eyes.”

  • To clean your brushes, use an anti-bacterial brush spray in between uses and then, every so often, wash them with Dawn dishwashing soap, rinse, and dry them flat overnight (once a week is recommended for brushes that come into contact with creamy/liquid formulations).

Ascher also took us through a number of Barneys' new launches, all of which are new or hitting counters between now and the first week of October. Here are some worth stopping to try.

Barneys NY Beauty

1. Arquiste, a new line started by architect and designer Carlos Huber. Each fragrance is inspired by a historical moment.

2. Alger Glass Candles which come in antique-like finished glass. 

3. Double Sided Brushes from Claudio Riaz.

4. Hourlgass Large Concealer Brush (this exact one isn’t online yet, but Hourglass brushes are fantastic and easy to wash because they’re made with PETA-friendly bristles). Ascher also pointed out it’s best not to use fingers when applying concealer because you often end up pulling on sensitive under-the-eye skin.

5. Radical Skincare, a line made with the highest degree of antioxidant. Ascher called it a “fruit salad for your face.”