The Beauty Products Bee Shapiro Uses to the Last Drop

Photo: Bee Shapiro

As a longtime beauty writer for the New York Times, Bee Shapiro never imagined she’d become the founder of her own beauty brand. But it wasn’t until she became pregnant in 2013 that she recognized the need to lean on clean ingredients and couldn’t find any clean fragrance options. Therefore, she launched her own fragrance brand, Ellis Brooklyn, in 2015. “I love making a scent come to life from start to finish. It’s a magical thing and one that I still get a lot of nerves and jitters about,” the Taipei-born, New York–based entrepreneur says.

After graduating from the University of Washington and attending Georgetown Law, Shapiro found herself “pretty miserable” at the law firm she worked for: “I knew at my core it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I quit without any other job or plan and very little savings.” Through trying different freelance jobs, she discovered her passion for writing. “I could rewrite a small 500-word story over and over again. I wrote for the New York Times as a columnist for some time, covering beauty and celebrity,” she says of her life before Ellis Brooklyn. “I had originally intended to keep writing and running the business at the same time, but Ellis Brooklyn took on a life and size of its own. I think of it as my third child.”

And when she’s not working on creating coveted fragrances, Shapiro is meditating and nourishing her body: “The toughest part is balancing stressors at work. As founders, we’re just so intertwined with our businesses, and for me, self-care is about separating myself from that. It’s beyond just beauty. It’s about feeding the mind with books and saving up for a vacation. It’s about feeding my body but also feeding my soul.”


Here, Shapiro’s a.m. routine

6 – My mornings are hectic. If I’m lucky, I’ll do a meditation on the train on the way to work. I’m usually trying to get the kids up and get them dressed. I’m jumping in the shower for a quick rinse with Bioderma body-gel wash — my entire family uses this, and it comes in a big blue bottle; it’s the perfect texture — and then oil up with Myth body oil. That’s maybe five minutes at most.

6:05 – For hair, I use my Ghd flat iron and lather Virtue oil onto my ends.

6:20 – For skin, I’ve been trying out this skin-care serum by Irene Forte — what a beautiful line, from the packaging to the product. I also love SkinMedica. The products are efficient without being irritating. After serum, I’ll apply the Ellis Brooklyn moisturizer — I love the cloudlike texture in the morning.

6:30 – I always put on the Tatcha primer before makeup. I’ve been wearing the Dior Forever velvet matte foundation. I have yet to find a “clean” foundation that lasts all day for me. This process takes me about three minutes in the morning.

6:33 – I have to do a liquid eyeliner as my real lashes are so dismal. I’ve been using a Boots one lately, but I also like NYX, Lancôme, and Chanel. I’m an equal-opportunity-eyeliner kind of gal. I love this Makeup by Mario palette from the holiday collection. I’ve had it for a while, but it’s so damn good I take it with me everywhere. I have to use an eye-shadow primer, though. My favorites are Hourglass, NARS, or the Urban Decay one. I also love blush — probably a little too much! Saie has some beautiful ones, but my absolute favorite is one from Hermès. It’s so fancy, but truly the color is absolutely beautiful.


Shapiro’s p.m. routine:

8 – At night, I bust out the SkinMedica. I use their even-color peel pads. I also will use that collection’s serum sometimes. If I could regularly stock it, I would use TNS serum for the rest of my life. But it’s more of a splurge item.

8:15 – I typically switch up between two different sets of shampoo and conditioner. My hair is colored and also very quickly turning gray, so I usually use a color shampoo to preserve my color. I’ve been using R+Co.


On the beauty-marketing ploy that makes her cringe:

I don’t love skin-care marketing that promises you some extreme results you’ll visibly see in, like, three days. I’ve tried so many creams, lotions, and potions. And while I’m a big believer in clinical trials, I also think that the most that we can get out of a good skin-care routine is pleased, soothed, and pampered skin. If you want to see a true visible difference, you need to make yearly appointments at the dermatologist to get an IPL here and there, a laser, etc.


On the beauty industry:

I love how it’s truly trying to be one of the most diverse industries. There are so many badass female founders, and there are so many founders of color. Is it 100 percent perfect?Definitely not, but I do think the beauty industry is putting in that effort.


On confidence:

Finding confidence, for me, is a never-ending journey. I don’t think I realized the full potential and power of women and how we fit into the world until I had kids. I have two little girls now, and it has completely changed my own inner dialogue about what I can and can’t do. For me, this journey is intertwined in beauty. I felt that I had it inside of me — this creativity that I wanted to bring to the world of fragrance and perhaps also bring a bit more awareness to people and how we engage with smells every day.


On beauty and TikTok:

I have a hard time watching someone put on layers and layers of makeup in order to go into ultraglam mode. It’s so unrealistic, and because I’ve actually tried these routines, you end up looking crazy when you walk out the door. I do love a glam face, but I like the shift right now to a more minimalist aesthetic. I love the aesthetics that come through, like the latte look or “strawberry girl.” It’s fun inspo that’s also easy to achieve.


On ingredients:

I think vitamin C is limited. It’s a great ingredient, but it’s not changing your melasma. I can’t do retinol. My skin just can’t stand it. It never stops peeling or adjusting. In skin care, I love anything brightening. My biggest gripe is hyperpigmentation. In makeup, I love anything with a shimmer. I am a shimmer queen. I love an over-the-top eye-shadow shimmer. I love a glowy highlighter. I like my foundation velvety and then lots of shimmer on top. In fragrance, I love bergamot and musk. I’m into the clean-musk thing. That’s why I wear the Myth body oil every day. I will spray perfume on top of that — I’ve been wearing Apple Love fragrance quite a bit now that the weather is colder.


On the beauty services she swears by:

Hydrafacials truly are so good, and they are productive. You’re there for maybe 30 minutes to an hour, and you come out looking amazing. Also, as I mentioned, my hair colorist and stylist are just worth every penny. They make me feel incredible when I come out of there and for months afterward.


On her beauty routine when in a rush:

I have to grab perfume, of course. I tend to have the Myth or Sweet rollerballs with me. I also would choose to do makeup! If I don’t have my brows and eyeliner on, I don’t feel put-together.


On her biggest beauty inspirations:

If you asked me about five years ago, I would have definitely told you a name: Brigitte Bardot, old-school Maggie Cheung, etc., etc. But honestly, I don’t pay so much attention to inspirations or mood boards for myself, personally. I think I’ve grown enough into my own skin that I’m okay with what I see in the mirror in front of me.

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The Beauty Products Bee Shapiro Uses to the Last Drop