As a child, I had a love for theater and swore to everyone I met that I would be on screen one day – and then I discovered makeup. I never knew how much I would LOVE being behind the scenes, transforming others. After attending Joe Blasco Makeup Center for Beauty and Special Effects makeup courses, I started freelancing and, as most freelance makeup artists do, ended up freelancing for and then managing a MAC Cosmetics store. I was completely in love. I mean, I was able to wear all black everyday and lashes on a Tuesday just because. Having worked on hundreds if not thousands of clients over the past decade, I consider myself a relatively good makeup artist.
But here is a secret – acne scars, blemishes, tattoos, even, can be covered relatively easily. But no matter how good of a makeup artist you are, it is really hard – like, really hard – to fake well hydrated skin. You can slap on moisturizers and serums and primers and, temporarily, fake it, but the key to a great makeup application is hydrated skin that allows makeup to blend, not just sit atop it.
As I’ve gotten older and into cosmetic medicine, I have really loved experimenting with skincare lines. I have a wide range of favorites and recommendations for each person based on each skin type and texture. One line that I was constantly seeing pop up was H2O+. Founded in 1989, their whole philosophy is that pure water can enhance and protect your skin. Their multi-stage water filtration process deionizes and purifies the base of all of their products – water. My current favorites? Oasis Body Gel Moisturizer, Infinity Renewing Youth Serum and the sexiest body product out there, Sea Salt Body Gloss.
Anxious to try but not quite sure what would be best for my specific skin type, I began chatting via email with their Customer Service rep, Carlen. She decided it would be best to call me – yes, a customer service inbound phone call – who does that? H2o+ does that. We chatted for a bit and she helped guide me towards the right product purchases for my needs. She was so passionate and pumped about her brand and it was contagious – I mean, have you seen my posts? I am now (almost) as big a fan as she is.
When she followed up to check on my order I thought, why not ask her to be a Beauty Savant Boss Babe – she is so knowledgeable and skin savvy. She so pleasantly surprised me by having their Marketing Director, Ally Ng, and their Creative Director, Katrina Firenze, join in the Boss Babe profiling. Because the only thing better than one Boss Babe is three of them. With a love of YSL Touche Eclat, Rosé and skinny jeans, you may find yourself relating to all three, as I did. Here you go!
- Name & Role:
- Carlen M. Sabagquit – Senior Manager of Social Care
- Katrina Firenze – Creative Director, AKA Kreative Katfish
- Ally Ng – Marketing Director AKA Grand Master Flash
- Beauty Philosophy:
- Carlen – It’s all about enhancing natural beauty! I stick with warm tones for eye shadow & I’m obsessed with Cargo’s Aloha Eye Palette. Then finish off with my current FAVE Too Faced Love Light Prismatic Highlighter on my cheekbones.
- Katrina – If it takes longer than 15 minutes, it had better be for a wedding
- Ally – “Have fun!” –The best part about beauty is there’s always something new to try!
- Best Beauty Advice received and from whom:
- Carlen – My mom would always say that women age faster than men and it’s important to use lotion and moisturize ALL the time.
- Katrina – “Laugh lines are a good thing, they mean you’ve enjoyed life” – my grandma, Helene Firenze
- Ally – “Wear a hat and stay out of the sun” –my mom who looks half her age because of it!
- Skincare Routine:
- Carlen -I keep it simple! Neutrogena to remove my makeup and to cleanse. REN Eye Treatment, Derma-E Vitamin C Serum and Night/Day Cream. For that extra dose of hydration, Oasis Hydrating Treatment and finish off with Aquadefense Facial Spray and SPF!
- Katrina – I like to mix and match from my favorite H2O+ Beauty collections. I cleanse with the Elements Fresh Powder Exfoliator and moisturize with Aquadefense Protective Facial Moisturizer. I am loving the new H20+ Sheet Masks when I need some extra face love, or want to indulge with a funny mask selfie on the sofa.
- Ally – Elements Cleansing Stick, Infinity+ anti-aging eye cream (I’m considered an old millennial), Waterbright Serum, Oasis Hydrating Cream
- Signature Fragrance:
- Carlen – Kate Spade Live Colorfully
- Katrina – LaVanila Deodorant in Pure Vanilla (I don’t wear perfume, but love the subtle scent of this)
- Ally – Fresh Citron de Vigne
- Fave mascara or lip product:
- Carlen – Laura Geller LashBoss (it’s AMAZING) and Too Faced Melted Matte – I love wearing a dark red lip!
- Katrina – Our Oasis Lip Gels are great for a little splash of color. When I want something very bold, I go with Nars Heatwave lipstick
- Ally – Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara
- Top 3 Desert Island Beauty Essentials:
- Carlen – Water, Aquadefense Protective Matcha Moisturizer SPF 40 & Vitamin E Lip Balm
- Katrina – Self-tanning spray, a good razor, and SPF protection – most likely our Infinity+ Wrinkle Delay Cream SPF 30. I’m assuming a bottle of Rosé doesn’t count as a Beauty Essential?
- Ally – Oasis Hydrating Treatment, YSL touche eclat, Fresh Sugar Lip w/ SPF
- When do YOU feel most beautiful:
- Carlen – I have an amazing family and we have dinner every Sunday! With aging parents, I feel at my best when I know my family is taken care of.
- Katrina – Hanging out with my fiancé and his son. They look at me like I’m crazy, but make me feel like I’m beautiful.
- Ally – When I’m on vacation ☺
- Fave Style Trend:
- Carlen – I love being girly & feminine! I can rock any outfit as long as I pair it with the right pair of heels! Though I tend to lean towards a pair of designer skinny jeans & a stylish top.
- Katrina – The return of grunge (is that still happening?)
- Ally – I love that sneakers are “in” which means I don’t feel like I have to change shoes for more “dressed up” places. I have a pair or rose gold nike Air Maxes that go with EVERYTHING. I had a baby a few months ago and I now am constantly running around pushing strollers, carrying car seats so I got these shoes with that in mind. I call them my “cool mom” shoes – but really they’re just cool shoes.
- Girl Glamazon/Style Crush:
- Carlen – Miroslava Duma, Olivia Palermo & Victoria Beckham
- Katrina – Alexa Chung
- Ally – Alexa Chung and Charlotte Gainsbourg – like I don’t think these two women will every go out of style.
Tell me a little about YOU!
Carlen: I am a California native, West Coast baby! My most important and best role in life is being a daughter, sister, friend, and an auntie! My family is my #1 and I cannot imagine life without them. My niece, Maya (18 yrs old) is my most favorite person in the world and knowing that I am a huge influence and role model for her and my nephews, inspires me to be the best version of myself every day. Part of being the woman that I am for Maya and my family, is finding value in my work and being in the beauty industry allows me to connect with and learn from women of all ages and backgrounds. I’ve grown in my appreciation for individuality and a desire to ensure that every interaction I have with someone is always an authentic and positive experience! First impressions do matter. How you present yourself, is a form of expression and it’s important to always present your best self every day.
Katrina: I like to enjoy life… work hard and play hard. I love working at H2O+ Beauty because of all the smart and funny people that work here. I’m not one to brag, but the Creative Team is pretty ‘effing awesome. They inspire me every day with their dedication to fresh ideas, humor, and strong gif game.
Ally: I’m a 3rd generation San Franciscan so I’m all about that city life but I also love the outdoors and traveling to new places. I’m happiest when I’m with my family in a place that is totally different or foreign and we’re just soaking it all in, exploring and observing. I love working at H2O+ because it’s like working at a startup where the brand story is constantly evolving. Every day presents a unique challenge or idea to evolve. Thankfully we have a very passionate team that is inspired and knows how to get things done which makes this a really fun environment to be in.