“I’ve always loved the idea of makeup, but I didn’t really wear it until I got to college. I went to Southern Connecticut State University, and I started my degree in biology because I wanted to be a physician’s assistant; I had even taken EMT courses in high school and volunteered for my local EMT and ambulance group. But honestly, I have ADHD and the math was too difficult for me. I switched to nursing, which wasn’t much easier, and then I landed on business administration and marketing.
My plan was to do something within social media marketing after college. Actually, I had a YouTube channel during my freshman year of college—I only had like 500 followers, but I deleted it when an older guy I knew said it was embarrassing that I was filming myself. I know this now, and I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t listen to the negative comments—if you’re happy doing what you’re doing, then keep going because you never know where it can go. I’m so lucky that I got a second chance with TikTok, but what if I didn’t?
I started my TikTok account as a couple’s page with my boyfriend. Some of our videos went viral, and people started saying they liked my makeup and asked if they could see how I did it. My boyfriend was the one who encouraged me to do it, and I went full force with it.
In the beginning, I just really wanted to cover up my freckles. The problem was that my Beautyblender was absorbing a lot of my foundation. I would use six to ten pumps and it felt like a huge waste, and also, I was a broke college student using $55 Becca foundation. I remember thinking that my hands alone wouldn’t absorb the product, and the warmth would help me blend it in more. That’s why I started applying foundation with my hands. A lot of people were—and are—like, ‘You definitely wipe all of this off. You just apply a lot of foundation to go viral,’ but I wasn’t. I just wanted to cover up my freckles.
My whole thing was lip-syncing to rap music, like Nicki Minaj’s ‘I’m Legit.’ That’s what made my TikTok take off. This was during the summer of 2020, and I was painting my mom’s boyfriend’s house and gardening for money, but I would wake up at 5AM to create the videos. I hit one million followers in December, and then by January of 2021, I hit seven million. I literally gained six million followers in one month. To date, I think my most viewed TikTok is the one of me doing my makeup to Doja Cat’s ‘Get Into It (Yuh)’—it has over 137 million views.
I feel like I’m in my soft girl era. My makeup is much more natural. It was so fun doing full glam and recreating avatar looks when I was home during COVID, but now that I’m doing more fashion, and I have more meetings and I’m running around with my dogs, it’s really hard to do a two hour glam session every day. A big piece of my look now is not using as much—or any—foundation. Honestly, I was really nervous to explore this side of things. I thought people wouldn’t like my more natural side and that my videos wouldn’t perform well, but people have been leaving comments saying, ‘We love this side of Meredith. New character unlocked.’ It’s given me more confidence to show more of myself—and to embrace my freckles. I’ll always love my foundation technique—and I’ll still use it sometimes—but people grow and change.
I don’t like to wash my face in the morning, so on any normal day, I do not do anything to my skin when I wake up, unless I’m feeling super dry and need to put on moisturizer. I lean towards a simple skincare routine because I have sensitive skin and eczema—during the colder months, I get dry patches on my eyes and my hands will crack and bleed. The only thing that helps is a really rich moisturizer—I love Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream because even though it has fragrance, it doesn’t sensitize my skin—and Aquaphor. I coat my entire face with a light layer of it in the winter.
During the summer, I always start with sunscreen. I like La Mer’s Broad Spectrum SPF 50, Shiseido’s SPF 50+ Clear Sunscreen Stick, and Supergoop’s! Glowscreen SPF 40. If I’m in a rush to take out my dogs in the morning, I’ll use the Shiseido stick, but if I’m putting makeup on after, I grab the La Mer because it feels more like a serum for skin prep. Supergoop!’s Glowscreen calms down any redness I have, so I feel like I have makeup on even though I don’t. It’s great if you’re going to the beach and you want to feel cute but don’t want to put anything on. This might be weird, but I also like these three because a lot of other SPFs give me a weird sunscreen taste in my mouth, and I cannot stand it.
At night, I always use Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm or Tatcha’s Indigo Cleansing Balm to get everything off. For a double cleanse, I use Tatcha’s Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser religiously because it’s not at all irritating for my skin. I follow it up with my Dewy Skin Cream and Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask. I love the purple one, Gummy Bear, but I also like the original Berry, Vanilla, and Mango.
Recently, I decided to dissolve half of my lip fillers. I first got my lips done during my sophomore year of college because I was really insecure about them. For a while, I would literally get lip filler every week—too much. Now, I go to Upkeep Med Spa every six to seven months—I used to go more frequently, but my girl was like, ‘You need to stop or you need to dissolve all of the filler and redo it because it’s migrating.’ I feel like the amount I have right now doesn’t fit my face, and also, when I’m putting on lip liner, I can’t feel where the natural ridge of my lips is.
But here’s the thing: If you want to get filler—or any other cosmetic treatment—go for it, especially if it makes you feel happier or more confident. It’s no one’s place to talk down to people who get treatments. It’s not their body. It’s not their face. I feel the same way when people say, ‘Oh, you’re only wearing makeup to feel more confident.’ So what if I am?
My one piece of advice is to do your research. I really recommend going to a board-certified doctor. I mean, I love the girl that I see, but you never know with some med spas. I also get eye filler, and I’ve heard so many horror stories of people’s eyes drooping after. Also, my boyfriend’s in dental school, and he, of course, had to learn everything about the face. He told me, ‘You need to be careful. Somebody could hit the wrong nerve or a blood vessel.’
I always have a lip on—that’s my number one thing—but highlighter and blush are the anchors for my soft girl makeup. I’ve really toned down the contour and the lashes—when I have falsies on, I feel like they put the focus on my eyes, but I want the focus on my cheeks right now.
I always start my makeup prep with moisturizer—it’s so important or your makeup’s not going to look good in the end. Then I use my Morphe X Meredith Duxbury Foaming Face Primer, which is so fun to use, and Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter in the shade 2 Fair. The Flawless Filter is the key to a glowy look because it covers your redness but it’s not foundation, so you can still see your freckles and the warmth of your skin underneath. For concealer, which I only do under my eyes and a dot in the middle of my forehead and maybe my chin, I either use the Kosas Revealer Concealer in 02 W or the Dior Backstage Concealer in 0CR. Armani Beauty’s Luminous Silk Concealer is good, too. I use both shades 1.5 and 2.
Then I go in with the Charlotte Tilbury Highlighter and Blush Wands on the high points of my cheekbones because I want to lift my face. I think that placement looks the best with my features, but it’s different for everybody. I also put a little dot of blush on my nose to bring the warmth together, and a dot of the highlighter above my brows and on my chin, but I have to be careful because I can go overboard sometimes. I follow that up with a little bit of powder under my eyes. It’s funny because when I did my full glam looks, I would touch all over my face with my hands to make sure there were no sticky spots, but now, I use very minimal powder. I then set everything with the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray. It gives me hydration and makes me even glowier.
I haven’t been using any bronzer lately; I know it’s so different from what I used to do. If I were to grab some though, my go-to is the LYS No Limits Cream Bronzer and Contour Stick in shade Harmony. It’s so buttery and easy to blend.
For my brows, I use my Morphe X Meredith Duxbury Brow Sculpting Wax And Brush Duo. I like a feathery soap look, but I don’t have very coarse brows, so when I try to do that, it just looks like I brushed them up, which is fine. I only fill them in at the tail, maybe slightly underneath, and a tiny bit at the front because if you’re filling in your brows a ton but the rest of your face is super light, it’s not going to look great. Huda Beauty’s #BombBrows Microshade Brow Pencil—I use shade Neutral Blonde—is great because it’s super, super thin so you can get a very natural look.
On my eyelids, I’ve been using MAC Cosmetics’ Mineralize Skinfinish Highlight Face Powder in Soft and Gentle, a peach bronze shade. I wear it on the high points of my cheekbones, too, but it acts as a good eyeshadow without giving you color and then making you feel like you need to put on mascara. You can just have a glow on your eyes. Dior’s Backstage Glow Face Palettes are good for this, too. I especially like the 001 Universal version.
I’m so used to doing a very nude lip, that a dark-ish liner and some gloss is my version of bold. If I want a more neutral, lighter color, I grab the Morphe Soulmatte Filling Gel Lip Liner in Groove from my Lip Liner Glaze Duo. I top off the liner with Ole Henriksen’s Pout Preserve Peptide Lip Treatment—it kind of looks like lip gloss but it’s not sticky—or my Morphe Lip Glaze in Groove, a neutral beige tone. If I’m going for a red lip—I like Dolce & Gabbana’s Devotion Liquid Lipstick in Devozione and Audacia—I will always grab a matte shade even if the rest of my makeup is super glowy. I don’t want lipstick on my teeth, so I just play it safe because I know that a matte color will stay all day.
If I do want to do more of a full glam natural look, I love Glossier’s Stretch foundation—it has good nourishing ingredients in it and is like your skin, but better. Or I’ll use the Patrick Ta Crème Foundation and Finishing Powder Duo in Light 1. What’s nice about this product is that you can build it up as much—or as little—as you want. I apply it with a Beautyblender, but people are always asking why I don’t apply it with my hands like I did with my liquid foundation. I don’t want to dig my nails into the compact, but also, there are different techniques for different products. I know that everybody knew me as the foundation girl, and it was so fun and it’s what brought me to this point, but I want to remind everyone: It’s OK to try something new, whether that’s with makeup or something else.
My hair is naturally dark blonde and I dyed it bleach blonde for years, but I had so much trouble with it in recent months. It kept breaking, and the ends were so split because I was getting it done so much for events. So I decided to chop it, which is a commitment because it takes a while for your hair to grow back, but also, you only live once. Hair grows back, so why not?
I started taking the Vegamour GRO Biotin Gummies, and they’ve actually helped my hair grow so much since then. My boyfriend even asked if I got extensions. Vegamour has a shampoo and conditioner that I love, too—my hair feels healthier when I use them.
As far as hairstylists, Dimitris Giannetos is the best, and I trust him with my life. He dyed my hair red in September. My team and I wanted to do something fun and new, and we decided to go full steam ahead and make a statement. I will say, I have to be even more careful about finding products to use now. Even though I was already using products for color-treated hair, it’s so different. I went from washing my hair every day to once a week because the color rinses out so quickly. I was only going to keep it for Fashion Week—I was lucky enough to walk Christian Cowan’s Spring 2024 show during Paris Fashion Week, and it was so cool seeing my red hair on the runway—but I’m so obsessed with it, so it’s staying red. I actually think the color looks very natural on me because it works with my freckles; my sister has freckles and strawberry hair, and my cousin’s a ginger, too. This is how I should’ve been born. [Laughs]
I really like warm scents. I’m not much of a floral girl. I mean, I’ll wear floral scents, but the first thing I usually grab is vanilla-forward fragrances. My number one perfume in high school was Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium, but I’ve since discovered Kilian’s Love, Don’t Be Shy. This sounds creepy, but when I walk by people in the street, I immediately know if someone is wearing it. It smells like candy, and it’s not for everyone because it’s so sweet, but it’s my number one.
I recently discovered Parfums De Marly’s Delina Exclusif. It’s hard to describe because it’s sweet but fresh and a little powdery, but not really floral. I don’t know what it is, but I love it. I also recently discovered Tutti Twilly d’Hermès, which is a more fruity type of sweet but also rich.
And I always need a scent in my house—actually, Anthropologie has such good candles. My sister introduced me to the Capri Blue Volcano candle, and I think I overdid it because I burned it so much. Honestly though, I usually get all of my candles on Amazon because it’s easy, but I’m careful to order only soy candles. I mean, I love Diptyque, but their candles are so expensive, and I burn my candles all day. I once bought the candle version of a perfume I loved, but it was gone in two days. Never again.”
— As told to Daise Bedolla
Photographed by Alexandra Genova in New York on October 10, 2023.