A Venture Capitalist Turned Beauty Founder on Her 11 Favorite Beauty Products

She made an amazing foundation. We jokingly call it ‘One Serum to Rule them All’ (shout-out to my Lord of the Rings fans out there) because we wanted to create one serum that addresses all of the skin concerns we hear about the most: dullness, dryness, protection, and redness. Those ingredients on their own are just not that expensive, so you have to ask yourself why they often cost so much.” On the contrary, retinol, says Dubb, and especially prescription retinoids, are worth the splurge because they’re backed by science and truly give results. It will not clear 100 percent of whiteheads, but it will definitely do a nice job cleaning up congested areas.”

$99

at Sephora

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$99

at Ulta Beauty

Buy

The Candle

Byredo “Tree House” Candle

$85

“Just hands down the best smell on Earth. “Where was the product validation and expertise? I’ve yet to meet a Byredo scent I don’t absolutely love, but this one just does something to me.”

$85

at Nordstrom

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The Pimple Patches

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

$9

“These things never fail me. These are the issues I want to address. It has great texture and packaging, and it leaves my skin in that perfect sweet spot with retinol where it’s brighter and more even without feeling red and flaky.”. Below, Dubb breaks down 11 of her essentials, including pimple patches that “never” fail her, the “amazing” foundation worth every cent, and the towel that gave her strong, healthy, and smooth hair, and make sure to join The Beauty Group for exclusive discount codes to shop her picks. It almost feels like people saw it working with food, and they just applied the same logic. I always feel like there’s a very obvious, very thick layer of color sitting on my face, but I have to hand it to Pat McGrath. It’s our best seller because it’s gentle but effective, and smells like a citrus dream. And it’s one of the only lip products I’ve ever tried that actually helps dry lips, instead of just coating them.”

$18

at Ulta Beauty

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The Hair Towel

Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Turban

$30

“I’m basically a sales person for Aquis at this point. More often than not, I use this as a kind of spot concealer instead of all over my face, and I love how even it makes my skin look.”

$68

at Sephora

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The Device

DermaFlash DermaPore Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser

$99

“If you, like me, are the kind of person that asks to see your extractions at facials, then this product is for you. The Serum

Isla Storm Serum

$48

“My friends often come to me and say, ‘I have X dollars to spend on a new beauty product. We packed this serum with as many active ingredients as possible (17 to be exact) — including centella extract, allantoin, and hyaluronic acid — and it’s formulated with award-winning Swiss technology to make active ingredients penetrate deeper and longer. Why was it so expensive if it was made of so many plants and natural ingredients? By Daise Bedolla@daisebedolla

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Courtesy of Tracy Dubb, Retailers

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Courtesy of Tracy Dubb, Retailers

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Courtesy of Tracy Dubb, Retailers

On the Beauty Group, a Facebook community co-founded by the Cut and the Strategist, people chat all day long about the products they love — the ones so good they’ll make you hit that little “auto-refill” box at checkout. What should I buy?’ Usually, a dozen products fly to my mind, and I never have one good answer. “I have extremely sensitive skin, but not the traditional ‘sensitive skin’ type, because my skin still requires some heavy-duty products for the other issues — I am a big fan of exfoliation and acids in general.”

Individual products shouldn’t cost hundreds of dollars either. The pair joined forces after an introduction from a mutual friend, and Isla was born. Something as ordinary as toothpaste with fluoride could easily trigger her POD, so she’s careful about every single product that goes on her body. Below, we asked one of our favorite beauty pros to share her own selections. I could use it for hours, and I love that you can instantly see the results. “I also think the marketing around clean living has been extremely effective, but the disconnect lies in a lot of the oversimplifications that have gone into creating this entire industry. By that point, Dubb had worked with enough brands and founders as a partner in venture-capital firm M3 Ventures to know what she wanted, and perhaps most important, what she didn’t want, in a skin-care brand. Their latest Storm Serum, for example, is of 94 percent natural origin and 6 percent synthetic. “If you’re paying that, you should know that chances are you’re paying a lot more than your product actually cost to make,” she says. I like the straightforward ingredient list, the texture (it’s not sticky at all), and the nice cool feeling it gives my chapped lips. The problem is that the science behind healthy eating and product chemistry are pretty divergent, and you don’t need to be a chemist to understand that.”

When it comes to the rest of the products on her vanity, whether it’s skin care or makeup or hair care, Dubb wants them to cater to her combination and acne-, eczema-, perioral dermatitis–, and malassezia folliculitis–prone skin. I love two-in-one products, and this one really delivers. Not romantically — she’s happily in a relationship — but she was looking for a skin-care brand that offered both efficient products and transparency. $88

at Violet Grey

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The Lip Cream

Avène Cicalfate Restorative Lip Cream

$18

“In my lifelong quest for a great lip treatment, this is currently the front-runner. Not only do they beautifully cover up any pimple in real time, nine times out of ten they manage to remove pus and oil from even the most dug-in looking pimples. Where was the actual data to support claims? Months in from using this, my skin is brighter, firmer, and has more bounce.”

$48

at Isla Beauty

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The Foundation

Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Foundation

$68

“I absolutely hate the feeling and look of foundation, and unless I’m in black tie, I feel crazy when I have it on. I can’t keep enough of them stocked in my bathroom.”

$9

at Amazon

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$9

at Amazon

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The 2-in-1 Toner and Essence

Isla Beauty Tone Balance Elixir

$48

“The Tone Balance Elixir is the first product we ever developed. The brand now uses a mix of synthetic and naturally derived ingredients to formulate their products, and they’re not afraid to share the specific percentages behind each. It’s light, nongreasy, and just disappears into your hair. “I spent the majority of my beauty experience at M3 Ventures meeting ‘clean’ brands and found that while I agreed with the idea of ingredient integrity, what the brands were delivering was in many ways the opposite of what I wanted,” she says. It’s so smooth and light that you really forget you’re wearing makeup, and for me, the shade blends perfectly. As it often goes in the beauty industry, Tracy Dubb founded Isla Beauty in an attempt to find The One. I got this product after someone casually mentioned to me that it totally changed their hair, and I completely know what they mean. I use this twice daily after washing my face, and I have completely stopped struggling with dry, chapped skin.”

$48

at Isla Beauty

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$50

at SSENSE

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The Hair Mist

Oribe Foundation Mist

$32

“I think this is the perfect product for wavy hair that is just looking for a little something extra. It makes such a big difference in how my hair dries and holds its waves.”

$32

at Amazon

Buy

$32

at Amazon

Buy

The 2-in-1 Lip Balm and Blush

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in “Modest”

$36

“This product blends so nicely into lips and skin, and the colors are so good. My experience with this towel is that you don’t necessarily notice something right away, but after a few months, you suddenly have longer, healthier, smoother hair than ever before.”

$30

at Violet Grey

Buy Why did so many of them look the same and say the same things?” As luck would have it, her would-be co-founder, Charlie Denton, was asking himself the same questions. Customers love to tell us how much of a difference they see in their skin after a few uses. Because a lot of people either don’t have a toner in their routine or are used to something more astringent, this product is a total surprise to them. I use it on my wet hair after I shower, and then I braid my hair for a few hours to dry it. Storm Serum is our answer to that question. I love that it feels like a real lip color and a real cheek color, and sometimes I use it on my eyelids too because I’m a rule-breaker.”

$36

at Sephora

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$36

at Credo Beauty

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The Retinol

Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform

$88

“I’m usually skeptical of a product that Instagram embraces a little too wholeheartedly, but at the urging of a few friends, I tried this by Shani Darden when I was looking for a new over-the-counter retinol, and I have to say, it’s pretty great. “We do this in an effort of maximum transparency rather than to imply that one is better than the other,” offers Dubb, adding that simply sticking a “clean” label on a brand is not enough. “Hyaluronic acid, while a great ingredient that I use and we formulate with, is often overpriced if it’s the only thing in the serum, and I feel the same way about a lot of vitamin C serums. It removes whiteheads from congested, harder-to-reach areas, specifically around the nose and chin.

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