Two jobs, two kids—it’s no wonder that Cheryl Kramer Kaye‘s only “me time” is somewhere between midnight and 4 a.m. As the Executive Beauty Director of both Star and SHAPE magazines, Cheryl spends her days racing around New York City networking with the beauty industry’s elite and planning several issues at a time, while at night she races home to spend some quality time with her 4-year old twins, Benjamin and Jacob, before they go to bed. You’d think all this stress would turn her into the stereotypical rushed, rude, get-out-of-my-way New Yorker, but Cheryl is the exact opposite—gracious, humble, and most of all, hilarious. You’ll see…
PI: It’s your job to scoop the best celebrity beauty tips. Which ones do you swear by?
Cheryl: My favorite celebrity beauty tip of all time is from Maria Verel, a makeup artist who works with Diane Sawyer a lot. Maria is a little older than we are, but she looks like she could be my younger sister. She told me to hang my head upside down in the morning for two minutes to get the blood flowing. I sit on a chair and flip my head over. Brilliant! I do this when I wake up and look really crappy and it makes a difference. Also, when I know I’m not going to get enough sleep and want to look as good as possible in the morning, I put on self-tanner before I go to bed, like the Jergens Natural Glow For Face, $9. This way, when I wake up, I look just a little more well rested. It takes the edge off. Really, I’m all about tips for how not to look tired. I recently rediscovered Benefit Cosmetics Benetint, $30. This is going to sound so silly, but if I put it on my lips before I go to bed, I wake up with just a little bit of a stain and I look so much sexier in the morning. It kind of eliminates the need for a brown paper bag.
PI: What are some of your favorite beauty products?
Cheryl: I’m a tinted BB cream user. It’s a multi-tasker, like we are. I love Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, $9. Makeup artist Bobbi Brown taught me that the best way to apply any type of foundation or tinted moisturizer is to use your palms to press it into your skin because the body heat makes it sink in and look really natural.
PI: What about anti-aging?
Cheryl: The most important two-step process is sunscreen during the day, then vitamin A at night. I am beyond religious about sunscreen during the day, but I don’t have a favorite. I use whatever SPF30 I can find with UVA/UVB coverage. At night I used Tretin-X, which is prescription retinol. By the way, I mix everything with Olay Regenerist Serum $23. If I could have hot, cold and Olay Regnerist Serum faucets on my bathroom sink, I’d be happy. It’s harder to use retinol products in the winter because they are so drying, so I lay off of those and pump up the glycolic acids. In the summer, I use both. I use a lot of glycolic products, but Beauty RX Skincare By Dr. Schultz Advanced Exfoliating Therapy Pads, $70, are my all time favorite. I’m a bit of a whore when it comes to glycolics.
PI: What about eye creams?
Cheryl: I don’t use eye creams. I’ll use an eye gel if I’m sleepy tired in the morning. I really like the La Prairie Cellular Revitalizing Eye Gel, $165, but anything that’s a gel formula that I can put in the refrigerator is good.
PI: What about mascara?
Cheryl: Here’s the thing about mascara: everyone’s lashes are different and everyone wants a different effect. I want my lashes to be separated. I have a few favorites. Laura Geller WOW Factor All-in-One Mascara, $24. Laura Geller is one of my favorite human beings, let alone makeup artists, and her mascara is awesome. You can put on another coat later in the day and it looks amazing. My perfect in-the-cab mascara is COVERGIRL Clump Crusher Mascara, $9, because it always goes on really evenly so it never messes up. Every time I wear it, someone asks me if I’m wearing false lashes.
PI: What else do you put on in a taxi?
Cheryl: I often do my entire makeup in a taxicab—the whole damn thing. The good thing about being a mom is that you can keep baby wipes with you at all times. Although I think makeup wipes are better for removing makeup. I like the Yes To Cucumbers Facial Towelettes, $7, but I also like Klorane Eye Make-up Remover Wipes, $11, and Biore Makeup Removing Towelettes, $8.
PI: What are some of your fast fashion tips?
Cheryl: I live in Proskins Slim Classic Black Leggings, $120. They’re embedded with cellulite-improving ingredients (caffeine, retinol, aloe vera, etc), but they don’t look like workout leggings and they just pull it all in. I can dress them up with heels or wear them with sneakers. Also, I bought an Aeropostale Faux Leather Jacket, $24, that is 100% plastic but it makes me look cool, when I’m actually so not cool. It just gives me a little bit of edge. I have no edge! I don’t need to purchase things to make myself happy. I say I’m a drugstore girl and that translates into my fashion as well. I believe in investing in a few quality pieces, but I will never ever in my life by a $1600 bag. I prefer to splurge on experiences—a massage, a nice dinner, a little weekend or night away someplace. My husband, David, and I do datenight every Saturday night. Oh, and I also can’t live without Spanx Power Panties, $32.
PI: You’re notoriously not a morning person, so now that you have kids, how’s that working out?
Cheryl: This morning I had to be at a TV studio at 10a.m.—I was only ten minutes late! Plus, my husband, David, was out of town, so I also had to get the twins ready for school on my own, which he usually does. That was a disaster. Last night I reminded the boys that mommy was going wake them up and get them ready. They asked if I would make hardboiled eggs and bacon for breakfast. That’s special stuff. I put them to bed, I put them to bed again and I put them to bed for the third and fourth and fifth time, then I finally go online to see how to boil an egg because I haven’t done it more than once in my life. I get it down, I understand, I go to the kitchen and discover there are NO eggs. So I decide that in the morning, I’ll place a delivery order. I call the moment I wake up, feeling quite proud I have it all under control. We’re dancing, we’re playing, but an hour goes by and no eggs show up. I call the diner and they had my address wrong! So I said, “Kids, it’s vita-muffin time and we’re late for school—again.” I had planned so perfectly to be a bad mother and even that didn’t work out!
PI: How can you possibly find any time to yourself?
Cheryl: I think the hardest part is that I am never in my house alone, so my mental down time is usually between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. David goes to bed around midnight, then it’s party time for mama. I read the Huffington Post, New York Times and do all my parenting research on the mommy blogs. David is still amazed when he asks a question and I know the answer. I love urbanbaby.com which I call crazybitches.com because there are some crazy people on that site, but they are brutally honest because it’s anonymous. That’s how I found our pediatrician and our preschool. People just talk and say all sorts of things that they really think. It’s often unkind, but it’s usually accurate. Another go-to is ManhattanTwinsClub because there is something about having twins that makes you really want talk to other moms who have twins. The twin dynamics, you don’t find everywhere. There are some bloggers I adore, but they never post enough. They have lives too and that’s really annoying.
PI: Your job requires a lot of travel and evening networking. Do you think your career takes precedence over your husband’s?
Cheryl: My husband got into his career later in life, so I’m just a little further along in mine. He has always been an incredible supporter of me and my career, which I cannot say enough about. Any relationship I see where the husband is not so supportive of the wife’s career is a disaster. He wants me to succeed, so if I have to do something that takes time away from my family, he gets that it benefits my career and is completely understanding. I don’t know how I would react if it were elsewise. My husband is the reason I can do what I do. We also have a good amount of help, which sounds really posh, but it just means we have a team of babysitters. It takes a village!