By Tanisha Pina
Asking a beauty professional—whether it’s a celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist, or Instagram influencer (hi, 2018)—for advice is always a safe bet. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find there are plenty of other women out there who are legitimate authorities in their own right. In our new column, Unlikely Experts, they’ll give real reviews and recommendations. Whether it’s surfers on the best conditioners, bikers on the best cleansers, or ballerinas on the best foot creams, it’s fair to say these women know best.
It might be hard to believe, but the female news anchors you get your information from every morning don’t only exist on your television or laptop screens. In fact, they’re real women (moms! wives! fitness junkies!) who, despite often having to arrive at work before the sun rises, are expected to look refreshed, energized, and camera ready—every single day.
The most impressive part? Most of the anchors you see on your local news station (and even some national programs) are required to take care of their own makeup. No makeup team, no glam squad, no supply of fancy products in an equally fancy dressing room.
It’s fair to say that anyone who has mastered the art of looking put together, healthy, and well rested under a dozen high-volume lights at 6:00 A.M. is someone we’d want to learn a thing or two from. We spoke with a handful of these women from across the country about the products they rely on in order to look like their best, bright-eyed selves every the morning—and they delivered. Check their favorites below.
IT Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer, $26, ulta.com
Having been in the industry for about 10 years, Tara Herrschaftnow finds herself at Spectrum News, the statewide cable news station for North Carolina, where she alternates between the morning and night shifts. While she’s currently working the latter, she notes that the morning rotations run from 3:00 A.M. to noon—in other words, it’s a long shift. “Looking alive is sometimes hard to do,” she says. “My favorite concealer is the IT Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer, because if I can help reverse the hands of time and look awake, that’s a win! Plus, a little goes a long way, so the entire tube lasts for such a long time.”
Esarora Stainless Steel Face Roller, $11, amazon.com and Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment, $29, sephora.com
While Fox59 morning news anchor and Indiana Pacers emcee Lindy Thackston makes it clear that her morning relies on her entire routine—including everything from concealer to silk pillow cases—she calls out a couple specific must-have products, starting with a $11 stainless steel face ice roller. “I grab it from the freezer while walking out the door and roll my face during my 15-minute drive to work,” she says, adding that the shock of the cold helps wake her up, and that the rolling is great for lymphatic drainage and depuffing. (Remember when people would keep spoons in the freezer and put them under their eyes? Same concept, just a lot more chic.) Thackston’s other morning secret is Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. “I use it as a mask of sorts, putting on a thick layer under my eyes and letting it sit while I get ready to go; I pat it in before I leave.”
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30, $29, nordstrom.com and Trèstique Conceal, Cover & Correct Crayon, $24, sephora.com
Ever wonder what it takes to wake America up every morning? Thankfully, longtime Good Morning America contributor and former co-anchor Lara Spencer filled us in. “I use Kiehl’s Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 every morning, whether I’m working or not. It’s light under makeup and protects my skin from the sun,” she says. “I also have a new obsession with Trestique Concealer Sticks, which have a sponge attached for blending and are so creamy. I don’t use a foundation—just the Trestique stick in the spots I need coverage.” And while Spencer is no longer full-time at GMA and focusing on her production DuffKat Media, which includes her hosting duties on Flea Market Flip, she’s still putting in a ton of hours. “The days are long and flea markets are on weekends, so there are lots of seven-day work weeks, but I absolutely love both of these shows, so it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m always done with whatever I am doing by the time the kids are done with school. That’s nonnegotiable.”
Foreo Iris Illuminating Eye Massager, $139, sephora.com and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, $24, nordstrom.com
As a freelance reporter for networks and programs like ABC Chicago and Today,Donna Bozzo has a super sporadic work schedule, including days she’s out of the house as early as 1:30 A.M. “The biggest challenge in the wee hours of the morning is to get those morning peeps to open. Puffiness is not your friend,” she says. Her secret? Sleep, first and foremost, and something cold to put under her eyes, “like an ice pack wrapped in a hankie or ice cubes in a sandwich bag,” which she’ll dab under her eyes as she drives to set. “I recently invested in the Foreo eye massager [$139], which I absolutely love and use on a regular basis,” she says. “I keep it in my purse and use it at stop lights while waiting to pick up my kids at night. Just a few taps a day seems to do the trick.” She also suggests investing in a good concealer—she loves anything by MAC.
Rembrandt Whitening Toothpaste, $6, riteaid.com and Coco Floss, $8, sephora.com
Between her cohosting gig at The View and making regular appearances on Good Morning America,Sunny Hostin is a busy woman. And though it shouldn’t come as a surprise, her favorite products all relate back to her smile, as she mentions Rembrandt Whitening Toothpaste and Coco Floss as two of her favorite morning beauty products. “I’m obsessed with Coco Floss,” she says. “It’s all natural and the flavors are incredible. My favorites are Pure Strawberries and Cara Cara Orange.” They’re some of the first steps of her very long days, which can start as early as 4:30 A.M. “I don’t have a typical day, which actually is something I love about what I do—it never gets boring,” she says.
Garnier Clearly Brighter Tinted Eye Roller, $11, amazon.com and Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder, $28, nordstrom.com
“As the longest-running anchor of a national morning news show—17 years at the helm of our A.M. broadcast—you better believe I have some ‘wakeup makeup’ tricks up my sleeve,” says the host of Morning Express on Headline News, Robin Meade, whose alarm goes off at 2:45 A.M on weekdays. “I’m grateful for the continued opportunity to start viewers’ days,” she says. “I reach for the coffee as well as the eye-brightening products.” For that, she has two go-tos, starting with the Garnier Tinted Eye Roller. “This little eye roller not only has caffeine in it (to shrink puffiness), it’s tinted to cover up dark circles and give eyes a brightening effect. Very helpful at oh-dark-thirty,” says Meade. She’ll then follow it up with the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. “Even though the folks at Laura Mercier already named this product the Secret Brightening Powder, in the halls of the CNN Center, we call it the Pretty Powder. It’s milled so fine that it smooths over any fine lines to diminish their appearance, and it delivers just a touch of brightening to wake up your look.”
Sonia Roselli Water Balm Skin Prep, $49, soniaroselli.com and Omorovicza Blue Diamond Eye Cream, $230, spacenk.com
Over in Los Angeles, meteorologist and reporter at KTLA 5 News Liberté Chan is up by 1:45 A.M. on weekdays, 3:30 A.M. on the weekends, meaning she’s almost always waking up before a lot of people go to sleep. To make the most out of it, Chan starts her day by either popping a spirulina pill or adding algae powder to her daily green smoothie. But when it comes to actual beauty products, she stands by the Sonia Roselli Water Balm Skin Prep. “I love putting this on right after my morning shower before I head into work. It’s super light, but also super moisturizing and protects my skin from the layers of makeup I wear on-air.” For her eyes, she uses Omorovicza Blue Diamond Eye Cream, noting that it’s soothing and moisturizing—“and that’s all I want when I wake up in the middle of the night for work.”
Temptu Air Cordless Makeup System, $195, temptu.com and Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara, $5, ulta.com
“My alarm goes off each morning at 1:30 A.M., and I’m on the air from 4:30 A.M. to 7:00 A.M., and again at 9:00 A.M.,” says Jennifer Stacy, weekday morning anchor for ABC7 WZVN’s More in the Morning in southwest Florida. Right after filming, Jennifer goes home to perform her other “job” as mom to her two young kids. “How do I look awake despite getting an average of only five hours of sleep a night? Miracle makeup,” she says. “I recently discovered the Temptu Air cordless airbrush makeup machine that makes my skin look flawless! It cost me less than $200, and it’s made me feel like a million bucks.” In less than a minute, Stacy says, the spray-on foundation covers her fine lines, sun spots, and dark circles, and stays on all day despite the grueling Florida humidity. “It’s really easy to use, even when you’re half-awake and in a big hurry.” To make her eyes “pop,” she relies on the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara ($5). “It provides incredible volume and length with no clumps or ‘spider’ lashes, and works just as well as some pricey mascaras I’ve tried. This stuff is awesome.”
SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair, $102, dermstore.com and L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation, $13, ulta.com
As the South Florida WSVN-7 weekend morning meteorologist, Erika Delgado has to deal with the early hours when everyone else gets to sleep in. To make that happen, she has two trusty products that are key to her morning routine, starting with the SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair. “Moisture and hydration are so important for the thin skin around your eyes, so this is the one product I don’t mind splurging on,” she says of the hefty price tag. “It keeps the skin around my eyes looking fresh and moisturized while providing elasticity around those problem areas.” And when it comes to makeup, Delgado says she’d never go on the air without the L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. “Dealing with the dreaded oily skin and uneven skin tone (including dark under-eyes!), this foundation does a great job at covering up dark circles and making your skin look fresh, even during those early morning hours.”