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Night Moves: Jenna Lyons on Getting Ready to Whitney Houston and Her Late-Night Skin Care Secrets

The designer, TV personality, and guest of Noble Panacea’s Think Beautifully series pulls back the curtain on her getting-ready routine.

<p>Courtesy of Noble Panacea</p>

Courtesy of Noble Panacea

Night Moves explores going out through the lens of beauty. Here, discover how your favorite stars get ready to paint the town red, including what music they're playing to set the mood, the essentials decorating their vanity, and which must-have products are taking up precious real estate in their evening bag. In the latest installment, InStyle spoke to designer, TV personality, and guest of Noble Panacea’s Think Beautifully series Jenna Lyons.

Describe your perfect night out.

Being as close to the couch as possible. [Laughs.] My perfect night out is, I mean, it depends... because there’s a family night out, and then there’s friends.

I love The Nines [restaurant in NYC], just because it feels old school. Is that too boring because everybody goes there? Their food is otherworldly. It’s the only place I’ll eat a burger. And the wine, the caviar, the burger. Have you had the fries?! Also, when I moved to New York 30 years ago, Acme [the restaurant above The Nines] was one of the first places I went to. It has a lot of memories for me in a good way. It’s also uncommon for a place to warrant dressing up anymore. There’s no other place in downtown New York City that I feel like I need to dress up for besides The Nines.

I do love an early dinner, like at 5:30, and then going out after. That I’ll do. I won’t do an 8:00 and then go out. But I’ll do an early dinner and go out and meet friends if I can. I’m not a big drinker, so I don’t go to bars. But I do love to dance!

What are your top three getting-ready tracks?

I love “Outstanding” by The Gap Band. I have some raunchy ones… Then, “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston is another one of my all-time favorites. Then, there is “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison. I love that song. It gets me going. It totally gets me going. And “Georgy Porgy” by Toto, too.

If you could get ready for a night with any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

George Michael is the person I’d want to get ready with. He’s just the sweetest, most wonderful. I’m obsessed with him. I think he’s a showman. And I think he was incredibly humble because he couldn’t live the way he really wanted to live. So I feel like he would just be such a kind, gentle person. He was really a true star, but was never able to really be himself. And I think that would make him really gentle and fun.

<p>Courtesy of Noble Panacea</p> Lyons with her dog, Popeye.

Courtesy of Noble Panacea

Lyons with her dog, Popeye.

Do you have any pre-going-out beauty rituals?

My favorite thing is getting my nails done at home first. I’m also getting massages regularly recently, and it’s changed the game for me. Made me a much nicer person. And getting my nails done is like... I don’t know, there’s something about the ceremony [of it] because I never had time to do that in my previous life. It is always like go, go, go. If I can do a massage, or a facial, or get my nails done at home, those things make me slow down and click off of regular life and [be] like, Okay, what am I going to do tonight?

Then, the first and most important thing I need to do is make the lights really dim. There are just some things I don’t necessarily need to acknowledge that are happening. [Laughs.] And I like to live in my own vision of what is happening. So I turn the lights down.

And I like to start with a clean face. I love the Noble Panacea The Elemental Cleansing Balm and Exfoliating Refiner. It’s my favorite thing to do and travel with. I just count the days I’ll need them for. It makes my packing experience much lighter.

For my skin, I like to look a little dewy because, at this age, that’s all I can ask for. So I love the Absolute Nourishing Lift Oil. I put it underneath my makeup, and then that’s kind of it. I’m not overly obsessive. I do more at the end of the night than I do before I go out. As long as I have a red lip, I’m ready.

What’s your process for choosing an outfit for the night? Where do you draw inspiration, and how do things evolve from there?

I’m the worst person to talk about picking an outfit. [Laughs] I am, it’s true. Like for the [Real Housewives of New York] reunion, I had no idea what I was going to wear. And I literally picked my outfit that morning. Because I brought a pile of clothes and forgot one pair of jeans. I had to go home and get them. It’s not a pre-meditative thing ever.

If I’m going out, I usually start with my partner asking, “What do you want me to wear?” Because sometimes, she has an idea, like, “I want this tonight, or I want this.” And I’ll usually work around it. If the night is very fancy and people are going to be very dressed up, I have a tendency to dress down. If the night is more casual, I might go a little sexier and dress up. I usually do the opposite of whatever’s expected.

What’s your pre-going-out makeup routine?

I am totally obsessed with the new Shiseido concealer. It’s fantastic. I have to go with concealer because God only knows what’s happening over here. And then I love the Merit Flush Bomb, the cheek one. That’s always on there. I love a red lip. There’s Heatwave from NARS, which I wear all the time. There is the Sephora Chili Pepper, which is one I wear often. And then, a lash. I wear a lash [from Loveseen] at night. Inez or Noor. Well, Inez, mostly.

What essentials do you tote around in your evening bag?

I don’t pack a bag! I’m anti-bag. I never carry a bag. Have you ever seen... I never carry a bag. Historically, for lipsticks, I usually have pockets if I need them. But the thing is, if I’m wearing lipstick, I’ll wear the one that stays on. I say I’m going to touch it up, but I never do. I never do. It’s like, Oh, I’ll bring it, and then I just leave it in the bag, and I can never find it again. I have my credit card, house key, and I’ll definitely bring gum or mints, but I usually just put them in my pocket.

<p>Courtesy of Noble Panacea</p> Lyons at home in her SoHo loft.

Courtesy of Noble Panacea

Lyons at home in her SoHo loft.

What fragrance do you mist on before you run out the door?

I wear Creed Silver Mountain Water. I’ve worn it for years. I remember when I used to work at J.Crew, and people would say that they knew that I was there before I was there because they could smell my perfume in the elevator. It’s a perfume bath. I’ve tried to change it and my son has not had it. It’s like I drown myself in it. When he went to camp, he used to make me spray his pillow. Isn’t that cute?

What’s your skin-care routine when you get home?

I always... Well, I shouldn’t say always. I try to always take off all my makeup. The lashes come off, and they go in their little case. That’s the first thing. I take off all my makeup then I do my face wash again with Noble Panacea. I use eye makeup remover, too. The Make Up For Ever one is really good. Just because the viscosity is nice—it doesn’t get in your eyes, and it’s a little thicker. If I’m wearing lashes, it helps get the glue off.

For lips, I have a little thing I got in Korea. It’s basically like a lip scrubber. It looks oddly like a dental tool, but it’s basically like a little rubber brush. And then I just put that lip remover stuff after... I don’t know what it’s called. It’s like a sugary thing and I rub it off, and then I put on the Laneige Lip Mask. It’s like putting nail polish on your mouth!

Then, for skincare, I use everything. I go through every step. I actually do. I am one of those people who will take out the instructions and read them. Every time I go for a facial, I always pay attention and ask questions. I go to Joanna Czech and she’ll always tell me like, “Oh, this is what you should use." I need to be told what to do. If you’re going to take the time to develop a product and there’s science behind it, I want to do it right. Listen, if it’s going to help my wrinkles, I need to know how. Anyway, there’s the Noble Panacea’s Sleep Mask; I always notice a difference in the morning. I do it every couple of days, and it really does treat my skin and make it look buoyant!

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