Quarantine has been far from business as usual for anyone, but London-born, Los Angeles-based Bishop Briggs — real name Sarah Grace McLaughlin — is making it work the best she knows how. And thankfully, her best is pretty good. Despite touring and live shows on pause for the foreseeable future, things are still happening in the world of Bishop Briggs: her 2016 breakthrough single “River,” found new life on TikTok this spring; in June, she made a glistening feature appearance on Moby Rich’s newest song “friends*;” and most recently, she was announced as the newest face of Makeup Forever, debuting her first commercial for the brand’s iconic Rouge Artist Lipstick, complete with her own cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
It’s a lot for anyone to be proud of, and while speaking to NYLON over the phone, Briggs is excited and humble, making it crystal clear that she is riding the ebbs of flows of this moment just like the rest of the world, with all of its disconnect and social distance. Living alone in her sunny Los Angeles apartment, she isn’t seeing anyone regularly — aside from her sister, who thankfully lives close by — but she’s making time for new routines to keep her full, from writing and recording to putting more effort in intentional conversation with friends with a $25 card game. She’s doing the same restructuring when it comes to her beauty routine, taking inventory, making tweaks.
And even while following what she says is a more minimal approach to beauty at the moment, Briggs’ quarantine looks have not disappointed. Should you follow Briggs on Instagram (and if you don’t, you should), you’d be privy to her impressive hair growth coming off an entirely buzzed look at the top of the year, wig experimentation, and dewy makeup looks, all worthy of a save. And for her, YouTube has been a big part in that.
“I think YouTube has really been consistent in my world,” she tells NYLON. “It was the place where I could legally watch things because I grew up in Hong Kong, so a lot of the American beauty styles, or different things that were maybe international and weren’t available to see in Hong Kong, I could see through YouTube. So I feel like the beauty gurus on YouTube, from a really young age, have kind of been consistent for me because they grow up with you in a weird way. As the trends change, they are changing their makeup as well, so it kind of feels like someone that I could take tips and tricks from.”
Ahead, Briggs shares with NYLON how she grew into her relationship with beauty, and her newly established quarantine regulars and routines — from a fancy lip oil to a renewed interest in skincare.
What was your relationship with beauty like growing up?
Growing up, I went through a Marilyn Manson phase with my makeup, which was a bit shocking to my mom, while at the same time I was watching Jersey Shore. So it was a lethal combination. I wore a lot of thick, black eyeliner. I would touch it up in between classes. I also had a bit of a fascination with making my skin an orange color. I remember I one time went to my mom’s cabinets in her bathroom, definitely intruding on her personal space. I now understand that I found her bronzer, but at the time I was just like, “Wow, this is my shade.” Yeah, so I put her bronzer all over my face, and it was a shimmering bronzer that I now understand you would just maybe put on your collar bones if you’re on vacation or something like that, or on the tops of your shoulders. My experience with makeup was always very intense.
Who were you looking to during that time as the epitome of beauty?
All the girls from The O.C., the TV show. I recently started rewatching it, and even in the first season they’re wearing bright blue eye shadow that’s really glittery, and black eyeliner. I remember doing those types of looks, and I think because that show was just so big at the time, they really became overnight fashion icons and people you would turn to for the latest trends. They were a big inspiration for me.
How do you think your relationship has changed as you’ve gotten older?
I think as I got older I started to wear a little bit less of it. I think sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves when we look back at the makeup we used to wear, but there were things that were on trend. You know? The natural beauty look, and maybe just wearing mascara and a lip gloss, and really focusing on the wellness of your skin.
What’s are you putting on your skin during quarantine?
There is an OG YouTuber that I love, Michelle Phan, and she did this video on essential sunscreens for different skin types. The one I’ve been using is the Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen ($16). That has just really been a staple for me, even just going out to put out the trash. I think making sunscreen an essential has been a big part of my routine, and I think I’ve put a lot more focus on skincare.
I’ve been using the FOREO Luna ($49), too. I think when you are doing your makeup regularly, you are constantly moisturizing. I think I noticed really early on, if I’m not putting on layers and layers of makeup, I’m not touching my face. Sometimes people will say, “Oh, you can make your skin break out if you wear too much makeup.” But if you are properly cleansing and properly taking it off, you’re actually paying so much attention to your skin, more than you normally would. You’re putting rose water spray, and you’re doing different makeup removing cleansers, and I think your care for your skin can be a lot. But I will say during this time, I’ve just really let my skin breathe in a different way. It’s definitely a new experience.
The thing that I have to tell you about though, is that I recently got this Dior Lip Glow Oil ($34). I saw a lot of good reviews for it; the brush on it is so much fun to use. I have the cherry oil one. It’s 001 in pink, and I have become very addicted to this. It just feels like it’s nourishing your lips, and it’s fun to look at in a weird way. It has little bubbles in it, but that has been another consistent. So I feel like it’s really been sunscreen and this little Lip Glow Oil. Not so much for going out, because it has gotten stuck to my mask. I’ve learned that the very hard way, but I like to wear this before bed.
What makeup is in the mix, if any?
Something that I also got when I was supposed to only be getting my little free birthday thing from Sephora, was this Hourglass Veil Soft Focus Setting Spray ($48). This has been really great for when I am doing a lighter makeup look, and it basically just kind of softens anything on your face. Like maybe I’m just wearing concealer. I’ve been wearing the NARS Creamy Concealer ($30) from time to time, and generally around my period when there are lots of pimples on my face, and this has been a great setting spray. So, I’ve been keeping it kind of minimal.