The Beauty Diaries

Three local ladies share the beauty secrets that keep them looking their best

Amy Baier and Abeer Al Otaiba are co-chairs of the Children's Ball for Children’s National 
Medical Center on April 11. Photograph by Greg Powers. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Photograph by Kate Warren. The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland. Illustration by Koren Shadmi. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock. Photograph by Cade Martin. Photograph of King by Kyung Jung. Photograph of Dixon by Naiffer Romero.

1. The Entrepreneur: Kitiya Mischo King

Age 40, Mom to Ian, 2

Fuse a love of all things beauty with a background in chemistry, then toss in a pregnancy: When you’re Kitiya Mischo King, that combination equals a stroke of entrepreneurial inspiration. King, who counts cosmetologist, aesthetician, and beauty blogger among her many titles, struggled to find a nail polish that was both durable and safe to use while she was pregnant with her son. So she took things into her own hands—literally. Mischo Luxury Nail Lacquers, King’s “5-free” line of seven nail hues inspired by New York Fashion Week, launched in November 2013. Naturally, she knows a thing (or 20) about products.


“The key to keeping my skin soft and smooth is exfoliation, and I swear by Laura Mercier’s Ambre Vanille body scrub. I get a facial and massage once a month, and a manicure and pedicure every two weeks. My favorite place for nail treatments is the Emerald Door in Silver Spring, because I love their holistic approach to nail care. The Japanese jelly pedicure is divine!”


“At the moment, I’m wearing a Michelle Williams–esque pixie cut, and I love it. I see my stylist, Ashleigh Taylor—of Taylor & York, on Seventh 
Street, Northwest, in DC’s Shaw neighborhood—
for biweekly deep conditioning, steam treatments, and blowouts. My home maintenance consists of shampoo and conditioning treatments with Davines products. I sleep on a satin pillowcase to keep my hair soft and smooth and to prevent it from drying out, which could result in breakage. I try to avoid using heat on my hair as much as possible, to avoid damage. I prefer to finger-style it using Davines OI/OIL Absolute Beautifying Potion and Oribe Original Pomade.”


“Less is more when it comes to my makeup routine. My go-to products are sunscreen, mascara, blush, and a bold lip. I spend no more than five to seven minutes doing my makeup. When I need to refresh for an evening event, I add Chanel Automatic liquid eyeliner and a few extra coats of mascara. I’m currently using Natura Bisse’s SPF 30 Daily Defense oil-free sunscreen, and I pair it with my Chanel powder blush  in either Pink Explosion or In Love. I love Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies mascara because it adds amazing volume to my lashes, and my current lipstick of choice happens to be Tom Ford in Cherry Lush or Violet Fatale.”

Skin Care

“My daily regimen consists of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, day and night, and I never go to bed with makeup on. I give myself an at-home mini facial once a week with a steam treatment, exfoliant, and mask. I am currently using Natura Bisse products—they are great for sensitive and combination skin. Facials are so pampering, and are also crucial to maintaining skin health. Once a month, I visit Lisan at the Spa at Mandarin Oriental for a facial. She has an amazing touch and customizes facials for her clients’ skin types.”

2. The Publicist: Robyn Dixon

Age 34, Mom to Corey, 5, 
and Carter, 4

Robyn Dixon is a Maryland 
girl through and through—
a Baltimore native, she graduated from the University of Maryland and now lives in Silver Spring. She’s a power publicist by day, an aspiring reality TV producer by night, and a full-time single mom to two active sons (their dad is former local basketball star Juan Dixon). Needless to say, a pared-down beauty routine is a must. Dixon’s makeup may take a scant five minutes, but she’s not afraid to take risks when it comes to her coif.


“I keep it simple and use Jergens Ultra Healing body lotion. It keeps my skin hydrated and soft. I’m not into scented lotions, but if Jergens ultra-healing came in a variety of scents I’d probably buy them all.”


“I have naturally curly hair and lately have been wearing it curly instead of getting it blown straight. After shampooing and conditioning with Moroccanoil, I’ll put in a bevy of Oribe products to try to keep the frizz away and promote the natural curl. My hair swells up very quickly, so I have to act fast with the product application. I go to Shirley Gordon at Strands Hair Studio in Wheaton; she’s a master at color and cutting. I’ll go about twice a month to get a blow-dry. I enjoy changing my hair color and will make a drastic color change at least twice a year. I also get keratin treatments twice a year. And I think it may be time for 
a new look!”

Skin Care

“Every now and then I completely switch up my products to adapt to changing seasons and revitalize my skin. I use a Clarisonic brush every day. At night I almost always wash my face with Neutrogena oil-free acne wash before bed, but I definitely have those nights where I can only muster up the energy to use Neutrogena makeup remover wipes. I am really loving the Super Star serum from Blush Med Institute in Bethesda. They custom-tailor their skin-care products to their clients’ needs; my serum specifically contains boosters for luminosity, antioxidants, hydration, and DNA repair. I also love the 
 ZO Skin Health exfoliating polish.”


“I spend about five minutes on my makeup; I’m very basic. On a regular day, I’ll use Nars Casino bronzer, Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer skin illuminator in Pale Shimmering Rose, Lancôme Définicils mascara, classic Nars Orgasm blush, and Chanel Glossimer lip gloss in Sweet Beige, the perfect nude. Oh, and I must curl my lashes. For events, I will spend a little more time to glam myself up: I use YSL Touche Éclat concealer, Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl eyeliner, eye shadow, and two coats of Lancôme Hypnôse mascara. Lancôme makes a great eye shadow palette for makeup novices like me: the Color Design eye-brightening all-in-one 5 shadow and liner palette.”

“I am a big fan of Zoya nail polishes. They‘re long-lasting and free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and camphor. I get stuck on the website for hours picking out colors and almost always end up buying at least ten bottles at a time. 
I hate getting my nails done at the nail salon, though. 
I can’t stand sitting there for long periods of time 
with my hands stuck to a table.”

3. The TV Reporter: Nancy Cordes

Age 39, Mom to Lila, 5, 
And Noah, 3

There’s nothing like 18 years in the television industry to help a woman perfect her beauty routine. As CBS News’s congressional correspondent—
a job preceded by stints at New York and Washington’s ABC affiliate stations—Nancy Cordes has a surprisingly simple routine. She may have curling irons stashed in three locations around town, but this Dupont Circle mother of two can nail a TV-ready look in ten minutes flat—even with the lights off. 


“I have been known to sneak over to Union Station for a 15-minute 
shoulder massage at Creative Hands Chair Massage after a stressful week on the Hill. I’m big on the gel mani-pedi right now. It’s a pain to get the polish removed, but I figure I’m saving time. I go to Color Nails on 17th Street, Northwest, which is right around the corner from my house. Very handy—ha ha!”


“I wash and condition every other day, and I blow-dry with a round brush and a little bit of product. If my hair’s looking flat, I might give it a little oomph with a Hot Tools curling iron—I keep one at home, one in my office at the CBS bureau, and one in my office on the Hill.”

“Charles Lindsay at Salon Blu cuts my hair. He’s a delight. The salon just began stocking Oribe’s entire line of products—that stuff is magical. I use the Shampoo for Brilliance & Shine and Conditioner for Magnificent Volume. I never seem to have time for a blowout, but Oribe’s Royal Blowout spray is the next best thing.”

Skin Care

“I wash my face with CeraVe face washin the morning and take my TV makeup off at night with Neutrogena wipes. I also like Almay gentle eye makeup remover pads. I love Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion SPF 15. I also rely on tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier and Tarte.”


“Being in my line of work, I’ve gotten makeup application down to a science. I can do it in about ten minutes—in the dark, in a moving vehicle, wherever. I try to streamline my products because I need to carry all that makeup with me to work at the Capitol. That’s why I like some of Sephora’s teeny-tiny travel accessories, like the Ultimate Curler to Go and pop-up travel brush. And what you see in the daytime is also what you get at night—I do a quick touch-up and go. The beauty of makeup for HD television!”

“My favorite products are: Paula Dorf Perfect Glo foundation, MAC blot powder, Clinique Butter Shine lipstick in Berry Blush, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara, Tarte bronzer, and Lancôme brow pencil.”