IF YOU can feel glowier by osmosis, I’m gonna start spending a lot more time around Tess Wilmans-Higgins.

The brains behind Winc Beauty in The Heights, Tess gets it, that whole beauty-slash-self-care thing. It’s 9 a.m. when I meet her at her studio, which I’d liken to a sort of clubhouse for the Sephora set, and she’s, well, kind of glowing. I want all of her secrets (all of them!), so she offers to show me around.

We walk past the displays of indie beauty products (all cruelty-free and vegetarian), the facial room and the spray-tan booths. We head upstairs and see the yoga studio, the lash lounge, the space where hairstylist Natalie Black does her thing. We wander into the infrared sauna room … wait, what?

“This puppy is awesome,” she tells me, sensing my curiosity. “The average 150-pound person will burn 400 calories in 30 minutes in this thing. It’s insane. Just chilling.”

My eyes must bug out of my head because Tess adds, “Yeah, girl. That’s a thing.”

Tess has long been The Girl You Go To For Beauty Things. Back in high school, she was her squad’s go-to for pre-date makeup and prom styling. When college rolled around and she was trying to figure out where to go, who she was, she started working at a beauty counter in the mall, which led to a gig as a makeup artist, then esthetician school, then a 268-square-foot studio space (“It was, like, the size of this rug!” she laughs) and then the 4,000-square-foot beauty bonanza we’re standing in now.

But there’s more to Tess than glowy beauty. She’s as real as they come, a northeast-Arkansas farm girl who grew up raising and showing Texas longhorns (she’s a belt-buckled international champ) and someone who understands that being your best you is really all about balance.

“Here I am with my nice vegan smoothie and an aspartame-filled Diet Coke,” she says with a shrug and a laugh. “But it’s a baby one. Just a little bit of toxic chemicals. Whatevs!”


Tips and tricks and things Tess can’t live without

1. “I’m a total podcast nerd. Throwing Shade, Pod Save America, MFM, Dear Sugars and Fat Mascara are in my ears on any given morning.”

2. “After a full day of doing eyelash extensions on my clients—I probably apply 1,200 lashes on any given day—my shoulders and hands need a break. I’m obsessed with our BajaZen Salt No. 1 bath soak and COCO scrub for my summer soaks.”

3. “I’m kind of a minimalist when it comes to fashion. I don’t want to wear different jewelry every day, so I stick to simple pieces that I can wear with anything. I bought this little necklace from Catbird while in NYC a couple years ago, and I have a growing collection of art-deco rings from my travels. I love jewelry as a souvenir—I get to wear a little piece of NYC every day now!” (catbirdnyc.com)

4. “My husband says I have a rug-buying problem. I say I have a floor-covering solution. What can I say? … They just make my house feel like home! I’ve found awesome vintage Turkish rugs at flea markets, estate sales and on Etsy.”

5. “I love a cold-brew float from Loblolly Creamery. Y’all haven’t lived until you’ve experienced one.”

6. “Flatforms are comfy and so chic. I’m waiting for these to come in at SteamRoller Blues in the Heights.”

7. “The Hydrafacial. OMG, best facial treatment ever. It’s like a little wet vac for your face, but with antioxidants and hydration. Plus, there’s no downtime, and my skin looks red-carpet ready after the quick, yet relaxing, treatment.” ($150+, wincbeauty.com)

8. “I think I must be a magnet for the lost animals of the world because we now have four dogs from the streets at home. Which is the real reason I have to buy so many rugs!”

Ready for your own close-up? Neither are we. Which is why we’re perusing Winc Beauty’s lineup of services over at wincbeauty.com.