By Jillian Ruffo
Updated March 23, 2016 01:00 PM

Shay Mitchell‘s hair has been the envy of Pretty Little Liars fans everywhere since she first swung her long tresses onscreen. But it took a while for them to get back to enviable after a huge hair mishap in her teens, the horror of which she relayed to us recently.

Shay Mitchell behind the scenes at her Bioré Shoot (photo courtesy of Bioré)

“When I was about 12 years old, my best friend and I tried to straighten my hair with a clothing iron,” Mitchell tells PeopleStyle. “I was like, ‘Wow, let’s really get it straight,’ but I didn’t have all the fancy straightening irons that I have now, so I went and used a good ol’ clothing iron. I told her to press harder because she wasn’t getting it straight enough. Suddenly there was this horrible smell. It was my burnt hair that was half on the iron in a knot! I was traumatized. After that, I’m crazy about what I do to my hair.”

These days she combats heat styling (the normal kind, not the singe-it-all-off kind) with a kitchen staple: “I like to use a lot of coconut oil, and let it just sit overnight. When I come out of the shower, I put my hair in a braid sometimes and I just let it air dry.”

For something a little more involved, Mitchell turns to a celebrity stylist’s new launch. “Beach sprays are something that I love,” she says. “Jen Atkin has a new line out, Ouai, and I was so excited by it. It smells so nice that doubles as a perfume. And it just gives it that great texture to hair — I keep telling her, ‘Thank you for coming out with these products they smell so great!'”

The face of Bioré also is into makeup — so much so that she recruited her makeup artist, Patrick Ta (who now works with the Kardashians, Gigi Hadid and more), straight from his Instagram feed.

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“I was trying to find people who get make up the way I like mine to be done — there is a certain technique,” she explains of the search that lead her to Ta. “I was looking at the faces that he did and although all of these girls were so naturally beautiful before he started doing their makeup, he enhanced their features and that’s what I loved. I don’t ever want a makeup artist to completely transform me to looking like a different person. He just enhances people’s features in such a beautiful way and he honestly is such an artist with how he applies makeup, how he makes you feel … Every time I get my makeup done by him I feel my best.”

The one makeup product she hasn’t been able to get a hold of yet? Kylie’s lip kits — just like the rest of us. “It’s so awesome for her and I’ve seen it on a lot of other people wear it, but I haven’t gotten my hands on that yet!” she says.

For more on Mitchell’s beauty routine, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE!

–Jillian Ruffo, with reporting by Jackie Fields