I won't lie, the life of a beauty editor is extremely surreal. To be honest, very different—and far more difficult—than most people would probably assume. (Despite what it might look like on Instagram, we're not just swiping lipstick and taking selfies all day, folks!) I'd be remiss to let the amazing perks of the job go unacknowledged, and believe me when I say the neverending flow of products, the pinch-me interview moments, beautiful events, and complimentary treatments and services aren't lost on me. I'm insanely lucky, and I absolutely love my job. That said, there's a lot more to this industry than meets the eye, and it's actually something I really struggle talking and being open about because the last thing I would ever want to seem is ungrateful. (Believe me, that's so not the case.)
In all actuality, the job of a beauty editor is far more unglamorous than most people would expect. The majority of my days (and many late nights and work-riddled weekends!) are spent hunched over my laptop, sweating bullets, chugging too much coffee, writing copy in order to meet deadlines, answering to a bottomless inbox (I receive—and NEED to reply to hundreds of emails per day), running to events and meetings, and staying on top of countless other tasks and responsibilities that can sometimes feel daunting and overwhelming, especially for someone like me, a Class A introvert. Additionally, there's a lot of pressure as far as appearance, and being immersed in a career and industry that are so beauty-focused, while fun at times, can also do a serious number on one's self-confidence and sense of self-worth. I've found that over the past few years, I've strayed from old practices and beauty habits that I swore by or that used to make me happy simply because other editors, influencers, or industry experts said it wasn't the "right" way to do it or the "cool," socially accepted beauty editor thing to do.
What's funny, is that even though I love learning from top makeup artists, hairstylists, dermatologists, and estheticians, each and every person I talk to has a different view about what's the correct or best way to do something—be it the way I apply a contour or favorite blush, the brands I should or shouldn't use, the ingredients I need or don't need in my routine, there are a lot of beauty "rules" out there. But guess what? More often than not, the quest for perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect makeup, the perfect routine, and so on and so forth is an impossible, pointless, and losing battle. I wish more people would point this out.
As a beauty editor, I find myself in this weird limbo of being an unofficial beauty expert. I'm not a certified or trained anything, but I do have very close access to people who are. Therefore, their thoughts and opinions easily muddle and bleed into mine—sometimes for the amazing end result, and sometimes not. Because of this, I've recently made a vow to myself to get back to the basics and to carry out my life as a beauty editor and beauty lover the way I want to—not how I think I should based on what other people expect, say, or do in their own lives. And I've formulated 10 guidelines to help me do so.
The below rules are hardly do or die or even that important in the grand scheme of things. But, I thought it would be fun (and who knows, maybe helpful?) to share certain rules I hereby disagree with and ignore despite what the beauty industry tells me. Curious? Keep scrolling!
1. I Talk About My Filler—a Lot
First and foremost, I'm not condemning anyone who chooses to remain mum about any cosmetic treatments and procedures they receive. But I've found it extremely interesting how taboo the topic remains within an industry so steeped in these types of procedural trends. I know so many beauty insiders who literally WON'T talk about it, and while I do understand and respect that choice, on a personal level, I prefer to be super candid. I guess I feel I have a certain obligation to openness on the subject, and I actually really like discussing the kinds of treatments I've received since moving to Los Angeles and becoming a beauty editor. (From the good to the eek.)
In my eyes, it opens up an important dialogue. I've had girls I went to high school and college with ask me if I've gotten filler and whether I would recommend it and what my thoughts and takeaways are. I'm a beauty editor! I want to be helpful! I never play coy, and I'm very open about the people and places I love and trust; I am also open and honest about treatments I've received, the ones I feel are overhyped, or are, in my experience, a complete waste of money. (Oh, and if you DM me, I WILL tell you places to avoid—because, unfortunately, there are a few.)
As a beauty editor and reporter, I'm lucky enough to receive most of these services for free, something I don't take lightly, so you can bet anyone who IS spending their money will get full disclosure and my honest opinions. I know some people probably think it uncouth to talk about the ways in which they've chosen to enhance their appearance, but I just don't see it that way. Oh, and since you're probably wondering, I love Vanessa Lee at The Things We Do and Lena Metcalfe at Facile. Because yes, I've gotten filler in my lips (and my chin!) and they're both extremely talented. But, of course, if you're not aboard the injection train, I love the above eye cream for an instantaneous and longterm Botox-like result and the lip plumper below for a perkier pout.
2. My Skincare Routine Is Stupidly Simple
There are quite literally a million skincare products out there, and—guess what—these brands want you to think you need to be using two different cleansers, two different toners, 10 different serums, five eye creams, an SPF, a night cream, and 10 exfoliators and face masks to use as the perfect accent. Trust me—I've been there, I've done that, and guess what, my skin FREAKED. Now, I use a basic, practically unknown exfoliating face wash in the morning, a just-as-basic and unknown face wash in the evening, no toner (at least, not usually), one or two serums (only as needed throughout the week), an SPF, and a face cream I use for both day and night.
I will admit that I do hoard eye creams, exfoliators, and face masks, but again, I only use these as needed and pick certain formulas bases on what my skin actually feels like, looks like, and needs. Experimenting with and trying skincare is fun, and talking about tons of different products is part of my job, but no matter how many brands and products I do indeed love (I promise—I'll never suggest something to you that I wouldn't use on myself), I simply can't have a 10-step routine in my life; my congestion-prone skin would hate me for it. That said, My skin laps both this peel and detox mask up like water, and I've gone through a jar of each every couple months for the past few years—that's how great they are and that's how devoted I am.
3. I Don't Care What Makeup Artists Say—I Can't Skip Powder
Setting powder is undoubtedly one of the most controversial and widely disputed makeup products on the market. (Although face and eye primers might give it a run for its money.) Most makeup artists turn their nose up at powder or use it exceedingly sparingly. That said, I don't know what me and my crease- and oil-prone face would do without it.
It's true, that you need to tread carefully, and too much product or an overly heavy hand can lead to cake- and flashback-city, but I actually hate the way my makeup looks without a strategic dusting underneath my eyes—Laura Mercier's brightening option is game-changing—and a light coating of MAC's infamous formula on my chin, forehead, and anywhere else grease tries to sabotage.
Also, unlike the brand's celebrity makeup artists whose clients are being photographed and critiqued on red carpets, I'm just trying to get through a dang 10-hour day at the office, gym, and everywhere else my job takes me around L.A. So, yeah, I love a great setting powder.
4. I Love Makeup, But I Rarely Wear Makeup
This is another habit of mine that's a bit controversial. I love makeup and everything beauty-encompassing, but it also consumes almost every facet of my life. I sit at my desk and write about beauty from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. I test hundreds of products monthly. I attend countless events, desk sides, and launches, contribute to even more meetings and brainstorms, pitch content, and so on and so forth. I absolutely love my job, but to keep my skin healthy and to ensure I can still feel confident bare-faced in an appearance-focused culture, I often go without. Most days, I wake up, do my morning skincare routine, and head to the office to plow into a day of writing. If I don't have important meetings or events or dates or what have you, I simply don't feel the need. It's taken me a long time to feel comfortable going without, and it's something I'm still working on. Therefore, I'm nurturing it.
That said, there's a common thread of thought (and I've heard various people state it aloud over the years) that they feel not wearing makeup means automatically means someone is "lazy," or that they simply "don't care." Honestly, I couldn't disagree more. In my opinion, we are who we are and we look how we look. Makeup, if wanted, should be a fun way to enhance what we have and should serve as a fun and OPTIONAL way to complement our already bad-ass selves. I don't lump going bare-faced and clean in the same realm as showing up to work in your PJs. But again, that's just me. If I want to look awake and glowy, I use a radiance-enhancing C serum like this fave from Sunday Riley and give my eyelashes a quick squeeze with my Dior curler.
5. When It Comes to Highlighter, the Limit Does Not Exist
People have a lot of feelings about highlighter. Some people love it, some people hate it, some people only use powder formulas, some people only use cream, some people put it everywhere, some people only put it on their Cupid's bow. There are so many logistics, but me? I'm addicted.
For the most part, I lean toward powders (this one from TheBalm is such a dark horse—you're missing out if you haven't tried it!), but if it's a special occasion or I'm going out, I'll apply a cream or liquid formula first on my cheekbones, Cupid's bow, and the bridge of my nose before lightly layering that with a small hit of my highlighting powder. (Or, alternatively, a liquid is absolutely amazing mixed in with a matte or satin finish foundation.) I have so many favorites, but these are the two I go through the fastest.
6. I Openly Wear Hair Masks in Public
Sorry, but I bleach the crap out of my hair, and in order to keep it healthy—and, frankly, on my head—it requires quite a bit of TLC and upkeep that can bleed into my day-to-day life. One such care initiative? Wearing an Olaplex-saturated slicked-back bun for a full damn day at least once a week. So, yes, you can find me *without shame* walking the aisle of Erewhon in glasses, a crispy bun, and spending, like, $10 on a bottle of fancy smoked sea salt. (An unfortunate, but true, story.) BUT, it's kind of my happy place, and I find the ritual therapeutic. To really amp it up, I'll also coat my ends with this magical split-end mender from Virtue. Me and every celeb hairstylist I talk to agree it's basically a haircut in a bottle. (Also, I recommend this ritual for everyone—not just people who color their hair!)
7. Concealer Is My Most-Used Makeup Product
I've heard so many makeup artists say concealer should just be used sparingly—"only where you need it," but it's definitely my most-used makeup product. I use it for everything—to brighten and help camouflage dark under-eye circles, to keep the area around my mouth (and therefore my lipstick!) looking clean and feather-free, to dull down my natural lip color if I'm wearing a lighter shade of lipstick, to help hide zits. It's truly my kryptonite.
I only recently discovered this seriously amazing formula from Shiseido (no really, wow), but I also really love MAC's longwear formula for nights out or days when I know touch-ups will be few and far between. For my under-eyes, I always apply it after foundation and before my under-eye brightening powder from Laura Mercier.
8. I Use Self-Tanner (Instead of Lotions) to Moisturize
I take serious issue with how my skin feels after I apply body lotions, butters, and oils. The sensation of my clothes or bedsheets sticking to my skin is basically equivalent to someone chewing super loudly or nails screeching down a chalkboard—intolerable (to me, at least). Thus, I've nailed down an alternative routine that not only keeps my skin sunkissed, even, and glowy all year round, but also drenches it in hydration and yummy skincare ingredients: self-tanner.
Before you roll your eyes, please listen, the best self-tanning brands these days honestly do a better job than most normal body care brands in terms of adding tons of amazing ingredients to their bronzing formulas. I live in L.A. and also frequently visit my parents in Arizona (flake and scale city), but my skin is literally never parched. I know self-tanners aren't for everyone, but brands have really upped the ante as far as finish, results, and technology, and I definitely recommend experimenting if you've been curious.
This mess-free water from Tanologist is a new, very exciting find. I'm also obsessed with celebrity spray tan artist Kristyn Pradas's namesake line; her luxe moisturizing mousses are epic and the best I've ever tried. And hey, if they're good enough for the likes of Victoria's Secret angels, Ariana Grande, and Ashley Graham…
9. I Won't Touch Oil With a 10-Foot Pole
I cannot do oils and basically avoid them like the plague. (And, quite frankly, most estheticians and dermatologists I've chatted to ride the same train as me.) Most oils, friends, are comedogenic. They clog pores. They're breakout SPAWN. Thus, I absolutely don't use them and (sorry) look at people incredulously who complain of relentless pimples whilst dousing their skin with coconut oil to remove their makeup everyday. Yes, oils can work for some people depending on your skin type, but you shouldn't be using anything from your kitchen cabinet (coconut oil is one of THE most comedogenic oils out there), and as estheticians always preach, it should be the very last step in your skincare routine due to how large oil molecules are. If you use it before your other products, nothing else will be able to penetrate your skin.
Plus, most experts I've talked to agree that oils should only be used if your skin really, truly needs that extra layer of hydration. I get it—they're pretty, they're lovely, and they're alluring, but more often than not, they're probably not doing your face too many favors. To keep my skin plump and dewy, I use a clarifying face cream (which also helps curb my acne-prone skin) and hyaluronic acid–rich serums instead. Right now, I'm loving StackedSkincare's little jar of peptide magic.
10. Sorry, I Don't Like Nail Salons
I'll be the first to admit that this is weird, but I prefer doing my nails at home to going to a salon and getting them done. Also, I can't stand gels. Yes, they look beautiful and are addicting and are a great solution for people who don't want to have to look or think twice about their nails for a few weeks, but I hate what they do to my poor little nail beds. (I also have a bad nervous habit of ripping them off—whoops!)
Plus, I find the ritual of painting my nails insanely relaxing—always have, always will. I hoard nail polish to the point of it being problematic (there's a certain cabinet in my apartment I'm scared to open for fear of bottle deluge), but it's also really fun to take my time picking out a color (no rush or pressure like at the salon) and filing, painting, waiting, painting, and waiting again until I'm blissfully relaxed. I know I might be the minority here, but try Olive & June's ingenious at-home manicure box and tell me you don't thoroughly enjoy yourself.