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Pauline Maynard-Denery, VP of Product Marketing and Development, Glossier


“I’m from France—I grew up in Nice, which is this beautiful city by the Côte D’Azur. And I never thought I’d work in the beauty industry because both my parents are veterinarians. For the longest time, that’s what I thought I was going to do. Until I worked at my dad’s clinic one summer when I was 17 and realized that was NOT going to happen. Blood and me were not good friends. But I’ve always loved skincare for as long as I can remember. My godmother worked at this French skincare company called Biotherm at their labs in Monaco. She taught me about how it’s important to take care of your skin starting when you’re super little, particularly because I grew up going to the beach three days a week. Sunscreen was a must. Sometimes, she would bring me to the labs, show me all these products, and I could take whatever I wanted. It was like a candy store for me. That’s how I started being obsessed with this grapefruit-scented anti-cellulite cream when I was like 12 and slathered it on my fatless child behind... [Laughs]

At 19, I moved to Paris to study marketing and international business. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do yet but it felt like it might open doors. During my second year, I went to a lecture on packaging design where the speaker talked to us about the theory behind the Evian water bottle. He explained how they had consumer insights in mind when designing the mountain that you can see in the plastic—it’s pretty, but it’s also to help crush the bottle so it takes up less space in the trash. And that kind of thinking about what the consumer wants and turning it into innovation was like an ‘aha!’ moment for me. How cool would it be to do the same thing but for beauty products?

So I applied for an internship at L’Oréal because that’s what you do when you want to work in beauty and you are French. I started at Vichy and then went on to work there full-time. In that kind of job, you brainstorm, you try rounds and rounds of formulas, and then you perfect them until they are ready to go. It’s like your own baby, you know, your piece of art. But I was also super into the strategy behind making products. You have to think about why you’re making them in the first place—are you going to make the life of women better, and what are you going to bring to the market that’s new? I really had to put myself in the shoes of other women. It was like learning a new language and I didn’t even realize it.

After that, I was dying to come to New York. So I transferred to Maybelline and worked there for about four years. I started by developing mascaras and then moved through nail polish and face makeup—foundation, powder, blush, concealer, etc. That’s what I was doing when I met Emily Weiss through a friend of mine. I had been reading Into The Gloss because at Maybelline we used to look there to see what was trending in beauty. We talked and I loved her vision about Into The Gloss and Glossier and how they play together. And how more importantly, she wanted through the two of them to give a better beauty experience to women. It came at a perfect time, because I felt I had done the same thing, in the same company, for way too long and wanted to try something different. A year later, now I'm the VP of Product Marketing and Development for Glossier, working on everything from identifying the products our girls should have on their Top Shelves, to the formulation with the chemists, to how we want to talk about our products and debut them to the market.

Every day is different for me. Some days I’m at a lab finessing a texture or a shade, some days I’m working with the Creative team on our upcoming products' packaging or brainstorming names, some days I’m sitting with Supply Chain and Finance to try and make sure the products never run out of stock. What’s always there, though, is thinking ahead of time. Most of the people at our company think about the next three to six months, but it’s my job to think about the next 18 months. I have to project what is going to be the future of Glossier products and why. What the next step is in our girl’s beauty routine, and why she won’t be able to live without it. She–and what makes her happy—is always at the center of my day.

My approach to skin has always been about just having amazing products and always, always applying them—never skipping a day. Cleaning your face at night, hydration, and sun care are the biggest pillars. That’s my religion. And I’m a drugstore junkie because I think you can find really amazing stuff there. Especially French drugstore products, because I know how they're made and it’s incredible. When I go back to France each year, I always get the products I can’t get in the US. Then I like to have a few more luxurious creams to mix in—you spend your money on them but only when you know it’s worth it. It’s kind of like in fashion… Every day I wear Zara head-to-toe, but I have a few staple Chloé and Isabel Marant pieces.

I start my morning by cleaning my face with Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser and really massaging it into wet skin. Then I always apply a serum afterwards. We just launched The Supers from Glossier, which is exciting because I've been using all of them. Every morning, I use Super Glow to boost my skin's radiance and also to prevent sun-induced damage. It has vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant for any free radicals that have gotten into my skin. Then I apply the Priming Moisturizer all over my face, followed by La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60. It’s a great sunscreen for every day–not sticky or tacky, and I can apply my concealer afterwards and it won’t cake or anything. Sometimes, once or twice a week, I do the Biologique Recherche P50V Lotion in the morning. It’s when I feel my skin needs to get a deep cleansing peel. And it really, really works. My face just looks glowing and smoother.

At night I use Milky Jelly on my dry skin to remove all makeup. If I’m too lazy to wet my face, I’ll just use the Vichy Micellar Water on a cotton pad to swipe it all off. Then I apply Super Pure on my chin because I always get little blemishes and redness there—I'm not sure why. After a couple of days I start to see a difference. It also works on top of where you might wax—if I remove hair from my upper lip, I put on Super Pure and I don't get those little white bumps that show up two or three days later. On top of that, I layer Super Bounce all over my face to bring back that softness to my skin. I also use a thick layer of it around my eyes—I leave it on for 20 minutes, wait for it to be almost fully absorbed, and then I massage in the rest. If my skin is really dry, I use the Sisleÿa Extra Rich Cream. So rich. In the morning my skin is back to life and super plumped. One last thing I can’t live without and I think everybody should have it is the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Pro Recovery Skincare. You know how sometimes your lips are so chapped you get cut-outs at the corners of your mouth? If you apply at night, they'll be gone in the morning. Honestly nothing beats it.

For me makeup has always been about less is more. I know it sounds super French cliché, but it’s true. Plus I spend my days at work trying on new products so the less I have on to start with, the better. The one thing I feel naked without, though, is concealer. I’ll use it all over my face, blended out, instead of foundation. And I just adore the Glossier Stretch Concealer. It hides what it needs to hide but you never see that you have makeup on. A lot of concealers on me are very dry and sit on top but this one always feels like it melts into my skin–more like a skincare product, like a balm. After that, I apply the YSL Terre Saharienne Bronzing Powder because it’s the subtlest on my skin. I use that all over my face just to warm it up a little bit and it sets the concealer in.

Then I like to use the Cherry Balm Dotcom as blush on my cheeks—it looks super fresh. I also have this very, very old Chanel blush that I stole from my mom…it doesn’t even have a shade name on it anymore. It’s this perfect soft pink without too much sparkle, and it makes me look like I just had a facial. These days, though, I’ve just been wearing Haloscope in Topaz. It’s one product that I can do everything with. Just a bit on my cheekbones to boost my tan and glow, and a little more on my eyelids as an eyeshadow.

After I do my face, I apply Boy Brow in Brown. I have very long, unruly eyebrows, so it helps put them in order so they don’t curl. I don’t like mascara anymore. It can look so crunchy—you can always see it. If I do need to tint my lashes, I use Maybelline Volum'Express Colossal Cat Eyes Mascara. I swipe it on towards the sides and the curved brush pulls my lashes outwards for a doe effect. ‘Oeil de biche,’ like we say in French.

There are two products for doing a smoky eye that I love. The Lancôme Color Design New Black has a little metallic in it that makes it very nice and not too flat. I wet my sponge to blend it into my lid and it gets very deep and sparkly—so beautiful. You can also use a thin wet brush with it to make a liner. Or I use a MAC Greasepaint Stick in the shade French Quarter. It’s a black-brown that’s very smoky. My smoky eyes are always very deep and dark and blended.

Alternatively, I’ll do a lip, but never an eye and a lip together. I love reds. I have dozens of them. My lips are super thin so it helps them stand out. The Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red is the best. Not too yellow, not too blue, I bought it a couple of years ago and it’s just so stunning. Otherwise if I’m more natural, I’ll just wear Generation G in Crush. I wore that on my wedding day because my lips are very light, so it just gave me a natural flush.

For a long time, I had a love-hate relationship with my hair. When I was young, there were no products for curls. It was a nightmare and I had a huge complex until I was at least 15 because I had nothing to take care of it. I remember spending nights in front the TV, my mom trying to brush it straight for hours. Then I found Kérastase in a salon. At that point, it was a professional product, so they only sold it in these huge containers. It was so expensive, but worth it because it made such a difference to my hair. The Masquintense really helped define the curls because it tamed the frizz. And I still use it to this day. Now I consider my hair as my signature. It’s part of who I am and actually helps make me feel confident. I embrace it 100 percent.

For shampoo I like to switch from one wash to another because I’m scared my hair will get used to one and it will be less effective—I’m sure this is nonsense, but whatever. I use the Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasure when I need to clean all the product buildup out. It smells amazing—and the smell lasts for days—and gets the job done. Clean hair, but not too squeaky clean. For days when I feel like I need more nurturing, I use Kérastase Bain Stain 2, which honestly makes your hair so soft. When I’m traveling, I like Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner because it acts like a shampoo and conditioner at once if you lather it for a few minutes. I’ll also use it as a leave-in sometimes.

When I’m out of the shower, I work in the Matrix Biolage Anti-Frizz Lotion or Kérastase Nectar Thermique to help with frizz and nourish. After that I apply Redken All Soft Argan-6 Oil. It’s more silicone-y then a lot of oils so it’s really good for curl definition. If you have thin hair, though, I don’t think that’s the one for you. What I usually like to do is put it in a braid and sleep in it. It helps keep the volume down. A secret gem I found recently is this Dark and Lovely Anti-Reversion Edge Sleeker. It’s like a soft hair wax in a mascara tube. I use it two or three days after washing my hair, when it gets super frizzy on the hairline. A few swipes and the frizz is gone. I got it at CVS for $6, it’s great.

When I was growing up, I was taught never to shave. My mom would be pissed if I shaved! So I’ve been waxing since I was 14. In Paris, it costs me only $12 at the salon, but here it’s $50, so I started to do it myself. I use Nair Cire Divine that I bring back from France, but you can get it on eBay too. I warm it up in the microwave and you just apply it, it dries, and you take it off. This one is great because it’s not painful—and a lot of them don’t work but this one really does. Takes time but then you’re hair-free for like three weeks.

In the shower my favorite soap is the Hammam Soap from Senteurs d’Orient. I have the jasmine one. It foams really well and whenever I enter my bathroom it smells like a garden in Lebanon in the middle of NYC. Then, I have a lot of body lotions. If I want something lightweight, I used the Johnson and Johnson Baby Lotion—it sinks right in. Otherwise I use the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Milk—it works well enough for winter while still being light enough for summer. Otherwise when I’m super super dry, I love the Vichy balm–it’s fantastic. Very thick but it melts in. And it smells really yummy.

The one grandma product I never run out of is Biafine–I get it in France. It’s been around for like, I don’t know, maybe 50 years? My mom used it on my brother and me when we would get sunburned. I bring it with me whenever I go on vacation because it’s good when I get too much sun. The best is to apply when your skin is still a bit damp from the shower. It starts white and very wet but sinks in really quickly and leaves no residue at all.

I also have this find called Say Hello to Sexy Legs, which you can get at Sephora. It’s a tinted gel that blends into the perfect shade on your skin. It’s not very moisturizing but it’s just going to give you J.Lo legs. Like dewy, reflective, shaped legs, you know? I always think tanned legs look slimmer. And it smells amazing. Also like J.Lo. I think?”

—as told to ITG

Pauline Maynard photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on August 9, 2016.