“I got into being a beauty editor because I love to write. I wanted to write for anyone and about anything—first it was mainly about architecture and interior design. And then, I had a friend who was at Vogue. One day, she told me, 'A beauty story just dropped out. If you wrote something over the weekend, I bet they’d look at it.' So I wrote about this makeup artist with a beauty line—there were no makeup artist lines at the time–named Bobbi Brown. And it got into Vogue. At the time, beauty editors just went to events and they didn’t write anything. That’s never how I saw it. I still believe that you can write about a lipstick, you can write about an old tire, it doesn’t matter. Can you make it entertaining for a person to read? People will come to interview with me and say, 'I love beauty products!' and I’m like, 'Wrong answer!' If that's your reason for doing this, you’re not going to write very interesting stories. Beauty is interesting in how everyone has opinions, whether they’re an expert or not. It gives you a very intimate entrée into someone’s life.
My interest in natural beauty products came about 10 or 15 years ago. There was a meeting at an industry convention that all beauty editors had to go to once a year, and one year, there was a speech we were told was mandatory. So we all went, and the speech was basically, 'Beauty products are safe and you are all journalists and it’s your job to report that they’re safe.' It sounded like what a cigarette company would say. We all did trust the products, and then suddenly, it was like—what's up? Beauty products are supposed to be things that make you feel good and I don’t like feeling like they could be harming me in way I just can’t feel yet. The classic beauty industry defense is that we’re only using a little at a time. But if you do something every day, it adds up real quick. At the end of the day, beauty is supposed to be a luxury and supposed to be fun. I don’t want to think of whether I’m poisoning myself or the environment or my kids.
Of course, there’re a lot of things you can’t do anything about. You can’t do anything about smog, you can’t do anything about all sorts of environmental toxins that affect us... But why would you pay a whole bunch of money for something harmful that you’re going to put right on your body, on your skin, that you’re going inhale, that you’re going to eat? It’s a fixable problem, and I do think that the industry is waking up to it because they see women are buying clean products. A lot of the technology and products have improved tremendously, too. It's a space that women care about, and that I care about. There’s no trade-off.
In the morning, I start with True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster—it looks like cocaine. I’ve loved vitamin C for forever—it makes acne and aging better. Try it and you’ll see the difference. But it degrades in water. So unless you use whatever vitamin C serum all, immediately, it’s just a ticking time bomb until it’s useless. This one though is a powder that you can add to your other products. But I don’t even think you need water because if you have moisture in your skin, you can just pat the powder directly on. When I started using it, people would comment—'What are you doing to your skin? Oh my God!’
The other thing about vitamin C is that it boosts your sun protection. My stepfather died of skin cancer so I’m pretty intense about it. After I brush my teeth and put on some Goop Face Oil, I use Kypris Pot of Shade as my SPF. It’s really glamorous with white, blue, and purple undertones. But the one that blends in the best is Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense with SPF 18. I have that one down in my kitchen because it has a pump.
At night, I wash my face with my favorite thing in the world—Tata Harper Oil Cleanser. It takes everything off. Sometimes I use it in the morning, too. After that, I don’t do a lot besides use Vintner’s Daughter. I was a huge Tazorac user because I still break out. But then a while ago Alice Lane, the makeup artist, told me I had to try Vintner’s. I didn’t think it would work. But I kept hearing people say it was changing their skin. It’s great, particularly if you have acne. It’s definitely not a moisturizer—it’s more of a treatment. So in the winter, if I’m really dry, I’ll layer it with May Lindstrom’s The Blue Cocoon. Or even just another face oil. Just wait for it to sink in first so that it can be effective.
My all-time favorite mask is the Tammy Fender Restorative Radiance Masque. It’s really good because it’s clay, but it’s also moisturizing. I don’t understand how it can be, but it’s just fantastic. I do it when I’m tired and stressed out. Every two weeks, I use the Goop Instant Facial. I think it’s the only one that has all five alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid. That's why you don’t need to leave it on for more than two minutes. As soon as you feel a tingle, my rule is you take it off. It’s way better than natural scrubs that have an uneven surface, like ground-up walnuts. That stuff actually causes micro-tears in your skin. Alpha hydroxy acids are the best way to exfoliate without doing that.
Natural and organic hasn’t been that well-executed in hair yet. But the thing I do go through bottles of is the Lavett and Chin Leave On Conditioner. It’s really good. True Botanicals also makes a really great shampoo and conditioner. I don’t really style my own hair, so I’ll condition it, then layer in the leave-in, and let it air-dry.
Marie Robinson does my color. She’s a genius, but I have been experimenting recently. I tried Hairprint, which is an at-home color that you can literally eat. It seems so wrong, but I was amazed. It covered all of my grays. Game-changer. There's also Madison Reed, which is a hair color that they have in a salon near my office. Hair color is hard, and it can be so bad for you. But these both do a great job. It's a process, but worth it.
Oh, and the Christophe Robin hair brush—the greatest. I like it much better than the Mason Pearson.
My tinted moisturizer is Beautycounter Dew Skin No. 2—it has SPF 30. I'll add it on top of my other sunscreen, or just wear it alone if it's not that sunny. Then I like to put a little bit of liner, right into the top of my lashes to define the eye. Dick Page taught me that trick. A lot of women will just put on a lot of mascara to define the eyes, but this is so much easier. I've been using a travel size of the W3LL People Expressionist Liquid Eyeliner because the full size one is sold out. It's so good. If I do need mascara, I use Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara. My eyelashes are kind of spindly, so I want to make them dark and glossy and fringy and noticeable. But not clumpy. I've tried every mascara known to man and this one is better, natural or not.
Then, I do a concealer. I use RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up over my Goop Eye Cream so that it glides, but the most important thing is to use it with a brush. A lot of people will rub it in, and when you rub it in, you are moving the concealer away from the thing you want to conceal. That’s how you end up with tons of makeup on your face. If you pat, it changes everything. I feel like that’s what makes me look decent.
Sometimes, I do a cheek with my Olio E Osso in French Melon. It is one of my favorite products of all time and the shade is good on everyone. It doesn’t matter what color or tone your skin is. It’s like a little bit of color, but not so much that you look like a crazy person. Somehow it’s the right balance, and it smells nice.
I do a lot of self-tanning, and my favorite one is the Organic Pharmacy Self Tan. Like any self-tanner, if you want it to look great, you really have to blend it. I do it the night before, then take a shower the next day, and I can fix anything if there’s a little smudge. When I found it, I couldn’t believe there was a clean self-tanner.
When I'm not self-tanning, I really don't like putting lotion on my body because I'm always cold. So I love an oil bath instead. My favorite one to use right now is Olverum Bath Oil—it smells the most sophisticated, like fancy Parisian ladies. Or I use something like the Beautycounter Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass, which leaves you super moisturized after you use it. I would use the Balmyard Beauty Romantic Call Body Oil in the bath, but I love the scent so much, it's more like a perfume to me. It’s sexier. And the whole idea of the perfume is to be sexy.
The bath thing that I freaking live for, that I think is totally different than any bath thing, is Pursoma. It’s worth trying. You definitely have to clean the bathtub afterward, though, because it's clay and mud. I tried the Digital Detox Bath—apparently it pulls everything out of you in 20 minutes and then you have to get right out so that you don't reabsorb that. When I tried it, I sat and sweat in it and then got out and laid down in bed wrapped in a towel. I didn't wake up until the next morning! Ten hours later. I don't know what it does, but there's certainly something to it. There’s also the Pursoma Hot Tub Bath, but it’s actually for if you’re sick. I really think it makes a difference. Maybe it’s psychological, I don’t know.
The other thing I wasn't sure about was body brushing. Everyone at Goop was super into it, and I thought they were nuts. And then I bought this brush for my cat. We started brushing him and his personality totally changed. He's way friendlier, way happier. Every night now, he gets frisky and plays with my son. And he never used to, ever! He lives for someone to brush him. So then, I was like, if it does it for the cat...maybe I should try it. I started doing about two weeks ago, just to see. I can’t tell yet, but I feel super frisky. [Laughs]
I don't know if it works on cellulite though. That's one of those things everyone thinks they have no matter how they look. One thing with getting older is you realize that someone will like your body no matter what. If you're always thinking about how to fix X or fix Y, you’re never going to have a fun sex life. I try to work out more than twice a week—I do that to maintain my health. But I also think that you could spend your whole life being like, 'What’s my body like? Is it OK?' And then you get to the end of your life and it’s not as good as it was when you were worrying about it! You should enjoy who are you and what your body is."
—as told to ITG