Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Fashion Editor, The Cut


"I really liked fashion growing up, but where I come from, it’s not something people really understand. My grandmother introduced me to a lot of knitting and sewing, and I would go to the Senior Citizens Center with her over the summer and make blankets, sweaters, and quilts. It was our thing—we would eat a Snickers bar and make a scarf. I really enjoyed it, and I think that, combined with the idea of 'Sunday Best' really shaped my idea of dressing up and loving hats and pretty shoes. I was always really intrigued by the way church mothers dress. It’s better [than fashion week]. I don’t think I realized until later how it affected the way I dress. It probably wasn’t until I went to college—I majored in Journalism and Art—when I started to sketch and draw, and figure it out. My first internship was at Teen Vogue. It was just December to February, and they needed people to clean out the closet. I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll go do that.’ I just winged it. I definitely felt like a fish out of water—all the other girls wore full Chanel and already had a Vuitton bag, and they knew all these designers. I definitely didn’t know enough to feel like that was where I belonged. I was not one of those people who was like, ‘I know.’ I definitely fell in love with it and knew that it could get me places, but I also knew I needed more experience. Then I kept coming back! I don’t know why—I kept coming back for more. I interned at different magazines every summer—I was at Oprah Magazine, I studied abroad at Elle UK, and a couple other smaller publications there—and I ended up working at Teen Vogue right after school.

Teen Vogue ended up scaling down. They were like, ‘We have to lay you off.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I’m just gonna go cry in Bryant Park.’ I ended up applying to a bunch of places and literally two weeks later I started at as a fashion assistant. It was epic, it really was. I miss it so much—the magazine was incredible, the content was incredible. I really loved it there because it was a much bigger worldview of fashion in so many ways, talking about fashion in such a smart way. Then they hired Rachel Wang. That was one of the best things ever because she really helped me hone in on my taste level, what brands I loved, why I loved them, and how I could incorporate them in my work. She was the one who heard about the job at The Cut, and was like, ‘I think you’re ready.’

My job has changed so much from when I started. After a period, I felt like I really wanted to start writing about certain things—things that resonated with me. I think it’s really important for women of color to see themselves in content, and to see themselves not only represented but noticed and talked to, and to feel like, ‘They get me.’ I think ever since then it’s been an effort towards inclusivity—not only in terms of race, but also in the kinds of women we cover, and the kinds of stories, and the tone. It’s a full package. I think it’s fine to be a fashion editor in the sense of loving fashion, but definitely for me it has to mean more—more for women, women of color especially, and culture. It has to stand for more than pretty clothes.

I guess my beauty journey started because I always had acne on and off. My skin’s crazy—she’s crazy. I definitely have to stick to a regimen of certain things or my face will freak out. I will never have perfect skin—it’s just not for me. I still have things to work on. My beauty regimen now is a low-high mix—it’s not super expensive. I use a lot of Biologique [Recherche], because it really changed my acne. I have to use P50, because it really balanced out the pH level of my skin and now I don’t break out. For facials, I go to Rescue Spa—word up to Danuta, the homie for life. Danuta is the best [facialist] on the face of this earth, that is not an exaggeration. I went to Rescue because I first went to another spa, and the lady made me cry! She told me, ‘You have horrible skin, if you keep this up you’re gonna look like trash on your wedding day,’ and I called my now-husband and was like, ‘Dre, I can’t marry you because this lady said I’m gonna look like trash!’ [Laughs] He was like, ‘What? I can’t even hear you.’ And I was yelling ‘I CAN’T GET’—on the street in Soho! I was just crying, she was so mean. A friend of mine was like, ‘This place Rescue Spa is opening in New York, I’m sure they’ll be nice to you.’ I loved it there because it was the perfect medium—everybody was super nice, but Danuta was like, ‘Look, your skin isn’t great, but here’s what we’re gonna do and how we’re gonna progress this.’

Morning’s pretty quick. I use the Neogen Biopeel Lemon pads to help exfoliate, because I’m trying to get an even skin tone up in here, and wake my skin up. I’ll use some type of essence—I have a cheap one from Innisfree. I still use the Innisfree Hydrating Serum and The Ordinary niacinamide and zinc in the morning, and I’ll use some vitamin C cocktail. I have Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Glow Drops—shit’s good. I mix that with the Pai Rosehip Biogenerate oil, which I really like because it doesn’t break me out. I use the Biologique Cream Dermopurifiante in the morning also—it’s a purifying cream, and it’s really light. Then I use Glossier Invisible Shield, because everybody says you should be wearing sunscreen.

Masks are the real favorite. I take the time to do one every Saturday. I’ll usually start out with the Peter Thomas Roth Mud Mask. It’s a hydrating mud mask, which is perfect because I’m like, ‘Deep cleanse, but keep it hydrated.’ I use the Drunk Elephant Baby Facial, which does sting, but the next day your texture looks a lot better. Then, I’m usually using the Masque Vivant or Masque VIP 02 from Biologique. The Masque Vivant purges your skin, so every pimple or whatever that’s going on in your skin is gonna come out, which is I think why a lot of people don’t like it. Or I’ll use the Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel—it smells like jam! I like the Tatcha Violet C Radiance Mask, and I usually then steam my face with the Dr. Dennis Gross steamer. I love that thing. And then I’ll do a sheet mask. The Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask, the Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack—this is from Amazon and it’s my go-to because it’s very cheap, but good. I will use this literally any day that my skin just needs to look better. It helps with acne, but it really hydrates. The Pore Minimalist, if I’m breaking out, have a pimple underneath and haven’t gotten a facial any time soon, does really help.

At night I use Simple makeup wipes to take off my makeup, they’re literally just $3 from Amazon. Then I use Glossier Milky Jelly, P50 on a cotton pad, and then I do that Innisfree Hydrating Serum and The Ordinary serums again. I use a little Differin gel if I feel like I’m breaking out somewhere—I’ll just dab it on. The hyaluronic acid I’ll use it morning or night, I’m not too pressed on that. And then I’m always using something for hyperpigmentation, because I don’t think brands have really figured it out. I like this Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, and I just mix this with other serums when I put that stuff on. I get like, actual black spots if I pop a pimple and I’m not supposed to. It’s annoying because my skin can be super clear but then with that dark spot, concealer only covers it for an hour and then you have to cover it again. That’s not actually healthy for your skin. I use that, I use the Triple C Lightning from CosRX, I use the Drunk Elephant Vitamin C as well—those are the best for dark spots. I mix all those serums together and just massage the crap out of my face. Then I do some type of moisturizer, depending on what’s going on. I buy this Keeva Tea Tree oil from Amazon, and if my skin is breaking out I use that moisturizer, or if I just want something light I’ll use the Tatcha Water Cream. I’ll top it with an oil—the Luna Sunday Riley oil is my favorite.

For makeup—lord help us. Anastasia Brow Definer for my brows—I always do my brows first, because I have nice brows. [Laughs] I line underneath and then I just fill in really lightly. Then I’ll use the Benefit Foolproof Brow Powder to fill in if any spots look weird. It just makes it look fuller at the front, or if I missed a spot with the pencil. Then I ferociously brush that out and use a Q-tip if it looks too heavy. I use concealer on the top and bottom to make sure they’re sisters—not twin sisters, very important. Then I use the YSL All Hours Foundation. I recently switched, and I really like this. I was using Kat Von D Lock It Foundation—it is heavy, and my skin got better so I didn’t really need it, but I also realized that I shouldn’t be using that heavy makeup even though it’s a better quality than what I was using before. So, I switched to this YSL and it’s really nice. I have such an in-between skin tone—it’s warm, but it’s not dark, and it’s not light. I use B70 Mocha, and it’s literally my exact shade, which is nice, because I don’t have to mix things. I use a Beautyblender always—I always wet it, and I always just put it on my hand, dab, hallelujah. I mix it with this Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting in Candlelight for a little bit more glow. I usually just let that sit—I’ll add some concealer after. I use Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Hazelnut for darker spots that I have, and just blend it with a beauty blender. I set it all with the Kat Von D Lock-It spray, and then I’ll do some blush/bronzer duo. They discontinued my MAC blush which is really upsetting—now I start with the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. It’s a bronzer blush duo, but I only use the bronzer because the blushes are always too light for my skin tone. I use that on my cheeks, and then I’d go in with a blush—this Nars one is the closest to my MAC one that was discontinued, it’s called Dolce Vita. I just need a pink that’s not too light, that’s not translucent. Since I already have oily skin, I just want it to be a little matte, because my skin is already going to do the shining. Then I use Benefit They’re Real! mascara—I’m not super picky about mascara, but I like this because you can just use one swipe and it looks nice, or you can use three and it’s like drama. It’s super straightforward, I can’t really fuss around with my eyelashes.

If I want to do something with my eyes, I would use either the RMS Champagne Rosé Luminizer and just rub that on there—I like things I can just rub, I can’t do the precise, perfectly blended thing. I told you I can’t contour, you think I can do that? Or I use the Nars Velvet Shadow Stick, because it’s literally a little thing you can rub and blend in, and it can build. I can’t handle more than that, unfortunately. Then I finish with the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist, and I’m good. I don’t really use eyeliner, because I just don’t think it’s necessary for me every day. Maybe I’ll wear it on date night if I’m trying to look extra good, but it’s not something I’m super concerned about. If my skin looks super dewy and healthy, I’m good. If I want to do a lip color—this is going to sound corny—this Colourpop Hello Kitty Matte Lip is very good. It’s the best red, and it’s cheap. I like to do a red lip since red is my favorite color—this is a true, cold red. I have a bunch of the Nars pinks, or their Stolen Kisses, that I’ll use just if I want just a little bit. And I really like the Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb—I have that in my purse usually, but I use Lucas' Paw Paw Ointment on my lips every day.

My hair is natural—I had a straightening hair relaxer in high school, and it really broke my hair off. I just felt like my hair was looking ratchet. I went natural—my hair is naturally very curly, I think it’s a 4C pattern. I like to play with styles—I’ll wear it natural, or straight, or with extensions. I change it up! I use a lot of Mane Choice products when I wear my hair natural, and I use a lot of hair gels and growth oils and stuff like that.

I only wash my hair maybe twice a month. I’ll do a whole thing—I have to really wash it, I comb it out, I deep condition, I use the Hairfinity Oil or the Viviscal Oil. If I’m wearing my hair natural, I’ll usually twist out my hair at night and do the Mizani Strength Fusion Intense Night Treatment first, and then end with a hair oil and just oil my scalp to make sure my edges are covered and good. I like any shampoo and conditioner that’s sulfate-free—I like Devacurl, but I’ll just use whatever. Then I’ll use any deep conditioning treatment there is, as long as it’s not coconut oil. I don’t use coconut oil—it’s drying, it’s not good for your hair. Everybody lied! It’s not good for your hair. Other than that, I can literally just be from the drugstore, do a deep conditioning, make sure to put on a shower cap and steam it. That’s the jazz."

—as told to ITG

Lindsay Peoples Wagner photographed in her home in New York by Tom Newton on April 3, 2018.