“I was a really bad student in high school, and I didn’t have any skills beyond writing, but I was a magazine nerd who knew all the editors’ names. I went to Pratt because I could do an internship every semester—I was very one-track mind about it. My first was at Elle Accessories, which I was really, really bad at. I wanted to stay at Elle, so I moved to help Emily Dougherty, the beauty editor. She was super big on the science behind beauty—you could bring in your opinion and your personal experience, but it needed to be really vetted. After a year with Emily, I moved to Teen Vogue. Eva Chen would send me backstage for fashion week, which at the time I thought was crazy—now, I think it’s the worst part of beauty writing. The hairstylists and makeup artists are so busy, and everyone is stressed and trying to work instead of answering questions. Or, when you try to get quotes from models about what’s in their bag, they’re like, ‘A Juul and nothing else. I don’t wear makeup. I’m a model.’ [Laughs] Next I was Cat Marnell’s intern at Lucky. We would do silly stuff—one time she told me to go get a squid, and I either had to come back to the office with a squid or not at all. I totally got her sense of humor. I think there have been people who try to write like Cat, but her sort of 'Devil Wears Prada absolutes' are always rooted in 12 different music, or literary, or historical references, and that’s what makes them land. One day, she came into the beauty closet and said, ‘You’re going to be a big star.’ What the fuck? But it lands, because she’s so smart. I admire Cat so much. I would always call her before I changed jobs.
I did all the magazine internships I could, and then I went to xoJane. At the time, it was a dream job. The style of the site was basically what Instagram is now—you had to post every day, you had to include a picture of yourself, and you had to tell a personal story. I wrote about my acne. I tried everything, and got feedback in the comments immediately. It was a good way to stay self-aware—there’s still a difference between a diary entry and a story. But the editing at xoJane was pretty minimal, and eventually I felt like I needed to get my ass kicked. I went back to Elle and basically undid all the xoJane-ness. It was a culture shock, for sure, but I needed it. The editors there were really, really smart, and hard. I worked for Leah Chernikoff, who’s actually Glossier’s Head of Content now. She makes everything look easy. At xoJane, the only time your work wasn’t good was if you weren’t being open, or honest, or personal. But at Elle I got a formal training—they taught me how to write.
After working in beauty for so long, I still had the same kind of acne as I do right now: never not two or three pimples, regardless of really good dermatologists, a ton of education, and access to every product. This is just how my skin is, and I’m fine with it. Acne is literally the most common skin concern in the United States. How to get rid of acne is always the most Googled question, followed by how to get rid of acne scars. And people were always asking me if products would break them out. I had this idea to make decorative hydrocolloid acne patches in 2015. Hydrocolloids are super inclusive both price and skin sensitivity-wise, and I thought making them cute might take away some of the shame and sadness that’s associated with acne. I had no idea where to start, so I cold-called manufacturers. That’s not how you do it. [Laughs] But I didn’t know what else to do. I’d ask friends in the industry what manufacturers they went with, and one person would lead to the next, and ultimately about a year or so later I met the person who became my business partner. Each pod has 32 acne patches, and you can order refills that come in a sterile pack. The perfect scenario is you put it on one of those big white ones, which would be fun to pop but you resist the urge. You go to sleep, you wake up and the big white thing is gone with no mark. Obviously the design and everything was done before Euphoria and Detective Pikachu came out, but I feel like if they had a baby, Starface would be it.
Some of the beauty maintenance things get really overwhelming, and a lot of the stuff I used to care about I don’t care about anymore. Like, the fact that I have veiny undereyes and dark circles, and every person I’ve ever dated asks, ‘Are you really tired?’ When I was 12, I asked my mom to go to a makeup counter to fix them—the makeup artist said the only thing I could do for them was wear concealer, and sold me four different shades. The upsell. Just getting comfortable with that is something I’m working towards. I don’t know—I just want more time for other things.
After working in beauty for so long, I still had the same kind of acne as I do right now: never not two or three pimples, regardless of really good dermatologists, a ton of education, and access to every product. This is just how my skin is, and I’m fine with it.
My skin is super temperamental—I can look at the wrong product and break out. I once kept a glycolic [peel] on for maybe a few minutes too long, and got a huge burn. I’ve had bad stuff happen with lasers. It’s best to do as little as possible, I think. I’ll get a facial from time to time at this place in LA called Skin Camp if I’m congested. They’re pretty low-key—it’s a walk-in thing, and I trust them, and they’re gentle. I do not like the idea that when you get a facial, you have to look worse before you look better. I think that’s bullshit.
My dermatologist is Dr. Idriss. I think she’s the best source of information on Instagram. She’s no bullshit, only science. She rattles off so many facts that you want to take notes, or screen record. She’s also just the kind of person you want to hang out with—everything you’d want in a dermatologist. I usually go to her twice a year. I was really into fillers in 2015, 2016, and people in LA can be pretty heavy-handed. I used to go see different LA dermatologists, but I always ended up coming back to her to undo whatever they did. I’ve pretty much laid off those now, though. It’s cool, I’m down, I still like how it looks, I just don’t have the time to maintain it.
Now that I don’t test products for a living, my routine is less of a revolving door. At night, to take off my makeup, I’ll use the Glossier Milky Oil. I used to be a big face wipes person, but a dermatologist once asked me to think about all of the preservatives it takes to maintain that moisture in the cloth, and I stopped. I’ve been using a Skinceuticals cleanser, but I’ll also use Cetaphil—that’s totally fine. When I stay at a hotel, a lot of the time I’ll just use a washcloth. I love Moon Juice. I really do. I don’t know what would make me stop using Beauty Shroom—I’ve been using it for like a year. They also have a serum that I really like as well. I do try different vitamin Cs all the time—this one is from Allies of Skin, and it’s in an airtight pump rather than a dropper. I don’t like cream as a texture, so usually I just moisturize with oils and serums. It works for me. I like all the Biossance ones—they have a tea tree oil and a vitamin C oil, and I like their oil face wash as well. Their stuff has agreed with my skin. I also use the Supergoop Glow Stick sunscreen, which is completely clear. A lot of people ask me what sunscreen won’t leave a white cast—if you like looking shiny, this is the best. I’m really diligent with it.
I don’t really wear anything in the day, but at night I’ll do foundation and concealer. My friend Rachel Strugatz is the beauty writer at Business of Fashion, and everything I try at her apartment I end up buying. I tried Benefit Boi-ing concealer in 2 at hers—it’s the right color for my skin, which is half the battle. My favorite foundation is Armani Maestro, for the same reason. Skin matching is something I still struggle with, and it’s part of the reason I don’t wear foundation or concealer often. I always feel like I have the wrong shade. I’m down to cover redness and undereye stuff, but I really don’t feel good with makeup on my acne.
I have a bunch of Lemonhead glitters that I like to play with on my eyes. I wear them during the day with sweatpants, which gets mixed reactions. I play around with highlighters, too. The Nars Orgasm liquid highlighter is nice, and this Dior Backstage Glow Palette is good, too. I put it all over my cheeks, and I’ll put just the darkest shade on my eyes. Sometimes I put it down the bridge of my nose too, because I’m pretty impressed when makeup artists do it. But I don’t wear blush—I think it makes my face look kind of ruddy. Birthday Balm Dotcom is my favorite lip balm, but I also like these Dedcool ones, and KNC Beauty’s mint balm. I like this Nars Orgasm gloss—it’s pinky red, and definitely not sticky—or this Flesh one in Steamed Blurry that’s kind of nude. My lips are very steak tartare colored, and I like something to neutralize that. This Tom Ford All Mine lipstick really kills the color if I’m doing an eye look. It definitely doesn’t work with no [eye] makeup on—it looks like you’re wearing zinc on your lips.
I’ve had trichotillomania since elementary school, so my brows are always in various stages of that. The person who keeps them looking the most like eyebrows is Maral at Warren Tricomi at the Plaza. She will do your eyebrows for an hour, and talk to you about spirituality, and auras. Day-to-day, I might start with Clear Boy Brow and then go in with something pigmented like Benefit Gimme Brow. And I have a rotating system of things that help me not pull them out. I do it with my eyelashes, too—I used to get extensions, but now I see Jas Imani, who does the lift and tint thing. She says not to wear waterproof mascara, so now I don’t. Testing mascara feels very low-risk. I usually like a purple or brown one because it looks less harsh than black. I have this Lashfood Primer I like, and I’ve been using the Puma Maybelline mascara [Ed note: discontinued] lately.
I’m down to cover redness and undereye stuff, but I really don’t feel good with makeup on my acne.
I’m from the Frizz Ease generation. I went to Jewish summer camp—you’d have to flat iron and Frizz Ease the shit out of your hair, otherwise no one would want to dance with you at the social. [Laughs] I stopped getting keratin treatments because I stopped wanting straight hair like that. All of the keratin is gone now, and I just let it air-dry curly with Oribe Gold Lust Serum and Ouai Wave Spray. The only time I blow dry it is when someone’s doing it for me. Dhiran at David Mallett does my hair—I’ve known him forever, and he just does a maintenance haircut. I don’t know if it’ll grow longer than this, but we’re trying to do that. I think the shorter your hair is, the more high-maintenance it can be. Plus, with long hair, you always have the option of a ponytail or a bun. There’s also a place on Forsyth Street that does a blowout for like $15. They wash your hair for 20 to 30 minutes, just shampooing your scalp like crazy—if you like the feeling of really clean hair, that’s the best.
I’ll switch up my shampoo and conditioner, but I like this Rita Hazan Two-Step Treatment to keep the ends from feeling fried. I once tried to go blonde. There was an Alexander Wang show where all the hair was supposed to look really bad in a DIY, surfer way, but it looked so cool on everyone. I thought it would be the perfect blonde for me, because it was more Spring Breakers than Southern Charm, but I changed it back the next day. If you’re a real person, you can’t take inspiration from Alexander Wang shows.
I’m fine to wear no makeup as long as my nails are done. I can grow them long, but I have fidgety hands, and I’m a picker, so these are Gel-X extensions. It covers the whole nail, and it’s easier to remove than other gels. I needed a manicure when I got here, but Naomi Nails was out of town, and everyone else was busy. A friend recommended this place called Art Nail NYC, and they did a great job. Lady Fancy Nails has the best art ideas, but I think they’re just editorial. Sometimes I’ll ask people to copy their stuff. For pedicures, I like to go to Olive and June in LA, or Jinsoon in New York, to hopefully say hi to Jin Soon and just catch her energy.
I used to be very into the boutique fitness culture in New York—I think the fitness culture feels much more intense here than in LA. Here, everyone’s always on their way to a class and in their look. In LA I go hiking, and try to go to Y7’s stretch class, Slow Burn, once a week. It’s so good. When I come to New York I train with Stephen at S10. Fitness classes are great for the endorphins and the feel-good factor, but if you’re not a natural athlete you might hurt yourself, or wonder why you’re spending so much time there and not getting the results you’re expecting. That was kind of my experience at a certain point. I told Stephen I wanted to look like Anfisa from 90 Day Fiance. She got really into bodybuilding after her season—she found bodybuilding like some people find religion. I love her. I don’t see a nutritionist—for better or for worse. I went through certain stages where I was super obsessed with diets, and now I don’t put restrictions on that stuff at all. I once told a therapist that I wished that I could empty everything I knew about nutrition and calorie math out of my brain, and eventually I did forget it. I feel a lot better.
I love the pro-hair movement, but I came to it too late—my underarms will never grow hair again. I lasered them at Romeo and Juliette, as well as my vagina, which went really badly. Everyone from the laser clinic came in the room to see, like it was The 40 Year Old Virgin, and I literally thought that I had to go to the hospital. But it was the last session, so luckily I was finished after that. I used to shave everywhere else, but now I use the Flamingo Strips on my legs and arms. I really like the practice of hair removal—I find it meditative, I don’t know why. Oh, wait, it’s because I have trichotillomania. No shit. [Laughs]
This is so polarizing, but I like when you can smell someone when they walk by. Obviously if it’s an unpleasant smell it’s a different story, but it’s nice when someone’s scent is their thing. I really like the smell of suntan stuff—my Native deodorant is coconut vanilla, and I love that kind of beachy smell. If Corpus deodorant made a fragrance version of their Cedar Flora deodorant, I would totally wear that, too. I have the Dedcool fragrance with me, 01. Probably just for nostalgia, my favorite fragrance is Hypnotic Poison. Sometimes I like to smell cheap, like Tom Ford Black Orchid, or just vanilla—cheap in a good way. If that’s your style, it’s called VSCO, and it’s an insult. I shop at Brandy Melville, and vanilla is kind of the fragrance version of that."
—as told to ITG
Julie Schott photographed by Tom Newton in New York on August 19, 2019.