Katie Sturino, Founder, Megababe


"I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and, growing up in the midwest without the internet, I only wanted to work in fashion and live in New York. In Wisconsin, people were working at Harley Davidson, not interning at Harper’s Bazaar, you know? I knew I was going to need to work harder because I didn’t have any connections. I don’t know why I understood that, but I did. I applied to a lot of fashion internships in New York City after my sophomore year of college, and ended up interning at Chanel. They had no reason to give me the internship, but I was so persistent—I emailed them every three days. I kind of assumed they would give me a job when I graduated, but they didn’t. I started interviewing everywhere—the PR director of Burberry said to me, ‘You have a fantastic energy, and someone’s going to pick up on that.’ It wasn’t going to be him. Then I ended up at Dolce and Gabbana for a while, where I got yelled at on the regular for putting things back on hangers incorrectly and wearing Uggs. I did PR for jewelry and accessories for about 10 years. But my dog Toast was really the reason that I was able to start my own thing. I pitched a ‘who wore it better’ with Toast to a few fashion editors, and Leandra Medine thought it was amazing. Then I met the Man Repeller girls and they decided to do a style profile on me, which was the first time I was in front of the camera.

They had no reason to give me the internship, but I was so persistent—I emailed them every three days.

That started my career as a body-positive fashion blogger, which is such a funny thing to say. With 12ish Style, I just wanted to help girls in my size range get dressed, because there weren’t really any resources for that out there. It’s become much more about helping women feel good in their bodies no matter what size they are. I try to keep my platform very positive—I’ll tell you I’m disappointed in a brand, but I’ll also tell you why I like that brand. And now I get a lot of clothes from Veronica Beard, Loft, and Madewell. Megababe came out of that body positivity thing, too. I had tried Monistat and Goldbond, and all the other products that were supposed to help with thigh chafe, and I didn’t like them for one reason or another. I just wanted a solution that worked, that made me feel empowered and cool and not shameful that I had this weird product in my bathroom. Bigger companies should’ve seen a hole in the market, and made [a thigh chafe product]. I mean, what? Why am I doing this? But anyway, I hit Google, did the legwork, found a formulator that I really loved, and described to her what I wanted.

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We launched with the Thigh Rescue—and we ordered thousands of units, not 100 sticks I could keep in my living room. We sold out right away. Then we launched Bust Dust a month later, which came out of the idea that I wanted a powder to help with boob sweat, but that didn’t get all over my hands when I applied it. That sold out in preorder. The third product was Rosy Pits. I never thought that people would buy deodorant from us, but we had a 13,000-person waitlist. It was crazy.

The majority of my beauty budget goes to my dogs. Their groomer flies in from Italy and cuts these bitches. I also love Jen Atkin’s Ouai Dog Shampoo—love the smell. [Ed note: discontinued.] They’re not cut right now, so they don’t look that good. Don’t judge them. Influencer-y free things were always better when they were for Toast than when they are for me. Toast would get a five-room suite with her name spelled out in dog cookies—I think the Four Seasons in Chicago made a diorama out of dog food. The really beautiful, special touches.

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I had acne flare-ups until I was in my late 20s—I took the pills, I did the whole thing. Finally, my skin cleared up. Now, I just want things that work. Say what you want about Gwyneth, but I use and love a lot of her products—and I’m not paid to say this! In the morning, I’m really into the Goop G. Tox cleanser, and the Melting Cleanser is my end-of-day wash. I’ll take my makeup off with a cotton pad and Clinique Take The Day Off, wash with that, and then do some kind of exfoliation. Most of my skincare is trying to aggressively exfoliate at all times. I use the Goop Glow Pads once a week, because that’s what they say to do, and the Instant Facial is amazing too—it rips your damn face off. When I’m feeling lazy, I use P50 1970. The thing I use most consistently is Augustinus Bader—sometimes it’s The Cream, but usually it’s The Rich Cream. I don’t know what it does, but I look amazing. I was told I don’t need to use anything else when I use that, but of course sometimes I do. I sometimes use the Elizabeth Arden retinol capsules, which I like because they stay super fresh and active. And then I finish with Clé de Peau Créme Regenerante Supreme, which is an eye cream, and the oil from Odelie—I’ve tried some very fancy oils that we all know about, and I prefer this.

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I started getting preventative Botox at 27. I also get a facial every three weeks from this woman named Karen Hong in Soho. Karen is for maintenance. We do Hydrafacials, oxygen facials, microcurrent… Everyone I’ve sent to her tells me it’s the best facial they’ve ever gotten. Then, on a few lucky occasions throughout the year, I see Joanna Czech. If Karen is my workhorse, Joanna is my Rolls Royce. She uses all the tools, she’s got that weird flat thing that vibrates, and she puts something on my hands that makes them look like baby hands. It’s great. When I’m good, I also use the Joanna Czech face roller at night, which completely de-puffs my face.

I probably wear eye makeup every day. I’m really into the Romantic Palette from Beautycounter and the Cool Nude Palette from Ilia, and I’m always a Nars girl. On my top lid, I use Stila Stay All Day liner, or Shiseido Archliner, which I love because it kind of tips forward so you can draw the line on at a better angle. I end up using the Revlon So Fierce pencils on my lower lid, because they’re cheap and easy and I can have a million of them. Then I curl my eyelashes with a Surratt lash curler and use mascara. I usually use Nars Climax, but I also use mascara from Ilia, and Stila, and Shiseido because I can’t tell the difference. Not that there is no difference! I’m just not smart enough to notice it.

[Joanna Czech] uses all the tools, she’s just got that weird flat thing that vibrates, and she puts something on my hands that makes them look like baby hands. It’s great.

My favorite foundation is from Clé de Peau, and I use the Artis brush to apply that. I also use the Clé de Peau under eye concealer. I use Nars Desire blush, and sometimes bronzer too—Shiseido Cocodust 07 or Kevyn Aucoin’s Neo Bronzer. I have 20 of these Clé de Peau lippies, and I use those a lot. I also love Rodin lip products—Dahlia is so good, and the lip and cheek oil in Madam is great. Usually I’ll just use one of their red pencils and put lip balm over it for something sheer.

I have a lot of concerns about hair loss—I don’t have any products to reflect that, but I’m just telling you, I’m concerned. Rita Hazan cuts and colors my hair, but I don’t go as often as she wants me to because she makes such great products that keep my hair color good for longer! Mon Shampoing is a French brand that’s supposed to be customized, but I like it because it just smells really good—kind of like Lenor Greyl. I use the Christophe Robin scalp scrub once a week, and I also do the Rita Hazan Weekly Treatment. Then, when I get out of the shower, I put my hair in an Aquis towel and dry it with my Dyson. I like to use the Rita Hazan balm when I blowdry my hair, because it gives some weight and hydration to my ends so my hair’s not so floaty. But you can’t use too much, or your hair can get heavy. The most I can stretch a wash and blow is three days, but when I need it I’ll use Bumble and Bumble’s Pret a Powder.

I have a lot of concerns about hair loss—I don’t have any products to reflect that, but I’m just telling you, I’m concerned.

I’m trying to take oral health more seriously. I got a root canal earlier this year, and I just can’t go down the road of bad teeth. I brush my teeth with the whole Supersmile System which, is it good at whitening? I don’t know! The internet says it is. I’ve also been trying to prioritize massage, because I just usually don’t. I’ve been seeing this woman Yvonne for a really long time—she’s very spiritual, and I have followed her from four different spas because she knows how to hurt me. You know what? I’m going to text her for an appointment right now.

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My trainer is Megan Roup, and her thing is Sculpt Society, which is based on all these micro movements. That’s my most consistent workout. I also do this thing called Babe Body with my friend Hunter McGrady. We host classes at different boutique fitness places, and we try to let all women of different sizes and levels come in to try out different workouts without judgment. Right now we do two classes a week, and we’ll probably slow down for the holidays.

I have a tough time with perfume—things give me a headache. We made unscented Thigh Rescue because I use it so much that the [original] scent started to bother me. But I do love Le Labo Musk 25. In the shower, I love the EO Lavender body wash and I’ve also gotten into this pH Balancing Cleanser by Love Wellness, which is supposed to be good for women. Then I scrub with the Follain Sugar Body Scrub, which still feels hydrating. When I shower at the gym, I use my Megababe Shower Sheets. I also use the Deodorant Wipes when I’m working out and can’t shower after, or if I’m traveling. Rosy Pits was the third thing we launched, and that came from the fact that I wanted an aluminum-free deodorant without baking soda. Baking soda deodorants don’t work for me—a lot of popular natural deodorants on the market use it, and it breaks me out. I make things for me, because I want them. I’m not just pushing product. My armpits are hairless and have been for many years, and my bikini situation is pretty good, too. I’ve been doing laser hair removal for like seven years. The real holdout is my upper lip—I’m still figuring out my solution for that, because laser’s not working for me. I think I have to do electrolysis. But anyway, then I put The Body Cream everywhere. I’ve really bought into the whole Augustinus Bader thing."

—as told to ITG

Katie Sturino photographed by Alexandra Genova in New York, New York on October 22, 2019.