If you want to know how to design an exceptional beauty routine, ask a beauty editor. They’re essentially walking, talking encyclopedias on everything hair, skin, nails, and makeup. When your daily 9-5 consists of interviewing the best beauty experts, testing out tons (seriously, tons) of new product launches, and researching for hours on end about the latest beauty-centered trends taking over the internet you learn a few beauty tips and tricks.
Among the array of beauty editors over the years, there are a few whose careers are nothing short of iconic, helming major titles like Allure, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar and launching must-have brands of their own. These legendary editors are the ones who first laid eyes on many of these once-fledgling trends (contouring, fashion mullets, and exfoliating toners, anyone?) and helped turn them into staples of the modern skin, hair, and makeup routine From the early aughts to now — which almost look the same, thanks to the revival of Y2K fashion — these beauty editors are a treasure trove of industry secrets.
Now, a few decades and thousands of articles later, what do these legacy beauty editors truly abide by for their own beauty routines? To find out, TZR tapped some of the most notable names in the editorial world for the best makeup and skin care tips they’ve learned over the course of their careers — plus the go-to products that will never leave their beauty arsenal. From the magic of using a good face oil to breaking up with a few controversial products, find out the best beauty industry secrets straight from the source — and be prepared to take notes.
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Jamie Rosen, Director of Strategy + Partnerships, Ziip Beauty; Contributing Editor, Town &Country; Wellbeing Editor, The Conservatory
When kicking off her career as the beauty and health editor of W Magazine in 2007, Rosen learned all about the magic of oils from Pratima Raichur. She’s been an oil convert ever since.
“I went to see her for a story about the return of oils in skin care and she sent me to get a Shirodhara treatment at her spa in SoHo, which involved getting what felt like a gallon of oil poured over my third eye for 20 minutes,” she says. “It was like immersion therapy — I felt like an olive, but I was hooked on oils from that moment forward.”
Rosen says that Raichur also opened her eyes (and her beauty routine) to the use of neem oil for acne. She made Rosen a convert to using cleansing oils, which she says is still part of her essential skin care regimen to this day.
“The process of applying it on dry skin, massaging my face, and rinsing with cool water so it becomes this milky lather is something I still find so satisfying and peaceful,” Rosen says. “The first oil cleanser I ever used was DHC Cleansing Oil but at the moment, I love the Metamorph Cleansing Balm by Ayond.”
Jamie’s All-Time Favorite Products:
Jennifer G. Sullivan, Co-Founder + Co-Host, Fat Mascara; Former Beauty Director & Features Editor, Marie Claire
Sullivan learned one very important tip from famed makeup artist Laura Geller: don’t buy a magnifying mirror.
“No one sees your skin up close, so the mirror only causes you to obsess about random hairs and pores that are totally normal,” she says. “Trust me, they look FINE.”
We all know that we should be wearing sunscreen every day to prevent skin cancer, but that’s not the only reason why you should grab that bottle of SPF every day (and reapply after every two hours, according to the American Academy of Dermatology). Sullivan also notes that it’s the number one anti-aging product on the market, which is why just about every skin care expert she’s talked to suggests applying it daily.
Sullivan says, “Don’t bother getting any laser treatments or even buying skin care products if you’re not going to wear sunscreen. I can’t attribute this tip to any one particular expert because I’ve heard it from so many over the years: The best anti-aging product is sunscreen, and the best sunscreen is the one you’ll actually wear. For me, that changes depending on my mood, my skin, the season, whether or not I’m putting makeup on, and so many other things.”
Thanks to famed esthetician Caroline Hirons, Sullivan decided to ditch one famous product that might be sitting in your medicine cabinet at the moment: face wipes, which have gained controversy for how environmentally unsustainable (and terrible at cleansing) they are.
“Wipes are for butts, not for faces. Okay, fine, I’m paraphrasing, but that’s more or less the sentiment from aestheticians, including one of my favorite skin care experts, Caroline Hirons,” she says. “Not only do face wipes make unnecessary environmental waste, they don’t actually cleanse skin that well. Sure, you can use them in a pinch, but also: Just wash your face.”
Lastly, Sullivan would like to put epidermal growth factors (EGFs) on your radar if they aren’t already. She says she swears by them for their skin-smoothing, spot-fading, and texture-improving properties, and even prefers them over retinoids since her skin is rosacea-prone.
“If the FDA were paying attention and brands marketed EGFs with a complete list of their benefits and the claims they could make, they would be drugs; that’s how effective they are,” she says. “But most brands that include EGFs are careful with their claims and marketing language so they can sell them as cosmetics. I, however, am not a brand, so I’ll tell you the truth: EGFs offer drug-like benefits. I love them.”
Jennifer’s All-Time Favorite Products:
Julee Wilson, Beauty Director, Cosmopolitan; former Global Beauty Director of Essence
For industry veteran Wilson, there are two beauty seedlings that she wants to plant in your minds. Like Sullivan, she says proper sunscreen is the key to great skin, even if you have an extensive skin care line and frequently make trips to the dermatologist’s office for professional treatments. As she rightfully puts it, “Wear SPF every single day, damnit!”
Wilson also notes that your skin care routine doesn’t stop at your face. If you’re forgetting your neck, décolleté, and nipples, you should make the extra effort to give these areas some more attention. Just like your face, treating these forgotten areas during your skin care routine can help reduce a variety of skin concerns, such as dryness and UV damage. Plus, giving your skin some love from the neck-down can also help reduce sagging and wrinkles (bye-bye, tech neck).
“Your face stops at your nipples,” she says. “Make sure to extend your skin care routine down your neck to your décolletage.”
Julee’s All-Time Favorite Products:
Jessica Matlin, Co-Host & Co-Founder, Fat Mascara; Beauty Director, Harper’s Bazaar
As the Beauty Director of Harper’s Bazaar and co-host of the beloved beauty podcast Fat Mascara, Matlin has gotten the opportunity to chat with just about everyone in the beauty biz — and pick up some beauty tips along the way, of course. One of her go-to tips: a little blush can go a long way for everybody. “Everyone looks better with a little blush. It’s true,” she says.
Another tip: whether you’re an eyeliner maven or just learning the trick of the trade, a Q-tip can be life-changing for creating perfect wings and lines.
“It took me way too long to learn that I didn’t have to be perfect at eyeliner,” she says. “Even the pros don’t get it the first time: They clean it up with a tiny pointed Q-tip soaked in eye makeup remover, then go in and create the shape they want.”
Matlin’s last tip is also her most important, which she learned from the great Bobbi Brown herself. “Work on your happiness — you’ll look better,” she says.
Jessica’s All-Time Favorite Products:
Linda Wells, Founding Editor-in-Chief of Allure; Founder of Flesh Makeup
As the founder of the beauty world’s most iconic title, Allure, Wells has become a well of vital information on everything beauty. One of her biggest tips is staying minimal with your beauty routine, especially when it comes to skin care and makeup.
“More trouble is caused by too much than too little,” she says. “Maybe that’s not so much a tip as a maxim or a philosophy. I have gone overboard over the years but realize that, for me, focus and discernment are the guiding principles.”
Wells says when trying out new skin care products — which, considering her career, she does a lot — she’ll use one brand at a time instead of a whole “mishmash.” “Once I find things I like, I fully embrace the mishmash,” she says.
As for makeup, she says she applies a light layer of “the basics” and then lets her makeup settle for about 10 to 15 minutes. “If I recheck and think I need more, I’ll add it,” says Wells. “But I don’t start with a full beat, because it’s harder to take away than it is to add.”
Another tip: Once you crack open your skin care products, don’t let them sit untouched for months — they could actually go bad if you do so. This especially applies to your antioxidant-powered skin care products, which are sensitive to light and air.
“If I open a new antioxidant, I use it and only it until it’s empty because once most antioxidants are exposed to light and air, they start to degrade,” Wells says. “This is especially true for vitamin C serums.”
Like Matlin, Wells also believes in the power of a good blush and has mastered the art of applying it — and thankfully, she has an application tip for those who are a bit too heavy-handed with it.
“Lots of people ignore blush and it makes such a difference in the liveliness and clarity of your skin,” she says. “I wait about five minutes for my foundation to set and then apply it on the apples of my cheeks, adding a bit high on the cheek, centered under each eye.”
Linda’s All-Time Favorite Products: