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Women at work: Q&A with Annie Tomlin, Beauty Director at SELF magazine

Women at work: Q&A with Annie Tomlin, Beauty Director at SELF magazine

Ever wonder what it’s like to walk a day in someone else’s shoes (or spend a day in someone else’s job, as the case may be)? Us too! In our “Women at work” series, we’re talking to some of the most accomplished women we know about how they got to where they are in their careers, what advice they’d give their younger selves, and any tips & tricks they’ve picked up along the way.

Annie Tomlin
Beauty Director at SELF magazine
College Major?

What does a day in your life look like as a beauty editor?
I’m lucky in the sense that there’s no typical day at my job. I never feel bored. If I’m not working on an upcoming issue at the office, I’m running around NYC to attend launch events and product previews, going to photo shoots, editing copy, writing stories, brainstorming new pages for the beauty section, working with our digital team… and then, of course, trying new products so we can share the best of the best. I think an editor’s job is to look at everything out there — trends, breakthrough technologies, that sort of thing — and winnow it down to what’s relevant to the reader. It’s an incredibly fun job, but I take it seriously.

How did you get into the beauty industry in the first place?
It was a happy accident. I grew up in the punk scene, and I was always writing stories in school, so I started off as a music writer. When Time Out launched its Chicago edition, I wanted to be the music editor, but that gig was already taken. So I became the shopping and style editor at Time Out, where I gravitated toward beauty stories. A couple of years into that, I became the inaugural editor of Popsugar Beauty. I’ve been in beauty ever since.

What advice do you have for other women who want to score your job who are just starting their career?
Say yes to any opportunities that come your way, even the ones that seem menial or boring — they often lead to bigger possibilities. Learn how to thoroughly report and package a story, and aim to develop a distinct, informed point of view. As far as writing goes, avoid littering yours with of-the-moment slang, which sounds dated almost immediately. Ask for feedback, and be willing to receive it — especially when it’s a critique, because who ever learned the big lessons from non-stop praise alone? By the way, I also asked this question of our contributing beauty assistant, Emily Rekstis. She said, “Be open to anything and, once you’re given a chance, work hard.”

Say yes to any opportunities that come your way, even the ones that seem menial or boring — they often lead to bigger possibilities.

What’s something you know now that you’d tell your 25-year-old self about navigating your career? about your beauty routine?
Think “we” instead of “me.” It’s important to make sure your boss notices the work you’re doing, but don’t forget to praise others in front of the big bosses, too! Whenever someone on my team excels, I want to make sure people know about how hard she or he has worked. For beauty, this is dorky, but sometimes I sleep with those little anti-wrinkle patches — Frownies or Furlesse — and I wish I had started earlier so my brow furrows weren’t as pronounced.

How long does your beauty routine take you on a weekday morning morning? For a big night out?
I’m pretty quick in the mornings — maybe 10, 15 minutes, but I can do it in less. I cleanse, moisturize and put on some Armani CC cream. Then I apply Glossier Stretch concealer under my eyes, and Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy concealer on any spots. A dab of Honest Beauty creme blush on cheeks, highlighter on the cheekbones, mascara, maybe some brow gel, and I’m done. That sounds like a lot, but it’s pretty quick, honestly. I mostly wear my hair naturally, but if it’s too messy, I’ll add a few loose curls, which I think tricks everyone into thinking I put forth a lot of effort. (Probably not, but let me have my delusions!) If I’m going out, I might add eyeliner or a tomato-red lipstick.

Who is your beauty idol/role model?
I think Linda Rodin is so chic, smart, and stylish.

What are your holy grail products?
Kypris skin care—it’s made my skin so much brighter and less “angry.” I wear Perricone MD No Highlighter Highlighter every day, I love the Garnier micellar water, and then I’ve been using Kate Somerville Exfolikate for years. But nothing is better for your skin than wearing sunscreen.

What are the best beauty tips you’ve gleaned from your role?
Lifestyle matters. If you’re active and eating a balanced diet with lots of vegetables, it shows in your skin, nails, and hair. I’m prone to cystic acne, but when I stopped eating dairy, my skin improved dramatically. Oh, and double-cleansing! My friend Charlotte Cho of Soko Glam inspired me to do this, and now my skin is so much better.

What’s your take on natural beauty products/ingredients regulation in beauty?
You don’t have to choose between a more natural formula and one that works anymore — look at Tata Harper, who makes beautiful skin care, or Kjaer Weis makeup. With that said, “natural” is a vague word, because the term isn’t regulated. This means we’re all using different definitions, which can be confusing. In an ideal world, I’d love to see an official definition, similar to USDA Organic or Ecocert, that would help people navigate the product selection process.

What are your favorite natural products?
Kypris skin care, Drunk Elephant Lippe balm, Ilia lipstick, 100% Pure mascara, Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, Beautycounter face oils, Burt’s Bees lipstick, Goop eye cream. I also like Earth Tu Face, Province Apothecary, and Supernatural Beauty.