As this industry is constantly changing—you, me, and the beauty trends—it's impossible to know everything there is to know. That's a given. But over the years, I've grown, watched, and learned from readers, co-workers, and veteran experts in their fields. We've done research on everything from emotional eating, Korean beauty secrets, and the lipstick you should buy, based on your Myers-Briggs Personality Type. I even pretended to be Gigi Hadid for a day after I tried Bella's hard-to-handle diet. Beauty and all the elements that come with it are, and always will be, fascinating.
That being said, there are a few favorite lessons I've learned along the way. Keep reading to find out my best secrets.
1. It is essential to read labels.
"The only thing that doesn't lie is the ingredient list," Faith, our editorial director, practically recites as her own personal mantra. Get to know the ingredient lists for all your products. Marketing will boast a lot of exciting claims, but without the ingredients to back them up, you're left with a hole in your pocket and skin or hair that hasn't improved. Say no to alcohol (but not cetyl or cetearyl alcohol) in skincare and sulfates in haircare. Check our list of nine beauty ingredients banned overseas (but legal in the U.S.), and six ingredients that should be in your skincare products for more details.
2. Your face starts at your nipples.
My former colleague had an esthetician tell her that once, and it's true. The skin on your chest and neck are just as thin and prone to sagging and wrinkles as the skin around your eyes. The problem is, barely anyone treats it as such. In the same way you care for your face, keep the skin below your chin in shape with anti-aging products and moisturizers for added hydration. I'm partial to Bioxidea Miracle 24 Breast Treatment ($62) and Bliss That's Incredi-Peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads ($20) for my neck and chest.
3. Treatments don't have to hurt to yield results.
And "aggressive" doesn't always mean "effective." While some painful procedures really do work (micro-needling makes your skin look like a fresh flower, Skin Laundry treatments banish bacteria and tighten your skin, and the FasciaBlaster, $89, works absolute wonders on cellulite), there are others that are both effective and relaxing. Drinking lemon water speeds up your metabolism without you setting foot inside a gym. Microcurrent facials, methodically administered by cult facialist Joanna Vargas, feel like a warm massage and visibly lift your skin. Read more about the at-home option.
4. You don't have to love working out to feel good in your body.
Finding out this gem of a fact has been understandably life-changing. There are a ton of treatments (like the aforementioned FasciaBlaster) that will help keep your body tighter and smoother than ever before—and a few tricks to burn major calories no matter what you're doing. But that's not to say you have to feel pressure to look any sort of way. "Self-care" is assuring you're well in both your mind and your body—that includes eating nutrient-rich foods (not diet foods), getting outdoors (this can be just a walk if you'd like), indulging in your passions, journaling, going to therapy, whatever makes you feel good.
5. Overprocessed hair is a real thing.
I learned this the hard way. While my hair has always been curly, dry, and a little bit fried, this year, I went overboard with highlights and a ton of hair broke off in the process. First, read what I did to fix it, and then make sure to follow all those expert haircare tips before and after every appointment. And if you can make it to L.A. to see Matt Rez at the Mèche Salon in Beverly Hills, do it.
6. Overnight results are possible.
All thanks to a few lovely ingredients called retinol, vitamin C, and glycolic acid. Your skin will look suppler, brighter, tighter, and just better by morning. However, you do have to be careful with active ingredients—read about the skin ingredient combinations you should never put on your face.
7. What you put into your body really does make a difference in your overall happiness.
I'm the first to admit I love eating comfort foods (and hate the feeling of restricting myself). However, if I've learned anything while writing about health and wellness, it's that healthy, clean foods don't only help you tone up—they also make you happier. They make you feel better every single day. It's a bummer because cheeseburgers are so delicious. So I learned another cliché to be true—moderation. Enjoy the things you love but take care of your body, too. Try these health supplements that work better together for nutrients that are necessary for your body.
8. An interest in beauty is not vapid. Not even close.
An all-encompassing explanation of the beauty industry is a tall order. I find myself defending my job to a lot of people, those who think it’s all lipstick and perpetuating traditional beauty ideals. The fact of the matter is it's quite the opposite. Writing about beauty is so vital in the culture we live in, not only to those who care about the newest makeup launch but also because taking care of yourself (be it your mind, body, skin, hair, soul, and whatever else) is inherently inclusive. Everyone wants to feel good. Everyone wants to look good. The short answer is this: I write about beauty. But more granular, it's rooted in very personal yet unbelievably relatable tropes: body image, self-love, wellness, mental health, and confidence. I parlay my access to experts in the field as well as my own personal (and sometimes difficult) experiences to offer content that is helpful and hopefully cathartic to whoever may be searching for it.
Do you have any beauty secrets of your own? DM us on Instagram and let us know.