best beauty publications
by Sophie Anderson
By now, I have dished out quite a few pieces of advice / product recommendations here on The Fluf, and you might be wondering what the hell qualifies me to do so. Is it because I dump a larger portion of my paycheck into beauty products than the average twenty-something-year-old city-dweller living on an entry-level salary should? Or is it because I tend to have unrealistically high standards in all facets of my life, and won’t settle for anything less than the best—even when it comes to lip balm?
Both of those assumptions are technically true. But, I think what has equipped me most to talk about beauty knowledgably is the vast amount of research I do on a daily basis. For starters, I love reading product reviews, and never, ever, ever buy anything without getting the full scoop from at least 100 of my closest, fellow perfectionists. I also read a ton of articles, and cross-reference their various claims in order to come up with the most educated opinion possible. But, in a world where the internet is so diluted with sponsored content and wannabe bloggers (hi, it me), it can be hard to know who to trust. Luckily for you, I have compiled my top beauty sources, listed in order of most near and dear to me, below.
Of this list, Byrdie is definitely the beauty publication that I refer to most at the moment. For one, they publish all beauty content, all the time, so there is nothing else to distract me or suck me deeper into the black hole that is the internet. More importantly, they have an amazing combination of run-of-the-mill, best-of lists and more thought provoking pieces concerning things like whether the phrase “anti-aging” is actually problematic. For me, the ideological issues surrounding beauty are just as fascinating as the beauty products themselves (if not more), and I can’t think about one without thinking of the other. So, I love having access to thoughtfully crafted pieces of both nature in one convenient location.
Into the Gloss
As the starting point for Glossier and Emily Weiss’ original claim to fame, Into the Gloss covers all the top beauty trends, must-have products, and helpful guides – like how to exfoliate with acids or when to go to an aesthetician vs. a dermatologist. But the best thing that Into the Gloss has to offer is “The Top Shelf” series, which ventures into the homes of successful, creative women and explores the products they use regularly. Call me creepy, but there is something so satisfying about peeking into someone else’s bathroom, and getting to see all their must-haves in their natural habitat. Maybe it’s simply the fact that strangers don’t often experience that level of intimacy with one another… I’m not sure. But, either way, the series is genius and has helped me discover some of my all-time favorite products.
I have been following Yana Shept’s blog and Instagram, Gelcream, for several months now, and I am fully addicted. She doesn’t post super often or regularly, but when she does, I re-read her statements until I have them nearly memorized. All of her product reviews are brief but thorough, and coupled with very simple, polished images of whatever she is testing as well as a rating out of five. And, although many of her reviews are positive, she’s a tough critic. She’s very honest about whether she thinks something is over-valued, over-hyped, or just a total dud. Best of all, she doesn’t do ads. From what I can tell, all of her opinions are 100% her own, which is honestly kind of a rare find in this day and age.
I first learned about + fell in love with Coveteur, when I worked with fashion stylist Djuna Bel, who is featured frequently. Their beauty section covers everything from fascinating trends that I would never abide by, like pre-shampooing, to the best face oils for hangover skin (much more relevant). The site is also really easy to navigate, and they do a great job of keeping the writing polished yet conversational. But, above all, Coveteur keeps me in the know as to who the latest “cool girls” are, and what they are doing to stay so damn cool. As this information is essential to any Angeleno’s survival, Coveteur has become a staple source that I reference frequently.
Beauty is Boring
Founded and run by Makeup Artist/ Photographer Robin Black, Beauty is Boring features in-depth, high-fashion looks – complete with video tutorials as well as full product listings. Black is a really talented and visionary artist, so all of the looks he creates are much more abstract and daring than anything I would typically do on myself. But, they do encourage me to venture outside of my comfort zone and be bolder, which is a sentiment that I think we could all stand to be reminded of a bit more often.
Darling is a great, female-focused magazine with plenty of informative articles surrounding fashion, travel, and life in general. In fact, this crash course in taking care of your car has become a heavily dog-eared and frequently referenced chapter in my own life’s handbook (more so than I care to admit). In terms of beauty, though, Darling is where I get all my info on the supplements du jour and what foods to incorporate into my diet to better my skin from the inside out. They also have a lot of really interesting pieces on which cosmetics ingredients do what and the natural beauty products that actually measure up to those oh-so-effective, toxic ones. Although my makeup collection is nowhere near all-natural or eco-friendly, I sure would like for it to be someday. So, I’m happy to have this knowledge to store in the back of my mind and pass along to my future, more thoughtful self.
Honorable mention goes to Man Repeller, which, in addition to being one of my favorite sources of fashion inspo, has some really smart and informative beauty-related articles, too. As with most Man Repeller content, every story is told with a level of honesty and wit that seems to transcend the barriers of screen and space altogether – making you feel as though you are glimpsing the thoughts of a close friend instead of a total stranger. I especially find this to be true in beauty columnist Claire Carusillo’s writing. Throughout all of her product reviews, Claire is upfront about the shortcomings of everything she tries – including those products that she recommends (i.e. her ugly but effective natural deodorant pick). For this, I trust and value her opinion more than most columnists, and highly recommend her as a source.