What initially sparked your interest in the field of beauty?
The fact that many more people would read my writing if the subject was beauty. Everyone wants to look and feel better; if you write about things that help people do that, your writing is instantly fascinating to many.
How did your children inspire you in your career, and particularly at goop?
A beauty editor told me when I was pregnant with my first that she had one regret: Saying yes to all the after-work events and getting home after her son was in bed. “He’s grown up up now—it really does go so fast.” Another mentor told me when my kids were young: “You think they need you a lot now? Just wait til they’re teenagers!” For me, that meant leaning in harder when I was at work, so I could spend Fridays, for most of my career, at home. I still worked on that day if people needed me, but in general I was at home. I got much more efficient at work—I think every mother does. Decision-making gets clearer, priorities become obvious. For me, having kids made me not sweat the inconsequential stuff as much.
What were the most crucial steps, in your opinion, that resulted in you being coined the "beauty expert”?
I don’t write about things I don’t believe in. And if writing sounds slick—like somebody at a magazine or website or ad agency perfected it, put in some cute alliteration, made it simpler for the reader—I think people don’t believe it, so that’s never my style.
What are your favorite beauty products? What are your favorite products that you have used on your children as they grew up?
I have so many favorite beauty products it makes my head spin.
Skincare: Sun protection is the most powerful anti-aging cream on earth—IF it’s all-natural/mineral. Chemical sunscreens—those great daily moisturizers that disappear instantly into you skin? They’re some of the most irritating chemicals in the beauty industry—and remember, irritation and inflammation speed aging like nothing else. They also degrade in sunlight so you need to reapply every two hours. Break the habit with Ursa Major or Naturopathica SPF—I wear one or the other every day. I’m a huge face-oil fan and GP perfected it—the goop by Juice Beauty is just beyond fantastic. I live for Organic Pharmacy self-tanner, Oilio e Osso lip balm in French Melon, and the mascara from Juice Beauty is, I swear to you, the best mascara, not just in the clean space but in the mascara space, period. BEST. I also like to ink a little W3LL People liquid eyeliner into the base of my lashes.
Perfume is one of the most important beauty items to go clean/nontoxic with, and the newest goop scent, edition 02 - Shiso is just gorgeous. I also love this new oil called Romantic Call from a gorgeous new brand, Balmyard—I wear it as very subtle, pretty scent, but you can also take a bath in it/moisturize, etc.
I think because I’m a beauty editor, my kids are decidedly not beauty-obsessed. My daughter—now a college sophomore in the Marines—used to take all my lipsticks and pretend they were soldiers.
Kid-wise, babies don’t need to be washed or shampooed with soap as often as we’re led to believe. Unless they’re dirty, just water is the ideal bath, maybe with a little oil in the bath or lotion after. Nonetheless my kids sampled a lot of beauty products over the years. My daughter read at a very young age and one of the first things she read was O-r-i-g-i-n-s. She woke up sick one night, crying “I need...the...Bobbi... Brown cream!” But the thing they and I loved most and that I recommend every person on earth but especially new moms try is Weleda Skin Food—it’s a chic green tube of 70 billion amazing biodynamic oils that smell incredible and moisturize like crazy, and you can get it at the drugstore.
When they get to be teenagers, though:
Deodorant! (Schmidt’s! It rules! Totally nontoxic and it works—even a for teenage boy.)
Breakout solutions! Teens and pre-teens, at least mine, are resistant to cleansers, so face wipes are essential. The thing is, most face wipes are toxic bombs of preservatives and skin-irritating (irritations causes both acne and aging), SO, Ursa Major or RMS, or, at the drugstore, Yes to Tomatoes. And then we’re all huge on clay, specifically The Problem Solver mask from May Lindstrom, which is this miracle-working charcoal-and-clay-and-all-good-skin-ingredients-ever powder that you mix with water and brush onto your face--it’s fun, it feels amazing, and it truly heals skin.
The best kid beauty tip is to give them a foot massage before bed every night—nothing elaborate, just a few minutes, with a nice cream like the Weldeda (or my latest discovery, Sangre de Fruta—this Vetiver and Fleur scent, in particular, is heaven). You’ll always have that connection, even when they’re a cranky teenager. Touch reaches people when words can’t.
Do you have any secret facialists to recommend to all of the moms in need of a skin refresher?
I don’t love facials—for me, the money is better spent on a dermatologist. I know that’s not the case for everyone. The exception is if you’re ever in Palm Beach (I know, but still), a facial with Tammy Fender is a full-on spiritual experience that leaves you so glowy that even overworked TSA workers will stop you and say something.
Do you have any tips for dark circles, for all of us who suffer from the exhaustion that is balancing work and motherhood?
2. Goop has a pretty incredible new supplement, Why Am I So Effing Tired? That everyone in the office including me is obsessed with—it seriously makes a difference! (For those who just had a baby, there’s one called The Mother Load that’s also fantastic.)
3. Judiciously placed concealer: Smooth on a bit of eye cream (I like goop’s); wait a few seconds. Dip a concealer brush into RMS Un-CoverTK and place the concealer ONLY where the dark circle is. PAT, gently to blend. You’ll think it’s not going to blend in, but keep patting for a second more and it’ll be perfect. When you RUB in concealer, you’re just moving the concealer to a different part of your face—where you don’t need it.
4. The world-famous makeup artist Dick Page always tells me to take a little of my avorite lipstick (Olio e Osso balm ain French Melon for me) and dot a bit on your lips, a biton your cheeks. A hint of color breathes life into your face.
How do you carve out time for yourself while balancing your time between goop and home?
I don’t do a very good job of it—I always feel like no area of my life is getting the proper amount of attention. But somehow, what needs to get done actually manages to happen.
When I exercise, especially if I do yoga (Jivamukti), I feel like time opens up and I actually get more time.
What has been your favorite part of motherhood? Were there any particularly difficult phases with your children?
Just being with them—they’re both delightful people—watching them grow into the people that they are. It’s especially cool to see aspects of their personalities that were literally in place at birth. You keep thinking, how is this person going to change? And really, they are who they are and it’s just so beautiful.
I think having very small children is one of the most difficult times in life. Of course, it’s one of the most wonderful times in life, but I think it would help people going through to be able to admit how hard it is, to have others empathize with them. You’re whole life and identity changes in an instant, you’re getting no sleep and wild hormone fluctuations, your partner has gone from lover to person-who-you-might-convince-to-get-up-and-change-the-diaper, and this tiny precious person you love so fiercely is crying all the time and can’t tell you what they want -- it’s rough!
What do you love most about raising kids in NY?
I live in Nyack, NY -- when I did live in the West Village, I loved putting my daughter in the stroller right at bedtime in the summer, then strolling to Da Silvano and sitting outside with the stroller having a date night while she slept.
Raising kids in Nyack—walking along the Hudson River together is pretty great, running around barefoot in the summer… I also currently have this super-70s or -80s hot tub that we like to sit and look at the stars in.
What are your typical weekend activities with your kids?
My daughter’s in college, but we text just about every day. My son and I love to laze around—I think it’s genetic—maybe go for a walk, maybe just lounge. I like to cook for and with them—my daughter’s a great baker, I’m more for savory items—and we definitely enjoy a good binge-watch or movie. The two of them are Wes Anderson’s most ardent fans; I think I could recite any one of his movies verbatim at this point. And all three of us love to talk, so there’s a lot of chatting and theorizing.