Beauty eds get a lot of stuff for free. More stuff that you would BELIEVE. And then times that by a gazillion. And square it.
So the true test of a good product for me is when someone who gets a lot of shit for free, reaches into their pocket and hands over their own money. Because then it MUST be good.
In the video below, I asked Zoe for her top 20 beauty products ever. The ones she needs at all times. Whittled down from the 18903 she has. This is the first in a series of Zoe videos. In future ones we ask her about many other things. But be patient. Sit back and gobble up this one first.
Here’s the full list for you…
1. Goldwell mousse
2. Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion
3. Redken 80 Wool Shake
4. Styler brush
5. Ella Bache Great Tan Without Sun
6. Garnier Body Summer Gradual Tanner
7. Sunsense +30 plus sunscreen
8. Estee Lauder Tinted Daywear
9. UltraCeuticals Even Skintone sensitive serum
10. Batiste dry shampoo
11. Bobbi Brown nude make-up palette
12. Tom Ford Ginger Fawn lipstick
13. Benefit Instant Brow eyebrow pencil
14. Bobbi Brown Bronzing powder brush
15. Bobbi Brown Eye blender brush
16. Bobbi Brown concealer
17. Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless Eye concealer
18. Smashbox bronzer
19. Bloom cream blush
20. Kevyn Aucoin tubular mascara
I’ve started this post so many times because I want to write it without gushing but it’s impossible. BUY THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY. There you go. And not because Zoë Foster is one of my dearest friends. Many friends have written books that I haven’t read (sorry). But this one?
I FUCKING LOVED IT.
I read it over the long weekend and did so with a pen and notepad by my side at all times as I carried them all around the house from room to room. I couldn’t put it down and I never thought I’d say that about a BEAUTY BOOK.
OK, back story. Many people have been beauty editors at some point in their careers. Deborah Thomas (former AWW ed). Paula Joye (former Madison and Shop Til You Drop Ed-In-Chief). Bronwyn McCahon (Cosmo Ed). Kirstie Clements (Vogue Ed). Me.
But for all the above, the beauty gig was a mere step on the ladder up to being an editor. So when I snatched Zoë from tween mags at age 23 and put her in the beauty chair at Cosmo, I assumed the same would apply. I knew she was super talented and beauty editing is ideal training for wannabe eds.
She had other ideas. When she was first installed there, she knew nothing about beauty. This is not a bad thing. In fact it is a brilliant one because it means if you’re smart (and she is), that you will write your beauty copy and come up with your ideas from your readers’ point of view, not the viewpoint of a jaded beauty pro. Otherwise, beauty features/posts are cliched, cheesy, repetitive and impenetrable. Also bloody dull.
That’s where Zoe’s genius lies. She somehow fell in love with beauty. I urged her not to stay too long at the party and she didn’t – she diversified into writing about relationships and became a prolific, wonderful novel writer – but she is the only beauty journalist I know who can write so engagingly and colloquially and HILARIOUSLY about beauty. Also honestly.
Who else would write a chapter about how she deals with her cold sores which, if you suffer from them or kiss someone who does, is worth the cover price alone.
Ok, the book.
As I read it, here’s what I realised:
Ignore the fact I was a beauty editor. I never wanted to BE one. I just took whatever gig got me a paycheck on a magazine – my dream. I never loved it. But Zoe did. Zoe retained her insatiable curiosity and wonder for lotions and potions and magic tricks and has finally put it all together in this book.
And most of us don’t actually know stuff. We wing it. And we get stuck doing the same thing to our face and hair. Until we are Goldie Hawn.
As I write this, Lana is sitting across from me, reading the copy I just gave her for her birthday. She too has a pen and paper and is making notes of products to buy and every minute or so, she laughs out loud. Every five minutes or so, she hands the book over to Rick who reads the bit she’s pointing to and also laughs out loud.
Now Rick wants to read the book when Lana is finished and HE’S A BOY. It’s that good.
Zoe’s mission is to give women the tips and tricks and tools to feel more confident. To try new things in non-scary ways that will make us look as good as we possibly can.
For instance, the morning after I’d finished Amazing Face, I just did a couple of her tricks – one with illuminator and concealer (which I’ve apparently been doing all wrong FOR YEARS) and another with blush and bronzer (ditto). Took 2 minutes. Didn’t have to buy anything new.
And I walk into the office and Nicky and Lana and Nat (Rick didn’t notice, see above point about him being a boy) all looked up and they go “Hey, hey! What’s with you! Your make-up! You look 10 years younger!” and I’m not exaggerating one bit and no they don’t say that because I pay them because I pay them every day and they’ve never said that before.
So. Buy the book here. Read the book. Tell your friends.