But seeing as this blog IS called Beauty Editor... I thought it was time to talk to some of the beauty editors I know! (Ding ding ding!) Can't imagine why this didn't occur to me sooner. These are only the people I talk to week in and week out about important topics such as bright lip crayons and Micro Pedis. You'll like them—I promise!
Our inaugural beauty editor interviewee is Christine Louriero, who isn't just a beauty editor but an editor-in-chief of an entire multi-platform beauty magazine: The Kit. Launched four years ago, it includes a print version that's served up weekly in select newspapers across the country, as well as interactive digital editions and a full-fledged website at TheKit.ca.
I caught up with Christine to pick her brain about how she landed her amazing job, and to find out about her favourite beauty products and tips.
What’s a day in your life like?
It can be really glamorous, but it's also work, work, work. No two days are the same, but the best ones always start with reading the daily headlines. I usually wake up sometime between 7 and 8 am, and immediately reach for my cell phone. I'll go through the headlines on Flipboard, read a bunch of e-newsletters, Refinery 29, Vogue—just a daily scan of whatever's going on to have an understanding of what happened overnight. The beauty, fashion, celebrity, business or health headlines that could relate to a feature story.
The next step is coffee. I wish it wasn't. I have one really excellent coffee per day, and am lucky to live near amazing shops that know how I like my Americano.
Then I get to work. I start by talking to my colleagues about a really great idea or a problem that occurred the night before. Then I launch into emails and projects. Today, it was working with my team to move forward two ideas for September, editing the summer issue of our interactive magazine, and taking a good look at our next print issue. I also had lunch with our senior editor to hash out some big-picture things we could make better.
In a regular week, I might throw in a product launch event, or I may do a segment of TV on The Social, which I do once a month. At some point, I have a meeting with my boss or staff. My favourite ones centre around generating new ideas for our readers. I make it out of the office between 6 and 8 pm.
How did you become an editor-in-chief?
I joined The Kit two years ago. Before that, I was deputy life editor at the Toronto Star. I was on the Star's night news desk before that. I come from a journalism background, not magazines, and I come from lifestyle but not beauty and fashion.
The Kit was looking for an editor at about the same time as I was thinking hard about what we could do in terms of lifestyle and digital storytelling. I knew that I wanted to do work in digital. Here was a publication that the company I worked for (TorStar) had just purchased, that was largely digital with a heavy print component. It had this amazing team of the most brilliant women. In a changing media environment, when so many are scared of the future of magazines and newspapers, here was a publication that was about the future. There was a chance to make it what I loved and work with a fantastic team—I'm kind of in love with every single one of them.
It was a happy coincidence that the opportunity came along just when I was thinking about where I wanted my career to go next.
How did you get your start in journalism?
I went to the University of King's College [journalism program] in Halifax for a year. Right out of journalism school, I started working on a freelance basis with a magazine called Saltscapes. After I'd been freelancing for a couple months, I took a summer contract with the Star; that was seven years ago this month. I think it was a mix of the Star looking for someone and me being ready, eager, hungry and willing. I also had a smart editor who was willing to take a chance on me, because I had zero experience at the time.
How do you see the beauty and media industries changing?
It's become far more demanding. Readers want evidence. I think it comes back to social—just the idea that nothing is better than a recommendation from a friend. Being a friend to that woman in the beauty aisle, saying, "Oh my gosh, I tried that and I loved it!" or "Don't put down that pack of Shiseido cotton pads; you will not regret getting them!" [Note from Michelle: YES! That girl is probably me!]
At The Kit, we've made a conscious choice, a natural choice, to share what our editors are trying and loving over social media. We want that curated, insider feel but also for readers to know that we really do have conversations about everything we put in the publication.
Tell us about The Kit editors' favourite products.
We have a One-Minute Miracle column that runs every week, and is where we share our must-have favourites. These are products that punch above their weight and do what they say they will, in less than 60 seconds.
For the One-Minute Miracle issue [and contest!] this month, we looked at our own archives. A committee of our own editors had to vote on all the products we featured in the column, and a product required 75 percent of votes to be included. So each one we picked has multiple fans in our office.
Some of our top picks included Blistex lip balm:
And the Bobbi Brown Beauty Balm:
What are the products you personally can’t live without?
Dove Pure Care Dry Oil is a hair oil based on macadamia oil. It gives me the same softness as far more expensive hair oils for a fraction of the price. So it's a keeper.
There's this Mary Kay Finishing Spray. It's the awesome wild card. The first time I discovered it was at a friend's wedding; she's also an editor. She handed me this bottle and said, "Spray this on my face, it will keep my makeup in place." Well, she was right—we were dancing 'til 2 am and she still looked perfect.
I love Consonant and can't say enough good things about them. It's a small natural beauty line based in Toronto and their packaging is gorgeous. I regularly use their DHE mud mask. I think it's fantastic for balancing out skin and I use it once a week.
I'm a big fan of gentle cleansers. CeraVe is in high rotation at my house right now.
Have you always been interested in beauty and style?
I was in a passive way. I've always been into having an easy beauty routine. My goals were simple: to cover dark circles; to find a mascara that didn't flake; to use products that didn't irritate my sensitive skin; to find shampoo that would make my hair smell good. Now I just have a better understanding of how to choose something that works for me.
How would you describe your signature beauty style?
I've had my hair in heavy bangs for a couple years now. I like them. They misbehave in the summer, but that's okay.
I don't really wear eye makeup unless I'm going out somewhere, so I just like clean skin, lots of black mascara, some pink blush—usually one from Physicians Formula or Bobbi Brown—and occasionally a bright lip in coral or hot pink.
Do you have a favourite fragrance?
Yes. Deborah Fulsang, who writes for The Kit, gave me a little swatch of Marni perfume a couple years ago, and I just fell in love. So I use that as a body lotion and as a fragrance. But I don't wear it everyday. Sometimes I just spray it on a scarf.
What’s the best beauty tip you’ve picked up on the job?
The way our senior editor, Alex Laws, applies mascara has changed the way I do it now. She holds the wand horizontally in front of her eye and blinks into it. It turns out that you apply more mascara per lash this way compared to brushing the wand against the lashes.
Do you have any beauty pet peeves?
When I see one of my family members with really dry skin on their hands or face. I sit next to them and I'm like, "Let me give you a hand massage with lotion."
I think I'm noticing more things like that, because I know how easy and simple it is to fix them. I don't know that I would ever try to convince someone to do something they weren't already interested in. But if they are, my job is help people find what works best and to help their outside match their inside.
What do you love most about your job? What's the most challenging?
The most challenging part is also the best, I think. That's the creativity. The Kit has a really special readership. It's a newspaper and digital readership. We're not a newsstand product. Nobody's come to us accidentally at the supermarket checkout. So we need to stand out to our readers with original, creative content that they're not seeing elsewhere, so we can keep them coming back month after month. The biggest opportunity is to be creative with the way we tell stories, and to tell the stories that are right for our readers when many other publications have access to the same types of information. But it's also the biggest challenge.
What’s your advice for aspiring editors?
The best advice I've ever received was to always work at mastering the basics. The people who are really good at what they do are really good at the basics. So if you're going to be a reporter, get really good at keeping contacts, asking smart questions and developing a unique story. If you want to be an editor, be organized, be curious and follow your instincts to get information that will make a story unique and useful.
The second thing I always say to is look at the world with "story idea eyes". If you are a curious person, you will be better positioned to work in media. And if you always follow what it is that excites you, you'll end up in a good place.
The third is that if you're ever in a position to hire people, then hire ones who are smarter than you. I'm inspired all the time by the people I work with and the energy they bring. For every story idea I think I've got in the bag, they have five that are way better. They're magic. My job is connecting people around ideas; it's not about me but very much about the reader, and the team I work with. Nothing gets done unless I can work with people.
The last thing I recommend is polite persistence. In terms of getting a job, keeping a job and growing in a job. Just be really polite, but don't be shy—follow up and try again. You might not get an email back (and the editor will feel bad). But this is an industry that really fosters casual mentorship. I think persistence is highly undervalued. So do it!
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Have Your Say
Did you enjoy hearing about Christine's career path?
Have you tried any of the "miracle" products?
What do you think about that mascara tip?