We’ve long been admirers of beauty editor Jean Godfrey-June. Her column in Lucky Magazine was our bible for 15 years — she has a way of writing about beauty that makes you want to drop everything and try whatever she recommends, immediately. She’s now an editor at Goop. Here, she shares her real-life routines, including the lipstick that makes your face light up, her thoughts on aging and the nicest way to fall asleep…
What’s your morning skincare routine?
I don’t wash my face in the morning because your skin isn’t dirty in the morning. While I’m in the shower, I exfoliate with a Clarisonic brush. The Clarisonic is the miracle invention of all time — it’s great for acne, for anti-aging, for everything. Afterward, I put on Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum, followed by Goop’s face oil. A little later, I put on John Masters SPF 30. I like giving everything a lot of time to sink in. Then even later, I use Lancôme Flash Bronzer Leg Gel. Yes, it’s for legs — but I use it on my face. It doesn’t make me break out, and it makes me look wide awake and glow-y. It’s the best color, the best blendability, the best everything… so far superior to any other self tanner (face or body) that’s it not even remotely close!
How about your nighttime routine?
I use Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser every night. My skin is oily, but once I started using it, I stopped breaking out because my skin wasn’t always reacting to being stripped and irritated. It’s really easy to wash off and doesn’t have detergent in it. Then I use prescription Tazorac to fight aging and acne. The Tazorac makes me dry, so every other night, I alternate it with the Goop Beauty Night Cream, which is the cushiest, thickest, most comforting cream of all time. I swear it plumps up your skin overnight.
Can you describe your bedtime rituals?
Once in bed, I like to give myself a foot massage. I think it helps you sleep and makes you love yourself more. Even a minute makes such a difference. Foot creams tend to smell like toothpaste, though, so I’m currently into the body cream from Grown Alchemist. At the end of the day, when your thoughts can be racing, a foot massage helps ground you. I also like to give my kids a quick foot massage before bed — it’s a great instant connection. You don’t need any techniques; it’s more about the power of touch.
Do you have any beloved drugstore finds?
Yes to Tomatoes wipes for acne. Teenagers hate to wash their faces, but wipes they will actually use!
Speaking of teenagers, how do you talk to your daughter about beauty?
My daughter is 19 now, and has never been especially interested in beauty! It’s just not her thing. I know people who are like, “It’s un-feminist to let girls play with makeup,” but I don’t think that’s true. Would I ever advise anyone to be like, “Hey, 10-year-old daughter, you should put on some makeup!”? Of course not. But I think it’s okay to let them experiment. I had one friend whose daughter went to a very strict school where makeup was not allowed. They came over one afternoon when the daughter was 10 or 11 and she was wearing a wig, makeup and high heels. Her mom was like, “I let her do this when she gets home from school.” It’s what delighted her and allowed her to express who she was. You might not let them wear that to a family wedding, but letting kids dress up is fine. I also think taking care of your skin is an important thing to learn, for both boys and girls. Taking care of your skin makes you feel good about yourself for your whole life.
What else makes you feel great?
I try to do yoga twice a week and run twice a week. Every time I do yoga I marvel at how much better I like my body at the end. I first tried it for a magazine story a thousand years ago, where I went undercover at a bunch of spas. I went to The Ashram in L.A. and did yoga there, and the poses reminded me of poses I would strike as a child. There were these older ladies in great shape, and I was like, “I’ll have what she’s having.” With yoga, you stay in shape, you feel good, and you have this mental moment as well. I also like that it’s not about how you look — when I do yoga, I feel invisible and I like that.
When did you first became interested in beauty?
I became interested when I got my first breakout, for sure. I became seriously interested as a writer, when I realized that when I wrote about beauty — versus any other topic — about 17 billion more people wanted to read it!
Why do you think that is?
I think people have a natural drive to look their best. But beauty — and the aspect of self-care and sensuality — taps into that part of yourself that isn’t always well cared for. It’s also a bonding ritual, like when you go get a pedicure with a friend or do face masks with your daughter. Even sharing a beauty secret feels like bonding. Years ago, I would do celebrity interviews and the celebrity would be totally closed-mouthed about their personal lives, but if you asked about a perfume, they would tell you a totally inappropriate story and their publicist would be horrified. Beauty is very personal. It seems like it’s about vanity, but it’s actually the opposite — it can connect people.
Did you have any defining career moments as a beauty writer?
Early in my career, when I first got to New York, I worked for a trade magazine for architects and interior designers. My grandmother in New Jersey was always like, “When are you going to write for a real magazine that I can buy in the supermarket?” I had no connections and I didn’t know anybody, and so I couldn’t get an interview at magazines I liked. So I started writing full articles and just sending them in. I sent one to New York Magazine and it got published. Then I wrote a story about this makeup artist with a new line of 10 lipsticks. Her name was Bobbi Brown. I sent it to Vogue, and they published it. That one story exploded and it launched my beauty writing career.
Do you still get excited when you discover a new beauty product?
Yes! I still get super excited when I find a new product that blows my mind. I’m like, “Wow, someone came up with something that lots of people need!” A beauty product is kind of like a toy. The beauty industry is always innovating, and never gets boring. A true beauty junkie isn’t necessarily someone who’s caked in makeup, but rather someone who’s constantly enthralled by new ideas.
What makeup do you use?
I use Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizing Balm and Eye Brightener. On top of that, over dark circles goes the essential Secret Concealer from Laura Mercier. I put it on with a brush, only on what I want to conceal, then pat lightly — never rub — to blend. The greatest mascara of all time is the new one from Juice Beauty. It’s better than ANY other mascara, natural or no: it makes my lashes thicker and blacker and flutterier, and it doesn’t flake or smudge or migrate. It’s a freakin’ miracle and must be tried. On my lips, I ADORE Olio E Osso lip balm in the hot pink shade — it brightens up your whole face. It’s sheer, comes in the cutest, easy-to-put-on tube and looks amazing. Heaven. I have one in my pocket, one in my bag, one in my office drawer…
You seem to use a lot of natural products. What’s your philosophy?
I do think if beauty products were something that were widely used by men, they would be regulated. If I go to the store and I want to buy organic produce, everything is clearly labeled for me. Why can’t it be the same with makeup? At Lucky once, I was doing a story on green beauty back when it was still very early in the movement. There was one nail polish and we were all like, “Wow!!! It really works!” No one could believe it. I brought it home, and my daughter was like, “You know why it works? It’s made with acetone.” She had actually read the label. But it had green leaves on the package, so we believed their claims. For things you’re essentially inhaling, like shower gel, I try to use a natural one. When it comes to makeup, I feel most strongly about keeping it natural on lips and eyes. You eat lipstick.
Do you have advice on finding a hairstylist you trust?
My most important tip is if you go to a hairstylist (or a makeup artist or a nail artist) and they’re trashing the work someone did before them, “Who DID this to you?” Run. Run run run. A talented person will look at you, figure out what is beautiful about you, and then bring that out. It’s not about changing anything for the sake of changing it or making you look like some celebrity. The mark of a talented person is when you feel them really taking you in. I wash my hair every other day, adding Lavett & Chin leave-in conditioner once I get out of the shower, and that’s it.
Pop question: Baths or showers?
Both! I’m in love with the Sea Siren scrub from Shiva Rose: I hate harsh scrubs, and Shiva Rose leaves you smelling so good, with incredibly — incredibly — soft skin. I also take a lot of baths, into which I pour body oil. Burt’s Bees Lemon Body Oil is amazing in a bath, and wildly affordable compared to other body oils. They’ve done studies that say the huge majority of household accidents are in the bathroom, and my tub and shower are always slippery because of oils, so I am very careful.
When is a time in your life when you felt beautiful?
The older I get, the more beautiful I feel, weirdly. I was never the hottest girl, so perhaps the decline doesn’t bug me as much for that reason. You spend your 20s being like, “All these things are wrong with me,” and then 20 or 30 years later you realize what a weird self-centered destructiveness that is.
Do you have an overall beauty philosophy?
You’re prettier than you think. Everything in the world is beautiful, people are beautiful. You are the person that gets to experience yourself closest at hand, so enjoy it.
Thank you so much, Jean!