As the Senior Beauty Editor at Refinery29, Phillip Picardi has one of those dream jobs. He works in New York City with a cool crew and gets to try basically every beauty product on the planet. We’ve been loving his smart, funny approach to makeup and skin care ever since we stumbled upon his byline, and shortly after discovered he has the best eyebrows in the biz. (Sorry Cara! We’re on Team Phillip for that one.) So obviously we had to find out more. We chatted with him about career moves, writing for women and his favorite products of the moment.
WAS BEAUTY EDITING ALWAYS YOUR DREAM CAREER? HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START? It’s hard to say that editing was my dream career. When I was young, I’d accompany my mother to her favorite department store counters — Trish McEvoy, Sisley, Chanel, and Guerlain. I became obsessed with the thought of perfecting your face with product, so much so that I started stealing her foundations and concealers at age 11 just to hide my dark circles. In high school, I worked at a salon for two years planning events, doing the front desk, and helping with photo shoots and hair shows. Then, I helped my good friend, who’s an aesthetician, open up her own spa. All of this happened right before I went to college! I sort of ended up falling into the beauty department at Teen Vogue under Eva Chen, where I learned very quickly that being an “editor” meant being nimble — television appearances, events, desksides, shoots, extracurricular projects for the company… and, oh yeah, editing. That’s when I fell in love and decided I wanted that for myself.
WE ARE AMONG THE MANY WHEN WE SAY WE LOOOVE REFINERY29. WHAT’S THE SECRET SAUCE? I just started at Refinery29 four months ago, which is crazy! I feel like I’ve been here for quite some time. I was so lucky to come into a company that already has a very dynamic vision and a totally exciting aesthetic — Christene Barberich, our editor in chief, was instrumental in helping me move away from the more preachy, didactic magazine voice I was used to, and Piera Gelardi, our executive creative director, is really looking to challenge the norms of beauty and do things that are more outside-the-box. I think that they, combined with the entrepreneurial energy that runs through this place like electricity, and the incredibly fast pace of our work, really makes this a special operation.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART ABOUT BEING A GUY IN THE INDUSTRY, WRITING FOR WOMEN? I don’t look at it as a challenge to write for women… I look at it as an honor. The most influential people in my life — my mother, my grandmother, my sister — have all shaped me and helped me be confident in myself, despite the fact that I grew up constantly feeling marginalized and different. I’m privileged to be starting or furthering our conversations around beauty, and I strive to do so in a way that feels knowledgeable, sure, but also approachable.
YOU BASICALLY TRY ALL THE BEAUTY PRODUCTS OUT THERE. CAN YOU NAME YOUR PERSONAL TOP 5?It’s impossible to name my top five so soon in my career, but here are my current favorites:
- RMS Living Luminizer, which I talk about just about every chance I get. Other fans are Gisele Bundchen and Miranda Kerr, apparently, so take that as you will — it’s like instant dew and luminosity for your face.
- Surratt Eyelash Curler, which I also talk about just about every chance I get. I stepped off an elevator at an event the other day and a colleague literally came forward to touch my lashes. Someone even complimented them at a funeral once. Trust me, I was so not born with it. It’s all this bad boy.
- Bite Beauty Lip Mask is the easiest remedy for chapped winter lips. I apply it every morning.
- Sarah Chapman Morning Facial is the best hangover cure around — instantly glowing skin with two pumps and a quick massage.
- Purely Perfect Leave-In Conditioner, which somehow doubles as a styling agent and an all-day hydrator. It’s absolutely lovely.
WHAT BEAUTY TREND ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW? WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH WOULD GO AWAY? There were a lot of fun and wild rave elements at all sorts of shows this past season, which I totally loved — technicolor roots, neon in the inner corners of the eyes, graffiti nails, star appliqués… it was very fun. I’m into that “more is more” thing at the moment, for sure. I’m definitely growing weary of all the contouring we see on YouTube and Instagram and such. A makeup artist I love once told me it should always be about “shading, not sculpting” — enhancing, not creating. I think we could use that gentle reminder on a more daily basis.
Read more beauty insight from Phillip at refinery29.com.
Photo credits: (left to right) Leslie Kirchhoff and Evaan Kheraj.
As the longtime Beauty Director for W Magazine, Jane Larkworthy is a bonafide beauty guru. We love her smart and witty commentary on the beauty industry and she’s our go-to source for the real-deal on skin care and makeup trends. Jane’s Twitter and Insta feeds are also dead giveaways of just how cool and down-to-earth she is. Find her at @wmagjane and scroll for a shot of her standard poodle Remy wearing vintage Chanel, you’ll see what we mean. So when we saw her feed flood with jumpsuits, we had to get the story behind it. We caught up with the natural knockout and veteran beauty editor to learn more about 30 days of jumpsuits and, of course, some of her beauty secrets.
TELL US ABOUT 30 DAYS OF JUMPSUITS. IS LIFE BETTER IN A ONESIE? Last Summer, W Magazine decided to cover my clothes for 30 straight days on Instagram. It was not only flattering, but a fun challenge and I really enjoyed both explaining the history of the clothes as well as setting up some crazy shoots every day. Anyway, a few more editors did it after me, then it kind of fizzled out. This summer, I kept thinking about it and decided to do it again, but with a theme. I already own about ten jumpsuits, but once it gained momentum, people and designers started loaning them to me, so it was extra fun. I will be sad when it’s done. I’ve probably got more than 30 days worth, so I might extend. That said, my daughter gave me the next 30 days idea: 30 days of kale. I bet we can totally do it. Okay, fine. Ten days of kale. Then it’s back to fashion!
WHAT BEAUTY TRENDS ARE YOU LOVING RIGHT NOW? The platinum blondes are cool (literally!), but it’s just about peaked, so maybe the pendulum will shift to super dark! I still like an interesting nail – maybe with an ombre glimmer of glitter near the tip – but only if it’s done in chic and subtle ways. I can’t deal with geometric shapes or negative space.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE BEAUTY MUST-HAVES? Burt’s Bees lip balm, House of Soveral Angel Balm, and Cellcosmet ampoules and serums.
IT’S ALMOST FASHION WEEK. HOW DO YOU GET READY FOR THE SHOW SEASON? Since it’s still going to be warm, I’ll get a pedicure, but not a manicure. I’ll just ruin it. Maybe give myself a moisturizing mask one or two nights during the week. Then a quick visit to my colorist Gina Gilbert to cover my gray and update the highlights! But, with facials, I’m very Cobbler’s Children Have No Shoes – meaning: I know I could get one and should get one, but I’ll be too busy hiking up in the mountains until the very last minute before fashion week! Fresh air is MY facial!
Sasha Plavsic spent over two years perfecting the first six shades of her Lip Conditioners before launching Ilia Beauty in 2011. Two more years later she had over 30 more products on the shelves of some pretty major stores like Barneys Co-Op and Colette in Paris, giving NARS a serious run for their money. The kicker? Her stuff is 85% organic and will last through just about any make-out session. We’re hooked. Sasha is also one of the coolest girls we know so we caught up with her during some rare down time and got the 411 on the world of Ilia.
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO THE PERFECT LIPSTICK FORMULA? The ingredients sourced from around the world are the best we can find, and nearly all the formulas are started from scratch. When formulating we always have a few goals in mind for what we would like to achieve and it can take up to a year and a half to get there sometimes. There are constant tweaks happening right up to our launch and even after to perfect a product.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE SO FAR? The biggest challenge to date has been skin tones, which we will start to introduce this fall. The challenge is that there are so many different tones and when launching just six colors it’s a tricky to ensure there will be something for everyone. Doing what I like for myself is the best guide and is in some ways doing what I think is best for others. You can have all the stats and marketing on what sells and why, but at the end of the day if I am not in love with something and it doesn’t work for me, why should it work for anybody else?
WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU RIGHT NOW? For the past two days I have been back in New York. The energy of the city, the sounds, the fashion – it all starts to bring new ideas. Any type of travel will get all pistons firing with lots of new thoughts.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIFE IN CALIFORNIA?
The sun! That is really the main highlight – amazing weather all year around. Secret spots in LA and weekend trips to Palm Springs are also a nice bonus.