When I first told my mom that I was working in the beauty department at Real Simple for the summer, she started laughing.
Then when I told my grandparents, they asked if I would get a makeover.
I was really feeling the support.
While their reactions weren’t exactly what I was hoping for, I can’t say they were unfounded. I typically go without makeup, especially when I’m rushing to class after 5 am rowing practice, and I only started wearing nail polish a year ago. But what they don’t realize is that I am interested in the wide realm of beauty products; I’m just way too cheap to actually purchase anything. I read fashion blogs, subscribe to Sephora emails and I introduced my mom to Birchbox last year. So while I’m still trying to master the foundation to bronzer ratio and can’t get my curls to stay frizz-free in the New York City humidity, I’m definitely learning.
After three weeks at Real Simple, I’ve discovered that my main task is also the best place for me to learn. The beauty closet is a just a small room, but it’s filled to the brim with every eye shadow, moisturizer and perfume you can imagine. During my first week, I put at least 30 bags worth of products on their proper shelves, reading the labels and figuring out the differences between face serums, toners and oils. Each day, PR companies send over the latest and greatest products from their beauty clients, hoping to entice the editors into featuring them in the next issue, and everything eventually goes in the beauty closet.
Last week, I sat in on the beauty department’s selection meeting, where they share their favorite new products with each other before a pitch meeting with the editor-in-chief. While it made me feel a bit farther behind in my beauty product education, it was interesting to learn what they consider when pitching a product, especially in relation to their readership. The next day, I came to their pitch meeting with the editor-in-chief, and learned more about each product with her considerations. And while my product suggestions weren’t exactly brand new, one of my ideas inspired a beauty tip for the October issue. I’m considering that a small win in my continuing education.
- Julie Mazziotta, Bryn Mawr College, Real Simple