If you’re a beauty zealot and you’re not familiar with Fat MascaraTM;, well, let me just say it: You’re welcome.
Fat Mascara is the OG of beauty podcasts. Its hosts, Jennifer Goldstein and Jessica Matlin (whose day jobs are beauty directors at Marie Claire® and Harper’s Bazaar®, respectively) share all things beauty. Everything from new products, trends of the moment, and personalities on their radar to their feelings about the beauty world are fair game, and they do not hold back. Nearly every bold-faced name has guested on Fat Mascara, including Orlando Pita, Charlotte Tilbury, Jaclyn Hill and Olivia Wilde. Yet, despite both being in the industry for years, it took a rather exotic press trip for their meet-cute to happen.
“In 2013, Jergens® invited us on a press trip to Ghana to learn how shea butter was sourced and how they make products with it,” remembers Jenn.
“I packed way too efficiently, with my little Tumi® carry-on,” adds Jessica. “I don’t know what I was thinking, but I wore jeans for the ten-hour flight — and not comfy ones. I get to the airport lounge and there’s Jenn, wearing harem pants. She just had this comfort level that said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to Ghana. And I’m dressed for the occasion.’”
“What can I say?” laughs Jenn. “I travel a lot! Jess, meanwhile, got her cornea scratched from all the sand kicking up on the trip, so I sort of had to walk her back to her cabin. And I was like, ‘I could hang out with her.’”
Jessica and I go way back. [Editor’s note: Jane Larkworthy is the former beauty director of WTM;.] She interned for me at JaneTM; magazine, then joined me again a few years later at W before she soared ahead to Allure®, LuckyTM;, Cosmopolitan®, and Harper’s Bazaar. And while I haven’t known Jenn quite as long, I know that she’s an excellent editor (CosmoGirlTM;, InkedTM;, HealthTM;, BridesTM;, and Prevention®, to name a few), because I’ve hired people who have worked under her.
This has been an auspicious year for both women. Goldstein got married in June, and Matlin is expecting her first child in February. It took a bit of perseverance to procure an hour in their schedules, but it was worth it. A conversation with Jessica and Jenn is not unlike being a guest on their podcast — rapid-fire commentary, interrupting each other (but in the way best friends do), and an encyclopedic knowledge of all things beauty.
I recently visited them at their day-job HQ, in Hearst Tower in Manhattan, to talk about their careers, beauty habits, regimes, procedures, and passes, and what their fantasy beauty products are.
Spotlyte: Did you always want to be a beauty editor?
Jessica Matlin: I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was really into Barbie®. I know that’s a little controversial right now, but I was. And I was really into my Barbie clothes. My grandmother was a seamstress, and I remember taking the train with her into the city to her place of work in the garment district. I’d always imagined the environment would be like a Barbie runway show, or have some fabulous designer like Gianni Versace running in, but then I saw how incredibly hard my grandmother was working; ten women in one small room. It was not glamorous at all. Meanwhile, I always liked beauty, too. I was always playing with my mother’s beauty samples. More importantly, though, beauty seemed more accessible. As I got older, I saw how narrow fashion was if you really wanted to be involved in it, both economically and body-wise. Beauty felt more inclusive.
I was fans of brands like Urban Decay® and Lipstick Queen® in high school, and I remember reading about [Lipstick Queen founder] Poppy King; I used to make up names for the products that I’d create, so I thought, maybe I’ll be an entrepreneur. But my first internship at Jane changed all that. When it came to magazines, I had presumed I’d be a music person or a fashion writer, and then I saw the beauty department and I thought, Game over.
Jennifer Goldstein: I’m from Philadelphia, and if you stopped at a traffic light in the ‘80s, you could buy soft pretzels from a guy standing on the corner with a shopping cart; so, when I was a kid, I wanted to be the soft pretzel guy. To me, this was the coolest job. I really liked soft pretzels…
When it comes to beauty, I first got into it in middle school, [shopping] at WoolworthsTM;. I loved the collectability of it all. I don’t think I was wearing makeup, I just liked to play with the componentry; it spoke to the organized person inside me. I first wanted to be an advertising copywriter because of the movie Crazy People with Dudley Moore.
Anyway, my first job in beauty was at DouglasTM; Parfumerie, which is like the German Sephora®, and I also worked at the actual Sephora, as an editorial assistant, but I really wanted to be on the magazine side. I moved back to Philly, spent a year working at Philadelphia Style®, then came back to New York and got a job at CosmoGirl.
Spotlyte: Whose idea was the podcast? Were you always into them?
JM: I knew what pods were, of course, but I never really listened to them. When I met my [now] husband, Geoff, he was really into Marc Maron’s podcast, WTFTM;, so I started listening to it. Then I got into — controversial opinion, polarizing character alert! — the Brett Easton Ellis podcast. Love it. So, I started thinking, “OK, Marc’s talking to comedians and actors, Brett’s talking to musicians and filmmakers. Who’s talking to people in beauty?”
I remember doing a search and there was like, one beauty podcast, a bridal-related one. I got very excited. I had a friend who was a producer and I gave her my big pitch. She said, “I love it, but you need a partner. Podcasts do better with two people.” So I told Jenn about it.
JG: I said, “This is the greatest idea! Who would be a good co-host you have good chemistry with?” I spewed out names to her, and she sat there quietly as I went on and on. Then, she very quietly said, “I was thinking of you..?” And I was like, Oh!
JM: We were kind of wondering how our bosses would feel — the side hustle wasn’t as prevalent then as it is now — but they were both awesome and really receptive to the idea. So, we went to the studio and started recording to see if we had chemistry.
JG: Our producer said, “You can’t manufacture chemistry, and I can tell right away that you two have it.”
JM: I remember feeling so happy. Our first episode went up in February 2016, and our guest was Rose-Marie Swift.
Spotlyte: Love her. Who’s still on your guest wish list?
JM: Pat McGrath and Drew Barrymore.
JG: And we still need Jessica Alba on. These are fun women you could imagine having a sleepover party with, and we know our audiences would dig it.
Spotlyte: Other than Fat Mascara, what are your favorite podcasts?
JG: I love This American LifeTM;. The DailyTM;. I just started listening to the Foxy BrownsTM;. It’s such a West Coast take on beauty, in a way. I’m like, OK. I’m not in my New York bubble anymore.
JM: I start the day with The Daily unless it’s a topic that I can’t stomach. The Emma Guns ShowTM;. And Vanity Fair’s® Still Watching® podcast. It’s a recap show. It’s so good.
Spotlyte: You have tons of fans, and you’ve started doing listening parties, [hosting your fans and listening to the podcast together]. How many have you done?
JM: So far, five. Jenn and I have girl crushes on all of the people who come.
JG: One’s an opera singer, another’s a MTA® engineer, but what they all have in common is beauty obsessiveness.
Spotlyte: Let’s switch gears: when did you start focusing on your appearance?
JG: I got my first injectable wrinkle reducer when I was 29, so I’d say 29.
Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet.
Spotlyte: Was taking care of yourself a priority growing up?
JG: No, I was really into fragrance, but never skin. If I had money, I was going to buy an Urban Decay glitter liner, not skincare. I used Noxzema® and, like, the Buf-Puf® — loaded with menthol, manual exfoliation you don’t need. I think I did it because you were supposed to, but I didn’t care, I had great skin. I didn’t get pimples until I was 30.
Spotlyte: OK, the hating begins . . . Jess?
JM: I don’t remember a time when I didn’t care about my skin. I had all those little samples from Estee Lauder® and Charles of the Ritz®. I was nine! It was so glamour. I was doing self-care long before people were using that word.
JG: I forgot! St. Ives® and Freeman® masks.
JM: See? I still think that shows you care. I was always playing with my mom’s stuff. When I was 13, she and I went to the Monmouth Mall®, and I got the Clinique® three-step [system], and I was set. It was a gift with purchase, so we got the value and all the extra products, which we then split up. It was like a rite of passage. I didn’t have a confirmation or a bat mitzvah, so this took the place of that.
Spotlyte: What are your respective beauty routines?
JG: I used to experiment so much that my skin would break out and get red, so I realized I had to experiment elsewhere. Whenever we judge the Indie Beauty AwardsTM;, I’m always like, “Give me the body category!” “Give me nails!”
Cleanser is one category I am always willing to experiment with. It seems like a good place to try all the different stuff. Lately, I’m loving Senka PerfectTM;. It’s Japanese.
In the morning, after cleanser, I just put on SkinMedica TNS [Essential Serum®]. I’ve been loyal for ages. It’s really good. If I’m dry, and I usually am, I’ll rub some Weleda Skin Food® on, so I’m glowy when I put on my makeup.
At night, wash it off, more TNS, then moisturizer — currently, I’m trying Augustinus BaderTM;, then Vintner’s Daughter®; this product is a great example of experimenting with a positive outcome. Someone gave it to me, I tried it, and I love it. But, honestly, I could live on a Dove® bar and Weleda, and I’d be fine. On my body, I use Riddle® Body Oil. It is the most beautiful texture — not sticky, soaks right in. And in the shower, the Dove bar or NécessaireTM;.
JM: In the morning, I use Aesop® creamy cleanser, then a serum. I use a few different ones, depending on my mood. I like Tata HarperTM; Elixir VitaeTM;, and I also like Kiehl’s® Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. It’s my favorite vitamin C serum, there is no better one. At night, I’ve been a little tired lately, so either the sleeping mask from Sisley® or the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery® Cream. I’m also using the new Tom Ford® skincare, and I like it. And I love AMOREPACIFIC® Time Response® Eye Cream. It’s like Crisco®, very balmy.
Spotlyte: What’s your current makeup lineup?
JM: It’s always a Chanel®.
JG: My signature is Beauty Pie® RacyTM; lipliner topped with Chanel Rouge Allure® Ink in ExperimenteTM;. Oh, and MilkTM; Werk StickTM;. It’s their cream blush. Do you know Arches & HalosTM;? I really like the pencils, tweezers, and little brow razors.
JM: For makeup, I try tons of things, but these are what I use the most. Laura Mercier® Tinted Moisturizer Illuminating, still looking for the best concealer. For eyeshadow, Charlotte Tilbury® Eyes to MesmerizeTM; pots are the best. Mascara, not loyal. Right now, I’m using Too Faced® Better Than SexTM; and Damn Girl!®, because we just had Jarrod [Blandino, co-founder of Too Faced] on the podcast. I also love Chantecaille® Liquid LumièreTM;, and on my lips is ConfessionTM; by Charlotte Tilbury. I like hers and Tom Ford [lipstick] the best. My favorite Tilbury is Penelope PinkTM; and my favorite Tom is Spanish PinkTM;.
JG: She likes a lipstick. Like, a lady lipstick.
JM: I do not want a gloss, I do not want a stain. I want a great, full-coverage lipstick. I feel more pulled together. It’s not trendy. It’s more polished. And for body, I really like Mary Kay® and Bastide® Amber SoirTM; body lotion.
Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.
Spotlyte: What about your nails?
JG: I try to get off the gels, but I can’t because it’s the only thing that stays on. So I go to Paintbox® and get a gel manicure with BioSeaweed GelTM;.
Spotlyte: Would you be willing to share any in-office treatments or procedures you’ve had?
JG: I [smoothed the appearance] of [my frown] line [with injectable wrinkle reducers]. Then, [over time] your plethora of injectables grows. At 35, I started filler. My injector is Heidi Waldorf.
JM: I love Clear + Brilliant®. I didn’t think it was going to work, but it really does, even if you just do it once.
JG: I also got Fraxel® before my wedding, and I looked like a baby.
Spotlyte: What about the downtime?
JG: I didn’t hide out. That’s the thing about being a beauty editor. You can walk in with peeling skin and you can just say, “It’s work.”
Spotlyte: In your opinion, what are the top three worst things we do to our skin?
JM: Tanning on purpose.
JG: Oh, and picking! I am guilty. You forget everything you learned as a beauty editor, and go into this weird black hole when you look in the mirror at a thing that you just need to get.
Spotlyte: What about the most important things we should do?
JM: Sunscreen! Boring…
JG: And sex!
Spotlyte: What ingredients are you intrigued with lately?
JG: Hypochlorous acid. It’s naturally occurring in white blood cells, helps the body fend off foreign passages [to help] promote healing. People with eczema use it, and it’s in a face mist from this brand Tower 28®.
Spotlyte: What skincare terms are you tired of?
JG: We have a shelf in our beauty closet called CBD Land. I’m also tired of the pollution story, because I think that should just be par for the course. It’s just a marketing spin on antioxidants and protection.
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