Aesthetic Authority: Meet 10 of the World's Most Powerful Beauty Editors
Whether you get your beauty insights from the pages of glossy magazines or through the web, you’re bound to come across advice from these 10 influential beauty pros.
In the world of skincare and beauty, the editor reigns supreme: she’s the one who tests the best makeup remover and dry shampoo, curates all those essential beauty secrets from celebs and tastemakers, and is first to know about the latest beauty trends.
If you’re all about finding the hottest new skincare products, or if you want to get makeup artist-level application tips, you’re going to want to get to know these 10 powerful beauty editors.
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. You can’t talk about influential editors without naming Anna Wintour. The longtime Vogue editor-in-chief is best-known for her take on couture fashion, but there’s no doubt the boss has had a significant influence on the fashion mag’s beauty approach, too. In fact, Ms. Wintour is credited with shifting the magazine’s focus away from beauty trends to also cover the underlying creative approaches of some of the world’s most famous models and fashion designers.
With a reported net worth of over $35 million — and a clothing allowance of $200,000 per year — there’s no doubt that Wintour is one of the world’s most influential and respected magazine editors.
If Anna Wintour is the magazine world’s No. 1 editor, it could be argued that Cindi Leive is runner-up. As the editor-in-chief of Glamour — the working woman’s top beauty mag — Leive has forged a culture of body acceptance at the magazine, emphasizing the importance of inner beauty as much as outward appearance.
“I always say Glamour’s mission is that we’re for a young woman’s whole real life,” Leive told Buzzfeed in 2013. “We have a very particular fashion point of view and we’re there for her through her fashion obsessions, her beauty obsessions, but we are also interested in all the other parts of her life.” For a period of time, Leive served as the editor-in-chief of Self, where she helped to boost the magazine’s circulation by 11 percent.
Joanna Coles is the former editor-in-chief of Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan, but that’s not the only thing that makes her resume impressive. The British-American beauty expert is also the executive producer of several television shows, working on the E! series “So Cosmo” and appearing as a mentor on “Project Runway.” Now the first person ever to hold the title of Chief Content Officer for Hearst Magazines — the parent company of Marie Claire and Cosmo — Coles is still making waves in the beauty world, providing beauty insight for many of the corporation’s pubs and sitting in on the sets of some of the hottest new TV shows.
If you really want to see what it’s like to be a beauty tastemaker, though, follow @joannacoles on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Proving that Ms. Coles is truly a renaissance woman, she also acts as a board member at Snapchat and is working on a book about sex and intimacy in the digital age.
Redbook Editor-in-Chief Meredith Rollins cut her teeth at Harper’s Bazaar, New York Magazine and Lucky, but it’s her tenure with Redbook that has carved out her place as one of the top influencers in the beauty industry. Rollins was named editor-in-chief of Redbook in 2014, after she spent four years as the magazine’s executive editor.
What’s the secret to Rollins’ success? It’s all about her can-do attitude: with kids at home, Rollins admits that she never hits snooze, and that she always sets her clothes out the night before to make sure that she’s always on time everywhere. Her favorite beauty buys include red lipstick, especially L’Oreal Le Matte Lip Color in no. 106 — “but if I’m running late I won’t put it on until I get to the office,” she says — and Bare Minerals concealer.
Former W Editor-in-Chief Jane Larkworthy was, for a long time, a staple in the beauty world. But since she parted ways with the glossy mag in 2016, Larkworthy has still made time to contribute to top publications. Dedicated readers have long adored Larkworthy for her approachable take on fashion and beauty, providing advice to readers on everything from how to pick the best moisturizers for dry skin to how to get Kardashian-inspired brows in a pinch.
But beauty tips aren’t her only specialty. Larkworthy also shares her insight on food and fashion — she loves Harney & Sons Green Tea and suede clogs — and is happy to guide her readers to the best anti-aging products and more. The key to her success? Crying in public, among other things.
As the senior beauty editor for Refinery29 and a one-time contributor to Teen Vogue and Allure, Phillip Picardi has something distinct to offer his readership: a unique insight on men’s beauty. From in-depth reviews on the best body washes and body lotions to guides to men’s makeup, Picardi is definitely one of the most progressive beauty editors out there.
What you’ll love about Picardi is his budget-friendly approach, with awesome suggestions for how to get luxury-level makeup at CVS and other drugstores. Picardi fanatics follow this trend-setter on Pinterest, Instagram and other social media channels for fresh, new tips.
Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca joined the ranks of Essence more than 10 years ago, where she bounced from Lifestyle Director to Beauty and Fashion Features Editor and eventually landed in the role of EIC. De Luca says she doesn’t have just one secret to success, but many: take risks, trust yourself and don’t be afraid to fail, among others.
The award-winning beauty boss doesn’t just weigh in on beauty tips — trust us, she’s got you covered on that front, too — but also helps women of color find their voice when it comes to topics like race equality, politics and work. De Luca says she lives by a personal motto: “A winner never quits, a quitter never wins.” She also says that one of her personal goals is to help women use their voices to confront everyday issues.
As InStyle’s resident beauty boss, AKA Senior Beauty Editor, Selene Milano is obsessed with all things beauty. Contributing must-read tips online and in print, Milano covers everything from helping you find the perfect foundation for your skin tone to what to buy (and what to skip) from new lines by Mac, Urban Decay and other beauty brands.
What makes Milano so special, though, is her ability to track current events and celeb style to piece together content that’s inspiring and approachable to the modern woman. Example: if you’ve ever wanted to know what beauty products are coveted by Jessica Alba and Emma Roberts, you’ve got to follow Milano. She’s also a top-notch source for the latest beauty reviews, trying out some of the hottest new makeup, skin care, fragrances and nail polishes.
She may not be Anna Wintour, but Vogue Beauty Director Celia Ellenberg is poised to become a Wintour-level editor one day. According to her Vogue.com bio, Ellenberg has “mastered the art of high-low and subway mascara application.” In other words, she brings a super-approachable element to Vogue’s sometimes high-brow beauty content.
Taking inspiration from pioneering beauty pros — she’s a huge fan of makeup artist Peter Philips — and runway looks past and present, Ellenberg is an essential source for beauty lovers who want to stay on the cutting-edge of skin care and makeup. Before she wrote for Vogue, Ellenberg’s work graced the pages of Elle, New York Magazine, Vogue, Nylon, Jane and Style.com.
According to Allure Senior Beauty Editor Jessica Chia, looking and feeling beautiful isn’t only about picking the right beauty products. Instead, it’s about finding a balance between physical and emotional well-being. Chia, a certified aromatherapy expert and self-proclaimed yogi, joined Allure after writing for Women’s Health and Prevention.
At Allure, she’s all about providing cutting-edge beauty tips that make you feel fab from the inside out. From helping you find the best sunscreen for sensitive skin to reviewing top products and discussing emotional self-care, Chia is certainly an editor to watch!
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