In our opinion, beauty editors have one of the best jobs in the business. Not only do they get to try much-anticipated beauty launches before they’re available to the masses, but they get to interview celebrities, learn how to do their makeup and take care of their skin from top industry experts and go behind the scenes at Fashion Week to find out the next biggest beauty trends. That said, beauty editors don’t take their responsibilities or readers’ trust lightly. They know just how important it is to be honest and real in a world of filters and highlight reels. And they wouldn’t dare recommend a product without doing their homework—aka, testing it out for themselves!
One beauty editor who always keeps it real? MarieClaire.com’s Chloe Metzger. From her honest (and hilarious) product reviews to her enticing interviews with some of the industry’s best, Metzger uses her voice to cut through the noise and pave a path for a more transparent industry. We sat down with Metzger to find out her favorite skin care product, most genius makeup hack and more, ahead.
Dermstore: What is your favorite thing about being a beauty editor?
Chloe Metzger: Probably getting a barrage of texts from friends every morning going, “OMG my face and hair and nails look terrible, what do I use that fixes everything in five seconds?” Honestly, though, I really do love helping friends and readers find new products that can make them ridiculously happy, whether that’s by clearing up their acne or finally figuring out how contouring works, etc. Plus, you know, I get to play with everything before it hits the stores, which makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. Or, just me in a candy store.
Dermstore: What inspired you to become a beauty editor?
CM: My mom really instilled in me a love of all things beauty. When I was a kid, we’d spend our Friday nights testing every tutorial in [my] Klutz braid and nail art books. And, when I got older, I low-key became obsessed with re-creating the hair and beauty looks in CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. I’d rip out my favorite photos from the issue and tape them to my bathroom mirror, then sit on the counter for hours and try to copy the look, studying the exact length and shade of the model’s eyeliner, and undoing and redoing my braids until they looked identical. So, when I discovered that Allure magazine existed, and that the editors spent their entire day writing about skin care and hair care and makeup, my brain exploded. That, coupled with the release of The Devil Wears Prada, solidified my dreams of becoming a beauty editor.
Dermstore: Who inspires you?
CM: Phenomenal writers like Miranda July, Sharon Olds, Marilynne Robinson, Mary H.K. Choi—I could go on forever, so please stop me—whose words are like honey, really inspire me to play with language and the way we view and describe things in writing. People can sometimes think of beauty as vapid and boring and commercialized, and as a beauty editor, it’s my goal to make it unique and fun and interesting and, most importantly, smart. It’s not just about giving readers cheap foundation options and skin care advice—although I’ve got a billion recommendations—because if you look at the Instagrams of makeup artists like Pat McGrath or Robin Black, you see that it’s an actual art form that exists to inspire. And the challenge of making something divisive relatable to the masses is the goal we’re all striving toward, I think.
Dermstore: What is the best piece of beauty advice you’ve ever been given?
CM: Please, for the love of all things holy, stop using makeup wipes and wash your damn face. It truly shocks me how many people I know complain about their skin issues and then admit to me that they take their makeup off in bed with a makeup wipe, or, even worse, they just sleep in their makeup. As my dermatologist friend once said, using makeup wipes is basically the equivalent of washing your bathroom with dirty toilet water. Yeah, hate on me all you want, but rubbing a cloth back and forth against your face can lead to irritation, fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. Plus, unless you’re washing your face with a cleanser afterward, you’re actually leaving a thin layer of gunk and oils on your skin that then transfers to your pillow—which transfers back to your face the next night—leading to breakouts and clogged pores. Grab a good cleansing oil and take 45 seconds to wash your face, instead.
Dermstore: Walk us through your morning, nighttime and weekly skin care routines.
CM: I have super-sensitive, allergic and dry skin, so I’m all about moisture. In the morning, I wash with a gentle moisturizing cleanser and hydrate with Avène Extreme Tolerance Cream. At night, I do the same, except I remove my makeup first with DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.
Dermstore: What is your main beauty concern? What steps do you take to keep it at bay?
CM: My newly diagnosed rosacea has been super fun to deal with. After years of slathering my face with whatever lotion, potion and acid that rolled across my desk, my skin gave me the middle finger and slowly devolved into a sheet of red, blotchy irritation over the last year—aka, the definition of rosacea—which has led to a host of other skin issues, like perioral dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis. Basically, I’m a rashy allergy farm. But, thanks to switching to an incredibly gentle, simple routine, which helped repair my skin barrier, and also finding a dermatologist I really, truly trust—and actually sticking with the few topical rash creams she prescribed, rather than giving up after a few weeks of not seeing results—I’m getting it under control. Annoyingly, though, rosacea is a lifelong thing, so it’s all about management, not treatment. But hey, at least I can save on blush now, right?
Dermstore: What is the one skin care product you can’t live without?
CM: My Avène Extreme Tolerance Cream. It’s been a total game-changer for my dry skin. It’s hella moisturizing and soothing—even in the middle of the winter—and it has absolutely zero irritating or acne-causing ingredients. I’m getting sweaty just thinking about it getting discontinued one day.
Dermstore: What is the one makeup product you can’t live without?
CM: This is so hard, but it’s probably primer. My makeup with and without primer is the difference between an ethereal sheet of glowing magic versus a piece of bark with some paint slapped on it.
Dermstore: What’s your go-to makeup hack?
CM: I’m obsessed with the $7 drugstore dupe, Monistat Chafing Gel, which makes my skin feel like a smooth little jellybean. It sounds weird, but it’s actually used by athletes to prevent chafing, since it’s basically just pure silicone—aka, the main ingredient in most makeup primers—but, doesn’t have any of the irritating sparkles or perfume or junk you’d find in usual primers. I’ve used it since high school, and even after testing all of the primers in existence, more or less, I still go back to it.
Dermstore: What brand are you most loyal to?
CM: I’m totally not loyal to any brands. Sorry, brands. If you’ve got a good product, I’ll definitely be testing it out and probably falling in love with it. Though I will say I have a soft spot for Lorac eyeshadows, Kat Von D eyeliners, Herbal Essences curl products and Sally Hansen nail polish. Skin care is a total toss up—you’ve got to do some trial and error before you figure out what works with your skin, and that can vary from brand to brand.
Dermstore: Do you have an everyday makeup look? If so, how would you describe it?
CM: 60s France meets 2016 New York—is that even a thing? Did I just describe a food? Basically, just refined and classic: Either a black cat eye or a soft, smudgy haze of bronze eyeshadow around my eyes for definition, plus black mascara to the upper lashes only. I’ll also even out my skin with tinted moisturizer, then add a swirl of blush, and a swipe of bronzer under my cheekbones and around my forehead. If I have a meeting, or I’m feeling blah about my appearance, I’ll wear a red lip all day; otherwise, I’m all about tinted lip balms, preferably the color-changing variety, since they develop so gorgeously.
Dermstore: How does your hair factor into your beauty look?
CM: It’s a huge factor—at least, when I’m putting forth an effort. Otherwise, it’s in a bun all day, every day. To me, your whole look is a bunch of weighted scales that you want to balance out. Like, if I’m wearing a sweatshirt and jeans to work, I’ll balance out the schlubbiness with a tight, sleek topknot and a bright lip. If I’m wearing braids, I’ll add a smokey eye or some heavier eyeliner to keep the look from feeling juvenile. Hair is the second puzzle piece. First comes the clothes, which inspire the hair, which determines the makeup. It’s pretty instantaneous for me; I’ll know exactly what I’m doing with my hair and makeup from the moment I figure out what I’m wearing.
Dermstore: Skin care, makeup, nails or hair?
CM: It’s a toss-up between skin care and makeup. Makeup is purely creative, artistic and fun, and I always feel like my inner 13-year-old sitting on her bathroom sink again when I’m swiping new products on my hands at work. But skin care is so fascinating and purposeful, and it makes my brain happy. I absolutely love talking to dermatologists and cosmetic chemists, and I willingly spend my time reading journal articles on how and why certain ingredients interact with your skin to produce a specific reaction. Like you can quite literally slow down your skin’s aging process by using retinol religiously. Do you know how crazy that is? So many aspects of skin care are futuristic, when you really dive into them, which is consistently fascinating to me.
Dermstore: Who is your most unforgettable celebrity interview?
CM: Probably Jennifer Aniston. It was one of my first big celeb interviews when I was just starting out, and I immediately blurted, “I know people tell you this all the time, but, like, I’m such a huge fan of your work, and you’re amazing, and this is amazing.” She awkwardly chuckled and called me “sweetheart,” which I have since legally changed my middle name to in her honor. Also, Meryl, if you’re reading this, I’d be happy to change my answer if you would just answer any of my calls.
Dermstore: Who is your go-to skin care expert, makeup artist and hairstylist?
CM: Dermatologists Mona Gohara, Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin and Joshua Zeichner are my go-to dermatologist buds who are not only wildly brilliant and funny, but are also willing to answer my late-night freak-out emails about some invisible red dot on my face. For makeup artists, I love Vincent Oquendo, Hung Vanngo and Robin Black. They’re all incredibly personable and excellent at working with every skin type and skin tone imaginable, so diversity is synonymous with their work. And for hair, I’ll forever love my Kristin Ess and Jasmine Santiago, because they’re hair whisperers who also give really great hugs. This is important.
Dermstore: What is the biggest change you’ve seen in beauty since starting your career?
CM: People are so much smarter and more aware of what ingredients they’re slathering on their faces. And if they’re not happy with the products already on the market, they’re creating their own and actually becoming successful doing it. Whereas indie brands were once relegated to the corners of boutiques, they’re now some of the most popular brands online and I think that’s due to consumer awareness. People have the ability to Google ingredients and research skin care trends, so they’re not necessarily using what’s trendy anymore; they’re using what specifically works for them, and it’s basically democratizing the beauty industry.