A Lesson in Chill from Jean Godfrey-June
The veteran beauty editor talks social distancing, weathering the COVD-19 storm, and tips for staying calm in quarantine.
As tumultuous as the media industry is—even on a good day, week, or year—the current COVID-19 crisis almost makes us nostalgic for the 2008 economic recession. And it’s not only publishing that’s experiencing job losses and tightened budgets—the entire world has slowed to a standstill as a result of the pandemic. It’s unfortunately a necessary evil at this time, but the sting of watching family and friends lose their livelihoods, especially within the beauty world, is no easier now than at any other point in history. At trying moments like these, it helps to speak with someone who has witnessed the ebb and flow of the industries we love, if for no other reason than to assure us that, yes, we will eventually come out the other side, weary and ready to begin anew. Who better than Jean Godfrey-June?
In case you haven’t picked up a magazine or clicked on a lifestyle website in the last 25+ years, Godfrey-June has been leading the beauty teams at some of the biggest titles in media, most notably, Elle, Lucky, and Goop, where she is currently beauty director. With nearly three decades in the business under her belt, she’s weathered numerous storms in an already unpredictable industry. As such, we wanted her take on how she sees the landscape of beauty and media changing once the current crisis has passed. Not only that, but she also has some useful tips for supporting your own network of beauty professionals (at least until the happy day when we can visit them in person again), and, of course, she filled us in on the many tried-and-true calming beauty products she’s using to make it through her time in quarantine. Read all about it below.
How have you already started witnessing the changes across beauty editorial during this pandemic?
“We’re all having a very similar experience in terms of we’re at home. It’s very leveling in a certain way, but it also points out vast inequalities, obviously. I think beauty editorial is as useful as ever, as long as journalists can adjust to what’s happening. Right now, I wouldn’t be so interested in hearing here are these fancy people at this fancy party, and these are the jillion-dollar things they put on their faces. It’s pretty easy to adjust the tone because we’re all in this soup right now.”
Why do you feel that beauty and self-care are still just as important, if not more so, now?
“Beauty is one of those things that people can generalize about, [saying] that it’s about vanity, and self-care is such a cliché. It’s a cliché about turning your shower into a spa, but that is what we have in front of us right now, and it is a really helpful tool. If you sit in a bathtub for twenty minutes, you’re going to feel better than when you got in. It’s not about spending money, per se. Everyone I know, whether they’re working from home or not working, is like, “The days go so fast.” You kind of thought, oh, I’m not going to be commuting; I’m going to have all this extra time, and just taking care of your house, preparing every single meal, doing all of those things. It takes a lot more time. Those little things like taking a bath, or taking a second to put on some mascara to do your Zoom call with your old friends, is very restorative.”
Do you think that makeup or the concept of being “presentable” will fall by the wayside a little more once we’re back in the office?
“The funny thing is that you would think, I’m at home, I don’t need to zhuzh myself up. I certainly feel that if I’m going to do a big call or something, I want to look presentable. For a call the other day, and I had to put on actual clothes, and my boyfriend was like, “Wow! I haven’t seen you like that!” A little bit of blush or something can make you feel like “game on.” Part of that is how we’ve been conditioned. Even without this crisis, I think we all know that our partners will love us whether we’re wearing makeup or not, and our coworkers will still accept our work whether we’re wearing it or not. There is so much [that is] useful in beauty, and we tend to see the word makeup and think, oh, oppression. And it’s not really true.”
What can consumers do to help ensure the livelihood of people working in the beauty service industry during this time?
“I had a call with Sally Hershberger a couple of days ago, and she was talking about doing consultations with clients over the phone. Let’s say you get your hair colored—your colorist can talk to you about how to do your roots until this is over, or what colors they would recommend you can get from a box. I talked to Jillian Dempsey and she, not because of this crisis, has a new app that is like a studio, and makeup artists can go on there and do all of these tutorials.
“I think part of it is, say you have the person who cuts your hair, or who does your makeup—if they can give you any advice, you should pay them for it. We certainly have the technology to do those things, and there’s a lot of love between clients and their [beauty] professionals. Of course, there are funds for people, but I think that the personal relationship that a person already has with their stylist, that is a big part of the solution.
“Certainly as journalists, we have experienced many people losing their jobs. Not from this crisis, but from the internet. Part of the problem with it is everything being free. I think particularly at this stage, if there is something that you can pay someone for who lost their job, you should absolutely pay rather than say, I’m going to go and try to figure this out myself. Pay people for their expertise.”
So what does your beauty and self-care routine look like now? What products are you loving?
“Everything I use beautywise at the moment kind of soothes me. If it’s not doing that, it’s not in the rotation. I’ve been taking a lot of baths. The Goop Martini Bath I love, and the Goop Nurse! Bath if I feel a little something coming on, especially because of allergy season. UMA makes this incredible Calm Bath Oil. It is the best scent on earth. Aimee de Mamiel makes this Altitude Oil—I inhale it before I meditate, but it’s before you get on a plane. She made some bath salts with it, and I’ve been trying that. A non-product thing I’ve been doing is transcendental meditation. I love Jivamukti yoga, and they have it online, so I do that.”
“Back to beauty products. I feel like I’m always putting on face oil. I have face oil in the kitchen, in the bathroom, near where I go out. I just feel like, what’s the harm in putting that on? The one I’m most obsessed with is from May Lindstrom called the Youth Dew, and it’s super moisturizing. Aimee de Mamiel is a specialist in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and she formulates these oils based on what’s happening in the world, so I’m super excited for her new Spring oil. Francesco Clark of Clark’s Botanicals made this Jasmine Vital Cream, and the texture is incredible. You can’t believe that it’s a clean product. The Naturopathica Cherry Lip Scrub & Balm Duo [ed note: currently sold out], I love. The Tata Harper roller balls are super cute. They have an irritability one that I have set out for everyone in my household.”
“I’ve always been big on foot massages right before you go to bed. Bastian Gonzalez—he’s the foot guy—he does pedicures with some kind of crazy tools, and he said to me, “Just touch your own feet every night. The next day will be better.” And I really believe that. I also had a homeopath look at my daughter when my kids were really little, and she was super brainy even then, and she was like, “That girl is always in her head. You need to massage her feet every night to bring her back down to earth.” That sort of solidified my belief in the nightly foot massage. I do it with my kids, but also with myself right before I go to bed. There’s a really good cream from that brand Lavido that I really like, but I switch it up. I use things that aren’t even foot cream. I love Sangre de Fruta, they make this incredible body cream [ed note: currently sold out]. There is a new body butter, Mutha, that’s great, and you can use it for anything, but it’s an incredible foot cream.”
“I just got to the end of my Rahua Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner. I don’t blow-dry my hair, so I can really tell the difference with one shampoo and conditioner versus another. I alternate with Frederick Fekkai The One, and both of those are clean and hair transforming, in my opinion. The other thing that is saving my life is Christophe Robin Temporary Color Gel. For me, and for most people, I would say, you don’t want to try to recolor your whole hair. But if you just do your roots, it is as clean as hair color can be, and you kind of feel like this French person putting on this mysterious hair mask. I do that once every two weeks just on my roots, and it is totally natural if you have brown or red hair of any shade. It doesn’t work for blondes, but blonde is actually less toxic in general. You would think bleach would be more toxic, and it is, obviously, if you put it on your skin, but it doesn’t have the health concerns that dark hair color does. Rahua has a hair mask, and I put it on my ends so it protects my highlights from any color when I wash it off from the roots. Hair is really important! Because everyone is on Zoom and everything, good hair is now more important than usual.”
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