I was a beauty editor in New York City for nearly twenty years, reporting on hair, skin, makeup and fitness for More, Marie Claire, Shape, Redbook and CosmoGirl. In that time, I covered nearly every major beauty innovation, from Botox to gel manicures to Latisse—and I regularly interviewed the world's most talented and knowledgeable beauty experts. Best of all, for the sake of research, I used myself and some lucky friends and family members as guinea pigs, and we slathered our way through thousands of products.
Then, at the age of 42, it was time for a change. My family had outgrown our 1000-square-foot Manhattan apartment. My son Heath rarely saw his grandparents, who lived in the Midwest. My job was amazing, but the whole family yearned for space, both literally and figuratively. So we left Manhattan and headed to my husband’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
It's been two years since the move, and we've (mostly) settled into our new lives with a Midcentury house, a yard, a new dog and regular visits with the grandparents. We now have room to grow and time to think, and I transitioned from beauty editor to beauty writer, penning pieces for InStyle, Real Simple and Women’s Health.
In my new role, I still talk to beauty experts and report on the latest innovations. But I believe moving closer to the middle of the country as I enter middle age (and according to Merriam Webster, that starts at 45) has given me a more balanced perspective on how women want to look in their 40s and beyond. In Manhattan, the heart of the beauty industry (where I worked in a main artery), I found the anti-aging mantra to be largely maximalist: Do. Whatever. It. Takes. That meant injectables, radiofrequency facials, lasers, peels, lash and hair extensions, teeth whitening, microneedling, scalp treatments, liposuction. . .and so on.
In the Midwest, by comparison, I’ve discovered that, while women are not averse to aging intervention, many prefer a minimal to moderate regimen. I get questions about “natural” products (Beautycounter, Tata Harper, RMS), requests to accompany Botox virgins for their first injections, and queries about my favorite multi-tasking skincare. Less is more for most.
Exposure to this range of anti-aging approaches—and the realization that most beauty magazines (including several where I was an editor) tend to cater to maximalists under the age 35—was my initial inspiration for creating MediumBlonde: I wanted to write a beauty blog for us so-called middle agers, with beauty news and advice that satisfied both the do-it-alls and the do-just-enoughs. (Note: I’m obviously generalizing geographic tendencies; of course there are minimalists and maximalists all over the country.) Then More, the beauty bible for GenXers and Baby Boomers—and where I was a beauty editor for more than seven years—folded last year, and I knew the time was nigh.
So here goes, my fellow 40/50/60/70-something sisters: MediumBlonde is a place you can come to get honest opinions on products and treatments (Botox=Essential; Ultherapy=Ouch) from a 40+ perspective, as well as to find out what I use—and why. Not everything I recommend will be brand-new. After years of road-testing, I’ve found newer and better are not necessarily synonymous. I still adore decades-old Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant ($25; ulta.com); my favorite lipcolor is Fresh Sugar Petal Tinted Lip Balm which launched three years ago ($24; fresh.com), and I believe the best waterproof mascara on the market is still the one I wore to step aerobics in college, L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara ($9; ulta.com). I will also share tips and tricks from my favorite experts, introduce you to women 40+ who are aging with enviable grace, provide video tutorials (once I master my new DSLR camera) and make myself available to answer your questions.
In short, I hope to act as your personal beauty editor, curating the news to just what is relevant in our middle years, as well as helping you look the way you want to now, next year and even decades down the road.