The XO Talk Sessions: Lauren Levinson

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(Photo credit to Benjamin Stone)

It was such a blast getting to talk with my friend Lauren Levinson about all things beauty and life related, she’s truly the best! Lauren is the senior editor for POPSUGAR Beauty and every single piece she writes is the definition of iconic. I read Lauren’s work every single day and it’s truly the greatest! Be sure to keep up with Lauren on Instagram and POPSUGAR Beauty, you definitely won’t regret it.

 

David: Hey Lauren! I’m so glad I’m getting to speak with you, how are you?

Lauren: I’m great! Thanks for asking. I recently got back from a big Asia trip. I went to Shanghai, China, to cover the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. POPSUGAR had the digital beauty exclusive. Then, my husband and I traveled to Hong Kong and Tokyo. I feel super blessed to get to do all of this travel.

 

David: You’re a senior editor at POPSUGAR Beauty, that’s so cool! When did you realize that you had a passion for beauty and writing?

Lauren: I was lucky in that I knew from an early age. English class and any creative writing assignments were always my favorites in high school. So during my last semester of high school, I did a senior options program and interned at ELLE magazine in the accessories department. (I grew up in Westchester, NY, so NYC was always a quick train ride away.) Nina Garcia was the fashion director at the time, and I used to open her mail and organize gorgeous designer accessories in the closet.

 

David: What’s a normal day at the office like for you?

Lauren: I often start my day with a breakfast meeting with a publicist from a brand. For example, yesterday I dined with the PR rep from Glossier. We discuss how we can collaborate on editorial projects. Then, I come in around 10am to help the beauty team with the news cycle. Sometimes I have more meetings and beauty events, but often I am writing features and editing our daily stories. After work, I may go to a beauty event or manicure date. But often, I just workout and cook dinner for myself and my husband. When I am not at work, I am pretty basic.

 

David: I love your writing pieces, they seriously give such good beauty advice and tips. Do you have a favorite beauty related topic to write about?

Lauren: Thank you! That is so sweet. I love to write about hair care! I have virgin hair (meaning it has never been dyed — currently cutting out my grays for as long as I can get by doing this). The texture is curly/beach wavy and silky. I do everything you’re supposed to do to have healthy hair: eat the vitamins (usually Olly), sleep on a silk pillowcase, use hair oil, etc. And it works! I also love getting a good blowout and asking the stylist tons of hair care questions. When my hair is “done,” I feel my best.

 

David: My personal favorite topic you write about, is skin care! Are you a skin care freak? I definitely am, lol!

Lauren: Thanks and of course! My whole philosophy on skin care is that it’s a lifestyle. You can’t buy one product or get one treatment and expect to have perfect skin. Everything you’re doing — or not doing — works in tandem. So you can’t tan, smoke, drink, not get enough sleep, eat processed food, and not wash your face — then freeze your forehead with Botox or plump your cheeks will filler and expect to have radiant skin. Sure, you will have skin that doesn’t move, but these quick fixes won’t give you that lit-from-within glow.

I am 33 and very open about staying away from intensive cosmetic dermatology treatments. I love how unique every face is — whether you have delicate lips or voluptuous ones, whether you have naturally high cheekbones or a strong jawline — embrace what is organically you. Don’t worry about what looks cool on Instagram, because truly being “cool” is being authentic. And nothing is more authentic than loving the skin you’re in.

 

David: Speaking of skin care, your skin is absolutely flawless. Do you have a morning and night skin regime?

Lauren: That is so sweet! Of course I do. I often double cleanse — first with oil and then a milk or gel cleanser — maybe even an exfoliating one if my skin looks dull or clogged. During the day, I opt for lighter gel moisturizers, like water creams and eye serums. At night, I love face oils, buttery creams, and classic eye creams.

The most important time to wash you face is in the evening, because you need to cleanse your skin from pollutants and makeup. Also, if you skin is bare, the products you apply at night will sink in and work better. The evening is when your skin repairs itself, so you really want these products to work while you’re resting.

 

David: What are some of your must-have skin care essentials?

Lauren: Currently, I am loving Lancome’s Miel-En-Mousse Foaming Cleansing Makeup Remover with Acacia Honey. It goes on dry skin sticky— like honey (yes, it smells like that, too!) — and warms up into foam on your skin as you massage it in. Add water and it melts into an oil that slides makeup right off your face. I am addicted to it!

I also can’t live without Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask! I have sensitive skin and this natural brand — made in Vermont on a farm — is botanical and nourishing. The mask is a top-seller for taking off dead skin and making skin look luminous. Do it every Sunday, before a big event, or after you get off of a long flight. Plus, it is pretty clear, so if you put it on while you blow-dry your hair at the gym, you don’t look crazy.

Dr. Brandt Needles No More is my favorite anti-aging product, because the formula literally fills in fine lines. I have expression lines on my forehead that are only visible if I get sun or my skin is dry. When I use this serum regularly, my forehead looks pretty smooth. I’m a big fan!

 

David: Since we’re getting into the colder weather, what’s the best thing we can do to keep our skin hydrated and clear?

Lauren: This is so cliché and I know it is expensive, but I absolutely love La Mer Crème de la Mer. That is what I am using. The original formula has this buttery  texture. You warm it up in your hands and pat it onto skin. I am using it every night — often with oil underneath. For anti-aging and hydrating benefits, it works.

When it comes to foundation, pick one with moisturizing skincare benefits. This is your face most of the day, so it should be helping your skin out. I am obsessed with Chanel Sublimage Le Teint. It has a creamy texture that instantly plumps skin. Plus, the subtle vanilla fragrance is addictive. That scent is from vanilla planifolia water and pods — naturally hydrating ingredients.

Also, don’t forget about lips! Mine get so dry if I don’t apply a balm constantly. My current favorite is Nooni Water Blending Lip Mask. I used it on a 15-hour flight recently, and it worked well.

 

David: Do you have a beauty or lifestyle icon? My top three are definitely Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, and Cameron Diaz- they are legitimately my go-to on the web when I’m questioning what to use.

Lauren: Lea Michele! OK, so we kiiiiind of look alike. And I was a lot like Rachel Berry from Glee in high school — but swap singing for dancing. That said, Lea is a positive Hollywood role model. She loves beauty and takes care of herself in a holistic way. I follow her Instagram religiously to see what products she uses, treatments she gets, and meals she eats to contribute to her glowing skin.

 

David: I love that you believe good skin comes from a good diet, that’s definitely something I have to work on! Do you follow a strict diet to make sure your skin and overall health stay in good condition?

Lauren: Right now, I have fallen a bit off the wagon due to the amount of holiday treats coming through the office. I have such a sweet tooth! But yes, I do try to follow a specific diet for skincare. Mostly, your skin and body (your skin is an organ, after all) needs vitamins. And there is no better way to get them than by eating vegetables and fruits. Don’t rely on supplements — nothing beats eating the actual vitamins found in fresh foods. I also try to eat low dairy and low gluten — though I am not intolerant to either. And I just love pizza!

It sounds obvious, but I try not to eat processed foods — though I do like certain bars, like RXBars and MacroBars. I buy organic produce whenever possible. I actually spend a lot of money on good-quality food, and I try to bring a homemade lunch everyday. Don’t be surprised if you see me pull a bag of rainbow carrots or a pear out of my purse.

My skin absolutely looks the best when I don’t eat a lot of sugar and focus on nourishing foods like salmon, avocado, spinach, sweet potato, flaxseeds, blueberries, etc. When my blood sugar is balanced — meaning I am eating protein with healthy fats and fiber — for every meal, my skin also clears up. A healthy gut results in glowing skin.

Another great tip is to eat water-y foods like cucumbers and raspberries. That way you are hydrating your skin from within.

 

David: Since you’re a beauty editor, do you get to try items from places before they’re released to review them for POPSUGAR?

Lauren: Absolutely! That is one of the best perks of the job. My desk is always overflowing with new products launching. I often go to the gym in the mornings and come into work barefaced. Then, I do my skincare routine and makeup at my desk to try new products. Whatever I like usually comes home with me and gets featured on POPSUGAR.

 

David: You’ve done so much throughout your career so far, but is there anything you hope to accomplish in the coming years?

Lauren: As the digital landscape changes, brands evolve, new social tools launch, etc, I hope to grow with it and stay in this field for a long time. I absolutely love what I do and the company I work for (I just celebrated my four-year anniversary at POPSUGAR). I hope in a few years I am still doing this and growing my field. When you have your dream job, what more can you hope for?

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