Linda Wells

It’s no secret here at TNP that we love all things beauty – especially beauty from the inside out. Whether it’s what foods make you glow, what products editors can’t live without, or the beauty mainstays actresses haven’t changed since their teen years, we love taking a voyeuristic approach to all things glam. That’s why we sat down with Allure’s founding Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells to discuss everything from changes in the industry, to food and beauty parallels, all the way to what ingredients she’s given up and why…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

In terms of pure pleasure, I’d start at Locanda Verde with the frittata with goat cheese and squash blossoms along with some iced Grady’s Cold Brew coffee with almond milk.

Then, I’d go to Clamato in Paris for the pétoncles, tiny scallops in black shells dabbed with brown butter and pistachios. I’d return to New York for crudo at Marea. And because this is my fantasy, I’d have a glass of rosé with lunch.

Dinner would start with an Aperol spritz at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, and the gem lettuce with pickled onions, anchovies, and tarragon—an insanely crisp, salty, and acidic stack of greens. Then the Dungeness crab salad with hazelnuts at Narcissa followed by the carrot and avocado salad at ABC Kitchen, plus the fries from someone else’s steak frites at Lafayette with a few glasses of Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Chenin Blanc. At some point, it would be nice to squeeze in some Norwegian smoked salmon or caviar on blini from Russ & Daughters. I actually just like shopping for it, so I’d buy it and save it for another day.

For dessert, I’d like birthday cake. Not some fancy million layer cake, but the kind I had as a kid, with lemon curd filling and sugary white frosting, roses, and candles. And I’d rather it not be my birthday.

What are your personal nightly and morning beauty routines? 

How much time do you have? At night, if I’m not too tired, I’ll wash my face with a Clarisonic brush, apply a serum, wait until that dries, then add a moisturizer, then a retinol. And an eye cream if I’m motivated.

In the morning, I cleanse, shampoo and condition in the shower, then I layer on two serums (one an antioxidant), a moisturizer, and a sunscreen. We just did a story on masks, so my new thing is to wear an eye mask (SK-II) while I have breakfast.

Then there’s makeup (BB cream, eyeliner, taupe eye shadow, mascara, and concealer), and hair (a serum, a mousse, a volumizing spray, and blowdryer).

It takes me almost as long to explain it as it does to do it.

A beauty mainstay you haven’t changed since you were a teenager…

I always wash my face before I go to bed, no matter what. Sometimes I’m lazy and use a face wipe, but it isn’t the same as a real cleanser and water.

When you founded Allure, where did the vision come from?

My main wish was to combine the strengths of the two places I worked—reporting from The New York Times and visuals from Vogue. I also looked at men’s magazines, and still do. I love their energy, toughness, and sense of humor.

How are you constantly keeping it relevant?

My team and I read, listen to, and watch everything constantly. I love studying people in airports and at fashion shows. There are beauty ideas everywhere if you keep your eyes open to them.

How has it changed since you first started?

The biggest change is that we live in a more visual society, and that makes appearance more important. People talk and think about beauty more than they ever have. With that comes conflict, tension, and debate—and that always interests me. People express themselves much more with beauty today. They have hairstyles now, and when I started they just had haircuts. Even at the gym, I see milkmaid braids, topknots, fishtail braids, sparkly headbands, ombre color, pastel streaks, bright lipstick, and nail art. Now you look lazy if you’re only wearing lip gloss and nude polish.

How has the beauty industry in general changed since you first started?

There’s more of everything: more new products, more new science, and more reliable results. People are willing to try things, but they don’t have a lot of patience. Even if it takes a while for a product to work, we all want some sense of immediate gratification.

The most common misconception about beauty products…

There’s always a conspiracy theory that beauty products don’t work—and that they’re all made in one vat somewhere in New Jersey. Not true!

Words to yourself in the mirror upon waking up in the morning…

“Don’t look!”

I find no upside in seeing myself at my worst. I wait until after I take a shower, blow out my hair, apply mascara and concealer, and get dressed before I really step back and look in the mirror. And then I try to ignore it for the rest of the day.

Advice to women looking at themselves in the mirror, and putting on makeup in the morning…

Be compassionate. Pretend you’re looking at your best friend; you’d never focus on her flaws.

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