We met our friend Julia Solomon through the comedy scene, and soon learned that not only is she a hilarious standup, she also has a wealth of knowledge on skincare and beauty products (you should all subscribe to her newsletter.) So of course, we had to bombard her with questions and pick her brain to find out how the two came together.
Beauty Dummy: You're a standup comedian who also happens to be a skincare and beauty product expert. What a combo! Do you have a background in beauty? What made you decide to start blogging and writing your newsletter?
Julia Solomon: I don't have a background in beauty, or at least I didn't used to. For a short period of time I had a job writing copy and fulfilling orders for a small organic skincare company here in New York, so I got to ask questions to someone who was formulating skincare products on the regular and that was really awesome. My mother just always washed her face and moisturized, so I did, too. And then that grew into an obsession when I had a friend who started working at the Kiehl's counter in a Nordstrom in Chicago. I started a Facebook beauty group for me and my friends this past December, which just grew and grew until I was answering different questions and recommending different products and doing research for about 200 girls. They told me I needed to be writing about it and so finally I was like "ok, you're right." And they've all been really supportive. I never thought anyone would care enough about what I had to say to read an entire article or newsletter written by me, but some people do, and that is very, very nice of them.
BD: It's always refreshing to read about beauty from someone cool and approachable who is actually honest -- not just rich Instagram models who post ads for $200 products. Coming from the comedy world, where do you look for beauty inspiration? Does comedy influence your perspective on beauty at all?
JS: I just want to say that I firmly believe I would be so much happier if I were an Instagram model. Why can't I be one??? It's so not fair. I spend JUST as much time on Instagram as they do! I have no other choice than to be completely honest in everything I say and it happens to be a blessing that some people prefer that when it comes to beauty products and skincare advice. I am constantly inspired by all of the beautiful and amazing comedians here in NYC that I get to call my friends. And even the ones that I'm not friends with, YET, like Jenny Slate, who without her knowledge of course gave me the confidence to finally get a shag haircut.
Comedy influences my approach to beauty in that I want to make sure another perspective is being provided - one from someone who can't keep her room clean, doesn't have enough money to do a spin class, doesn't take health supplements because I already take antidepressants and mood stabilizers and that’s enough to deal with on its own. There is beauty and humor in your dysfunction and that’s not often portrayed or encouraged. Of course you want everyone to be healthy and happy, but sometimes you're neither and you still deserve to read an article about beauty that speaks to you, and doesn't make you feel guilty about not getting enough vitamin D or other totally valid bullshit.
BD: A big part of the Beauty Dummy mission is to talk about beauty in a way that's casual, chill and accessible to everyone. Is there anything you feel is lacking in the current beauty "conversation" or want to see change?
JS: I love things that are casual and chill. First of all, I would say the way most articles are written... it's the opposite of chill. It's content in disguise as being chill and casual. But, I also read soooo much content everyday because of course I want to be *in the know*. I love reading Into The Gloss for their comments section. It doesn't get more chill or casual than that, unless it's an article about sunscreen in which bitches will go nuts and kill each other. In terms of changes I would like to see, it just sucks that the way the system works, these bloggers get these amazing and expensive products for free, write about them, make you want to buy them, and then you can't because it's a million dollars. I guess that's just an issue with capitalism. I don't want to not hear about certain beauty products just because they're out of my price range, but it makes it hard to relate to the writer. I’ll imagine and create this life I think she has - the money she has, the products she can afford, the way they look in her bathroom, and then I feel like shit. But that’s just the way my mind works sometimes and not everyone is like that. I wish there would be more disclaimers about how these products won't actually change your life (most of the time they don't, sometimes they do.) It's just hard not to think you're lacking in the Instagram era of beautifully photographed pictures of gorgeous bathrooms in natural light. I want people to know my room is messy, and my bathroom is disgusting because I rent in NYC. I wish that was embraced more, but not in a cute kitschy kind of way.
BD: If you had to pick the #1 absolute best piece of skincare advice that everyone should follow, what would it be? Any products we should buy RIGHT NOW?
JS: YOU HAVE TO WASH YOUR FACE AT NIGHT AND WEAR SUNSCREEN DURING THE DAY. I don't understand how people just go day after day without washing their face. It makes me feel unsafe. Like, washing my face everyday is my defense mechanism against death and they're not doing it and they seem to be fine and without any blemishes!?! I wish I could give everyone $42.00 to go by One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil, because I would say everyone should have it. But I'm not here to make someone think they have to go buy something they can't afford! I wish we all lived like Rockefellers! I do think everyone should have that cleansing oil, though, it really is great. I think most people should be double cleansing & cleansing with an oil. That is my wish for the world, that people would realize that.
BD: So obviously everyone should subscribe to your Wonderful World of Beauty newsletter. Where else can we find you?
JS: My website - www.thejuliasolomon.com - and when I have shows I usually promote them on my Instagram - @thejuliasolomon. I also have a bachelor/bachelorette podcast titled The Untitled Chris Harrison Project on iTunes and Soundcloud. Hopefully I'll have a beauty podcast in the works soon as I am done with Bachelor Nation and have no intention of watching Bachelor in Paradise!