Nadine Baggott is the chief beauty editor for UK’s Hello! Magazine. In this interview Nadine talks about what it takes to become a successful beauty editor, her blog beautybynadine.com, and the secret to her beautiful hair.

How did you end up as a beauty editor?
I became a health and beauty editor by a combination of luck and design. I graduated from University and didn’t know what I wanted to do really. I started temping and worked for a magazine in the advertising department and quickly realised that the journalists next door had the best jobs. I was asked to apply for a trainee job by the editor and was so flattered I applied. Luckily I got it and then took a post graduate diploma in journalism. From there I decided to work in women’s magazines and worked for two years as a features write before deciding that health and beauty were my favourite subjects.

What’s involved in being a beauty editor?
It differs from job to job. If you work on a glossy magazine then you spend a lot of your time shooting the visuals for the pages, styling and finding models and hair and make-up artists and photographers. You also get to travel the world to find sunshine.

But to be honest I never enjoyed that side of working for magazines; instead I love writing. So working for Hello! involves constant deadlines. I write three features a week. At Hello! my job is to liaise with the pr’s, doctors, dermatologists, scientists, hair and make-up artists etc to find what is new and exciting and interesting in health and beauty, and then to write about it. No two days are ever the same and I get to travel the world doing it – it is a great job. I also contribute to This Morning on television which is great fun and fast paced as it is live.

What was the biggest break of your career?
The biggest break of my career was being made redundant – honestly. I worked for a middle market women’s magazine that was about to fold and was made redundant. I was so shocked but had just bought a flat so I needed to find more work to pay for the mortgage. I wrote a piece for The Daily Mail (one of our most popular daily newspapers in the UK), even though the commissioning editor had warned me that they wouldn’t pay if they didn’t like it – and then waited for their reaction. One day I arrived home to a voice mail message saying they loved it and would I write more. And that’s when I learnt how to really write copy. It was an invaluable experince working for them and made my name in the British beauty business. I also then realised the power of the press, as I wrote about Max Factor Creme Puff an old product that hadn’t been advertised in years but which I loved. And it sold out in many stores the day the newspaper came out.

“You have to be inquisitive to be a journalist, and enjoy speaking with people as that is half of your job. You also have to be confident and outgoing to really succeed..”

How did your collaboration with P&G’s Olay Regenerist evolve?
I was doing an item on ITV’s This Morning (the Uk’s most popular daytime tv show) about high street versions of high cost cosmetics and mentioned that Olay Regenerist Serum had the same active ingredients at the same strength as Strivectin – but it only cost £20. The people at Olay saw the programme and asked me to front an ad campaign for them. I had no idea at the time that it would be so successful. It was only supposed to run for six weeks.

What does it take to become a successful beauty editor?
Hard work, a nosey nature and luck. You have to be inquisitive to be a journalist, and enjoy speaking with people as that is half of your job. You also have to be confident and outgoing to really succeed. It helps if you really love your job and are passionate about the subjects you are writing about. Over the years that passion becomes knowledge and that makes the job much easier.

What is the best part of your job?
The travel and the people. I work with some great people – beauty is so much more friendly than fashion . Funnily enough it is NOT the free products – sometimes they drive me mad I get sent so many. But they make me very popular with girlfriends and family. I also love working for myself, by myself writing – some days it is just me and an empty screen. But that is the challenge that keeps me working.

How was the idea for your blog Beauty by Nadine born?
Beauty Blogs are the fastest growing area on the web and when Olay asked me to start a site I instantly thought it would be a great way to communicate directly with my readers. I insisted on an Ask Me link so that people could get direct access to me and ask for advice. I also enjoy writing in the first person and being less serious than in my feature writing.

Which type of beauty product causes most confusion amongst women?
Anti ageing is a problem because it can be so technical, but also hot topics like organic and preservatives. The disinformation in this industry is incredible, and the scaremongering over something like parabens for example is far reaching. Tabloid newspapers and tv are often to blame and it is infuriating. For example parabens are totally safe and have been used since 1924, they are even found in natural foods like apples. The risk of using a contaminated bacteria filled pot of cream far far outweight any risk of using a preservative.

Your hair is gorgeous. Can you share your beauty secrets behind it?
Thank you – straighteners and silicone. Straighteners revolutionised hair care and I use them most days not to straighten but to make my hair look more groomed and shiny. I also love Kerastase hair products, and have a serious silicone addiction to serums. The truth is that under this silicone my hair is an over coloured, over processed mess. Oh and I am naturally a mousey grey colour. So my third secret is to find a great colourist.

Do beauty editors ever make beauty mistakes?
Of course. We over process our hair, over apply bronzer and fake tan – but more often than not we tend to under do it, and not wear enough make-up. We are so busy writing about new products that we forget to wear or use them. That said different beauty editors in different countries look very different. The US and UK press are always the most understated. It is always grand dames in Chanel in France, and the Russian press all look like well kept mistresses of rich men; very glam.

Who would be on your guest list if you threw an ultimate dinner party?
Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Steinham, Oprah Winfrey, Judy Garland, Germaine Greer, Margaret Drabble and Ella Fitzgerald. Yes I am a feminist beauty editor.

What’s next for Nadine Baggott?
More television I hope. I am campaigning for an intelligent beauty program that tells the truth about this business. So many people dismiss it as pure fluff and frippery, but it is a multi billion dollar business and women need to be informed to make wise decisions that can change the way they look and feel. I honestly think that use correctly beauty products can empower women to a degree. Ok in an ideal world we would all be judged by our brains and personality, but we do note live in Utopia, so we need to understand that the way we look affects how we are perceived and that we have control over the way we look. Yes the beauty industry constantly supplies airbrushed images of models, but it also supplies a few brillaint products that can help us look our best.

It was a pleasure to interview Nadine you can read more great information on makeup and beauty products at her blog: www.beautybynadine.com

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