I have an amazing interview for you today with one of my all time favorite people. Brian Underwood is the Director of Beauty at O, The Oprah Magazine. I had the pleasure of traveling on two different cruises that Brian was on for the magazine (I even got to be in his O Beautiful show). I was also lucky to see him doing his magic while I was touring the Oprah Magazine offices in NYC.
I’m telling you right now, if you are a beauty junkie like I am and you want to know about the latest information, product news and upcoming releases, Brian is THE person you should be following on Instagram. He posts a ton in his stories about the products that are being sent to him from the best brands out there. I’m addicted and I’m sure you will be too! Plus, he has the cutest little girl who he adds to his stories as well, so you’ll really get to know him.
Brian was ever so generous and agreed to do an interview with me because I thought my audience would be just as curious as I was to hear more about his work as a beauty director. So, without further adieu, I’m pleased to introduce you to Brian Underwood…
Being the Beauty Director at The Oprah Magazine sounds like a dream job. Can you explain a little bit about what you do for the magazine?
It’s the best job in the world. Essentially, I get paid to play around with beauty products all day. As Beauty Director, I get a front row seat to see the latest launches, so, in a larger sense, much of my time is spent evaluating the products and brands that I feel will be of most use to the O reader. But when you get down to the nitty-gritty, the job varies from day to day. Some days you’ll find me running from a launch event to a lunch with a cosmetic chemist or PR representative, and other days I’m in the office chatting with a writer, editing a piece I’ve commissioned, or talking about what the visuals will be for a story with our art and photo departments. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing role, which I love.
Can you tell us about your background and why you wanted to do this job?
I’ve worked in magazine publishing my entire career and I’m very passionate about it. In this age, where information is so readily available online and on social media, it’s challenging, but I love what a magazine has to offer: A deep dive on important topics from a trusted source. O is one of the most exciting, dynamic brands in the industry—I mean, Oprah Winfrey is our Editorial Director—so it was a no brainer to come and work here.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is when we finally get the new issues sent to us in the office. To be able to pick it up, crack open the binding, and have a tangible testament to all of the hard work that we at O do is incredibly gratifying. In a larger sense, I love connecting with our readers, especially when I hear that a product we’ve recommended in the magazine has helped them in some way. That’s what makes social media so fun—you really get to make that connection. Another highlight is our partnership with Holland America line. We produce several O-themed cruises per year and I’ve sailed on several. Again, it’s all about connection—each time I’ve been on board, I’ve met O readers from all across the country and I’ve really enjoyed hearing from them.
What do you find to be a challenge related to your job?
Trying to find the time to get it all done. From event launches, to meetings, to sales calls, to squeezing in time to actually write and edit, the days can be hectic. On the flipside, I love being busy, so it all works out.
What do you get asked the most related to beauty?
The biggest question I get asked is what I use on my skin. Nowadays there are so many products out there that it can be extremely confusing to cut through the clutter. I have a very streamlined regimen that I developed over time and after talking to the best dermatologists, aestheticians, and makeup artists in the industry. At night, I use a gentle cleanser to wash away the day’s grime. After that, I apply an eye cream with vitamin C, followed by a retinol product, and an oil to seal everything in. If I’m feeling extra dry, I layer a rich night cream on over that. In the morning, I splash my face with water, apply a liquid exfoliant with glycolic acid (salicylic acid if I’m breaking out) followed by an antioxidant serum, and then finish with sunscreen.
Do you have any favorite brands and/or products?
I try a lot of different stuff, slotting in new products for the categories I listed above. Right now, I’m obsessed with the Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream Tinted SPF 30. It’s a great mineral-based sunscreen that leaves no residue on my skin (a lot of mineral sunscreens turn my beard white). I’m a huge fan of the Drunk Elephant brand and have used many of their products. Once a week, I use the Sukari Babyfacial to deeply exfoliate—it’s intense, but so worth it. I also recently started using the Vie Collection Cleansing Gel and I’m loving it. Had a little bout of acne and three washes with this really helped to clear it up.
I’m sure everyone wants to know this one, Do you get to help Oprah make selections of beauty products? Has she ever asked you for beauty advice?
Ha! She has not. She has a team of fantastic professionals that work on her hair and makeup—so she relies heavily on their talents. Brands often send products to her attention through me and I usually pass them on to our fantastic Editor at Large, Gayle King, or our Creative Director, Adam Glassman, to give to the big O.
Be sure to check out the May issue of O, The Oprah Magazine to see the spring Beauty O-Wards. There are so many wonderful recommendations from lipstick to skincare and beyond. There’s even have a chance for you to enter to win 50+ dream products!!