10 Things you always wanted to ask a beauty editor

Sanjana Salunkhe Menezes, Beauty Editor, at Grazia India shares her beauty routine and the products that have her stamp of approval.

Stylish, audacious, and resourceful – that’s Sanjana for you. I first met her on a beauty Media trip to Dubai a few years ago, when she was a part of Femina’s editorial team. That was the first time I met her, and I was bowled over by how well-planned she was. We were on a tight schedule, and she had mapped plans of the malls, down to the aisle where she would get her favourite products, as otherwise there was no time to stroll and discover brands/products at leisure. She is known for fashionable turnout at events and in-depth knowledge of brands, but many don’t know her ability to talk extempore about anything. You have to catch her doing a ‘live’ on social media to understand what a natural she is in front of the camera. Her organizational skills spill into her personal life, where she manages to be the most hands-on mom to her 18-month-old son.

She has been involved in beauty awards, tests more than 1000 beauty products a year for a living, and talks about ingredients before they become trends. Ahead, ten questions, which will sort your beauty routine. Hope you are taking notes.

1. You have access to the best in beauty. What’s your skincare routine, AM & PM?

My skin type is dry and is prone to pigmentation (especially after child birth), and I have an uneven texture. I follow basic steps and routines, but I feel consistency is the key. 

My AM routine 

  1. Cleansing with a gel/foam-based cleanser 

(Current: Innisfree Jeju Pomegranate Revitalizing Foam Cleanser)

  1. Applying a vitamin C serum 

(Current:Dear Klairs, Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop Serum)

  1. Hydrating with a moisturising cream

(Current: 1111 Skin Y Theorem Day Cream Light NAC Y²)

  1. Applying sunscreen, I always follow the three-finger rule and am one of the few who loves wearing sunscreens. Give it to me in whatever consistency, cast or texture – I will make it work.

 (Current: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Sunscreen SPF 50) 

My PM routine 

  1. The first step in my night routine is removing all the makeup. I use a cream/oil-based remover (as I have dry skin) to remove all the makeup. (Current: L’Occitane Milk Make-up Remover).
  2. Follow it with a thorough wash to make sure the face is squeaky clean (Current: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser). If I feel like I am not happy with how my skin feels, I wash with a gel cleanser too. 
  3. I will apply an ampoule mainly to make sure I have enough hydration (Current: Martiderm Platinum Night Renew Ampoules
  4. I will then follow it up with a serum
    (Current: Dr Barbara Sturm Better B Serum
  5. Seal it all in with a moisturiser
    (Current: Chanel No1 De Chanel Revitalising Cream)
  6. Finish with an eye cream

(Current: Kiehl’s Powerful-strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum)

  1. I also use an aromatherapy roll on my wrists to sleep better.
    (Current: Secret Alchemist Dream Sleep Inducing Oil)
  2. I apply masks/peels 1-2 times a week, depending on what my skin needs. I spend the weekends with my gua sha or jade roller to ensure my skin is happy, healthy, and pampered. 

(Current: PEEL: IS Clinical Active Peel System,
JADE ROLLER: Dromen & Co Rose Quartz Electric Roller)

2. What are the 3 beauty habits you feel everyone should follow?

  • Never skip your sunscreen 

I am a big advocate of using your sunscreen – no matter the weather, the day, the country, or the year – I have seen it work for me. 

  • Be consistent with your routine 

No matter what products you use, it will only be effective if you follow them religiously.

  • Use the right products 

The internet has given us so much access to so many things, it’s very easy to get lost sometimes. There is no point in experimenting with everything new and trending – especially regarding skincare- sticking to what works for your skin. Don’t get caught up with advertising, and marketing tactics.

3. If you were to pick just five things to look glamorous, what would they be?

  1. Eye shadow 
  2. Lots of highlighters 
  3. Mascara
  4. Lipstick 
  5. Blush

4. If I look inside your bag, what will I find? No cheating!

I am big on blushes, so you will always find a blush. I like to play with a few and I don’t stick to one for the whole week or month. A few favourites currently are:

  • Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Melting Blush in ‘Nearly Rose’
  • Rose Inc. Blush Divine Radiant Lip & Cheek Color in ‘Foxglove’ (Warm Terracotta)
  • Nudestix Nudies Bloom All Over Dewy Color in ‘Sweet Peach Peony’
  • Simply Nam Girl Next Door Terracotta Velvet Cream Magic Blush

You will also find the Pat McGrath Labs Dark Star Mascara because I think a stroke of mascara just does wonders, Dior Diorshow Kabuki Brow Styler and the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Highlighter or Anastasia Beverly Hills Iced Out Highlighter.

5. As a beauty editor, you get to interview many celebrities about their beauty secrets, which is the most cliché answer, but one that works.

I think the most cliché answer has been that ‘less is more’ and that of course, works. Always works! 

6. How did your beauty routine change after becoming a mom?

I think when I got pregnant, it was the first time I went on a mad hunt for safe products and one thing that alarmingly stood out for me was how so many products were formulated with artificial fragrances. I was averse to strong smells during my pregnancy because it would make me nauseous and I just happened to realize how most of our products tend to have it – some in good ways and some in bad ways. But there was a shift that happened for me at that time and continued even after my delivery – to TRY and use more fragrance-free products. I do like fragrances in some but not all!

Products I would recommend: 

  • A vitamin C serum because Indian skin is prone to pigmentation and you will need it – but try to use something that isn’t too potent but does the job. 

My pick: Dear Klairs, Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop Serum

  • A multipurpose skin and body oil for moisturising, for the scars, stretch marks etc. 

My pick: Bio Oil

  • Definitely, a lip balm because lips tend to be dry throughout.

My pick:  Innisfree Simplelabel Lip Color Balm in ‘Dahlia’

  • Under eye cream because your little one won’t let you sleep much in the initial months. 

My pick: Kiehl’s Powerful-strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum

  • An aromatherapy roll on that you can apply on your wrists or spray on a pillow to enjoy that little sleep you manage to get. 

My pick: Secret Alchemist Dream Sleep Inducing Oil

7. What according to you never works?

I think toners are overrated and I honestly can never see any results with them. I have tried lots of toners – every brand, every active, but I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem to work for me. 

8. How do you decide which product to test and which to skip? 

In all honesty, I don’t like trying products when the brands/PR are being too pushy. I am immediately put off when I have someone chasing me constantly to try and feature it, especially when I have not even reviewed it. Have patience. As a new brand, you will take some time to establish trust. If your products are good, your brand is good – you will get recognized, and people will know about it, irrespective of anything else. 

What usually works for me is a good team that isn’t being too pushy. Yes, the choice of publicist also matters a lot. I do have my favorites that I love working with and the way they function. I also feel when it comes to picking products to try and review, I go with the ones that come with transparency and aren’t too gimmicky, neat packaging is a plus too.

9. How do things change around you when you ‘feel beautiful?

I have always found beauty to be my way of expressing my moods. Be it a hair transformation after an ugly breakup, coloring my hair for the first time after my marriage, exaggerated makeup for a work day, muted makeup for my wedding day – what I do with my face and body, it’s not for people and never was! It was always for me to feel good and nothing has made me feel empowered.  

10. What skincare advice will you give to your 16-year-old self?

Invest in skincare and not makeup!

Author

  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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