Meet Sarah Tarca and Sherine Youssef, founders of beauty newsletter gloss etc. The two beauty journos (both ex-marie claire beauty directors) have been writing about skincare and makeup for the past 15 years, and in November 2020 they decided to pool all that knowledge into a fun, weekly beauty hit, and create a first-of-its-kind beauty platform serving up the best recs, advice and pro tips in a simple, beautiful email.
So, what’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Sarah: Wonder which one of my precious sleep terrorists, Yuki, 2, or Miko, eight months, has caused such a treachery.
Sherine: Take a probiotic of some sort, and switch on the kettle and get my instant coffee ready (yeah, I drink the stuff).
How much time do you spend on skincare and what does your AM beauty routine look like?
Sherine: Skincare takes up most of my time, money and mental energy, much to the disappointment of my hair, nails and body. Mornings are always cleanse, vitamin C and sunscreen. There is no deviation from this.
Sarah: Ten minutes on actual application—wash face, vitamin C, maybe I’ll chuck in a hyaluronic acid serum if I’m feeling crazy, moisturiser, sunscreen—but it’s drawn out over hours thanks to general morning chaos. But I figure this “technique” allows each step to really sink in, so silver linings and all that.
How do you remember to reapply throughout the day?
Sarah: I work from home, so it’s pretty easy to remember to slap on another coat if I’m heading outside, but I also carry a mini in my handbag.
Sherine: Yeah, I work from home, too, so I’ll grab a mist sunscreen and do a couple of layers over my face.
Any great SPF hacks?
Sarah: Whatever Gwyneth Paltrow tells you—do the opposite. Sunscreen is not a highlighter.
Sherine: I still can’t believe that video! Listen, anything you do for your face, all those pricey professional treatments and skincare products, mean absolutely nothing if you’re not wearing sunscreen every single day. When my friends ask me for advice or product recs, it’s my first question: do you wear sunscreen every day? No? I can’t help you, sorry. Come back to me when you’ve fixed that.
What’s the biggest myth you’ve heard about sunscreen?
Sherine: My pet peeve is when people say sunscreen makes them break out, or leaves a white cast. Some of them do, for sure, but there are so many good ones out there, so you just need to do some research. I promise you, it’s worth your time.
Sarah: And the other one, that you don’t need sunscreen if your skin is darker, or tans in the sun. How are we still here in 2021? As one of my fellow beauty eds used to say, a tan is a scar.
Talk to us about gloss etc! How did it start, where’s it going and what can people expect in their inbox?
Sarah: The idea came about during the first lockdown in 2020. Sherine and I are forever fielding beauty questions from friends/sisters/mums/random girls in café’s, not to mention the multiple WhatsApp groups which our mates basically use as a beauty forum. We wanted a way to bring this to life, without adding any more mental load to the content sphere—there are so many amazing websites, podcasts, magazines and influencers, I can’t personally keep up. But one thing we always check is email, which is how the idea began.
Sherine: Newsletters have an image problem, though.
Sarah: Yeah, they’re usually damn ugly!
Sherine: They make me think of the A4 sheets kids bring home from school. Useful information, presented in a boring way.
Sarah: Well, obvs there’d be none of that on our watch. We wanted something that had the look and feel of a magazine beauty page, but had the warmth and no BS advice you get from your best mates, the ones who’ll actually tell you if you’ve got lipstick on your teeth. The other non-negotiable for us was that everything we included was something we’ve personally tried, tested and genuinely loved. No fake reviews, no talking about products just to please an advertiser.
Sherine: We have built a loyal gloss etc community based on this authentic advice, plus everything we’ve slapped on our faces in the last 15 years, so we’d never compromise that.
Sarah: Also, I’ve been scheming for a way for Sherine and I to work together again. We first worked together on the marie claire beauty team, so I basically just bugged her until she said yes. I’m cool like that.
Sherine: Ha! Your “persistence” is a thing to behold. Anyway, TL;DR: gloss etc is the WhatsApp group you have with your friends, and the advice we give to our mums. Beautifully designed, and completely shoppable.
Best beauty tip you’ve ever heard—go.
Sherine: Double cleansing at night is essential. Why? The first cleanse dissolves the day’s grease, pollution, makeup and sunscreen, which means the second cleanse can actually clean your skin. Try it.
Sarah: If you don’t wear sunscreen, everything else you do for your face is redundant —every beauty editor ever.
How would you describe your feelings about Ultra Violette in 3 words?
Sarah: In the words of one of the greatest performers of our time, Ms Britney Spears, “Gimme gimme more”.
Sherine: I can’t top that! I’m not even gonna try. Perfect.
What three things were you grateful for this morning?
Sherine: That I opened my eyes and got out of bed, and Nescafe Blend 43.
Sarah: My boys (including my partner, Phil), Lune Croissanterie kouign amann (IYKYK), and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer, because it really is the unsung hero of motherhood.