“Glass skin. Glazed donut skin. Glowy skin. We’ve heard it all. But what about your own skin? This June, EnVi celebrates the beauty of you.”

“A lot of the research in beauty is never peer-reviewed. It’s all just internal industry data,” Dr. Michelle Wong said in a 2023 interview with WIRED. This is one of the reasons why misinformation runs rampant in the beauty industry. Dr. Wong is one of the many people who aims to demystify beauty — including beauty science — and make it more accessible to the general public. One of the ways she does this is through her Substack newsletter, Lab Muffin Beauty Science which is an extension of her blog under the same name. 

Since Substack’s inception in 2019, the platform has risen in popularity with news outlets dubbing the surge of newsletters the “Substack Boom.” Newsletters and blogs are often utilized by emerging writers of color to share their work without the limitations of the publishing industry, much like zines. Substack is the most recent iteration of blogging and offers a space for creators to maintain creative control over their projects. As a result, emerging and established writers alike arrive at Substack with goals of creating content free from the traditional bounds of an imprint. 

One of the most popular categories these newsletters gear towards is beauty. From gathering the latest news to analyzing beauty trends through a critical or historical lens, beauty writers have carved out a space for themselves that goes beyond the usual media coverage of the beauty industry. EnVi rounded up three beauty writers to follow for your daily dose of news, deep dives into beauty trends, and breakdowns of skincare myths. 

You’ve Got Lipstick on Your Chin by Arabelle Sicardi 

Arabelle Sicardi has been writing about beauty for over a decade with their work appearing on Elle, NYLON, and Vice. They are the author of Queer Heroes, a children’s book spotlighting queer people throughout history, and the forthcoming The House of Beauty. Sicardi is also known for their Substack newsletter, You’ve Got Lipstick on Your Chin, which is an inquiry into the beauty industry as well as a space for them to share their latest research. 

Beauty is Sicardi’s “favorite mythology.” “[Beauty] is a love of my life, and a familiar one,” Sicardi writes on her Substack. “I am not ‘conned’ by the industry of beauty. I am entertained by it, preoccupied by its promises, and its lies are bedtime stories to me.”

Sicardi delves past the surface-level coverage of beauty and isn’t afraid of exploring the underbelly of the industry. The author has written about the government’s role in the beauty industry, queer yearning and perfume, and the history of the word “blonde bombshell.You’ve Got Lipstick on Your Chin stays true to Sicardi’s sharp analysis, which has cemented their place as a beauty writer and culture critic.

“I write about beauty as an act of devotion, an art form, and a means of control,” Sicardi explains on their Substack. “I ask painful questions about beautiful things and tender questions about ugly experiences.” By sharing her research and making necessary inquiries into the good and bad parts of the beauty industry, Sicardi is able to start meaningful conversations with the community she built. 

You can follow Arabelle Sicardi on Instagram, TikTok, and subscribe to their Substack for more updates.

Studio Symoné by Darian Symoné Harvin

Darian Symoné Harvin is a reporter, news curator, and writer. She has previously worked for BuzzFeed News, Yahoo News, NBC News, Vox.com, and TeenVogue. The creator and voice behind Studio Symoné on Substack, Harvin covers “beauty at the intersection of politics and pop culture, through breaking news, trends, and personal experiences.” She is also the author of Black Icons in Herstory: 50 Legendary Women, illustrated by Monica Ahanonu

Harvin’s love for all things beauty stemmed from her mother who was a beautician. She recalled watching her mom “style all sorts of hair textures” in their home basement where it soon became a small hair salon. 

Studio Symoné was born out of Harvin’s belief that the beauty industry should be “relentlessly monitored and reported on with the same fairness and passion as politics, tech, and health.” Through her platform, she aims to expand beauty journalism beyond the conventional coverage of the industry by exploring beauty through the lens of pop culture and politics.

On Studio Symoné, readers can find round-ups of the latest beauty news, personal essays, as well as in-depth analysis into the role beauty plays in media. Harvin’s most recent analysis into beauty in film is her article, “Janet Jackson’s Worn-In Braids Have the Most to Say in Poetic Justice.”

You can follow Darian Symoné Harvin on Instagram as well as Studio Symoné  Instagram and subscribe to her Substack for more updates. 

Lab Muffin Beauty Science by Dr. Michelle Wong

Dr. Michelle Wong is an avid advocate of “healthy skepticism, transparency, and sunscreen.” As a cosmetic chemist with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Wong aims to combat misinformation within the beauty industry and make beauty science more accessible to consumers and beyond. 

Lab Muffin Beauty Science stemmed from her frustrations toward the lack of accessible information about “the science behind beauty products online.” In an interview with WIRED, she said, “When things are more gendered towards women, people tend to think it’s more frivolous and take it less seriously.” She went on to explain that “part of it is just the idea that women don’t care about science.”

Lab Muffin Beauty Science on Substack is an extension of her blog under the same name. The newsletter is a one-stop shop for all her latest content, including debunking haircare misinformation, sunscreen reviews, and discussions on ingredients in skincare like benzene. Dr. Wong is also against the prevalent fear-mongering within the beauty industry and often responds to videos with her own explanations for how specific beauty ingredients actually work. 

On June 25th, Dr. Wong’s debut The Science of Beauty was published. The book is a labor of her knowledge as a chemist and love for beauty science. From questions about the daily use of sunscreen to deep dives about chemical peels, The Science of Beauty answers over 100 commonly asked beauty questions, backed by the latest research. 

You can follow Dr. Michelle Wong on Instagram and TikTok as well as subscribe to her YouTube Channel and Substack for more updates.

Interested in reading more about beauty and fashion trends? Check out our article on 7 West Asian-owned beauty brands here.