I have been a magaholic since I was in the seventh grade when I discovered my older sister’s Vogue and Seventeen collection. She left the fashion magazines behind after high school, but I never did. However, those things can be expensive and I never had an allowance. Plus, with school taking up most of my day, my magazine reading ways, never really got into full swing until after I graduated college when I could subscribe with abandon. Don’t ask me how many subscriptions I have…
My favorite magazine for a long time was Allure magazine because of its focus on skincare and makeup. It was from Allure that I learned about the damaging sun, and how you need to use SPF products to protect your skin. It was one of their beauty recommendations that got me to purchase my first “luxe brand” skincare product DDF Ultra Light Oil Free Moisture Dew. They featured it as being appropriate for oily skin. (It was not a good idea to use on oily skin. Plus, “OIL” is not bad for your skin. It is actually great! Just depends on the type and source. And another thing, it was probably this beauty editorial that got me to think I had to avoid anything with oil and I did for years! However, this mag mention did get me to discover one of my all-time favorite sunscreens, DDF Matte Finish Photo-Age Protection SPF 30, which was later discontinued. But I digress.)
Right out of college, I received ALL of my makeup and skincare awareness, and knowledge of beauty trends from these magazines. Now…not so much. Sure, I may read of a new product in a magazine, but mostly I troll Sephora, other major online skincare stores, and WWD to read about new product launches. I am no longer a novice. Plus, you read beauty mags long enough, and you start to realize beauty editors rarely use the products they promote, or have the slightest idea of how good or bad they are. Basically, beauty companies have a free breakfast, or luncheon, and showcase a product for the editors to ignore or play with while they get their freebies, food, or gossip on. I have a problem getting beauty advice from people who are infamous for barely using anything on their skin save for sunscreen and botox. I have even read some articles where the beauty editor blatantly acknowledges they use almost nothing on their face, ‘but here, go ahead, buy this new serum! It’s great!’
So, why do I still buy magazines? I certainly don’t enjoy them the way I used to. I used to spend up to an hour reading a fashion mag. Now, I spend maybe 5 minutes flipping, an extra 5-10 more, if there is an interesting article. The problem is that American fashion mags have become incredibly stale. They use the same actresses and models over and over again (the unholy triumverate of Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman soon to be replaced with another unholy triumverate of Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, and Mila Kunis). Many of the editorials are incredibly dull. The product placements, uninspiring, and increasingly sound like paid advertorials. Elle, Vogue, Glamour, Lucky, even my long time favorite, Allure, have been recycling the same stories, with the same formats, themes, models, looks…you get the point! I buy on the hope that they will put out something new and inspiring. Everyone knows magazine readership is going down. So it is in their best interest to figure out a new model. So, I have been wondering, why do I subscribe to so many? Maybe, I hope they will figure it out….
Well, I have seen two magazines make a change for the better. Harper’s Bazarre, by far one of my formerly LEAST interesting magazines, seems to be developing it’s own voice and style, rather than be a more boring version of Vogue, which is already boring to begin with. Marie Claire, though, takes the gold for most improved. I didn’t realize it at first when they started adding new features. I just kept spending a little more time each month with their magazine. Finally, it hit me this summer that I get excited when I get my new Marie Claire. They figured out a way to make beauty products interesting again. They have relevant articles, whether based on career advice, interviews of professional women, docu-style articles on the modern day dating scene, international beauty product suggestions…from people who actually use them. The list goes on. There has been an explosion of interesting features and I am going page for page. I spend more time with this magazine than I do with the others combined. It’s true, I do.
The point? If you can only subscribe to ONE magazine, if you only have time to flip through ONE magazine, I recommend the american version of Marie Claire. Heck, for the first time, I even suggest British and other international english readers pick up this mag.
I am still anxiously awaiting my September issue in the mail. I will forgive them for the cover of Miley Cyrus…no one get’s it right all the time. 🙂
Update on 9/12: Recently found out that the Editor of Marie Claire, Joanna Coles has moved to Cosmopolitan (HORROR – I hate Cosmopolitan and it is the one womens magazine, I refuse to subscribe to or buy. Go figure, it is the one with highest circulation…blech…). I hope the new editor doesn’t tinker too much with a winning formula and only enhances what is already a good thing.
Update on 3/13: Hate to admit but I have purchased the new Cosmopolitan because of Joanna Coles and it has improved. Still hate Cosmo on principle because of the tacky, Girls Gone Bad sex stories, but they have gotten me to part with my money. Plus, SELF has since gotten a new redesign that actually looks fresh and now I have been thinking of subscribing again. Sadly, Marie Claire is a tad less interesting. The editor seems to be trying to modify it a bit but it seems to be losing something with those minor changes. Looks a bit less focused especially since Joanna Coles has been adding features to Cosmo that make it more like Marie Claire.