We are so excited to introduce the Beauty Squad, a team of four beloved bloggers who will be covering everything you adore about makeup, hair, skin and just plain getting gorgeous. Our next in-depth chat is with Jane Marie, co-editor of The Hairpin. Jane Marie got her start at NPR’s “This American Life.” She began freelancing for The Hairpin in 2010 and editing the site last summer. The point of makeup, she says, is about having fun with it.

How did your connection with The Hairpin come about?

I’ve always loved radio and that form of journalism because I love the technical part of it. But I’ve always had this girly side to me, too. I would never describe myself using the word “fashionista” because that’s not the way I talk. But I always liked makeup and fashion. So a couple of years ago, one of my best friends, Edith Zimmerman, started the website, and she came to me to write about makeup and fashion for it. I was doing it in my spare time—well, I don’t have spare time. But I would squeeze it in and stay up really late on the weekends and make makeup tutorials and videos, which we do a lot on the site now.

What is your stranded-on-a-deserted-island beauty product?

Retin-A and sunscreen. You can’t have Retin-A without sunscreen, so I’m going to count those as one product. I use Retin-A Micro, the .05 gel. It’s a prescription so I don’t suggest everyone get it, but it’s the only thing that makes you younger. It helps protect your skin in a way that will make it not saggy. As for sunscreen, I just use Olay. Another product that I think is really cool that I just started using is the Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen. If I were stranded on a deserted island, I would want one of those to put on my face to take care of the oil-slick issues.

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever been given?

My uncle, Patrick Lucas, was Cyndi Lauper’s stylist, so I take every word he says about makeup and fashion as gospel. He told me when I was a teenager that if I ever know I am going to have my photo taken, I had better have my fake eyelashes on. I don’t even want to know what would happen if I disobeyed.

What’s your beauty mantra?

The attitude that I want to copy follows a quote from Simon Doonan. He was asked in an interview about his opinion of Uggs. He said he thought Uggs make people look funny, and he fully supports any fashion trend that makes you look funny. Sometimes looking funny might be your intention, and that should be okay. The point is to have fun with it. I’ve never used makeup as a tool for self-improvement. I wear it as an artistic statement. And I don’t care what anybody else thinks about it.

Is there a specific moment in your life when you knew you were going to be a beauty addict?

I have an aunt who is five years older than me, and I have a great-grandmother who was an Avon salesperson. For Christmas, when my aunt and I were really young, Grandma Maxine would give us her old samples. Back in the early ‘80s, Avon samples were adorable and she would give us bags of this stuff. My Aunt Amy would then give me makeovers and we would do a photo shoot with Polaroids. That was really fun, playing dress-up all the time.

What is your most embarrassing beauty mishap?

I’m the last person to be embarrassed about beauty. I definitely went through some misguided phases, but I don’t regret any of that.

There was one time that was definitely a mistake, though. I was 17 and I was taking a train to Florida just to get out of the house for a couple weeks. I had really short hair. And right before I left I died my hair with a Manic Panic pink-red dye, but I didn’t rinse it enough. I was stuck on this summertime coastal train ride, and the entire time I was wiping red sweat off my forehead. I’d go to the bathroom and think I had a really bad sunburn, and then I realized it was the hair dye that was dripping down through my makeup. People were probably scared of me. I was such a weirdo back then. Lesson learned: always rinse Manic Panic like crazy.

Is there one beauty technique that you still can’t quite master, but wish you could?

I’ve never been able to do that “Real Housewives” look—those really highly arched eyebrows, the glossy lips, the shimmery highlighter eye shadow with the smoky eye and humongous eyelashes. The problem is probably that I just don’t have Botox and hair extensions, but I really don’t know how to do that.

Have you ever dated someone who had an issue with your beauty obsession?

I’ve dated people who are in some way or another equally obsessed with their outward appearance, for better or worse. I gravitate toward people who appreciate that kind of stuff and like playing dress-up. I don’t think a guy who wasn’t interested in makeup or fashion would actually be attracted to me.

Photo: Courtesy of Jane Marie