How I Got To Be…Beauty Editor at with Carly Cardellino


If you were living under a media rock last week, let me be the first to tell you that underwent a major relaunch. Think a “flatter,” more magazine-like style with more content pushed to the surface. “This is Cosmo in the palm of your hand,” says Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles. Rumor has it the new design will eventually be rolled out to Hearst’s other digital properties, with leading the charge.

One of the main players involved in the changes is the site’s Beauty Editor, Carly Cardellino. Manning the beauty station for the past two years, Carly is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to knowing Cosmo’s reader — what she wants to read and how she wants to read it. I caught up with the beauty editor to learn more.

Julie Bensman: How does beauty coverage get treated with the new relaunch?

Carly Cardellino: Pinterest is a huge outlet for us and, on the old site, we saw a lot of our readers pinning the lead images of our beauty stories. Now, you can pin and share every individual image in a story, which is exciting because: 1) We do a lot of original photography (often using non-models in our tutorials) and 2) We have an in-house graphic designer creating a ton of beautiful images for us. The new site is also easier to read on mobile — 70 percent of our readers are looking at on their tablet or phone — so it’s easier to access beauty content, whether you’re sitting on the beach or in line at the grocery store.

JB: With regards to beauty, who is the girl?

CC: She’s a smart, informed girl who wants to stay up-to-date on news, politics and trends, whether it’s beauty or fashion. She’s obsessed with makeup and hairstyles and wants impressive, doable looks that can get her out the door fast. She also wants to know how to look her best for every occasion, whether it’s an interview, brunch, wedding, first date or girl’s night out. We’re all about offering her tailored content that addresses those needs.

JB: In a nutshell, describe your career path up to this point.

CC: It’s been serendipitous, but not without a lot of hard work and tenacity. I landed an internship in the beauty department at Health magazine while visiting New York City during spring break my junior year. I immediately fell in love with working in the beauty industry and knew I wanted to be an editor. Toward the end of my senior year, while shopping at T.J. Maxx (I’m all about a good bargain!), I was informed that the beauty assistant role at Shape magazine was open. I ended up getting the job and worked my way up the ladder there for six years. Then, one day while I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, a friend of mine tweeted about an opening at’s beauty department. I applied, interviewed, landed the job and I’ve been here as the beauty editor ever since.

JB: What’s the biggest misconception about being a beauty editor?

CC: There are a few:

  1. We play with makeup all day. Yes, we play with makeup to some degree, because we have to know it inside and out in order to suggest to our readers the best of the best. But by no means am I in the beauty closet all day, painting my nails and perfecting a smoky eye from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  2. We have perfect skin 365 days a year. I, along with a lot of beauty editors, still struggle with breakouts and getting my skin under control, so you’re not alone, girls! 
  3. We wear tons of makeup. Actually, it’s quite the opposite — many beauty editors in the business wear little to none. 
  4. Our reviews are influenced by advertisers. If a product doesn’t work or doesn’t live up to its fabulous claim, no matter what advertiser is behind it, I simply won’t write about it. If I’m suggesting something and it’s my byline at stake, it’s going to be a reputable recommendation.


JB: Which everyday products do you (really) use that are available at your everyday drugstore?

CC: Anyone who’s been to my apartment can tell you that my bathroom resembles a cross between CVS and Sephora. While I do go back and forth between using drugstore and department store products, the mass ones outnumber the prestige. On a daily basis, my drugstore go-tos are: Clearasil Daily Clear Refreshing Pads, Yes To Tomatoes Daily Repair Treatment, Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel (if I have a breakout), L’Oréal Paris Advanced Suncare Silky Sheer Face Lotion SPF 50+, Flower Liquid FoundationMaybelline New York Bouncy Blush in Candy Coral and NYC Color Cosmetics City Mascara.

JB: Which makeup and/or hair looks do you wish every girl tried more?

CC: When it comes to makeup and hair in general, I wish that women would experiment more. So many times I talk to girls who say, “Ugh, I wish I could wear that look,” or “I’ve never tried that style, but it won’t look right on me.” Instead of talking themselves out of a hair or makeup look before they even try it, I want to encourage women to just swipe on that green liner or wear a milkmaid braid with a flower crown! Who cares?! It’s just makeup, which can be washed off, or a hairstyle that can be taken out!

That said, I’m all about the side sweep. My friends would say it’s my signature hairstyle and it’s also a super-easy one to do that can take you from desk to dinner in seconds. I learned how to keep my hair to the side without bobby pins from a stylist backstage at VPL. For the tip, scroll to No. 21 here.

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