Those who have been following Joanna Spicer on Youtube for some time know that Joanna is a great lover of colors, multitasking products, pink blushes, freedom of expression, and Wizard (her cat).
In her freedom of expression, she taught us that a shitty day remains such, but that it can also be touched up a bit with a little makeup, that venting and talking about it is okay and that no one’s life is perfect. In showing us her reality, she has also told us about her mental health, about how, over the years, she had to fight against depression and anxiety. She turned this topic for us, for those who listen to her, into something to talk about, something we can recognize ourselves in, and to which give the right importance.
Joanna is, first of all, a great lover of makeup (and skincare of which she told us about here); she welcomed us into her beauty room to show us her collection of nude lipsticks (which will never be enough), her vintage scrunchies (which will never be enough either), and her makeup organization between stick blushes and pastel-colored eyeshadows.
What is your earliest beauty memory?
I grew up with my mom, who often had to go to work before I’d even have to get on the school bus, so my oldest brother was in charge of making sure I was out the door and at the bus stop; I was probably in first grade and I would sneak into her room after she’d go to work, and I’d put on her perfume and it was Perry Ellis 360, which was very big in the 90s and I would also put on her mascara, which who knows what it was, maybe Clinique or maybe Maybelline. I remember one day crying at the bus stop for whatever reason my brother had annoyed me, and all of my mascara ran down my face and so I went to first grade with black mascara streaks on my face, so I can’t imagine what people were thinking [laughs], but I did that a lot! My mom always allowed me to experiment, she would put on her lip liner in the car in the night, one night she put it on me too, I was literally obsessed with makeup from day one.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do when you go to bed?
Definitely look at my phone [laughs]. Beauty-wise, the first thing I do is wash my face and brush my teeth, when I wake up in the morning I don’t like to do anything until I do that, I just like to get it out of the way, I never ever go to sleep without washing my face, I don’t care how tired I am. If I only have energy to do one thing, I will take my makeup off, I don’t know why that’s so ingrained into me, maybe I’m just a very vain person, but I always do my full skincare routine, even if I just have time to wash my face and put on moisturizer, I’ll do at least that.
The last thing I do is for sure look at my phone, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do, unfortunately. Like, if I have just uploaded a video, then the first thing I do is a check of comments, because I usually schedule it very early, so I’ll go through and see how that’s doing, then I’ll check Instagram and then I’m catching up on a group chat with my friends and then check emails and by then it’s like an hour later and I can finally get out of bed.
You showed us your skincare routine: is there an ingredient you look for when you go buy your skincare products?
Something I really love is hyaluronic acid. Long before that, I’ve always had an obsession with skincare especially. Before websites and YouTube existed, I was really into reading magazines and that’s how I’d get all my information, like from Allure or Glamour, and hyaluronic acid was buzzing around 10+ years ago, before it was in everything and I was always on the hunt for it and I found a serum at Whole Foods, I think it was pure hyaluronic acid; still to this day I love hyaluronic acid, because I don’t have dry skin but I have very dehydrated skin and so that’s crucial for me, just like maintaining moisture, especially living in Los Angeles, where’s very dry, I definitely need that. I also love glycolic acid, my skin is really responsive to it, I love regularly exfoliating, otherwise my skin can get very congested.
What’s your favorite mask combination or facial at home?
First of all, I love going and getting professional facials, but I hardly ever do that, because my skin tends to be pretty sensitive, I can often react or break out from products. For myself, my favorite thing to do is: I wash my face with warm water to open up the pores, and then I like to use a peel exfoliating mask; my favorites are one from The Ordinary, it’s the AHA Peeling Solution, or the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial, right now my current favorite is the Renée Rouleau Berry Peeling mask, it looks and smells like strawberry jam, but it exfoliates your skin and leaves you very glowing and it’s gentle enough that you can use it once or twice a week and then I follow up with her detox mask, which also smells good and it’s like a gold gel, so it’s really cooling and has hydrating benefits and it also has tea tree oil, so that one helps to clean out the pores. I definitely like to exfoliate, first and then do a detox, so it’s getting into the pores, and then I follow up with hydration, my toner, my serum, my moisturizer, and now and then, I do my own extractions, but I don’t recommend it. [laughs]
“I definitely like to exfoliate, first and then do a detox, so it’s getting into the pores, and then I follow up with hydration, my toner, my serum, my moisturizer…”
What does ‘to be comfortable in your own skin’ mean to you?
That’s a tricky one. Feeling comfortable in your own skin is always kind of a trouble for a lot of people, I think. I find that I feel the most comfortable when I’m being true to myself, like when I’m wearing what I like, when I’m doing my makeup the way I like, instead of trying to appeal to the masses, but just being true to myself; also when I’m taking care of myself I’m the most comfortable, whether I’m exercising, or just taking care of myself mentally, emotionally, eating healthy, that’s when I feel the most confident and comfortable.
In your YouTube channel you also spoke about mental health; was it natural for you to do that or was it difficult for you to open up about it?
A little bit of both, I would say. Mental health is something I’ve always struggled with and growing up I felt very embarrassed by that, and I felt different and I didn’t want to be. The older I got, the more I realized that that was something that so many people were struggling with. I have a lot to offer in this area, because I have so much experience with it and I think I would have loved to have someone telling me, “Okay, what you’re feeling is totally normal and it’s okay and there are things to do about that,” I would have loved to have that at the time.
I feel like I have a responsibility to just be honest.
Obviously, I don’t have to share every single thing I go through and I don’t share everything, but I do feel comfortable and I do love sharing a little bit of my journey, so that other people can feel a little less stigmatized about it, because that’s a big thing, and older generations are more like, “Let’s not talk about that,” but we need to talk about that, people need to have resources available to them. Don’t get me started on the healthcare situation, because that’s a whole other story, it’s terrible, because I know that the opportunities I’ve had to help myself are not available to everybody and that’s crazy.
“I think I would have loved to have someone telling me, ‘Okay, what you’re feeling is totally normal and it’s okay and there are things to do about that’…”
“I do love sharing a little bit of my journey“.
Other than your creativity and everything, one thing I really appreciate about you is you being so transparent about it in your way of talking about it, because everyone has some dark places and I remember that two years ago you posted a video in which you were talking about it in a very candid way, while also showing your struggles, and I commented it from my personal account. It was really helpful for me, because I have my own struggles too, and it’s great to have someone that’s so transparent about these issues.
It feels less scary when you realize that this is a human problem and not just a “me problem.” Especially with social media I think everybody puts their best face forward, and that can feel quite intimidating and I definitely fall victim to that sometimes, where I think, “I have to present this way, people only like to see me this way, so I have to seem strong and together and perfect,” and it can get exhausting, and when you’re going through something like depression, sometimes all you can do is talk about that, because you’re like, “I can’t even be fake right now and act like I care about anything else, because I’m struggling” and people are like, “Where are you? What’s going on?” but I’m just dealing with this other thing right now, so I can’t even bother.
What’s been in your makeup bag lately and what are your top Holy Grail products, the ones you can’t live without?
Definitely Cloud Paints is the one I can’t live without, but that’s so hard: the things I can’t live without are my Glossier Lash Slick mascara, I love that, the Boy Brow, NARS concealer; I can’t live without concealer, I won’t do a full face makeup if I don’t have a concealer, because it’s my biggest thing, then lip balm, right now I’m obsessed with Carmex.
What’s the book on your nightstand right now?
I’ve just finished reading “Three Women,” by Lisa Taddeo, and it’s about three different women’s story, it’s about women’s desire, I can’t really explain beyond that, but it’s really, really good, it reads like fiction, but it’s true story, I highly recommend it. Then the one I’ve just started reading is called “The Woman on the Window” by A.J. Finn, it’s a thriller and I love being scared. I read too much, but I love being scared, that’s awful, especially for people with anxiety and depression, I don’t know why I’m constantly scaring myself and reading the darkest stuff, but I just can’t help it. I read a lot, I also love psychology and self-help, and I read so many of those books, but sometimes I just like to get back to some fictional story.
“Definitely Cloud Paints is the one I can’t live without.”
Bath or shower?
I do shower every single day, but if I had the choice, I would take bath, I talk about taking baths a lot, I have the smallest bathtub, but my dream in life is to have a huge bathtub, if I see one, if I even hear about one, I’m transfixed, I just want to put bubbles in it and stay in there forever; my dream is to have a big, beautiful bathroom with a big soaking tub and a TV [laughs], I might watch TV and have a nice view of the city, maybe. So, I love baths but, practically, showers.
What makes you laugh the most?
Not to be cliché, but my friends and my boyfriend. All my friends are comedians, so they truly make me laugh, we’re really stupid together, and we laugh all the time, so that and also Twitter.
What’s your favorite body lotion?
I have a few: I like Glossier’s Body Hero, it smells so good. It’s a body lotion that just came out, a body cream and it has a light texture and I love the way Body Hero smells; then, Nécessaire has a really good one that’s light and fragrance-free, so those are nice; then, I love the Nuxe Dry Oil, I’m obsessed with it.
“My dream is to have a big, beautiful bathroom with a big soaking tub and a TV.”
What’s your favorite fragrance?
I have a few favorites, and I tend to rotate them, right now I think it’s Maison Louis Marie and it’s number 10 Aboukir, it smells so good; I like unique scents, I don’t usually like anything you can buy in like Sephora, I don’t like the commercial fragrances. I got one at this boutique recently, and it smells so good, it’s called Mentha and it’s very clean, and I love the Glossier one, I wore that for two years straight, some people think it smells powdery, but to me it smells like leather. I don’t like to smell like everyone else, in LA everyone wears the Le Labo Santal, so now I can’t wear it, because everyone here wears it.
Then I also like Petitgrain; I used to like things that were smoky and dark when I lived on the East Coast, because we had the seasons, but now in LA you don’t have them, you always want to smell light and fresh.
What was your first beauty product obsession?
I would probably have to say the Mac counter, this was even before Sephora was a thing, I remember that Sephora was a store that you can only go to in New York and before it came to the mall in my hometown, it was the Mac counter where the young girls that were makeup obsessed would go, and I would save up all my money and I would spend hours at the counter trying every lipstick and every eyeshadow, and I would have 20 dollars to spend and I would really take my time.
That’s when I started building a collection for myself and whenever my mom didn’t want something anymore she would give me her things, or she would take me to the drug store and I would pick some Cover Girl things. I probably still have a few things from that era, which I don’t use anymore, I just keep them for nostalgic purposes, but that was my big thing, I felt really cool and posh to have Mac products. I don’t sit and look at products and marvel at them anymore now, I feel so desensitized to it, I’m still obsessed though, like with the Pat McGrath palette, for example, I don’t even know how to use it, it’s so perfect I don’t know what to do, it’s so beautiful.
“I would save up all my money and I would spend hours at the counter trying every lipstick and every eyeshadow…”
What’s the item currently at the top of your beauty wish list?
It’s so hard, because I like everything I want, I have such a problem, but there has to be something…
Do you know what I think it his? It’s called Sunnies Face, it originated in the Philippines and it’s quite hard to get in the US, they’ve just started shipping to the US and I ordered a couple of things, but the most popular things were already sold out, and I’m dying to try them, they have amazing stuff, like cream blushes and everything is natural, kind of Glossier-esque. Another thing at the top of my wish list is the Dyson Airwrap styler, I’m dying for one, but I can’t spend that kind of money on it, it’s too much, but I wish that someone had it so I could try it.
What do you have too many of?
Cats, candles, multiple standard products, t-shirts, I have an obsession with plain t-shirts and I have them in every single color, and currently I can’t close my drawer all the way, so that’s a problem, I don’t need that many, but every time I see a new color, I’m always like, “Why not?” My staple’s a t-shirt tucked into jeans, that’s a classic, you can’t go wrong. I collect things that I love, like perfumes, although I’ve been good with perfumes, I got rid of a ton of them, they can be very nostalgic, because a scent reminds you of a time, but I had way too many and it was giving me a lot of anxiety, and I wasn’t using them, so I took two or three that meant something to me and I put them in a drawer and now I’m only collecting things that I actually wear, and so now I only have a small collection, no regrets, it feels so good to give things away. [laughs]
“I like everything I want.”
What’s your jetlag beauty cure?
In-N-Out [laughs], my favorite thing to do when I get back from a trip is laying in bed in pajamas all day and eat In-N-Out, and then do my face mask routine; you have to absolutely lean into it, feel no guilt and eat disgusting food.
What’s the bravest thing you have ever done?
Move to Los Angeles. I was so terrified to leave home and everything I knew, and with my whole life struggling with anxiety, I think I just always thought, “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be that far away from family and everything I’m comfortable with.” It’s hard for me to be out of my element, but I just threw caution to the wind one day, it was after I turned 25 that I decided I was wasting my life, I thought, “This isn’t what I want to be doing, this isn’t where I want to be, just take a risk and the worst thing that can happen is that you go back.” So, I drove out here and it was so hard and so scary, but it’s the best thing I ever did. That’s pretty brave!
What would you love to see more and more in these days in the beauty world?
Inclusivity, definitely less photoshop, more real women, a range of ethnicities and sizes, a representation of the real world, I want everyone to feel like they have someone to relate to; so many times I’m looking at Zara’s website or whatever online website and I’m looking at clothes and I’m like, “Well, that’s not what it would look like on me.” It’s always tall, fit women and I’m a short and curvy woman, so I can imagine what it would feel like to be a woman who’s never represented. So yeah, definitely more representation across the world.
“Inclusivity, definitely less photoshop, more real women, a range of ethnicities and sizes, I want everyone to feel like they have someone to relate to.”
An epic beauty fail?
Probably when I first discovered bronzer. I was in middle school and I remember it was a Clinique bronzer, I has asked my mom what it was, and she said, “It’s bronzer, it makes you look tanned.” I literally put it all over my face like it was foundation and I looked orange, but in my mind I looked gorgeous [laughs], I thought, “I look like I just got back from the beach!” and I went to school and a boy that I had a crush on was like, “Why do you look orange?” [laughs] and I was like, “I’m tanned!”
Last question: what does beauty makeup represent for you?
I think self-care. For me it’s mostly the routine of sitting and doing it, staring at yourself, it feels narcissistic, but it feels loving too, because I love putting on music and watching your face kind of transform, playing up your features, becoming a different character for the day depending on how you feel.