Kristina Rodulfo is a senior beauty editor at Elle.com, where she covers new makeup trends, reviews different skincare products and stars in the brand’s “we tried it”-type videos. And if that doesn’t impress you, consider her other credentials: she’s a published children’s book author and most recently completed her very first marathon in New York City. Rodulfo took time out of her busy schedule to chat with Lively about her start in the beauty industry and the items she always keeps in her makeup bag.
Kristina Rodulfo: I’ll never forget when my mom, a longtime nurse for cancer patients, took me to the hospital to sit in on a “Look Good, Feel Better” session, where women undergoing chemotherapy were given beauty products and taught how to use them to feel more confident and like themselves. That’s the first time I recognized how powerful beauty could be to someone’s identity. But, it wasn’t until I started getting assigned more beauty stories in my first writing jobs out of college that I really started noticing how much I loved writing and reporting about beauty. I’ve tried writing about everything from fashion to entertainment (and loved it all) but I soon realized I kept getting inspired to pitch beauty stories more and more. So, I decided to dive in fully and learn everything I could to be an expert. Looking back, it makes so much sense. I have always loved playing with beauty products, even using crayons to put “makeup” on barbie dolls, constantly experimenting with my and my little sister’s hair growing up, and reading books on how to do nail art.
KR: I love the variety of fun work I get to do, from writing and editing, to producing photo shoots, to being on-camera talent for beauty videos. I also enjoy all the exciting events and trips I get to attend alongside celebrities, influencers and other fascinating people I get to interview. Every single day is different and I constantly get to flex my creative muscles and keep growing with a group of the smartest women I know.
KR: Beauty brands are incredibly generous when it comes to hosting editors on press trips to tell the story of a new product launch, so all the travel I get to do is the BEST perk by far. I’ve gone to Paris, London, Singapore, Zurich, Switzerland, Antigua, Guatemala and countless cities within the U.S. all through work and it’s always a blast.
Another perk would be the access I get to trying beauty services from facials and massages to more out-there cutting-edge procedures like EmSculpt, lasers and the like. I pride myself on being a guinea pig and trying everything at least once so that I can best inform our readers. I always want to tie reviews and explanatory articles to personal experience along with research and expert interviews — I want to sound like your craziest, beauty-obsessed friend texting you, not a textbook.
KR: Sunscreen, of course. Wear it every day! I also think women should know a skincare routine doesn’t need to be complicated or have 1000 steps, but everyone would benefit from starting out with a gentle cleanser (I swear by La Roche-Posay) and a moisturizer (I like the classic French pharmacy staple Embryolisse). As for active ingredients, everyone would benefit from using retinoids. The vitamin A derivative is a miracle-worker and promotes cell turnover so you can reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines and pigmentation, as well as smooth your skin texture overall. It’s the holy grail of anti-aging.
KR: I’m obsessed with so many things at once, but I truly can’t go anywhere without the It Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi rose lip balm. It’s the most moisturizing balm out there and makes your natural lip shape and hue look the best it possibly can. The pink tint is sheer and incredibly flattering. I have one tube at home, in the office, and in multiple bags.
KR: Oh gosh. My biggest faux pas is going to sleep without washing my face. I do it RARELY (maybe one to three times a year), but it kills me every time. I’m also guilty of being too lazy for a full wash and relying on a makeup wipe which doesn’t actually clean your face but rather slides product across it. It’s okay as a first step to remove a full face before actually cleansing, but still leaves some gunk lurking in your pores.
KR: This changes literally every single day, but currently I’m loving:
Dior Backstage Foundation – This foundation is long-lasting, buildable, has a skin-like finish, and is rumored to be the formula Meghan Markle wore for the royal wedding, so that’s all that really matters.
Benefit Brow Contour Pro Pen – I’m definitely big on brows, and this cleverly packaged click pen has
Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish tinted balms – I’ve been taking a break from highly pigmented lipsticks lately, so these have been my go-tos. Lips look perfectly pouty and glossed with a just-bitten rosy color.
Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate – This classic cream contour and highlight palette is my favorite thing to travel with. The shade is perfect for defining and chiseling features (I use it on the sides of my nose, jawline and cheekbone), but melts into skin without looking cartoon-ish. Plus, the creamy white highlighter leaves the most dewy, subtle glow.
Lash Extensions – It’s not technically something “in” my bag, but getting extensions put in every three to four weeks has allowed me to keep my makeup routine super minimal. Your face looks “done” without even trying. Oftentimes, I just fill in my brows a little and walk out the door.