Megan O’Neill has been featured on E!, NY1, and ABC’s Strahan and Sara as a beauty expert and has starred on Netflix’s The goop Lab. She comes to goop from a long career in content at both Lucky and ELLE magazines. Currently goop’s senior beauty editor and a cohost of goop’s beauty podcast, The Beauty Closet, she writes the column Megan Tries It. She loves food, beautiful clean skin care, and cold (and hot) showers. This interview was told to Rachel Krause and has been edited for length and clarity.
8 a.m.: It takes me a few seconds to remember who I am. Every night I drop into something that’s more coma-like than deep slumber, and when my alarm shrills in the morning it always takes me a beat to place that I’m Megan O’Neill, a girl in Brooklyn with a job and sh*t to do. I run to the bathroom and pee, then linger at the mirror, bleary-eyed, inspecting my skin.
I’m always battling acne on some level. A special kind of hell! My poor husband, Jesse — I usually spot treat my blemishes with a face mask, dabbing it all over right before bed, and I can’t imagine sleeping next to that is a turn-on. I have a lot of masks (I have an ungodly amount of potions, many of them wild splurges, because I have to try everything skin care as part of my job; you will never hear me complaining about my job), but I especially love the sulfur one from Goldfaden MD. It’s this kickass blend of pure sulfur, zinc, and a ton of skin-clearing oils that tingles the second you smooth it on and literally shrinks breakouts overnight. I either use it as a face mask and leave it on for about fifteen minutes before rinsing, or I use it as an overnight treatment so it can work its magic while I sleep.
8:15 a.m.: Before washing my face, I oil pull. If you don’t know about oil pulling, you must get on the bandwagon. It’s a common ritual in Ayurveda— the ancient Indian system of medicine that brought things like turmeric and yoga to western culture — and it involves swishing botanical oils around in your mouth for fifteen minutes to detoxify, freshen breath, and support gum and overall health. My mom swears by it — she does it with pure organic sesame oil — but whenever I’ve tried it, it felt onerous... until I started doing it with the oil from Uma, an Ayurvedic skin-care line that’s one of the most beautiful brands in existence. It’s a mix of clove, sesame, coconut, and turmeric oils, and your mouth feels pristine, like it’s been exorcised, after.
While I’m swishing it around in my mouth (the fifteen minutes flies by, and doing it sort of feels like a gum massage), I massage the face-oil cleanser from Wonder Valley onto my dry skin. I discovered the brand because they have a gorgeous olive oil that makes the best holiday gift for impossible people in your life (gave it to my truculent minimalist brother and super-chill minimalist bro-in-law last year). It’s this olive oil, honeysuckle, and jojoba oil infusion that’s thick, skin-clearing, and moisturizing. I can’t get enough oils into my routine; they’re especially balancing for breakout-prone skin, even though that sounds counterintuitive. I rinse it off and swipe on some Schmidt’s Jasmine deodorant — if you have sensitive skin, this is baking soda-free, smells like heaven, and truly works — and get on my yoga mat for a Humming Puppy online class.
1 p.m.: I’m obsessed with face mist — it feels sooo good. I keep a bottle of African beauty water from 54 Thrones next to my kitchen-counter laptop setup and spritz myself all day long every twenty minutes, like a freak. It leaves my skin instantly dewy and refreshed and revives me from staring at my screen, plus it smells like an explosion of wild roses and jasmine. I met 54 Throne’s founder, Christina Tegbe, over Zoom a few weeks ago, and her skin is poreless and astounding. She’s gorgeous! A walking advertisement for her gorgeous brand, which is inspired by the beauty rituals of her Nigerian family. Just looking at her makes me want to try everything she makes.
11:30 p.m.: I can’t stop watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. (I was instantly ensnared: a chess-prodigy orphan, pill addiction, the stylized backdrop of the 60s, flirtations, sex — what a setup.) I watch two episodes, and when the second one is almost over, I work in some hair oil. It’s the thing that makes the biggest difference in shaping, smoothing, and defining my curls and keeping them silky. I rotate between the Castor Oil - Light from Kreyol Essence (a next-level moisture boost) and the jasmine hair serum from Ranavat (a bit lighter and more like a hair perfume — it smells intoxicatingly of jasmine). I section my hair into five braids and bobby pin them into individual little buns all over my head, like haphazard Bantu knots. On mornings when I wake up and the knots aren’t too disheveled, I keep them in as my style for the day.
12 a.m.: Showering is my favourite thing on the planet, and I love doing it right before bed late at night. I step in, crank the water up as scalding as it goes, and go into raptures over the stream cascading over me. I wash my face with the Microderm Glow Exfoliator from goop. GP calls it “a facial in a jar," which is completely spot on. It’s this creamy, whipped marshmallow texture infused with microcrystals and glycolic acid, so you get both physical and chemical exfoliation for the glowiest skin of all time, and the tingling is incredibly satisfying. While I let it sit for three minutes or so, I wash my body with the shower gel from Bathing Culture. It smells earthy and amazing, like the redwood forest, and it lathers like a dream. For smooth underarms, I use the shaving cream from Fur — the closest, no-nick, no-ingrown shave, no matter where you’re shaving, and Jesse loves it, too, for his bristly beard. I wash my hair once a week, so I’m almost always wearing a shower cap.
12:45 a.m.: I climb into bed — Jesse is already softly snoring — and massage a few drops of Uma Pure Calm oil onto my wrists, bottoms of my feet, and between my toes. The chamomile, vetiver, and jasmine blend mellows me out, so that after fifteen minutes of reading my book (loving These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card right now), I’m fading. Convinced this has a lot to do with my coma sleep.
8:30 a.m.: I do forty-five minutes of Pilates exercises I learned from genius Pilates instructor Amy Nelms. She’s incredible and has totally changed how my body looks and feels. I take a session with her over FaceTime about once a month, and the woman has hawk eyes when it comes to correcting form. I make a beeline for the shower after.
9:30 a.m.: After showering, I pat my face dry and apply GOOPGLOW vitamin C serum. Friends are always asking me what they should be using on their skin, and this vitamin C serum always factors into my recommendations. No matter your skin type or age, vitamin C is a miracle: instantly glow-boosting, smoothing, toning, and it’s one of the most well-studied antioxidants for skin. I love this particular one because it’s more potent than most; it comes in two parts — a pure vitamin C powder and a hyaluronic acid emulsion that you mix together so that the resulting serum stays active and powerful for longer than what you might buy on the shelf. I wait a minute to let it sink in, then press in GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil or Vintner’s Daughter face oil, which is moisturizing by nature of being an oil, but it’s more of a skin-balancing, active treatment. Back in the days when we went to the office, whenever I’d applied Vintner’s that morning, this girl in my office would exclaim that my skin looked “awesome” the second I walked in. That’s how you know a wild splurge on face oil is worth it.
2 p.m.: I heat some organic olive oil in a skillet and fry up a plantain for lunch with a kale, Brussels sprouts, and Honeycrisp apple salad. I had a mac ‘n’ cheese, fried chicken (my mom made this NY Times recipe that involved a jam and balsamic vinegar marinade that added the best tang), and birthday cake feast last night to celebrate my 36 years with my family, so I’m being virtuous today. I wash my hands after making the mustardy salad dressing — I wash them a thousand times a day even while working from home, since I’m constantly touching and receiving packages of beauty products — then slather them in the hand oil from Skin Dew. I love this stuff — it melts in miraculously and revives my hands instantly, leaving them silky and comfortable. On weekends, I carry it around in my bag and am constantly whipping it out.
11 a.m.: I’m leading a beauty master class today over Zoom, so I put on a little makeup. If this were an in-person event, I’d probably forego foundation, but Zoom is weird, and people are zeroed in on your every pore. We work with makeup artist Gucci Westman a lot, and she came out with a clean makeup line that is just the most deluxe. It feels like nothing on, makes your skin look like healthy-looking skin, and it’s made with nourishing botanicals, so you get a benefit, too. Her foundation comes in a stick, so if you have zero makeup skills like me, it’s super easy to spot treat your spots (spot-treating discolouration and blemishes with foundation looks so much more natural than covering your entire face in foundation). I dab my lips and cheeks with the blackberry tint from Balmyard Beauty — it’s this coconut-oil based balm that leaves a subtle, sexy hint of colour, and it’s so pretty on every part of the face. I’m obsessed with the Black Roses shade. It looks super dark in the pot, but it’s actually sheer and somehow impossibly flattering on absolutely every skin tone. I smooth it over my lids and onto the tip of my nose sometimes too, just to add a little warmth.
12:15 p.m.: Whenever I have to perform — whether that’s leading a master class or interviewing a guest on our podcast, goop’s The Beauty Closet — my stress skyrockets. One of the most soothing rituals I do is gua sha, a form of skin massage using a sculpted stone tool that originated in ancient China. I love the gua sha kit from Wildling. It comes with a gua sha stone, a skin tonic, and a face oil, and they’re all exquisite. I spritz my face with the tonic, apply the face oil, and slowly ease the gua sha stone from my nose moving diagonally up to my temple. I repeat this five times on both sides of my face. It has a depuffing, temporarily sculpting effect on skin. It’s magic when I do it in the morning — I look more rested and energetic all day.
9:30 a.m.: New obsession alert: the Moroccan body mask Beldi soap from 54 Thrones! It’s sort of mind-blowing and has the texture of taffy, though it’s way silkier and supremely moisture-boosting. You scoop it out of the elegant tub and glide it over your skin, and it leaves you velvety soft.
10 a.m.: I get out of the shower, lovingly apply my potions, and decide to wear sunscreen today. I sit at my kitchen counter right by the window, so it’s meaningful. Every dermatologist will tell you there’s no such thing as magic cream, but clean mineral sunscreen is the closest thing. My favourite is the Serum Crema from Vive Sana because it’s intensely hydrating, smooths in invisibly (yes, it is a mineral sunscreen that disappears into my dark skin; they exist and this is an excellent one!), and deposits the prettiest sheen. Back when I flew regularly to goop’s Santa Monica office, I’d make sure to put it on before getting on the flight. When I disembarked and had to race straight to the office, my skin still looked plumped and radiant, even after all that nasty airplane air!
9 p.m.: Weekends are for being leisurely, baking, staring into space, ambling over the Williamsburg Bridge into the city to the Union Square Farmers Market, and nighttime candle-lit baths. Before soaking, I light my This Smells Like My Vagina Candle. Jaunty name aside, the candle itself is actually exquisite and radiates a cloud of geranium and vetiver that delights anyone who walks into it. I take off my clothes and smooth myself down in the pre-soak bath oil from Bathe. I love the lavender + sandalwood scent, and you apply it before getting in the bathtub to do two things: nourish your skin so that you emerge from the bath so next-level moisturized you don’t need to moisturize after or even until, I kid you not, the next night (if you don’t shower in the morning), and the oil works as a body cleanser, dissolving dirt and grime.
I get in the bath — I like them as scorching as my showers — and dump in either a goop Martini bath or Bathe’s coconut + vanilla Mood Mylk. The Martini is Himalayan pink salt-sandalwood, stress-eradicating magic, and the Mood Mylk smells like how you imagine the most luscious coconuts in paradise smell. (The founder is based in Harlem and created the skin-soothing line as an antidote to her own unsoothable sensitive skin.) I soak for twenty minutes, staring at the flickering vagina candle flame and reading a cooking magazine.
12 p.m.: I bake a big-ass batch of granola so that I have a healthy sweet snack at arm’s length to last me through the week. I mix in oats, olive oil, maple syrup, apple juice-sweetened dried cherries, pistachios, and shredded coconut, and take it out of the oven when it’s really crispy. Sooo good. (It makes the best cereal when you have it with Elmhurst almond milk, which has no weird additives or gums; it’s just almonds and water.)
7 p.m.: Sundays are also for washing my hair. When I started out at goop three years ago, clean hair care was not there. It really, super freakin' is now! There is so much incredible clean hair care for all hair types right now. I’m loving the amethyst crystal clarifying shampoo from Meraki. It smells like gardenia flowers, is amazingly softening, lathers like a dream, and has delightful little amethyst crystals rolling around inside the bottle. I wash out the shampoo and work in the Rahua Hydrating Conditioner, which is utterly game-changing. I leave it on for a few minutes while I zone out, exhilarated because I’m in my favourite place in my whole house in the whole world, and take a comb to my conditioner-soaked hair. I only ever comb or brush it like this in the shower, and that helps ensure no tangles. I rinse out the conditioner, and my hair is smooth and silky. I never dry it with a regular towel; instead, I use the hair turban from Aquis, which is made from super-soft, super-absorbent special material that doesn’t exert as much friction on your hair, minimizing breakage and frizz. It rules!
7:30 p.m.: Another key to great hair days through the week: my leave-in treatment. I smooth in a few pumps of the curl control cream from Rahua, which makes my hair even softer and shinier. I braid my damp hair into five braids, pin them into Bantu buns, and head to the kitchen to make a big, cozy turkey meat-sauce spaghetti dinner.
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