Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Julie Schott

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Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Julie Schott

Meet the acne advocate behind Starface.

Instagram: @julie_schott
Location: Los Angeles
Astrological Sign: Cancer
Book that changed your life: Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans. It came out when I was in high school and is still in my childhood bedroom. I find it equal parts tabloid, romance novel, and soft core porn.
Beauty product (or treatment) that changed your skin: Starface Hydro-Stars. I still struggle with skin picking, and being able to put something over an area that I’ve picked has really, really changed my skin. It makes the difference between creating a scar or an infection and starting the healing process.
Podcast you can’t stop listening to: Bodega Boys, The Daily, and Dewy Dudes
Instagram account you love to follow: @dewydudes

Nobody likes to wake up to an angry, painful breakout taking up real estate on your face. Trust us, we know firsthand. But thanks to Starface co-founder Julie Schott, it’s not as bad an experience as it used to be. 

Schott found her niche in the beauty space by (finally) addressing a super common skin problem in a non-judgemental way. “95% of people experience acne at some point in their life, but it’s still talked about as if it were a disease,” she says. “It just didn’t make sense.” And so Starface was born, along with their signature star-shaped hydrocolloid patches that draw out gunk and calm inflammation. 

Ahead, we talked with Schott about her career journey, how Zoom meetings have changed her approach to beauty, and how she’s working to change the conversation around acne and self-care once and for all.

TS

Tell us a little about yourself!

JS

I was born in Illinois, moved to the UK when I was four years old, and lived overseas for 10 years. I moved back to the US when I was 15 and went to high school in Connecticut. I was super obsessed with magazines when I was a kid. I’d spend way too much money on stacks of print magazines — this was obviously before there were digital versions. I was into theater and performing, even though I was pretty bad at it. I wasn’t very academic and didn’t excel in school. I went to Pratt for college, and then just stayed in Brooklyn after that. I lived in New York for 12 years, and then I moved to LA about 3 years ago. I had been spending a ton of time here, and I was just ready for a change.

TS

What was your first job?

JS

My first job out of college was at a PR agency. I just sat in a cubicle and wrote press releases and ghost wrote for any of their clients who had a magazine column. At one point I wrote a fragrance commercial for Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom (this is when they were married, so that tells you the time frame). I hope it’s still online.
julie schott

TS

How did you become inspired to create Starface?

JS

I’ve been pretty obsessed with acne for as long as I can remember. I grew up thinking that those Proactive and Neutrogena commercials were so iconic! I started getting acne myself when I was in my 20s, right when I had my first serious job. My skin just erupted. The worst acne of my life coincided with my first day of a new job, and as an entry-level beauty assistant I finally had a little bit of access to doctors that I might not have been able to meet otherwise. I went down some pretty aggressive rabbit holes trying to treat my acne — I tried everything. I wrote about it a ton and I researched it a lot over to the next 10 years.

During that time, I think the beauty industry changed so much: partly because of social media and partly because there was so much innovation. However, I didn’t see a lot of change in the acne space. It seemed that the way people were communicating around acne was really unchanged since when I was a kid. The language and the marketing and the perception and the stigma was the same. How do we change this conversation and make some progress around this idea of perfection?

TS

What has been the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in creating your own beauty brand and how did you overcome that challenge?

JS

Early on, the biggest challenge was identifying and assembling the best team to put this together. It was all about meeting my co-founder Brian and building a small but essential team.

I don’t think that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to self care.”

TS

What are your plans and goals for the brand and yourself in the coming year?

JS

Encourage more people to have fun and feel cute. Get a driver’s license.

TS

What is the best piece of acne advice that you’ve ever heard?

JS

Honestly, the advice that we’re all told when it comes to avoiding COVID-19: don’t touch your face.
julie schott

TS

What was your first coveted beauty product?

JS

There’s so many! I was such a makeup girl from a really young age, even though I don’t really wear makeup now. I loved going to the mall and the MAC store. As a teenage girl or a preteen, fragrance is such a big thing too, right before you start dabbling in makeup. I remember everyone smelled like Dior Hypnotic Poison, which is expensive for a kid. I didn’t have it but some of my friends did so I would get to use it at sleepovers.

TS

How has your beauty philosophy changed over the years?

JS

It’s changed so much over the years. I think a lot of us can identify with this right now: transitioning from going to an office every day to working from home changes things. People on our team get on Zoom with a full face and hair done every day, and I’m so inspired by that. If I’m in the mood for it I’ll put on makeup or do my hair, but 90% of the time I’m wearing no makeup and just wearing HydroStars if I have a pimple. The biggest change for me has been going from a set morning routine to waking up and deciding what I’m in the mood for each day. 

TS

What is the biggest beauty myth that you wish you could just do away with?

JS

I don’t think that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to self care. What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. In terms of the content that we make or we consume, there’s too many recommendations. I saw someone tweet about Starface recently and they said, “I don’t like to make recommendations because what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. I’ll tell you about my experience but I’m not going to call it a recommendation.” I think that’s really an interesting way to talk about how you take care of yourself — sharing why it resonates with you and why it works for you but not necessarily telling everyone they need to try it. One person’s favorite product is another person’s allergy.

TS

In a few words, describe beauty as you see it.

JS

Beauty is self-acceptance and feeling comfortable in your own skin. I’m still working on that, but it’s just something to always keep in mind. It’s very much a guiding principle for Starface, and it’s a personal goal for me.
julie schott

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