If like me, you find your Facebook feed and inbox packed with ads promoting the latest beauty lotions, potions, and devices and you need to know if Marie Kondo really knows how to bring you joy, have we got a podcast for you.
Doree Shafrir and Kate Spencer, two LA-based writers (and friends) have joined forces for a podcast called Forever35. On the show, the pair discuss topics including which night creams will make you look well-rested, is quitting coffee really worth the headache, and is the Hanacure mask really just intended to get you to post an unflattering photo of your face mid-mask on Instagram?
They also dive into the self-care practices that we all text our friends about — from which serums they’re using right now and whether drugstore mascara is as good as the fancy stuff, to finding a great therapist, navigating the challenges of friendship, and what they’re making for dinner.
No topic is off-limits, and Doree and Kate get into it with humor, honesty, and authenticity, along with guests like Samin Nosrat, Aminatou Sow, Nicole Byer, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Alie Ward. In 2020, the show won the iHeart Radio Podcast Award for Best Beauty and Fashion Podcast.
Doree and Kate talked to Socialite Life about all things wellness and beauty, the success of their podcast and their dream guests in our exclusive interview.
How have you been doing during COVID?
Kate: As a human, it’s been a struggle juggling my full-time work with two kids at home doing Zoom-school, while also processing the collective grief, anxiety, and anger of this pandemic. As a podcaster, we’ve adjusted how we record, and despite some occasional challenges with tech and scheduling, we’ve made it work!
Doree: I was doing okay — struggling, but okay — until the beginning of January, when my husband tested positive for COVID. The next week and a half were a blur of no childcare, a ton of work, and incredibly high stress worrying about my husband and trying to make sure his symptoms didn’t get worse. Fortunately, my toddler son and I didn’t get it and my husband is now on the mend, but it was probably one of the most stressful periods of my life.
How do you choose what topics to talk about?
Kate: We’re inspired by how self-care manifests in our own lives, as well as the lives of our listeners. The feedback, questions, and insights we get from listeners and guests inspires so many topics for us.
What do you enjoy talking about the most?
Kate: I love talking about the very specific, individual practices we each have to take care of ourselves. Do you wash your legs in the shower? Do you sleep with an eye mask? Do you hate or love journaling? I find it fascinating how each person comes up with their own practices, and how they differ between individuals. On a larger scale, I think examining self-care through an intersectional lens is both interesting and crucial to understanding what it means to practice self-care, and who has access to it, and who doesn’t.
Doree: In addition to everything Kate said, I love talking with and learning from our guests — we’ve had such fascinating, funny, diverse guests in the three-plus years of this podcast. I couldn’t stop laughing during our interviews with Samantha Irby, Nicole Byer, and Naomi Ekperigin. I learned so much about beauty products and skincare from our interviews with Michelle Lee and Caroline Hirons. I could have talked to Madeleine Albright for days — she’s our oldest guest and probably our most distinguished, but also surprisingly down-to-earth and, yes, funny. The list goes on!
What are your go-to beauty products?
Kate: Some of my everyday go-tos include Klur’s Gentle Matter Daily Cleanser, Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator, SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream, and Glossier’s Invisible Shield Sunscreen. At night I use a retinol from Skinceuticals, and I’m really enjoying Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Face Oil. I use Vaseline or Aquaphor on my lips (and sometimes my face) every night. My current body moisturizer is Trader Joe’s Hydrating Hyaluronic Body Gel Cream. If I’m putting a little bit of makeup on for a Zoom meeting, I’ll go with Ilia mascara, Sisley’s Phyto Lip Twist #15, and Nars blush in Orgasm.
Doree: Current face go-tos are milk + honey’s Natural Cleansing Balm and Hydrating Rose Facial Mist, Timeless Skin Care’s 100% Pure Hylauronic Acid and CoQ-10 serums, Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform, Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich, Biossance’s Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm, and Squalane + Zinc Mineral Sunscreen. If I’m feeling extra dry I’ll slather on some Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Face Serum. For body I love Hanahana Beauty’s Shea Body Butter and Beneath Your Mask’s Polish Detoxifying Body Scrub. I use Dr. Bronner’s bar soap in the shower. For hair I use Briogeo’s Blossom + Bloom Shampoo and Conditioner. And my Zoom makeup is It Cosmetics Bye-Bye Undereye, Ilia mascara, Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, and Tower28 Shine On Milky Lip.
What is your top beauty or wellness tip?
Kate: Drink a lot of water and get enough sleep every night.
Are there any beauty trends that you think are overrated?
Kate: I do not understand the reemergence of 90s fashion and beauty. Everything we wore and put on our faces back then was atrocious, why does it have another chance at life?
Have you ever been surprised by something you learned on the show?
Kate: We interviewed skin care and makeup guru Caroline Hirons and quite literally everything she said blew my mind. She’s amazing.
Doree: I feel like I learn something from every guest!
What has been your favorite episode to record?
Kate: There are too many to mention, but so often I go into a recording in a down or stressed-out mood and come out of it smiling. Those are my favorites!
Doree: I literally cannot choose a favorite. Don’t make me choose!
Who has been your favorite podcast guest?
Kate: Interviewing Madeline Albright was surreal and an honor.
Doree: See above! I can’t choose!!!
Who’s your dream “get” as a guest?
Kate: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
Doree: Michelle Obama.
How has doing this podcast changed you?
Kate: It’s become my job, and I now think a lot deeper about how I take care of myself. We’ve gotten to meet and speak with so many incredible guests and listeners. I also now wash my face and floss my teeth every night, which is a big step up for me. I used to go to bed in makeup.
Doree: I love hearing from our listeners about their life experiences — it’s made me much more aware of the diversity of lives out there. I’ve also learned so much about beauty and skincare — I know we say we’re not experts, but I feel like much more of an expert than I used to be!
Are you surprised about the success of the podcast?
Kate: Yes, in that I never expected it to reach this many ears. But also no, in the sense that I think women in their 30s and 40s and older are eager and active consumers of media and podcasts, and yet underrepresented in so many markets. We wanted to make a show that we ourselves needed and wanted in our lives, and that’s how Forever35 was born.
What other podcasts do you listen to?
Kate: Be There in Five, Pod Save America, Why Won’t You Date Me, On Point. Also, when I’m with my kids: Wow in the World.
Doree: Criminal, Death Sex & Money, Be There in Five, The Daily, Up First, Proof, Gee Thanks Just Bought It, You’re Wrong About.
What do you think the future holds for you?
Kate: Producing other podcasts besides our own, live podcast shows (after we’re all vaccinated, of course), writing some books, and lots of face masks. Hopefully a nap, too.
Doree: Everything Kate said, except the face masks because I don’t like face masks! We’re so different.