About Me

Welcome! I’m Zoe, a thirty-something owner of sixty-something lipsticks. When I was younger and significantly more foolish, I got a PhD in English, specializing in early modern literature. Since then, I’ve taught English at an urban commuter college in New Jersey, a small liberal arts college in the rural Midwest, and, most recently, a New England boarding school.

In 2014, while I was still in graduate school, I started Auxiliary Beauty as an outlet for my extracurricular musings on makeup. My blog contains product reviews, discussions of cosmetic history and beauty marketing, and self-indulgent introspection, sometimes all in the same post. My favorite colors are magenta and chartreuse.

The name of my blog is a seventeenth-century slang term for cosmetics. A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew, a compendium of London thieves’ slang from 1699, defines “Auxiliary-beauty” as “Dress, Paint, Patches, Setting of Eye-brows, and licking the Lipps with Red.” Fair warning, however: I draw more beauty inspiration from k-pop and the 1980s than I do from the early modern period.

My header image is from Sir Peter Lely’s Two Ladies of the Lake Family, c. 1660.