Welcome to The Unpublishable! Here’s what people are saying about this weekly(ish) beauty newsletter:

  • “The woman the beauty industry fears the most.” - the Sunday Herald

  • “Yanking consumers out of the matrix made by the beauty industry.” - HuffPost

  • One of “2023’s Most Innovative and Visionary Talents … helping to shape culture while breaking new ground.” - Adweek (Creative 100 for 2023)

  • “Dazzled! Giddy! And am now a devotee of Jessica DeFino!!” - E. Jean Carroll

  • “DeFino’s [work] is a reminder to question our relationship with beauty. Why do we do what we do? Is it being defined by society or driven by our authentic self?” - Dua Lipa

  • “Examines the beauty industry’s tight grasp on consumers and popular culture, from evolving beauty standards to the deft marketing tactics used to sell people more products.” - New York Magazine

  • “Jessica is brilliant and constantly gets right to the heart of the capitalism, misogyny, and racism at the heart of the beauty industry ... it's the only beauty content i read” - Rayne Fisher-Quann

  • “Jessica DeFino covers the beauty industry the way Woodward and Bernstein covered Watergate.” - Val Monroe

  • “Terrifically smart.” - Slate

  • “The most thought-provoking content on Substack … life-affirming, hilariously damning of the beauty industry.” - Sian Clifford

  • “A tantalising series of beauty stories … Subscribe for witty, BS-free content.” - The Sunday Times

Hi! I’m Jessica DeFino, a former editor for the Kardashian-Jenner Apps (I’m sorry!) and a freelance beauty journalist for The New York Times, Vogue, WWD, Allure, and more.

This newsletter is a place for my most “unpublishable” pitches: the beauty-critical content that publications can’t, won’t, or don’t cover — whether that’s to appease advertisers, preserve brand relationships, or cling to the conventional wisdom, outdated ideals, and marketing myths that keep consumers consuming. Trust me, it all influences what information makes it to the mainstream.

Basically, it’s what the beauty industry won’t tell you — from a reporter on a mission to reform it.

Paid subscribers get:

  • Access to all past and future articles from The Unpublishable

  • Two issues of The Don’t Buy List — a roundup of product-free content and breaking beauty news, curated to broaden your understanding of the beauty industry and help us all break free from beauty standards — each month

  • The ability to comment on articles

  • The joy of supporting the culture-shifting work of The Beautywell Project and Slow Factory, where a portion of subscriber proceeds are donated each month

  • My eternal gratitude for funding critical beauty content that, thanks to subscriber support, doesn’t have to push products on people via advertisers or affiliate sales

Here’s more information about how The Unpublishable’s paid subscription is structured and why, along with a free sneak peek at The Don’t Buy List.

Paid subscribers say:

  • “This Substack remains the best $5 I spend all month.”

  • “You’ve given me confidence to allow my face and body to exist without forcing them to conform to garbage beauty standards.”

  • “My therapist suggested your writing.”


  • “Saving my wallet, face, and general worldview.”

Subscribe now to support independent beauty reporting that isn’t beholden to brands, advertisers, algorithms, or affiliate sales.

Your skin/psyche/savings account will thank you later.

Subscribe to The Unpublishable

What the beauty industry won't tell you, from a reporter on a mission to reform it.


Jessica DeFino 

Jessica DeFino is a freelance beauty culture critic (The New York Times, Vice, Vogue) and writes The Guardian's beauty advice column, Ask Ugly. She's been called "the woman the beauty industry fears the most" by the Sunday Herald.