Editor’s Letter: The Story Behind Our Mid-Pandemic Global Beauty Issue

Three years ago, we had the grand idea to create what we called our Out of Office issue. The entire staff would — wait for it — work remotely for the month-plus that it took to produce the issue. The concept was that the team would be dispatched to far-flung corners of the world to report on beauty in other countries. We’d discover sunscreen from Bondi Beach, explore dry-skin secrets near the South Pole, and perhaps forge an editor-exchange program of sorts with our sibling brand, Allure Korea. No one would set foot in our Manhattan offices for several weeks.

I mentioned the outlandish project to our then CEO and braced myself for future HR interference. He paused and said, “That’s a great idea. Maybe that’s how we’ll all be working soon.”

A few years and one pandemic later, here we are.

Alas, the original concept didn’t materialize exactly as planned back then (it turns out that abandoning homes and families en masse for extended periods of time is harder, and more expensive, than it looks in memos). Eventually, Out of Office morphed into what we now know as our Best of Global Beauty issue. And that notion of remote work (minus the globe-trotting) has become not so outlandish after all.

For this issue, we travel — virtually — around the world, from Nigeria to Brazil to South Korea, for our cover stories starring three global music superstars: Tiwa Savage, Anitta, and CL. We delve into colorism in Thailand with makeup artist Nick Barose, wander far off the beaten path to the lone hair salon at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, get a peek into Danish skin-care phenom Ole Henrikse‘s dream kit, and even go extraterrestrial for a lesson in microgravity beauty and wellness from some experienced space travelers (maybe this is how we’ll all be working soon).

Exploring new places and foods and products and cultures is one of the joys of my life. And I miss it. But I can finally see those freer, post-pandemic days on the horizon. My OOO message is standing by.

This story originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Allure. Learn how to subscribe here.

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