029 – April Franzino of Good Housekeeping – Standard of Trust

Testing, inspiring, creating trust, and trend-watching beauty at “Good Housekeeping”…

April Franzino, Beauty Director at “Good Housekeeping” Magazine at Hearst Magazines, joins hosts Julie Fredrickson, Regina Gwynn, and guest host Abby Wallach (Co-Founder of ScentInvent – Episode 025) for a conversation about in-house resources, a 132-year legacy, editorial decision-making, Franzino’s lens on the beauty industry, and more. Recorded at MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

Big resources with an Institute and a lab, watching for trends, and products and ingredient testing

Franzino discusses “Good Housekeeping” having 132 years as one of the standards of whom you trust, taking the best of what is in the market from mass, niche, and prestige brands, looking for what works for readers, and how reaching Millennials is more of a multifaceted approach via website, social media, and reacting to things happening in cultural conversation. The opportunity to take a deep dive into things, such as utilizing the Good Housekeeping Institute and beauty lab, plus the Good Housekeeping Seal, and doing market work and seeing what’s happening before it hits in coming months. How Franzino has taken to Instagram, how it mirrors a magazine with text and images. She reflects on the entire floor in Hearst Tower including the Good Housekeeping Institute, test kitchens, tech abs, appliances, and a lab just for beauty with two scientists and chemists led by a PhD–all testing for editorial or testing applicants for the Good Housekeeping Seal. Looking at new launches, sometimes one-off innovations, or a new ingredient or texture, seeing beginning of trends then pitching an idea that incorporates use of the lab. Smaller publishers and bloggers can seems like payola, and the challenge of tracking attention to those smaller mentions. Franzino touches on how all tests are “blinded”, and a panel of 10,000 women testers. Spotting trends, and when tests don’t go well (such as magnetic face masks), and when they the exceed expectations.

Testing as a personal style, ingredients vs. formula, and natural vs. synthetic ingredients

What the Good Housekeeping Seal means, the Ask April feature, readers asking questions with a lot on the vexing question of skin care, and a lot of makeup questions, plus which anti aging products work best. What Franzino is loving and wearing and where she finds things she incorporates into her look, constantly testing new things, loving hair masks, from Bumble and Bumble Creme De Cocoa, to leave-in conditioner, smoothing cream on dry hair, facial closing cream using olive oil, Oribe Supershine light moisturizing cream, the challenges of using mascara you’ve never tried before, changing looks vs. signature look, and not having a blow dryer. Franzino reveals how the most important thing to the reader is skin care, and how fragrance plays into it all and why it is tricky to write about. Ingredients vs. formula, what is really natural and what is accurate and transparent, and why “Good Housekeeping” typically doesn’t report on “naturalness”. And, does synthetic actually mean “bad”?

Coming full circle, Hoboken, and being the best you

How Franzino got her start in publishing and beauty, being attracted to the best marriage of science, research, art, expression, excitement, compelling opportunities, innovation, and constant evolution. And how she came full circle to “Good Housekeeping”. Personal Questions with a round of Hitting the Pan cover being a Jersey girl, a vote for Hoboken, hiking, reading and having a library card, and live music, being a “mini-mom” her whole life, and living in an artistic family. Plus — doing what makes you feel like the best and true version of yourself.

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