Attention, hags! Lest you think that was an insult, please do yourself a favor and listen to all episodes of Poog, the podcast hosted by Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak, two comedians with aptly self-described “untamable intellects.” Longtime listeners already know that the “hag” is a term of affection for fans of the show.
For the uninitiated, Poog is a podcast that explores the intersection of beauty, wellness, and spiritual fulfillment, with a tone that is mostly irreverent, at times archly academic. Treatments are tested, trends are analyzed, and products are assessed, from supplemental powders like Athletic Greens to some Dr. Barbara Sturm goodies—some of which, naturally, are gifted to the hosts so that they can discuss their experiences for the hags who listen. “Transparent begging is the joke of our podcast,” Novak says. “Poog has been such a gift because we created it to get free stuff, and then you realize that of course the whole system of everything is deeply corrupt,” Berlant jokes in response.
Of course Poog is funny, too—Berlant and Novak are famous comedians, after all. The former, who is often recognized for her work with fellow comedian John Early, is coming off a run of shows at the Elysian in Los Angeles, and the latter is touring the nation with her one-woman show, Get on Your Knees. Not only do they possess the gift of gab, they have a knack for giving a gift to just about any type of person you may know. Straight from their private recording of Poog’s special holiday gift guide edition, here are some highlights of their various insights on getting gifts, giving gifts, and the beauty products that may or may not lead you down the path of enlightenment.
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For the Skincare Lover
Novak recommends Biossance 100% Squalane Oil. “I still believe in this as the number one skin game changer. I recommend the standard oil, so the giftee can be truly sold on squalane’s benefits alone without confusion.” she says. “I push this stuff all the time, and someone came up to me after a show and said it changed their life. I love changing lives.”
She also recommends going to a pharmacy and getting your favorite basics, like Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt, Cetaphil, your favorite brow pencil, and a brightly colored makeup pencil sharpener. “Write a note that says, ‘These are a few of my favorite things,’” she says. “If you give a gift that you really stand behind, but is relatively inexpensive, the recipient can continue the habit.”
Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream is another item on Novak’s list. “I just feel like is a ‘wow’ gift, inherently. I’d go with either the rich cream, or maybe the new serum because serums are easy to incorporate,” she says, adding, “It behooves you to get it from Violet Grey, because their packaging is beautiful. It looks elegant as hell.”
Berlant recommends zapping your zits with COSRX acne patches: “I feel naked if I don’t travel with these. Put one on a zit, watch it disappear,” she says, and adds that she wears the MD Solar Science Mineral Creme SPF on a daily basis. Biologique Recherche Sérum Amniotique is another must-have item for Berlant: “It feels like water and costs approximately 14 million dollars, but I swear it hydrates.”
For the Techie
The Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro, an LED mask that supposedly clears up acne and wrinkles, is a thoughtful splurge. “If you’re going to spend a lot of money on someone blatantly and on purpose, and you want to really show them you’re doing it, I feel like a beauty device is the way to win the holidays,” Novak says.
Berlant says the Higher Dose Sauna Blanket “makes me feel so high and like I can do anything.” Another product she swears by: the ZIIP beauty skincare device. She uses it “to get rid of evil subterranean zits before they sprout into full hell.”
For the Athlete
According to Novak, chic high-end activewear is “the perfect gift for someone you love who wouldn’t buy it for themselves.” For example, there is the Liberty Unitard from Wear One’s At (Novak is “obsessed with unitards” at the moment), or any of the French Cut workout gear by Adam Selman.
For the Haircare Enthusiast
A gift Novak recently bought for Berlant is the Add More Hair shampoo, from Soko Glam. “Soko Glam is a site I do a lot of shopping on, where you can actually put together 65 different incredible gifts for anyone in your life who’s into beauty, but who may not yet be indoctrinated into the Korean skin care method,” she says. “This shampoo has salicylic acid and zinc so it’s truly clarifying, and then has a pleasing botanical scent. It’s $38 and you will need to alert your giftee of this fact in whatever way you deem appropriate. Regular receipt tucked in the gift bag in favor of the modest gift receipt?” she says. Novak also recommends adding the AMH Scalp Massage Brush “as the bow on top of the gift.” (You could also toss in the curl-defining Denman Classic D3 brush—the more brushes the merrier.)
“I would be comfortable formally asking for a Dyson hairdryer,” Berlant says, but she wouldn’t say no to it as a surprise gift (or to a Dyson vacuum for the home, either). “I’ve had the same hairdryer for—and this is in no way an exaggeration—over 10 years.”
For the Makeup Obsessive
“What a gorgeous thing to unwrap and put on your makeup table—it’s got argan and lychee, so you’re getting the holiday sparkle but in the form of something nourishing for winter lips,” Novak says of Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish Astral Balm. “Her non-sparkle lip balm also rules, but for the holidays, and for anyone witchy, why not go ‘astral?’”
For the no-makeup makeup look, there’s always the Kosas Oil foundation, which Berlant says, “Doesn't feel like wearing makeup but you are definitely wearing makeup.” Then, once you have to remove makeup, Berlant says you can’t go wrong with Goop’s Malachite Cleanser. “I use this after an oil cleanser to take makeup off! Makes me feel clean and like I own property,” she says.
For the Spiritual Seeker
Novak (and team W) recommends her book, How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows, “for the depressed in your life. It’s my brother in arms guide/memoir meant to keep you company when depressed.”
For the Sustainable Health Nut
If there’s one supplement both Novak and Berlant consistently agree upon, it’s Athletic Greens, a supplement that contains 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole-food sourced nutrients. “I've been doing it religiously every day for like three months,” Berlant says, as she and Novak begin their AG routine together, from their respective homes, on camera. It involves taking one scoop, plopping it in eight ounces of water, and shaking it up to drink. “I’m hesitant to say I feel results, but I would say I am experiencing more energy,” she says. (And if you want to be a really generous friend, Athletic Greens offers a subscription service option at $79 a month).
For any eco-conscious friend, Novak recommends Goldune, “a great new site full of sustainable home goods and more.”