For those days when you feel a little oily but don’t want to commit to a full-on blow out – dry shampoo. Note: best effects when used properly - a swirling spray at the roots, from a proper distance (no close-up blasting). This is my favorite so far, the Instant Dry Shampoo, from Kenneth. $20 and worth every penny.
I don’t really wear make-up. But I don’t leave home without something on the lips – could be Burts Bees lip shimmer on one end of the spectrum, or my once-favorite, now discontinued, perfect blue-red Chanel. Recently I left home without my makeup bag. On a day full of meetings. I absolutely cannot CANNOT go through an entire day with naked lips. I should have gone to Duane Reade. I was in SoHo, I went to Sephora. Long story short: YSL Rouge Volupte. The creamiest lipstick ever that also stays on forever – not sure how that’s possible, but trust me, it does. I bought a red, I bought a neutral. LOVE. Not cheap but so worth it.
Best gift received this holiday season (from a dog, no less. A real dog, not someone behaving like one): Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir cologne. I’d never recommend giving cologne to someone, unless you know they wear it or want it, but my friend nailed it. This officially replaces my favorite Frederic Malle.
The site describes it thusly: “combines the sweet fruity notes of raspberry, plum, pink pepper and pomegranate with patchouli, frankincense and spicy woods to create a scent that’s sensual, totally sophisticated and utterly compelling.” I agree on the spicy wood part, that’s what sold me. Makes it very unisex. There’s also a candle.
I made one major mistake when I climbed Kilimanjaro five years ago: I didn’t notice that my lip balm didn’t have SPF. After 8 days on the mountain, with no mirror, I came down to find a burned, peel-off-several-layers-of-skin, not-kissable mess.
Last week I was hiking in Arizona in 100+ temperatures under full sun. It was awesome (love those Romero Canyon pools, especially with a rattlesnake sighting) and this time my lips survived thanks to this product: the Advanced Lip Protector by Own.
Now, you’re probably thinking – so what? There are a lot of lip balms with SPF. True. But this is a roller ball that smells and tastes like a Jolly Rancher. Super smooth. Reminiscent of that Maybelline Kissing Potion my mom wouldn’t let me have. Pretty fabulous all around.
And it’s only $5. Buy it here.
Although I write for a spa magazine and often test skincare products I am not a girl who grew up with any sort of skincare regime. Probably because my mother, whose skin is still unbelievably gorgeous at almost 78, didn’t have one either. I was never told I had to wash my face before I went to bed, so I never have (unless I have to test facial cleansers).
That said, I have developed an addiction to (alcohol-free) toners. I just like the way they make my skin feel, and that they seem to act as cleanser and make-up remover all in one (not that I wear a ton of make-up). I have a few favorites but my #1, by far, are the Triad Cranberry toner pads by Arcona (you can buy it in normal, pump bottle form as well) and especially now that we’re headed into the hot, humid summer season. This is a light, refreshing, slightly scented product that makes my skin feel fresh and clean.
Not cheap but so worth it, and great for travel.
The nitty gritty on ingredients:
Cranberry, Vitamin E, Omegas 3, 6 and 9 and rice milk.
And if you’re in LA, check out their Studio in Santa Monica.
First they talked about changing the name of the country, so that Westerners could pronounce it. Now they’ve created a fragrance to “replicate not only in Lithuania smells, but to tell the story of our country: towns, villages, nature, ancestors, traditions and cultural heritage, human character traits, the country’s achievements and experience – everything reasonably possible and are proud of what we are respected.”
Full disclosure: my mother is from Lithuania. And yes, I was tempted to buy her the fragrance just to see if it really did SMELL like the Lithuania she might remember. Although come to think of it, she left during WWII, which I’m guessing smelled nothing like Bergamot, ginger or grapefruit.
For 99 euros it’s not worth the risk. But if you’re interested, the official website is here.
And the bottle is cute:
PS They sent the fragrance to their soldiers in Afghanistan. No, really.
Last year I did a sunscreen test drive for Organic Spa magazine. I learned a LOT about so-called natural sunscreens. Namely, oxybenzone is potentially very very bad, but mineral based sunscreens are better. The only problem with the latter is that the mineral based products can leave white streaks on the skin. Not cute. Had Coola’s products not had oxybenzone as an ingredient, they would’ve been my favorite of all the sunscreens tested – but they did and I was bummed.
Earlier this year they released a mineral-based line, which I thoroughly test drove while in Mexico. Bottom line: loved it. No white streaking and it actually worked (I had been using a different mineral based product and fried twice, despite obsessive reapplying). Sport block spf 30 for body, $34 here
And I also used the unscented mineral spf 20 for face, here.
Although I am a Contributing Editor to Organic Spa Magazine, my dirty little secret is that I’m not that into beauty products. Scrubs/exfoliants, yes. Face creams, yawn. However, I happen to be staying at the CondesaDF in Mexico City, which features Malin + Goetz amenities.
I’ve known the M+G guys since they started their company and while I am a fan of many of their products (and packaging) I had never tried their Vitamin E Face moisturizer until yesterday.
Woah. Light. Not greasy. Tingly in a good “time to wake up” way. Feels like its doing something. I would absolutely buy this (and it’s not cheap – $45 for 4 oz, $82 for 8.5 – it would have to be a “cost per use” rationalization).
I have never been a beauty product junkie, which is one reason the editor of Organic Spa asked me to do some testing of beauty products (my lip balm test drive is here, and scrubs is here). I don’t buy into hype. I believe good skin is a combination of genetics and common sense. That said, I tend to like chemical free (or as close as they can get) products that either feel good to use or make my skin feel good after using. Kiss My Face’s Ester C Serum does both – it’s light and a tad greasy but that part evaporates quickly. It has a nice tingle to it, but didn’t upset my sensitive skin and I found it very soothing, especially after a few hours in the tropical sun. Read a few reviews and buy it here.