Welp! After months (and months and months) of procrastinating and prevaricating and after giving birth to our adorable baby girl, I have finally managed to wrap up my hydrating serum post. Although it was initially envisioned as a primer on boosting a winter skincare routine, the truth is that while completely indispensable in winter, for many people a hydrating serum is a necessity year round.
Greetings, gentle reader. I ask that you brace yourself, for I am about share something with you that no beauty blogger should ever admit and something that will make you question every bit of advice I have ever given you and my sanity itself. Here it goes: I hate sunblock! If you are horrified and appalled, I understand. After all, the first thing every skincare professional, columnist and busybody (myself included) will tell you, is that sun protection is not just necessary for your health: it is, unquestionably, the best and most effective way to prevent sun damage and subsequent aging. So what gives?
Whenever I start a conversation about “toxins” lurking in skincare, I never fail to mention that the biggest threats to our health and the health and quality of our skin are found not inside a jar of cream, but in the very air we breathe. All of us, but especially the city dwellers, are constantly bombarded by a daily assault of environmental toxins, electromagnetic radiation, UV rays, smog and, not insignificantly, negative emotions. It’s no wonder then that products promising to protect our skin from these airborne, environmental aggressors are among the fastest growing categories in skincare. The problem? More often than not, these products either repackage the same ingredients they have always used (occasionally good ones) as “anti-pollution” and jack up the price of the products or contain a number of filler, schlock ingredients so iffy that they could well counteract whatever benefits there may be derived from the anti-pollution actives. The Solution? Enter the new Atmosphériques Anti-Pollution Skincare range from de Mamiel.
The green beauty community has a new dirty word. The word? “Anti-aging”. In the last few months, some of my most beloved bloggers and creators, from Josh Rosebrook, to Sarita Coren, to Kristen Arnett have lambasted its use as an emotionally manipulative marketing tool. The feeling is that the word is designed to make women feel bad about themselves, all in service of selling more products – most of which don’t even deliver on those anti-aging promises. This claim is, of course, completely valid. We live in a youth-obsessed culture and despite the occasional use of badass ladies of a certain age in ad campaigns, the practice is still to photoshop dewy 20-somethings to sell creams to women 40-something and older and help them look less withered, barren and hag-like. It’s ageist and damaging and, most importantly, it’s crap. Age doesn’t make a woman any less sexy, vibrant, gorgeous or fun – just look at Helen Mirren, for goodness sakes! So I am completely onboard with reevaluating the term “anti-aging”. Here is the thing though: women are constantly bombarded with messages about what they should or should not be doing with their bodies and their lives. I don’t want to be the one to tell them that they must enjoy aging.
2016 is going to be a huge year for green beauty. While Gwyneth Paltrow collaborates with Juice Beauty on makeup and skincare, iconic department stores are stocking May Lindstrom, and the major green beauty brands continue to innovate and release exciting new products. And the best part is that this is only the first wave of what I trust will be the great tsunami of green beauty. Yet, as with any emerging industry, it is inevitable that green beauty will go through some growing pains. Call me crazy, but one of the biggest problems I see green beauty as having is language. Then again, maybe I’m not so crazy after all because we all know language can be powerful and charged. Some studies have even suggested that the language we use can shape our very reality itself.
Hello, my darlings! I have really abandoned this little blog, haven’t I? My only defense is that this pregnancy has well and truly kicked my butt. I’ll share more with you later, but the last 8-something months have been… Interesting. And yes: I am still working on that hydrating serum post – I think at least part of the reason for my writer’s block is the fact that it’s such a beast. Thankfully, something happened that actually inspired me to pick up the metaphorical pen: I got my hands on two of the most revolutionary, remarkable and, yes, perfect products I have had the pleasure to experience. I am talking about the just-released Vital Balm Cream and Advanced Hydration Mask from Josh Rosebrook. And here’s the best part: not only are these two products magical (no, really), they also perfectly fit the theme of hydration – consider them a precursor to the Big Wet Post. Oh and keep an eye out for my upcoming pregnancy skincare post – some time around October!
We are off to the UK on Saturday and I am oh-so-excited! I can’t wait to spend my days curled up in front of the roaring fire, eating my weight in mince pies and taking occasional breaks for forays into London – always sparkling and gorgeous around the holidays. Really, England is my perfect Christmas wonderland. Of course, before we actually get there, there is the flight. With each passing year, air travel becomes more and more of a soul-sucking nightmare. What’s worse, even if you’re fortunate enough to only fly first class, it’s still a nightmare for the skin. In fact, between the dry, stale, recirculated air, the increased radiation, the dehydration (how many of us drink enough water on the plane; to say nothing of the drying effects of alcohol) and the jet lag, flying is one of the worst thing you can do to your skin. There isn’t much to be done about the general awfulness of air travel, but thankfully, your skin doesn’t have to suffer. All it takes is a little planning, some clever skincare and this Guide.
If you follow a lot of green beauty bloggers, you know that many of them have posted their holiday gift guides. After all, most people like to finish their gift shopping early – the presents purchased, wrapped lovingly and placed under the tree with care soon after the Thanksgiving turkey has been made into the first of many sandwiches. This guide is not for them. No, this is for all of you rushing around like coked out squirrels at 5 pm on December 23rd and sending desperate “do you think Jennifer would like a scarf” texts to your exasperated family members. This is for you, the brave souls who spend more on shipping than they do on gifts, because everything has to be delivered overnight. This is for the procrastinators, the overspenders, the bad children and the the flighty aunts. You are my people. I feel your pain and I am here to help. I will mostly keep to a single product per category so you have some money left for those shipping fees. As for those of you smug overachievers, you might just find some stocking stuffer ideas on this list.
I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear me say that I am fascinated by luxury. This fascination is not, however, limited to an affection for its material aspects. In fact, I am much more curious about the history of luxury, it’s changing definition in the global marketplace and its cultural, economic, pop cultural, social and even political significance. Plenty of ink has been spilled on the subject (if you are interested, I highly recommend Dana Thomas’ in depth exploration of the subject, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster). The title of the book highlights one of the biggest issues with luxury: globalization and conglomeratization of the luxury industry has lowered the quality and standards, raised prices to unsustainable levels and has even created human rights abuses typically associated with fast fashion.
Oy, that title! Sorry, loves. My love of a pun will get me in trouble one of these days. Aaaanyway. Where were we? Oh yes. Hair. Sometimes it can seem as though the bulk of most women’s lives is spent worrying about hair. Above the neck, we want it to be lush, shiny, abundant and/or on fleek. Below, we want it… Well, gone. And yes, of course the societal pressure on women to look like perfectly plasticky, hairless mannequins is a product of the patriarchy and internalized misogyny and I would never suggest to another woman that she needs to get rid of her fuzz. In fact, I really dig the new trend of women growing out and dyeing their armpit hair. Still, most of us continue to shave, wax, laser and pluck with abandon and I figured it might be helpful to do a roundup of the various options available, especially since summer is the season of short shorts, bikinis and sleeveless tops. I do tend to ramble on, so I will give a pro-con summary of each option, should you be inclined to skim.