What I’m Using: December 2018

It’s December! It’s party season! Aren’t you so excited?! All the dressing up, all the food, all the calendared events, all the traveling, all the extraverting, all the schedule maneuvering, all the multiple-party-consulting … oh wait. Maybe you want to hide under a blanket for a month. With a bag over your head. While wearing earplugs. In a cave.

Well, no matter what kind of mood you’re in this season, you must be sure to indulge in our generation’s latest coping mechanism for existential dread some “self care” to ensure that your makeup is properly on fleek and your skin is properly slaying and your hair is properly on point. NO PROBLEM.

But seriously have fun. Getting ready for parties is fun. Here’s what I’m using this month to help.

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The new skincare staple: Honest Beauty Organic Facial Oil

New fave ritual- Wash face, spray on toner, maybe add essence, and finish with this face oil (particularly if I’m prepping for makeup). It’s THEE BEST if you’re in a colder and/or drier climate. There’s something very assuring about patting an oil on to your face that you know won’t just be cheaply absorbed in four seconds flat. Also, this one is yummy because it’s actually USDA-certified organic and not just like “Oh I’m natural and kinda green I swear!” like so many products out there. Hydrating, luxurious, and completely clean- oooohh.

The thing that made an actual difference: Ouai Memory Mist

I frequently wash my hair in the evening. I’ll let it air-dry while watching the billionth episode of Forensic Files late at night but unless I want it to look like the rabid child of Jane and Tarzan the next morning, I have to be sure to put some waves in it that evening with a curling iron. However, I used to run into the problem of putting those waves in my hair at night only to have them go wonky and flat after a night’s sleep (which, is an obvious and very first-world problem). Enter Ouai Memory Mist, which not only claims to protect hair against extreme heat but also to maintain its texture and shape from whence you styled it (‘whence’ … very likely I’m misusing the term).

Well, I’ve used the Memory Mist about six times now and it actually works. I spray it on my hair in sections and then find that my hair really does look relatively the same the next morning. Not an easy thing to pull of, especially after a night’s sleep. In the past there has always been need for touch-ups the morning after waving my hair, but maybe four out of the six times I’ve used this stuff, I’ve just shaken my hair a bit and walked out the door. Wild.

The use-for-every-color liner: Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Liner in Toast

In November and December, I have a stereotypical tendency to do more lip-forward looks with a wine- or red-hued lip. However, I’ve never liked using red liner with red lipstick because few things drive me crazier than that lipstick fading and leaving behind a weird red outline. Makes me feel clowny and like I’m some Edward Scissorhands extra. This lip liner is not only cheap, but it’s also a peachy nude that will do the job of keeping lipstick from running without leaving behind a weird lip line should that lipstick fade. It would probably work for a majority of lip shades. Also, it’s a great color to use all over the lips should you fancy that. I actually think I bought it because I saw it used on Gigi Hadid and I thought it looked good. I know. I’m a sell-out.

The canvas: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Èclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation SPF 22

I’ve run out of my BareMinerals Complexion Rescue, and that stuff was the real business. So, in the meantime, I’ve got this to go through. I like it– I’m not loving it –but it’s making me more creative in experimenting with different methods of foundation application. So for instance, I’ll use a much thinner layer and apply with a beauty blender, or I’ll mix in a bit of liquid highlighter (NARSxCharlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint) for a luminous finish. I think they changed the formula so it’s not quite the perfect foundation it used to be, but I’m still an overall satisfied customer. And it smells nice!

Bonus! The recipe: kale chicken pesto pizza

Spread Trader Joe’s Pesto all Genovese all over Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Dump Trader Joe’s mozzarella cheese all over that. Cover in fresh chopped curly kale with a little olive oil (do NOT use the bagged Trader Joe’s pre-chopped kale- they can’t do everything right and it smells like the Plague). Add cooked chicken (maybe precooked in Italian herbs and balsamic hmmm?). Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes … maybe a lot if you’ve got firemouth like me. Stick in oven at 375-F for 15-ish minutes. Take out. Shove in your face. Get self-righteous about eating kale.

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Six(ish) Foods To Consume For Better Hair And Skin

Sometimes, when I’m wandering through the grocery store, I find myself thinking, ‘How ’bout I buy some expensive dark craft chocolate because apparently its chock-full of antioxidants’, or ‘Why not eat the whole tub of hummus because chickpeas are kind of like nuts and so hair growth of course’.  And then there are the times when I get to the supplement aisle and I end up throwing yet another bottle of biotin into my grocery cart because I decide I want my hair to grow by a foot.  By tomorrow.

You see, sometimes we aren’t always the most educated on what food can do for us in terms of what we call “beauty”.  If what we (righteously) consume is meant to strengthen and energize us on the inside, you’ve gotta figure there may be some benefits coming through on the outside, too.  However, we tend to rely more on drugstore moisturizers and four dollar shampoos loaded with detergent to provide us with lustrous hair and skin than the simple thing that our bodies really, truly need … good food!

And so, I bring to you a very simple, short list of food and beverage items that you can add to your weekly grocery list that will do your hair and skin nothing but favors (not to mention what these items all do for your immune system, nervous system, circulatory system, and beyond).

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Fennel or dandelion tea  These two herbal teas are particularly wonderful at decreasing bloat and inflammation. Do you find that your eyes are puffier than your croissant in the morning?  Try to cut out late-night salt intake (the culprit) and substitute it with a calming cup of herbal tea before bed.  Chilled caffeinated tea bags are also wonderful at quickly reducing puffiness by constricting the blood vessels around the eyes, if you find that you’ve eaten one too many Cheetos before hitting the sack.

Wild salmon  Three words: omega fatty acids.  Not only do such nutrients sustain proper nerve function and provide great defense against heart disease, but omega fatties are responsible for radiant skin and decreasing inflammation.  Salmon is a goldmine for omega fatties, and a simple way to up your everyday intake is to switch from cooking with butter to olive oil.

Berries  I literally eat berries every single day.  A coworker recently told me I probably keep the industry afloat single-handedly.  Besides being a great source of fiber, berries are loaded with vitamin C.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for collagen production, which stimulates the growth of healthy, vibrant hair (as opposed to dull hair the breaks easily).  Vitamin C also assists the antiaging process through its ability to reduce free radical damage in the skin.  Any kind of citrus is also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Spinach and kale  As trendy as it is these days to be walking around with a cup full of blended spinach and kale leaves from Whole Foods, I have to say that the regular addition of such an item into one’s regular diet isn’t something to be discouraged.  Both leafy greens are powerhouses of vitamin K, an incredibly effective nutrient for combating dark undereye circles.  Vitamin K is responsible for strengthening blood vessel walls and is essential for healthy blood circulation.  It comes in both pill and cream form, but the extra dietary benefits of consuming it through leafy greens can’t be beat.

Lean meats and poultry  These are a quick and powerful source of iron, the mineral responsible for carrying oxygen into your bloodstream and throughout your entire body to places like your hair follicles to help stimulate healthy growth.  Vitamin C and zinc are two nutrients that aid in the body’s absorption of iron, so I recommend balancing your intake of each.  Additionally, lean meats and poultry provide amino acid-packed protein for hair and skin, which serves to replace and turnover dead cells.

Water  Oh, you think I’m an idiot for putting this here?  Well you’d be surprised to find that I am the champ that has managed to consume about one cup of water a day.  One cup.  Yeah, you know those eight cups that we’re supposed to guzzle down in twenty four hours?  I haven’t exactly been good at it.  So, I figured placing the beauty benefits here may motivate me to increase my intake.

Water makes the skin glisten and stay supple thanks to its moisturizing properties.  Water, whether in showers or in consumption, can calm nerves, reduce stress and anxiety, and tighten pores as a cold compress or rinse.  Going from hot water to a cold rinse is great for opening pores to release and then cleanse the skin of toxins and grime from the day.  As for the hair, cold water is incredible for constricting the hair cuticle and leaving it shiny and less frizzy.  Water also makes for a great styling product as you can “set” your hair while it’s wet and then reform the hydrogen bond in the hair to change its shape (hence waking up with kinky waves when you go to bed with your hair in wet braids).  Hair growth is also very connected to our hydration, and hair may even cease to grow if we’re not properly hydrated.  The moisture that water provides also helps to combat dandruff, dermatitis, and other dry skin conditions.

And so, just in time for summer and all those barbecues, let us not forget to grill the salmon, throw some spinach on our burgers, snack on in-season berries, and drink tons and tons and tons of water.  Cheers!  xo, MR