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Claritas

5 Dec
C. Jeré sunburst

C. Jere sunburst sculpture (mid 20th century)

Beauty (capitalized here to indicate a BIG IDEA) often gets described with words related to luminescence and light.

Think about it! You light up a roomradiate inner beauty, and shine at everything you do. You’ve got a luminous presence, beaming smile, eyes that sparkle and skin that glows… damn! It musta hurt when you fell from heaven cause you’re a star!

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (America), 1994–95

Inside, we beam and shine as bright as a disco ball. As winter steps in and  dulls our skin and flattens our hair, however, we could all use a little help conducting our inner radiance outwards.

Use Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask to get your outside as (figuratively) shiny as your inside. Consider purchasing a gastight Hazmat suit as well because your radiating radiance will be dangerously high. It’s that good.  And yes, unfortunately, it’s that expensive.

Fresh Black Tea

Get the “pregnant glow” without the long-term financial responsibilities!

This is one of those “just suck it up and buy it” products. Although Fresh recommends using it 2-3 times a week to get ideal results, most of us don’t hang out at the 1% club. Get the 50 ml and break it out for those special occasions. You’ll be so happy you did.

yi-peng-festival

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SUGGESTED READING:

Check out Umberto Eco’s History of Beauty (2010 edition) chapter on Medieval ideals of Beauty = Light as well as this fabulous scholarly article by Sarah-Grace Heller, “Light as Glamour: The Luminescent Ideal of Beauty in the Roman de la Rose” (2001).

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Video

Marinating in the Shower

26 Jul

What’s one of the oldest beauty rituals in the world? Baths!

What’s a surefire way to feel like royalty? Baths!

What’s one of the most common household feature that often gets excluded from urban apartments? Bathtubs…

Hmm. We’ve got a quandary.

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Unless you’re Marat, or Colin from The Secret Garden (remember that horrible ice bath scene in the movie?) or the victims of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, you surely like the concept of taking a bath. You can add rose petals and candles! Or you can write scathing reviews à la Waldo Lydecker in Laura.

Who can I make cry today?

There are a number of beautifying baths one can take. Cleopatra, Elizabeth I and Sisi preferred milk baths; the Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed mentioned earlier famously murdered virgins to bathe in their youthful blood. As we can see, bath time can either be spa time, murder time, or playtime: John F. Kennedy apparently had toys in his bath even as president!

Problem is, most of us broke fi broke plebes in New York and other urban areas don’t have the luxury of having a bathtub in our sardine apartments. But there are products that can recreate the experience of bathing even while showering (which is far more environmentally friendly anyways).

Here are some products to use in the shower to get you dreamin’ about the future when you’re rich and have a mansion with 18 bathtubs:

To soften your skin, use Archipelago milk products and luxuriate as Cleo, Liz and Sisi did. They smell deliciously clean. Both men and women will enjoy using these milky treats to condition their skin, hair and body. An ex beau used the Shaving Cream before razoring his face; women can use the Leg Lather to keep their stems slick and razor burn free. To keep the scent close at hand, carry the Soy Milk Travel-Size Hand Creme in your bag. You’ll be sniffing your mitts all day.

Ever since your bout with chicken pox twenty-something years ago, you may not have sprinkled that Quaker cereal grain into your tub water. But ya should. Those prone to itchy skin must know about this remedy. St. Ives’ oatmeal bath products are well known, but you can also create an oatmeal bath in your shower by making an oatmeal shower bag. Or just buy one from this Etsy store.

Marinate in salt water if you got sore muscles. We all know this: NFL Players, Olympians and average schmoes use Epsom salt. Besides soothing your biceps, salt is also a known beauty ingredient (Dead Sea, for example). For you active rabbits, Kiss My Face Quads: Active Athlete body wash is packed with muscle relaxin’ ingredients: birch and eucalyptus.

So, we’ve got the bath in a shower stuff down pretty well. Here’s hoping Archipelago will come out with a blood line soon (NOT)!

As always, holler about your favorite shower stuff.

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Waldo Lydecker photo source

P.S: This is a delightfully funny read on the Blood Bath Queen

Solstice

21 Jun

Today is the Summer Solstice! Grab your flower crowns and go Bacchae wild this Friday.

Here are some earthy inspired beauty stuff to try:

Fishtail Braid video – (El Cee really did teach me how to do the ‘do!)

Connect with your inner flower child by using the too adorable Swedish Dream Sunflower facial soap. It’s very good for thirsty skin!

Let your eyelids be as green as the grass you prance on with Bobbi Brown’s Sage, Balsam and Forest Metallic Eye Shadow palette. All three are stunning greens. For a cheaper alternative, L’Oreal’s Wear Infinite Studio Secrets in Spring Leaf packs a pigment punch. Use Eco Tools Bamboo set to apply —  the fibers hold product very well. If you’d rather coat your lashes instead of your lids, try YSL’s Mascara in Jade Black. It’s dark enough like a normal black glob but when the sunlight hits  just right the green comes out. Magical.

Now enough interneting! Go out and play!

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Midsummer’s Night Dream engraving photo source

Robert Altman photograph of hippies dancing source

Jeez!

20 Jun

Christ on a cracker! I’ve just noticed some grammar and language issues in some of the earlier posts! I could blame it on wordpress for not saving correctly, but that wouldn’t be very fair. My beezy you beaus and belles. I will edit.

In the meantime, edit your errors with Desert Essence Facial Scrub Gentle Stimulating. It’ll give you a thorough cleanse of this horrid pollen New York has bestowed upon us. This is a very nice scrub for those with sensitive skin.

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Las Vegas desert land in 1950s photo source (Life Magazine)

Video

POSH : Port Out Starboard Home

28 May

It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey in New York. While the weather’s having another tizzy fit, spark up a Malin + Goetze cannabis candle and peruse these beachy-keen things to get your mind off the rain.

what’s your summer song?

Smack, smooch, eat a popsicle and swallow uh… sea water with Becca Beach Tint for Lips and Cheeks. You know what? It’s that good it’s getting a photo for all you visual learners: Image The name says it all– this stuff is designed for the beach! It’s waterproof, blendable, buildable, and gives you a beautiful even color. No worries about swallowing stuck on hair strands either — Becca’s not goopy or sticky. It just seeps into your lips in a very, very low-key and pretty way. Add more layers for pizzazz and you’re good to go. I’m partial to berry shades but pick ya fave.

Since this post is beach themed, and although the sun is sleeping this May, sunscreen is the happiest and sexiest scent on earth. Just as happy and sexy as this tumblr: surfer-boys.

Go get yourself a boozy ice pop and let’s take a moment on that site before continuing

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Okay then, so slap on the euphoria even through this rainy season. It’ll lift your spirits. Promise. Current cheap fave is generic Duane Reade SPF 50 which smells exactly like sunscreen should and is easy to buy for you broke fi broke out there. Remember your ears, neck, and hands when schmearing. And since you’re being sooo good and spraying on the sun, further fox that faux tan with Physicians’ Formula Powder Palette Mineral Glow Pearls. If you have been chrysalis-izing till now, however, MAC Bronzing Powder will get you colorful. It’s matte, without shimmer and flash, so it really gives you a believable sun-kissed look.

I’m readdyyy! Sunshine here we come!

Spritz your mane with Miracle It’s A 10 Leave In to hydrate those salt-chlorine-sun scorched hairs. Those with finer hair should use their paws to distribute the product and not spritz their head directly because it is super conditioning and too much will make finer-haired folks look greasy. Curly and voluptuously maned pals like the dude below can splash directly.

definitely can handle the 10

 

Yes, yes, Princess Carolyn Bessette Kennedy famously wore this.

Unless you like being a mosquito’s milkshake, skip perfume in the summer. Having said that, Kareem Abdul’s Egyptian Musk is the ideal and perfect hint-o’-scent for the summer/year round/life. It too will get a photo cause it’s just that awesome.

Alright, alright, hear me out: This ain’t your grandma’s musk. It won’t retrieve repressed memories of being force-fed jelly candy and being told to sit straight. You’ll not pass out from this NOT overpowering scent. The Amazon description hits the nail on the mark (clickedy clack on the oil’s link above to read it). You will not smell like you’re wearing perfume. It’s subtle and just illuminates you in a stunning, truly personal way. It’s hard to describe! Guys and girls who hate “perfume” will love this.

Alright, as always, lemme know what you do to get ready for summer. For my New York friends, keep your spirit throughout this rain.


P.S.:

Like the monkey balls comment, the title refers to another nautical term. Those seamen are the best wordsmiths! 

Slick

22 May

Grease ‘er up.

Oil wrestling is the national sport of Turkey. If this photo gets you all hot and bothered, click here.

Seems like ever since argan oil (“Moroccan” oil) was successfully marketed as a “miracle” beauty treatment, more focus has been given to plant-based oils as natural and beneficial beauty ingredients.

Oils have been used for dietary, medicinal and cosmetic purposes throughout human history*. There is a whole alphabet of oils out there that you can use to slather and gloss with. Here are two ways to slick up and get down.

GLOP REMOVER AND SKIN CONDITIONER:

Ever wake up looking like Meeko in someone else’s den with nary a facial wipe in sight? Never fear! Most people have olive oil (usually in the kitchen) and toilet paper. Presto! ‘Coon eyes wiped away and you look dewy and lovely.

Some eye makeup removers (especially those in liquid form) can be very harsh on your delicate peeper tissue and cause irritations. Instead, use (you guessed it) oil on a cotton pad to clear the junk off and condition your skin. You already know Rose Oil‘s dexterity as a beauty base and especially as a makeup remover. I use it to wipe the drag queen load of globbity glob off my eyelashes.  Lighter oils like Virgin Olive, Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Grape seed, Vitamin E and Chamomile are great for your eyes and don’t leave as much grease behind. Use heavier oils like Coconut as a body moisturizer. All these oils are cheap if you buy them “as is” (versus packaged as beauty products) at your drugstore, health store or supermarket.

Dorian Corey

Click on the link right below this photo for the full scoop on Dor Cor’s mummy!

 What do Dorian Corey and the Ancient Egyptians have in common? A penchant for eyeliner and mummies. She had one in her tomb closet!! 

Of course, if you’d prefer to buy than create, The Balm Eye Make Up Break-Up is the best manufactured eye makeup remover. It comes in a tin and has a lighter consistency than Vaseline and is easier to spread. Most importantly, it will not throw a tantrum and spill everywhere which is a danger when travelling with oil.

HAIR SKRUNCHEROO POTION: Coconut Oil, Salt, Lemon and Water

Get a plastic spritzer and mix coconut oil, salt, lemon and water. It’s up to you to decide the proportions but remember that with coconut a little goes a long way. Add the oil first as a base and pile on the rest of the ingredients. Shake well and spritz sparingly and scrunch.

beach on your head! Yumiko Utsu’s “Octopus Portrait” (2009)

The hair potion is  a very cheap way to get beach hair (the lemon and salt lightens your strands as well) but you can always use Sally Hershberger’s Wave Spray, Wavy Hair instead which, incidentally, smells like coconut.

So how about you? Do you use oils? Do you have any other tricks for me to learn? Do you prefer to make your own beauty concoctions or trust and prefer store-bought? Tell me tell me tell me!


* Note: Ancient Greeks and Romans adored their olive oil salves while folks in Ancient Egypt preferred ben and balanos oils as bases for their aromas. The O’odham introduced jojoba to settlers as a way to treat burns and wounds. Berber women have long produced argan oil for cooking and the growing demand of the oil as a cosmetic has assisted many to establish economic independence


 

Yumiko Utsu’s “Octopus Portrait” photo credit

Keepin It 100…

21 May

… Even when you haven’t showered. Yeah, yeah, I know I know… it’s summmerr and the subway is hot.

If you ever find yourself in such a situation, quit fretting and let those pheromones fly confidently with a bit of help from the following.

 

STICK O’ SCENT: UNDERARM PERFUME

You don’t need to keep your arms pinned to your side if you have Old Spice Deodorant: The Classic Formula  and/or (your pick) Speed Stick Regular.

Old Spice Classic Deodorant Stick, Original 3.25 oz [012044389706]

Now this is the deo version — not the antiperspirent and deodorant combo mix — thus it has that refreshing Old Spice  (or Speed Stick) scent without the cakey deodorant smell of the sports-centered varieties. Essentially, it’s a freshener for your underarms and will trick even you into thinking that you actually are a responsible grown up who practices good hygiene.

 

GREASE MOPPERS: DRY SHAMPOOS

FACT: Dry shampoo is the most brilliant invention since penicillin. It too is a life saver.

All jokes aside, dry shampoo is incredibly handy. My co-worker Lizzy and I have gone through a lot of different brands and have come up with the two best so far: Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo (loose powder that you put in your hand) and the drugstore Rolls-Royce Pssssssssssssssssssssssssssssst Dry Shampoo. When using the spritz Pssst, just remember to shake shake shake senora before using.

This whiskerando probably would have benefited from these waterless potions

The ideal dry shampoo mops, fluffs, and does not leave any dust if used with a hairbrush. It should just zest up your ‘do. With Oscar and Pssssssssst, you have no reason to have fear of your head doubling as a chalkboard.  Brush thoroughly just to make sure you get the stuff fully nuzzled on top of your skull. Otherwise you’ll end up looking like Marie Antoinette pre-Revolution.

Finally we come to

SWAMP FACE SCRUBBERS: FACIAL WIPEY THINGS

Summer gives you a serious case of “Swamp Face”: sweaty, runny, and sticky. Swamp Face + Not Showering = Miserableness. Keep facial wipes in every single bag you own.

Every person has his /her  favorite wipe and my currents are Yes to Carrots Cucumber Facial Towlettes and Neutrogena Hydrating towels. Scrubs away the sins of last night that lead you to not showering this morning in the first place.

SWAMP FACE MISTERS

My friend Allison brought it up that a great thing to keep in mind for the summer is a spritzy mist. There are a whole lot out there. From Evian to Caudalie, most can get pricey. Remember the rose spritz mentioned earlier here? That works very well and also restores the pH balance in your face. You can of course just get a plastic spritz bottle from the drugstore and fill with water, but I’d recommend adding some witch hazel to that mix to swagg it up inexpensively. Witch hazel is pretty cheap and everyone should have it in their cabinets. I like all witch hazels, but there is something about Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Rose Petals that looks so perfect not only on the face but also on the counter. It’s all about the aesthetics people.

So, what are your tricks? I really need to have a couple more in my bag!

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Edgar Degas’ “Woman Seated in an Armchair Wiping Her Left Armpit” (c. 1895)

Beard dude photo credit

Henri Matisse’s “Portrait of Madame Matisse” (1905)