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.
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?
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.
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.
If you follow this blog/my Instagram, it will be no secret to you that I am a huge fan of In Fiore. I am fascinated by the brand’s ethos of self-love and luxury and by the alchemic command over nature’s gifts exhibited by its brilliant founder and creator Julie Elliott. I am also an unrepentant Japanophile. Imagine then my glee, when I learned that Julie and In Fiore (which is a huge success in Japan) have partnered with a major Japanese cosmetic conglomerate to create a new line of products incorporating uber-sophisticated scientific know-how and Julie’s unwavering standards and unparalleled plant wisdom. Although the line will initially be exclusive to the Asian market, it will eventually make its way to the US. Now here is the exciting part: I have long dreamed of picking Julie’s brain and I got that opportunity during a recent interview.
I recently came to a realization that I have a minor obsession with the California Hippie. I don’t think that this is an “official” name, but you all know the type: mystical herbalists Scott and Nitsa of Sun Potion, lifestyle guru and skincare brand founder Shiva Rose of the Local Rose, the groovy parents and chocolatiers Zen and Bunni of Zenbunni and, of course, the founder of Moon Juice Amanda Chantal Bacon – a woman who created a successful wellness brand and ended up the subject of an Internet bullying campaign. All of these folks are about as far from the “unwashed hippie” archetype as you can get. They are groovy and elegant, mystical and practical, spiritual and educated and they embrace high vibes and quality control with equal passion. Living Libations is the most quintessentially California Hippie brand I have ever come across (they even have a freestanding store in Venice – the epicenter of CH cool). The twist? They are Canadian.
The green beauty community has a new bad 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.