There’s this little breakfast and lunch spot in Manhattan Beach, California called Bill’s Pancake House. It’s a great spot that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and on weekend mornings, it tends to be insanely busy. Insanely because I’ve never noticed anything Earth shattering about their pancakes or any other item on the menu, yet the sidewalk is always lined with people on Saturday and Sunday morning. Maybe it’s that thing about a crowd attracting a crowd.
I happened to be among those sidewalk people one morning when I spotted this very cool-looking woman walk by with great individual style. Tip hunter and glamour stalker that I am, I did a little two-step up to her and we had an impromptu sidewalk interview about her personal style. Fashion tips followed.
The vitals: A smart laidback look like this is no accident…items are high quality, in great condition and strategically mussed, cut or sheared. Example: the off-shoulder sweatshirt has colors that work well with her skin tone, and reveal a polka dot bra that’s in pristine condition and looks almost like a tank – a frilly or well-worn bra would have looked cheap.
The tattoos are artistic, and are inked in colors that compliment her skin, which, since she’s showing glimpses of, is in beautiful condition. She told me that her top natural skin tip is the regular use of shea butter to keep her skin in good condition and gleaming.
Because she’s sporting achic buzz-buzz cut, she can get away with super big hoops, or other dramatic accessorizing, during the daytime. Always think of your personal style in terms of proportions. Notice how Halle Berry can wear super sexy red-carpet ensembles regularly – yet never look anything close to tarty? Her fabulous lithe figure, poise and body confidence have a lot to do with it, and so does her super-short hair, which projects a chic, smart pretty versus the sensual vibe that super-long and flowing locks heap onto a look.
Confidence and happiness. These are two things that she projects, and are what caught my eye. I’ve said it many a time – glamour has zero to do with the price of your clothes and everything to do with your nonverbal communication and the spirit you exude while moving about in the world. A closetful of couture, and a face and figure that have been meticulously arranged fall flat when they’re not accompanied by ease and self assuredness – they are the soul of glamour.
Weleda is a natural beauty and grooming brand that is rock-ribbed in terms of its quality and purity. I’ve used their products randomly over the years when I spot something interesting at the health food store and I’m always pleased. Their Wild Rose Skin Care line, though is a bell ringer for me. The products smell like a divine flower field and are addictive. I first came across it at a Walgreen’s and ever since I snap it up whenever my stock runs low.
The genius of the Smoothing Night Cream is that it is instantly absorbent and potent–without a shadow of feeling greasy or overly creamed. The base is made up of peach kernel, sweet almond and olive fruit oils along with evening primerose oil and myrrh. All of these are of-the-earth luxurious lubricants, and they feel it.
The Smoothing Eye Cream has organic rosehip seed oil, eyebright extract and jojoba oil. I’m not a big user of eye cream in general, but this one has a potent and clean feel–and does a nice job on puffiness, which is nice after a night of writing. Or whatever else you may be up to nocturnally.
There is also a Smoothing Day Cream and Smoothing Day Lotion. Use the lotion for normal to oily skin and the richer cream for normal to dry skin. Ah, the scent of these. They are elating. If you’re someone who is lax with the moisturizer the aroma alone will change your ways. Use on your neck, chest and decolletage as well.
Each of these products cost anywhere from $20-$30 for a 1.0 ounce tube and are worth it. They seem to last forever.
I learned about this great (natural!) eye de-puffer from skin expert and author Melanie Vasseur:
Steep 2-3 chamomile tea bags in a half cup of hot water.
Place the tea bags in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes.
Apply the tea bags to the eye area and lie down.
The cool temperature and the herbs will reduce swelling. Also, Melanie reminds us that intaking too much sodium and alcohol will add to puffiness under the eyes. So no drinking or huge orders of salty french fries the night before an important event. (No matter how much you’re freaking out!)
Quick tip: Store your eye products (creams, etc) in the refrigerator if puffiness is an ongoing issue. When applied, the cool temperature of the products will restrict the blood vessels and reduce puffiness.
Melanie Vasseur has a skin care line called Vasseur Skincare, focused on natural and fresh ingredients, as well as a spa with a special focus area on treating acne, in the Banker’s Hill section of San Diego.
Amongst the many things that Sophie Uliano does–author/speaker, environmental expert, chef, yoga instructor–is teach others how to make simple, pure and oh-so-practical beauty products. I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly at her event last night at the chic beauty boutique Evolue in Los Angeles, where she showed everyone how to make her Vitamin C serum.
So simple, so effective and resourceful was this particular recipe that I had to pass it along. If you’ve purchased Vitamin C serums in the past–you will be pleased to know that this version, packed with potency, comes to 9¢ (yes, nine cents) per bottle.
Dissolve the L-ascorbic acid in the water in a small measuring cup. When it has fully dissolved, mix in the glycerin. Pour into a glass bottle.
A few pointers:
Ms. Uliano pointed out that there is good vegetable glycerin and the less so. Get yours at a quality health food store and don’t scrimp. The bottle she had on hand cost approximately $9, and should last a year.
L-ascorbic acid, aka Vitamin C, can be readily found at health food stores. For the demonstration Sophie, used a 16 oz container of Vitamin C crystals (approximately $16).
Make small batches at a time, enough to last a month, which is the shelf life of the serum.
Use a small and clean amber bottle with a dropper to store your batch of Vitamin C serum in the refrigerator. (I like to keep refrigerated beauty products separated from food products.)
Apply with clean hands to bare, cleansed skin in the morning and evening.
Ms. Uliano notes that if the serum becomes discolored and yellowish, get rid of it as this means that it has become oxidized.
Ms. Uliano’s new book, where this and other glamorous and pure beauty recipes can be found and concocted to replace the chemical-laden and costly ones that we often reach for out of habit, is Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive and More Beautiful Products.
She has also authored the books Gorgeously Green, 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life and The Gorgeously Green Diet.