Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year, Same Old You!

I guess that’s kind of a crabby title, but I’ve got to tell you: I fucking HATE January. I hate that Christmas is over, and I don’t get to drink Bailey’s for breakfast. I hate the darkness and that there’s nothing to look forward to for the rest of the month but bills. I hate that every time I turn around, there’s a new diet/exercise/makeover program that’s going to “change our lives forever” even though we know that’s usually a load of old cobblers.
So, as you can imagine, I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions! But the one thing I do know is that if you’re going to make any, they damn well had better be easy and fun. So here’s one amazing thing you can do for yourself and your looks this year that takes almost no time at all and feels so good:


As a girl who’s had a nightly face-washing routine since the age of twelve, even telling you this seems silly. But I’ve talked with women of all ages and discovered that many of us have a less-than-diligent approach to taking off our makeup and giving our skins a good scrubbing before bed. And to that I say: EW! You don’t want to end up like this, do you?

(The Girl Who Didn't Wash her Face starts at 0:45, and I am an embedding idiot.)

 This year, resolve to wash your face every single night. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you’re tired/drunk. Even if you didn’t wear any makeup that day. Because there is NOTHING you can do for your face that will pay off more than cleaning it. If you retire with makeup and/or dirt on your skin, you’re just rubbing it in for all those hours on your pillow. Then you get your pillowslip all grimy to rub your face on the next night. Again, say it with me, now: EW!
Also, if you’re not cleansing before bedtime, changes are you’re not applying any moisturizers or serums or lovely little creams either, and that’s a crying shame. Nighttime is when these products can do their best work, ensuring that you wake up looking fresh and well-rested. This is best time for anti-agers, for exfoliants, for acne treatments….whatever special care your skin needs.
Make nightly face-washing a non-negotiable part of your routine, like brushing and flossing your teeth. Also, did I mention that it’s fun? You get to pick whatever kind of cleanser you want: creamy, or foamy, or watery, or even just one of those wipey things. Trust me, once you’re started, it will seem beyond gross NOT to do it.

Of course I have to get all over-the-top and use that most revered of beauty appliances, the Clarisonic. It’s like a sonic toothbrush for your FACE. I’ve had mine for nearly a year now, and I love it. My skin has never looked better. I used to get little bumps and things, but those have almost entirely vanished since I converted to the Clarisonic Cult.

But you don’t have to use a crazy-lady $200 machine to wash your face—lower-maintenance options abound. And I’d advise you not to spend the earth on your face wash. It’s all going down the drain anyway, so fancy ingredients aren’t that important. You want something that cleans gently—some folks treat their faces like they’re refinishing an old dresser. Less is more here!

This is my current favourite cleanser. It’s very gentle, removes makeup well (although I still use a separate eye makeup remover for the heavy duty stuff), and leaves me feeling moisturized, but not goopy. (And it plays very nicely with the Clarisonic…)

If you’ve got oiler skin and/or wear lots of makeup, this is a good option
 And if you’re really lazy, or frequently stagger home at dawn and collapse into bed, then the ultimate cheater-method are these cleansing wipes. You can splash with water afterwards, or just keep a packet of them on your nightstand. They’re handy for the gym or travel too.

And there you have it. You’re a better, cleaner person already! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

One of my goals this year is to be more regular with the blogging. I’ve grouped all my resolutions under the umbrella of “do more things that make you happy”, and since this is one of them, it shouldn’t be too difficult.
A lot of folks post “best of the year” lists, and I guess that’s sort of what this is, but I didn’t think on it too deeply, or rummage around in my makeup drawers to pick out favourites. Let’s just call it:

Stuff I Loved in 2011

Favourite celebrity makeup: Rachel McAdams at Cannes
I like edgy glamour as much as the next gal, but when it comes to unabashed pretty-in-pink gorgeousness, no one did it better than Ms. McAdams. This is a delightful, girlish look that I just adore.

Favourite makeup artist blog: Lisa Eldridge
Her video tutorials cover everything from the absolute basics to the fanciest high-fashion looks, in a grown-up and professional presentation. She’s just so approachable and warm—not to mention blessed with a beautiful face and a voice to match!

Favourite inspiring fashion blog for “normal” people: Wendy’s Lookbook
There are a shitload of websites by and for “fashion people.” But most of us aren’t that magic combination of rich/tall/skinny/connected/willing to dress like a rodeo clown. I love the coolness that’s on display, but there are many women who just want to look more stylish and pulled-together in an elegant way.
Wendy is the gal who provides that inspiration. Yes, she is most definitely investing some serious cash on her look, but she buys timeless, quality pieces. And there’s nothing you couldn’t copy for less. And she’s always finding great new ways to present information on the basics of fashion: her super-cute and useful 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes video made the facebook rounds a while back, and there’s plenty more where that came from.

Favourite fashion blog when one fears growing older: Advanced Style
Women of a “certain age” looking chic and fabulous. Proof positive that great personal style knows no age—in fact, these senior citizens pull off some wildly adventurous fashion risks that younger folks can only envy.

Favourite fashion film: Bill Cunningham New York
Speaking of older folks, this wonderful film (which I posted about earlier this year) is the story of that most elusive and reclusive of street style photographers, Bill Cunningham. It’s a fashion feast, for sure, but it’s also a film that explores aging, work, and integrity. I get misty just thinking about it—it’s a must-see!

Favourite fashion book of the year: Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster by Dana Thomas
This isn’t a glossy coffee-table fashion book, but it is one of the best-researched and well-written books on the fashion industry I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It moves along at a thriller’s pace, and is packed with information on the luxury-goods world with an eye to history, culture, globalization, and consumerism. Whether you think a Louis Vuitton handbag is an object of desire or a symbol of corporate evil, you’re in for a compulsively good read.

Favourite rallying cry to take pride in one’s appearance in 2012: The “No Excuses” post over at The Bitches of Fashion
Just read it! You don’t have to wear a ball gown to the laundromat, but taking the time to dress well reaps benefits you can’t even imagine. It’s got nothing to do with your dress size/income/job/personal values and beliefs—every single one of us can take pride in who we are, and take pleasure in expressing that identity through our clothing and grooming.

So here’s to you looking fantastic in 2012!