enough to interview me for my fave digital beauty designation, IntoTheGloss…
I first discovered makeup when my sister, 14 years my senior, who was recently divorced with a kid, moved in with us. By us I mean my parents, grandparents, and my 12-year-old self. She seemed so cool, beautiful, independent, self-confident, and fully aware of how to put on makeup every morning to make her look glowing. I used to come home from school and scrummage through her makeup bag, full of beautifully packaged creams, lipsticks, foundations, soft brushes and colorful shadows. See, she was in beauty school at the time, and seemed to know every trick there was to flawlessly adding color to her face to reflect any occasion. So to not leave evidence, I would use other household items, toilet paper, paper towels, q tips to test out her products on my own face, hopping that I would resemble her once done. Yet, with every glance in the mirror, I seemed more and more like a rag doll. Guess I learned my lesson.
I got my first manicure before my cousins wedding, I was 14, it was a pale, delicate pink color, to which I became addicted and would revert to in future years, an homage to my “first time”. I thought, this is natural, yet prettier than my own nails. It took almost 6 years for me to try another color. Now, I wear whatever color Essie conjures up. I now get a mani once a week and pedi ever two weeks, I never match my colors, but try to have the two compliment each other. This was around the same time I discovered that women are supposed to shave their legs. See, in Russia, at least my part of Russia, women don’t shave, so no one ever told me. A kid in school made fun of my blonde peach fuzz, and as I walked home crying, I devised a plan to use my dads razor to get a look that wouldn’t conjure up jeers (I saw him shave every morning, how hard could it be). I shaved. Dry. It hurt. Not knowing any better I continued this ritual in secret and slowly became addicted to having hairless stems, shaving everyday for about 3 years until a friend in high school intro’d me to waxing.
Over the teenage years, I started purchasing beauty products from the local drugstore, investing only 99 cents at a time on Wet and Wild products while stealing more expensive products like Loreal foundations and Revlon eyeshadows and nail polishes. To this day, I use Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, first in clear, and now in brownish black for a more subtle look. My makeup remover of choice was from Lancome, my sister used to get the smaller ones as a ‘gift with purchase’, I used to steal them from her until college when I could afford to buy my own.
My first job was at Saks, so naturally, I discovered more beauty brands and fell in love with Laura Mercier tints, Mac concealers, Nars shadows, and Bobbi Brown lipsticks. I was eventually promoted to a personal shopper for our top customers, so I had to look presentable everyday. I’s spend almost 30 minutes every morning putting my face on. On weekends, I’d play around with smokey eyes, piling on blacks and dark blues and purples to mimic celebrity looks featured in Vogue. That magazine had such a hold on me in as it was one of the few high fashion publications available in Cleveland.
When I moved to New York, my entire routine changed. The water here is so different, and the environment cannot be compared to bumblefuck suburbia. My face broke out, my hair became brittle, my skin dried when I stepped outside, and for a while I couldn’t combat the effects with products, as everything that touched my face irritated it. I started getting facials. I started getting hair cuts more often than normal, going from Bumble & Bumble to Aveda, eventually cutting off-12 inches of my hair to ward off split-ends, leaving me with a shoulder length bob. What a mistake that was. I wore very little makeup daily, a bit of sensitive tinted lotion from Laura Mercier, a bit of lip gloss from Nars, my fave is Turkish Delight , and a touch of color on my cheeks from Bobbi Brown.
These days, after living here for almost 6 years, I suppose my hair and skin are now used to the air and water and behave as I need them to. I only use Shea Moisture products on my body, the Black Soap is amazing, only product ever that doesn’t dry out my skin. My hair, now at nipple curtain length (my hairdresser Tim Duenas from Arrojo Salon in Tribeca coined that term) falls perfectly in beachy waves with just a touch of Arrojo curl enhancer. I wash my hair twice a week, once with Aveda Camomile Blonde Enhancing Shampoo and Shiseido Tsubaki conditioner, the second time with Arrojo Gentle Shampoo and Moisture conditioner. I only wash my face with Cetaphil, a friend who worked at InStyle recommended it and I don’t think I can be without it. It doesn’t leave my face dry like others cleansers. Once a week, I scrub with St. Ives Apricot scrub and use my Clarisonic to really get into the pores. Once washed, I gently dry and apply Restorsea eye cream all over my face, it’s so moisturizing. Made from salmon placenta (sounds gross, but it totally works), has helped reduce small lines on my skin and makes it feel supple, smooth, and radiant. If I’m in need of extra moisture, my recent discovery works miracles. The Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, recommended to me by Annabelle Fleur of VivaLuxury, is a product I can no longer live without, allowing me to look rested even after the latest of party nights. Then, I apply mascara while my eyelashes are still damp, a little trick I learned through out the years from friends in the biz. I then blot on Lancome Teint Idole Foundation, spreading with my figures, and Kat Von D tattoo cover up, which is the best form of under eye concealer since it’s so dense.
I like for my skin to look dewy, very clean with minimal makeup, the more natural the better. Depending on how I’m feeling that day, I’ll either add a touch of shadow or a bright lipcolor. My current obsession is Tom Ford Beauty, which makes the best lipsticks. They are so vibrant and stay on all day without drying. I own one in every color and can’t even pick a fave without feeling a bit guilt. Lastly, I spritz Ralph Lauren Romance on my wrists, behind my ears, and into my hair. I’ve been wearing it for now 15 years, guess I can now say the smell is pretty permanent. On special occasions, I wear Tom Ford White Musk, which is intoxicating.
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