Tag Archives: skin care

The Year of the Neck

I declared 2018 the year of the neck. My neck, specifically. It’s also the year of the dog. And I was born in the year of the dog.  According to my Chinese zodiac, my dog year birth element is water. Which means I am a calculative planner.

“They focus on building a strong foundation for their future. But when faced with difficulties, they can become very pessimistic. They work hard, but should create bigger goals in order to use their full potential.”

True that. I have built a strong foundation with a consistent skin care routine but have become a bit pessy lately with the neck. This year, my bigger goal is to focus on my neck and my decolletege. I will be at peak skin care potential when I finally make this happen. It’s true that your hands and neck are the dead giveaways with age. And we all have tech neck… it’s a thing, all that looking down. Bleh. I’m seeing some neck creases, so I’m hoping this re-dedication to my neck is enough to slow down some of what’s happening.

I have long been in the camp of you do not need a neck-specific product claim, you just need to be using your skincare on your neck. I stand by that, though, I’m not that willing to use all of my favorite products on my neck.  I ration my Vintner’s Daughter. That is gold! It looks like gold and the cost is gold. Gold goes on my face!

That said, I don’t think any old lotion is enough on your neck. You need powerful ingredients that tighten and improve elasticity. It’s really the job for a serum. Now, I hear you, the element of my skincare that gets me the least excited is the idea of buying a neck cream.

Not for lack of options. There are plenty out there that excite me but I have a different strategy.

It’s two-fold.

  1. Delegate. I will use the products I don’t like for my face on my neck. I’m not saying the ones that you have a reaction to, but the ones you just don’t love. Sometimes it happens. I know I often will get a sample from a brand or buy something and find it just doesn’t work for me. A couple examples. I do not love the Pai Rosehip Oil. I might be the only one because I’ve only heard raves, but we didn’t get on. It’s high quality and helps with skin firmness and elasticity so this is an easy delegation. Bam, there’s my neck treatment.

Also — and this is so bougie — at the moment, I’m using the La Prairie Skin Caviar Absolute Filler. I went to a La Prairie event last November and received this as a gift. This is legitimately the most expensive skin care product I’ve ever used (makes my Vintner’s Daughter seem like The Ordinary pricing…) and here I am delegating it to my neck. That’s how much I’m committed to my neck, ya’ll! This is supposed to be like fillers, without the injectables. It’s bouncy and plumping. In theory, everything that I would want on my face. The signature La Prairie scent, while lovely, is too much for my face. I’m terrified for this to run out, because it really is special. It’s got an airless pump that dispenses the perfect amount. I’m truly spoiled with this. I AM NOT WORTHY.

  1. Use forgotten samples. The second part of my strategy is to put those lost samples to use. The ones you get in a gift with purchase, maybe a point redemption “freebie” at Sephora, etc. etc. Often times, I don’t want to disrupt my routine for a few weeks (more or less) worth of serum or cream. The latest SpaceNK spring gift had so many good samples that I am saving for my neck.

Either way, I’m pressing and slathering on treatment twice a day on my neck. When I finally stop wearing turtlenecks on the regular, I’ll also start being more deliberate about putting sunscreen there. I’m not a total hot mess with that, but I could step up my game.

Year of the neck! Year of the dog! Let’s do it.

Also, as a quick aside, thank you for the sweet comments and emails about my last post. Means a ton. We’re all human and the world is so heavy right now. My sense of place is nothing in comparison but finding my voice will help me put it to better use.

Beauty My Way: Annie Tevelin

I think you’re really going to give a hoot about today’s 312 Beauty guest. Annie Tevelin is the founder of SkinOwl, a line of pure and simple skincare. You may know her from her buzzed about Beauty Drops – little vials of skin care salvation – and if you don’t, allow me to introduce you. She’s a stunning beauty and a force of enlightenment –  I’m ready for her Ted Talk already. I picture there being a meditative group beauty steam mid-session. Annie’s guidance on how we can take small steps for bigger change in our lives is like a permission slip for us all to not be so hard on ourselves. I hope you connect with what she has to say as much as I do. And, if you also have a weakness for cute pups and pinky nude lipstick recommendations, you’ll be satisfied.

Annie Tevelin SkinOwl

What was your career like before you started Skin Owl? Was doing makeup on music video sets as exciting as it sounds?
I think I had a lot of amazing jobs, but I never felt like I had a career. SkinOwl was the first time I actually felt like I found something I wanted to do for the long haul. I was a film major in college, so moving to Los Angeles was always part of my plan. I was lucky to work with some of most incredible musicians and actors and directors during my time in that business. I feel blessed for the experience, because it ultimately led me to the world of beauty and eventually starting my own business.

You’ve built Skin Owl on a platform of selfcare, which feels really supportive. How did you land on that concept?
I think sometimes we teach what we must learn. I’ve made it my life’s work to help people, be it friends, family or strangers. I feel what people go through on an almost cellular level, which at the end of the day can be as exhausting as it is exhilarating. SkinOwl was a way for me to give back to myself while accepting that part of myself. To follow my dream in starting my own business is selfcare. To use my own handmade skincare is selfcare. To put healthy, results driven skincare into the hands of OTHER people is also selfcare. You help yourself when you help others wholeheartedly. I figured if I needed a little extra love and pampering, so did other people. There’s something beautiful about giving yourself what you need first so that you can really be there for others.

SkinOwl Candles

How do you suggest we all get to loving ourselves a little more?
I think people have this idea that change has to be grandiose to mean something. “I have to lose 20 lbs.” Or, “I need to change my job.” To me, loving ourselves is about taking baby steps; putting one toe in the water and seeing how that feels. Small changes with time can have a very big impact on your life. Loving yourself is about setting yourself up for success, not failure. If you want to quit smoking, it’s less about “I’m never smoking again,” and more about “Maybe I’ll have one less cigarette today.” It’s giving yourself the proper time to process your challenges and successes, so that you feel your life wholeheartedly.

Can you change your skin overnight?
Absolutely. Can everything you can’t stand about your skin change overnight, I’m not too sure about that. But I have experienced life-changing results with our Beauty Drops overnight. I have also dramatically changed the way I FEEL about my skin overnight. And that’s what really matters. A glimmer of hope and faith that your skin can get better is Kryptonite.

SkinOwl SkinOwl Monkey Pup

What are the ways you unwind? Any morning or night rituals?
I love hanging with my pup, Monkey, going for drives or going on walks with him around LA. Unwinding for me is about doing really simple things – changing my scenery often, cooking, taking a long shower, and steaming. I am obsessed with facial steaming. SkinOwl’s Beauty Steam has changed my skin and my outlook. It’s five minutes I get to spend alone, in silence, focusing on my breathe. I swear I feel like a different person when I’m done. Clearer, more alert, and definitely more relaxed.

What gets you through the tough moments?
I feel blessed to feel loved and accepted by the people I surround myself with. My husband, my friends, my family. They are there unconditionally. To listen, to push me, to tell me things I don’t want to always here. They are loyalty and love, in a nutshell.

SkinOwl Annie

Your eyes and smile stand out so much in every photo – what are you putting on your lips and lashes?
Wow, thank you! I use Eyes of Horus Mascara every single day. I have a lot of lashes and they are long, but I have no volume. This mascara gives me everything and I love it. As for lips, I’m a lip liner girl first, then lipstick. Stains are my go-to finish these days, as I’m awful at remembering to reapply. I love all of the bright lip tars from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I love mixing beet juice with a little lip balm, it’s my perfect poppy pout color. My everyday color is Vapour’s Siren Lipstick in Chere.

SkinOwl Neck+

What are you working on right now for Skin Owl? Any dream launches that you’re secretly making that you can share?
We are so excited to launch our Neck+ Concentrate domestically. We launched it exclusively with Cult Beauty, based out of London, in April, and it has been bananas. It’s an area that goes unnoticed a lot of the time. It’s great to create something green AND super effective for that area. We also just launched three candles – High Tea, Gardenia, and Currant. They are absolutely intoxicating. And the vessel they are in is so feminine. They make me happy. We are currently working on something else, set to launch in September. I won’t give away too much, but it’s pretty cleansing…

Thanks, Annie!

52 Weeks of Focus

Vintner's Daughter

Focus. It’s my word this year.

I’m ambivalent on New Year’s resolutions but I am pro-goals. In the corporate world, goals are meant to be SMART:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. For good reason, perhaps, but I take a different approach when it comes in other areas of my life. It’s not that I’m avoiding structure – the opposite – but this year, I’m basing much of the success on how I feel. I want to rid myself of anxiety, fear and find focus. I’m done with the nasty emotional rollercoaster procrastination sets in motion.  I’ll know when I’ve accomplished this goal because I will feel the results. And, I know well what it feels like when I don’t.

To my detriment, I’m the queen of starting something or half-baking an idea and letting it sit. I’m done with needless distraction. I started the 52 Lists Project this past weekend. The first list in the book, organized by season, is to set goals for the year ahead. I splashed focus all over that page.

And, I’ve really been thinking about a conversation I had with April Gargiulo, maker of Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, months and months ago. See how I’m just now telling you about this? Guys, my bad. April makes a facial oil that is nothing shy of a miracle for your skin. She cracked the code on radiance. There are 22 of the world’s most active botanicals inside – results are almost instant. I’m on my second bottle – I will be a customer for life of this stuff!

April Vintner's DaughterNow, several things from that conversation that I think about often. First, this serum is the only product April makes. She spent two years developing the formula. While she was pregnant, too. She had a passion to craft her dream product and it needed to do everything. She speaks about this with such conviction and focus. In so many industries – tech, beauty, fashion – the conversations tend to immediately center about what’s launching next. She acknowledged that some retailers prefer multiple SKUs within one line but stayed true to her mission to make one incredible serum. I imagine one day, April will do another. We should all hope this inspires more skin care because it is so damn good.

She focused on the ingredients. She hails from a family of wine makers (she is a vintner’s daughter!) and knows full well that the quality of what you put into your product makes a difference. Growing up on a vineyard is essentially growing up on a farm. She was raised with agriculture. Everything in this bottle is the result of research and purposeful planning. There are no off the shelf extracts, but whole plants. There are pairings on purpose. As April explains, lemon and avocado oil are great alone but together they are a superblend to help get rid of discoloration.

Vintner's Daughter Push Press

She focused on education. Yes, you just put the serum on your face but April wants you to get every maximum benefit possible. She speaks about a special “push-press” method to help the serum go deeper into the skin, supercharging the effect. This is her way of telling you to focus on this moment of your day. Make the most of it so you see the reward.

Don’t we all want to supercharge our impact? I love this serum and every day I use it I’m reminded by the focus April had in bringing it to life. We can put our energy on that one big idea. We don’t have to spread our energy into multiple directions. It’s freeing to allow yourself to stay focused on what really matters to you.

Do you have a word this year? A central theme?  I’d love to know how you approach “resolutions” and what fires you up to face a new year of possibilities.

What I Learned from Reading Skin Cleanse

Skin Cleanse book

There are no shortages of books on healthy living out there to make you feel guilty about all of the choices you make in life. I don’t want to be told that alcohol, caffeine and pizza are “bad” for me…I obviously know that already. But a girl’s gotta live, too. I was already knee deep and taking notes in Skin Cleanse—authored by S.W. Basics Founder Adina Grigore—when I read basically that exact sentiment. This woman has my heart. Everything fabulous about this woman comes across so genuinely in the pages of her first book. The premise is smart: we’re used to being told to eat healthy and workout to feel better but that same conversation hasn’t quite crossed over into skin care. Until now, that is. This book is filled with insane amounts of practical information, a treasure trove of DIY skin care recipes and sprinkles of hilarity (that’s so Adina’s personality shining through on paper!) It was hard to narrow down but I present to you the Top 10 Things I Learned from Reading Skin Cleanse.

Skin Cleanse Adina Grigore

  • Your skin is your largest organ. OK, I knew that part – we all do. But guys, remember, our skin is an ORGAN. Like our heart, liver and brain. How can the health of our skin not be so critical to our well-being. Think about it!
  • We are constantly shedding dead skin cells. About 30-40,000 every minute! Say wha???
  • Don’t like kale? Remove the stems. Bless you, Adina. Talk about serious enlightenment. I like kale, it turns out. I really really do!
  • Grass-fed organic butter is a thing. And, apparently, it’s delicious in coffee. Pg. 91-92 in the book…I seriously read and re-read what Adina refers to (in a charmingly real yet sarcastic way) as the “underground health craze” a handful of times. The blast of healthy fat in the morning is really good for you.
  • As someone with a sensitive tummy, I was enthralled to learn that chewing a papaya digestive enzyme before a meal helps everything feel a whole lot better. I immediately ordered a jar from Amazon and am never looking back.
  • Yes, you should take all off your makeup every night, but removing your eye makeup should be the least of your worries if you’re pressed for time (um..or drunk). Makes total sense.
  • Skin allergies are different from internal allergies. For example, your insides may love coconut oil but your skin may hate it.
  • If you have oily skin, your insides and outsides probably aren’t hydrated enough. Your body makes up for what it is lacking by producing extra oil.
  • The reason we smell when we sweat is because bacteria on your skin is eating the toxins in your sweat. Cool!
  • Forget what you think your skin type is. Oily, dry, breakout prone — those are symptoms. Porcelain, very dark, freckles—those are types. And, it doesn’t actually influence the products you use but rather how you use them.

And, I could dedicate a whole month’s worth of blog posts to the amazing library of skin DIY recipes in this book but instead will leave you with just one and refer you to bookmark these pages for your own apothecary-ing adventures.

People have been asking for years if S.W. Basics was ever going to tackle shampoo. The answer is yes…if it could be shelf-stable. Adina calls this the “best DIY product of your whole life” so ya know it must be good. Mix 1/3 cup castile soap, 1/4 cup coconut milk and 4 tablespoons dry clay. You can also wash your face with it while you’re shampooing if you have leftover – it will spoil quickly so only make enough for one sitting.

And, that, my friends is a whole lotta info for a Monday morning! But, it’s all good. And I’ve even got a kale salad packed for lunch today!