Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

Monday, June 29, 2009

[Heavy, exasperated sigh...]

Yeah yeah yeah, I slack. This month has been off da chain, and not in a good way, peeps. Additionally, we managed to squeeze in a vacation the earlier part of the month for our fifth anniversary. Yay, us! We spent a week in paradise and had an absolute blast. Alas, then it was back to reality, at which point I spent at least ten days rending my garments and gnashing my teeth. Which brings us to the ass-end of the month.

So I've got good news, and I've got a little semi-good news. Good news: you can now view my column postings online at (It's actually one of those high-falutin' page-by-page versions of the entire magazine. Shut up! I know! And so forth!) I'd love for those of you who don't live around these parts to peep it. The semi-good news (hopefully for you)? Now I have to come up with two rounds of original shit per month (at the very least, as far as the blog goes): one for the mag, one for the blog. Normally, this would strike a chord of joy and rapture in my cold, black heart; these days, it's a little different. See, I want to write more than I want to do just about anything, but don't want to go about it half-assed, which is what I would likely end up doing, thanks to my other professional obligations (which brings me back to getting paid to do this shit right here-- any of you know a literary agent? Anyone? Bueller?). So, I promise to do my level best, even if it means remaining the once-a-month-posting kind of bitch I seem to be these days. As Mama always said, this too shall pass.

In the interim, I'm offering a sneak-peek of my July column. (Um, yes, I do realize that July starts in less than 27 hours, thanks. Work with me here.) Pour yourself a glass of something lovely: this one's loaded with product suggestions. That said, they all rock your ass, so pace yourself. Loves y'all.

“Life’s a Beach!”

Yay, summer! Time for beach vacations and long weekends by the pool—what better way to cool off from the Tennessee humidity? All this fun can also mean fried hair, melting makeup, and lizard skin. No worries, girls—you have the Beauty Junkie to give you the scoop on how to sail through summer looking your prettiest.

I harp on the sunscreen thing for good reason. I’ve mentioned the new COOLA brand of sunscreen before, and I really put it to the test during a week-long beach vacay. I went through an entire tube of the Sport formula over the course of the week, and it did a fantastic job of providing moisturizing, water-resistant, chemical-free protection. The facial sunscreen is awesome too, offering non-irritating coverage that won’t cause breakouts. Additionally, it won’t tax the sunless tan you’re rocking, and is loaded with antioxidants for anti-aging benefits. For lips, check out The Balm BalmShelter, a gloss with SPF that comes in a range of pretty colors and smells heavenly! Let’s not forget the hair: the best way to maintain that precious color is to shield it from the elements. Keep your color in place with a sunscreen spray specifically for hair. Kerastase Micro-Voile Protecteur is one of the best; Phyto Phytoplage is another good one. (If you’re more reactive than pro-active, invest in one of the rich Kerastase post-sun conditioners.) In a pinch, drench your hair in fresh water prior to pool or ocean activity—it’ll partially seal out chlorine and salt. Rinse again as soon as you’re back on dry land. Throw an extra layer of topcoat on that mani and pedi to prevent fade-out. Add a chic floppy hat and oversized shades, and you’re good to go.

Post-sun-and-fun, it’s all about nourishing your skin and hair and repairing any damage. For the money, I find that oils do the best job all-around. Check out Moroccanoil Treatment, a potent formula that calms frayed hair and does double-duty on parched skin. (Insider tip: a little goes a long way, especially on fine hair. Apply it just on the ends.) Unsnarl tangles gently with a wide-tooth comb, and skip the styling tools by sweeping your hair into a low, messy bun or sleek ponytail. For a self-indulgent twist on moisturizing, light an Earthly Body Suntouched candle prior to stepping into the shower or tub. This genius paraffin-free candle is comprised of natural oils that melt with the heat of the flame, leaving you with deliciously-scented and intensely moisturizing body oil (a tiny spoon is included for scorch-free ladling). My favorite scent is—ahem—Naked in the Woods. For more serious sunburns (you clearly aren’t listening), pure aloe vera gel right from the stalk is best; otherwise, try Cool Aloe Burn Relief gel by Hawaiian Tropic. Stash it in the freezer for instant relief.

Now, I know that none of us likes discussing hair removal in minute detail, so let’s just hit the high points. Ditch the costly trip to the spa (and painful waxing routine) and pick up a Schick Intuition Plus razor. Quite simply, it rules. The self-adjusting four-bladed cartridge is encased in a solid block of lubricating moisturizer that protects delicate skin before and after each pass of the razor. Upon its discovery, I gave up waxing immediately. If you still suffer from irritation post-shave, smooth on Bikini Zone, a topical anesthetic that reduces razor burn and unsightly bumps.

Give the heavy makeup a rest on sultry summer nights. Spot-conceal only where you need it, and sweep on shimmery bronzer where sun would naturally hit: cheekbones, forehead, and shoulders. Guerlain Terracotta Light and Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick are absolute perfection, but at a price. Physicians Formula offers more affordable options with its Magic Mosaic and Shimmer Strips. (For daytime, swap dense foundation for a tinted moisturizer with SPF—I like Kiehl’s.) Pat on a shimmer cream shadow, glide on black mascara for maximum pop, and slick on some gloss. Break out that sassy dead-of-summer dress, those to-die-for wedges, and enjoy yourself. Meet me at the pool this weekend—I’ll need all the details!

Buying Guide
COOLA: Woo Cosmetics, Green Hills
The Balm and Earthly Body: Serendipity, downtown Franklin
Kerastase: Studio Gaven, Cool Springs
Phyto and Guerlain: Sephora, the Mall at Green Hills
Moroccanoil: Shine the Salon, Green Hills
Hawaiian Tropic, Schick, Bikini Zone, Physicians Formula: local drugstores
Kiehl’s: Cosmetic Market, Cool Springs