I’ve been really tired lately. Like, struggling to get out of bed tired, guzzling 6 cups of coffee a day tired, falling asleep mid-Mindy Project tired. And every time I catch a good glimpse of myself in the mirror I can see the tired all over my face: The bloodshot eyes, the dark circles, the dehydration lines, and an overall lack of radiance (maybe that’s just another warm welcome from adulthood?).
Some days, I’m pretty sure I could pass for an extra on The Walking Dead. This would all be very depressing, and likely end with me crying gigantic crocodile tears (that would only dehydrate me more) into my coffee, except there’s a twist.
I don’t mean to brag, or anything, but I’ve been receiving an abundance of compliments on my skin lately. Apparently, despite what I see in the mirror (zombie vampire, aka dead), my skin is glowing! It’s radiant! I totally don’t need botox (yet)!
And I know what you might be thinking—I’ve got some great friends, right?
And yes, you’re totally right—they’re GREAT—, but only like, 33% of these generous compliments have come from my friends’ lips. The rest (you do the math) have been from acquaintances, strangers, and estheticians who have, quite literally, nothing to gain from their compliment.
what’s my secret?
I can tell you that it’s definitely not the lack of sleep or the stress and anxiety that comes from being your own boss and making sure the lights stay on. It’s most certainly not from staring at a computer screen for 12 hours a day. And I can 100% guarantee you, it’s not from the 8000 bottles of wine I’ve dared to drink anytime the girls get together for a GNO (Girls Night Out) that never actually makes it to the O-part because we’re all too drunk and tired to remove the wine stains from our lips and call a cab. No, it’s not that, at all.
All that I can attribute to the state of my apparently good skin is 1) genetics (thanks, ma and pa!) and 2) my—oh gawd, I can’t believe I’m going to say it—beauty regime.
So, in case you, too, are feeling like the run-down is showing all over your face, or you own a t-shirt that says “my under-eye bags are designer," I’m going to spill all my glowy skin, I-swear-I-get-enough-sleep, and stress? What stress? beauty secrets.
It starts with Witchcraft.
I’ve been using Thayers Witch Hazel Toner for years. Apparently, it’s a natural remedy that’s been around since 1847, so if you were wondering how all the ladies in those old b&w photos had such flawless smooth skin, I’d attribute it to Thayers (and not the fact that black and white camera’s from the 1800’s were likely fairly forgiving).
I always buy the Aloe Vera formula with Rose Petal, because it just sounds a whole lot more luxurious than the original unscented version. Plus, rose water is meant to be calming (and it smells really good).
The best part about this all-natural blend—the witchcraft part—is that it’s not just a toner, it’s a cleanser, too. So if you’re like me, and pretty lazy about your beauty regime, this is literally the perfect product. I use it morning and night, religiously.
Add more Rose. (Altogether different than Rosé.)
After my cleansing and toning, I add more rose. This time in the form of a moisturizing oil. Badger’s Damascus Rose Face Oil is everything: USDA Organic, Gluten Free, Cruelty-Free, and smells f&*king fantastic (if you’re into roses, that is). It’s also super moisturizing and designed for delicate skin.
My boyfriend, who loves to give me a hard time for buying stuff like this, has officially worked this facial oil into his daily routine, too. It's that good. We go through a bottle of this stuff at least every two months.
After I’ve given my rose oil a few minutes to sink in, I add a layer of Andalou Naturals All-in-One Brightening Beauty Balm with SPF 30, because I’d rather have my face be wrinkle-free than tan (and that’s why bronzer exists, duh).
I usually apply a dime-sized dollop to my face and neck. Its soft sheer tint adds a touch of color without making it look like you’re wearing layers of foundation, which is precisely the balance I like to strike. Basically bare-faced.
Most days, I leave it at that. But, if I’m going to be outdoors, or in public, and I want to give off that gorgeously nonchalant “I woke up like this,” look, I’ll enter into phase two of my beauty regime.
Time for the triple-threat.
When it comes to beauty products—or any products I use, for that matter—I try to go green, natural, and organic.
I haven’t always been this way. In case you don’t remember, I used to casually drop hundreds of dollars at Sephora on products promising me things like 12 hours of shimmer, kissable lips, and impossible-to-see pores. Then, one day, I looked at the ingredients list in all the products I was using and realized that instead of making me look younger and healthier, these products were probably long-term aging me.
*cue transition into clean beauty products.*
I’ve been experimenting with clean beauty products for a few years now, and it’s been underwhelming, to say the least. The lipsticks don’t stick as long, the black-ink mascara irritated my eyes, and the powders were too chalky.
And then I found Josie Maran. WAIT, before you say it, I know her products don’t pass every green test. But they’re cleaner than most and help me achieve the exact glowy look I’m always trying for. So I’m willing to overlook some things.
I use the Protect + Perfect Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 47 combined—literally—with the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer.
Nothing fancy over here. I simply mix a dollop of each in my hand and apply to my face and neck and voila — glowy and enlightened!
The final step in my beauty regime—and the third-party to my triple-threat—is not natural at all. But I love it. I use Benefit’s Watts Up! Cream-to-powder highlighter wand to give a champagne glow around my eyes and on my cheekbones.
Because I think I read somewhere that contouring is out and highlighting is in and Gigi Hadid always looks perfectly highlighted. So, there's that.
And….That’s it! From zombie to presentable in under three minutes.
(If you really want to get wild, take an extra 30 seconds and top with mascara.)