Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Don’t Cry For Me Antintina

Jonathan Antin, if you’re reading this right now? You’d better grab a hanky.

Anyone who became as inexplicably hooked as I did to Bravo’s Blow Out will know what I mean. In the first season (which I did not watch), celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Antin expanded his Jonathan Salon empire. In this last season? The one that had me both perched on the edge of my seat and laughing like a mad woman? He created a product line. That’s right. It’s called Jonathan Product.

Here are some things you learn from watching Blow Out:
1. Jonathan Antin isn’t gay.
2. No, seriously, he isn’t. I’m as shocked as anyone.
3. If Jonathan doesn’t like the Jonathan Product sample you show him, he will throw it against a wall. Hard.
4. But if you praise his product? Like, if you call him on the phone and say, “Oh my God, Jonathan, this is the best product I’ve ever used. No, really, it’s amazing. I won’t use anything else ever”? Then he’ll cry.
5. When the product sells at QVC? Tears. Sephora? Rivers. The man goes through tissues like Rosie O’Donnell goes through cupcakes. (And I’m going to hell for that one.)

I’m getting somewhere with this—I promise. And that somewhere? Is bliss. HAIR FRIGGIN’ BLISS. Mine has never looked better. I owe it all to Jonathan’s Dirt.

Jonathan created Dirt to mimic the look of day-old hair, when it’s all manageable and sexy (at least, for some people other than me). As he tells us on the box, “There’s something amazing about the way hair looks and behaves the day after – washing, that is.” (Because clearly we were all thinking sex!) “I created Dirt to help you get that look easily.”

Yeah, I don’t know about all that. I’d call Dirt a light, non-waxy pomade. Jonathan calls it a “texturizing paste,” and I’ve got to admit that about gets it right. Jonathan instructs us to, “Rub a small amount in your hands until it liquefies.” Um, Jonathan? This shznit ain’t ever liquefying. The word you’re looking for is emulsify. Basically, folks, choose your amount of product. For my long hair, I’ve been using about a dime-sized dollop. (You want to err on the side of too little rather than too much, so start small.) Then rub the product between your palms. What you’re going to get is sticky palms. (Insert puerile joke here.) What you do with those palms will depend on your hair.

For my curls, I’ve been using my Dirty hands to scrunch my curls, making them more springy and less fly-away-y. The time I used to invest in mitigating flyaways has been cut in half. And the body I get from the curl-scrunching kind of stymies me, given that this product isn’t the most light-weight I’ve ever seen.

What’s most miraculous about this product, though? I can use it when my hair’s not curly. Which used to be never. But on a whim, I brushed out my curls one day, eyeing the frizzy, light-socket hair I was left with. I smoothed on Jonathan’s Dirt, manipulated a little wave at the ends, and was good to go. Do you hear that? Good to go! The frizz was tamed.

For y’all with straight hair, I’m thinking this will help with flyaways and with adding a bit of sexy texture to the mix. I would recommend that people with extraordinarily fine hair stay away, however, because the product may be too hearvy. For my moderately fine hair, I make sure not to use too much.

Honestly? This is the most exciting hair product I’ve found in years. Sure, it’s $26, but considering how much you need to use, that could very well be a two-year supply.

And if you’ll excuse me now, I’m off to play in the Dirt.

But what about y’all? Did you watch Blow Out? Have you tried Jonathan Product? Have you got other texturizing products to recommend? Just feel like chatting?

I remain your,
Real Girl

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I’m Doing The Happy Lip Dance.

(By the way? The below has an actual melody that’s now stuck in my head.)

I’m gonna sing my happy lip song.
Because my darling, I’ve sought you for so long.
I wasn’t even sure that you existed.
But now I am so glad that I persisted!

Because glossy glossy glossy I love you.
Glossy glossy glossy, it’s so true.
When I feel your touch, my lips start to quiver,
But then your silky oils, they calm down my shiver!

(Time for the bridge)

How do you do it? How do you stay so moisturizing?
And at the same time, you’ve found the perfect texturizing.

Glossy glossy glossy I love you!

Can’t you totally picture some 80's balladeer getting down to that? No? Just me? Anyhoo.

Enough skirting around this issue. I’ve already shouted it out my window to the cars on Fifteenth Street. I love this gloss!!! The Body Shop Tropical Lip Duo has simply not left my lips since I nestled it in my handbag. Let’s talk about why.

What do I want in a gloss? I want it to be shiny, but not Paris Hilton shiny. I want it to be sticky enough to stay on, but not so goopy that my lips actually feel glued together. I want my lips to be moisturized, but not so much that the gloss just slides right off after two seconds. But also? I need a good bronzy—not coppery, not brassy, not too brown—color. I think it's a color that works well with almost any skin tone. You’re just gonna have to trust me that the "Bronzed" Lip Duo looks nothing like what’s pictured here. It’s much lighter, much more subtle, much more flattering. And what’s even cooler? The sparkly gloss on the other end? Is the most perfect clear shimmery gloss I’ve ever seen. Let’s say you love the look of clear gloss, but you think yours is too thick, or it’s too much shine for fall, or you think it’s too sparkly. The clear gloss here just gives your lips an extra boost—a natural, non-goopy, non-excessive, sexy shine. And the sparkle merely kicks in a hint of cute. You may just barely notice it.

Not convinced yet? The Tropical Lip Duo is the only—I repeat only—gloss I’ve found that I can wear without lip balm underneath. That’s how good it feels, even as chapping weather approaches. I’m guessing the “Marula Oil” that the Body Shop lists as the active ingredient must be lapping my lips with luscious moisture. As for why the Lip Duos are being called “Tropical,” I confess I’m a bit stymied. In French, this product is called “Duo Levres Exotique,” which I find much sexier, don’t you?

If I’ve piqued your interest, here are a few key points to consider:

1. The Body Shop looooooves to discontinue their products. I’m already planning to buy an emergency Lip Duo this weekend. Also? I'm considering mailing death threats. You know, just in case.
2. Go easy with the applicator wand. This is a fall/winter gloss—high on moisture, but with a more subtle shine than those megawatt summer glosses. Don't try to heap it on too thickly.
3. I haven’t yet tried the “Golden Pink” color, but judging how much darker the “Bronzed” color looks in this picture, I’m guessing it’s much lighter than what you’re looking at.
4. This product costs $12.50. For two glosses. Granted, they’re on the small side, but still—I’m loving the value.
5. I consistently find that the Body Shop’s makeup line is under-rated and under-publicized. Over and over, it’s one of my favorite places to browse.

In conclusion:

Ohhhh, wo-oh-oh. Glossy glossy glossy I lo-ove you!

Start your engines, girls. Because I’m asking you to share your favorite lip gloss. Starting…now!

(Or your fave Body Shop products, questions, anything at all, yada yada.)

With love,
From one Real Girl to another.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Happy Birthday To Us!!!

Exactly one year ago, on November 15, 2004, something revelatory happened.

I found Real Girl.

I knew she had always been there, hiding behind a studious, hard working little New York editor turned novelist. She’d pop out once in a while, accompanied by a single, vehement phrase: OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS! But once in a while? So not enough.

Thank you, my gorgeous Real Girlettes, for a luscious year of great product reviews and recommendations. May we all continue to grow poorer and more excited as the coming seasons fill our bulging makeup bags with ripe colors, saturated powders, healthful creams, and—of course—more antioxidants than you can shake a wrinkle at.

And as a birthday present to us all? Real Girl’s got a stunner coming Tuesday night.

I’ve found a new favorite lip gloss. Did you hear that? A new favorite lip gloss. The top of the product pyramid, my friends. And the odds are? You’ve never tried it before…

So stay tuned for Tuesday night!

Because of course I remain your,
One year older,
Real Girl

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Am So Fresh

I’ve purposely only used Sephora links in today’s precious post. Why? It’s all because of Demery, so go and blame her. Or, rather, embrace her. Love her. Take your lip liner and paint flowers on her cheeks. Who’s Demery? She’s the Real Girl Beauty reader who sent me the fantabulous information that (online only, folks!) is having a 20% off sale. Need to read that again? TWENTY PERCENT OFF. The sale starts Monday, Nov. 14th and ends Monday, Nov. 21st. Just use the code FF2005 at checkout.

And now back to our regular programming. Oh, crap. You’ve all fainted with joy and NO ONE is left to read my entry. Poo.

But you know what? I think we all share something, and I think that’s why when I read your comments and emails, I feel like I’m amongst my people. That something is the rush of adrenaline, that giddy squeally feeling you get when you find a new favorite product. When I make a new discovery, all I want to do is run and tell every one of my girlfriends. But, well, you could probably guess that—what with the whole, telling the internet too and all. The thing is? I think that’s how you are, also, when you find a new beloved product. Like I said—we’re each other’s peeps. Beauty peeps.

So guess what? I’ve found a new fragrance so luxurious, sweet, sultry, musky, sexy, and darling all at once that I want to scream it from the rooftops! The bloggy, pink-paged, entry-filled rooftops!

But first, you must know Real Girl’s scent history. After all, who’s to say one girl’s favorite will be another’s? What kind of Scent Gal am I? Would you believe—at my origin, I was no scent gal at all? It’s true. For the first eighteen years of my life, I was allowed no scent. No vanilla candles, no fragrant flowers, and certainly, certainly NO PERFUME.

Heh. You’re imagining Cinderella locked in her aerie dungeon, aren’t you? Poor Real Mom. I’ve probably gone and made her feel bad. See, she’s allergic. To any scented anything at all in the history of scented things that have ever existed. As you might imagine, I’ve spent the past few years of my adult life surrounding myself with every luscious scent I could find. So let’s trot down that memory lane….

My first must-have fragrance, Gucci Rush, was purchased at (today’s special!) Sephora. It was love at first sniff. I consider it a low-note perfume, a deep, sexy, musky perfume. I imagine a humid day in Hawaii, when the scents of saturated flowers mingle with the dewy air. I fell deeper in love when I gave my Rush its first test drive—I was on vacation in London, and let’s just say I heard more English men use the word “gorgeous” than I ever have before or since. Men like the Gucci Rush. They just do.

But after a while, I wanted to feel lighter. I was in a springy, breezy mood. That’s when I fell in love with the still sexy—but in a cuter way--Stila Crème Bouquet. (By the way, for some reason the roll-on smells different to me, and I’m not a huge fan despite the alluring price reduction.) My dear Crème Bouquet, your pink, flowery bottle is almost empty, and that makes Real Girl very sad. For your powdery, vanilla-tinged aroma, mingling with the subtlest, least cloying flowers, can only cause happiness to my nose. I still love you, never fear. And I will buy another bottle soon because you'll always be special to me.

Yet that said…

I have a new pet. I love her. Fresh Sake. She's still in her pretty red box because it’s too precious to throw away. The simplicity of the bottle, with its minimally drawn flowers. Just heaven. And the scent! Oh, my God, the scent! I sense a similarity to Gucci Rush in that it’s got some musky undertones, but there’s sweetness too, a dash of succulent fruit. That’s what hits you first—the peachy sweetness. But then the fragrance settles to its true form, letting the softer, deeper, muskier scents through. The result, quite frankly—and no surprise—reminds me of a mixture of Gucci Rush and Stila Crème Bouquet. The sultry and the sweet have finally married and formed the perfect union. Or, as Real Boy said, “Ooh, I like that.”

Spray it on your wrist and wait five minutes. Then see what you think. This entry has taken me twice as long to write because—duh—I keep pausing to sniff myself. I wish I could better describe Sake’s complexity. But hey—stop by your local Sephora and see what you think.

But, wait!! I totally forgot—there’s more!! Fresh has another line of fragrances, called their Index, which seems to offer something for everyone. I haven’t tried every single one yet, but right now I’m partial to Redcurrant Basil. I mean…man, Fresh. Your scents can knock me over with a feather.

(Erm…except for Sugar, which smells nothing like sugar and should in fact be called Lemon Pledge.)

So, now you know all my scenty secrets. I’ve avoided discussing them before because fragrance is such a matter of personal taste. But that’s why I’d love for you gals to tell us all about your favorite scent. Questions? Comments? Fragrance descriptions? Hit us with ‘em!!

I’ll always be your,
Real Girl

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Just Call Me Whitey!

Are you excited for the pictures?! I am!! So let’s not waste any time getting to the results of The Great Whitening Experiment of 2005.

But Real Girl, you ask. What the heck are those darned Crest Whitestrips Premium doodads like? Will they burn my gums off? Will they eat up my stomach lining? Will they whiten my lips, too, until I look like a partial albino?

Okay. First, what to do. I followed directions, putting on the upper strip first and the bottom strip second. I then drooled for the half hour you’re supposed to keep the doodads on. Which was nothing compared to the removal process, involving more gelled drooling and some heavy spitting. I don’t know if you’re supposed to rinse afterwards, but I sure did, and I can’t imagine not doing so. The best way to remove the strips is quickly, like a band-aid. And all those commercials where women are wearing their Whitestrips out with their girlfriends, laughing it up? Ummm…nice fantasy there, Mr. Crestipants. Do this at home. Trust moi.

But don’t get too scared! Here’s a picture of me with my Strips on. Aren’t I sexy?

According to the Whitestrips box, one should be able to “Start seeing results after just 3 days,” so let’s see what my teethies were looking like after that crucial almost-halfway-zone, compared with their initial whiteness.


After 3 Days.

Hey! That’s not so bad for just 3 days!

According to the Whitestrips box, Crest says these puppies are “Clinically proven to remove up to 14 years of stain build-up in just 7 days.” I confess I’ve been wondering how they came up with that number. Did one of the test subjects have, like, some stubborn tooth stain that just wouldn’t brighten? And then when the Lab Coat Guys said, “Hark! What is this spot of darkness on your dental surface?” Did the test subject respond, “Oh, I’ve had that for over fourteen years!” The mystery may never be solved, but I welcome theories from you lovely readers….

But now back to the program! I was such a good little bleacher, going through the strips like a trooper and only missing one application (which meant that on my last day, I applied 3 times). Wanna see? Wanna??? Because my teeth are REALLY WHITE now! In fact, I’m a bit peeved by the pics because I just don’t think they capture the transformation. I feel so shiny and clean! Like I could be in one of those Orbit Gum commercials, covered in mud except for my gleaming smile (remember, I don’t usually smile this toothily.) (Oh! And notice that stunning lipstick mark on my tooth in the “After” picture. See how slick I am? Stop being jealous.):


After 7 Days

And don’t get scared, but as long as we’re sharing here, I want to show you the new version of what used to be the yellowest area of my teeth—the lower part of my bottom teeth, near the root. (Ah, Real Girl just keeps getting sexier….)

So there you go! Whiteness! Whiteness that isn’t even captured entirely by the photos! Ta da! And all you need to do is suffer through a week of drooly messiness, right?

Um…not quite. Thank you to the folks who warned me about tooth sensitivity. I don’t normally suffer too badly from heightened sensation in my teeth, but oh boy the Whitestrips will make you feel your teeth something awful! Beware anything too cold, including wind. But right now, I'm only a day after the whole process, and already my teeth are feeling less sensitive. So if you can tough it out, I’d recommend just bearing with it for a week because the heightened sensitivity will go away swiftly. But if you’ve already got sensitive teeth? BEWARE. They will get more so.

By the way? You can’t see me right now, but I’m smiling wide. A glistening, shiny, bleachified smile. You can just call me Whitey from now on.

But what about your experiences? Have you tried other brands? Have you got questions? Anything to recommend?

With love,
From one Real Girl to another

P.S. Guess what I did to celebrate my new whiter teeth? I drank a big glass of red wine! Duh!