Rachel Hunter, Gene Wilder, Beauty and Humility

rachel hunter beauty blog

I took this photo of Kiwi model Rachel Hunter – one of the sweetest, most humble people in New York – on Wednesday. She’s coming up on her 47th birthday in a few days, which is so hard to believe whenever you’re with her. Rachel could absolutely pass for a woman in her 30s – and that’s with a lifetime of sunning under the Antipodean soleil under her belt. As I recently discovered, our respective attitudes toward tanning are indistinguishable.

Rachel has something that not many people, let alone celebrities, have: humility. She genuinely cares about other people. It would never occur to Rachel that the world might revolve around her. I’m sure this enhances her beauty; one cannot help but be drawn to her, and feel more affectionate as you realize she truly means all the nice things she says. Her interest is genuine. Imagine that!

gene wilderWith her permission, I am sharing something my friend, the writer Haven Kimmel, shared about her experience in the presence of another humble soul: Gene Wilder. I thought of so many people when I read this, including Rachel Hunter.

[H]e was so sweet I spent the entire time I was talking to him with tears in my eyes. I thought I was going to burst into sobs, like a lunatic. He was otherworldly kind. His eyes were a very bright, pale blue, and he made intense eye contact with the person he was engaged with, ignoring everything and everyone else. There was something awfully innocent about him, saintly, maybe, as if he needed to be protected. He couldn’t be protected, alas, but he was lovely while he lasted.

Let’s be lovely while we last, shall we?

SPF Battle: Chanel Vs. SkinMedica

chanel spf essentiel beauty blogHere’s the thing about SPF: You cannot be conservative with how much you use, because proper coverage is key. And if you’re spending upwards of $55 per ounce for your SPF, you’re probably going to be a bit stingy when applying it. So I’m not a huge fan of pricey sun protection in general. But I was intrigued by Chanel UV Essentiel, because Caroline Hirons raved about it in a recent video.

It just goes to show, once again, that what works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. This product has a lovely, silky texture. But on my oily skin, it leaves just a bit too much shine. If you have a drier or more mature skin, this might be just the luxury SPF you’re looking for. But make sure you don’t skimp when you apply it, or else you’re really wasting your money. (Go check it out in person first, and I think you’ll be surprised at how teeny a one-ounce bottle really is. This one will fit in the palm of your hand.)

skinmedica daily physical defense broad spectrum sunscreen spf 30My very favorite SPF is SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30+, which comes in at a reasonable price and leaves NO shine, white-cast, or other annoying residue. Every dermatologist I’ve spoken to has vouched for it, and it’s recommended for its effectiveness by the Skin Cancer Foundation. You really cannot go wrong with any SkinMedica product, and I point you toward this SPF without hesitation.

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

tarte bb primer spf 30This is hands-down my favorite makeup discovery of the year. And I say that as a longtime hater of BB creams, which I stopped trying a few years ago because my disappointment with every one I tried was so absolute and overwhelming.

In summer, I don’t wear makeup except for brow gel and tinted lip balm. If it’s a really special, air-conditioned occasion, I’ll add powder and blush. But nothing makes contact with my sweaty face when it’s over 75 degrees outside. I can’t even wear necklaces in summer because anything touching my skin is revolting when it’s hot out.

THAT SAID…I got a sample of this Tarte BB Tinted Primer with SPF 30 before the weather turned gross and loved it instantly. The medium shade still works on my slightly tanned face, as does the medium-tan. Unfortunately, the color range is quite abbreviated, so you’re out of luck if you have dark skin. That’s a shame, because otherwise Tarte is probably my top pick for the makeup brand I’d use at the exclusion of all others if forced to choose. But I would encourage you to hit up your local Sephora and try this for yourself, because it has everything: silky texture, smooth application, and a barely perceptible presence that makes it hard to believe something so subtle could even out your skin tone, fill in fine lines, and minimize pores so effectively.

Tarte wants us to use this as a multi-tasking product to act as primer, moisturizer, light foundation, anti-aging treatment, AND sunscreen. I think that’s a bit of an over-sell. I have oily skin, so I don’t use moisturizer under this. (I’m being very laidback about the sun this summer, so this alone on my face is fine; but I do use an SPF on my neck and chest.) I do still use an oil-free serum under it in this humid weather, though. And I continue to use actual anti-aging treatments day and night, because this is far from clinical-grade skincare. But it makes a wonderful, light coverage foundation and imperfection concealer. I haven’t tried putting foundation on top of it, because disgusting heat, but I’m sure it makes a great base for a silicone-free foundation. (Using a silicone-heavy one could result in the ‘rolling’ effect of balled-up product you get when silicones clash.)

I’ve suspended my trials for now, will be using this every day once the weather cools. Love, love, love it.

(Note: This is NOT a sponsored post or an ad. None of that here, just my own personal opinion on products I paid for with my own money.)

To Tan Or Not To Tan? (I Have The Answer!)

Coppertone tan Jackie Danicki

When I was a little kid, we lived a couple of blocks from Lake Erie and were at the beach almost daily. I was brown as a berry all summer long – the photo at right was taken when I was about to turn two years old, and I’ve cropped out my white bum. I remember the coconut scent of Coppertone, but otherwise can’t really recall sunscreen being part of our daily lives. Then, when I was nine, we moved to the country. I begged my parents to spare me the horrors of day camp at the Y. So on their way to work in the morning, they’d drop me off at the city pool. I’d swim from 9AM till 2PM, then walk to the library and read until they picked me up after work. I was tan every summer.

jackie danicki age 17
Me, age 17

Later, as a teenager, I got a job at a tanning salon. Free, unlimited tanning was the only perk. I was tan year-round, for the most part.

Then I dropped out of college very early on and moved to England. I embraced the pallor of the natives and, for the decade I was over there, almost never sunbathed. When I moved back to the US, I continued to dodge the sun.

A few years ago, I started religiously applying sunblock every morning, terrified I had waited too long to start caring about my skin. But I relapsed in 2013 when I had a huge deck on which to lounge and soak up the sun while working and talking on the phone.

To this day, I love my lazy summer routine of not wearing makeup because I have a bit of natural color. And let’s be real: Most of us look so much better with a tan. I do, anyway.

jackie danicki
When I had a deck, summer 2013

Recently I’ve been struggling with my sun strategy. I know the dangers, both to my health and my long-term vanity. I can already see a few hyper-pigmentation issues on my face. But honestly, I kind of don’t care. I have an epic Florida vacation coming up, plus my best friend’s wedding in South Carolina, and I want to be tan for both of those events. I’ve even returned to the tanning bed for the first time in nearly 20 years. It has been pleasantly bizarre to go in for a mere eight minutes – the maximum allowed on the stand-up booth I prefer – and get a quick base tan. Back in MY day, you needed regular 30 minute sessions to get such color. (Worth noting: Swedish Beauty Fig Me Not Bronzer Tanning Lotion is pretty good and inexpensive if you get it on Amazon versus at the tanning salon.)

My old friend Garance Doré shared her thoughts on tanning today, and I was so pleased by her conclusion. It’s a lovely post, one I encourage you to read in full, but the money quote for me is this:

The moral is—there is no moral. The moral is that no matter what you do, every moment we live, we are getting older. And of course it’s great to take care of yourself and if protecting yourself from the sun helps you stay fresh, that’s great. I have friends who spent 20 years lounging in the sun and they have a little more sun damage, sure…but they wouldn’t take back those summers for anything in the world!

The moral is also that I know a lot of gorgeous women who look great with their little sun spots. They take good care of themselves, but don’t make a big deal about it. They accept themselves and adapt and live very well with those little marks that are simply proof of a full life…[N]o matter what we do, we’re all going to die.

I don’t know if my corpse will have a tan, but just for this summer, my living body does. That said, I’ll use an upcoming post to share some of my favorite SPFs for when I’m being more careful.

In the meantime, yes, I do have the answer to the tanning dilemma: You do you. I’ll do me. And remember: Nobody likes a scold, not even other scolds.