The Golden Globes are fast approaching next week-end and the Oscars will be hot on their heels – awards season is upon us in Los Angeles. I will be watching from the comfort of my couch, cocktail in hand, and a girlfriend or two to comment on the attires – by far the most fun part of these endless telecasts. My biggest decisions will involve which sweat pants to don and what nosh to offer.
If you are attending, though, at this point you will be knee-deep in picking dresses and planning your beauty routine. If you think that looking that perfect and polished comes natural even to the most beautiful (and/or botox’ed and retouched) women on the planet, think again.
Many of these women have already booked time with renowned estheticians all over town, among them Ms. Vicky Cooper.
Ms. Cooper had a salon in the center of Malibu for more than two decades which she closed a few years ago, to dedicate herself to the cosmetics line she created and to take life a little bit slower. But her die-hard clientele would not take no for an answer, so Vicky will be busier than usual this awards season.
Who best to ask a few questions on skin care? How to look after skin that’s been around for half a century? What to be done at this stage in the game – short of radical intervention?(which this particular blogger is very much on the fence about).
Before we even started talking, Ms. Cooper sent me a mask from her Ecologica line. “Follow the instructions to the letter and then let me know what you think” she wrote “This is my most popular product.” And I could see why.
This would be the right time to inform readers that Campari and Sofa does get regular solicitations. Most of them are not followed up because they are of no interest to us or they are not the right product – if we do choose to write about something it’s because we happened upon it quite unsolicited or were very impressed. Either way, we do not accept compensation.
But back to the mask. I mixed the gel-like substance and the powder as instructed and applied it to my face with the brush that came in the package. The consistency is clear and not too thick – for the first few minutes at least. After a while, I felt my skin being literally pulled, a slight (but not alarming) throbbing sensation (sign of increased vascular activity) and, in the interest of documentation, I even took pictures of myself. Forgive me for not sharing them but what is left of my vanity prevents me from showing what I would look like after a skin graft! So I lied back for about 30 minutes and then I washed it off gently.
My skepticism towards beauty products that promise to make you look younger is limitless. I know it’s not going to happen – but this mask did make my skin look smoother (it contains enzymes and also has exfoliant properties). What it also did was make my face look tighter and gave me a pleasant rosy complexion. Best of all, the effects lasted the whole day, making it perfect for a hot date or an important day or night out.
Talking to Vicky after my first close encounter with her mask, I came to find out that the line of products she sells under the name Ecologica was completely devised by her and is 100% natural, meaning it does not contain synthetics ingredients, nor is it tested on animals.
Ecologica was born 20 years ago, after Vicky’s extensive bio-chemistry experience and research for Paul Mitchell and Aveda.
“Whether you have oily or dry skin, or anything in between, the main problem of mature skin is lack of hydration” Vicky told me “A dehydrated skin will look sallow and papery. You want to make sure you are using a water retaining moisturizer, possibly with hyaluronic acid which plumps up the cells and helps offset the loss of collagen. For optimal hydration, I use essential oils in my products as well”.
Many of us tend to be obsessed with the fine lines and wrinkles around our eyes and might have a tendency to pile on the eye cream.
“Wrong!” Vicky told me “Always use a tiny amount and make sure you are patting it along the cheekbones. Too much cream around the eye socket can have the opposite effect and cause inflammation and swelling, and even blockage of the tear ducts”.
I haven’t tried any other Ecologica products besides the exfoliating mask but I will be sure to give them a shot as soon as part of a vague effort of taking even better care of myself.
My other skin related resolution is to drink more water during the day. There is no scientific evidence your skin is rehydrated from drinking half a gallon of water a day but I have noticed that I when I drink more, my skin is smoother. So I am sticking to my very empirical method. And, although, it’s a bit late in the day, I have given sunbathing a permanent rest – living a in a sun drenched climate, it’s impossible to reach the state of greenish pallor that London or Milan yielded every winter anyway.
As I get older, I am drawn to fewer beauty products than when my skin had no wrinkles. Sleep, proper nutrition, a solid skincare routine, no sun and a few facials a year are all that is needed. Until, or unless, you decided more drastic measures are needed.
But the best (and cheapest) advice of all comes compliments of Catherine Deneuve who was fond of replying when asked for the secret to her youthful appearance: “I sleep 9 hours a night and put on 5 pounds after I reached 40”.