Multiuse products, revitalizing treatments and insider advice ensure a radiant look throughout the holidays and beyond.
By Lisa Marie Hart
Family gatherings, festive parties, seasonal soirees—the holidays are rife with opportunities to shine. But achieving that extra-special sparkle requires much more than manicured nails and a polished blowout; in fact, according to most beauty experts, the healthiest glow begins with nourished skin.
Industry professionals from high-end retailers and spas across Laguna Beach agree that sometimes, even beauty trends make sense. What’s more, the season’s top trends, tips and must-haves are falling in step with emerging lifestyle movements. Consistently health-conscious, Laguna locals are tweaking their beauty regimens to incorporate clean, natural products—a holistic approach to beauty that reflects a growing interest in long-term health solutions rather than overhyped, of-the-moment fixes.
Back to Basics
In the beauty world, the winter season is a time to repair, resurface and restore, “basically undoing all the fun we had during the summer,” says Laura Linsenmayer, owner of local retailer Roots The Beauty Underground. The damage done to skin and hair during a few carefree months at the beach can be staggering; the cooler seasons offer the chance to compensate for warm-weather neglect.
To combat the negative effects of summer, Dr. Monika Kiripolsky, a board-certified dermatologist at the recently opened Obagi Skin Health Institute on Pacific Coast Highway, emphasizes the significance of establishing a basic skin care routine, one that includes washing one’s face at least twice daily. She suggests adding to the routine an oil-control product with salicylic acid, a protective sunscreen and a nightly retinol product to prevent wrinkles, build collagen, tighten pores and reduce sun damage.
When building a skin care routine, it’s important to remember that skin responds best to natural ingredients. At Roots, Laura stocks the shelves with items she claims are “so clean you could eat them.” The shop’s beauty bounty includes organic skin care and fragrance lines, nontoxic makeup, aluminum-free deodorants, ammonia-free hair products, water-based nail polishes and soy oil nail polish removers.
Dry and damaged skin also benefits from the routine application of an exfoliating scrub. Skin care professionals note that chances are, most people should be exfoliating more frequently than they think they should. During winter, local experts tend to favor daily exfoliation for most clients to increase epidermal turnover and create a smoother, more even complexion.
After exfoliating, using a daily moisturizer with SPF protection will hasten the transition to blemish-free skin. One alternative to a traditional sunscreen is a tinted moisturizer, which typically combines SPF with foundation to provide both sun protection and blemish coverage.
This season, keeping it understated—whether with skin care or makeup—is in. “I’m into keeping [my beauty] routine simple with as few products as possible,” Monika notes. “Aim for a staple set of items that do five different things.”
At the forefront of Laura’s routine are oils. “Lately, it’s all about the beauty oils. That’s where you’re going to get results,” she says of the top-selling product. One of the shop’s most popular oils is the Dr. Alkaitis Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil, a serum that can be used on the scalp, face and body to deliver moisture, effectively transforming users’ skin tone and softness.
In keeping with the barely-there trend, beauty professionals advocate that women apply makeup with a lighter hand this season. Resist the urge to reach for the powder at the first sign of shine, and instead embrace a dewy glow. Those who crave coverage can try a fine dusting of a silica-based powder, like RMS Beauty’s cottony “Un” Powder, applied with a fan brush. These products, according to Laura, will help to set makeup without creating a caked-on look that actually emphasize creases. The most of-the-moment beauty look, she adds, is a luminous complexion accented by either bold eye makeup or a statement lip color, but never both.
And while the cooler seasons may be associated with heavier scents, less heady and more natural fragrances are on the rise. At Bubbles of Laguna Bath & Body Shop, Irish unisex line Inis receives rave reviews for its cool, refreshing Energy of the Sea scent. The shop’s other top seller, Coconut Spa’s pure virgin coconut oil, utilizes a common ingredient that has skyrocketed in popularity in recent months: “People are enjoying the health benefits of cooking with coconut oil and drinking coconut water, so this highest-grade, all-natural product fits right into their routine—and doubles as a pre-shampoo hair treatment,” Bubbles of Laguna owner Cathy Wilkinson explains.
Many beauty industry insiders swear by the age-old power of scent to transform mood. In fact, aromatherapy products can provide tremendous relief from holiday stress. Bubbles of Laguna’s all-natural Shower Bursts release infusions of essential oils when hit indirectly by water. Similarly, Laura looks forward to her nightly spray of floral essences from one of six Energy Mists by botanical alchemist Lotus Wei.
“It’s become a ritual for me,” says Laura, who uses the product as a natural sleep aid. “I associate the smell with bedtime, and it instantly sends me off to sleep.” The plant-based sprays also come in the forms of serums and ingestible elixirs.
In addition to products, many of Laguna’s industry professionals offer on-site treatments designed to address winter beauty woes. For a mid-season energy boost, Spa Montage at Montage Laguna Beach offers Laguna Beach Kur, a botanical treatment that tempers the effects of fatigue. After a detoxifying underwater massage, an invigorating wrap triggers the autoimmune system, resulting in “total surrender and ultimate relaxation,” Spa Montage Director Michael Conte says.
Rejuvenation is also the aim of this season’s most popular anti-aging treatments. Dr. Monika explains that many of Obagi’s patients have tried a multitude of topical anti-aging solutions, only to see little improvement to pigmentation irregularities including liver spots and melasma (a condition that causes dark patches on the face, often during pregnancy). “Corrective laser treatments like the intense pulse light remove years of sun spots or broken capillaries on the neck, decolletage, face or hands,” she says. “There is no [recovery] downtime, and [the process] really is effective.”
The Obagi team can extend these treatments to other typical problem areas such as the hands. “It used to be said that the eyes are the window to the soul, but the hands are the window to one’s true age—well, not anymore,” Monika explains. “We can correct this with filler treatments that restore lost volume to the backs of the hands, laser to remove sun spots and tighten the skin, and sclerotherapy [injections into the veins] to minimize any unsightly appearance.”
Meanwhile, a variety of local beauty retailers offer in-house customization services to ensure quality at-home care. Professional consultations—which often are complimentary—guarantee better fits between clients and products. “People come in all the time saying, ‘I read about this and I want to buy it,’ ” Laura says. “So many times I have to talk them out of it and find something more suitable, because it’s not the right product for them.”
Likewise, “You shouldn’t buy a skin cream because you like how it smells or how it feels on your face,” Monika says. “Unless a topical product has active ingredients with a distinct, scientifically supported purpose [for your needs], you should not be using it.”
During a consultation, request an on-site makeover. The changing of the seasons and fluctuations in weather signal the need to update skin care and makeup routines, and many local retailers and spas specialize in adapting trends to suit clients’ tastes and levels of dedication. Some professionals, like Laura at Roots, even offer to record makeovers so that clients can refer to the footage at home in the process of perfecting application and blending techniques.
Inside the Hotel Laguna, International Spa Laguna turns out some of the most alluring eyelash extensions in town, thanks to co-owner, lead esthetician and certified lash design expert Miki Garcia, whose custom creations have attracted clients from Canada to France. Miki utilizes top-of-the-line 3D-Beauty lashes and no-fume, formaldehyde-free adhesive to create personalized treatments that fulfill requests ranging from subtly fuller fringe to the coveted “Kardashian eyes.”
This season, beauty trends mirror continuing public interest in holistic wellness. Natural and organic products and anti-aging, corrective and rejuvenating treatments ensure lasting solutions that’ll leave Laguna locals glowing long after the holidays have passed. LBM