Written on October 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
You probably know Stacy London as the vivacious stylist on TLC’s hit show, What Not to Wear (the series finale aired this past Friday). But what you may not know is what drew London to the fashion industry in the first place. Turns out, she’s been battling a chronic autoimmune and skin disease—psoriasis—for the majority of her life and found comfort in sparkly, shiny pieces. Here, she opens up about her struggles with psoriasis and the ways in which she’s helping others also affected by it with the “Uncover Your Confidence” campaign, which features educational resources, style advice and a dermatologist finder for the estimated 7.5 million American men and women living with psoriasis. Bonus: she spills on her best beauty tips and recent hair change, too.
Tell us about your experience with psoriasis and how it’s affected your life?
“I was diagnosed when I was four, so it’s been in my life my whole life. As much as people know me for something completely different, it is very much a part of my identity. You know, the heartbreak of psoriasis is a well-known thing. Being diagnosed at the age of four, I really didn’t understand what was happening. I just knew there was something wrong with me because I had these bumps on the back of my ears. So it started as something that made me feel weird and certainly made me feel different than other kids. That is definitely something I started to internalize very early. As I got older, my skin got worse and by the time I was 11, I was basically covered from the neck down in red scales and it was a much harder time because at that age, I was conscious of what I looked like. I had very severe scalp psoriasis so I had to cut off all my hair. So here I was, a little girl with a crew cut wearing turtlenecks and long corduroy pants even in the summer just to hide. That’s when that feeling of really being different and having children and adults react badly to me, that I really started to suffer from it. You know psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. It takes consistent and constant management but also, it’s emotionally devastating. I think that definitely drew me to fashion. Because, feeling sort of like a monster, I wanted all things pretty and sparkly and shiny and perfect and what better place than fashion to find that? I can say now, I don’t think I thought that consciously at the time. It’s sort of a compensatory desire that I didn’t feel good about myself and my self esteem was very low that I gravitated to something that I thought would certainly make me feel better. But when I wrote about psoriasis in my book, the biggest thing for me and that I really empathize with is that you kind of give up when you have psoriasis and the idea that you are ruled by a disease rather than you having control over it. The idea specifically was to manifest this concept of empowerment by creating a style guide that is specific to people who may not care about showing off their psoriasis or may be looking to cover up their skin but to feel relevant and not necessarily trendy but modern and feel like they’re participating in the same fashion trends that other people are. So it’s a great topical guide to what’s going on with an eye on making sure you’re paying attention to materials that could irritate your skin or the length of a skirt that may be more appropriate if you want to cover your leg a little bit more; things through the lense of someone who has experienced psoriasis themselves and wanted style, not just to hide in but to feel beautiful in. Because I think I spent my childhood hiding in turtlenecks and long corduroys and really I wish I had known to use style to feel better not just as armor.”
Tell us more about the “Uncover Your Confidence” campaign?
“It consists of the style guide, one, but it also consists of the dermatologist finder which is about taking control. You know I have been in the care of many dermatologists for over 40 years and it took me a long time to realize that not all dermatologists specialize in psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease and an autoimmune disease. So it’s a much more complex situation. Part of getting the right kind of treatment is to see the right kind of doctor and dermatologist specifically. So one of the things we wanted to do was to help people find the right kind of dermatologist. Part of that idea is that we are asking you instead of learning helplessness, to learn hope and to embrace the idea that just because you may think somebody couldn’t help you the first time you went to visit a dermatologist, that doesn’t mean you saw the right one. The same thing with thinking about your style, like you can’t wear black because God forbid you have scalp psoriasis and it’s going to look like a snow storm hit your shoulders. The campaign offers ways in which to deal with these kinds of things instead of feeling like you have to give up; accepting the situation and then building creatively both your style and, in the process, creating more self-confidence.
Switching gears to beauty. How has the disease affected your beauty routine?
“It’s funny, you know I talk about covering up, and beauty plays such a significant part. It’s kind of ironic because you feel anything but beautiful with psoriasis. For me, one of the things I learned very early on is that I needed to get some sun. As long as I got a little bit of sun, it really improved my skin and my mood. I found that moisturizing creams were not as good as oils. Oils absorb into the skin better, especially when you’ve got really, really dried plaques that can crack and bleed. The other thing is just moisture, period. In the winter, especially when you have dry heat, humidifiers have been essential to me. It’s super important. Since it’s an autoimmune disease, there are other things that you can do just besides the moisture. You need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re eating properly; you need to exercise; you need to think holistically about your whole body.”
Do you have beauty products that help you feel confident when you’re having a bad day?
“Two favorites: Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil ($102, beautyhabit.com) and Radiant Light Serum ($98, beautyhabit.com). If I look super ruddy or flaky, it has worked miracles for me in terms of evening my skintone. The other thing I think is really important with psoriasis is it gets very red. So I recommend using a green tinted concealer to cut the red and then put your foundation over it. I find if I wear anything too orange-y, like an orange-y red lip, that makes my skin look even redder so I tend to go for blue-red tones if I’m going for a red lip. I will say at the moment I’ve been jonesing for By Terry lipsticks (prices vary, beautybar.com). The colors are so saturated and glorious. And I do love Giorgio Armani Blushing Fabric Liquid Blush ($39, giorgioarmanibeauty.com) in the peach shade, #3. It makes you look like your glowing from the outside in.”
You’ve recently made a major hair change, debuting lighter ends. Can we discuss?
“I cannot believe that this has taken hold like it has! I mean, do people know that Syria is happening? I’ve gotten really lovely notes like ‘Bravo!’ and then all these people are like, ‘What’s wrong with you? You’re going through a mid-life crisis.’ I’m telling you right here, right now, you have the exclusive: one, that picture is an Instagram picture. If you’ve heard, there are filters so it looks a little crazier in that picture than it actually is. Number two, I am having a mid-life renaissance and that is why I’m like, ‘It’s time for a change, why not?’”
Written on October 18, 2013 at 11:51 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
Ever since I read here that mascara formulas haven’t changed much in 50 years, it verified my suspicion that when it comes to lash lengtheners, the magic is in the wand. So when my go-to tube recently met its three-month expiration date, I began searching for the perfect replacement. I’ve been testing several but ended up feeling a lot like Goldilocks—one has too many bristles, the next doesn’t have enough; none of them were just right—until I came across Lorac Cobra Mascara ($20, loraccosmetics.com). The unique brush design mimics the shape of a cobra’s head: in addition to a subtle curve for extra lift and curl, it expands wider then tapers off at the end. The sides can be used for separating and defining while the tightly packed bristles offer buildable volume. It’s everything you want in a mascara all rolled into one. And although the formula is made up of the stand-by combo of wax and pigment, this one also has keratin and vitamin E to condition and lengthen your lashes. I never thought I’d be so comfortable putting a cobra head near my eye, but the results sure are charming.
Written on September 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
I’ve never had perfect skin but I’ve always tried to fake it. Armed with an arsenal of foundation, concealer and powder, I could apply my “no-makeup” makeup routine in my sleep. But one thing I’ve never added to the mix was a face primer. Though I’m addicted to eye shadow primer as mentioned here, most versions I’ve tried for the face have felt too greasy until I snagged Clinique Superprimer Universal Face Primer ($27, clinique.com) from the beauty closet. I tossed it in my makeup bag and smoothed it over my face after my moisturizer but before foundation. I was stunned by how hydrating and lightweight it felt. It evens out my skin texture without that heavy silicone feeling I’ve experienced in the past. My makeup goes on better and lasts longer with this as a base. I use the Universal shade, which is colorless, but it comes in five additional shades that help counteract specific issues like redness, sallowness and dullness. I may never feel like I have flawless skin (does anyone, really?) but I’m happy to keep fooling everyone with this complexion perfector.
Written on August 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm , by Fitness Magazine
The sunny months of summer are slowly dwindling down (wah!), and though we’ll miss our weekly escapes to the beach, we certainly won’t miss the frizz, sweat and slip-right-off-your-face makeup that comes along with them. So just in time for the last big weekend of the season, make sure your look stays put with these easy long-wear tips.
Go Prime Time:
While this step is more-often-than-not overlooked in most beauty routines, it’s an essential way to lock your makeup in place for a flawless finish. Apply a face primer in areas where excess oil develops throughout the day such as your T-zone. Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control ($42, sephora.com) tackles two issues at once: it makes sure your makeup has heat-proof longevity and helps banish any breakouts thanks to its salicylic-laced formula.
Next step, no creases! When you want to avoid that icky line of caked shadow on your lids, start with an eye shadow primer like cult favorite Urban Decay Cosmetics Original Primer Potion ($19, urbandecay.com). This makes shadow appear more vibrant and promises 24-plus hour wear. FITNESS’ associate beauty editor Molly swears by the shade Eden.
When the heat is on, skip the full coverage foundation and opt for a lighter version like a BB or CC cream that has skin-boosting benefits such as smoothing your complexion and adding instant radiance. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($35, clinique.com) is lightweight and oil-free, but still manages to mask imperfections. Plus, it protects skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Gel With It:
Pack away your powder blushes and choose a cream or gel consistency. They tend to last longer and offer a natural pop of color. Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée in Poppy Paradise ($24, sephora.com) gives your cheeks a pretty, dewy flush, and it lasts for up to 14 hours! It’s infused with 50% coconut water, so it feels nice and cool on those really hot days.
Locking your makeup in place is a step you can’t skip. While some setting powders cause skin to look dry and cakey, Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($34, sephora.com) does just the opposite. It regulates shine while still looking radiant.
Minimalism is key when it comes to eye makeup. Most times, a subtle winged look is all you need to feel pretty and polished, but the last thing you want is for your wing to go droopy. With Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($20, sephora.com) your look will stay sleek and smudge-proof for hours. We love the Cobalt shade!
Everyone dreads removing tough-to-budge waterproof mascaras. However, with the threat of raccoon eyes induced by sweat or a quick plunge in the pool looming, long-wear formulas are a must for keeping eye makeup in tact. Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara ($8, ulta.com) lengthens lashes and adds insane volume without running down your face mid-day.
When it comes to lips, keep it sheer. Try Dior Addict Lipstick in 643 Diablotine ($31, dior.com). The sheer poppy red gives a gorgeous wash of color without being too overwhelming. Lightly blot this on your lips and apply a lip balm like Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla Macadamia ($4, target.com) over for amped-up hydration.
Take It Off:
When the end of the dog day rolls around, reach for Almay Longwear & Waterproof Gentle Eye Makeup Remover ($7, ulta.com). This stuff instantly sweeps away hard-to-remove makeup without leaving the sensitive eye area irritated.
You’ve got the tips. Now, get inspired with these budge-proof summer makeup combos.
—Karee Hackel, beauty intern
Written on June 19, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Fitness Magazine
Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those girls lucky enough to breeze through their teenage years without breakouts. Once puberty hit, blackheads and pimples did too—with a vengeance. While Accutane helped for a few years in college, once the real stressors hit, my face broke out as if I had traveled back in time to visit my 16-year-old-self.
Fast-forward five years and my skin was in the same, sad shape. There were months when I saw barely-there blemishes, and others when I felt like craters took up mad real-estate on my face (attractive visual, I know). Tired of being a 20-something who had the skin of a pubescent teen, I enlisted the help of our beauty director, Heather Muir. She’s an encyclopedia of beauty knowledge, and after a quick chat about my skin-care regimen, I went home with new products to try and a facial appointment at the spa-to-the-stars Mario Badescu.
It’s been a few months since I started a new routine, and I’m happy to report nothing but glowing reviews! My skin will always need TLC, but it’s worth the work: I no longer need makeup to leave my apartment. Here’s what’s worked for me:
I rinse with Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam ($20, clinique.com) for a refreshing wakeup call. In the hot summer months, BB cream is my go-to coverup; I like Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector ($13, drugstores). If extra coverage is necessary, Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup ($27, clinique.com) does the trick. To treat flare-ups and dim redness, I’m obsessed with Almay Clear Complexion Concealer + Treatment Gel ($10, drugstores).
It’s critical that the makeup comes off before a killer sweat session. When I’m at SoulCycle, I use Clean and Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser ($4, drugstores).
I grab Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes ($8, drugstores) from my gym bag. I’m obsessed with the pink grapefruit scent!
If I’m taking a shower at night, I love having Mario Badescu’s Enzyme Cleansing Gel ($12, mariobadescu.com). The thick consistency makes me feel like I’m really getting out the gunk. If I’m not showering, I take the lazy-girl route and simply swipe with a wipe. Lucky for me, that’s totally OK: derms say that’s all I need. A quick dab of Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17, mariobadescu.com) after and I’m ready for a good dose of beauty sleep.
If I’m having a breakout, I immediately slap on Origins Out of Trouble 10-Minute Mask ($23, origins.com). If it’s general upkeep, I like Origins Clear Improvement ($23, origins.com) to open up my pores. Every Sunday, I use the Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush ($119, clarisonic.com), to take my skin straight to exfoliating heaven.
Facials! Justifying them to my no-frills boyfriend was a stretch at first, but having a professional do the painful-but-necessary extractions then smooth with specialized treatments has been the pore perfector I needed. But if the budget is too tight one month, my esthetician from Mario Badescu gave me these quick tips and product suggestions for an at-home spa session.
- Cleanse. Wash face and neck using a cleanser to clear skin and rid oil from the surface of the skin.
- Steam. Boil a pot of water. Remove from heat and pour into a wide bowl. Lean over the bowl so face is about 10 inches from the water. Hold for 3-5 minutes to relax pores and soften skin.
- Exfoliate. Apply a gentle face scrub to damp skin. Use fingertips to massage face in circular motions for 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water.
- Mask. Choose a mask that is appropriate for your skin type. Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
- Moisturize. Lightly apply eye cream, face and lip moisturizer.
Do you have any tried and true solutions that have changed your skin? Do tell!
—Samantha Shelton, assistant web editor
Written on April 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
Viewers of season four of The Voice have seen some major changes in front of the camera: Shakira and Usher have taken over for Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. But one thing that’s remained the same is behind the camera—Darcy Gilmore is still holding it down in the makeup department. As the head of makeup, Gilmore’s in charge of directing her team of artists and working with each contestant to achieve their star-worthy looks. Here, she lets us in on what it’s like to work on the hit show plus shares insider tips that you can use for yourself (no singing required).
What’s the atmosphere like backstage on The Voice? Do you get a lot of time to sit down with each contestant and figure out his or her look?
“Well, actually, we begin prepping long before they come back once the coaches have selected their teams. So, we already have an idea in advance of what we want to do as far as changing their looks and updating their looks. And we’re coming back now this week and shooting what’s called ‘the battles.’ So at this point, it’s a pretty big push into a new look. At least 50% into a more polished, artist look. So we’ve already done a lot of the footwork before they even walk in the door. And then as far as backstage goes, it’s pretty hectic but scheduled. It’s very calculated. There are no accidents when they actually get on TV completely camera ready. It’s completely organized.”
So does each contestant have a strong opinion of what they want their vibe to be based on their music style or do they kind of give you room for creativity to help them create their look?
“I think it’s 50/50, actually, because a lot of these artists already have been A&R’d [Artist & Repertoire] from other companies and a lot of these artists have had an image created for them. Once you start speaking to someone, it’s very clear how much is their own image and how much has been created for them so we’re very sensitive to that, and to where they want to go. I think people who are the most versatile with their looks benefit from our team, from the makeup, hair and wardrobe.”
Do you have any special insider tricks for making up their faces under such bright lights? Is their any highlighting or contouring?
“We have a laundry list of tricks that we won’t tell. But we will say that every inch of the skin gets covered with makeup including their hands and eyes and ears. They are polished and primed. It’s a very elaborate makeup application and we use several different companies, which we are blessed to be supported by. It’s super interactive. I’m really lucky because my team and I have such a good friendship on top of the work relationship so we’re always sharing secrets. And if somebody really likes a product then they buy seven of them and we pass them out to each one of the girls. It’s like a community. It’s almost like a sisterhood. It’s really great.”
Can you share any tricks for the average person who just wants to look great in pictures?
“Well, all of the products that we use, anybody can buy. We use a combination for body. We use Carlene K Cosmetics. She works for my team and she has her own body bronzer. It’s super simple to use. And if you want to break it down, you can use a moisturizer with it to cut it in half and then apply it. I would also suggest layering. Layering is a big thing we do so use a concealer and then face makeup, and then a matte powder all the way down the neckline. The number one makeup mistake is the face not matching the body. So you really have to marry the two. And I find that makeup transfers onto the wardrobe so I like to set it with powder. Get a big fluffy brush and bring that all the way down the neckline. That way there is no demarcation. That way you also don’t see makeup; you see just a flawless skin.”
What’s your favorite product to use?
“I love powder. I’m just a powder fool even though people are really afraid of it. Nowadays, powders are not the same as they use to be. I don’t think you have to be afraid of it. In fact, you can do an entire makeup of powder on men, which I love. A lot of our guys just get that. And that’s something to talk about there because a lot of men are afraid to wear makeup but if they get the right powder you literally can’t see it. I love Girlactik, too. I’ve been using the Sparkle Sets ($20, girlactik.com) and their Eyeliner ($19, girlactik.com).”
If you only had two minutes to do one thing to a contestant or client, what’s the one thing you would add to their look?
“If they have good skin, I’d probably use Stila Convertible Color ($25, stilacosmetics.com) because you can use that on the lips and cheeks. You have to have multipurpose products.”
Maria Menounos Talks Inexpensive Spring Trends, Keeping Her Workouts Fun and Her Best Kept Hair Secret
Written on March 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm , by Heather Muir
Extra co-host Maria Menounos is tearing up New York City promoting her new film, Adventures of Serial Buddies, a comedy out this week and her latest fashion project with Marshalls. In between her Better TV and Today Show segments, Menounos and I caught up on fashion, fitness and, of course, beauty.
What are you working on with Marshalls?
“I’ve been shopping at Marshalls for years thanks to my mom. I love that you can go there and get on-trend pieces for prices that won’t break the bank. Marshalls has these amazing buyers who make deals with companies so you get what’s in department stores, like bags from Italy, for less. You can buy three dresses instead of one, and saving money is really important. My savings has helped me own a property and make a movie! Plus each store offers something a little different.”
What are some of your favorite spring finds from Marshalls?
“This mustard dress that I’m wearing is one of them. They have tons of great wedges—black and nude, white bags, printed and lace tops and chambray blouses, which I love with white shorts and wedges.”
I know you’ve done DWTS and even WWE wrestling. What’s your favorite workout?
“I do this all day [running from one gig to the next]! Sometimes I play basketball with a bunch of guys. I recently took a Spin class, which I loved but thought was really hard. And once, I took this drum class, where we were doing squats the whole time. I like to make my workouts fun so I don’t feel like it’s work. And speaking of WWE, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I got a trainer and learned how to wrestle. They were shocked.”
What’s your go-to healthy snack?
“Rickland Orchards granola bars—they’re really yummy and easy to eat on the go.” (Menounos is a spokeswoman for the company.)
Your hair and makeup look gorgeous. Any tips to share?
“I take off my makeup off every night, even when I’m working late and I’m on my computer answering emails in bed until 1 in the morning. The Neutrogena face wipes are my favorite. And before bed, I use the Alterna Caviar Overnight Hair Rescue to keep my hair soft and looking healthy.”
Girls’ Star Allison Williams Spills on Her Hit Show, Her Skin-care Routine and Her Obsession with SoulCycle
Written on February 8, 2013 at 11:32 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
Breaking beauty news: HBO’s Girls’ star Allison Williams was just crowned the new face of Simple Skincare. Let’s just take a moment to talk about her shiny, perfect hair, her gorgeous smile and her fluttery long lashes. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about the insider beauty secrets she picked up in hair and makeup, her favorite workouts and what’s it’s like to work on one of the hottest shows in television. Watch my interview here!
Written on February 8, 2013 at 10:42 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, there’s no better time to get all romantic and wear the most classic color in the beauty world: red (obvi). From sheer cherry to true red to vampy oxblood, there’s a shade for everyone. Here, three sexy ways to wear it.
On your lips for day:
Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Mightiest Maraschino ($16, clinique.com)
“After trying red after red, this one is now my favorite go-to red lipstick. The juicy cherry color—it’s the perfect combo of red and pink—pops against my ivory skin tone. The subtle shine makes it feel fresh and less severe than a matte lipstick. Plus, the hydrating formula keeps my lips feeling soft all day—very kissable!”
-Molly Ritterbeck, associate beauty editor
On your lips for night:
L’Oréal Paris Infallible 8hr Lip Gloss in Cherry Flash ($10, lorealparis.com)
“I usually stay away from red because it can be a little tricky to pull off, but this sheer gloss makes it so easy. It’s so long-lasting—perfect for long nights when re-applying is not always convenient. The vibrant color stays true and leaves my lips looking full and shiny.”
-Jessica Carter, beauty intern
On your nails:
Kevyn Aucoin The Nail Lacquer in Blood Roses ($26, Barney’s stores)
“I was never a huge fan of red nails until I swiped on this deep berry plum polish. It has a black base so it’s a little grungier than most red shades. I wear two coats of it on short, squoval nails and feel instantly chic.”
-Heather Muir, beauty director
Written on January 10, 2013 at 11:29 am , by Fitness Magazine
Compiling the ultimate beauty-equipped gym bag can be tricky, especially if you exercise before work or during your lunch break. Here’s a roundup of products that keep my bag light while still meeting all of my beauty needs.
I wash my hair only a few times each week, but sometimes I’m left with no choice (like after Spinning). Bumble and bumble’s Be Color Minded Kit ($28, Sephora) is great for dire-wash situations since the 2-ounce shampoo, conditioner and styling balm are all free of sulfates and harsh chemicals that can dry out hair when used often. And for days when my hair needs a little pick-me-up, dry shampoo is my hero. I keep a mini can of Redken Powder Refresh 01 ($8, redken.com for salons) in my bag at all times. I love that it adds volume with leaving an annoying white residue.
If your gym’s locker room doesn’t provide a blow dryer, look for a lightweight folding one, such as the X5 Superlite Mini Nano Tourmaline & Ionic Dual Voltage Travel Dryer ($49.99, Folica.com). This packs a surprisingly powerful blast despite its small size.
Moisturizing after a shower is an absolute must (especially during the winter months), so I always make sure to keep mini bottles of body lotion on hand. Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion costs only $1.99 (burtsbees.com) for the travel size and leaves skin super soft. It smells fresh, and its lightweight formula won’t leave your skin slick or sticky.
If you don’t want to bring your entire stash of makeup with you, invest in an interchangeable palette, like Bobbi Brown 3-Pan Palette ($10, Bobbibrown.com), which allows you to swap out blush and shadow colors according to your look that day. And, if you have any contact lens cases lying around, here’s a trick: fill one side with your favorite face cream and the other with foundation. This way, you don’t have to miss out on your must-haves in order to downsize.
—Jillian Ruffo, beauty intern