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Karina Smirnoff: How She Stays So Fit Plus Her Best Beauty Secrets

Written on June 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by

Photos Courtesy of Karina Smirnoff

As a pro dancer on ABC’s hit show, Dancing with the Stars, Karina Smirnoff is an expert on two of our favorite things: fitness and beauty. As she prances around the dance floor making a fast-paced foxtrot look easy, she’s glammed out in full hair, makeup and of course, bronzer from head-to-toe. We recently grabbed a few minutes with the Ukrainian stunner to chat about how she stays camera-ready through tough routines and how she likes to stay fit off the dance floor.

You have to keep your skin camera-ready through sweaty performances. What’s your skincare routine like?

“Yes, the sweat is not only mine, it’s usually your partner’s too! It’s definitely not the most glamorous part of the show but in the very first season of DWTS, my skin actually started breaking out pretty badly because you have heavy makeup on for hours, especially on the day of the show. We get our makeup done at six, seven or eight in the morning and we don’t go live until five p.m. and then comes touch-ups, where they put more and more on you. So my skin was breaking out really badly. But you find a way to keep it healthy and clean and right now, I’m obsessed with the Apothederm Acne Clarifying Treatment ($33, apothederm.com). I use it two to three times a week during the season and it keeps the blemishes away. I always wash my skin when I’m off the air and try to take off all the makeup. I use an exfoliant or the Clarisonic brush (prices vary, clarisonic.com), which is amazing because all you do is hold it to your skin and it does the job. There are different types of cleansers that have some parabens in them but Apothederm doesn’t and it’s incredible. It lifts all of the makeup off of your skin. And if you use it with the Clarisonic, which you don’t have do it every day but maybe once or twice a week, it gets out everything from inside the pores as well. I love when you have time off and you can use a mask and sometimes, I even make my own mask when I go to a sauna. I mix salt with honey and use it as an exfoliant on my skin but its also very moisturizing because of the honey.”

You wear some pretty intricate hairstyles on the show. Do you have any tips for keeping them in place during such active performances?
“Yes, besides hairpins and bobby pins, they have these little metal clips with teeth (similar here: L. Erickson Mini Mini Metal Jaw 8-Pack, $18, franceluxe.com) and they are the size of your pinky nail and they hold onto your hair so well to keep it in place. And not to mention, the excessive amount of hairspray! I can’t go out to places that have live fire just for the sake of catching my hair on fire!”

Everyone on the show is so bronzed! What is the self-tanning routine like?
“We get spray tanned on Sundays for the show during the season with a great company called South Seas Tanning, which gets you darker but it doesn’t get you nearly as dark as what we actually look like on the show. So there are different bronzers that I mix to create my own concoction for the body and you put it on and it dries so it doesn’t get on your clothes. It gives you that shimmery, glowing skin. I mix Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan (available in the UK, boots.com) with South Seas Beach Bling Shimmer Lotion ($18, southseas.com), that’s the one that keeps it dry and then I add LORAC TANtalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer ($32, loraccosmetics.com). I mix it all in my hands. I wear gloves because it’s easier and you don’t have to wash your hands after and then you just put it all over! I love to look tan. But the funny part is I never spray tan my face, I only spray tan my body so you kind of have the floating head when the face is pale against the rest of the body, but I don’t want to clog my pores.”

The show is so glamorous but on a day when you’re not feeling your best, what’s one beauty move you do to boost your confidence?
“Oh, well, I always believe that a great pair of heels and mascara is all a girl needs to feel sexy!”

What’s your favorite mascara?
“I really like the new Blinc Mascara ($26, sephora.com). It’s not like a normal mascara. This one has an ingredient [tube-technology] so when you wash it off, you don’t get raccoon eyes. It gets soft and just comes right off like gel. I also like Marc Jacobs Gel Definition Mascara ($26, sephora.com) and Stila mascaras ($22 each, stilacosmetics.com). L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Power Volume 24H Mascara ($8, lorealparisusa.com) is great, too. It makes your eyelashes look twice as long!”

So when you’re not dancing, how do you like to stay in shape? What are your favorite workouts?
“I do everything, from martial arts to Krav Maga, to yoga to jogging, running, hiking. I like to spice it up and keep it different every time because I get bored really fast. And the ADD doesn’t help that either! So I try to do different stuff every time but to me, the best workout is dancing. That’s why I have the DanceFIT-KS. It’s a dance-inspired workout because it’s moves that dancers use to keep in shape and no matter how often you do it, your body never gets used to it because you never use the same muscles twice. We do dance camps, too and we take it to different hotels in the summer. It’s a win-win situation, with the travel, the amazing vacations, you get to work out, stay in shape, meet new people.”

Do you have any favorite snacks that you like to fuel up with before a workout or performance?
“I do but when you perform and dance you don’t want to feel full. Me, personally, when I eat, all I want to do is sit on the couch with the remote control. I get into the couch potato mode. And when I dance I don’t want to feel hungry but I want to feel light and alert. So I try to snack on things like pineapple or watermelon because they’re diuretic and go right through your system. I eat nuts a lot, like walnuts because they are a brain food and we could all use a little brain food! Sometimes I even do dried cranberries because they are a great source of energy. And you can never go wrong with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is a divine food.”

Vanessa Williams’ Eye-Brightening Secrets and Favorite Workouts

Written on June 17, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Photo Credit: Mark Von Holden/AP Images for Clear Eyes

Vanessa Williams is a busy bee. Not only is she an actress, singer, dancer, author and mother of four, she was recently named the spokesperson for Clear Eyes. I chatted with her about how she does it all—from looking gorg in front of the camera to staying fit despite her crazy schedule.

How were you introduced to Clear Eyes’ products?  Why do you love them?  
“I was introduced through my makeup artist, Sam Fine, because we always start with Clear Eyes’ drops and then we continue with the makeup process, which usually takes about an hour or so. It’s all beauty-related. Between fashion shoots, camerawork and being in front of the lens, it’s important for me to use Clear Eyes.  And it’s not only photo shoots, but any kind of film work where you’re working late hours, and supposed to be in the same scene and not make it look like you’re still working at two in the morning. So they definitely come in handy; they’re a necessity for me.”

Speaking of eyes, yours are stunning! Do you have any makeup tricks to complement them?
“One of my tricks is using a beige or white pencil on the inside of the eye. That opens up your eyes and makes them look fresh. I use white on stage just because I can use that for the distance. I think it depends on what environment you are in, but white makes the eyes pop and beige makes them look natural. It’s one of those foolproof guarantees. I’ve got the beige pencil traveling with me in my bag.”

Our readers are all about staying in shape. What’s your favorite way?
“Right now, I’m doing mixed martial arts at Westchester MMA, which I started in the fall. For the first half, it’s a cardio fit class, and then you put your boxing gloves on and work with a heavy bag about six foot tall. I do combinations: kicks, switch kicks, hooks and upper cuts. It’s fantastic. I do rounds of it, and between I also jump rope and run around the room, so it’s nice. Also, in Los Angeles, I use the program Drenched. The studio is called Body Theory, so it’s a cardio kick boxing class. I also do yoga, Alvin Ailey and Zumba classes. And when I don’t have anything, or when I’m traveling, I just jump on the treadmill for an hour and use some hand weights.  I’ve just got to do something. Especially the older you get, you lose muscle tone so easily, and you just can’t afford to take any time off.”

What’s your favorite healthy snack? 
“My favorite is Skinny Pop Popcorn, which I’ve been eating for about a year and a half now. I love popcorn, and it’s a guilt-free kind of thing. I can eat the whole bag, which has zero fat and still tastes delicious. It doesn’t taste like styrofoam; it tastes like really good popcorn with just enough salt.”

 

—Katelyn Blough, beauty intern

Actress Christine Taylor Opens Up About Going Organic and Being The Face of Nourish (A New Organic Beauty Line)

Written on May 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm , by

You probably know Christine Taylor from her roles in laugh-out-loud movies like Dodgeball: a True Underdog Story and Zoolander (and even as Melody from the Nickelodeon TV show, Hey Dude), but off camera, she’s spreading her passion for health and wellness to everyone around her. As the spokesperson for the 100% USDA certified organic beauty line, Nourish, she’s sharing her personal journey of integrating better health into her family’s lifestyle and encouraging others to live greener. Here, she shares her story and secrets to staying fit and keeping her family healthy.

What interested you about Nourish?
“Well, when I had my children, I started to look at labels more. I was always health conscious about food and I would try to buy organic and eat as cleanly as possible, but when I had these little babies, I was all about looking at the labels of the creams and the lotions and shampoos and I didn’t want any chemicals. It really took me a while to connect the dots that what you’re putting on your body is just as important as what you’re putting in your body. So when Nourish came along, it was one of those stories where I got to meet the brains and the incredible guys behind it and we just clicked. It was amazing to me because they put these products in front of me, which are packaged beautifully. The girl in me loves the pretty packaging but nine times out of ten, that pretty packaging would be terrible and wouldn’t work well. So when I sat down to look at these products, they were beautiful to look at.  The product themselves work extremely well. And the big kicker for me: each product is under ten dollars, which is unheard of. At least for me, particularly for an organic product, it was music to my ears because I felt that this is a great way to make organic products accessible to everyone. And it’s USDA certified, which is important because something that I’ve learned is that consumers can get tricked when they hear something is all natural. Well, natural is very different from organic. Natural just means it could have a few natural products in it, whereas organic means everything has to be organic especially with the USDA seal. I think it just gives me complete peace of mind. It’s gentle enough for the kids and my whole family can use it.”

Do you have a favorite product in the line?
“I’m a fan of their Body Butter ($10, nourishorganic.com). I have naturally dry skin and living in New York in the wintertime my skin gets really dry. The fresh fig is my favorite scent. I love it because I can just put it on my feet, hands and cuticles before I go to bed. And it’s not so greasy that you get it all over your sheets. It actually really saturates your skin and you just wake up with sweet-smelling, soft hands like little baby skin.”

When it comes to beauty, do you have any great tips to share?
“Something that I’ve learned along the way, my cardinal rule, is a good clean face. I just feel like keeping your skin clean is one of the most important things. I’ll never fall asleep with makeup on or skip washing my face in the morning. Those are two of the most important things to start and finish your day with from a beauty perspective and an anti-aging perspective. Another thing that I’ve joked about forever is sleep. It’s one of my greatest beauty tips. I don’t get enough of it, but I always feel like it makes a huge difference.”

How do you incorporate healthy eating into your household?
“My daughter, who is now 11, made the decision at 7 that she was going to be a vegetarian. It was over the summer. We were on a vacation and we were at barns and farms. There were lots of chickens. She spent all of this time with the animals and came home and we went to a barbeque and she connected the dots that the barbeque chicken was the same as the cute chickens she was playing with; and she was really firm about it and said I don’t want to eat it anymore. So as a parent, I was at a time in my life where I just wasn’t as interested in meat. So I think when she made that decision, I naturally had been gravitating toward natural plant-based foods and greens. And I realized that if my daughter wants to do this, I would have to get a little bit more proactive about what’s healthy and what are good ways for her to get protein because she can’t just be a carbotarian. So I just figured out ways to get protein in her. I’m not a chef or anything so it was a fun project for me to take on. I got really interested in the foods that we haven’t been used to eating like beans and brown rice. So everything was just sort of just cleaning up in the house as far as what was in the cabinets. I still have two kids and we eat treats, but I thought it was just important for us to start as a family integrating overall health and wellness.”

Do you have any favorite on-the-go snacks for the kids?
“Absolutely! I wish I could tell you that when you open up the fridge, it’s perfect and that you see green. Those are all in there but the reality is that we do a lot of driving. You know, I take the kids back and forth to school, so we have to have snacks. One of the best things that I’ve found for a quick snack is edamame. It’s a little protein that can fill you up a little bit. And for the munchie stuff, I just try to go more organic with those things because I think that kids want to have something a little crunchy. So instead of getting the overly processed, I’ll try to find something at Whole Foods that’s more organic and maybe has less sugar. But the truth of the matter is, I have two very normal kids.”

You obviously have a busy schedule as a working mom. Are you able to find the time to workout?
I feel like I need to carve out time during the week. When the kids are in school, it’s easy. I’m a big yoga person, I love yoga and I do two different kinds. I do a real sweaty kind of powerful yoga. You get this great workout. It’s exhausting and I’m sore so that’s one of my favorites to do. And the other one is Kundalini yoga. For me, it’s very meditative. Yes, you’re in poses but it’s a very different kind of yoga. It’s an important thing for the body, mind and soul. It’s not as sweaty or strenuous as power yoga. And because I have two little kids and a busy life and a lot going on, it really centers me and I feel like that’s the biggest gift that I can give to myself. If I can get one of those sessions in a week and then add to it a couple of the power yoga sessions then that’s the best or the most that I can ask for. And when the weather is nice, I like hiking and playing tennis. I love being outside. In the summertime, I like swimming and getting in the water as well.”