Red Eye Flights

On Friday, I left DC and made my way to the amazing island that is Tinos, in the Cyclades. This is a 24-hour journey door to door… and it is worth every minute of the trip. I arrived on Tinos on Saturday 18:30 pm Greek time, on my birthday, dropped off my bags, showered, and headed to an amazing birthday dinner. I had no time for jet lag, no time for red eyes.

On Friday, I left DC and made my way to the amazing island that is Tinos, in the Cyclades. This is a 24-hour journey door to door… and it is worth every minute of the trip. I arrived on Tinos on Saturday 18:30 pm Greek time, on my birthday, dropped off my bags, showered, and headed to an amazing birthday dinner. I had no time for jet lag, no time for red eyes.

Here is how I prepared for the journey, and for my birthday dinner.

  1. The minute I get on the plane, I go (or try to) to sleep. A glass of champagne or wine before we take off, but nothing as soon as my seat can reline. No movie, no dinner. Every minute counts.
  2. My favorite overnight travel outfit is a black jersey dress that looks like a class black dress and is as comfortable at a nightgown.
  3. Soft socks. I never wear socks, except when working out or on an overnight flight. Cold toes are the number one thing that will keep me awake. My favorite pair is from Life Is Good, super soft, and fuchsia pink.
  4. An eye mask. This does two things: it tells flight attendants you are out for the night and they better not wake you; and it actually helps filter the light out and enhances sleep. A silk one is kindest on my skin.
  5. My favorite mask, by Alchimie Forever of course (Kantic Brightening moisture mask). I made the travel size for selfish reasons; it meets the FSA travel size requirements and both seals in moisture and protects me from the deadly “airplane air.”
  6. Eye drops. There is a reason these overnight flights are called red-eyes. I am fond of Similasan Dry Eye Relief, but whatever you favorite brand is will work.
  7. I avoid makeup other than mascara and lipstick. Skin makeup (concealer, foundation, powder), travels quite poorly, and ends up making skin feel dryer and more uncomfortable.
  8. A travel toothbrush and toothpaste. A must in the morning before getting off the plane. Nothing like a clean mouth to make one feel civilized. Add a bright lipstick, and your day is off to the perfect start.
  9. A bottle of water. Other than cold toes, being thirsty will keep me awake and uncomfortable. I like to flavor mine with Super Orange Emergen-C. It helps keep me healthy too…
  10. A smile. Delays, cancellations, just the fact of flying overnight can be taxing. A smile will make the entire experience more pleasurable. For yourself and for those around you.

And well, when I land in Athens, pick up my bags, and tell the cab driver to take me to the Port of Rafina, well, then life is good regardless of any of the above traveling tips!

Filles de dermo – derrière le rideau

Quel est le comble pour une fille de dermatologue? Découvrez le bêtisier des sœurs Polla qui testent des soins à Forever Institut.

Quel est le comble pour une fille de dermatologue ? Avoir de l’acné ? Attraper un coup de soleil ? Oui, et oui ! Adolescente, j’ai passé des heures jubilatoires devant le miroir à presser mes boutons et extraire mes points noirs alors que je savais pertinemment qu’il ne faut surtout pas y toucher – au risque de marquer sa peau de vilaines cicatrices. Je me rappelle également de concours de bronzage que nous faisions avec ma grande sœur Ada, sur les plages de Grèce et d’Italie dans les années 90. Aujourd’hui encore, il m’arrive de voir Roxane, notre cadette, rouge écrevisse en rentrant d’une randonnée en montagne sans crème solaire.

Ne nous arrêtons pas en si bon chemin. Comme j’adore les bêtisiers, je vous en ai compilé un des sœurs Polla qui se font faire des soins à Forever Institut.

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Roxane

Prête à tester l’épilation laser du maillot, Roxane applique religieusement la crème anesthésiante sur la zone en question, une heure avant la séance. Une fois installée en cabine laser, l’esthéticienne s’apprête à retirer la crème et constate que Roxane n’a pas pensé à se raser avant. Ses poils étaient bien anesthésiés 😉 mais sa peau en revanche… aïe !

Moralité : la consultation obligatoire que nous proposons avant d’entamer une épilation laser est utile, même pour ceux et celles qui pensent tout savoir sur la procédure !

Rachel

Toujours dans le contexte de l’épilation laser, mais des demi-jambes cette fois-ci. Avant la séance, l’esthéticienne demande à Rachel si elle est allée au soleil récemment. La réponse est rapide et assurée : non, pas de vacances à la plage ces dernières semaines. Après le traitement laser, Rachel constate des marques de brûlures sur sa peau. En y réfléchissant bien… elle admet qu’elle court au bord du lac trois fois par semaine en short.

Moralité : l’exposition solaire, ça n’arrive pas qu’en maillot de bain au bord de la mer !

Cyrille

Il y a quelques années, j’ai voulu tester le laser fractionné Fraxel pour mon visage. Habituellement, ce traitement se réalise en plusieurs passages. Le thérapeute quadrille la peau, en passant la pièce à main horizontalement, puis verticalement, puis en diagonale, pour que les rayons laser pixelisés traitent la peau de manière uniforme. Mais moi j’ai insisté pour que mon thérapeute ne fasse qu’un seul passage, par crainte que ma peau ne réagisse trop fort au traitement. Résultat : je me suis retrouvée avec une peau zébrée. Des bandes blanches entre des bandes rouges.

Moralité : ce n’est pas parce que tu es la fille du dermatologue que tu connais mieux les traitements que les thérapeutes ; il faut TOUJOURS écouter les professionnels !

Ada

Rien à redire… notre grande sœur – comme tous les aînés – est exemplaire 🙂 L’incroyable, dans son cas, c’est que malgré la panoplie complète de soins qu’on propose à l’institut, elle ne fait que du Botox. Pas de lasers, pas de peelings, pas d’acide hyaluronique, pas de traitements raffermissant – même pas de massages. Pour moi, ça c’est un comble !

Moralité : les produits Alchimie Forever qu’elle utilise tous les jours depuis 15 ans ont une efficacité prouvée !

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Interview de Christophe Durand

Coiffeur et maquilleur de renom, fondateur du Bal des Créateurs, Christophe Durand est un homme d’exception. De grandes marques telles que Chopard et Tag Heuer lui font confiance pour leurs pubs. De grandes personnalités telles qu’Eva Herzigova, Tiger Woods ou encore Emmanuelle Seigner lui font confiance pour leur mise en beauté.

Les liens d’amitié entre Christophe et la famille Polla remontent à bien longtemps. Il a d’ailleurs repris les anciens locaux d’Analix Forever pour y créer La Bal, et nous avons eu la chance de collaborer avec lui à Forever Institut pour des shootings photo et un atelier sur les tendances. Le mois passé, pendant qu’il sublimait ma coupe de cheveux, j’en ai profité pour l’interviewer sur notre sujet préféré… la beauté !

Est-ce que ton sens de l’esthétique influence ton rapport au monde ?

De manière générale, je pense que l’apparence et l’esthétique influencent le monde et les rapports humains. C’est une évidence ; et pourtant nombreux sont ceux qui refusent de l’admettre. Lorsque deux personnes sont attirées l’une par l’autre et se lient – professionnellement, socialement ou amoureusement – elles parlent de « feeling ». Selon moi, ce « feeling » passe immanquablement par une sorte d’attraction physique.

Quels types de beautés te touchent ?

Je suis sensible à la décoration d’intérieur des lieux que je fréquente, à l’architecture des villes dans lesquelles je séjourne. J’aime la beauté simple ; je n’aime pas le chaos dans l’esthétique – ça me fatigue !

Je suis touché par la beauté d’une personne lorsqu’elle dégage un charisme, une identité. La beauté se dégage dans les aspérités d’un visage. Il n’y a rien de plus ennuyant selon moi qu’une physionomie parfaite.

L’une des devises de Forever est « Looking good means feeling good means doing good ». Qu’est-ce que cette phrase t’évoque ? 

Cette phrase me plaît, mais instinctivement je changerais l’ordre des messages : feeling good means looking good. Imagine deux hommes aux traits ressemblants, portant le même t-shirt blanc. L’homme qui se sent bien dans sa peau sera beaucoup plus beau que celui qui n’est pas épanoui.

Que fais-tu pour te sentir beau ?

Je prends du temps pour moi et mon bien-être : je fais du sport, un hammam, je marche dans la nature, je fais l’amour … Les jours où je m’accorde ce temps, je me sens automatiquement plus séduisant.

Parle-moi de ton expérience avec la clientèle masculine.

De plus en plus d’hommes font des soins esthétiques (teintures, épilations, manucure, injections, chirurgie…) mais ils ne veulent toujours pas que ça se sache, ni que ça se voie. Notre société a créé un carcan autour de l’expression de la masculinité. Prendre soin de soi, faire des soins esthétiques est synonyme de vulnérabilité. Donc pour s’adresser aux hommes il faut je pense un langage hyper masculin et une discrétion absolue.

Et toi, as-tu déjà fait des soins esthétiques ?

J’ai fait des traitements laser à Forever Institut pour effacer mes taches brunes sur le visage et sur les mains. Je trouvais qu’elles me donnaient l’air âgé. Je n’en dirai pas plus…

Pour moi, le plus dur dans le fait de vieillir a été l’apparition des cheveux gris. J’ai tenté la teinture, mais c’était une catastrophe ! Ça me donnait l’air « fake ». Et un homme qui perd son naturel, c’est dérangeant. J’assume donc mes cheveux gris, mais pour ne pas avoir l’air d’un « papi », il faut que ma coupe soit absolument parfaite. Aucun écart n’est permis.

Christophe Durand

Et puis avec l’âge j’ai perdu mes cils. Ça aussi a été difficile. Je ne reconnaissais plus mon regard. Mes longs cils noirs, parfaitement recourbés, étaient ma signature. Récemment j’ai déniché un produit (Revitalash) qui les fait repousser. J’ai retrouvé un regard qui me correspond.

Spoiler alert

Cet été Christophe et son équipe lancent Le Bal des Créateurs « on tour » – un van de collection qui propose tous leurs services (coiffure, maquillage, relooking) dans un espace itinérant et privatisable. On adore déjà !

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We want it all!

Part of our vision when my sisters and I created Forever Boutique was to address the wishes of those who want it all… champagne & detox; career & family; busy & tranquil; aesthetic medicine & natural results. And I can definitely relate to that kind of woman! 

Part of our vision when my sisters and I created Forever Boutique was to address the wishes of those who want it all… champagne & detox; career & family; busy & tranquil; aesthetic medicine & natural results. And I can definitely relate to that kind of woman!

Balance is one of my core values and needs. In all aspects of my life I seek a subtle equilibrium, and more precisely one that enables me to enjoy the 3 facets of my being – the mother, the woman (by that I mean the lover & friend) and the professional. The treatments that we selected at Forever Boutique are what we call « lunch-time » beauty procedures: quick, non-invasive and super efficient. Thirty minutes for a wow effect that makes us look radiant, relaxed and fresh, in spite of our busy lifestyles.

We created our beauty menu as one that provides happiness to everyone. Whether you want super plumped, Hollywood-style lips or a natural sexy look; whether you want a smooth forehead or Botox that remains super light; whether you want a deep-cleanse or a chemical peel for an instant glow; we adapt our treatments and product concentrations to your needs.

Another way I find balance in my life is by alternating intense and productive schedules with moments of tranquility that replenish my inner energies. This summer, for the first time ever in my life, I will be moving to a house located outside of the city center. This will be a new environment for me, as I grew up downtown Geneva, where the hum of city life and crowds filled me with positive vibes. I will now discover the bliss of coming home to a quiet garden and the feeling that I am on vacation.

As for my champagne routine, I balance it with weekly workouts at my local gym … Sweating it out on the treadmill heals my mind and body!

What about you ? How do you find balance in your life ?

Mountain life requires daily sun protection

On May 30thI turned 30. I celebrated with my friends and family in Nax, a village at an altitude of 1,300 meters in the Swiss mountains, where I am moving to next month. These past four days we discovered the area all together and it was amazing.

We hiked many trails around Nax. No need to take the car, you just come out the front door and start walking. We tasted delicious wines in the middle of vineyards at Simon Maye et Fils and Magliocco. We hiked our fist Via Ferrata, a protected climbing route. We swam in crystal blue mountain lakes and brunched outside in the yard of the house we had rented for the occasion.

The common theme linking this weekend’s activities was the sun. The region of Switzerland I am moving to, called the Valais, is known for many things, one of them being its micro climate. The sun shines more than 300 days a year.

I realized this weekend that if I want my skin to look as good at 40 than it does at 30, I’m going to have to change my skin care routine. I will no longer be able to use sunscreen only on vacation (as Ada describes it in her latest blog post) because I will be exposed to a burning sun on a daily basis. I need to integrate sun protection into my daily routine. Not only once a day, but every time I go outside or even get into my car (I just realized my car does not have UV protecting glass), and not only on my face, but neckline and hands as well.

I do not want to wake up in ten years and realize my skin is full of wrinkles, spots and redness I could have prevented by better skincare. Hence, the Alchimie Forever Protective day cream SPF 23 is definitely getting placed on my bathroom shelf and in my bag so I can reapply regularly throughout the day.

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Safe Sun

My two grandmothers, one from an Italian farming family, the other from a Swiss-German pastor family, did not agree on many things. But they did agree on one thing: too dark a suntan is borderline inelegant, and a sunburn is outright offensive.

My two grandmothers, one from an Italian farming family, the other from a Swiss-German pastor family, did not agree on many things. But they did agree on one thing: too dark a suntan is borderline inelegant, and a sunburn is outright offensive. Between them and my dermatologist father, with whom I have never been in so much trouble as when I sunburn my skin, I like to think I have perfected the idea of practicing “safe sun.” While this is something to think about daily, including in the dead of winter and on rainy days, it is particularly important during vacation season, which is upon us. If you are heading to the beach, the pool, on a boat, or anywhere else where you are planning on spending most of your summer days outdoors, keep this in mind:

  1. The safest way to be in the sun is not to be in the sun. In particular in between the hours of 11 and 3 pm, stay in the shade.
  2. Use sunscreen. Even if you are planning to be in the shade all day, sunscreen is essential. A body oil with SPF 2 does not count as sunscreen… UVA and UVBs are both harmful to the skin, so make sure your sunscreen says “broad-spectrum” (the SPF value only refers to protection from UVB). Keep in mind that SPF 30, which my father recommends for “beach vacation days” will protect you from 96% of UVB. A higher SPF will increase the protection by a few percentage points only: SPF 50 will increase it to 98%, and SPF 75 to 99%.
  3. Apply sunscreen liberally. Don’t think of it as applying your moisturizer or foundation – be generous, err on too much rather than not enough. The general rule of thumb is a shot-glass worth of product for an “average-sized” body.
  4. Re-apply after every time you get in the water. There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen; the FDA does recognize the term “water-resistant,” so look for that word when making your purchase, and reapply.
  5. Purchase new sunscreen annually, at the very least. While you may not need a new bathing suit before every summer vacation, be vigilant about the expiration dates on sunscreens. The formulations are delicate, and do break down – an expired sunscreen will not provide the protection claimed on the bottle.
  6. Remember the ears, back of the neck, and top of the feet (where I have gotten some of my worse sunburns). Apply your sunscreen before you put on your bathing suit, to avoid getting a tan right around where your bathing suit meets your skin.

There are lots of great sunscreens out there, I tend to find a new favorite one every summer. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Nutritive Oil Comfort SPF 50+ and all Coola products are wonderful. Yet remember, no sunscreen is 100%. This means using an antioxidant product is key, both layered under your sunscreen and as a post-sun product, so that you instantly repair any free radical damage caused. Once again, there are many great antioxidant products on the market, my current favorite being the newest Alchimie Forever cream, Protective day cream SPF 23. As a first layer of protection, it is packed with antioxidants including blueberries, vitamins C and E, and edelweiss extract, and also has some chemical filters to help fight UVAs and UVBs.

Lastly, remember, you earn the skin you’re in! Protect it, and always practice “safe sun.”

How to blow dry your hair and other tips from Tatum Neill

I was born into a skin family, and married into a hair family. I was born into a family of all sisters, and married into a family of mostly brothers. I can’t think of better combinations. This is top of mind today as I am on my way to Chicago for America’s Beauty Show, and will see my brother Tatum on stage doing hair, and deejay (yes, another amazing combination) during his ElevateHair Show on Sunday evening (along with many other amazing artists, including Holly Pistas of Gordon Salons).

I am reminded of the below conversation I had with Tatum early on, picking his brain about the life of a hairstylist. Today, being behind the chair (at Paris Parker Salons) is only part of Tatum’s role. He launched ElevateHair shows and branded tools, teaches haircutting at Neill Corporation, and is the North America Artistic Director, Social Media, for Aveda. And yes, he’s my brother – and yes, he’s cut my hair and my sisters’ hair (Roxane said he might have given her the best short haircut of her life).

AP: What do you recommend clients do to ensure getting the best possible haircut when going to the salon?

TN: Do not use your previous stylist’s language; each hairdresser has their own way of talking about things, so don’t get tied up with the lingo. What I appreciate the most is when people bring a few pictures of what they are looking for. Pictures are worth a thousand words. The tricky part about images is that sometimes the hair has more to do with the styling than with the cut… so always be open to your hairdresser’s recommendations.

AP: As a hairdresser, what are your pet peeves?

TN: Turtle necks and lip gloss. When my clients come in wearing a turtle neck, it’s hard to cleanly get to the hairline, and impedes the cut. And if I need to trim your bangs and you are wearing sticky lip gloss, the hair ends up on your lips and it creates a mess. Of course, like any hairdresser, while I appreciate some direction from my clients, I don’t like it when clients want to direct me too much…

AP: Razor or no razor?

TN: The thing about a razor is that it needs to be new and sharp. Razors dull really quickly, and that is why razor cuts are sometimes bad. Also, it is essential to only use a razor when hair is wet or damp.

AP: Thoughts on at-home product use?

TN: Where do I start… typically, clients have three main concerns for at-home care: moisture, body, and shine. So you usually want a trifecta of products: for curly hair, you need to use a product to bring moisture to the hair, a product to control the curl, and a product to hold the curl; for straight hair, you want to use a product to bring moisture to the hair, a product to add body, and a product to add shine.

The challenge is that nourishing products (ranging from conditioners to masks to oils) will compromise body, so it’s all about balance. The hardest hair type to recommend product for is dry fine hair (think most colored blondes for example…). For that type of hair, a lighter moisturizing agent is essential as otherwise your hair will be nourished, but weighed down. Coarser hair can use thicker moisturizing products of course. It’s also key to show people how much product to actually use. I find that most of my clients will underuse product at home, only using about 1/3rd of the recommended amount.  Regardless of product, however, I always remind my clients that no matter what they put in their hair, hair is like skin; what you put in your body will affect your hair. I hate to say this, but when styling runway models, I can always tell from their hair which ones eat and which ones don’t…

AP: What is something few of your clients know?

TN: While it is generally known that pregnant women have thicker hair, and that once the baby arrives, hair thins out, people don’t usually extrapolate from that to the general fact that hormones affect your hair. Not just during pregnancy… during your cycle, during menopause, etc. And this is true not just for women of course. Men’s hair will be affected by their hormones also.

AP: Any tips about blow drying?

TN: I find that most people blow dry their hair the same way they did as when they were 12, i.e. head upside down, blow air all around, with the end goal being drying the hair. There is not a lot of consciousness about the direction of the hair. When you are upside down, most of the air and heat is focused at the nape of the neck, so you end up bottom heavy in terms of volume. Instead, you want most of the volume on the crown, so you should focus the air and heat there. And remember to always blow dry in the direction of the cuticle, to help seal it (which will give you shine); again, that is harder to do when your head is upside down. Remember also that if your roots are wet yet your ends are dry and smooth, the water will end up moving down the hair shaft from the roots to the ends, which will eliminate that nice dry smoothness. That means you need to make sure your roots are dry first, before drying the ends.

Also, next time you go see your stylist, ask him or her to show you how to hold your blow dryer; most people have never been coached on this, and are trying to figure it out by themselves, and you would be amazed what a difference a slight tilt of the wrist will make! Another typical mistake is not to blow dry your hair completely. The recommendation is to blow dry your hair until it is 100% dry, even if you have curly hair. Until the hair is totally dry, the hydrogen bonds that shape it are not set. Same thing if you are letting your hair air dry: your hair needs to be left alone for as long as possible, until it is 100% dry. If you play with it too much you can cause frizz (because touching it breaks the hydrogen bonds and that is what causes frizz).

My favorite blow dryers are made by Parlux – specifically the Alyon. No one makes a dryer like the Italians… I want a blow dryer that gets really hot and has strong wind velocity, so that heat is evaporating the water, while the wind makes the process faster.

AP: What about flatirons and curling irons?

TN: The most important thing to realize about flatirons is that a professional flatiron needs to go up to 450 degrees to be used during permanent or semi-permanent straightening treatments. At that heat, the hair will be chemically altered. What this means is that for at-home use, you need to make sure that your flatiron has good temperature control. Don’t ever use it about 400 degrees when doing your hair at home. I actually recommend a low to mid 300 temperature range. Hotter in this case is not better. 400+ degrees is for the hair professional only. The concept is the same for curling irons, but it is harder to find a curling iron with temperature control capability. So do the following test, carefully of course: set your tool on a piece of paper; it if scorches it, it’s too hot for your hair.

Click here to hear more from Tatum.

I tested laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is one of the first treatments I tried at Forever Institut. I started feeling self-conscious about my body hair around the age of 12. By then I had already set my mind on shaving, since I had had a traumatic experience with waxing. When I was 8 years old, my older sister Cyrille thought it would be fun to wax my legs as one of her “experiments”. It might have been fun for her, but definitely not for me. Thus when the time came to take matters into my own hands, I bought a razor.

Personally, I find shaving to be tedious and repetitive, it is a “to-do” that neither enriches my day nor teaches me anything. It feels like a waste of precious time. That’s one of the reasons I love laser hair removal; once it’s done, it’s that much time I get back for things I actually enjoy. Trust me, these few minutes per day in the shower add up…

My legs, underarms, and bikini have been hairfree and soft for 15 years now. I’m always ready for a last-minute pool party, always feeling my  best. My skin looks much more beautiful because it never shows that shaving “stubble”.

I’ve converted many of my friends to laser hair removal since. Here are the tips I have shared with them:

  • Winter is the perfect season for laser treatments because most of us have lost our summer tan. We have been hiding our arms and legs in sweaters and pants, and our skin has had time to come back to its natural color. This is essential in order to avoid side effects from this laser treatment.
  • Tanned skin is not to be confused with dark skin. If your skin is naturally dark, you can use the Nd:Yag laser for hair removal.
  • Don’t hesitate to use anesthetic cream (Emla), it really makes a difference. I don’t prescribe to the “no pain no gain” philosophy!
  • It takes about 7 to 9 sessions (one session every 6 weeks) for a definitive result but each treatment provides soft and hairfree skin.
  • After a laser treatment, your skin can be a little irritated. Nothing works better than the Alchimie Afterlase body milk to help to soothe that inflammation and restore comfort and softness.

 

Photo: Guillaume Varone

Polar Vortex

This week, I experienced the coldest temperatures I can remember while not happily skiing down a mountain (wearing ski clothes). Zero degrees Fahrenheit, felt like -5 with the wind. Fahrenheit. Not Celsius. I experienced the polar vortex that is embracing the Midwest of the United States this week. I still love you Missouri, and I am grateful this week’s travels didn’t take me to Minnesota (-30 Fahrenheit without wind chill).

This week, I experienced the coldest temperatures I can remember while not happily skiing down a mountain (wearing ski clothes). Zero degrees Fahrenheit, felt like -5 with the wind. Fahrenheit. Not Celsius. I experienced the polar vortex that is embracing the Midwest of the United States this week. I still love you Missouri, and I am grateful this week’s travels didn’t take me to Minnesota (-30 Fahrenheit without wind chill).

Here is what I learned.

  • Arctic temperatures make people kinder. My girlfriend Kirby who lives in Chicago once told me the same thing: “In the freezing temperatures, we all come together. It’s like a bonding experience.” I guess everyone is suffering so much from the cold, we all decide to be nicer because we realize everyone else is also suffering so much from the cold.
  • Floor to ceiling windows are lovely. Except during a polar vortex. My hotel room could not get warm no matter the setting on the thermostat.
  • Gloves were my most prized possession this week. Along with the travel size of our Dry skin balm. Freezing hands are red, shriveled, old-looking, not attractive.
  • On that note, I need to invest in a pair of touchscreen gloves. My fingers almost froze while trying to text outside.
  • My lips looked as shriveled as my hands. I use Aveda Lip Saver and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream on a regular basis, but had to do something more. I was recommended the VenEffect Anti-aging Lip Treatment and it helped. Or maybe I was just looking for a reason to buy an anti-aging lip product…
  • This cold is no joke on my skin. Redness from the freezing cold. Dryness from the heated indoors. Discomfort all around. Hydration, nourishment, oils, heavy creams. Thank you Kantic Brightening moisture mask (which I slept in twice this week), Kantic+ Intensely nourishing cream, and Vintner’s Daughter facial oil.

Stay warm. Build a fire if you can. Have a hot toddy. Hug someone. And have a great weekend!

Tips For a Successful Boudoir Photo Shoot

I am always referred to as the most “conservative” of the Polla sisters. Not politically perhaps, but certainly when it comes to “those things.” (Indeed, Rachel might be at the opposite spectrum of the Polla sisters, I am sure you read her latest blog post…).

I am always referred to as the most “conservative” of the Polla sisters. Not politically perhaps, but certainly when it comes to “those things.” (Indeed, Rachel might be at the opposite spectrum of the Polla sisters, I am sure you read her latest blog post…).

Sometimes, however, the “crazy Polla” side of me comes out. For example, a couple of years ago, I did something I never thought I would do – a boudoir photo shoot. I was inspired by seeing the boudoir photos of one of my best friends, who is beautiful and looked absolutely stunning. My excuse was that it was a gift for my husband, but in the end, it was a gift for myself. I am pretty sure I look at those pictures more than he does. Often to remind myself that I look fabulous and sometimes to help motivate myself to go to the gym.

Should you decide this is something you wish to try, here are some tips, from actress and Stript brand ambassador Rachel Sterling (I love these women named Rachel!). We met in LA not too long ago and caught up over a glass of wine. Boudoir photos came up (don’t ask why), so I couldn’t help but pick her brains about it.

Getting in character

For Rachel, the most important key to success to any boudoir photo shoot is to get in character. “Part of my process of getting ready is getting my hair and makeup done; this helps me remember that I am transforming myself into a different version of myself and need to get in character.”

Make a playlist: pick songs that make you happy, make you want to dance, make you want to sing in the shower, make you feel powerful and sexy. Rachel adds “Even if you are doing it as a gift for someone else, it is really about you; It should be fun. Play the soundtrack a few times before the day of the shoot, dance in front of your mirror when no one is around as practice – use this as an opportunity to get to know your body. You would be surprised, but we all should know our bodies, angles we look good in, curves, much better than we actually do.”

Grooming tips

  • The number one tip is to be hair-free. Of course, legs and bikini line, but also think underarms, arms, legs, brows, mustache. On the brow front, make sure they are professionally shaped. Good brows make all of the difference…
  • Be careful about too much makeup – make sure you still look like yourself (from personal experience I can add that that is the one thing I would change from my boudoir photo shoot – the makeup is just too much, and I almost don’t look like me). Rachel’s personal favorite brand of makeup is Runway. She recommends that if you are getting your makeup professionally done (which is not a must) that you work with someone you have worked with before (again – this is where I went wrong; I had the photographer’s makeup artist do my makeup, and we didn’t do a practice run and she did not know my style).
  • If you can, get eyelash extensions; at the very least curl your lashes and layer on extra mascara.
  • Spray tanning is helpful to even bumps. Sterling’s recommendations are of course to apply after waxing (not before), apply with gloves to avoid orange hands, and again if you can get it professionally done. Stript offers professional spray tanning using South Seas Spray Tan, which is what she does. Her favorite at home alternatives are L’Oreal’s self-tanning wipes and the Norvell at home kit which is very user friendly.
  • Have your nails done. You don’t need polish, or to have them red or long, but do get a manicure and a pedicure so that you are perfectly groomed.

Outfits and accessories  

When I ask Rachel about outfits and accessories, she reminds me that “When looking at the photo, the eyes of the viewer should go to the face. Yes, it is a boudoir shot, but the highlight is always the woman’s face.” She adds:

  • “If you are shy, a great prop is a boa – you can use it to hide certain parts and it makes you feel better or put it in front of you.
  • I love the retro theme of an apron and plate of cookies – it is particularly fun and slightly ironic if you never cook.
  • I also love a boudoir shoot in a sports jersey; there is something appealing about the very feminine photo and a traditionally masculine item of clothing being juxtaposed together.
  • Another great juxtaposition is a work shirt and glasses – kind of playing on the theme of sexy librarian.
  • Whatever do you, high heels are a must – ideally some you have not worn out so that they look pristine in the photos.
  • But remember, the eye of the beholder should go to your face – you don’t want too much distraction.”

As we finish our second glass of wine, I ask her what not to do. “Don’t have unrealistic expectations or be disappointed in your photos,” she says gently. “They will not look like pictures in magazines, nor should they. The most important thing is to love yourself and to realize that there are infinite definitions of beautiful and sexy. Every woman is beautiful and sexy in her own special way. That’s what a boudoir photo shoot is all about.”

Amen sister!