st tropez tanning products

Scene: St. Tropez’s Sophie Evans Tanning Masterclass at Sephora in Times Square

Characters: FashionEtc assistant editors, Lindsey, a dedicated sun worshiper; and Piper, she of the alabaster skin

... And Action ...

Lindsey: I've been a true sun worshiper for as long as I can remember. Actually more than that, a sun addict. Dare I admit it?—a tanorexic. During PTT (prime time tanning hours) on a sunny day, NOTHING can get in the way of me and my rays.

Piper: On the other hand, I am proudly pale, and yell at Lindsey everyday to wear sunscreen. A devotee of SPF 70, I've been turned away at makeup counters for asking if the brand might have something a little less "orange." ("That's the lightest we go," the saleswoman said.) Sure, I intentionally sought some color in my teen days, but a two-year leftover burn (cap sleeves, baseball game, 2005) ignited my caution—and my fear of wrinkles.


I don't mean to toot my own horn, but sound the trumpets: I have the skin of a 12-year-old.

Although I'm well beyond middle school, I’d like to think that when my Groupon-procured facialist told me this, she was in awe of my untainted and blessedly smooth face. More than likely she equated my complexion with that of a pubescent boy because at just three years out of college, my dermatological travails could still fill a Judy Blume tome. “Are you there, God? Should I be using salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide?”

So when my coworkers encouraged me to attend a Facial Magic seminar, I knew my skin-care concerns were going to be hilariously out of place.

Just as I suspected: I was greeted by women who had at least 25 years on me, all there to hear from Cynthia Rowland. Cynthia is the enthusiastic leader and founder of the Facial Magic enterprise, the as-seen-on-TV series of exercises that purport to tone and tighten your face, thus eliminating the unsightly signs of age and any need for pricey surgery and injections. Articulate and personable, she has the entrepreneurial spirit fit for selling plastic kitchen gadgets and time shares in Panama City.

“How would you like to look 5, 10, even 15 years younger in just a few weeks?” she asked.

I didn't really want to revisit my haircut in my learner's permit picture, so while everyone else perked up—"Yes please! Give us the answers, oh Cynthia!"— I took to jotting down notes and examining my pores closely in the mirrors placed in front of us, pretending my frustration stemmed from crease lines instead of the pentagram of spots on my right cheek.

raccoon eye conehead coif

A friend and I have an ongoing e-mail correspondence entitled “For When We Have Money and Men,” in which we pine after wildly expensive cheeses and ludicrously priced lingerie. (Yes, the two items are mutually exclusive.) But my aspirational catalog just got longer: I’d like someone on hand at all times to apply my cat eye and backcomb my hair, please. 

I’ve had ’60s mod—the sleek but voluminous hair and fluid, upended eyeliner—on my mind for some time. How appropriate then, that when I’ve been trying to avoid Raccoon Eye and Conehead Coif by my own hand, Elle’s Women in Music May issue celebrates Adele’s and Gwen Stefani’s modern takes on the teased crown and precise cat eye.

Jane Eyre’s Mia Wasikowska covers April’s Blackbook with Bardot peepers (plus some glam jewels Twiggy would have favored), and that go-to retro arbiter, Mad Men, always inspires swingin’ acolytes of sky-high hair.

At best, I’ve been able to stop twitching just enough to get me the “Cleopatra-After-the-Fraternity-Party” look I never wanted. Elizabeth Taylor none of us are, but the posthumous tributes to her immaculate style and that memorable role reignited my failed ambitions in makeup application. And I’d like to banish deflated pageant hair once and for all.

This past weekend I enlisted more skilled individuals to impart their aesthetic wisdom.

Glamoxy Snake Serum Mask and Pen

I used to think about joining the Peace Corps when I was younger, but now I’m even more convinced I picked the right industry.

While I secretly harbor a belief that beauty products can save the world, especially if one is to believe the press releases, I also know that you can’t believe everything. I may be a self-described beauty-product junkie, but I am also as skeptical as they come. I’ll be the first to try a new beauty trend, but if I don’t see quick results, well … on to the next.

A beauty editor friend (not Maria Hatzistefanis, who founded Rodial in 1999) used to tell me how nothing really worked just as she would hand me my holiday gift box full of the latest Perricones, Somervilles, and Formulations she herself had received as gifts. While she went on about "spackle" and side effects, I would quietly nod and tune her out as I rummaged through the goodies that promised to turn my skin into a small miracle.

So imagine my glee when a box of Rodial beauty products containing something that mimics the Temple Viper’s snake venom arrived at my door a few weeks ago. The danger prospect alone was enough to scare my wrinkles into hiding, I figured. The new Snake Serum pen is even fashioned like the bite of a king cobra (I’m guessing).

The Rodial skin-care line boasts lots of celebrity fans including youth miracles like Courteney Cox, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, and Jennifer Lopez. This month, the company will launch the Glamoxy Snake Serum Mask and Pen.

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