When Gaia Fishler, founder and editor-in-chief of beauty blog The Non-Blonde, thinks of beauty and style, she thinks of her mother, Sophia Loren, and Diane von Furstenberg.
“None of them let age slow them down or leave them behind, and even though I’m decades younger, this is what I hope to achieve,” she says.
On her site, Gaia offers her honest take on beauty, fragrance and fashion through product reviews, trends and guides. We recently checked in to get her take on beauty and loving the skin you’re in. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us about your site The Non-Blonde. When and why did you start it? Who should be reading it?
I started the blog in April 2006 after several months of reading beauty and perfume blogs. There weren’t that many of them back then, and I felt that I had a slightly different point of view than most of the bloggers I knew, who seemed to be tall blondes in their 20s. The name of the blog is completely tongue-in-cheek. It’s not about being a brunette (or short, or from New Jersey), and my audience is simply people who are interested in the beautiful and nice smelling side of life and want to read real opinions and observations that are not sponsored and are not part of any marketing campaign.
When did you become so passionate about beauty and style?
Ever since I can remember. As a very young child, I was in awe of my mother’s beauty rituals and longed to get my hands on makeup and perfume. As I grew up, I started drawing the costumes and outfits I saw in old movies, cutting pictures from magazines to make collages, and reading everything I could find about cosmetics and perfume (there wasn’t much, which is another reason I became slightly obsessed).
What have been your biggest beauty/style frustrations? How have you overcome them?
My hair. I used to think that this unruly mess of waves and curls growing in every direction was a curse and horribly unattractive. I longed for straight, manageable hair that can be styled into something resembling Princess Diana’s hairdo or any of the iconic 80s looks. Then the 80s ended, I grew up, my stylist convinced me to let my hair grow and just be, and for once I listened. The longer it grew, the more I realized that having healthy, shiny, wavy hair was an asset – that it was me. I didn’t even consider The Rachel, and that should tell you how secure I’ve become.
What advice can you offer to others who are less than happy with the skin/features they were born with?
Some things are fixable, but some are not. Taking good care of your skin, hair, feet, and so on are important (physically and mentally), but obviously not going to alter the fundamentals.
It’s worth it to stop and consider why you want to change something about yourself, what you think you’d gain, and if it’s truly worth it. As a teenager, I wanted to get a nose job, but my parents insisted that I wait until I was 18. By the time I could do it, though, I was happy and busy, had a full social life, and eventually got a boyfriend. I couldn’t see how having a smaller nose could make things better. Except in extreme cases, it is not your features that determine the course of your life.
What’s your daily skincare/beauty routine consist of?
AM: quick cleansing, vitamin C serum, and moisturizing. Before leaving the house, I load on the sunscreen and do a full face of makeup.
PM: removing makeup, thorough cleansing, and usually any of the following: face massage/peel/mask.
What are some smart beauty habits you think every woman should adopt?
I can’t stress hard enough how important it is to use a high SPF sunscreen daily. Even if you do nothing else, protect your skin. Using gentle chemical peels is also highly beneficial, as are oil or balm cleansing. Paying attention to your eyebrows and filling them in, making sure they appear natural and healthy (yet not overdone), makes a huge difference in the way you look.
Name three beauty products you can’t live without.
A good oil cleanser, Asian sheet masks, navy eyeliner.
What have been some of your favorite recent makeup finds?
I’m not a budget shopper, but the Kiko Milano makeup store at my local mall is full of color wonders. I adore the eye shadows I got there. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s Guerlain Baby Glow, a tinted moisturizer that gives a beautiful radiant look; and the new formula of Chanel Rouge Coco lipsticks.
What beauty trends are you loving these days? What do you wish would move on?
I hear that the mullet is back. That should not happen. At all. On the positive side, the continuing focus on healthy and glowing skin is good for everyone.
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