I love fashion. And to create a good “look” I feel like I also have to do something about my hair and face, because that’s part it. But I find the hair and face part really boring so I prefer to do the minimum. I skimp on beauty products and routines, but I’m always learning new tricks.
I’ve never written anything about beauty or fashion because it’s superficial and not particularly relevant to this blog. However, it’s a big part of life for many women, for me personally, and arguably for diplomats in general because we’re supposed to look sharp, professional… however you want to call it.
My reputation at work is that I’m a fashionista, though I think I’m pretty low key. I don’t try to grab attention with how I look, but I do like to show some personality. I take small risks (like wearing shorts, a mini-skirt or floor-length cape) and I vary a lot, which makes my outfit a topic of conversation frequently, which is fun, though it’s also one of the few things that makes me shy.
Things I always do
Hair. I didn’t "do" my hair until I was 30 years old besides tying it in a semi-bun, but then I got more serious. I developed a routine of regular hair cuts, blond balayage, and styling it for 20 minutes after every wash, which is 2-3 times a week.
Nails: shellac, acrylic, gel, I tried all. I think nails should always look pretty. The problem is how much time it takes to get them done professionally! For me it’s not a good use of time. So I got good at painting my own nails and keep them short, which is the most practical thing in every respect.
Dress up. I only wear what looks good on me and I take risks with colors and combinations. India is a particularly fun place to experiment with fashion because almost everything goes. I try to never look boring and update my wardrobe regularly. I don’t spend a ton of money on “investment pieces” but shop smart by getting the best possible price for pretty, high quality items.
Permanent hair removal. So efficient!
Things I sometimes do
Skin care. I don’t believe in elaborate, expensive skin routines. I think healthy skin comes from inside and has more to do with habits, nutrition, hormones and genes than with things in tubes. For most of my life I’ve gotten away with putting some Nivea or Embryolisse on my face and look fine. But since last year I have all the things with weird names (exfoliator, toner, retinol) and I use them, sporadically, because ultimately I’m not immune to wrinkles. And I got serious about using sunscreen, because I’m getting brown spots in my face that don’t go away.
Workouts. I avoid the gym like the plague, and I’m too restless for yoga, but I like running. I’m naturally good at running long distances, like other people are naturally strong, flexible, or good with balls. But I run mostly for mental health reasons and, on average, I run less than once a week.
Eat healthy. I’m blessed with a figure that never changed throughout the years or pregnancies, and always fits a size four. I can eat and drink whatever I want, within reason. That said, I live by a number of healthy mottos I always return to; herbal tea in the morning, limited processed and fried food, almost no sugar (so I don’t have sugar cravings either), almost no meat, and lots of veg and salad. When my weight creeps up or my skin breaks out I limit my portion sizes and cut down on my favorite vices: fastfood and beer.
Heels. Four years ago I decided to shelve all of my pumps and stilettos. It just hurt too much and it’s bad for your feet. But since then I found a few brands that sell cute, wearable block heels (Clarks for classics, Ras for frilly) that I wear sometimes.
Things I never do
Makeup. I guess I’m one of the lucky people who doesn’t really need it. I just don’t look different with makeup on, so I might as well leave it. I find makeup tedious and time consuming, expensive and most of all: impractical. It fades, smudges, and stains your clothes. Because I have a background in acting, I also can’t help but seeing it for what it really is: face paint. That said, I sometimes admire other people’s makeup when it works well on them.
Expensive jewelry. I don’t own diamonds or gems. I wear custome jewelry and affordable, minimalist silver and gold pieces that complement my outfit. I just don’t think metals can make me look or feel significantly better. It’s also a big risk to wear or travel around with expensive jewelry.
Designer brands. For clothes, I think logos are tacky and boring, and internationally known designers are horrifically overpriced. If I wear a designer, it’s by accident only. Even for beauty products I don’t care about the brand. The bigger the brand name, or the hype, the more suspicious and contrarian I become.