Maapilim, a Tel Aviv-based grooming and beauty brand, was in touch earlier this year, about its male-focused, Israeli-made products, along with its art exhibit/campaign, Flowers Are Manly.
They sent a couple of samples for me to try. Maapilim Pacific Soap is delicious in the shower. It contains argan oil, rosemary oil, and sage oil, and smells like grapefruits. Maapilim Wedgewood All Purpose Oil contains jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and scotch pine oil, which helps reduce redness. Guys can use it on their beard, though it’s also meant for skin.
As for Flowers Are Manly, you can imagine my interest/ I fell head over heels for these flower-infused portraits of vulnerable manly figures. Although they are not hiding, per se, they remind me of the obscured portraits of women I love so much.
Concept & Production by Maapilim • Photos by Liron Erel • Flowers by Fiori • Grooming by Barberia • Space by Kuli Gallery • Clothes by Story
I’ve been meaning to write about my beauty squad for a while. I used to write the annual Best of Beauty picks for local magazine Improper Bostonian, so believe me when I say I’ve tried a lot of beauty services in Boston. It’s always fun asking an aesthetician to wax just one side of your bikini line so you can have another aesthetician attack the other side. Same with eyebrows (though not really recommended). With all that experimentation and plethora of free services, I’ve actually remained pretty loyal to my longtime favorite hair stylist, facialist, spa, and mani/pedi place in Boston—Kristen Moshiek, Natalie Maibenko, Mandarin Oriental Boston Spa, and MiniLuxe.
Recently my circle has expanded to include fitness peeps too. I joined the David Barton gym which is opening on Arlington Street, but not until March. (I was one of the charter members of the David Barton gym on the Upper East Side in the ’90s, so there’s some nostalgia involved.) But better than a gym is the virtual fitness routine I started in September. A childhood friend of my husband’s named Sarah John trains me by Skype twice a week. Last week I added her friend, yoga instructor Kristy Wright-Terrell to my morning fitness mix. I actually love it.
Here’s a little bit more about each of them, and others I rely on to get me gorgeous. (Note: These lovely ladies are not paying me, and don’t provide me with regular free services. I have received comps from some of them through work, but these are the professionals to whom I pay money when I need beauty help. They’re that good.)
H A I R
Photo by Jared Leeds • Boston Weddings
I’ve been getting Japanese hair straightening treatments since the mid-’90s, before it was a thing. (No, my hair is not curly, just annoyingly bumpy.) When we first moved to Boston, a colleague of my husband’s recommended Kristen Moshiek at Beaucage Salon on Newbury Street. Kristen, who is so sweet, talented, and pretty, has been straightening my hair ever since. Whenever I had to actually pay for a haircut, I went to her too. These days, Kristen is a new mama almost three times over and focuses on styling hair for brides getting married in New England. This past summer I interviewed Kristen about bridal hair styles and such in “The Tress Tamer” for Boston Weddings.
While I’m lucky enough to have Kristen travel to my home to straighten my hair, I needed to find someone in town for cuts and color (starting to sprout pesky grays). Kristen steered me to the funky and energetic Emily Reale at Beaucage Salon. Emily, who often sports blue or magenta strands herself, mixes color to perfection and gives great haircuts. And despite the Newbury Street address, the $45 price tag is highly affordable. Emily does wedding hair too . . . maybe I should find occasion for an updo.
S K I N
Natalie Maibenko is my absolute favorite aesthetician in Boston, and one of my favorite people. This generous and ambitious Eastern European beauty has been servicing my skin for many years. I first discovered her at Beaucage as well. She was a massage therapist then, and gave me the best massage ever. Ever. When it was time to write Best Ofs one year, I tracked her down at an Aveda salon near Quincy Market for a repeat performance. With all the excellent local publicity, Natalie was able to forge out on her own with a small South End practice. Now Natalie has her own beautifully designed space, Unique Verve, on Newbury Street, where she concentrates on facials. Natalie is always up on the latest skin science and consistently invests in new technologies. Her newest tool is a Visia skin scanner, which gives a multi-dimensional view of six aspects of the skin for individualized facial rejuvenation treatments. But I’ll let Natalie explain it. Make an appointment.
M A S S A G E + R E L A X A T I O N
If I want a pampering massage, spa treatment, soak and steam in Boston, the The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston is my top destination. There’s no other spa that comes close to its service and facilities. I love, love, love the hot tub and steam room. There’s also icy showers and such, in which I do not partake. Recently the Mandarin treated me to its Time to Release spa treatment. a full-body massage that uses volcanic hot stones and Mandarin Oriental’s signature Release body oil (a calming blend of cypress, eucalyptus, clary sage, juniper berry, frankincense, pine,and jasmine) to help focus the mind, recharge the body, and release muscle tension. This massage was pure bliss. (Anybody reading this who wants to send me a present, I’d like another massage at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston. Thank you.)
N A I L S ( + W A X I N G )
For mani/pedis, and more recently, bikini waxes, I go to MiniLuxe on Newbury Street, where I’ve been going since they first opened. (They now have locations in number of Boston suburbs too.) The bright white and pale wood space with bamboo floors is a pleasure to sit in. (I hate sitting still for manicures.) The prices are a few dollars higher, but the atmosphere and practices are a thousand percent more sterile. Another Beaucage find, Donna Charloff, runs the training program that ensures the manicurists there know what they’re doing, so I don’t have a regular favorite. Every manicurist does a good job. I’ve very rarely been disappointed in the quality of MiniLuxe mani/pedis. (Sometimes the scheduling system can be wonky, so if you book online, make certain your confirmation email comes through.)
C O R E T R A I N I N G
I’ve never actually met Sarah John, once known as Sarah Dubitsky, in the flesh. But I’ve been hearing about her for years, and even sat with her dad at the Blackfish bar in Truro for dinner one night. Sarah is a friend of my husband’s from his childhood summers on the Cape. We became Facebook friends, exchanged messages, and this fall, I signed up for his private virtual training sessions. Sarah, a former teacher and corporate lawyer, is a mom to three adorable young kids (they make an appearance in our sessions from time to time) who became interested in fitness during one of her pregnancies. You can see her leading a paddleboard fitness class in the photo above. Through her company, Sarah John Fitness, Sarah offers private and group core training. She is in VERY good shape, and is great about modulating the pace and exercises to my needs. It’s the first time I”ve actually enjoyed and stuck to workouts. Thank you Sarah.
Y O G A
A couple of weeks ago Sarah introduced me to her friend Kristy Wright-Terrell. Kristy is super sweet, with a lovely, lilting Southern accent, and is slowly, patiently teaching me yoga. Last week marked my very first yoga class ever, and Kristy’s very first Skype training session ever. We’re learning together. I start and end the week with one hour of yoga with Kristy. I love the stretching, though not sure I’ll ever learn to really relax.
B A L L E T
Inevitably there are days I can’t connect with Sarah or Kristy, so if there’s a long stretch between sessions, on the weekends I boot up my quickie vdieo from Ballet Beautiful, 15-Minute Beautiful Body with Mary Helen Bowers. Bowers is a retired New York City ballet ballerina with unnaturally long, lithe limbs, and apparently trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan. That, and her airy white studio, was all the convincing I needed.
A T H O M E
Not to sound like a fitness nut (because really, if you know me, you know I am severely lacking in that department), I’ve taken to using the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair at my desk for a bit each day. (It’s slightly too short , so if I use it for hours my arms fall asleep.) It definitely helps me feel more conscious of my midsection during my marathon computer sessions. The ball comes in handy for sessions with Sarah, and my kids like to see how long they can kneel on it before toppling over. This balance ball contraption has been a win-win.
I’ve also purchased a few other items for my fitness ventures.
Follain is a tiny beauty boutique in Boston’s South End that carries over 30 independent brands of healthy, high performance skincare, hair care, and cosmetics, all made in the U.S.A. The shop is owned by the lovely (natural beauty) Tara Foley, who personally vets every offering.
Foley spent a summer working on an organic lavender farm in France followed by working with a private label skincare manufacturer in Maine. Armed with an MBA from Babson College, Foley opened Follain last summer.
In April she added a second Follain store on Nantucket. Last month the Follain webshop launched. If you can’t make it into the Remodelista-worthy shop (subway tiles, pale wood, farmhouse sink, marble counters, succulents), try the website, which has the same aesthetic and offers the same products as the Follain brick & mortar boutique.
Let me start off by saying that my husband came up behind me last night to rub my shoulders in a much appreciated spurt of affection, saw me scrolling through an endless array of waterproof mascara on a cosmetics site, and said, “Why are there so many? They all serve the same function. I don’t understand.” Needless to say, I didn’t bother to respond.
If you’re a longtime StyleCarrot reader, you might remember, that while I rarely blog about beauty, I did gush over a particular mascara a few years back. Dismayed to find my Bobbi Brown mascara had been discontinued , I took an inexpensive chance on a drugstore brand with great success. I feel like it’s time for a change, so I decided to poke around the Interwebs. These smudge and waterproof mascaras caught my eye, for one reason or another. I’ll share my non-scientific findings.
2 Chanel Inimitable Waterproof, $30 I like the descriptor “Inimitable.” Obviously it’s a more pricey product, but reviewers rave about it. I like the sleek packaging, but what really pulled me in is the color selection—it comes in aqua and lime. Fun!
3 Yves Saint Laurent Waterproof Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils, $30 Love the blingy packaging (brass is back, baby). Love the electric “Majorelle” blue color even more. True, Katy Perry turned in her blue wig, but blue eyelashes still work. Most of the reviewers liked it, but one mentioned that it’s perfume-y, so, no thanks.
4 Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara, $25 I was using a dark brown Bobbi Brown mascara before it was discontinued, so obviously it made sense to have a look at this one. Plus, I like the name and the charcoal mirrored packaging. (Call me superficial, but hey, we’re discussing makeup.) Reviewers weren’t completely sold at first, but came to love it, particularly when they layered it with another mascara. Um, who has time for that? Still, it’s available in chocolate, and it’s Bobbi, so I’d try it.
5 Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Gel Volume Mascara, $26 I didn’t even realize Marc Jacobs launched a cosmetics collection until I was in the Marc Jacobs boutique in Provincetown over Labor Day weekend. The rounded packaging is very Marc. Unfortunately, people seem to hate it.
6 CoverGirl LashBlast Water Resistant Mascara, $6.94 This is the mascara I’ve been using for several years, with great success. It goes on smoothly, doesn’t smudge, and comes off without a hassle at night. (I use Neutrogena eye makeup remover). If you want drama, this one’s not for you, but for me, it’s ideal for everyday.
7 Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, $23 Like a true girl, I clicked through to this because of the metallic pink packaging. And, ok, because it’s called “Better Than Sex.” Not so much. Most reviewers declare it “clumpy.”
8 Benefit BADgal Waterproof Mascara, $19 Benefit Cosmetics opened on Newbury Street near me. I haven’t gone in yet, but as a preview I thought I’d see about this mascara, although it’s name, “BADgal” is hardly a selling point for me. The reviews are so-so, but if you want mascara that absolutely doesn’t come off, even if you want it to, this seems to be it.
9 Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, $4.44 For years, models and celebs claimed that this is the mascara they used. It’s the one I grew up with, since my mother used it. I tried it once but wasn’t a fan. I suppose if you’re super preppy, the pink and green packaging is a draw. And yes, it’s very affordable.