Me even writing this post is rather laughable.
Hair and makeup are not really something I do for fun and if I’m being honest, I don’t really know what’s going to happen when I actually retire from performing and I stop getting paid to put on eyeliner. Occasionally my husband has to tell me when it’s time to wash my hair and we already know I have only two looks. I don’t think it’s a secret but “Untamed woman of the wild” doesn’t include a daytime makeup regimen.
However, stage lighting would make a mess of my natural face and no one is going to pay $50 a seat to watch a costumed lightbulb float around the stage, so I oblige the people and do the whole fixed hair and painted face thing six nights a week. The list below doubles as both a collection of my favorite personal care tools and products, and a survival guide on how I navigate the sometimes tedious demands of showgirl life with minimal effort.
1. BED HEAD WAVE ARTIST
I can’t believe I’m letting this cat out of the bag but my hair isn’t naturally wavy (or blonde for that matter but I think everyone already knows that because I’m terrible at root management.) I have some natural texture but only in certain areas and nothing that’s really worth mentioning so I don’t know why I’m even mentioning it. Anyway, behold the Wave Artist and how I get what I affectionately call “Shakira hair.” If weighing wavy hair against curly or straight, using the Wave Artist is definitely the quickest and least painful (except when you burn the tip of your ear and I advise against that.) Bed Head should really be paying me royalties at this point because I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve recommended this crimper. Unfortunately, like every other hot tool on the planet, it comes with a learning curve and because I don’t think everyone should have to sear their scalp or end up looking like a poodle while they navigate how to operate the darn thing I’ve put together a little tutorial. Enjoy!
It’s no coincidence that the second thing on my list is something that takes makeup off. Clearly makeup is not my cup of tea so anything that helps me remove it is going to be at the top of my list. This makeup remover does exactly what it says it will and INSTANTLY. Not only does it remove stubborn eyeliner and waterproof mascara without leaving you looking like Madame Medusa from Rescuers Down Under when she takes off her false eyelashes, but I have to cover two of my nine tattoos for work and it takes that makeup off too. I have to airbrush them with a waterproof tattoo cover formula from Dinair so it doesn’t sweat off inside my costumes and street clothes. This stuff has more staying power than a red wine stain on white carpet. Before I found BeautyCounter’s Instant Eye Makeup Remover I spent my life scrubbing my sides raw with a rag that has the texture of a brillo pad and was still left with tattoo cover residue. Now I use a cotton pad and about two minutes of my time. Praise be.
3. MAGNETIC EYELASHES
When it comes to people’s personal choices, I try not to judge, especially if the way they’re choosing to live their life has little to no impact on me and the way I’m choosing to live my life. Exceptions being people who don’t hold the door for other people, bigots and women who wear fake eyelashes when their job doesn’t demand that they do so. Okay so I’m not really judging you ladies but I do see you in the grocery store and ask myself “WHY?” You’re beautiful without them and you’re better off using a lash growth serum because if it’s long lashes you want, fake eyelashes are about as temporary as that “boyfriend” you had in the third grade but way more damaging. Back to Madame Medusa, you know she probably had eyelashes at one point but after wearing falsies for most of her life she’s left with tiny stubs because everytime she pulled the fake ones off she’s pulling her own out by the root and let’s not even speculate about what harmful ingredients are probably used in the glue. That’s why I started using magnetic lashes and lucky for all of you, you can now buy them literally anywhere; Target, Sally’s, Amazon, pretty sure I’ve even seen them for sale at those big truck stops. And if you’re wondering, but are magnets safe? From what I’ve read they are only harmful if you accidentally swallow them so I wouldn’t eat them. And I’ve actually read articles where magnets are used INSIDE eyeballs to correct lazy eyes and something called “flickering eye.” My pro tip: buy the shorter variety with either a single middle magnet or two magnets (one at each end). They’re easier to manage and won’t stab you in the corners of your eyelids. I prefer not to be one of those “beauty is pain” types.
When I started on my safer beauty revolution I thought it best to begin by swapping out the worst offenders in the average beauty routine: eye cream, face masks, body lotions, lipstick, mascara, and shampoo. Face masks were a quick fix since I don’t really engage in that type of activity and body lotion was easy, you really can’t get better than fractionated coconut oil. But my mascara. Oh my mascara. I’ve been using Too Faced Better Than Sex for years and it’s probably the only product in my makeup bag that’s had any consistency. I’ve recommended it to friends and family and complete strangers on the internet. Then I read it’s ingredients; phenoxyethanol, D&C Black 2, polysorbate-60, and a bunch of other stuff that is difficult to pronounce, impossible to spell and has been linked to organ toxicity, cancer, and skin irritation. I’m not going to lie, in a moment of weakness I thought “organ toxicity? That probably sounds worse than what it really is”. Clearly they might want to explore any connections between those ingredients and addiction. With intense skepticism and dismay I ordered BeautyCounter’s Volumizing Mascara but in an effort to save you all from experiencing the same emotional struggle, I’m here to assure you that my doubt didn’t last long. It gave the appearance of fuller lashes that easily lasted through two shows without flaking onto my cheekbones and even with several layers, didn’t clump. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about all those scary side effects.
5. THAYER'S WITCH HAZEL
Remember Ethel and her relationship with Frank’s Red Hot? Always with the “I put that shit on everything”. That’s me and Thayer’s Witch Hazel. It was originally introduced to me immediately after I had Rinn; a nurse recommended it to alleviate the discomfort associated with hemorrhoids. Birthing babies is a tough business. But it’s benefits and uses don’t stop there. As a facial toner it fights acne, reduces inflammation and irritation, and protects against skin damage. It can soothe a sore throat and it’s tannins have certain anti-viral properties making it useful in warding off infection. You know how everyone raves about the numerous uses for apple cider vinegar? It’s like that but without having to smell like a foot.
I have to be honest and say that if it would’ve up to me to add this product to my shopping cart and click “checkout” I wouldn’t have. Mostly because the name is a little intimidating. Resurfacing? Is my face an asphalt parking lot? Peel? What am I, a banana? But the Overnight Resurfacing Peel was one of the products they sent me when I decided to become a BeautyCounter consultant and after reading the description in its entirety I couldn’t resist: “glow”, “minimizes...pores, fine lines and dark spots”, “soothe and nourish”, yes please. Wouldn’t you know it, it did all of that and my face didn’t fall off. I mean really, when you call something a “resurfacing peel” it’s hard to imagine a scenario that doesn’t resemble that scene from Face Off where Nicolas Cage wakes up from a coma to find out his face has literally been removed. I prefer to call it Miracle Face Melt or Age Reversing Serum or Baby Face Balm but until BeautyCounter consults me in naming their products you’ll just have to trust me in that the Overnight Resurfacing Peel is amazing and not scary as the title might lead you to believe.
I can’t even speculate when I last wore red lipstick and I wasn’t on stage or in an arena. Probably because I only have one day off and I like to let my face breath during that 24 hours. But since lipstick is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to hazardous beauty products I wanted to make sure I made a clean swap early in the game. BeautyCounter’s Intense Lipstick line comes in a handful of luxurious shades that stays put like a long wear but unlike its competitors, which make your mouth feel like you just woke up after drinking a bottle of chianti and you’re so dehydrated that your gums are starting to recede from your teeth, it moisturizes and softens with natural peppermint oil. Turns out you can look great, taste great and not contribute to organ failure, there is hope.
8. DRY SHAMPOO
Remember the part about Travis having to remind me to wash my hair? It’s because I cheat the system with dry shampoo. For years I used a variety of aerosols (Batiste, Not Your Mother’s, some off brand I found on clearance at TJ Maxx, etc.) but couldn’t help but feel guilty about my contributions to global warming. You’re rolling your eyes right now thinking “but Rebecca, you’d have to emit a lot of chlorofluorocarbons to have a notable impact”. To which I would reply, “I use A LOT of dry shampoo”. Just ask anyone that has shared a dressing room with me in the past five years. Actually, if I were to guess there are probably significant holes in the parts of the stratosphere resting directly above theaters in general. Yes, I know that’s not how ozone depletion works and that the emissions from my aerosol cans have quite the journey before they even reach the troposphere and chances are they don’t rise straight up but it’s a comical thought. Anyway, I started using Aveda’s Shampure Dry Shampoo and talk about magic. It’s comprised of naturally derived powders and uses plant/flower essences to make it smell like heaven. It also uses a non-aerosol powder mist making it eco-conscious. The kicker? It’s $31 a bottle. For two ounces! You know what I can do with $30? Take Rinn and I to see an Avengers movie WITH popcorn. Treat myself to Starbucks at least five different times. Buy this concho watch band that’s been sitting in my Amazon cart for weeks now. Oh and make 20, that’s right TWENTY, ounces of my own dry shampoo. Which I do now, using a blend of organic powders, essential oils and a biodegradable powder mist bottle I bought off the internet. Totally patting myself on the back for this one.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a beauty product but it’s definitely a useful tool. One that I’ve been abusing in my quest for better, safer personal care products. It doesn’t list every known product but it does provide the ingredients and safety rating for a pretty comprehensive assortment of products and brands. It can be used to check existing products or future purchases and it also has a browse feature that allows you to see products by category, ranking them by score based on ingredient concerns. Products can range from “EWG Verified” (which means the product meets their standards of safety by being free of concerning chemicals) to a 10 which is labeled “high hazard”. I would hate to know what’s in one of those products.
I have never thought of myself as old so when the 17-year-old neighbor kid was talking about his future and said "when I get old, you know, like 30" I had to restrain myself from striking him with hard backhand. I've had always had skin that errs on the side of oily and an immature nature so I've haven't taken the whole anti-aging thing very seriously. But I'm 35 and would like to continue having people look at me with shock and dismay when I tell them that because they think I'm 28. Enter BeautyCounter Countertime. So technically this anti-aging line doesn't even launch until tomorrow, Tuesday, July 9th but as a BeautyCounter consultant I am privy to products before they're released to the public. I'm here to tell you to put a reminder in your phone, set an alarm, leave yourself a post-it note, write on your bathroom mirror in dry erase marker (don't worry, it wipes right off). You don't want to miss this launch. So many anti-aging products contain Retinol which raises concerns about photo-toxicity, skin irritation and flakiness, and potential carcinogenic properties. I said I wanted younger looking skin not "I want to look like the Wicked Witch's kin." Instead, Countertime uses a plant-derived reti-natural complex using swiss rose and bakuchiol which has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat skin issues. A four-step regimen, Countertime consists of a Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil, a Radiance Serum, an Ultra Renewal Eye Cream and the star product, the Supreme Cream which is a healthy blend of shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut derived emollients. And all of it comes in pink glass jars and bottles labeled recyclable and sourced in North America!
So obviously it takes about 30 more products to actually accomplish my showgirl look but they aren't items I would actually recommend (notice my aerosol hairspray in my hair tutorial, yeah not proud of that) and are still looking to swap for cleaner, safer alternatives. I'm open to suggestions so send me your recommendations! In the meantime, give these 10 items a shot and let me know what you think!
I'll see you all tomorrow for the BeautyCounter launch!
This blog post contains affiliate links. I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Of course I would only recommend things that I personally use and love
(or at the very least find comical.)