Think investing time in your appearance is only about vanity? Eternal*Voyageur, the voice behind Venusian*Glow, a beauty blog focused on skin and haircare, says there are plenty of intangible benefits to focusing on your body.
"I think it's pretty important that we take a few minutes each day to pay attention to our body, to touch it and care for it, to decorate it. After all, it's our only permanent home!" she says.
Not to mention the fact that society often reacts to your external appearance, so it's smart to take a certain amount of control over it. Finally, taking care of yourself can also be a lot of fun, she says.
Eternal*Voyageur (that's a nom-de-plume, FYI) recently checked in with us to tell her story, discuss using sustainable beauty products, and offer some insight on the problems with most commercial products on the market today. Read on:
Tell us about Venusian*Glow...when and why did you start your site?
Around six years back, I was doing a lot of research in an attempt to find a good skin and haircare routine for myself. I made a huge amount of notes, and then I thought that maybe someone else would find them interesting. So I started publishing them on my blog. I love researching and sifting through all the misinformation and sniffing out unusual solutions. It's really fun to share them with my readers!
What topics do you focus on?
Venusian*Glow is about skin and haircare, and it's also about bra fitting and lifestyle. It's about making educated choices in self-care. It's a very "how-to" kind of blog; it's about getting to know one's hair and skin, and about understanding how cosmetics work. I showcase products that I love, but on the other hand, there is a lot of focus on methods and also some interesting beauty DIYs.
The bra-fitting posts started when I fitted myself correctly and realized that it made a huge difference, even though I'm small-busted. Most women are fitted really incorrectly - even the ones that have been fitted professionally. The highlight of my blogging career is probably the time a woman wrote to me that she didn't get the breast reduction that she had been planning on after fitting herself according to my guide.
Why do you prefer to use cruelty-free products?
I respect life, and I don't see why animals should suffer for our vanity. And if you read about it, you realize that a lot of animal-testing methods are outdated and inaccurate, and the reasons many brands continue to use them is because the newer ways of testing are much more stringent. Also, there are so many amazing cruelty-free products out there, really outstanding brands and products, so we don't even have to deny ourselves much.
Why do you advocate using natural products? What are the advantages?
We are bombarded with so many toxic chemicals each day, and these are a real burden for the body. I think that is the reason people develop illnesses and allergies after a certain age - the body just cannot cope with everything anymore. So we should try to minimize toxic chemicals in our lives when possible, even if we cannot eliminate them completely.
Then there are the environmental and social impacts of the cosmetic industry. Natural ingredients are usually less damaging to the environment. Certified natural brands often tend to have more responsible practices - because it's not all just about profit at all costs.
However, it is important to distinguish between really natural products and green-washing. I usually go for certified natural brands or products with a simple ingredient list that I can understand.
What do you think would surprise us the most about the common, non-natural beauty products we use every day?
That many of the ingredients have been proved to be very toxic by studies again and again. That there are usually much safer alternatives available, but the brands prefer to use the cheapest options.
What ingredients do you try to steer clear of?
My personal blacklist includes SLS, parabens, mineral oil, chemical sunscreen, synthetic fragrances, pthalates, formaldehyde. And microplastic beads; I can't even comprehend how that came to be allowed.
What types of natural products are you loving these days?
I love oils! I have combination skin that gets clogged really easily, and oils balance it beautifully. I love the oil-cleansing method - it's really magic - and I love oiling my hair before I wash it. My favorites are flaxseed oil, argan oil, and raspberry seed oil (its SPF is as high as that of Titanium dioxide; isn't that amazing?). I also love clays, especially Moroccan clay. A clay mask pulls all the impurities right out.
What should we be eating (and not eating) to help our skin look and feel healthier?
My skin always lets me know when I've been making poor diet choices! Less processed is better. Sugar has actually been proven to age the skin. Drinking a lot of water is really important; it hydrates the skin from the inside. A handful of nuts and seeds every day gives you healthy oils and minerals. I also believe in the power of fresh, raw food. The people with the best skin almost always eat healthy food or do a lot of yoga!
What do you think a daily skincare routine should consist of?
Two different gentle cleansers, a good mineral sunscreen, and a serum or moisturizer with interesting active ingredients. Once or twice a week a scrub, a clay mask, and a moisturizing mask. And something that makes you smile, be it a favorite perfume or a pretty lipstick!
What do you do when you really want to pamper your skin?
At-home microdermabrasion with good exfoliation with corundum crystals, followed with a very moisturizing mask. And a facial massage!