It was sometime in undergrad that I stumbled across Natalie’s blog, The Tiny Closet, formerly The Case of the Tiny Closet. Immediately I found an affinity to her aesthetic, style, writing, relatability to her hair (we’re twins), and even physique. Her confidence exudes in every post and her desire to live comfortable and fabulous (yes, it’s possible) confirmed that she was my sister from another mister! Although her blog focused on creative ways to explore a limited closet (by circumstance or choice), I live for her beauty posts. I noticed her radiant skin way before her style, and she was kind enough to share what keeps her complexion so clear.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Natalie. I’ll be 33 in May and I live a quiet, simple life with my husband and dog in L.A. I work at a restaurant on the weekends and make custom dresses during the week. My neighborhood is pretty awesome and we are big foodies, so I go out a lot. I’m always checking out a new bar, exhibit, or restaurant with friends.
How has your skin changed over the years?
My skin used to be combination back in high school: super oily in the T-zone and tight and dry everywhere else. Oddly enough though, I rarely had issues with acne. It has only recently changed to being very dry with occasional irritation on my forehead. I blame that on my diet, where I live (dirty city air), and aging.
What do you love about your skin & what are your concerns?
People have complimented me on my skin all my life. I’ve been very thankful for a low maintenance complexion. However, I am concerned about how it is reacting to constant exposure to sun, city pollution, and my indulgent diet. I grew up in Washington, a green, clean, wet, cloudy state and now I live in the middle of L.A., which is sun drenched, heavily polluted, and currently suffering from drought. I have definitely seen a difference in my skin, and my lifestyle of happy hours and restaurant hopping has got me eating more carbs than ever before, which definitely adds more steps to maintaining my face. I’m not a kid anymore, and sadly my skin is not as resilient as it once was. I’ve been turning up the pampering for sure.
Walk us through your morning and nighttime regimens with your favorite products.
When I can afford it, I use Erno Laszlo Sea Mud as my daily face soap and splash my face with hot water 35 times. Yes, 35 times; that’ll get ya some clean, tight pores! I’ve learned that apple cider vinegar is a very good toner and good at minimizing the occasional breakouts on my forehead. For moisturizer, my face doesn’t like a lot of ingredients. The less ingredients used the better. My mother makes an incredible moisturizer that I swear she needs to patent and sell. It’s very rich and perfect for dry skin and combating the city grime, filled with fractionated coconut oil, vitamin E, shea butter, collagen, green tea extract, and some other wonderful things. It’s great. It was only meant for night but I wear it all the time. The only thing comparable is Aesop’s ‘Fabulous’ Moisturizer, and it’s even better because it has a higher SPF than the natural SPF in coconut oil.
If you had to pick one product, what can you not live without?
My moisturizer. At the end of the day if my face doesn’t have a hydrating barrier from the pollution and sun, I’m screwed. I just end up looking haggard like I’ve been drinking or something. It’s terrible.
What’s your favorite brand and why?
My favorite brands tie at Erno Laszlo and Aesop. Both companies are so dedicated to the study of skin and its relation to plants and the earth. I’ve never experienced such fast, positive effects as when I use those products. I only wish they aligned with my budget more consistently.
Are there tips you can share that have changed your skin care practices?
What you put in your body far exceeds the effects of what you put on your body. Drink water, preferably spring water, for the minerals! And eat green veggies. If you do both daily, you won’t have to slather on as much moisturizer or use as many supplementary products. Also, make sure the last thing you do before you go to bed (regardless of what time) is wash your face thoroughly. People have no idea just how much grime, oil, sweat, and absorbed makeup affects their complexion.
How do you avoid a skin crisis?
I have to drink about 10-12 glasses of water daily (ugh) to avoid my typical skin crises, which is a dry, dim complexion. Also, splashing hot water 35 times in the morning and at night (a trick my mom taught me when I was a teen) revs up the circulation and keeps my skin bright and my cheeks rosy.
How do you pamper yourself?
I go to the Korean spa down the street from me. I steam, do a cold plunge, and scrub every square inch of my skin head to toe. I scrub for like a half hour lol. I also try a new face mask. It’s all quite blissful!
Who is your melancrush?
Oh goodness, I could stare at Lupita Nyong’o for hours. Her skin and face are pure perfection. I feel like it glows. Zoe Kravitz has beautiful skin as well and I’ve always admired freckles. I suppose any celebrity will have seemingly flawless skin though.
Who do you attribute your beauty to?
My parents. My father has a phenomenal smile that I think I inherited from day one and my mother has a very regal quality to her that I’ve finally grown into. Growing up, no one looked like me even in the slightest and I tried a lot of beauty tricks that didn’t go so well. Settling into my roots and keeping healthy has been the most positive path as far as where beauty is concerned.
How do you shop for skin care products and where?
I am so cheap when it comes to face products, so I am constantly trying to find cheaper versions of the really good products I grew up with when my parents were buying. When I don’t have $50 to blow on my favorite face soap, I try to look for the simplest, gentlest face soap I can find and that’s usually at an organic grocery store or Whole Foods. I look for ingredients that come from food or whole plants, and the less ingredients the better. That goes for moisturizers as well. Drugstores are the last place I go when it comes to taking care of my complexion. Too many fillers, synthetics, and perfumes.
What would you like to see in the beauty aisle?
I would love to see more serums, like vitamin C or E or whatever someone would be lacking – just to put it on as a quick pick me up. I’d like to see more whole food ingredients in the beauty products they sell at Target and drugstores as well.
What would you like to see on Melanglow?
I’d love to see women my age! Many of us are kinda new to leveling up on face and skin maintenance, we’re not in our 20s anymore. I want to know what other women my age are going through and what they’re trying.