The cost of spots

the cost of spots

My entire being is covered in a constellation of spots. On my left thigh I can draw the little dipper; as for my back, I avoid letting it see the light of day out of embarrassment. I wish I was hiding a regrettable tattoo rather than an endless sea of spots most likely borne from fake baking in my early twenties.

I was checked from top to toes last Monday: freckles, and moles (mole-y, mole-y, mole. Mole.) - nothing was safe. My dermatologist was pretty casual about the whole thing as she peered through her handheld microscope to inspect my largest bodily organ. When we first met I think she half expected to find something, and she eventually did. She biopsied an unassuming spot located just above my ribs because she thought it looked funny. What's so funny about a mark no larger than the size of a pin head? I wasn't even aware of it, it appeared innocuous, and maybe it still is.

Yet in the wake of parting ways I replayed my stupidity. Buying tanning oil with factor 8, turning lobster red most summers, allowing myself to get so badly burnt during the summer of 2001 that my calves swelled to almost twice their size and bags of frozen peas were my saving grace, and for being recklessly (s)unaware. I love the sun. I worship it for its ability to make an okay day turn good, I love the feeling of its warmth on my back, and I'll even go as far as following it just for another glimpse.

The sun bookends our days, and highlights our memories - how poetic.

I mean, can you even fault it for moments like this?

Sunset captured at Spouting Horn, Kaua'i

Sunset captured at Spouting Horn, Kaua'i

Yeah I didn't think so.

The sun though, it hates my DNA. I'm thirty-two now, and it's taken me one too many sunburns to realise if I want a tan it's coming from a bottle (thank you, Clarins), a hat and a pair of sunglasses are way cuter than a peeling part and premature wrinkles, and factor 40 SPF is the bare minimum.

Come next week, good news or bad, that funny, little spot left a tiny hole in my side for my past sun sins to pour out. Two stitches made me whole again, and the discomfort and inconvenience was a nasty reminder that the bright, burning ball in the sky is a bully.

A few takeaways from last week's appointment (I am not an expert, but these tidbits resonated with me):

  • Pink and skin coloured (beige/tan) moles should be pointed out to your GP or dermatologist
  • Moles that you've had for eons are likely nothing to worry about, but it's still a good idea to keep an eye on them
  • Get your skin checked every year, or even sooner if spots become itchy, won't heal, bleed, or changes in shape/size
  • If you have loads of spots, photograph the entirety of your body in sections, and allow it to serve as your skin diary for the next twenty years. You can get this professionally done, or have a trusted partner, friend, etc. take them for you
    • Store these images some place safe, ideally protected with an excellent password
  • A cloudy day won't protect you from the suns' harmful rays.

For further reading:

Btw, Supergoop (specially formulated for people with sensitive skin) is my favourite sun care range.

Red on red

Wearing Nars Flamenco from the Steven Klein Magnificent Obsession Lip Set

Wearing Nars Flamenco from the Steven Klein Magnificent Obsession Lip Set

Easy reds. What is that? It's a red lippie which:

  • Never makes you break a sweat when applying it
  • Reinforcements, who needs em'? Read: Q-tips, tissues, and a bottle of micellar water
  • And, one that receives the most compliments, and is quite possibly the most universally flattering shade of red.

Why Francois ever decided to permanently pull Flamenco (a sheer, candy apple red) from the shelves, it honestly alludes me to this day. But if you're in a Sephora this particular weekend, and you happen to spy this gift set leftover from the holidays on the shelf, please buy it for your BFF. She will thank you, and maybe even offer to let you borrow it from time to time. I've even been told Flamenco is their "power red," and she's a lawyer.

Mysterious Red Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (bottom), Flamenco (middle), and Misdemeanor Lip Liner (top)

Mysterious Red Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (bottom), Flamenco (middle), and Misdemeanor Lip Liner (top)

Swatches of Misdemeanor Lip Liner (left), Mysterious Red Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (centre), and Flamenco (right)

Swatches of Misdemeanor Lip Liner (left), Mysterious Red Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (centre), and Flamenco (right)

Curling irons need not apply

The artillery  

The artillery  

During our latest trip to Kauai, aloha, I haven't done all that much with my hair thanks to the humidity hovering well above 30% on most days. To add insult to injury, my hair is in a wretched state from repeated heat styling, and transitioning from bronde ombré to red. First world problems.

Before leaving for Hawaii I went in search of a leave-in treatment that would protect my fragile strands from the harmful UV rays, as well as give them a potent dose of hydration. Enter De Lorenzo's Intense Hair Moisturiser, specifically formulated for dry, colour treated hair.

There's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to applying this stuff. The first few days of use produced greasy strands near the nape of my neck, while the remainder of my hair continued to feel straw-like. To avoid over hydrating the healthiest bits of my hair, I first concentrated on my ends, and finger combed the rest near the crown of my head.

This post isn't meant to be focussed on hair care product, per se, but I felt it prudent to at least provide a mini review😊

Ponytails (I'll land the plane, promise). I've never liked wearing ponytails, except for when I'm exercising; besides, I don't think I have the profile to pull one off (an odd quirk of mine). In an effort to not fall into yet another hair rut I've gotten into the habit of inverting my ponytail (the one where you split your hair apart just above the hair elastic, and then flip the ends up and through). It looks effortless, especially as it becomes undone throughout the day.

The inverted pony

The inverted pony

After leaving my hair to air dry for a few hours never did I expect to unfurl loose, beachy waves. Mind blown.

 Hair how to:

  1. Start with damp hair, the saltier the better
  2. Part hair down the middle or to one side
  3. Comb through a leave-in treatment, focus on the ends
  4. Pull hair into a low ponytail and secure with an elastic hair tie
  5. Split your hair apart just above the hair tie, twirl the loose ends, and flip them up and through
  6. Allow your hair to air dry for around three hours, it should feel dry to the touch
  7. Gently remove the hair tie, and finger comb your waves

For an added bonus if you didn't take a dip in the sea, set your waves with a sea salt spray. My personal favourites: Frederic Fekkai's Soleil Beach Waves Tousling Spray, or John Freida's Beach Blonde Salt Spray.

For girls with longer hair: double or triple up on the number of inverted ponytails.

The results

The results

Tip: leave some slack when you're tying on the hair elastic to avoid the dreaded hair dent. If it feels too loose, pull the ends apart to tighten your inverted pony.



Holiday makeup inspiration

Believe it or not these photos were taken back on the Fourth of July, and I suspect I was feeling semi-patriotic with my blue spotty sweater, and Ruby Woo lips.

Here's hoping these photos will give you a bit of holiday inspo for your next holiday party.

Now, some time has passed, so I'll do my best to remember everything that I put on my face.

The look:

What are some of your favourite makeup-y things to wear during the festive season?