The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
"Hi there! My name is Carra, aka @TheViridiFiles on Instagram and in the ITG comment section. I am originally from Schweinfurt, Germany, but have lived in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area for close to 25 years. By day, I am a technical German translator in the automotive engineering industry, where I translate materials relating to German prototype cars, parts, and systems—it's a gear head's dream! When I am not writing about serpentine belts and dual-mass fly wheels, I love to dig deep into the soils of 'natural' skincare and cosmetics. Though I am not ultra-strict when it comes to ingredients in my products, and I do occasionally swipe a little Chanel Inimitable through my lashes, I tend to favor products that fall into the 'non-toxic' category, whatever that means. On the weekend, you can often find me perusing my favorite local beauty shop, Citrine Natural Beauty Bar—it is heaven on Earth for people who enjoy 'clean' but effective products that rival or even outdo some of the conventional classics. When it comes to beauty, I seek to be both comfortable and satisfied with as little alteration to my natural appearance as possible, while minimizing my exposure to potentially harmful, unregulated ingredients.
For makeup, I am a big fan of multi-use products. Some of my favorites include Tata Harper's Lip and Cheek Tint in Very Naughty, and Mineral Fusion's Radiance Illuminating Quad, which can be swirled together to make a multidimensional, glowing pink blush, or worn individually as highlighter, blush, or eyeshadow. I've gone through about five of these compacts in the last few years. I also love the Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Crème, since it can be used as its moniker suggests, or as an ultra-moisturizing highlighter.
I did a lot of bold eye looks when I was a teen, so I feel that is all out of my system. Now I put my time and money into ensuring my canvas is as even and clear as it can be, hormones be damned. My three non-negotiables are: Weekly clay masks, a retinol product every other night—currently I am using A313 pommade along with liver-supporting supplements—and Agent Nateur's Holi(c) powder every morning. I once read that skincare should be applied all the way down to the nipples, so this is my minimum area of coverage. Though as you loyal comment-readers would know, I mask damn near every inch of my body with Aztec Healing Clay.
A recent area of interest of mine has been nails. I was a vegetarian for over 15 years, and once I began incorporating meat back into my diet, my nails totally changed. I keep them moisturized with my favorite nail oil from French Girl Organics, which comes in a brilliant roll-on bottle, perfect for on the go. I typically shape them once a week, using my trusty crystal file from Sephora, and occasionally add a couple of layers of the Dr. Remedy base coat for shine and protection. In my purse, I carry a tube of Patyka's Crème Absolue, a fantastic French hand cream that I recently procured from Citrine.
The climate in Arizona is pretty brutal, so there are a few areas where us desert dwellers have to take special care. Since our air is bone-dry year round, I am a big proponent of oiling my scalp and hair before every cleanse, generally alternating between food-grade olive, sesame, and avocado oils. To help retain that added moisture, but remove any environmental dust, sweat, etc., I like to co-wash thrice a week using As I Am's cleansing conditioner, followed by one of Shea Moisture's deep treatment masks, which I use in place of a standard conditioner. After rinsing about eighty-percent of the conditioner out with cool water (as cold as it'll get in 120+ ambient temperatures...), I wrap my tresses up in an Aquis turban, then cleanse my body, so as to avoid any body breakouts from conditioner residue. Outside of the shower, I follow up with a few drops of a sealing oil such as castor or jojoba, then rake a couple pumps of the I Create Lift Volumizing Foam by Innersense from root to tip. This allows my 2b/2c waves to air dry beautifully, with minimal frizz and major definition.
Another must in the Valley of the Sun is of course a good sunscreen. I only use physical blockers—my top picks would be the MyChelle SPF 30 for every day, Suntegrity's 5-in-1 in Fair when I want a slight bit of coverage, since it is tinted, or the De Mamiel Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar, which is also lightly tinted and an absolute treat to wear on the face and neck. Throughout the day, especially if I am going to be outside, I dust a bit of the Derma-E Sun Protection Powder all over any exposed areas. I also love a good pair of chic, oversized sunglasses to protect my delicate orbital area, and I have been rotating through a bevy of Prada shades for over a decade. They make the best sunglasses, in my opinion, as they are durable, sexy, and functional.
To wrap up my day, I wash my face with whatever cleanser was on sale at Whole Foods, usually something by Acure or MyChelle. I follow up a homemade mixture of 2/3 hemp seed oil, 1/3 castor oil, housed in an old Thayer's Witch Hazel bottle, and a washcloth, which makes my visage feel super clean, but not overly stripped. I then slather on my favorite serum, Yen Heal and Hydrate, top it off with Agent Nateur's Holi(oil), and crawl into bed with my love to watch Forensic Files or Cold Justice. Life is good."
—as told to ITG