It’s here: 31 days. 31 cities. 31 perspectives. Each day in the month of March, we’re profiling an inspiring woman from across the world and asking her to share her beauty routine, products, and wellness secrets. Consider this your firsthand look into the beauty traditions and cultures of your beauty-obsessed counterparts from Thailand, Nigeria, and more (and don’t forget to check our Instagram for a beauty-themed global takeover each day). Following Cynthia Gwebu, a South Africa–based woman whose beauty icons are Audrey Hepburn and Iman, we have Anastasia Orlova, a Russian beauty writer here to spill the biggest trends from Sochi.
Name: Anastasia Orlova
City and country of residence and how long you’ve lived there: Sochi, Russia. I moved to Sochi in 2013 to work for the Winter Olympic Games, met my husband, gave birth to my son, and never looked back.
Beauty icons: Blogger Camille Charrière thanks to her Parisian nonchalant look, Emily Weiss (no explanation needed, seriously), and top model Eugenia Volodina, who inspired me in so many ways.
The five skincare products you can’t live without: I guess my top five would be the products I use daily and weekly as part of my beauty routine. However, I personally hate the word routine because since I became a mom, every 15 minutes behind the closed door of my bathroom is more like festivity, but definitely not a routine. My precious minutes alone in my bathroom would start with Erborian Double Mousse Gentle Cleansing Foam ($28). It’s really gentle but leaves my skin clean and smooth. Sometimes I use it with Clarisonic Mia 2 Skin Cleansing System ($169).
Sometimes I pair with silk cocoons to massage my face.
I have two favorite toners. Can’t choose one, so I make sure I always have two on my shelf. The first one is L’Occitane Immortelle Essential Water ($34). It’s rich in hyaluronic acid and immortelle floral water and works its magic making my skin look plump and elastic, day by day. Second, Erborian Yuza Double Lotion ($36), which is basically summer and sun in a bottle. It smells like lemons, and after using it, I feel like my skin becoming brighter, smoother, and full of vitality.
Last December, I got to test Force Vitale Aqua-Pure Clarifying Serum ($93). A 30-milliliter bottle costs a small fortune, and at first I just didn’t get it, but by the time passes, I noticed drastic changes in the way my skin looks and acts. Since my school days, I’ve had blackheads and acne on my cheeks just below the temples. It wasn’t really horrible, but annoying, especially because makeup always looked really sloppy at this corners of my face and I preferred to cover it with my hair. After four months of using this serum daily (I’m on my second bottle already), I can say it’s really a skin saver for me.
All my blackheads are gone, my pores look less visible, and my skin has improved so much.
Another product that recently became my holy grail is Institut Arnaud Paris Eclat Jeunesse Youthful Radiance Quick Beauty Vials ($27). I use it nonstop for 10 days morning and evening and enjoy visible lift effect for a month or so. I apply it to the face and neck lightly patting and massaging, and after five minutes, my skin becomes so much smoother and tighter.
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Riche ($31) is my favorite moisturizer. I like the light texture, non-greasy feel of it and great moisturizing properties. By the way, I use it even during wintertime, and no additional nourishing creams are needed.
The five hair products you can’t live without:
I’m really low-maintenance when it comes to my hair. I stopped coloring mine almost five years ago, and it was the best decision I ever made. Before, it was a constant battle to untangle it after the shower. Now I can use drugstore shampoo and conditioner, and it’s perfectly fine. I really like Toni&Guy Illuminate Blonde Shampoo ($20). I feel like it gives my hair additional shine and golden tone. My absolute must-have is a Klorane Dry Shampoo ($20). As a new mom, I had days when I just wasn’t able to find the time to shower and wash my hair.
So over the last two years, dry shampoos became my best friends. After testing around 10 brands from Batiste to Redken, I found that Klorane works the best for me.
The five makeup products you can’t live without:
I spend a small fortune on skincare, but I have yet to buy my first eye shadow palette. I feel absolutely confident to go out completely barefaced, and I do it easily every day while walking around with my son. But, of course, I have several faves in makeup department. First of all, I can’t live without Erborian BB Cream. It’s seriously the best: sheer, light, just a tad bit of shiny, just a right amount matte. I used to own four other BBs from different brands, including luxurious, but they never worked.
I promised myself that Erborian is going to be my last shot, and it won me over from the first use. Since Erborian BB came into my life, I became a very loyal customer to this half-French, half-Korean brand.
My second makeup love is blush. I prefer liquid and creamy to pressed one, and for the last three years, I stick with Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer No5. I use it on cheeks, on my lids, and even as highlighter. An absolute classic of my makeup bag since my early 20s is YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils in the golden tube. It’s just so good, timeless, and chic, I don’t think I will ever buy a mascara from another brand.
I like Boy Brow to style my brows, but since it’s really hard to get Glossier in Russia, I buy Stellary Colored Brow Gel in a local supermarket for like 200 rubles ($3), and it works just fine. As for my lips, I just love Glossier Generation G. I own two in Jam and Leo, and it’s amazing. I never do perfect lips. What I do is sheer, smudged, “I’ve kissed five minutes before” look. Before Gen G, I needed to blend any lipstick with my fingers, but now it’s just one, two, three seconds and I’m ready.
What countries and cultures do you find most inspirational when it comes to beauty, and why?
I guess I’m somewhere between French approach of beauty and funky Korean beauty store. I just love French girl-next-door look, and it’s funny that while all French girls I know spend a lot on skincare and makeup, they never look too polished, too “done.” I remember sitting with one in a café, wearing our puffy coats, drinking coffee, chatting boys, and then she fished Guerlain Météorites from her Converse backpack and casually blushed her cheeks. That was too chic!
But I also really like the way Korean beauty changing the industry. All this new forms, multitasking products, millions-of-steps routines—they are pushing the boundaries, and I’m all for that.
The most popular beauty products and brands in your country right now:
That one is hard to answer, really. Russia is so huge and divided economically and culturally that it’s difficult to find a working formula for everyone. Plus, as I write about beauty, I spend a lot of time chatting with bloggers and makeup artists. But their opinion can’t be 100% correct, because they are far away from an ordinary customer, several hundred kilometers from Moscow. And I’m afraid my inside view of the industry can blur my opinion as well.
Apart from Natura Siberica (which I personally love), we don’t have any really big Russian beauty brand. And while it’s good and pretty and well priced, I feel like Russian women tend to spend more on French skincare and makeup. Clarins is pretty popular in both the makeup and skincare department. Chanel, Dior, Lancôme, and Estée Lauder are big in makeup. L’Oréal and Maybelline are winning in the budget makeup department with Nyx becoming more and more hyped. All young girls I know are fond of budget Korean brands like Holika Holika and Tony Moly.
The most popular beauty trends in your country right now:
I guess double cleansing is becoming very common. As for makeup trends, I’m happy to witness a passion for bold lips, thanks to Russian YouTube star–turned-businesswoman Elena Krygina, and understanding that good skin as a base to makeup is crucial.
Favorite traditional beauty secret from your country:
Russian banya is the best for body and soul. I don’t do it often, but once I do, I go full circle with hot and cold water, leafy brooms, and hot tea.
Where you buy beauty products:
Mostly online. Never thought the day would come when I’d prefer good online shopping to any real store. But here I am, living in mountains with big shops at least an hour’s drive away and absolutely happy because I can place an order at Cult Beauty or Beauty Bay while my son’s napping.
What does “healthy living” mean to you?
To have healthy thoughts, be kind to people, and enjoy every moment of my life, no matter what I do or eat. You can’t call yourself healthy eating only sprouts and leaves yet bitching around and making people near you vulnerable and unhappy.
How do you define/practice self-care?
Mental health is very important for me. No matter what, I try to find at least 30 minutes a day just for myself. I’ll switch off my phone, read, drink tea, or just watch the shadows dancing on the floor. I think about nice things and happy times to brighten my mood and feel grateful for what I have. Of course, I’m trying to be cautious about what I drink and eat, who I spend my time with, and how I care for the people I love and the world I live in because these are all parts of my own universe.
What’s your favorite way to stay active and why?
Crazy fact: I’ve never been in a gym. But, I guess, I can count a ballet studio as an activity in the past. I’m naturally tiny. During pregnancy I gained only 10 kilos, and a week after I gave birth, I was wearing my skinny jeans. So I never had a necessity to do fitness to stay slim. What I like is doing activities outside like riding bike and swimming and just walking around with my 2-year-old son, who is so active, I’m hitting 10,000 to 15,000 steps daily.
What’s your favorite healthy meal?
I mix avocado, baby spinach, boiled egg, tomatoes, and radish, sprinkle it with olive oil and sea salt. Voilà!
What are the most popular wellness trends in your country right now?
Definitely running. And the idea of healthy eating is winning more and more people with raw and vegan cafés popping up and supermarkets opening sections with fresh and clean products.
Check back every day for more beauty and wellness routines from cool women across the world.