At Byrdie HQ, it's our MO to celebrate beauty from every corner of the world. The beauty customs of different cultures are unique and steeped in history, and by learning about them, we're able to expand our own perspectives (not to mention pick up a life-changing new tip or two). That's why we're proclaiming this week and paying special homage to women far and wide, from Thailand to Russia and beyond. Each day, we'll honor the beauty practices, trends, and traditions of our sisters around the globe—complex, intriguing, and versatile as they are. Enjoy!
Unlike French women who have that je nais se quoi beauty aesthetic, women from Russian have a much more straightforward style. From their perfectly dyed and done hair to their pristine manicures, Russian women could teach us a thing or two about put-together beauty. In order to learn the secrets responsible for their always-on-point hair and makeup, we reached out to Saint Petersburg–born blogger and all-around cool girl Sonya Esman for her everyday beauty routine as well as the skincare tips and products she can't live without.
Keep on reading to learn her beauty secrets.
1. She Knows The Importance Of Upkeep
Esman notes that "most Russian women really prioritize looking after their looks, and so it's very common to see women getting a weekly manicure, facial, going on a strict diet, or getting a cosmetic procedure like fillers." While she follows a much more casual beauty philosophy, which she says is due in part to a two-year stint in California, seeing her mom get oxygen facials and manicures bi-weekly has engrained in her "beauty upkeep and discipline," says Esman. Take for instance her multistep skincare routine that she performs nightly before going to bed, as well as her daily use of skin-tightening tools.
2. She Swears By Sea Buckthorn Berries
Among the many things Esman's mother has instilled in her is eating and drinking sea buckthorn berries, a fruit that, according to studies, has been proven to reduce signs of aging. However, Esman doesn't only consume these omega 3–rich berries—she also uses beauty products that contain the fruit, like sea buckthorn shampoo and conditioner which she says she picks up every time she visits Russia.
3. She Isn't Afraid Of Beauty Treatments
According to Esman, Russian women "pick up on new procedures way faster than we do in the USA, perhaps because of FDA regulations—perhaps because of supply and demand." In fact, she says, "If you were to see the list of services offered at a cosmetic clinic, you would go flip. You name your problem, your insecurity: Your cosmetician will fix it in 10 minutes." While Esman is open to cosmetic treatments—she has tried mesotherapy, a concentrated vitamin injection that penetrates the skin and directly deposits vitamins to promote hair growth—she says she personally doesn't miss it.
4. She Uses A Diverse Assortment of Products
"Most women in Russia use American or European products," says Esman. However, she notes that Russian-based brand Natura Siberica has some great deep-conditioning hair treatments. But overall, her beauty routine, as well as that of Russian women, is a mix of different brands from different countries.
5. She Is Faithful To Her Skincare Routine
While Esman prefers a minimal beauty look, when it comes to her skincare routine, she says she is "incredibly faithful." This is a beauty habit that was instilled in her from a young age, as the blogger says she suffered from acne in her teenage years. Some of her must-have skincare tips include cleansing with Foreo's Luna ($40), applying a Rodial Pink Diamond Lifting Mask ($90), exfoliating with Dr. Jart+ Micro Milk Peel ($42), and using Kate Somerville Dilo Oil Resurfacing Treatment ($65) at night.
6. She Takes Supplements
Esman says that health foods and supplements play a big part in her skincare routine, as in most Russian women's beauty routines. For instance, she notes "askorbinki," sour vitamin C supplements, as a Russian-beauty must. Not only does the supplement help boost your immune system, but according to studies, it also plays a vital role in collagen synthesis and may help reduce photodamage caused by UV rays.
7. She Air-Dries Her Hair
When asked how she gets her perfectly tousled tresses, Esman responds that her hair routine is rather simple. When her hair is half dry, Esman says she twists it all to one side of her face and "constantly keeps twisting it." The result: a "natural, heatless wave." And, if her locks needs a little extra texture, Esman uses quintessential sea salt spray, Bumble and Bumble's Surf Spray ($27).