MEET GENEVIEVE

A veteran magazine beauty editor/writer (and a member of the 40+ club), Genevieve Monsma created MediumBlonde to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers age the way they want.

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An Ode to August

An Ode to August

 Disembarking (and feeling woozy) after a too-small-for-me prop-plane flight to Beaver Island, Michigan

Disembarking (and feeling woozy) after a too-small-for-me prop-plane flight to Beaver Island, Michigan

When we lived in New York, it didn’t really feel like summer until August. That’s when New Yorkers go on vacation en masse (to Europe, to LA, or to their homes in The Hamptons, Fire Island, The Jersey Shore, Nantucket), and we would escape for a week to Northern Michigan. We could relax without worrying about what was happening back at the office. Because nothing was happening back at the office. The absence of people also allowed me to enjoy my time in the city more, as subways, restaurants, movie theaters, and even sidewalks were all blessedly free of the usual crush of bodies. Thus, even though we’re technically rounding the corner to the end of the season (boo-hoo), August to me feels like adult summer break. Not the sleeping-until-noon and spending-all-day-at-the-pool breaks of yore, but it's more laid-back than the other eleven months. So, I plan to spend the next 31 days basking in summer's waning glow—and asking beauty industry veterans what products they stockpile for the season. That interview series will officially start tomorrow, but I’ll kick things off now with a few of my favorites:

Sunscreens I swear by Sun damage accounts for at least 80 percent of skin aging so I slather on SPF every single day. Even the cloudy ones. Regular readers know Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 is my go-to facial sunscreen. Why do I love it? It feels more like a light moisturizer than sunscreen: no smell, no tacky-ness, no heavy, chalky finish. And the Clear formula was created for sensitive or acne-prone skin so it never makes me break out. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this is the best facial sunscreen I’ve ever used. On my body, I like SunBum Original Spray or Lotion SPF 30. The formula smells like Ban de Soleil spiked with Coppertone—divinely nostalgic. It is also an excellent, non-irritating formula that my whole family uses.

 Heath and I (a few years back) at one of our summer happy places: Glen Arbor, Michigan. This photo was taken to prove that I do sometimes get (okay, once got) in the (freezing) Lake Michigan water.

Heath and I (a few years back) at one of our summer happy places: Glen Arbor, Michigan. This photo was taken to prove that I do sometimes get (okay, once got) in the (freezing) Lake Michigan water.

Believable faux-glow getters You knew I couldn’t choose just one self-tanner, right? For everyday, I apply Jergens Natural Glow Firming for Fair to Medium Tones, neck to toe—and Clarins Radiance Plus Glow Booster (mixed with my Elta MD Clear) on my face. This combo keeps me subtly golden with minimal effort. If I want to deepen the color, I’ll take the time to apply St Tropez Self-Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse. It gets me the exact same color I’d be if I spent a week tanning. Minus the sunburn, sunspots, peeling—and skin cancer risk. 

Frizz fighter Leonor Greyl Paris Serum De Soi Sublimateur is a lightweight styling lotion that deflates frizz without making my hair look lank (if you have fine hair, you’re already aware that many frizz-fighters also flatten your hair. This one doesn’t.). When I wear my hair wavy—which is pretty much every day in August—I let my strands air dry, then I squirt a dime-sized dollop of this serum in my palm, rub my hands together and scrunch the top layer of my hair. This takes away any frizz, helps define my waves and gives my strands a lovely, jasmine-y scent. On days I don’t shampoo, I'll spritz my hair with water and apply another dollop of this serum to reshape and revive my waves.

Sublime summer smells Bobbi Brown launched her scent Beach fifteen years ago. Time flies. But I’ve yet to find another fragrance that conjures the season better. There are actual notes of sea spray, sand and driftwood in this blend, plus a sprinkling of what I swear must be a ’70s-era SPF because it reminds me of childhood summers on The Cape. If beachy smells make you happy (as they do me), and you haven’t already discovered this cult-classic scent, give it a whiff. Honorable mentions: Bond No 9 Little Italy, a tart citrus that’s like a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade for your nose; and Tom Ford Neroli Portofino a zesty, cologne-y unisex blend that was supposedly inspired by the smells of the water, lush foliage and clean air of the Italian Riviera. I’ve never been there, but I trust Tom’s take. Finally, this isn’t a personal fragrance, but lately I've been burning LAFCO’s Meditation Room (aka Mint Tisane) candle nonstop. I first sniffed this nothing-but-blue-skies-like scent last month when I walked into the chic Lake Effect boutique in Petoskey, Michigan. They had Meditation Room burning by the front door, and I was instantly hooked. It has notes of sparkling orange, spearmint, ginger and anise. But, to me, it simply says I'm sitting on a porch swing sipping a mojito. Happy August.

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