magdalena frackowiak The File

I Lived Like Magdalena Frackowiak For A Week

For the duration of my teens, and well into early 20s, my skincare routine went something like this: cleanse in the morning, moisturise twice daily (hopefully), try to remember to take off make-up after a night out, and apply sunscreen (only if I was going to the beach). I wasn’t at the wash-your-face-with-whatever-body-wash-is-lying-around level of the skincare spectrum, but I certainly didn’t jive with serums and eye creams on the regular, eat foods with my skin in mind, or follow my mum/Cate Blanchett/any sane person living in Australia’s advice of wearing sunblock erry day, either.

Since maturing (he he), I’ve become far more regimented in my approach to looking after my flesh suit. In my mind, I was surely now up there with the most anal echelons of society when it came to preserving my skin’s elasticity and #glow, with my unwavering devotion to serums, oils, mists, sheet masks, trips to the dermatologist, creams, creams for my creams, cleansers, chemical exfoliants, AHA this, BHA that… the list is endless!

Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. For Polish model/legend Magdalena Frackowiak exists, and when she’s not putting reporters in their place or creating perf jewellery, a good chunk of her existence goes towards meticulously preserving her youthful skin. And, at 32 years of age, she’s doing a stellar job. Have you seen her skincare rules? The list almost gave me wrinkles from stressing out about how comparatively heinous my beauty routine is. I knew what I had to do. I had to live like Magdalena. I decided a week was the appropriate length of time to undo years of damage all I could manage. So I printed and stuck her strict (and oft-unusual) list of rules up on my bedroom wall, and gave living the #blessed life an honest crack. Here’s what happened:

  • Touching Your Face Is Bad, But Not As Bad As Cigarettes

    The first thing I noticed whilst on my Magdalena skin diet was how fond I am of touching my face. Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa creates life for a science project? That’s how I now viewed my face: a colony of bacteria that I dutifully ruled over. What was I supposed to do with my hands? Certainly not smoke! Nor use them to lift a nightly glass of vino up to my thirsty mouth. Because if you do these things you will die, or worse, expedite the ageing process, according to Magdalena/common sense:

    “[I] don’t smoke, and I don’t drink alcohol at all. I’m 30 and I have not one wrinkle, so this is why. It’s all about being very delicate with your skin and treating your skin like it’s your best friend. I say to all the young models who are there backstage with a cigarette: “Don’t smoke!” It kills, you know, it really kills. You see that girl in 10 years and she won’t still be working, you’re like: “Wow, she changed so much,” because she destroyed herself. Don’t party too much, don’t take drugs: you get the face you deserve.”

    It also seems that I love greeting people by way of smooshing my cheek on theirs. Magdalena does not condone this! And so I tried, almost entirely successfully, to eschew this in favour of the following physical greetings: a cool-guy high-five, a très-chic air kiss, and, most often, an awkward half-hug or slight nod of the head. At the beginning of the week, I explained the situation to my compadres, but I couldn’t really be bothered by the end. I guess I’ll have to get back to you on how many friends I have left as a result…

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    Pantry Items Make For Damn Fine Face Masks

    Because most of my hands’ previous uses were now redundant, I put them to work whipping up Magdalena’s recommended hot water and lemon beverage (for morning and night), and at-home masks; one comprising honey and avocado, the other comprising oats and milk. Bernard Salt would fall off his chair if he knew us evil hipster millennials were not only foregoing a home deposit for our over-priced smashed avo brunches, but also adding insult to injury by smashing them on our faces as well. To hell with him! Honey and avocado makes for a very satisfying DIY mask, FYI, and I personally recommend combining the two avo-related activities for maximum pleasure. The real winner — the oats and milk combo — did a highly commendable, all-round job on my face. Oats are great for sensitive skin because they have anti-inflammatory properties, and they’re also primo natural exfoliants. My skin was noticeably bright after this cost-effective treatment. Thanks, Mags!

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    Natural Skincare Is Where It's At

    When it comes to skincare products, Mags keeps things relatively simple. In the morning, she cleanses with water only, before gently dabbing her face with a towel. By the end of the seven days, I missed my main squeeze — Dermalogica’s UltraCalming Cleanser — like crazy, but I’d shed a terrible habit: aggressively wiping my face with towels. Magdalena uses the Dr. Alkaitis Organic Herbal Toner and Dr. Alkaitis Organic Day Crème. I too used those products, with satisfying results. The cream, while incredibly hydrating, is a touch heavier than I’m used to, so I only used it of a night. The toner was a dream, and smelled weirdly like my grandma’s garden, so bonus points for inducing nostalgia. When it comes to make-up, she only uses a Giorgio Armani foundation, which I subbed for my trusty Tom Ford Traceless Foundation, which has near-identical coverage, I’m sure.

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    Dr. Colbert Is The Man

    Magdalena also visits Dr. David Colbert in New York on the regular for a three-part treatment, but since I’m yet to receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter, and thus haven’t mastered the art of the portkey, this was physically impossible. In lieu of this, I gave his Colbert MD Nutrify & Protect Day moisturiser a whirl, and I have to say, I’m contemplating booking flights to NYC just so I can meet the genius behind it. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, super absorbent, travel-friendly, and packed to the rafters with hydrating properties. I’m. In. Love.

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    Flying With A Face Mask Is The Only Way To Travel

    When Mags flies, she puts on a hydrating mask and goes to sleep. I wasn’t flying anywhere this week, but AS IT TURNS OUT, I’ve already DONE THIS, flying back from Tokyo last year. See here for proof. Maybe I should write my own list of skincare rules, because clearly if the curb is here, then I am way over there, ahead of it!

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    Don't Torture Yourself: Eat Pasta

    As you’d expect, her diet is nutrient and protein-rich, and supplemented by plenty of vitamins:

    “Then [I take] vitamins, because vitamins nourish your skin from the inside out. Vitamin E, A, all the omegas, and fish oil are all very important — and also I like to eat chicken soup because it contains collagen. I eat a lot of avocado, a lot of fish, beef — because your skin is built from these oils. You need to care for the skin from inside. I can have pasta, trust me — I live in Italy. I’m not torturing myself.”

    I’m a vegequarian (a vegetarian who occasionally eats fish, but despises the word pescetarian), so I didn’t benefit from her collagen soup or beef oils, but I did go H.A.M. on the fish and avocado. Since I wasn’t about to torture myself, I also ate pasta three nights out of the seven. Sue me. To compensate for my love of gluten, I took a cocktail of vitamins each morning, but since they take longer than a week to kick in, I’ll have to get back to you on the posi effects of this ritual.

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    Yoga Is The Ticket

    Mags loves to stretch, and is both a Pilates and yoga enthusiast. I can’t thank the Polish beauty enough, because this pushed me to finally sign up to In Yoga — a beautiful studio that is situated roughly 20 metres from my bedroom door (pls don’t stalk me). I forgot how much I loved yoga — a hobby that died out two years ago — and felt almost overwhelmingly zen after practicing it three times that week. I also forgot how inflexible I am, and how long the passage of time has been since I last made contact with my toes. And lastly, I wondered if all my not kissing people and not touching my face was being done in vain, considering how often my forehead was on that mat. All this forgetting and wondering started to undo the zen, so I hopped into Savasana, and let my mind go blank.

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    Give Your Spots Some Time To Chill

    My face ~broke out~ during the course of the week, which, touch wood, isn’t something I’m used to at all. What the hell, Magdalena? Before blaming her, I racked my brain for other potential variables that could have caused this, and there were a few. I recently went back on the pill to control some of the less desirable effects of endometriosis (the feeling of claws ripping at your insides), I’d sustained the flu, I was probably having tobacco withdrawals, and it’s winter here in the Southern Hemi, so my skin was obviously dealing with an astronomical existential crisis. I should also clarify that my version of a breakout is two pimples. Cry for me. Whatever the reason, this gave me a good opportunity to test out her zit recommendation: “Never try to push a pimple. If you have one, the best thing you can do is to take pure alcohol on a Q-tip, and delicately touch it.” This worked! I always exacerbate the sitch by prying at whatever half-formed blemish is on my face, but I took an exercise in self control this time, and let the alcohol-soaked Q-tip do the dirty work.

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    Sleeping Like A Corpse Is Near-Impossible

    The best part of the whole experiment, however, outside of rekindling my love of yoga, was trying to sleep like a corpse.

    “Another thing I do, and this comes from my mother, is I sleep like this [mimes totally still, on her back, corpse pose]. You don’t want to wrinkle.”

    Mags! This is insane. As much as I tried to play dead while sleeping, I’d always wake up tangled in my two blankets, my face having made its way back onto the pillow. This corpse exercise mainly proved, without a doubt, how very un-glamorous I am at sleeping.

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    The Verdict

    The results are in, and they all point to my new-found IMMORTALITY!

    Jokes. But at the end of the week, I did feel pretty #fresh, and despite the one “breakout” — which was almost definitely hormonal, and dissipated very quickly — my skin was bloody glowing. Dry July is so 2016, you guys. We dare you to spend the last two weeks of the month living like a supermodel instead.

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    Words, Madeleine Woon. Image, Magdalena Frackowiak for Self Service Magazine.