Hey, I’m Lera. I mostly model, but I also do a bit of everything else on the side. Originally from Ukraine, I’ve been based in LA for a minute. Throughout my life, I’ve been obsessed with clothes but neglectful of skincare, makeup, and hair (I’ve always been the type to get up and leave the house with wet hair and a bare face). I can attribute this in part to carelessness and in part to my admiration for natural beauty.
Now, I’ve come to accept that maintaining natural beauty into older age does not come effortlessly. So, for the past two years, I’ve been delving into skincare research while also actually paying attention to things makeup artists put on my face at photoshoots. I still prefer the less-is-more approach, but now I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Here are my go-to essentials.
Embryolisse Lait‐Crème Concentré & Sun Protection
Embryolisse is an old-school, tried-and-true French moisturizer that basically every makeup artist uses. Last time I was in Paris, I went to a big discount pharmacy and got as many products as I could fit in my suitcase (which unfortunately was too few). This was one of them. I love absolutely everything about this product. It has a beautiful texture, neither thick nor runny, and it leaves a smooth matte skin surface that needs no extra priming for makeup. The subtle scent of this cream is really nice. I use it just about every time before dabbing on concealer, and after any time my face touches water. An important side note: I feel strongly about washing my face as little as possible as to not disturb the skin’s natural protective barriers.
La Roche Posay’s Anthelios SPF60 is the only sunscreen that I’ve been able to stick with. Of course, I’ve always known about the importance of sunscreen in preventing photodamage to the skin, but each one I’ve tried prior to this has left my face a sweaty shiny greaseball. Gross. I had almost given up on trying. Then I ordered a bottle of Anthelios from the purportedly the “best” sunscreen brand, and here I am using it literally every time I step out. It has a runny, thin consistency that just sinks into your skin seamlessly. I love this because according to studies, people who use sunscreen don’t apply enough of it for complete sun protection. This, I can just slather on and on. Here’s a fun yet sad fact: If you cry with this on, your tears will run yellow down your face.
My mom introduced me to Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream a long time ago as an overnight repair remedy for face picking marks. It used to be an absolutely awful habit of mine, but I’m a little better now. The 8 Hour Cream is a petrolatum-based skin protectant, a close cousin to lip balm (and can be used as such). I cover my face with this at night when experiencing particularly dry weather and wake up with my skin texture plumped. I oftentimes mix it with an oil, and I swear this combination helps dislodge sebum.
I’ve been using Biopel instead of my mom’s cream after having discovered it on a job in Madrid. The makeup artist was creating a dewy-sweaty look and was putting something on my face that felt and smelled exactly like the Elizabeth Arden. Then I saw a different tube! If you’re ever in Spain, go to a pharmacy and ask for “Biopel”. It’s essentially the same, but cheaper.
Kate Somerville Dilo Oil
It’s the lightest, most absorbent face oil I’ve ever come across. I use this when my face looks dull. I mix a couple drops into my moisturizer and it adds immediate softness and radiance. I use a bit more at night a few times per week, sometimes mixing with the aforementioned cream. Heads up: it now comes in a different shaped bottle.
Klorane Dry Shampoo
Hands down, the best. I use it when my hair is both clean and dirty because I love the texture it creates, especially over the course of a couple days. I like the non-aerosol version: you just gently pump it with your hand, and it lasts forever.
This is a crystal deodorant made from actual mineral salts, which works really well once you get the hang of using it. You have to rub it onto wet skin, so it takes a little more effort than the traditional stuff, but it’s an amazing natural and safe alternative. The mother of one of my high school friends attributed the development of her breast cancer to regular deodorant, and that stuck with me. Pro tip: peel the sticker label off, and the container looks cute! Also, I’ve just learned that it comes in a spray as well.
Le Labo Body Lotion
I’m so bad at regularly using body lotion, but I’m very in love with the smell of this stuff. I use it almost more as a body parfum really. It rubs in fully and leaves no greasy feeling.