A few years ago, Garovs Vergara, one half of the creative duo Everywhere We Shoot, experienced an epiphany. She didn’t want to use products that conflicted with her new consumer ethic.
“My husband Ryan and I have been patronizing products that are safer and less toxic for some years now,” she says. “For haircare and bath, I noticed that my skin got clearer, and so I started to buy more and more healthy beauty products.”
“It seems that the natural products smell fresher, aren’t sticky, and last longer even on a hot day,” she added.
For brands, she turns to some local and international labels. “Like Lush, they use all-natural ingredients and smell so good. VMV Hypoallergenics, aside from its spiffy packaging, works well on your face and still feels light no matter how much you put on.”
Garovs breaks down her beauty essentials and what she’s not willing to sacrifice for the sake of beauty.
You’ve made a deliberate effort to seek healthier beauty alternatives. What prompted you to do that?
You know those links on Facebook that people caption with, “I’m never buying (insert product here) again!”? I freaked out since I used to use a lot of cheap cosmetics that I bought based on its pretty packaging, every day. Now that I know that really toxic chemicals could be in them and that bunnies or cats are harmed to produce it, I looked for substitutes. It was hard at first since healthy beauty products usually just have the basic colors. But now a whole lot of stores have been supplying healthy options with funky shades or funky scents, like Healthy Options, so yeah
How do you shop for beauty products, then? Do things like source of ingredients, environmental impact, etc. affect your decision-making?
Yes, I don’t like products that harm animals! Not just for beauty products, I patronize items that have biodegradable/recycled packaging. Once I got paraben-free shampoos/conditioners, my face got clearer and my acne (TMI) cleared up! I also use sulfate-free since my bleached hair cannot take anymore harsh chemicals. And non-GMO, even for food, the chemicals used to make livestock and produce grow bigger go into our system.
Take us through your skincare regimen.
Unlike my younger days, I rarely wear full makeup anymore. Most of the time I just darken my eyebrows, do half a wingtip and put on lipstick!
Morning: Any random Lush soap for face and body.
Evening: 1. Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil to take off makeup. Best! 2. Eskinol Pimple Fighting deep facial cleanser; I use this every time after wearing makeup. I’ve tried others but so far this is the best for my oily skin! 3. VMV Hypoallergenics Creamy Rich Intensive Moisture Milk, Jason C-effects lotion, VMV Know-It-Oil (VCO)—Since I use the harsh Eskinol, I slather one of these on to kind of “make up” for the dryness.
Do you follow the rules of expiry? (Junk mascara after six months, for instance.)
Yes! And the ones I use a lot don’t reach more than six months.
How do you decide what look you’re going for? Does the event or outfit dictate the makeup?
Yes. I stay away from the thick wingtip and heavy eyeshadow when going to family occasions, especially the ones where I’m meeting people for the first time.
At baptisms, children’s parties, as I’ve tried before, babies tend to get scared of the white hair, wingtip and dark lipstick combo.
Growing up, who did you look up to in beauty? Were you the kind of kid who had tear sheets from magazines? And if you were, what did they look like?
Yes, my room was covered in magazine tear sheets. It had metal band photos and Alanis, Vogue editorials. I was obsessed with Mc Queen, Galliano haute couture, Benetton ads. Random fliers and stickers.
Has your concept of beauty evolved as you’ve gotten older?
You don’t need to go the extra mile by putting on foundation and contouring your face every day. Go the extra mile by cleaning and moisturizing. Healthy skin shouldn’t hide under makeup.
A lot of women use cosmetics as a tool of self-expression. That must also apply to you. How does makeup play into your identity?
I don’t like looking like everyone else, so maybe when I choose colors, I try to choose the ones that others wouldn’t buy. The really dark ones or really bright ones. Recently, I think I’ve been trying to fashion myself into looking like I don’t take too much time in fixing up. Sometimes it backfires but taking the risk is fun!
Do you feel naked without makeup? Are you one of those people who can’t leave the house without eyeliner or a bold lip?
Nope! I guess I have my hair to thank for my confidence! Putting on makeup for me is a fun thing more than a necessity. Lip balm is a necessity!
Alicia Keys didn’t wear makeup to the recent Video Music Awards and got a lot of flak “for not even trying.” But she was making a statement about female identity and the demands of perfectionism.
What are your thoughts on Keys’ statement to stop wearing makeup?
I loved it! If I had her face, I wouldn’t wear makeup, too! Maybe she wore too much makeup before this, so now people can’t see her as Alicia Keys without makeup.
Tilda Swinton, though, best in no makeup look—with or without makeup. Nobody seemed to bash her for that. I think if everyone knew that she was making a statement, I don’t think she would’ve gotten that much flak!
Miss Universe question here. When do you feel most beautiful? Or does that not even matter to you?
Upon waking! True story. My eyes seem youthful and my skin more supple. It could also be the moisturizers I put on at night.
What beauty trick or habit do you wish your husband would take up?
Ryan has learned to wash and moisturize his face before and after sleeping. I wish he’d learn to use toner more. He likes using Shu Uemura Tsuya Skin but keeps forgetting to buy a new bottle.
Before you leave the house, what’s the last thing you put on?
When you die, what lipstick would you like to wear to your funeral?
I decided this in my college years: a misplaced red lipstick like in Comme des Garcons A/W 2004 RTW!