Glow Girl: Soraya Bakhtiar

Glow Girl: Soraya Bakhtiar

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International jet-setter, journalist and blogista Soraya Bakhtiar, shines as my latest Glow Girl for She’s in the Glow. Her story is far from average. She grew up in Geneva, Switzerland and comes from an Iranian and Egyptian background. Love it. After college, she moved to London to finish her master’s degree in Fashion Journalism, proving that it’s all about the brains baby! After Soraya’s chic style caught the attention of some pretty major publications such as Vogue UK, ELLE and The New York Times, she decided to launch her eponymous online venture, better known as Soraya Bakhriar. Trust me, if you havn’t already, you need to get involved.

What I love about her blog is that she not only sports some of the most lust-worthy style pieces, but her sense of adventure is off the charts. She travels all over the world and is friends with some of the chicest girls in the biz, meaning only one thing: When it comes to beauty, she is totally in the know. I sat down with my pretty new friend to take a look at this international blogger’s beauty routine and the obscure products, tips and tricks that I need to get my hands on.

Annie: Where do you find your inspiration for your blog?

Soraya: I’m inspired by everything when it comes to dressing up. My blog is an extension of myself. I’m very inspired by the places I travel to, the people. I also love magazines and my favorite editorials are in the french Vogue and RUSH magazine. When it comes to beauty, I don’t really follow trends. I just wear whatever suits me. This is one big thing I learned from Mrs. Bobbi Brown.

Annie: I am obsessed with fake tattoos these days! Tell me, what inspired you to collaborate with Skin Feelings to create your own tattoos? 

Soraya: I wanted to get a real tattoo last summer, the triangle on my wrist, so I asked Leslie from SkinFeelings to make one for me and she said: How about we make a collection? This is how it all started. I designed and imagined all the words/tattoos and we shot the lookbook. It was a really fun experience and everyone loves them.

Annie: Ok, lets talk beauty. What are you obsessed with these days? What’s on your radar?

Soraya: Since I turned 24 this summer, I decided it was time for me to take care of my body and my skin (not that I’m old, but prevention starts now), and not only from outside, but also from the inside. My diet has changed a bit, as I tend to go for organic food whenever I can. But don’t get me wrong; I love a good pizza or burger every now and then. This epiphany has led to a healthier lifestyle overall. I gave up alcohol two months ago (not that I was a big drinker but I’ll have a glass of wine for special occasions) and my body feels leaner and my face is less puffy the morning.

Also, doing yoga three times a week has made me feel a lot more balanced and zen. It’s important for me to stay grounded in the fashion industry. I’m very thankful for finding these spiritual values in my practice.

Generally speaking, people in Switzerland are very healthy, which is one of the reasons why I love living here. Twice a year I go on a five-day juice cleanse with Detox-Delight. Juice cleanses only started gaining popularity within the last year or so, and lately it feels like everyone around me is detoxing. I’m also very fond of Martine de Richeville’s Resculpting Massage, which acts as a lymphatic drainage that removes the toxins from the body. I try to see her at least once or twice a month. Her technique is seriously out of this world. Bye-bye cellulite and water retention!

Unfortunately, Detox-Delight isn’t available here in the US, but I recommend my ultimate fav, The Cooler Cleanse, which ships nationwide and is available at Juice Generation in NYC. 

Beauty-wise, my skincare and makeup routine has also changed. I’ve been obsessed with organic/natural products. Some of my favorite brands are RMS Beauty, Tata Harper, Kora, Tarte, Josie Maran and Rahua Shampoos. When I was in Paris for Fashion Week last September, I got the RMS Living Luminizer at Colette, which I apply on my cheekbones where the light usually hits. It gives my skin a natural and healthy glow. picked up their cream blush in Modest, a pinky salmon. I’m also a fan of thick eyebrows. Three years ago, I stopped plucking them and it has intensified my look. Another favorite of mine has been organic nail polishes. I didn’t even think they existed until I found out about the brand Kure Bazaar.

Annie: In terms of beauty, what is your routine?

Soraya: The best beauty advice I’ve ever gotten was to make sure to cleanse my skin in the morning and before going to bed. Going to bed with makeup on is just not an option. This is my number one rule. Once a week, I also give my skin a treat by gently exfoliating, and applying a mask (REN AHA Radiance Renewal Mask is to die for).

As far as my daily routine goes, here’s how I start my day: I start by cleansing with Emma Hardie’s Morning Face Balm. The sales assistants at Space NK were raving about it. England’s Beauty Guru Caroline Hirons also swears by it! (By the way, whenever I’m in London or New York, Space NK is my ultimate beauty temple.) I remove the balm with a hot and clean muslin cloth, which really helps get rid of the impurities on my face while gently exfoliating. Next, I tone with La Roche Posay Serozinc Spray. It tightens my pores and is full of beneficial Zinc properties. You can only find this product in Europe. After toning, I moisturize with REN’s Hydra-Calm Day Cream. It’s a lifesaver.

Once my face is feeling fresh and smooth, I begin my makeup routine. Here are my essentials: Bare Minerals Loose Powder Foundation, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, Tarte Brow Mousse, Anastasia Brow Gel, RMS Blush + Living Luminizer, Charlotte Tilbury’s Color Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil in Dark Pearl + Five Star mascara (see Net-A-Porter, early 2014), and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (fragrance-free).

Just as a bonus tip: One of my favorite things to do is curl my eyelashes. This makes my eyes look bigger and more open. I like to run my Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler under hot water before I use it in order to get a nicer curl.

At night, I’ll cleanse, tone and apply just a few drops of Pure Rosehip Oil from the Organic Pharmacy in London all of my face. This oil can reduce scars and hydrate ultra-dry skin. It’s the perfect ending to a long day. Also, when I’m not feeling too lazy, I’ll apply some castor oil to my brows and lashes to help them grow faster!

I love Kora’s Rosehip Oil for the face! 

Annie: Let’s be honest, your hair is off the charts. Describe your hair routine and products.

Soraya: I’ve never dyed my hair; I only bleach the ends with my amazing hair colorist Abby at Julien Farrel in NYC. She’s a true artist when it comes to ombré/balayage. I only touch up my hair color once or twice a year. My hair is naturally wavy, but to enhance my waves, my hairdresser Pierre at Hairmania in Geneva cuts my hair in a very special way. I don’t how he does it; I guess he just has the magic touch! I’m also a bit superstitious and only cut my hair the day of a full moon. It sounds weird, I know, but it’s supposed to make hair grow faster and healthier—look it up!

For shampoo and conditioner, I either use Rahua (shampoo & conditioner) or Bumble and Bumble’s Surf line (shampoo & conditioner). In the summer, I air dry my hair to give my strands a break. I also apply a serum by Matrix that I randomly picked up when I ran out of my former serum from L’Oreal (Mythic Oil, which is also very good). To spice up my waves, I spray my hair with a Ocean Mist from SachaJuan. I also LOVE Maui Wowie Ocean Mist from Philip B. Lately, I’ve been blow-drying my hair, and then adding curl with a flat iron to create a more polished look.

Annie: What are the 5 products you couldn’t live without if you were stranded on a desert island?

Soraya: I couldn’t live without sunscreen (Clinique SPF 30 Body Sunscreen and SPF 40 Face Sunscreen), oil to moisturize my hair (I like coconut oil), face and body moisturizer (REN, Kora or Kiehl’s), cream blush (from Josie Maran or RMS) and of course, bottles and bottles of Evian.

Annie: You travel constantly. What are your tips for reviving yourself from a long flight to look your freshest?

Soraya: I try not to apply too much makeup when I travel. I don’t really see the point of it. I like spritzing my face with a mist from Kora or Caudalie to keep my skin fresh and hydrated. I learned this trick from Miranda Kerr. When I feel tired, I’ll just apply some Avocado Eye Cream from Kiehl’s. I’ve been using it for two years. I love it. A little goes a long way. Getting a good night’s sleep and drinking plenty of water also helps recharging my batteries. A hot stone massage is the ultimate treat if I can make time.

Annie: After an indulgent vacation or post fashion week, how do you detox?

Soraya: I try not to “indulge” on vacation or on Fashion Week. For me, it’s all about having a healthy lifestyle throughout the entire year. During Fashion Week, you’ll rarely see me at the after parties. Fashion Week is business time for me, so looking and feeling my best is very important. Sleep is so important.

Annie: A trip to the Swiss Pharmacy is like visiting a French or English pharmacy on steroids! Each one specializes in a certain something, and is filled with top of the line skincare products. What are your favorite pharmacy finds?

Soraya: I’d have to say my favorites are La Roche Posay Serozinc Toner Spray, Bioderma Eau Micellaire, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Moisturizer and Rene Furterer Okara’s Active Light Range and Dry Shampoo.

Annie: What are some of the coolest products you have picked up on your travels? 

Soraya: Sheiseido Silk Cotton Pads (my latest obsession, and you can only get them in the States), Le Labo Perfume in Gaiac 10 – Tokyo Edition, Emma Hardie’s Cleansing Balm, SachaJuan Ocean Mist, Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, and other Charlotte Tilbury goodies from Selfridges in London.

Can Charlotte Tilbury launch here in the US already?! Dying…

Annie: What are you thoughts on a little nip and tuck?

Soraya: I personally am not a huge fan of plastic surgery and am not considering going through the process myself, but I do understand and support some people who really feel like they needed it to feel better in their own skin. I think that perfection does not exist and the more you try, the less natural you look.

Annie: Who are your beauty icons?

Soraya: Audrey Hepburn is one of my fashion and beauty icons because of her flawless skin and cat eyes. Women like Lily Aldridge, Caroline Issa and Olivia Palermo also represent modern beauty for me.

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