To me, an essential part of style is beauty. And part of beauty is ritual, magical. I have always been fascinated by beauty rituals, men's and women's; I always want to look inside people's vanities; and I think a bathroom tells a lot about a person... So I could not help but pick the brains of the fascinating Necar Zadegan (formerly of 24, you can now watch her on Bravo's new series Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce), with whom I had the pleasure of dining with in LA not long ago. We initially met through the world of beauty, and our friendship has grown around this topic and our joint enthusiasm for our families, long baths, beautiful bathrooms, French women, and more.
AP: Who is your beauty icon? Your style icon?
NZ: My mom is definitely my beauty icon. She is a natural beauty and is still the most stunning woman in any room. She takes care of herself starting from the inside and she glows. We should all be so lucky. My style icons are really French women. My family lives in France and I have always admired the delicate and effortless style that Parisian women always possess, no matter what their budget.
AP: Who, what inspires you everyday when you get ready in the morning?
NZ: My sister, who reminds me to always wear a bit of makeup. A little really goes a long way. It makes you feel ready. I think inspiration changes. I live in California and the weather is so nice all the time, that is inspiring to keep my skin refreshed since it is always on display. Also, I recently chopped off my hair so I am having a very Kelly McGillis Top Gun feeling lately. Sophisticated and sexy.
AP: What do you do when you wake up and feel like crap and want to wear sweatpants and a scrunchie?
NZ: If I feel that way, usually a short jog will get my blood flowing and I will feel rejuvenated. And a bit of music always refreshes my spirit. If I still really want to wear sweatpants and a scrunchie after that, then I suppose I would just crawl back in bed and try to start over.
AP: You recently cut your hair; tell me more about your hair diaries and favorite products and who you went to for the "chop".
NZ: I was so ready to cut my hair and to tell you the truth, it was hard to find a hairdresser who would do it. I guess they were afraid I would hate them. I have very curly locks and my hair was quite long and very pretty. And any girl with curls knows the shorter it gets, the more unmanageable it can be. But I really wanted a change. Yuki Togashi at Gavert Atelier is my guy. He is a real artist. Every time I walk out of his chair, people can't stop complimenting me on my hair. He is very skilled at giving a very pretty cut that is still modern and playful and sexy. I can't tell you how good it feels. I love it.
I don't overload on products but the right ones really do make a difference. I also think you have to change it up after a while because your hair can get used to something and it loses its vavoom. Right now I like Shu-uemura's protective oil and I love just about every product from Oribe, particularly their texturizing spray.
AP: Would you ever be a blonde or a redhead?
NZ: I was. Both. In college. But right now, I really love being a rich brunette.
AP: What was your worst beauty mistake?
AP: Walk us through your morning and evening beauty routines. Your beauty rituals.
NZ: In the morning, I wash my face, apply a vitamin C serum, a light moisturizer, SPF, and blush and mascara and then I'm out the door. Recently, I've learned a little acupressure technique and I will sometimes do that while I'm applying moisturizer. In the evening, I try to be delicate about removing my makeup. I don't exfoliate every night, but a couple times a week, usually every other day. I apply a night cream, a neck cream (the firming gel for neck and bust from Dr. Luigi Polla is one of my favorite products of all time), and eye cream. A few times a week I will take an evening bath and apply a mask, usually a moisturizing mask but occasionally a clay mask on my t-zone, particularly if I had a makeup-heavy week at work.
AP: You are a fan of baths... What is your bath ritual, and how often do you have baths?
NZ: I like to take a bath once or twice a week. I will light candles and meditate in there, even if it's just for 15-20 minutes. I will do a scrub and a mask, the steam helps the beneficial effects. I like the Korean way of scrubbing: it is particularly abrasive but it leaves your skin so refreshed. You should only do it once or twice a month to keep from losing too much oil. I am careful about soaking in various products, the more natural the better. Your lady parts shouldn't soak in anything with ammonia or acid or anything you can't pronounce. A chamomile bath is nice, but the best is a bit of epsom. Sometimes I'll put a mask on my hair and sit in the tub and let the day drain away.
AP: Your beauty moments - with music or in silence?
NZ: Music, always music. Even in silence there is music. Sometimes that is my favorite.
AP: How do you make your bathroom feel special? At home and when you travel.
NZ: A little romance. Flowers. And tiny bottles.
AP: What products are in (on) your vanity?
NZ: I love products. It's so feminine to have tiny bottles of beauty potions abound. Most of the products I love are are from Forever Institut in Geneva and SkinCeuticals, but I also use some from Eminence, La Roche Posay and Sisley has some great masks. My eye make-up remover is from Shiseido.
AP: What will you not walk out of the house without wearing?
AP: If you were stuck on a desert island with only one beauty product - what would it be?
NZ: SPF 60.
AP: How often do you get facials?
NZ: Once a month.
AP: Botox or not?
NZ: Not. Not yet anyway. Hopefully never. My mom hasn't and she looks better than all the ladies I have seen that have. I hope I am as lucky.
AP: Lips - red or nude or pink?
NZ: Red. Bright red. But more often I'm in pink. It's more kissable.
AP: Nails - nude or red?
NZ: Nude. Sometimes red.
AP: How do you keep your hands looking amazing?
NZ: Dr. Luigi Polla has an exfoliator that I use on my hands a couple times a week; I use it kind of like a mask, scrub it in for about 15 minutes and then wipe the rest away. Also, washing your hands in cold water and whole milk is an old trick my mom has taught me that is okay for your face too if you are ever feeling particularly sensitive.
AP: What are your diet rules if any? Do you diet?
NZ: I do not ever diet, but when it comes to what I put into my body, I spare no expense on quality. I am committed to organic foods. I eat organic, fresh food, lots of fruits and veggies, grass fed, hormone-free everything. Whole grains only, nothing processed. Beauty really starts from the inside, and if you are conscious of what is going into your body, your mindfulness will spread from there. Food is delicious. And good for you. I do not think dieting is even good for you. Athletes don't diet. They eat. And train.
AP: How often do you weigh yourself?
AP: What do you do for exercise?
NZ: Barre classes are my thing right now but I love to run, though I try not to run too far or too long so as to be kind to my knees. I have noticed that all the older ladies who look great do Pilates. So I follow their lead. Yoga is also wonderful and I do that too. I don't like the gym but I do lift light weights sometimes. I like the look of long lean muscles and I think these things are great to maintain my shape that way. But I'm also very active and I like to be healthy and in shape enough to go skiing on a whim or take somebody up on a game of tennis any day.
AP: Water - how much do you drink per day?
NZ: As much as possible.