California girls do sunkissed chic better than anyone. Tousled hair, lithe bodies and relaxed style has eternal appeal, but take it from a born and bred Cali-girl who has lived in London for thirteen years; you don’t need blue skies and morning beach runs to achieve the golden glow. Let’s start from the outside and work our way in.
Calgary on make-up...
The resounding Cali-girl make-up mantra is fresh-faced and natural; less is definitely more so even if you’re devoted to make-up the overall effect should be glowing and relaxed. The best place to start is your base - coverage that leaves you looking polished but not caked is essential; I always use either a tinted moisturiser or featherweight foundation like Cover FX Natural FX Water Based Liquid Foundation , £37 blended evenly with a brush and highlighted with one of my many beloved bronzers such as Tom Ford Bronzing Powder , £65 - without that golden dusting I feel positively pale.
Everyday make-up is kept neutral: a sweep of creamy eye shadow, a quick flick of Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Sepia Ink , £17 on the top lid, a good coating of brown Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara in Extreme Brown , £22(giving a much more natural appearance than black) a flush of a pink on cheeks with Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks , £18 and a semi-gloss fresh lip to finish like Nars Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil , £17.50.
Behind the scenes, my skincare regime is super simple. I’ve had rosacea for years so the gentler I am with my skin the better. I cleanse minimally by wiping my skin with coconut oil (this is also the most brilliant make-up remover), moisturise daily with organic oils - a favourite is RMS Beauty Oil , £60 - and massage in rich creams at night to nourish. I'm a big fan of Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser , £36.25. The rest of my body is treated to a daily three-step process: skin brushing, baths of Epsom salts (both essential for detoxification) and then slathered in natural oils.
I’m afraid though, any golden colour is 100% manufactured. I rarely go in the sun as reparation for my teenage years of "laying out" with baby oil, so now when I need a hint of glow I unashamedly turn to the bottle. James Read Gradual Tan , £24.50 is one of the best I've tried that sin't too obvious and doesn't turn me orange. If I do happen to be out in the heat I slather on and if I am out in it I slather on Sisley Broad Spectrum Facial Sunscreen SPF 50 , £93.50
On her surfer girl hair
When it comes to quintessentially Californian hair, let’s be honest, it has to be long and blonde. Until the age of sixteen I possessed the most deliciously real blonde locks – the sort people pay excessive amounts of money for – but now as less of a real blonde I entrust my roots to the blonde master, Josh Wood . He keeps the underneath darker as it would be if I really was a beach bunny, and he never goes too blonde - always caramel, always honey.
I rarely cut it so to avoid those dreaded dry, stringy ends I am forever doing a hair masque such as Moroccanoil Intense Hydration Masque , £23.85 or Kerastase Masquintense , £21.17 and whenever my husband is travelling I slather coconut oil over every square inch of my hair and sleep in it. All to achieve the effortless textured locks that define the best of beach-boho hair. And I’ve got my recipe for DIY texture down to a science: Ojon's Dry Recovery Hydrating Shampoo , £18 and conditioner £19.50 , spray in Bumble and Bumble Texture Crème , £21.50, plait my hair, put it in a loose bun, go to sleep and awake with heavenly loose waves that look like I’ve toiled for hours with a pair of tongs.
California is undoubtedly obsessed with body-beautiful but in reality the West Coast’s love affair with fitness goes far beyond appearances. I was raised in a culture that truly believes in the positive power of nurturing and strengthening the body. From a young age I was taught to value the benefits of an active lifestyle – not just how it made you look, but how good it made you feel, how it could combat stress, heal the body, and quiet the mind. It is simply a way of life, valued as “me time” that people enjoy and don’t compromise. It’s that ingrained ethos that inspires me no matter where I live. Variety is the key to any efficient exercise regime so I mix up my week’s activities with running, Barrecore classes, TRX, yoga and as much walking to and from meetings as possible.
Four days a week is my “feel–good” goal and even when I think I don’t have the energy to hit the gym I push myself and remarkably always feel better after. In California, exercise is social – friends meet up to take a spin class after work or have breakfast Saturday morning together before heading to yoga. Sadly, here I am more often asked to the local pub but I’m determined to change that one green juice at a time.
MORE GLOSS: Eating healthy for life
Speaking of green juice...before everything, what I put into my body is of utmost importance - without wholesome, nutritious food nothing I’ve written thus far matters. I’m a farmer’s market girl through and through, and when it comes to health, beauty and a California glow nothing touches the importance of what you eat. Growing up in the heartland of organic farming and vegetarianism I learned to care about where food comes from, how it's cooked, and how it's served. It is the fuel our minds depend on to thrive and our bodies need to be lean and strong. What you put in matters a lot!
For me that means as little wheat, dairy, sugar, and processed food as possible; loads of green juices (I am a big fan of raw juice company Plenish Cleanse ), wholesome grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and a raw meal once a day. My morning starts with a glass of lemon water, a cup of green tea, and my nutrient packed smoothie – a breakfast of champions. My favourite saying at the moment is, “You can't outrun a bad diet,” because the truth is you can’t. Of course exercise is essential to an impeccably toned California body but without a clean diet, change just won’t happen.
So although we California girls may exude an enviable carefree attitude, the reality is it’s damn hard to look this laid-back. We care deeply about what we put in our bodies, how often we move those bodies and what is slathered on them. Even after thirteen years in London I still religiously have a pedicure every two weeks all year long, I neurotically only let one woman touch my eyebrows because she grooms them to “natural” perfection, and I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a salad without asking for dressing on the side. You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take the California out of the girl.
Other essentials in Calgary's beauty stash
Weleda Skin Food , £8.95
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream , £14
RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream , £12.50
Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder , £24.50
Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Bronzing Veil , £36
Lucas Hugh Workout Leggings www.lucashugh.com
Photography by David Yeo
Calgary Avansino has recently left her position as Executive Fashion Editor at Vogue to be their Contributing Editor while she shares her love of all things healthy with her new, soon to launch site, CalgaryAvansino.com .