Saturday, December 19, 2015

Beauty Spotlight: Nina Griscom

Nina with her daughter Lily.
By Delia von Neuschatz

Nina Griscom
knows a thing or two about beauty. The one-time Ford model, magazine editor, and former wife of renowned plastic surgeon Daniel Baker has had an inside track on the cosmetics industry for years. And although this blonde, blue-eyed beauty has graced the covers of countless magazines, her expertise on aesthetics is more than just skin deep.

The stylish society fixture — stepdaughter of Felix Rohatyn and product of Chapin, Miss Porter’s and Barnard — knows how to live. Sure, she travels to exotic locales, creates beautiful interiors, is adept at practicing the dying art of entertaining, and now designs tasteful handbags. But there’s also her enduring passion for Africa and her efforts to help its people and its wildlife. And perhaps more than anything, there’s her irreverence, warmth and wit, all delivered with a beguiling smoky-voiced candor.
Nina with her husband, Leonel Piraino.
Nina with the Mini Lily tote from her handbag collection which can be purchased here. The bags are all handmade in New York State. "The business is now at a transitional point. I’m looking for outside investment,” says Nina. Photo: Steven Schopp.
Here the globe trekker reveals a few tricks of the beauty trade:

Skin Care


When I wake up in the morning, I always brush my face (with upward and outward strokes) which gets rid of dead cells. The brush I use is from Alexandra Soveral. I also use an electronic face brush, but never both. It’s one or the other. The electronic brush is the ProX from Olay. It’s cheaper than the Clarisonic one and works just as well. A dry washcloth also does the trick.
Facial brushes from Alexandra Soveral. ProX facial brush from Olay.
Then, I put on my Biologique Recherche lotion P50V. It totally cleans all traces of dirt and leaves the surface very smooth. It’s very effective. I have seen a lot of things in the beauty industry and am wary of the promises. Most things make you feel good, but they don’t really do much. One brand that actually delivers is Biologique Recherche.

After that, I dab on a few drops of a Vitamin C serum all over the face. I use [plastic surgeon’s] Gerry Imber’s C Boost Serum.
Lotion P50V from Biologique Recherche Dr. Gerald Imber’s C Boost Serum.
I follow that up with Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage MD Anti-Aging Solution. It medically enhances the skin.

Then, I use a facial mist to hydrate the skin and help with product absorption. I like Alexandra Soveral’s Floral Rain Toning Mist. Alexandra is a facialist from the UK. She’s fabulous. Her facials are very relaxing and not overly manipulative. She does very good massage work on the muscles. I go to her when she comes to New York. The spray contains roses from her own garden. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy though. Kiehl’s makes a good spray too. And if you’re on a budget, you can just squirt some water on your face.
Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage MD Anti-Aging Treatment Alexandra Soveral’s Hydrating Facial Mist
For moisturizer, I’ll use an oil. On a recent trip to Paris, I went to Buly on the left bank. They have a menu of about 50 different oils from all over the world. I bought four of them. When I travel, I buy locally produced oils because they’re authentic and pretty good.
Buly 1803 in Saint Germain de Près has been selling scented offerings for over 200 years. The Left Bank shop is an almost exact reproduction of the original 19th century fragrance emporium on the Rue Saint-Honoré.
I also swear by Crème de la Mer. I love the texture. There have been a lot of complaints that they changed the formula, but it works for me. I use it when I'm feeling tired or am suffering from a "lifestyle hangover."

My sunscreen is Olay Regenerist SPF 50. It's my go-to staple. It's got the best performance for the buck according to dermatologists. Every dermatologist I've talked to loves it.
Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Regenerating Lotion with Sunscreen SPF 50
Once is a while, I use an eye cream, but I’m not a fan. They can make your eyes look puffy and since everyone and their mother gets injections, who has wrinkles anymore?

At night, when I’m disciplined, I’ll brush on some Latisse. I also pull it across my eyebrows from time to time. When I’m being good about it, my lashes will hit my glasses and when I’m not, they go right back to where they were.

Masks are fun. For me, the one that really works is Clarins’ Beaume Beauté Eclair. It’s quick and has a real effect. You look refreshed, brighter, healthier.
Make Up

Foundation is an area where money should be spent. For that, I like Chanel’s Lumière Fluid Make Up and Armani’s Maestro foundation. I have yellow skin, so I prefer warmer tones. I don’t use anything too matte and I use it sparingly. I’m not a believer in tinted moisturizer unless you’re 19.
Perfection Lumiere Long Wear Flawless Fluid
Make Up by Chanel
Armani’s Maestro Fusion foundation
I also believe in and regularly use a self tanning lotion. It makes you look healthy. Mine is the Chanel Soleil Identité. I put that on every three days. It really makes a difference, although it’s not a replacement for foundation. It gives my face a nicer glow and color without a tan.
For my lips, I like to outline them and color them in with a lip pencil and then put on some chapstick. I hate gloss. I like the pencils from Kevin Aucoin, Nars and Stila. I’ll also fill them in with some lipstick. I like the ones from Bite Beauty. Pepper is the color I’m using now.
Bite Beauty lipstick in Pepper
For my eyes, I use Dior Show mascara in black, applying it liberally on my top lashes, but sparingly on the bottom ones. A good curl is a good idea, but you have to be careful not to pull your lashes out. When it comes to eyeliners, I like Kevin Aucoin’s brown pencils and at night, I’ll do a cat eye with Armani’s Maestro liquid eyeliner with the black felt tip.

For eyeshadows, I like Kevin Aucoin’s smoky greys.
I love real perfume. I’m not into unisex fragrances. I love heady, sexy scents. I’ve used Joy by Jean Patou and Bellodgia by Caron. Right now, I’m really into oud oil. I buy it by the ounce from Kuwait. It is so smoky and mysterious.

I used to wave incense sticks in my hair. My daughter would say to me: “Mom, you’re not happy with your perfume unless you smell like your head is in the fireplace.”
Perfume is a treat for yourself like beautiful underwear. For years, I used Golconda by JAR and put the empty bottles in my underwear drawer.

But, I’m respectful in my use of perfume. I realize that not everyone likes it, so I don’t douse myself before I get on an airplane or go to the doctor’s office.
Nina in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia with the Gelada monkeys.
Hair Care

I like Klorane’s Shampooing a l’Ortie. Once in a while, I’ll go for a good old fashioned cider and vinegar rinse to restore the shine.

Too much product is counterproductive. The less you torment your hair the better it will look. Products with too much alcohol are no good.

People can age themselves with hair. Women who have overly styled hair look older. The more natural the hairstyle, the more flattering it is. I get mine blown out by Yves Durif at the Carlyle.

I don’t wash my hair every day. I use the Pssssst! dry shampoo in between washing it. But you have to use dry shampoo cautiously or you’ll end up looking like a Marie Antoinette wig.
Klorane’s Shampooing à l’ortie Pssssst! dry shampoo
When all else fails, a ponytail is good for “hair hangover” just like sunglasses and lipstick are good for a “lifestyle” hangover.”
Nina in South Africa on the Phinda Game Reserve. The rhino was darted for conservation purposes. Nina is on the Board of Empowers Africa, which provides grants that support local communities by improving access to education, healthcare and business opportunities. The organization also supports programs that protect wildlife and land conservation.
Diet and Fitness

I recommend loose sweaters! Seriously, when it comes to food, you have to shut your mouth and practice some portion control. Portion control is essential. It’s something you have to monitor on your own because it’s not inherent in our three-course restaurant culture. When you’re out to dinner, you should order two appetizers or just one entrée.

Basically, I eat healthy and I weigh myself every day. There are too many women who look like skeletons. That may look good when you’re young, but not when you’re older. Thin and strong is appealing. Skinny is not.

I’m not a gym rat, but I’m very active and have good metabolism. When it comes to exercise, you need to find something you like.
Nina posing for a cosmetics ad in her modeling days. Photo: Ladner/ Blake.
Other Services

I like to get massages. In Europe, they’re seen as therapeutic, not just as a mere indulgence. I go to the Norclaire spa. When I get a pedicure, I always treat myself to a 20-minute foot massage.

For facials, I go to Yasmine Djerradine. She knows what she’s doing. There’s no BS with her.

And for cosmetic dentistry and whitening, I go to Dr. Larry Rosenthal.

When it comes to cosmetic procedures, women should leave their lips alone. You really have to be in the hands of a master in order to maintain a natural look. Overzealous patients coupled with greedy doctors leads to absurdly unnatural-looking faces and certainly not a youthful appearance.

Basically, genes, a knife and injections are the only things that make a dramatic difference on your facial structure. I get Botox and Restylane injections from Dr. Joel Kassimir.
Nina on a dhow in Mozambique in 2014. “I go to Africa every year. What draws me is the people – the kindness and joyfulness – and the spectacular beauty,” says Nina.
Expert tip: The older you get, the lighter your hand should be when it comes to applying makeup. Always err on the side of using less. I see some women who have so much makeup on, they could be in the witness relocation program! Always go by a window and look at yourself in natural daylight before venturing out. And then turn around and look at yourself with a harsh backlight too.

Also, blend, blend, blend! Makeup brushes are worth spending money on. Let makeup artists tell you what brushes are good for what.

We all get stuck in a rut. I know I do, and it’s good to try something new. Clean your face, go to a makeup counter and let someone experiment. Re-invent yourself once in a while.