A kinder lifestyle

the regimen sat down with Gabrielle Starr, the creator of Love & Water, a fashion and beauty lifestyle blog. We discussed all things beauty and skincare, female leadership, and practicing more patience and kindness in everyday life.

In a saturated internet filled with lifestyle bloggers, it's increasingly difficult to define what falls under the category of such. From beauty inspiration to travel photography to food and culture immersion, Gabrielle falls somewhere in the mix. "I’m very into healthy living, both diet and fitness-wise, but I don’t usually post about it," Gabrielle explains. "I love travel, and I’m fortunate enough to do it more than most people, but I’m definitely not jetting off every week or enough to call myself a travel blogger, though I’d love to get to that point!" Love and Water is more passionately Gabrielle's curation of fashion and beauty, two points of focus that are dear to her heart. 

With creative passions, it was important for Gabrielle to seek these outlets in her work-life balance. "For the past year, I’ve been the only woman at this tech startup in Boston, and while I’m close with many of my coworkers, there were times when it was very lonely being the only woman in a room full of men." Without a place for female solidarity and feeling the stress and burden from the current presidential administration, she sought out The WW Club where she was able to link up with women in the industry. "In addition to being totally inspired by all the women I’ve met in the club so far, I feel so comforted having a community for personal and professional growth. I’m starting to do collaborations and partnerships with some really cool brands, which I’m really honored and excited about, so I hope to be able to have more opportunities like that in the coming months," Gabrielle adds.

Love & Water kept Gabrielle in check to continuously seek inspiration and filter creativity back into her life. "It would be really cool to turn L&W into a multifaceted business where I could combine all of my interests--fashion, health, and beauty--both online and in real life." Beauty, however, isn't merely a tutorial or a how-to guide for Gabrielle, but rather, an inward reflection for each person to Do You. Her personal motto for Love & Water is to "do what what feels good, what makes you happy," Gabrielle continues. "It’s something I struggle with every day, and constantly am working on. It’s so important to only measure yourself against yourself, and do what’s right for you, because only you are you."

Skincare falls under that umbrella, for obvious reasons. As skin types are varied, as are the routines, products, and rituals. In fact, it varies for Gabrielle on the day to day. She's a self-proclaimed sheet mask obsessor and a fan of derma-rolling or micro-needling. "It's a great way to stimulate collagen at home without resorting to Botox or any of those procedures." Being in the know regarding beauty essentials, like sheet masks before they got stateside and micro-needling before Kim K announced it, she admittedly gets protective over hyped trends that suddenly trickle into the mainstream market. "I think that skincare has become so intelligent, and the industry really has exploded in the past few years, especially with foreign skincare products becoming available stateside," Gabrielle explains. She has a few favorite brands, "I own everything Glossier makes, and every shade of every product. After over a year of obsessing about their stuff, I became one of their brand reps." She goes on to highlight some key steps and products to achieve skincare that glows from within.

For cleansing, Gabrielle's staples are Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser or Tatcha Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil to remove all traces of makeup and impurities without stripping skin of its natural moisture. "Camellia is an amazing skincare ingredient that’s huge in Japan but not so much here yet. Both cleansers are really luxurious, and I like to use my cleansing time give myself a facial massage, taking around thirty seconds to really stimulate my skin." The next step is always a facial toner or a mist to reset the skin. "I love Leahlani Skincare Citrus + Citrine Regenerating Toner, which smells so amazing and perks me up after my morning cleansing." Another one that Gabrielle can't live without is Caudalie Beauty Elixir, which is self-admittedly a permanent fixture in her work bag to refresh her face throughout the day. "I even keep a rosewater spray in my car so that I can mist myself at red lights! Don’t spray and drive, kids!" 

When asked about her favorite skincare products, Gabrielle remarked that it "could literally just be me talking about sheet masks for 10 pages." She has a few favorite masks in her treasure trove. The Blossom Jeju Lifting Marine Collagen Essence Petal Mask is a two-pronged approach to luxuriating your face in essences. The first step is to apply pure camellia oil all over and then layer on the sheet mask. The final step is to remove the mask for a hydrated and plumped up face that smells amazing. Another favorite is Global Beauty Retinol Masks, which are readily available on Amazon and contain pure retinol, a known anti-aging skincare warrior. "They’re extremely liquid-y, and I always pour the extra liquid onto my face when the sheet starts getting a little dry," Gabrielle adds. "The Caudalie Instant Detox Mask works so fast to unclog my pores and doesn’t dry my skin out. Magic." The pink clay draws out impurities while the papaya enzymes work to refine the skin and brighten.

As for moisturizers, Gabrielle swears by Glossier Super serums, being a Glossier rep who owns everything the brand makes--both skincare and makeup. "The Glossier Supers are so great for serum novices and pros alike. They’re highly-concentrated and very effective, and the bottles are too cute." The Disciple ‘Good Skin’ Oil from Charlotte Ferguson, creator of the brand, features heavily in her moisturizing routine. "My skin has been having a tough time lately, and this oil has been a godsend." Another favorite is Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich, scented with lavender, has hydrated her skin all winter. "It’s so thick, but it melts into your skin almost instantly."  

Skincare regimen aside, Gabrielle has created a central beauty philosophy, which is echoed in her blog. "First and foremost, be patient and be kind to yourself. I spent years - literally - feeling so self-conscious, slathering on thick makeup, and being so mean to myself about something that was, to an extent, beyond my control. I’m a work in progress." Just like the rest of us.

Gabrielle continues, "The second bit of wisdom would be that change starts with a small act, be it with skin or fitness or cleaning out your room. All you need to do is pick a place and get started. Make an appointment with a dermatologist. Stop sleeping in your makeup. Try changing your diet. It starts with you!" After all, what better way to Do You than to start with you?