The World’s Best Towels

Recently, a hairstylist told Emily that her double-processed hair would have a better chance at survival if she dab-dried it with paper towels. But, being good, environmentally-conscious millennials, that factoid spurred an in-office conversation about what kinds of fabric towels would be gentlest on your head, and furthermore, which towels were the best in general?

Towels should be a luxurious experience! They're the swaddling blankets that take you from the womb of your shower into the cold, cold world of your apartment/house. Wrapping myself in a towel is a ritual I so enjoy that I’ve been known to spend as much to an hour post-shower luxuriating in what I refer to as "Towel Time." So, testing weight, grams per meter (the towel equivalent of thread count), durability, absorbency, and general good looks, I found the best towels on the market. Try some, if only because it may be the most action your naked body sees all week.

Lightweight

Most Versatile: The Scents & Feel handmade Fouta Herringbone With Two Stripes towel's chic, clean, classic hamam design gets my vote of confidence for the bathroom, the beach (it's 6.5 feet long), or under an Ariel Dearie floral arrangement on your kitchen table.

Best for Hair: The insanely lightweight cotton/linen blended the Yoshii Linen Border Towel features one smooth, striped side, backed with white terry on the other side, and is without a doubt the most absorbent and fastest-drying towel I’ve ever used. It’s among the home accessories that give Japan its reputation for good design, and it weighs about as much as a single seaweed snack, so if you’re going to wrap your hair up, this would be the towel to use.

Midweight

Most Amiable Towel: Comprised of 550 grams per square meter of environmentally friendly and responsibly produced organic cotton, Coyuchi's Air Weight Bath Towel probably possesses the smallest footprint you'll come across in home linens. It's even designed to dry quickly in your dryer. That being said, it doesn't sacrifice on quality, i.e. it's as nice to your body as it is to nature.

Most Likely to Grow Old WithFrette’s Superb Bath Towel is a stalwart midweight that you'll only need to invest in once in your lifetime, because unless your dog eats it, or your washing machine goes haywire, this 100% cotton terry towel will probably outlive you. Not to mention that these are the ones that outfit the bathrooms at the Carlyle, the Ritz, and the Pierre.

Most Likely to be in Charlotte and Trey’s Apartment: Hästens Blue Check Bath Towel. The Swedish manufacturer of upper crust horsehair mattresses (on my bucket list of Things to Pine For) has just dropped a towel line in its signature navy and white plaid. This a nonverbal signal to in-the-know guests of what you may or may not have going on under the sheets (spoiler: I do not have a Hästens mattress). The mid-border loop for easy door-hook hanging doesn’t hurt either.

Heavyweight

Most Undercover Luxe: The first time I ever tried Restoration Hardware’s 802-Gram Turkish Bath Towel, I was visiting a friend’s family home, and felt so pampered and glamorous that I made a mental note to build a home of my own around towels like this later in life. Then I saw that it was from Restoration Hardware and made another mental note to buy immediately. Check that off the life list. #DreamBig #Blessed

Most Likely to be Worn The Longest: Ralph Lauren’s Palmer Towel is thick. It’s thirsty. It’s plush like a Furby. It’s HUGE (if you get the Body Sheet). You will not want to take it off. And it's warm enough to wear to bed, so go for it.

—Mackenzie Wagoner

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.

Why You Should Put Açaí On Your Face

There’s something to be said for giving your body what it needs—no one ever oversold eight hours of sleep, and entire industries have been built on how much better people feel after consuming food that grows from the earth, rather than products that are rep'ed by cartoon cats wearing statement accessories. During the height of NYC's NeverEnding Winter, I decamped to balmy and unapologetically sunny Los Angeles, where I found one such mecca of do-your-body-goodness, Detox Market. Its makeup-free, bronzed, and glowing salesgirl walked me through the store's own ingredients-conscious product line, Odacité. She took a look at my winter- and plane-dulled skin and, as if presenting me with the Hope Diamond, gingerly held out the Ac +R Serum Concentrate for Youthful Glow. “It’s the only serum I've seen that contains this much pure açaí oil." Mixed with a synergic blend of essential oils (including capillary-repairing rose and hydrating Vitamin E), the green, subtly floral 0.17 oz concentrate boasts a minimum of 98% of the superfood and its powerhouse antioxidant—anthocyanin—which is where the anti-aging "youth" component comes from.

I mix three drops of it into my winter moisturizer and feel my skin literally soak it up. "Açaí penetrates the skin very easily," says Odacité founder Valérie Grandury, explaining why it's a safe bet even for oily complexions. My skin feels nourished and satisfied, the way my stomach feels after a breakfast of Dimes' Kale Açaí bowl. And the finish was smooth and dewy, not sticky and shiny. That would have been enough for me, but then my boyfriend commented that my skin looked great. So did my roommate. So did Emily Weiss. It doesn't hurt that Açaí is nature's best free-radical-fighting ingredient, either. If only I could find a natural substitute for Cool Ranch Doritos...

—Mackenzie Wagoner

Photos by Devon Swartz.

Beauty Chemistry: The 3-Mask DIY Facial

Is your face mask killing you? Lol, no. It’s not. But if it’s a pore-cleansing clay mask that you’re using independently, it’s probably not doing you any favors. This alarming fact was something I learned over the two hours I spent being steamed, massaged, accupressured(?) with Tourmaline, peeled, extracted, and moisturized for the Freaky Friday experience known as the Energy Lift Facial from Ling Skin Care. After which, I kid you not, I saw my 16-year-old self reflected in the mirror. My skin was glowy with that “What are pores?” innocence, my eyes were brighter, and my face had lost any hint of sag. It was kind of insane. The face lift didn’t last long (maybe 48 hours?) but the glow carried on and on and on.

And my facialist told me how to hold on to it for good: give myself an at-home facial once a week, by using not one, but three masks in succession to mimic the once-every-six-weeks in-office facial.

1. Start with an exfoliating mask. Ling’s facial kicks off with her signature Triple Peel Facial—a glycolic peel, papaya enzyme peel, and an acid-free peel, which removes dead skin and draws out impurities. But, in the interest of saving time and money, at home you can stick to a physical exfoliator like Sanctuary Spa’s Warming Microbrasion Polish. It warms the face while you massage in upward circles—Ling suggests giving extra attention to the T-zone. The warming action gives a similar effect as a steam treatment, but for those without a warming mask, simply lay a warm washcloth over your exfoliating mask-covered face and keep it on until the washcloth cools. Then massage the mask in, rinse, and dab your face dry. According to Ling, you can exfoliate with a mask like this as often as every other day, after washing with a simple cleanser.

2. Follow with a pore-refining mask. Ling uses her own signature Herbal Clay Clarifying Mask to detoxify the pores and refine skin's texture, and I like Origins Clear Improvement Mask because it uses charcoal to draw dirt out of pores, absorb excess oil, and improve blood circulation. Leave the mask on for five to 10 minutes. Ling says, "The minute it feels tight, rinse it off." Then towel dry your face. Ling warns against using a pore-refining mask on its own because it will absorb your skin's oil, causing your face to feel dry, and, in turn, overproduce oil in order to compensate. Instead...

3. Finish with a hydrating mask. "You need to replenish your skin with water," says Ling. The humectant, skin-plumping power of Ling's own aloe vera-heavy Ginseng Therapy Moisture Mask layered over a mix of Dual Moisture Emulsion (an ultra-hydrating toner) and Moisture Plenish Hydration Solution (a plumping, silky serum) was heavenly. You can wear this mask as long as you'd like, and use it as often as you'd like because, says Ling, "It's just rehydrating your skin. You always need that." Then rinse, towel dry, and re-apply the Dual Moisture Emulsion as a toner, followed by your favorite moisturizer.

Once a week, 30 minutes of Me Time will supply you with totally clean, clear, plumped, toned, and firmed skin. No joke.

—Mackenzie Wagoner

The Memphis Design Group’s Swift Comeback

Here's to the anonymous pioneer at Revlon responsible for a black-and-white-speckled top coat called Rebel Graffiti. The composition notebook of a lacquer hit drugstores in February, just days before Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez sent out Fall 2014’s cropped turtlenecks and round-shouldered dusters in a nearly identical pattern, one which also adorned Phoebe Philo’s ground-pooling pants and '30s-era double-breasted coats for Céline.

The common thread? The 'Bacterio' pattern created by the 1980s Italian design group Memphis. Indeed, the Milan-based collective, once beloved by the fashion elite (Karl Lagerfeld outfitted his entire Monte Carlo penthouse with Memphis designs during his early days at Chanel) is having something of a resurgence. Founding members Ettore Sottsass and Shiro Kuramata’s pieces were highlights of Tuesday’s Barry Friedman: The Eclectic Eye auction at Christie’s, and Nathalie Du Pasquier just launched a graphic collaboration with American Apparel, where black-and-white Bacterio abounds. So, until you can get your hands on that Proenza coat [5], try painting them up in Revlon's $4.99 version of the everywhere print.

Photos [1, 2] by Deja Turner.

Beauty Chemistry: The Three-Layer Mascara

According to the general, mascara-cocktailing public, and to our Top Shelf interview with Charlotte Tilbury, the “perfect mascara” does not exist. Instead, there are lash paints that promise MEGA, murdery, and Better-Than-Sex results, but none that have come through for length, separation, volume, and drama. Luckily, Tilbury figured out the ideal combination of existing products to get you to every great eyelash adjective imaginable (that is, until her very own holy-grail mascara becomes available on US soil this fall). Without further ado, Charlotte's all-black triple threat mascara arsenal:

Base: Chanel Inimitable—its short, thick rubber bristles are best for separation and definition.

Middle: Maybelline Colossal—the giant, fluffy, tapered applicator comes through for immediate artificial growth in both length and width. You could stop there, or you could add a...

Top Coat: Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme—the long, dense mascara wand will take you into false-lash territory.

Cheers.

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.