The Beauty Diaries

Two local ladies share the beauty secrets that keep them looking their best.

Photograph courtesy of Carter Smith. Portraits by Stephen Voss. Photograph of juice by Maren Caruso/Getty Images. Illustrations by Edel Rodriguez. Photographs by Kate Warren. Creative By Design Army/Photography By Kip Dawkins/Styling By Marcie Blough. Photographs by Kip Dawkins. Ceramic elephant bookends with 22-karat-gold accents by Waylande Gregory Studios, $460 at Dalton Pratt (1742 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-3256). Photograph by Jeff Elkins Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Illustrations by Koren Shadmi. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photographs by Jeff Elkins REI Outdoor School. Photograph by Gary A. Young. Photography by Renée Comet. Food Styling by Lisa Cherkasky. Photography by Renée Comet. Food Styling by Lisa Cherkasky. Photography by Renée Comet. Food Styling by Lisa Cherkasky. Photography by Renée Comet. Food Styling by Lisa Cherkasky. Photography by Renée Comet. Food Styling by Lisa Cherkasky. Photograph by Jeff Elkins Photograph by Kate Warren. Photography by Kate Warren. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph of Wei courtesy of Anchyi Wei. Photograph of Tummala by Andrew Propp.

1. The Artist: Anchyi Wei

Age 39, Mom to Aison, 5 months

There’s no shortage of creativity in Anchyi Wei’s life. By day, she’s a government contractor who specializes in visual and graphic design; off the clock, the Taiwan native is also the creative director behind the public art studio ArtJamz, a photographer, and the designer of a line of statement jewelry that fuses ethnic-vintage inspiration with modern materials. She’s also a new mom. Wei is well-known in the fashion scene for her fun-meets-fearless take on personal style—her maternity wear included a Missoni caftan and sky-high Louboutins—and that approach extends to her beauty choices, which have included everything from a bleached-blonde pixie cut to eyelash extensions. Naturally, she has strong opinions about which products are worth their weight—including the best one to nourish those aforementioned bleached locks.

Skin Care

“I’m a bit of a product junkie, but over the years there’ve been some tried-and-true favorites I constantly return to: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Kosé Sekkisei Lotion Excellent, and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II. In the morning, I protect with AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact with SPF 50. At night I cleanse with the Clarisonic Mia 2 (only for 30 seconds—any more makes my skin too sensitive), followed by Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair and Kosé Sekkisei Supreme Revitalizing Cream. Monthly facials are a must; Shannon at Shannon Skin Care in Rockville does the job for only $50.”


“My morning makeup routine is usually simple: Chanel Double Perfection Lumière powder makeup, Maybelline ExpertWear Twin Brow & Eye Pencil (the same brand I’ve been using since college), and Nars lip gloss in Sweet Revenge. Drama is amped up in the evening with Make Up For Ever Waterproof Cream Eye Shadow in Aqua Black and L’Oréal Telescopic Precision Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black. The real secret, though, is eyelash extensions—I’m totally addicted, and visit my aesthetician regularly for touch-ups.”


“My hair has been through some dramatic changes the past couple of years—from long, highlighted locks to a bob with bangs, then a blonde pixie, and now my natural color with extensions. All this overprocessing is nourished with Moroccanoil or It’s a 10 conditioner. I keep styling to a minimum in the morning—a few blasts of hot air at the roots to add body, then I air-dry the rest. For evening outings I make waves with a large curling iron and finish with Cibu Sticky Rice Pomade or Big Sexy Hair volumizing spray. I trust Linh Phan at Be Scene Hair Studio in Bethesda for super-edgy cuts and Christophe at Salon L’eau in Georgetown for extensions. Long hair means I don’t visit the salon as often—once every few months at most.”


“As much as I love getting dolled up, nail art is not my thing. My fingertips are usually bare or polished with a hint of neutral glam (hello, pale gold glitter). Pedicures, however, are a must. For body, I’m in love with the texture of Laura Mercier’s Crème de Pistache Body Wash. Bliss Body Butter does wonders for winter dryness, and AmLactin alpha-hydroxy lotion keeps my skin smooth year-round. Now that I’m a mom, my back and shoulders are always tense from bending over all the time. I occasionally indulge in much-needed relaxation time at the Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental spa.”


2. The Entrepreneur: Shobha Tummala

Age 41, Mom to Aakash, 4, and Akhil, 1

Shobha Tummala spent years trying to find a salon that focused on hair-removal needs—until she decided to take matters into her own hands. After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, Tummala opened her first Shobha salon in New York City. Thirteen years later, the Potomac mother of two operates four locations in New York City and one in downtown DC, with plans to open several more in the next year. Her salons offer waxing, threading, and sugaring as methods of hair removal. Tummala, whose interest in beauty stems from summers spent with her grandmother in India making soaps and hair conditioners, favors a natural and pared-down beauty routine.

Skin Care

“When I turned 40, I got a bit better about getting facials every few months or so [at Aveda] and exfoliating more regularly between treatments. Owning salons has an awesome perk: I constantly get to try new organic and natural brands to see which are the next superstars in skin care. Currently I am using two products I’ve discovered through my testing—Acure Organics Night Cream for my face, day and night, and Aveda Tourmaline Charged Radiance Fluid, which goes under my moisturizer during the day. I also apply Aveda Green Science Lifting Serum in certain areas before moisturizing at night. I like to switch up my exfoliating products. Right now I am loving the Brightening Facial Scrub by Acure Organics. I also really like the BareMinerals Exfoliating Treatment Cleanser, which reminds me of the lentil scrub my grandmother used to make at home when we were growing up.”


“I have a pretty standard makeup routine. After moisturizer, my must-haves are powder, eyeliner, and lip liner with a touch of gloss. If I have extra time to kill or if I am going out for an event, I will add under-eye concealer, eye shadow, mascara, and maybe a bit of blush. I like to use more natural brands, such as W3ll People, ZuZu Luxe, Dr. Hauschka, and Gabriel. The one product I love but can’t find a natural alternative to is Revlon’s ColorStay Eyeliner, which stays on all day and won’t smudge. It is one of my must-haves, so I cheat a bit.”


“I have been trying to condition and nurture my hair at least once a month, though I should be doing it weekly. I alternate coconut oil and a homemade conditioner that includes henna powder. I leave it in for an hour or two before washing my hair for smooth, shiny strands. I am always on the hunt for natural shampoos and conditioners that actually work, so I love to test new ones and am constantly changing brands. Some of my go-tos include Acure Organics, Intelligent Nutrients, and Alba Botanica.

I also am a fan of John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourisher & Defrizzer, which I use after blow-drying my hair to smooth any fly aways. I get my hair cut every six months or so. I trek out to Frederick, because I only get my hair cut by Sam Wong of Sam Wong Salon. Sam has been cutting my hair for 13 years, since we met in New York at his old SoHo salon. He only uses natural, organic products, and I love the way he cuts my hair.”


“Since moving from New York City, where you can get a decent mani/pedi for around $20, I have not been as regular in my nail maintenance, and I was concerned about the chemicals involved. Now there are brands out there that are safer. I like Zoya nail polishes a lot. They are free of the five most toxic ingredients found in nail polish, those with the potential to make us sick—formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP, and camphor. When I have an extra few minutes—usually in the car while my husband is driving—I will put Zoya polish on my toes and not feel as guilty about the smells my kids might be breathing in.”