5 min read
It’s Deeper Than Skin™
It’s Deeper Than Skin™ is a compilation of interviews featuring diverse multicultural individuals each carrying unique aspirations and desires yet bound by a common passion to create a more joyful, diverse and inclusive space for us all. They inspire, empower and help transform the way we think and feel about beauty, culture, ancient traditions, diversity, mental health, societal standards and more. Through these multifaceted lenses, we learn to celebrate our uniqueness and are reminded once again that our beauty is deeper than skin.
Despite her success as a freelance beauty and skincare writer for magazines like Coveteur, Hypebae, Dazed and Huffpost Life, Greek journalist Fani Mari (@fani_breakeven) has not always been writing about beauty.
Previously working 9-5 in the fashion industry, it was only when she began focusing on sustainability and gaining exposure in press events did she find her passion for beauty. She writes frequently about sustainable products from clothing to good for your skin, skincare. she strongly advocates the use of sunscreen and real skin under her hashtag #JustRealSkin.
We caught up with Fani to share her thoughts on clean beauty as a beauty editor, a Greek beauty secret, SPF recommendations, and some of her favourite beauty products.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Thank you for having me! I’m originally from Greece but have spent 11 years living in London. I consider myself to be creative. I love making things with my hands, DIY and drawing even when I’m not very good at it! And I also love writing, my main career, which is largely creative. I’m big into self-care, though at periods of stress self-care can go out the window. I try to prioritise things like meditating, exercise, yoga, time in nature, facial massage (which as you know I show on my Instagram Stories every Sunday!) plus I take some time to read a book in the morning before touching my phone.
What got you started as a freelance beauty/skincare writer?
At university I studied journalism and then went on to do an MA in Fashion Journalism at Central Saint Martins which is what I’ve always wanted to study. I worked in fashion for five years, but at some point I started focusing more on sustainability and realised I might have a bigger interest in beauty – fashion felt too damaging and too repetitive (that’s not to say beauty isn’t damaging to the environment, but I feel like beauty brands are taking bigger strides in being eco-friendly in comparison to fashion). I was starting to fall in love with skincare when I was getting invited to press events during my 9-5 job. It was then that I focused more on beauty on my Instagram and blog, and soon after, I took the plunge to go freelance. Athough it was the result of a redundancy, I knew that it was the right step and timing. It’s been 2-ish years since then and I still love it, even though it’s so hard being a freelancer!
Tell us about your skin journey and how would you describe your current state of skin?
My skin journey has been long and tumultuous! I remember my first dermatologist appointment as a teen that ended up in a pore cleansing facial and over an hour of manual extraction. The pain was unbearable. I’ve tried loads of treatments since then, over a decade of acne makes you test many many things. I have PCOS as well, which makes me more prone to breakouts. I’ve been on antibiotics a few times and I was on the pill and Accutane when I was 18 (which afterwards wreaked havoc on my skin). Once a year (in winter) it goes back to square one. Which is why I decided to go on another round of Accutane that ended in July 2020.
Caroline Hirons’ blog was the one that made me fall in love with skincare when I was introduced to it by some work friends. Before then, I didn’t think spending a lot of time on skincare was fun or exciting since most of the products I’d use were prescribed by my dermatologist and they felt boring. But also with acne, I didn’t think skincare would be something I’d enjoy. Since then, I’ve gone from super long skincare routines to more minimal ones. I care more about active ingredients, serums and products that work, rather than fancy looking products that may not do much. Many say there’s a lot of benefit in simpler routines and even Koreans are adopting simpler regimes these days.
What is your current skincare ritual?
I try new things all the time – it’s part of the job after all – but my steps are pretty consistent, I just add new products sometimes to review them for my Instagram.
In the morning I apply loads of water to my face, pat dry, then continue with a Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid or hydrating serum, finishing off with sunscreen. In the winter I normally add a moisturiser too, but in the summer I don’t feel like I need it. It’s been hard learning to take care of dry (but acne prone) skin, rather than when my skin was on the oily side. My pores have been naturally drier since I finished with Accutane last year.
At night I always double cleanse, even if I’ve not worn makeup. A balm is my preferred first cleanse and I follow with a gel or cream cleanser. I remove both of these with a towel/flannel. Then it’s time for some actives! I start with eye cream. A hyaluronic acid or a hydrating serum with niacinamide goes next and then it’s either a moisturiser + overnight mask or a moisturiser + retinoid. Every few weeks I’ll use an acid but not too often.
I used to mask once a week but I’ve since become a little lazy with masking so it’s only when I can be bothered at this point!
Do you have a favourite Sachi Skin product?
The Ursolic Acid & Retinal Overnight Reform and it was a wonderful product! I’ve reviewed it on my page!
Growing up, what skincare traditions or customs did you practice?
Not much really, I was doing skincare because I had to take care of my acne. I admit I used to pick my spots which thankfully is something I’ve left in the past.
You're a huge SPF advocate, are there any particular reasons behind this?
Honestly, knowledge is power! As I grew up in a hot Mediterranean country, the importance of sunscreen was somewhat present, but I’d only properly wear it in the summer. It would also break me out which is another reason why many people avoid sun protection. It was different then and parents didn’t know that much right? But during my skincare discovery journey I started reading more about ingredients, understanding UVA/UVB and learnt how important it is to wear sunscreen all year round. I’m thankful I started wearing sunscreen all year round from the age of 24. It’s never too late to start though!
When the conversation starts revolving around ageing and my friends look for anti-ageing products (even though I don’t like terms like ‘anti-ageing’) I always ask if they wear sunscreen every day. Usually, the answer is no. Then I advise them to apply enough and to cleanse it properly to avoid clogged pores.
We see a strong and beautiful connection to your home country Greece on your social feeds, can you tell us more about what makes Greece so special?
I’m so connected to the water, the sun, the summer and I’ve been lucky enough to spend my summers around the Greek islands. I think everyone thinks of their home country as the most special, but the islands and the weather make Greece very special to me. There’s always so much to discover even though we are a tiny country!
What beauty products do you love to have with you when you are living and travelling in Greece?
That really varies with whatever I have open at the time, or things I want to test! In the summer I always take a couple of face mists, body moisturisers, body oils and anything hydrating for face, hair and body.
If there was one beauty secret that you could bring back from Greece to the UK what would it be?
Maybe how amazing and multi-functional good quality olive oil is. I use it as a hair mask during the summer and it’s very nourishing. I also use it on cuticles to strengthen my nails and sometimes add a few drops into my body moisturiser.
I love how you like to play with makeup and colours. Do you have a staple holiday makeup routine or go to makeup product?
Thank you! I used to love my neutrals, but colours are much more me, I have so much fun when I play with makeup. My summer holiday makeup is quite minimal most of the time, but I love a highlighter, glowing skin, fluffy brows, and a bit of blusher. Any time I can add rhinestones or coloured eyeliner, I do that too!
What current beauty trend is a definite no no for you?
The rise of Tiktok has brought a LOT of ‘DIY beauty’ which is a huge no-no for me! Leave products to formulators please. There are some DIY beauty that I don’t hate though, like using aloe vera gel straight from the plant or Olive Oil.
If there is one thing we cannot get enough of on holiday it's a good SPF. What's your go-to SPF product?
One of my absolute faves is the SkinCeuticals that I’ve been using for many years now. However, that is quite expensive so for a cheaper alternative I like the Bondi Sands one, it’s super glowy so keep that in mind!
As a beauty editor what are your thoughts on clean beauty?
Ah that’s a question I get asked loads! Frankly, it's complicated. As a term, ‘clean beauty’ doesn’t mean anything but it’s often used as a marketing term and sadly many big brands use it to fear monger. It gets even more complicated when words like ‘vegan’ ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ get involved. Usually ‘clean’ brands are vegan, use less plastic, and they care more about sustainability and so on. So, I often support such brands but my focus will always be on the sustainable side.
"As a term, ‘clean beauty’ doesn’t mean anything but it’s often used as a marketing term and sadly many big brands use it to fear monger."
If you could make one change happen in the beauty industry what would it be?
Inclusivity would be the biggest thing especially when it comes to luxury high-end makeup brands! Just today, I saw the new Gucci cushion foundation and the colour range is laughable.
And I think making the industry more inclusive also means to give the spotlight to people that wouldn’t have been highlighted in the past – from dermatologists, to beauty bloggers and others.
Let's do some quick fire questions!
Coffee Tea or Neither?
Coffee always! The stronger the better
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
Just finished watching the new season of Good Girls which is so good! I’m now watching Clickbait.
What is on your current playlist?
I usually listen to the radio when I’m driving! But I’m also into ‘high vibrational music’ which sounds silly but it’s nice having that good energy.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Loyal, anxious, dreamer
Anything exciting coming up for you in the next few months?
We shall see!! I recently moved back to Athens so I’m trying to build up my connections locally.
Finish the sentence: I feel beautiful when...
I can express myself freely.