LA Girl: The Essentials

This is as new feature! This week’s first stars Jennifer aka “FunkyJenn” (although she’ll correct you and say, “That’s Jen with one ‘n'” but still.) When I first met Jennifer we were in some dreary TV office job yet her tanned, moist, peachy skin glowed with that luscious bronze sheen that an East Coast Boston Irish girl like me only dreamed of. Unlike chronic sunbathers, Jen’s skin is dreamy and creamy (I could not help but reach out and say, “Oh!”) and she always smells great. Like Tahitian Vanilla and coconut…smells that on me, turn me instantly into a Pillsbury cookie or a taxicab atomizer. Some people can just carry that stuff off. As she plopped her purse down one afternoon post-lunch, I heard a loud jangle. “What’s that?” “Oh, a tambourine.” That’s Jen. She’s also responsible for my slavish devotion to Larchmont Beauty.

(This is her bio. I could write my own for her, but hey, here you go. Keep up w/her lively twitter for her club nites around town.)

Funkyjenn is a native Angeleno. She has been called an amazing singer, photographer, actress, copyright preservationist, muse, bon vivant and a whole bunch of other words that aren’t fit for print.

Here’s her essentials:

  • ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR- My can’t-live-without item, If I had one item to choose if I were stuck on a deserted island (besides the boom box and ONE cd scenario) it would be Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair. This magical miracle serum keeps my skin protected by day (from all those nasty free radicals!) and repairs it by night. This product works wonders: one dropperful and my skin is flawless, smooth and supple. Without it, it’s dehydrated, flat and dull. $78, major department stores.
  • ELNETT- Elnett! Elnett! Elnett! What was once a staple in the Paris to LA border-crossing hairspray smuggling ring is now easily found at your local Rite-Aid. Best hairspray ever invented. I have very fine cotton candy hair and this “gold in a bottle” perfectly holds any coif or delicate updo without weighing it down. You can brush through it and the best news is it now comes in the ever convenient travel size! No makeup artist in Hollywood is without this dandy in their kit. $7, drugstores
  • KERASTASE BAIN OLEO-RELAXE- I always laughed at people who spent $42 on their shampoo when all they do is watch their money go down the drain- that is, until I met Kerastase bain Oleo-Relaxe. I am a rebel and my hair follows suit! I do not have a lot of hair, nor very thick hair, but what I do have is sort of a half-curl-half frizz peroxide blonde mop and this shampoo is the one shampoo that really can smooth and straighten and it does it what it tells you it’s going to do (not a rebel). Smooth, shiny, soft, beautiful flaxen locks! $36, Larchmont Beauty Supply
  • CLARINS BUST BEAUTY EXTRA-LIFT GEL- When I was living in France I noticed that every gorgeous French woman took care of every part of their beautiful bodies: Hair, face, nails, feet, legs, arms, back, neck, decollete, elbows. The bust was no exception. Now, we all know that a serum cannot get into your muscular tissue to actually keep you firm and tight but what it can do is keep the breast tissue epidermis taut & supple. I have been using this since I was 18 and it shows. $58,major department stores
  • MURAD ACNE & WRINKLE REDUCER- I was given this sample by Sharon at Larchmont Beauty Supply when I told her my skin was freaking out. I have never had breakouts. “I’m 42 years old, I suppose my hormones are going nuts!” but that was not going to work for me. I needed help. I tried it the gel at night, the next morning the acne was GONE, the fine lines on my big forehead- GONE. WOW!  A double-whammy! Another miracle product! I use this every now & then when I’ve been run down or my diet’s poor or I have stressed-induced acne. Ew. I even hate the word “acne” but with the help of Dr. Murad, you’d never know! $58, Larchmont Beauty Supply
  • OLE HENRIKSEN TRUTH SERUM- ANR (see #1) is my go-to serum but sometimes I know I just need my dose of C. Vitamin C and lots of it. This serum provides collagen boosting Vitamin C that plumps, nourishes and hydrates skin. It smells like fresh California oranges so it instantly puts me in a good mood. $58, Ole Henriken Sunset
  • KOMENUKA BIJIN HAIR CONDITIONER- This is a root-to-tip conditioner. Excellent for that over-worked, overblown, dyed, chemically treated, peroxide-frazzled, straightening-ironed, hot-rollered mess I call my hair. My hair literally *sparkles* when I rinse this product out. Soft, manageable and shiny! $42 Larchmont Beauty Supply
  • HASK PURE SHINE SPRAY- When I need that sparkle to walk out the door with me I add just a soft touch of Hask. I have tried every shine serum, oil, spray, emollient, gel, goo and finishing product on the market. This bright yellow box has the sweet shimmer that I need to waltz out the door to flirt up a storm. Lightweight, non-greasy and sparkly. No glitter involved.  Beautiful and inexpensive way to shine. $4, Rite-Aid
  • MAYBELLINE VOLUM EXPRESS: CLASSIC- I have tried EVERY mascara on the market and I mean every mascara on the market. Whenever I read a new review I go buy a new wand that cost $40 and I keep coming back to this very excellent mascara. I don’t know what I think I’m looking for. I’ve found it. It works. It is fake-eyelashes-in-a-bottle: thick, long, lush. Not clumpy, not heavy. I’ve tried the other Maybelline mascaras as well: Great Lash, Turbo, Falsies. Nothing beats this mascara. $6, Rite-Aid
  • ARGAN OIL: I know it’s the big news now but I’ve been using it for quite some time. I spent some time in Morocco and with that dry desert heat you need as much hydration and moisturization as possible. You skin is thirsty and it needs to be quenched- you can feeeeeeel it! Same thing with California. We need to nourish our hard-water dry desert bodies. Skin is the largest organ we have and it needs to be taken care of. Argan oil is an amazing oil filled with Vitamin E that keeps your skin hydrated, soft and supple. You can use this anywhere: hands, feet, nails, hair and you can feel good about it. The argan nut is farmed in Tiout (or Agadir), Morocco. The Berber women gather the nuts, split them, roast them and then extract the oil from this pressing. If you buy from a good source your money spent on argan oil will go back into helping these women and their cooperatives. I have plenty of bottles on hand but I like Zakia Morocco ( but if you can’t wait for the international shipment check out Josie Maran Cosmetics. (, $48
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    Donna Lethal

    About Donna Lethal

    Donna Lethal is the author of "Milk of Amnesia" and writes for her own blog (Lethal Dose), Hair Hall of Fame, Dowager Quarterly, Find A Death, & the Valhalla Cemetery chapter in "Weird Hollywood." A native of Lowell, Mass., she's lived in Boston, NY and London before settling here. When not writing, she's hiking, soaking in a Korean salt room or in the high desert with her pit bull.
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