Have you met Leslie yet?
For those who are new here, Leslie Wallace Vargas is the cosmetics guru and founder of Elle Landon’s brand of oils & fragrances. While she’d been an admirer and self-appointed tester for beauty products her whole life, toying with oils herself really started as a way to keep busy as her children (four of her own and three from her husband, Jon) all fled the nest. Now, over five years later, Elle Landon has grown to six products available in nine stores from Dayton, Ohio down to Nashville, Tennessee.
But what does her beauty routine look like today? Sure, there must be some of her own oil in there somewhere, but I wanted to know more. I sat down with her recently to get the goods:
What’s a typical morning of perfect skincare or selfcare look like for you?
The most important thing for the skin is plenty of water, exercise, moisture and sunscreen. I begin my daily routine by washing my face with a gentle non-drying cleanser and applying treatment and moisture including sunscreen and Luxe Face Oil which continues to moisturize the skin during the day and protect from humidity. If I am going to the gym first thing in the morning, I apply face oil before going and then wash my face and apply products and oil after working out.
What are your non-negotiable skincare products?
I love a lot of other products, so there are several that I have come to admire and rotate in and out of my daily routine. Besides my oil, of course, I love Alastin Restorative Skin Complex which helps the skin produce new collagen and elastin while plumping the skin and protecting it from further damage. I also use TNS serum which has a growth factor that diminishes fine lines and wrinkles. I love SkinCeuticals products and use their B5 serum and Triple Lipid Restore. I love Metacell Renewal B3 which is good for all skin types and is so nourishing to the skin.
I also use a couple of Nicholas Perricone's products. The Face Finishing Moisturizer is a great product that nourishes and brightens the skin. (Fun fact: Leslie was in an advertisement for this product years ago!) I also love the Photo Brightening Moisturizer with SPF 30 which brightens the skin while protecting it from sun damage. It is non-greasy and whipped and feels so great on the skin.
Oh! I also recently found another moisturizer that I love and have been using just before my oil. It is Goop"s Replenishing Night Cream. I love how rich it feels on my skin.
My skin is very dry so I can use any and all of these products, sometimes even all at once, but I would always suggest administering a test patch for compatibility with the skin before investing in any products (especially considering the cost)!
If you had a beauty mantra, what would it be?
Just one?! Well, let me give you my top five…
1. Always wash and moisturize your face morning and night no matter what.
2. Always go with a lighter foundation rather than darker.
3. Protect your skin from the sun.
4. Drink plenty of water.
5. If it is a choice between a new outfit of good skincare, choose the skincare. You can always replace your clothes, but not your skin.
Do you use make-up? … What are the things you look for in products?
Sometimes I use makeup and have found I really like IT Cosmetics brand as it is so moisturizing, and I love how it glides on without canines. When I use make-up I never cover my entire face, instead only focusing on places where it evens my skin tone. I once read that if you feel you have to cover your entire face with makeup base that you aren't doing something right in caring for your skin underneath.
How would you describe your approach to shopping?
I recently heard some good advice from my dear friend in Nashville, Kate Coleman. it is to narrow down the things you buy or own by using the mantra, "Does it make you happy when you look at it?” If not get rid of it. As I have gotten older I have begun to narrow down my purchases and value a minimalist approach.
I almost always buy clothes and things on sale, if I do pay full price for something, I have to really love it. I absolutely love the adventure of going to estate sales where you can find the most unique things at great prices.
Do you have any clothing items you’ve held onto for years?
I do! I have a pair of medium brown leather booties that I bought at Saks Fifth Avenue 32 years ago, when I was 24. I accompanied my mom and brother there on a business meeting and spent my time at Lenox Square and Phipps plaza. I spent my birthday money on those booties and still love them to this day.
You went from brunette to platinum blonde- any advice for other brunettes looking to do the same thing?
I have an adventurous side and did go from being a brunette to platinum blonde but only after finding an excellent hair stylist, Stephanie Merrill at Black Rabbit Salon in Cincinnati, Ohio. I wouldn't trust it with just anyone, but she is a magic maker. I stay away from yellow blond. My ever emerging naturally white/grey hair blends perfectly with Stephanie's magic shade of light blond. I make sure I use great products on my hair including Bumble and Bumble's Hairdresser's invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective primer and Hairdresser's Invisible Oil. I wash my hair very infrequently and when I do, I love Davine's OI Shampoo and Conditioner. I only use cold water on my hair, and never use a blow dryer or curling iron to avoid drying it out.
Who are your beauty and style inspirations?
Well I would have to include the effortless and simplistic style of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. I love retro 60's styles in both clothing and makeup and loved the style of Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates in Bates Motel. I also love anything Marilyn Monroe. Kate Moss and Lauren Hutton were always inspirations as well.
As far as decorating goes, I love the simplistic style of Restoration Hardware mixed with oriental rugs, Anthropologie wallpaper and fine art, particularly vintage posters and oil paintings.
Favorite way to spend your free time?
My favorite things to do include first and foremost trips, dinners and making memories with my children, stepchildren and all of their significant others. With seven grown kids between myself and husband, Jon, this includes twelve as well as 3 other kids, friends of theirs that are like my own kids. Oh, and of course our three yorkies, Henry, Charlotte, and George.
Christmas is especially a great time. I love hearing the kids and their friends up late at night playing music on the patio and talking or playing board games. As they get progressively older and go about their own lives, these times they are all home together are short but sweet, and it is always fun when we can all manage to get together.
I also love the time with my Wallace and Landon family and friends new and old in Nashville and in Dayton. We just bought a house in my hometown in Nashville and I look forward to reconnecting with old friends from high school and college and spending more time with my mother and brother who still live in Nashville.