Welcome to our new series for May: International Beauty Code. As part of this month’s theme, Byrd’s Eye View, we’ll be talking to women the world over to find out what typical beauty routines are like in their countries. Yes, we love French pharmacy buys, and Scandi trends are very much on our radar, but alongside these destinations, we’ll be shining a light on some of the lesser-known beauty cultures—unearthing the beauty ideals, go-to looks and skincare routines in these places too. Following Coralie Jouhier from Paris, we spoke to Kristina Krechina, a Russian beauty enthusiast.
Name: Kristina Krechina
City and country of residence: Chelyabinsk, Russia. I was born there, but I have moved around for the past four years.
Your beauty icons:
Natalia Vodianova and Victoria Beckham.
The five skincare products you can’t live without:
To remove makeup, I like The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (£10). It works and it’s cheap. For lips, nothing works as good as Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (£9). For moisture, I like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (£24) and rosehip oil. The last thing doesn’t really have a name, it’s an acne concoction of salicylic acid and a few other ingredients that my cosmetologist prescribes me. It’s the best acne spot treatment.
The five makeup products you can’t live without:
I like glowy skin, so MAC Strobing Cream (£25) under the foundation, on the high points of the face and on my décolleté area. My all-time favourite thing is Essence Pure Nude Highlighter—it looks super natural and glossy on the skin. I don’t go outside without an eyebrow gel, I love Artdeco Eyebrow Filler (£6), as it makes my brows look really full. To look like I slept more than I actually did, I love to use Nyx Wonder Pencil (£5) in my waterline and the inner corner and Lâncome Grandiose Mascara (£26). I also really enjoy ColourPop cheek products.
What countries and cultures do you find most inspirational when it comes to beauty and why?
I travel a lot, so I pick up beauty inspiration from all over. Probably mostly from America because I lived there for three years and I watch a lot of American YouTube, but I still keep my Russian individuality.
The most popular beauty products and brands in your country right now:
People buy whatever the influencers tell them to buy. The first that I think of is makeup artist Elena Krygina. No one knew what Beautyblender was in Russia before her. A lot of people like natural cosmetics. Brands like Weleda, Organic Shop, and Natura Siberica are quite popular.
The most popular beauty trends in your country right now:
I feel like Russia is sometimes one step behind trends, especially in smaller cities where there is not a lot of variety of brands available. But everyone is always into fresh and natural makeup and a bold lip (MAC Russian Red Lipstick (£18) is called that for a reason). You don’t see a lot of people rocking blue eye shadow like on the runway—it’s usually pretty simple.
Favourite traditional beauty secret from your country:
Oil treatment for hair. My favourites are burdock and castor oil. I like to put oil all over my hair, wrap a towel around and leave for as long as I can. I’m also lucky to have a sauna in my family’s country house (“banya” is what we call it), so I would just do a hot oil treatment in there. The castor oil also works wonders for eyebrows and lashes. It’s better than any expensive serums, and many girls swear by it.
Where you buy beauty products:
I like to try out new products and brands, so I shop online a lot. Usually, shipping to Russia costs a lot from most international websites, so I tend to split the order with my mom or my girlfriends. There are a lot of Instagram stores where they sell American and European brands that are hard to get your hands on in Russia, like Tarte or Stila. I also like to shop in pharmacies for skincare like La Roche-Posay.
What does “healthy living” mean to you?
It’s all about balance for me. I don’t count calories like crazy, I allow myself a burger sometimes, and I don’t eat broccoli only because it’s healthy and “I have to.” I do whatever makes me feel good and try to listen to my body. Sleep and drinking loads of water is important to me. I try to exercise regularly, but I don’t beat myself up when I skip a few days. Balance is my “healthy living.”
How do you define/practice “self-care”?
Self-care for me is treating yourself the same way you would treat your best friend. And self-care for me is not just a Sunday thing—it’s every day. I try to be mindful of everything that surrounds me and my body. Gratitude is a very important self-care practice for me, I keep a gratitude journal to write down things that I am thankful for. And of course, every morning and night I take my time to do my skincare routine. It’s my favourite time of the day when I can dedicate time to skin.
What’s your favourite way to stay active and why?
I like to walk a lot. If I need to go somewhere and it’s not more than an hour walk, then I would just leave early and walk instead of driving. I also do short HIIT workouts at home sometimes—I find it really effective. I think 15 minutes every day is better than two hours once a week.
What’s your favourite healthy meal?
Oatmeal. I add cinnamon, a little honey, and seasonal fruit and berries.
What are the most popular wellness trends in your country right now?
I think “intuitive eating” is a big trend now in Russia. It’s all about listening to what your body wants. Yoga, as well as antigravity yoga and meditation, is currently in full swing. A lot of people are also trying intermediate fasting, but I’m too scared to try it out.
Stay tuned as we travel far and beyond to bring you a Byrd’s Eye View on global beauty this month.