Claudia Santangelo | The Italian Travel Advisor Who Uses Olive Oil For Everything

The #BBTRstories highlights our real community of readers, while they take us through their bathroom cabinets and vanities to share their real-life routines. Want to be featured? Contact us at or tag us on Instagram at @beautybythereal #BBTRstories for a chance to be featured.

"Ciao, I'm Claudia Santangelo (@Wordswhiskeyandwanderlust). I am 100% Neapolitan but based in Southern California. My first job was a child actor and while I still dabble in acting and modeling for fun, I am a Virtuoso Travel Advisor specializing in magic, adventure and bad-assery, in the great wide. My Italian family raised me to see the magic in all of life's beautifully simple moments. My aunt, a kick-ass travel agent and chef is my mentor and the reason I'm so passionate about travel. The trips I plan and the work I do now (with my brand SPELLBOUND), comes from that passion to create magical experiences and honor the art of living and vacationing, as Italians do so well. I desire to inspire travelers to experience a city the way I like to travel- without the tour buses and headsets or over-articulated itineraries. But instead with a few curated adventures, unique stays and plenty of time to explore the hidden magic of a destination.

My approach to beauty echoes the classic principles of Italian living. We like things to feel effortless and artful, never taking away from a good time. I like the idea of running off to an adventure at a moment’s notice without needing much time to get ready, so for me simple beauty rituals that I can do easily in the shower that make my everyday beauty routine super low-maintenance the rest of the time, is key.

The biggest thing to start with is drinking a gallon of water a day and plenty of exercise weekly. This keeps my skin hydrated and youthful looking which means less make up needed. I like products with simple ingredients and whenever possible I opt to use natural beauty remedies. I use olive oil for everything from a spicy tomato sauce, to conditioning my hair and to moisturizing my face and body. Italian women use coffee to exfoliate and tighten quite a bit. Soft supple skin is an absolute must for me so I like a good coffee scrub like Otavea's Chocolate Coffee scrub. A few times a week I use raw honey on my face as a mask, it purifies and moisturizes, drawing moisture into the skin.

For cleansing I keep Skinfood Egg White foam cleanser in my shower at all times. Tea tree cleansing pads from Trader Joe's are great for removing grime at the airport and before bed. For sleep I massage olive oil on my face, neck and hands.

I have olive skin and tan very well but I decided a long time ago the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth, is sunscreen (and water *glug glug glug) so I use self-tanner and sunscreen year round. I love Banana Boat Self-tanning cream in in deep. Develops in 3 hours, no smell and doesn't need to be showered off, so it’s great for on-the-go. Use it twice a week for a good year round glow and moisturize in between. Or Loving Tan 2-hour express in deep or ultra-dark for summer. Amazing instant color and while it is a shower off formula, it looks great even while its developing so I will often leave it on and go about my day. Sunscreen daily on face, chest and hands especially. I like Vichy for all over and reapplying on the face with an SPF setting power like Supergoop.

For everyday make up, my goal again is to not have to do that much because I have adventures to get to and I want it to look effortless. I’m not a fan of contouring and a full face of makeup. I will often use the same natural lip colored lipstick on my lips and cheeks because the few products the better (Stila in Patina matches my lips and natural flush). I also like double duty makeup with an SPF like It cosmetics. I fill in brows with Dipbrow by Anastasia, a sweep of brown or black eyeliner for a low key subtle classic cat eye and a coat of DiorShow mascara. For going out I would maybe extend the eyeliner a bit, highlight cheek bones with Algenist Illuminating drops and add a red lip.

The biggest difference between Italian and American beauty is that American beauty tends to focus more on makeup, and correcting flaws with makeup. Whereas Italian beauty focuses more on feeling good, pampering the skin so that a healthy glow shines through and playing up your natural assets.

I'm a book lover, adventurer and whiskey nerd so my blog Words Whiskey & Wanderlust combines the magic of books travel and fun cocktails I discover along the way. I hope to inspire more travel and discovery because I believe the more we see the world the more we understand. We fear less, communicate more, and think broader and love deeper. Travel broadens our perspective and gives us the sense that all we have in this whole universe of 50 sextillion planets, a hundred billion galaxies and a billion trillion stars, is each other.”

-as given to BBTR

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