Archive for the ‘Beauty & Grooming’ Category

Make Your Makeup Last With A Finishing Spray

If you’re a glamour girl of the makeup-wearing kind, you know that the stuff simply does not last past a certain point. Like a flower, those vibrant lips and eyes and blushed-up cheeks that you create in the morning at your mirror will, depending on the climate and the nature of your skin, dim by lunch, and eventually be history by dinner. And an oily complexion or humid locale speeds up the process.

I’m not one to pack a counter of makeup in my purse, or engage in extensive re-repaint sessions during the day. In other words, if it’s a day for makeup, I like to put the stuff on once and be done. When 18-hour lipstick first came on the scene, I thought that one of Earth’s major problems had been solved. I promptly picked up a couple of tubes but found they had the feel of Wite-Out on the lips and looked just as sensual. I have tried other “marathon” and long wear makeup formulations but have found, overall, that they neither look nor feel quite good on the skin.

Using a finishing spray over your makeup is the best solution to keeping your makeup looking completely fresh and bright for the entire day. This is a growing category that is extending beyond professional makeup artists because it serves a very practical purpose for anyone who wears makeup. I’ve tried and re-tried Skindinavia’s No More Shine Makeup Finish Spray. They have an original version as well, but the “No More Shine” version is genius for oily skin types because it allows your skin to look real, with a bit of glow, while keeping it from getting too oily or slick looking.

Verdict 

The product claims to hold your makeup intact for 16+ hours, and it does. I have used it for shorter spans and it always works beautifully, but I wanted to see if it would hold up to the 16-hour test: I applied it over my makeup on a day that began at 6 am and, with zip-zero touchups save a bit of lip gloss, it absolutely sealed my makeup through 10 pm that night, which was around the tail end of a vigorous 2-hour flamenco dance class.

My Skindinavia 16-hour skin test

This picture was taken around 6 pm, about 12 hours after applying makeup, and in a day that included some lovely LA traffic, an early event, a trade show, work and more traffic. A bit of glow from the highlighter I was wearing on the cheeks and lids, but no grease.

Highlights 

Look. It keeps the natural finish and texture of your makeup intact and lets your skin breathe. In other words, no cakiness or dried-out matte mask looks. For instance, if you’re wearing a matte foundation with a shimmery shadow and rather dewy blush, the finish spray will keep the look of each of these as-is.

Feel.  Skindinavia is invisible, with no discernible scent or weight. It didn’t irritate the eyes or cause mascara to smudge, even though it’s a liquid spray.  Hours and hours into wearing it, there was no hint that it was on the face. No dryness or gummy, chemical feel on the face whatsoever.

Application. Fast, fast, fast. A few sprays on the face before you walk out the door.

skindinavia

Skindinavia's No More Shine Makeup Finish Spray

It’s worth the investment to have a bottle on hand for when you want your face and makeup to look fresh for a long stretch, and don’t want to think about ducking into the ladies room for a touchup.

Details

Skindinavia’s No More Shine or Original Makeup Finishing Spray (2 oz /$19 ; 4 oz /$29). If you plan to use the product only occasionally, you will probably be fine with the 2-ounce bottle, as very little of the product is used with each application.

To use, shake the bottle well and spray lightly on the face, before and after applying makeup. I have forgotten to spray it on the face before applying makeup though–something I suspect is common–and found that it is just as effective when only sprayed after the fact. A mist of 4-6 pumps is more than sufficient on the face. Hold the pump about 8-10 inches from your skin.

Tips

Dramatic makeup is quite the rage these days, particularly bold eyes and scarlet lips. This look is great but tends to have a short shelf life, and looks best, its most vibrant, when freshly applied. Not so good at the tail end of a long night. Use this product over such looks, even if you’re just planning on going out to dinner. The product material states that it holds eye shadow, foundation, blush and concealer, but I have found that it holds lipstick nicely as well.

Given how well Skindinavia holds back shine, I think there could be some excellent applications for men who want to control the look of a shiny face, and women who don’t wear makeup but don’t want their skin to have the look of too much luster.

Fast & Feasible Ways To Feed Your Glamour

fast healthy snack eggs

In a documentary I saw recently by Lauren Greenfield there is a segment about a girl who starved herself to increase her chances of success in modeling. The catch is that, once she started to book jobs, she found herself in front of the camera with “nothing to give.” The punishment she had given her body resulted in a denial of an essential for a model–the ability to project some sort of life, of spirit, for the camera lens to capture. No nourishment, no spirit.

Which brings me to you. Just as you need sleep to adequately power the projection of your personal energy, aka your glamour, you also need food. Quality food that you regularly dose yourself with.

I, like many, many other women, am notoriously uneven in this regard. In many cases, a gal will put herself dead last in line when it comes to nourishing herself. A coworker or boss with an unanticipated, last minute demand voids her lunch, for instance. Or the rush of daily life juts itself in the way of feeding herself consistently. We fuel our vehicles more diligently than our bodies, because they don’t take no for an answer. How about instilling a personal eating policy that’s at least as strict as your the one that your car enjoys?

To that end, here are some tips on how to keep your glamour going by feeding the fire that fuels it.

Morning Eating. The thought of ingesting anything but a luscious ice coffee in the morning might be gag-inducing. But in order to function you must eat. Do I sound like your mother yet? Since I would rather sleep than face a steaming plate of eggs and whatever the heck else people eat in the morning, a fast way to fuel in the morning can consist of:

Eating one or two hard boiled eggs. Boil a dozen eggs at a time, then store them in your refrigerator. Crack one or two open and season with pepper to eat in the morning. Add some fresh lox as a nice side addition.

Cereal. I used to think of cereal as a sort of morning candy, so sugar drenched and colorful were most of the varieties in the grocery store aisles. It’s come a long way. There are many healthy versions now available in stores. For the truly interested, here is a brief by General Mills on the merits of cereal. Select a whole grain version with minimal sugar. If you are not close to a health food store, Cascadian Farms, an organic brand that is owned by General Mills, is quite widely distributed in grocery stores.

Sprinkle with fresh berries or raisins, which are a nice source of iron. Use soy milk instead of milk if you’re worried about calories. Vanilla soy milk adds a nice richness to no-sugar cereals.

Fruit. Keep a heap of fruit handy and grab two or three pieces on your way out the door. One of my favorite things about fruit is the fact that its designer packaged it so ingeniously. Have you ever inspected a banana peel or orange casing. Genius!

A Daily Multivitamin Situation. Find a multivitamin that suits you, buy it in bulk and take it daily. This is an easy thing to make a lifelong habit. Figure out a time that works for you and make your multivitamin habit like brushing your teeth. Look for a formulation that you can take on a empty stomach without having it make you sick.

Look for a formulation in a size and quantity that works for you. Having to take 6 horse-size pills a day just doesn’t work for most of us. Might I suggest a formulation with a lot of the vitamin Bs, as they are excellent in helping the body deal with stress. Vitamin C is a basic, and a formula that contains iron is a plus as many women are anemic, or somewhere darn close.

Do you take medications? Learn what, if any, vitamins and minerals that you may need more of due to your medications, and make sure your multivitamin has them in spades.

Purse Food. Here’s another glamour-promoting habit for you: Keep a cache of nutrition bars or dried fruit in your glove compartment or bag. While fresh fruit is preferable, I know how easy it is for it to rot and get banged up and otherwise be rendered inedible.

The stow-away kind can last forever and save your life when you are lagging in the nutrition department. There are some bars out there that are really just candy bars wrapped in a faux-healthy wrapper–chocolate chips are a dead giveaway–so check ingredients for a whole grain version with zero to little sugar. Mothers tend to be fantastic in this department, as they are used to keeping food handy for their small fry.

Practical Glamour Productivity Tip #504

 

face_mask_at_home When you have to complete some monotonous household task, such as dusting or rearranging your bookshelf or something along those lines, advance your skin maintenance by masking at the same time.

Pile your hair up and away from your face and wear a shirt that exposes your neck and upper chest, such as a bustier or strapless something or other. I refuse to officially recommend in print that you wear a “tube top,” but you get the idea. Cleanse your face and apply your favorite mask, including your neck and upper chest in the application. Let it dry thoroughly while you go about your task.

For the males in the audience: Face masks offer great benefits to all skin, regardless of sex. As a man you will benefit from a mask just as much as a female, and you don’t even have to tell anyone. In particular, if you are a male with oily skin, a dedicated weekly masking will deep cleanse and refine the look of your pores significantly. Just ignore the tube top part of the instructions. Great skin is such an asset to a man’s presentation, particularly since he cannot duck under a veil of cosmetics like the fairer sex.

Flashback Glamour Friday: Miss Linda Darnell & Flowers In Your Hair

Linda Darnell

In my humble opinion, it does not get a lot more glamorous than the lovely Linda Darnell, a screen beauty and quite fine actress who starred in a string of movies, principally in the 1940’s. I watched a good one recently, “Fallen Angel,” where she plays a life-hardened beauty grasping for a better life. Often described as the girl “with the perfect face,” it makes sense that in almost every scene of the movie she is shot in close-up, and with a white flower in her hair to accent that face.

This is a nice look that you might want to adopt, particularly in the summer.

flower in hair

  • Start with a small flower, fresh or silk. Select a flower that looks elegant and of an excellent quality.
  • Find one that accompanies and advances the overall look you are going for. Florid and dramatic, earthy and feminine, super-elegant and so forth.

rose_in_hair

  • Select a color that contrasts with the color of your hair. If your hair is light, go with a darker flower. Dark hair? Go with a bright or light flower. Think about matching the lightest tones in your hair to the flower.
  • Secure it to a hairpin and experiment placing it around your face at different points. Start behind the ear at its most center point.

hairstyle_with_flower

  • A flower around the face will accent the face and draw others into it, so make sure your complexion and makeup looks as you wish it to look.
  • If you’re shy or very low-key in terms of your style, you might want to start by selecting a very small flower or, alternately, affix your flower to the base of your bun or ponytail.

Lastly, a flower in your hair will keep you from frowning. Because there is no way that you can wear a frown with a flower in your hair!

When It Comes To Applying Makeup, The Brush Is The Thing

An image I happen to like from brushmaker's Royal & Langnickel. Talk about blending!

Soon after I started wearing makeup on a regular basis I realized that the brushes from art supply stores beat the heck out of the synthetic wispy things that were sold in drugstores or, worse, the little plastic apparatuses that came with the makeup itself.

Art supply stores tend to carry tons of beautiful natural bristle brushes in almost any dimension you can imaginable. They last forever and typically cost not much more than the ones made for makeup. Alas, the art supply type are made expressly for an artist painting a canvas, so they don’t always work exactly as planned when applying makeup to the face.

However, the key here is that you must have high-quality brushes if you’re going to wear makeup. Buy less makeup if it means you are going to buy better brushes.

Good brushes will overcome most of the easy to make blunders that happen during rushed or not-so-pro makeup jobs, such as the harsh breaks between blush and the real you, or the visible streaks of shadow on the lids. The key to “no-makeup” makeup has everything to do with blending and blending and more of it. Great brushes will blend colors better and faster; they will feel better, more gentle, on your skin, and; if taken care of, they will last forever, making the initial investment worth it.

May I suggest an assessment of your current brush situation and a tossing of those you have outgrown? I think it’s crazy to invest in high-end or professional makeup and not have the right tools to apply it.  Until recently I too have sometimes been guilty of this. I didn’t think much of brushes, and in my makeup box alongside great brushes I had some cheesy or broken-down brushes, and would be trying to apply some fantastic Chanel shadow with a clumsy synthetic brush I’ve had since high school, for instance, its plastic pink swirl handle chipped and faded.

I have since mended my ways and can recommend the following:

  • When it comes to brushes go as pro as possible, and get them in a kit version, since buying them separately is not as good a value.
  • Brush sets typically come in a roll case, which is where you should keep them so they stay clean and are in one place when you need them.
  • I have noticed that there are many brush kits out there, and many of them have a professional or sleek “look,” but are really subpar when it comes to quality. Beware the more-than-you’ll-ever-need huge collection of brushes with pretty shiny handles offered at some low price. When buying new brushes, look for quality in the brush hair (natural hair is best), density of the brush hair, shape of the brush and overall construction and durability. Include in your inspection the handle, and note how different types of brushes feel in your hand.

*I really like Royal & Langnickel, mostly because they started in business forever ago by making art brushes–and they also make beauty brushes. (Before I learned that they also made beauty brushes, I had been using some of their art brushes for makeup duty; two indestructible fan brushes for contouring and a couple of thin detail brushes that made excellent eyeliner brushes.) Their consumer-oriented beauty brush line, here, has some excellent values, like the 12 piece set that, at $35, comes out to about $3 a brush. And you’ll use every one of them.

royal and langnickel brush set

Tip: Wash your brushes regularly with super-mild soap and handle them with care. Keep the brush hair in the same direction while cleansing it, and keep water out of the ferrule (the black part of the upper handle seen in the brushes above that separates the brush hair from the handle). Water can get trapped in here and cause mold to grow, which is not something you want happening near your eyes and face.

On a clean towel, dry your brushes flat to keep the brush hair intact and to avoid moisture seeping into the ferrule. Rotate them on the dry part of the towel until they are completely dry.

You Never Promised Me An Herb Garden, But You Really Should Have One Anyway

at home herb garden

Have you thought about instilling a mini herb-garden in your home or apartment? Even if your place is the size of a Q-tip, the benefits of even a small window-sill type of operation with one or two key plants are many. Let’s say you’re a sassy single type who rarely opens anything other than take-out containers of shrimp lo-mein or, when you’re feeling fancy, a can of soup.

Even so, you must, must have at least one garnish on hand. It makes cuisine and cocktails and even a glass of water more flavorful and nutritious. (Did you know that a mere 50 grams of oregano contains 225% the daily recommended daily allowance of iron?)

And, of utmost importance when it comes to your life, it makes for a more glamorous at-home experience overall. Once you get used to having fresh herbs on hand, you will find that it’s hard to drink a glass of water without fresh mint leaves in it, that a plate always looks better with a dab of green garnish and that a few leaves of basil snapped from your plant makes a fine walk-by snack. Takeout pizza with a fist of fresh basil and oregano strewn over it, a tray of gin and tonics with a lavender leaf in each, I could go on.

The key to having this at-home type of herbery is to keep it simple at first (no more than 3 plants), watering the plants regularly and getting in the habit of using them.

Here are my top picks. They can be picked up for a few bucks each at a nearby nursery or home-hardware type store, and they qualify because they can be used in a ton of dishes and beverages, they are hearty plants and they are beautiful: Italian parsley (the flat kind, not the curly kind used for garnish), basil, mint, lemongrass, oregano, rosemary.

Travel Tip: A Sugar Scrub To Go

There is a fine and natural skin scrub that happens to be very travel-friendly, simple, and found everywhere–and it happens to be sugar. After shaving or washing your face, apply a bit of granulated sugar to your still-wet skin with your fingertips. Lightly circle your finger tips over your face, adjusting pressure for more or less sensitive parts. Don’t tug or scrub.

 

sugar exfoliator skin travel tip

The sugar granules do the work, and they will soften and dissolve as they interact with the water. This treatment is great because it sloughs off the top layers of skin and leaves a lovely glow to the face. Bonus: you can leave your bulky tube of exfoliator or skin scrub at home on your next trip, and stow a few sugar packets instead. If you run out o’ sugar, be assured that you will run into a sugar packet or two that you can lift while traveling. I felt like I hit the jackpot when a friend recently brought me a handful of small sugar straws in my hotel after hearing me rave about on-the-road sugar scrubbing.

Men, a nice sugar scrub is particularly helpful if you have an ingrown hair problem on your face. Scrub skin softly with it after shaving, concentrating on problem areas, in order to keep skin from forming over incoming hair.

Women, add a sugar scrub to your shower experience. A few times a week, use sugar granules to exfoliate and brighten your face, decolletage and bosom. Less pressure and frequency if your skin is sensitive.

Tip: Stay away from the raw, unrefined sort of sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw. The granules are large, don’t seem to dissolve quickly and can scratch or, worse, pit your skin.

The Beauty Of Sleep

Night time is deep, beautiful sleep time

Energy is vitality—and vitality is the stuff that powers the projection of your personal energy. It is far easier to present your best self when you are well rested and your skin, hair, teeth, nails and figure are in their optimum state. When these are not maintained, your attention first and foremost, naturally goes to how tired you feel, or your hangnails, unruly hair, dry skin…

Presenting your most authentic and attractive self to the world on a daily basis takes a certain persistence. And it is hard to persist at anything other than seeking relief when you feel tired or unhealthy. Looking, acting and feeling your most handsome or beautiful takes sleep, and enough of it.

While I know you've felt the drastic difference between getting too little of it and just the right amount, here are some additional nuggets of information on sleep to help goad you to do whatever you can to phase out the time robbers in your life and get a good's night sleep:

  • Sleep deprivation magnifies the effect of alcohol, so if you are tired expect to feel a lot more blitzed than usual when intaking the same amount of alcohol.
  • You will stress out faster and more intensely if you've not had enough sleep, and everyone knows that the gritted-teeth look is not your best.
  • Studies have reported an association between insufficient sleep and high blood pressure (see the previous point).
  • The amount of sleep a person gets influences the symptoms of mental disorders, so blame your tantrum on lack of sleep.
  • Studies suggest that not sleeping enough has a negative effect on the immune system. For example, while rats normally live for two to three years, those deprived of REM sleep survive only about 5 weeks on average. Those rats deprived of all sleep stages live only about 3 weeks. Also, the sleep-deprived rats developed abnormally low body temperatures and sores on their tail and paws.

Positive sleep byproducts include the following:

  • You'll get an A in math, gym and remember everything. Lack of sleep leads to impaired memory, physical performance and reduced ability to carry out math calculations.
  • Sleeping deeply will make you look better. Many of the body's cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. Since proteins are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for repair of damage from factors like stress and ultraviolet rays.
  • You'll feel and behave better. Activity in parts of the brain that control emotions, decision-making processes, and social interactions is drastically reduced during deep sleep, suggesting that this type of sleep may help people maintain optimal emotional and social functioning while they are awake.

For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day. Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual.

Note that getting too little sleep creates a "sleep debt," which is much like being overdrawn on a credit card. Sleep is not an area where our bodies learn how to adapt; eventually, your body and mind will insist that you pay it back with some pillow time.

-Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health

 

Keeping Your Lips In Keen Condition

lip_care_Constance_Dunn

When it comes to center-stage facial traits, your lips probably play second fiddle only to your eyes. Chapped, dry and otherwise unwelcoming lips are often the result of poor habits, such as smoking, lack of hydration or proper nutrition. Another culprit is exposure to the elements, particularly during cold, windy and rainy months.

While only you know what you need to do to correct the poor-habits issue, the second one can be offset by a bit o’ lip maintenance. To that end, here are some tips:

  • Cover. Always protect your lips while outside. Use a lip protectant that provides a physical block in the form of rich, natural moisturizers as well as a sunscreen element. I find the best ones at the health food store.
  • Hydration Nation. Double up on moisture when inside: drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated.
  • Massage. Rub an absorbent moisturizer into the lips at night before bed. Spend a minute or two softly massaging and relaxing the skin and muscles of your lips and their surrounding areas, particularly at the corners of the mouth.
  • Vitamin E. An excellent natural lip moisturizer is Vitamin E. Split open a capsule of the stuff (buy natural E, not the synthentic type) and massage it onto freshly cleansed lips. Use the excess as an eyelash and eye-area moisturizer.
  • Relax. During the day, do whatever you can in your earthly powers to keep from pursing or crinkling up your lips on any kind of an ongoing or sustained basis. If you’re not convinced of the outcome of this habit, look at the mouth of a guy or gal who has spent the last few decades sucking on a Kool.
  • No Lipstick Zone. Gals or Others Who Wear Lipstick: remove every trace of it before going to bed.
  • Exfoliate. Regularly eradicate the dead cells that build up and cause chapping and flaking with the help of a super-soft toothbrush or washcloth. Be very gentle, and use the brush or cloth to exfoliate lips when your skin is moist, such as right after taking a shower. After you are finished, remove all traces of dead skin from the area and follow up with an application of moisturizer.

No Cheap Bras for You!

Bra_Fitting_TypeF.com

Being nice to your bosom means that you are unbending when it comes to the quality, beauty and, most of all, the fit of your brassieres.

Here’s how you can do this…

  • If you haven’t done so recently, get fitted by a professional. Preferably, at the lingerie department of a fine department store. However, you can even schedule a free bra fitting by phone.

Look for someone who really knows what they are doing, and will do more than just jut a measuring tape around your chest and announce your size. An undergarment professional should be able to assess your breasts, and give pointers on the types of bras that will suit your situation best.

 

tisha bra le mystere review

This is the Tisha bra by Le Mystere, and it rocks. And lasts forever. About $62.

  • Try on high-quality or luxury brands that you might normally bypass because of cost.

Here’s where: For the cost of two mall-issue bras I discovered I could purchase a Le Mystère bra that, due to its materials, construction and stitching, far surpassed my mall-issue bra in fit and feeling. With proper care, a fantastic bra, the cost is typically around $65 to maybe more, will last years of frequent use. Compare this to the average shelf life of 8 months for a mall-issue bra to start looking haggard.

The difference between the two types of bras is really noticeable–from the way the better bra looks to how it feels and, very important, how I feel while putting it on and sporting it. Bras are an area where you just can’t skimp. This does not mean you should break the bank on your next one–you might want to think about it, budget-wise, like this: Instead of buying two hum-ho bras; next time, save your money and buy one fantastic and long-lasting one instead.  It’s really the practical thing to do.

*Find my two cents on building your bra collection at TypeF.com.

Schedule Your Pre-Summer Skin Fix

 

Constance_Dunn

Though it may not feel like it in much of the land, spring is a-coming and soon after that, summer. Before the blaring summer sun comes into full view, do your skin a favor and head to your nearest dermatologist or aesthetician to see what treatments are available to remove existing sun damage.

Aesthetician Danielle Paulson recommends that you engage in deep exfoliating treatments such as microdermabrasion, wrinkle or spot laser treatments, deep peels and so forth during the months you face the least exposure to avoid further skin stress and damage.

So, if you never got around to removing the evidence of the days you spent frolicking in last summer’s sun, you still have some time to do so before it returns. Schedule any such treatments in the next few weeks if you can.

*You may also want to get a jump start on any hair removal treatments, such as laser, waxing or electrolysis. Once the weather warms up, the practitioners’ appointment books can become quickly booked. Plus, like treatments aimed at reducing the ill effects of the sun, hair removal treatments are best performed on skin that has not faced recent and extensive exposure.

*And it still goes without saying that, no matter the season, you are covering your face, neck, chest and hands with sunscreen each and every day. The sun can feel glorious but is the arch-enemy of a canvas of skin that is beautiful, firm and unspeckled.

Your Best Red & The SuperMoon Returns

Two warm shades (left) versus two cool shades (right)

Avoid reds? Chances are you’ve never found your best shade. Here is a simple, on-the-spot technique to suss out the specific reds that compliment your hair, skin and eye colors.

• Visually examine your bare skin in natural light. Skin with bluish undertones benefits from cool (blue-based) reds, while yellow or peach undertones are flattered by warm (orange-based) reds. To test:

If you are a gal: Apply a cool shade of red lipstick, then a warm one. (Remove color completely between applications.) See the difference? A clear red with bluish undertones is best for cool complexions; an orange-tinged red will flatter warm ones.

– If you are a guy: Place a fabric swatch under your chin in a cool shade of red, then swap it out with a fabric swatch in a warm shade. (Stand in front of the mirror to see the effects of each, and close your eyes in between swatches.) A clear red with bluish undertones is best for cool complexions; an orange-tinged red will flatter warm ones.

As you know, the benefits of knowing and surrounding yourself with your most pleasing colors are many–you make fewer shopping mistakes, plus you look and feel better.

Which brings me to SuperMoon: this Saturday if you feel like you are going a little nuts (in either the good or bad way), blame it on SuperMoon. This month’s full moon will appear to be bigger than usual. The moon is slightly closer to Earth than usual, so when it’s in full bloom, it’s closer than usual position will make it loom larger than ever. Whatever you do with your SuperMoon feeling, have a nice time…

Your Creamy And Fragrant Hand Doth Please, Milady

A way to keep a bit of you positively lingering long after you’ve passed through the room in your rustling silk skirts or tails is this: Rub a perfumed or cologned lotion onto the backs of your hands, wrists and arms before leaving for your next gathering or soiree.

The fragrance will waft about you subtly with your normal movements, such as shaking hands, lifting your glass or waving. And here’s the really practical part: Those unopened bottles of scented lotion and cream that come with your perfume or cologne, usually around Christmas time, and are huddled in your cabinet –the ones that you do not typically use on your body and never on your face? Now they have a purpose in life.

Make sure the scent matches, or is an agreeable mix with, your perfume or cologne, and that it gives you the vibe and mood you desire since you’ll be the primary recipient of it all night. And keep the lotion off your palms to avoid directly transferring the scent to the nice guy who will then walk around for the rest of the night wondering why the hell he smells like Honeysuckle Rose Nights. Or doom the nice gal you’ve just met to an evening, aromatically at least, of Blue Seduction by Antonio Banderas.

Another Beautiful Shoe Saved By A Suede Eraser

The scenario: A pair of rich suede Charles David platforms in a shade of light butternut squash. A neutral cork heel. An angry charcoal smudge across the top of the vamp.

Prior to said smudge there was clearly much to love about these shoes. Their versatility made them work with almost any color or silhouette. Their height, which gave me the ability to lord over others, or at least look them in the eye (I stand somewhere around 5’2″).

On their first outing, while strolling down Ocean Boulevard with a friend after a gay evening at the Ivy, they were nudged against a raised sidewalk curb. The smudge did not budge even when faced with my full shoe-correction arsenal. I took them to the trusted neighborhood cobbler. He whipped out what looked like a rubber eraser and within a minute had wiped the smudge from the shoe. He followed the eraser with a soft shoe brush to remove the eraser crumbs and restore the nap. Poof! He also tossed the remaining nub at me across the counter to take home. I clutched it like the nugget of gold it was.

It is a suede eraser. One made by Woodlore that I like quite a bit can be had for about $8 and purchased here at Amazon.

Warning: With the power to make beige suede look bright again comes great responsibility. Use the eraser gently and tentatively the first few times. Brush the eraser across a white piece of paper first to clean it before using it on your shoes. And don’t fear the crumbling of the eraser, as those crumbs get into the nap of the suede to help buff out the stain. Also, if you value a particular pair of shoes heavily don’t take any risks you’ll regret. In this case, entrust your shoes to a professional.

Purity And Potency – Ah, Weleda’s Wild Rose

Weleda is a natural beauty and grooming brand that is rock-ribbed in terms of its quality and purity. I’ve used their products randomly over the years when I spot something interesting at the health food store and I’m always pleased. Their Wild Rose Skin Care line, though is a bell ringer for me. The products smell like a divine flower field and are addictive. I first came across it at a Walgreen’s and ever since I snap it up whenever my stock runs low.

The genius of the Smoothing Night Cream is that it is instantly absorbent and potent–without a shadow of feeling greasy or overly creamed. The base is made up of peach kernel, sweet almond and olive fruit oils along with evening primerose oil and myrrh. All of these are of-the-earth luxurious lubricants, and they feel it.

The Smoothing Eye Cream has organic rosehip seed oil, eyebright extract and jojoba oil. I’m not a big user of eye cream in general, but this one has a potent and clean feel–and does a nice job on puffiness, which is nice after a night of writing. Or whatever else you may be up to nocturnally.

There is also a Smoothing Day Cream and Smoothing Day Lotion. Use the lotion for normal to oily skin and the richer cream for normal to dry skin. Ah, the scent of these. They are elating. If you’re someone who is lax with the moisturizer the aroma alone will change your ways. Use on your neck, chest and decolletage as well.

Each of these products cost anywhere from $20-$30 for a 1.0 ounce tube and are worth it. They seem to last forever.

The Year of the Rabbit, Or A New Year Redo For You


Today is the Chinese New Year, the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit. South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam are also celebrating the New Year, though in Vietnam ’tis the Year of the Cat. A major holiday for many of our fellow Earthlings, what does this day mean for you? A second chance.

If you have punted some or all of that fresh resolution roster you were so earnest about on January 1, then take advantage of this chance for a redo. This time, though, scale back some of those bigger aspirations you laid out for yourself. Instead, add some fun, not-so-Herculean spots.

● Instead of working out 5 times a week…set out to walk/jog for 3 and throw some crunches in on the side

● Instead of implementing a totally new personal style…start collecting images (mentally or from magazines) of those styles that catch your eye and tuck them in a folder to review every once in a while, thinking about the little ways you can bring the big themes (more elegant, more grown up, more masculine, more fun, you name it) to your everyday look

● Instead of hitting the nail salon each week without fail…go when you can and in between visits, make sure you self groom your nails nicely. Read this post on shortcuts to presentable hands, or read the chapter on at-home nail care in Practical Glamour

● Instead of upgrading your entire wardrobe…make sure you just throw out at least 10 items that you don’t really like or use–and refuse to bring home anything else that is not of boss quality

● Instead of getting a pro facial at a salon once a month…go when you can and twice a month deep-clean and condition your complexion at home. Chapter 1 of Practical Glamour has a step by step at-home facial.

● Instead of becoming fluent in another language…set out to fluently deliver 5 of the top-used phrases you’d need (“My name is…” “I am from…” “I work as a …” and so forth)

You get the idea. Happy New-New Year. Go forth and be glamorous!

Here, Here: It’s A Raquel Welch Wednesday

Wise words from one of the most head-turning glitterballs (still!) of our time:

“I was given a magnificent body and I have looked after it well. I never felt I could afford the luxury of letting myself go.”

“Just as you maintain your home, your car, your garden, you should look after your greatest gift: your body.”

–Raquel Welch, quoted in the U.K.’s Daily Mail.

Enable Your A.M. With Water

In my quest to move my start-life-now timeline to an earlier hour of the a.m., I have been drinking a glass of water moments after my eyes flutter open in the morning. And the results are noticeable: I become clear headed and energetic more quickly waking up this way versus the no-water way.

The Mayo Clinic confirms that water carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, moistens tissues such as those in the mouth, eyes and nose, plus helps minerals and other nutrients to make them accessible to the body, among many other fine functions. Okay, you know that water is big plus in life–but by carrying nutrients and oxygen to the cells, including those in the brain, and lifting the fog of morning it has become something even more spectacular than previously thought.

Tip: Keep a glass of water by your bed and command yourself to drink the whole thing before letting your feet touch the floor.

Weather Glamour Rescue: A Big Sexy Tan!

For most of us, the poetry has gone out of this weather. No more “Ah, it’s so nice to sleep to the sound of rain beating on the roof” or “Let’s go frolick in the snow!”

If you’re used to seeing a lot of our pal the sun–or leaving the house for that matter–you may need a lift in the form of that beautiful illusion called a tan. This week I have been traipsing around with more bounce because of my warm cocoa shade of skin, brought on by repeated applications of Tan Towels (“Look Good Naked”).

After

These were recommended to me after my favorite health-food store bottle tan disappeared from Earth. Tan towels in general have some benefits over the bottle version: the application is super fast and unmessy, and the results are quick (a couple of hours) and natural-looking.

Accurate results seen here after 2-3 applications. I use the half body size for fair to medium skin tones, though they have a version for medium to dark tones. Approximately $20 for 10 towels.

There. A tan, white teeth and big hair. We’ll get through this just fine.

Easy At-Home Eye De-Puffer

I learned about this great (natural!) eye de-puffer from skin expert and author Melanie Vasseur:

  • Steep 2-3 chamomile tea bags in a half cup of hot water.
  • Place the tea bags in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Apply the tea bags to the eye area and lie down.

The cool temperature and the herbs will reduce swelling. Also, Melanie reminds us that intaking too much sodium and alcohol will add to puffiness under the eyes. So no drinking or huge orders of salty french fries the night before an important event. (No matter how much you’re freaking out!)

Quick tip: Store your eye products (creams, etc) in the refrigerator if puffiness is an ongoing issue. When applied, the cool temperature of the products will restrict the blood vessels and reduce puffiness.

Melanie Vasseur has a skin care line called Vasseur Skincare, focused on natural and fresh ingredients, as well as a spa with a special focus area on treating acne, in the Banker’s Hill section of San Diego.

Recycle Your Mascara Wand

Don’t hesitate to throw away that tube of expired mascara in your makeup kit, but keep the wand as a tool to declump and refine lashes after applying mascara. Mascara wands are easier to handle than lash combs which tend to accumulate fuzz, and when used will sometimes strip too much mascara from the lashes (where it then snows on your cheeks).

  • After making sure the wand is in good condition, cleanse  it thoroughly with a benign cleanser such as vinegar or Dr. Bronner’s “All-One” castile soap. Let it air-dry.
  • If the wand is of the straight and not curved variety, you can also use it to comb and neaten your brows.

Note that the mini-sized type of mascara wand is best as this tool, such as those offered in gift-with-purchase sets. (The bi-annual Clinique Bonus is the king of such deals.) The shorter-length wand allows for more control. Also, remember to wipe the wand after using to remove mascara, and cleanse it regularly to avoid bacteria build-up.

Cotton Swabs To The Rescue

cotton swab duo tip

Each of us has our required purse stash–the set of grooming items that must come with us no matter where we go. What is in yours? Comb? Fragrance? Hand lotion? Lipgloss in Mild Mulberry? Oil-blotting sheets? Toothpick? Concealer pen in green? None of the above?

By the way, I always thought this would make a perfect “Just how well do you know so-and-so?” question.

Well, after hand lotion (the world does not seem right unless there is a small container of the stuff in my purse or somewhere in the car) I vote for the cotton swab.This is a top-tier purse essential due to its supreme beauty functionality. It is the best all-around tool for quickly and accurately undoing the oops’ that just seem to spontaneously happen to the made-up face: blending in over-the-border, brightly colored lip liner, gathering up stray eye makeup (mascara flakes, for instance), removing lipstick from a tooth, softening a too-harsh line of color around the eye, erasing a  foundation crease, dabbing away sediment from the inner corner of the eye–the face saves of the cotton swab are many.

Adding cotton swabs to your purse stash is a good idea, particularly as they offer a gentler, more hygenic and accurate alternative to fixing the face than one’s hands, nails or a stray tissue grabbed from somewhere.

  • Q-tips come in purse packs, but these tend to be kind of bulky, particularly if you carry an on-the-small-side purse. Alternately you can also just stick a few in a tiny resealable plastic bag and be on your merry way. (I love those packets sometimes found in hotel toiletry sets.)
cotton swab_point tip

Pointy Tip Cotton Swab

  • For some, the standard cotton swab tip is too bulky. If you need a different silhouette, try a pointy tip swab or a flat, paddle-tip swab.
  • Studio Basics and Victoria Vogue are two solid cosmetic-accessory companies that produce these variations, along with a pointy tip/flat tip combo swab.
  • Whichever type you use, select the all-cotton variety over synthetic blends.
cotton swab_flat_paddle_shape

Flat paddle-tip cotton swab

  • Also, be gentle when using cotton swabs on the face. Be even more gentle than usual around the eye area.

Did you know? Q-tips were created in the 1920’s by a man, Leo Gerstenzang, who got the idea from watching his wife affix cotton balls to toothpicks. His company marketed the first Q-tips as Baby Gays.

Defend Your Smile With A Straw

Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest things you can do to increase the attractiveness of your face. Stall for time between whitenings by using a straw to reduce the contact between high-stain beverages–such as coffee, tea and cola–and your teeth. (It’s the dark color of the coffee bean infused in the beverage that, when drunk, washes over your teeth and stains them.)

Make sure the straw is inserted a good distance beyond your teeth and into your mouth, and keep it firmly in place with your teeth. Sideline Practical Glamour note: Do not purse your lips around the straw; this encourages wrinkles. Let your lips rest over the straw instead.

Also, avoid letting staining drinks linger or swirl about your mouth and if possible, rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Good idea in particular for red wine, which is sexy indeed but upon drinking results in a near-instantaneous mulberry tinged grin.

Learn What You Like By Looking

If, in the course of your everyday life, you spot someone who is particularly eye-catching, deconstruct them for a moment to discover why. (Note: For this on-the-street study to be its most successful, you must get specific.)

Perhaps their clothes are interesting, beautifully cut or suit their figure particularly well. Or the colors of their garments, or makeup or accessories, lift and accentuate the best of their hair, skin and eye shades. Maybe it’s their smile, strut or speech that gives off such an appealing vibe. In many cases it will be a bit of all of these things.

Conversely, when you see someone who has missed the mark in a big way, try to suss out why. Much of the time it has to do with an unkempt appearance or clothes that hinder rather than help one’s personal image or silhouette. Poor posture is an instant glamour-smotherer as well.

Observe_Glamour_Learn_Style

Skin Rx: Ice Your Acne

ice_for_pimples_acne

Applying ice to your face is one of the most effective and easy things you can do to kill acne. I heard about this from an aesthetician and a friend who was a patient of Dr. James Fulton (the co-creator of Retin-A and developer of Benzoyl Peroxide) who is considered something of the grand master of acne slaying.

To Do:

  • After cleansing your face in the morning and night, spread an ice cube lightly on your skin (or just the pimple-prone area) for approximately one minute.
  • Make sure you move the ice quickly around your skin lest you risk ‘burning’ your skin.
  • The ice takes down swelling, redness and inflammation and, for some, will shrink pores.
  • Do this consistently–morning and evening–day after day.
  • Let your face return to its natural temperature before resuming your normal beauty routine.

Easy & Excellent At-Home Vitamin C Serum From Sophie Uliano

Sophie Uliano, Gorgeously Green

Sophie Uliano, Practical Green Glamour Girl

Amongst the many things that Sophie Uliano does–author/speaker, environmental expert, chef, yoga instructor–is teach others how to make simple, pure and oh-so-practical beauty products. I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly at her event last night at the chic beauty boutique Evolue in Los Angeles, where she showed everyone how to make her Vitamin C serum.

So simple, so effective and resourceful was this particular recipe that I had to pass it along. If you’ve purchased Vitamin C serums in the past–you will be pleased to know that this version, packed with potency, comes to 9¢ (yes, nine cents) per bottle.

Sophie Uliano’s Vitamin C Serum

Ingredients:
¼ tsp. L-ascorbic acid
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
1 tsp. distilled water

Dissolve the L-ascorbic acid in the water in a small measuring cup. When it has fully dissolved, mix in the glycerin. Pour into a glass bottle.

A few pointers:

  • Ms. Uliano pointed out that there is good vegetable glycerin and the less so. Get yours at a quality health food store and don’t scrimp. The bottle she had on hand cost approximately $9, and should last a year.
  • L-ascorbic acid, aka Vitamin C, can be readily found at health food stores. For the demonstration Sophie, used a 16 oz container of Vitamin C crystals (approximately $16).
  • Make small batches at a time, enough to last a month, which is the shelf life of the serum.
  • Use a small and clean amber bottle with a dropper to store your batch of Vitamin C serum in the refrigerator. (I like to keep refrigerated beauty products separated from food products.)
  • Apply with clean hands to bare, cleansed skin in the morning and evening.
  • Ms. Uliano notes that if the serum becomes discolored and yellowish, get rid of it as this means that it has become oxidized.

DoItGorgeously_SophieUliano

Ms. Uliano’s new book, where this and other glamorous and pure beauty recipes can be found and concocted to replace the chemical-laden and costly ones that we often reach for out of habit, is Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive and More Beautiful Products.

She has also authored the books Gorgeously Green, 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life and The Gorgeously Green Diet.

101 Ways To Wear A Scarf: Beach Glamour

Protect your fair self from sun damage to this most vulnerable area–which includes the neck, check and decolletage–with a scarf worn like this glamorous gal Gwen Stefani with the always gorgeous and unblemished porcelain skin.

  • Fold First. If the scarf is square: fold it in half so it’s triangle-shaped, and tie it behind your neck, arranging the bulk of the scarf so that it falls neatly over your neck and chest.
  • Loop and Cover. If the scarf is long and narrow: hold one end at the back of your neck, then loop the remainder of the scarf around your chest and neck in a spiral, making sure the fabric covers your skin evenly. Tie that end of the scarf to the end you are holding in your hand at the back of your neck.
  • Fabric Selection. Select a scarf made from solid material that will block the sun. Note Gwen’s black, cotton choice. If you use a light, gauzy scarf that the sun can penetrate through easily, do also apply some level of sun protection to the skin beneath.

 

Luka Mineral Cosmetics: Pucker Up

Whenever I see my friend Katharine I find myself staring at her lips. Granted she’s a lovely looking girl, but her lips always seem to have this ethereal looking and lovely glow to them. Moisturized but not gloppy; tinted but not painted.

Luka Mineral's Healthy Flush

I have finally figured out that it’s her lipgloss. Really, hers. She is founder of the fast-growing Luka Mineral Cosmetics company and her Pucker Up Lipgloss ($20) is a treat. As an ardent enthusiast of lip color–my purse contains as many as 5 tubes at a time–Pucker Up is notable for two things: fantastic ingredients (including shea butter and jojoba oil) and some very subtle, come-hither shades. Methinks Healthy Flush, pictured here, is a winner.

A Bandana To Rescue Your Roots

I was about to leave the house when I noticed a rather untoward part of my appearance: roots that were veering into noticeably greasy looking territory. If you, like me, notice that a day or two after shampooing you still have dry looking ends–but your scalp is starting to look a bit too moisturized–you have two options: Go wash your hair or somehow cover up the situation.

As I was not going to undress, shower, shampoo, condition, then dry my hair–and I was out of dry shampoo (which really is the preferred way to go)–I reached for a nice alternative in the form of a basic red bandana. Though neither a Blood nor a Crip, I chose a classic red one and affixed it like the gal to the left. Use a few bobby pins to keep the fabric from sliding out of place on your head.

That, a pair of silver hoop earrings and, if you’re feeling it, a nice red lipstick or russet lipstain, make for a very feminine and relaxed look. Perhaps that’s what the gal in the photo was thinking. Or the girl I saw who, at a red light, got out of the passenger side of a car and started dancing wildly to some song blaring on the radio. Now that is spontaneous glamour! Not to mention a good way to pass the time while waiting for the light to change.

PS. A basic bandana or scarf worn in the hair this way is also ideal for covering roots that don’t quite match the color of the rest of your hair. (That is, not until your stylist comes back to town.)

Overheard: Style Tip Of The Week

“Just keep on doing what you’re doing–at some point it will come back in style.”–so said the gal with the ice-blond Veronica Lake peek-a-boo hair to me in the ladies room of the Sportsman’s Lodge hotel in Studio City.

And yes, it appeared that she might have been alive and well during Veronica Lake’s (nee Constance Ockleman’s) Hollywood heyday of the 1940’s.

Drugstore Wanderings (And 20% Off)

I have always found my local Walgreens Drugstore to be one of the finer places to wander about and think while surrounded by shelves of makeup, nail polish, hair color and the sweet hum of Muzak.

As a woman, you have probably discovered that an aimless late-night drugstore visit, usually in sweatpants with hair piled atop the head in some disorderly fashion, is one of the more direct ways to clear your head–much like how a man might feel in the locker room after 18 holes of golf, or perched on his favorite bar stool.

In any case, Walgreens is a favorite not just for its wanderability, but for its tendency to have stores that are nicely lit, spacious, and carry a solid and diverse selection of beauty and personal care brands. And, the benefits of wandering aside, they are having an online sale (20% off) on such items until this Saturday the 14th. (Shipping is free on orders over $25.)

Details: Use coupon code SALE20 which is valid up to 2 uses per account thru August 14, 2010. Code must be entered at time of checkout to apply discount. Discount only valid on beauty and personal care items. Orders must be placed by logged-in customers by August 14, 2010 at 11:59pm Central Time.

The Glamourpuss In The Sparkling Shoes

There is no doubt that pulling off a glamour act in scruffy, beat-down shoes, or those hazed by a film of dirt and dust is near-impossible.

Make it a point to always sport neat shoes. Before wearing, eyeball the uppers and the heels to make sure they are free of marks, discoloring, stains or other issues, such as mud or grass. Wipe or brush any offending particles or, if the shoe is too sub par to be seen in public, take it to the cobbler for resuscitation or the trash can if you feel it’s beyond human help.

Also, store in your car, purse or briefcase, a few on-the-go type shoe polish wipes. These are fast and clean to apply: the material slips over your fingers; one side has shoe polish, which you apply to both shoes and let stand for a minute. The other side is a shoe polisher which you use to buff the surface of your shoes.You can buy these handy items in clear as well as black and brown, and they act as little confidence-lifters, as walking in a meeting with a super-spiffy pair of shoes is always more inspiring than drudging in with murky looking ones.

I like Shine To Go (www.shinetogo.com). These tiny packets can be found in supermarkets and drugstores, like Target, Rite-Aid, Walmart and others.

Note these polishing cloths are suitable for smooth leather and not suede or Nubuck, which benefits from a soft brushing and periodic stain lifting and protection.

Praise For The Non-Iron Shirt

As close as you can get to a universal closet staple is the Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Shirt. In basic white or black, patterned or printed or pin-striped–this is the most durable and sleek basic button-up I have come across.

 

non iron shirt review brooks brothers Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Shirt (Fitted Cut). Will it rock your world? No. Does it always look good right out of the dryer and never needs to be ironed? Yes.

 

It is impervious to the chafing that infects most fine cotton after a few tumbles in a high-heat dryer, and always emerges smooth and unruffled and ready to coast out the door. The fabric contains something called “DOW XLA” which lends a bit of stretch.

It comes in three cuts: classic, fitted and tailored. The difference in cuts has principally to do with the presence of darts in the front and back, with the tailored cut being the most slim-fitting or Va-Va-Voom Office Version of the bunch. Also, the non-iron can be found in sleeveless, which is completely convenient for when you feel like playing the suit and it happens to be summer.

 

brooks brothers non iron shirt review best A completely reliable and good looking work basic to have in your wardrobe

 

I heartily recommend this shirt as a foundation piece in a work wardrobe, as it’s the most perfect marriage of low-maintenance and polished, alluring professionalism that I have come across. The price ranges from about $55-75.

Golf: A Game Of Glamour Aplenty

Sam Saunders, Glamour Golfer

As the Masters are underway, it appears to be an opportune time to mention style as it related to golf. Whether you are a regular golfer or have never stepped foot on the fairway (and have no plans to do so), know that golf is a goldmine of glamour as it relates to easy-on-the-eyes male style.

Among the many finely attired male golfers out there are Camilo Villegas and Sam Saunders, two young golfers who bring glamour aplenty to the greens with tailored, unrumpled pants, finely fitted collared shirts and an attention to belts, shoes and grooming.

And, as no presentation is complete without elegance of movement, their attire is not the only thing in place–they move along the course with fine posture and quiet energy.

In the sea of haphazard scruff that is sadly the default style of most males in their 20’s and 30’s (slouchy shorts that reach nearly to the ankles, droopy t-shirts, you get the picture), it is heartening to see these standout golfers look like something we rarely see out there–gentlemen.

How does this relate to glamour and, more importantly, to you?

Camilo Villegas--Style Improves One's Backswing

No matter what you are doing or where you are doing it, it is always possible to inject a bit more of personal glamour. Think of your grooming, style, movement and manner–and what you can do to make each of these areas even better.

While these golfers are undoubtedly under massive amounts of stress performing in such pinnacle-level tournaments, they must know that these are the times to ratchet up, rather than relax, their standards. And I’m betting that looking beautifully pulled-together helps, rather than hurts, their game.

Five Fast Steps To Neat Nails

fast manicure, nail care, nail tips

Step 1

Fill a small bowl with warm water and add three to four drops of gentle shampoo or liquid soap. Soak your nails for approximately five minutes.

Dip the nail brush in soapy water then remove, shaking off excess water. Gently scrub your just-soaked nails and fingers to remove dirt and surface stains. Dry fingers and nails.

Step 2

Use the pointed tip of a nail tool (such as hooving stick) to remove debris from under your nails. Pass it under each nail, moving it gently from one side of the nail to the other, using a gently scraping motion. Remove debris from the tool before moving to the next nail.

Step 3

Dull or stained nails can be naturally and safely brightened with a lemon. Cut the fruit in half and dig your nails into the flesh of the fruit for about a minute, letting the juice flow into your cuticles and under nails. Remove, letting the juice linger on your fingers for a few minutes. Rinse your fingers and nails with water and dry.

Step 4

Apply the buff side of your nail file, or buffing chamois, to the surface of stained or ridged nails. Gently buffing the nails will smooth away ridges, as well as remove stains from the surface of the nails.

Step 5

Whiten your nails with a white stick. Soften the sharpened tip of the white stick by running it under warm water, then pass it gently under each nail.

For complete at-home nail care, read Practical Glamour.

Dealing With Scalp Buildup

Your head itches and scalp flakes snow onto your hair and shoulders. Uncomfortable and unsexy. Is this dandruff or just scalp buildup?

While dandruff is a chronic scalp condition, scalp buildup is conditional and easy to treat.

Dandruff is caused by a yeast (Malassezia), which inflames the scalp and speeds the rate of skin cell production and shedding on the scalp. It causes visible scaling on the scalp along with itching and flaking.

Scalp buildup causes scalp itching and flaking as well, but without the scaling or flake composition of dandruff. It is brought on by the following:

  • Overuse of hair styling products and heavy conditioners, particularly those containing wax fillers.
  • Inadequate cleansing. If you do not shampoo regularly, or your shampoo does not clean thoroughly, in time, the combination of dead skin cells and oil will cause scalp buildup.

If you experience symptoms of scalp buildup, do the following:

  • Shorten the amount of time between cleansing and conditioning. Note that when you do, you will need to shampoo twice, particularly if you are heavy handed with the styling products. (The first shampoo will loosen oil and product residue on the scalp while the second shampoo will cleanse it from your hair.)
  • If more astringent cleansing is needed, use a clarifying shampoo no more than once a week. These shampoos typically contain acetic acid, which makes for a potent cleanser that can dry the hair if used too often. Alternately, if you need a more intensive treatment, ask your hair care practitioner about a professional clarifying treatment.

Keep Your Lips Lovely

lip care Maintain the beauty of this very visible (and vulnerable) part of your beauty canvas by a consistent regimen of protection and care.

 

  • Use a high-SPF sunblock daily, either in the form of lip balm or sunblock formulated for the face. (Go to the health food store for this one.) Keep it with you and reapply to your lips throughout the day as needed.
  • Massage a rich, quality moisturizer into the lips nightly. Use light strokes, making sure the product is well absorbed–note that the skin that covers your lips is thinner than that which covers the rest of your face, so be oh-so-super gentle.
  • As needed, slough off dead skin cells from your lips to keep them soft and lovely. This can be done via the use of a mild scrub or manually with a washcloth, loofah or the bristles of an extra-soft toothbrush.
  • The state of your health is reflected in the condition of your beauty canvas, including your nails, skin, hair and even your lips. Pale-colored lips, for instance, are often due to a lack of iron. If needed, supplement your diet with a daily multi-vitamin and mineral formula. Look for one that contains antioxidant heroes vitamins A, E and C.
  • Intake an adequate amount of fluid on a daily basis. A dehydrated system is evident in dry, chapped lips.
  • Be conscious of your lip movements, such as persistent clenching or tensing, which can speed the onset of wrinkles. Notice, for example, the pronounced purse lines along the upper lip of a longtime cigarette smoker.
  • And lastly: kiss someone who is nice, and do so gently, deeply and often.

A Practical Hand Kiss

how to kiss a woman's hand A lovely mannered Italian designer I met recently passed along an interesting tip–this one for the males in the audience.

It is traditional in Europe to kiss, not shake, a woman’s hand when being introduced socially. This man, however, says he feels it is untoward to make lip-to-hand contact with a stranger.

To this end, he politely takes the woman’s hand, turns it over, palm down, bows his head and air kisses the hand. Close to the skin without making contact, this kiss looks (and to the woman, feels) just as courtly as the original, but without the potential for ick among giver or receiver.

Why You Need An Anti Wrinkle Pillow Case, Tonight

I came across an unusual score in an antique store in Lexington recently. Though containing more vintage items than actual antiques (which seem like they should have origins earlier than the 1950s), the store had a bundle of unopened, never-used pillow covers meant to protect one’s coiffure and face from unhelpful night maneuvers. In modern speak they’re called anti wrinkle pillow cases.

 

How An Anti-Wrinkle Pillow Case Keeps You Beautiful

 

These are hard to come by these days, but these cheerful pastel pillowcases (usually made of silk and/or polyester) still serve a valuable purpose: providing a surface so soft and silky, that, when sleeping, one’s face will slide free from a scrunched-up pose.

The alternate is that this pro-wrinkle pose is held in place all night with a pillowcase of rougher material. And we have all seen the results of this in the morning when a sleep-wrinkled, creased face gazes back at us in the mirror

Similar for hair, as the silken pillow cover allows hair to spill and slide—not grab or frizz—thus extending the niceties of a high-styled hair design, such as an up-do or glassy blowout.

Do amend your beauty storehouse with several of these, and get in the habit of using them nightly. If you cannot find “anti aging” or anti-wrinkle pillow cases, do purchase the most silky, slippery and sexy feeling one you can get your hands on.

General skin care tip: Swap your pillow case every few days with a fresh one, particularly if your skin is oily or acne-prone.

Hair Straightening Treatment: Opti Smooth Cold Wave Review

I felt that my thick and wavy hair had veered too much into Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet territory for my liking, and I was looking for a sleeker hair profile. Less frizz. More shine. I spoke to a buddy about this, who said she’d arrange for me to get a Brazilian blow out.

 

It’s Permanent, Not Temporary

 

A few days later a stylist from the Taka Salon contacted me and asked when I’d like to schedule my blowout. Sure, I thought, I’ve had blowouts before – takes about an hour, not too hard on the hair and is always a fun change for a few days. This was a blowout of the more permanent kind, she explained. While they can do the ubiquitous Brazilian Blowout (which lasts for 3-4 months), I learned Taka Salon are super-experts in permanent straightening.

I paused at the idea of ‘permanent’ anything, particularly since I knew it would involve oodles of chemicals and possibly result in a hair change that I might not like, and maybe would even loathe. Sitting in a lounge the night before, I had looked around and noticed that almost every gal – redhead, blond, brunette or raven – was sporting the same glossy head of iron-straight hair.

 

You Control How Straight It Is

 

Averse to lemming-ness when it comes to looks, I learned at the Taka Salon that there are degrees of hair straightness to be had. The stylist who did my hair is something like a master chef of hair straightening and told me she could formulate a process that would do the following: relax the frizzies; keep some of the wave at the ends, maintain the volume and increase the shine.

Four salon hours later she achieved just that with the Opti Smooth Cold Wave Treatment, which is a great option if you are looking for a smooth, straight – but not too straight – look.

opti smooth cold wave review

 

opti smooth cold wave

After Opti Smooth Cold Wave – straight but with a bit of wave

 

There’s No Heat So It’s Kinder on Your Hair

 

Opti Smooth Cold Wave is different than the Opti Smooth Thermal Treatment or the Yuko System, which both use heat during the process and result in iron-straight hair. This absence of heat makes the Opti Smooth Cold Wave process less stressful on the condition of the hair.

Lots of chemicals are still involved though. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, the Cold Wave will cost approximately $150 and up, and takes approximately 2-4 hours in the salon. Like other permanent hair straightening treatments, you cannot shampoo for the first 48 hours, as the chemicals are still at work.

 

Bottom Line: It’s Awesome

 

For me, the Opti Smooth Cold Wave lasted about 1 year – until my hair grew out. It cost around $400 for my very long and thick hair and was worth every penny. I did not need to do anything to my hair after each washing to achieve a straight and sleek look – no hair dryer or flat iron needed, ever.

The Best Makeup Organizer Ever? A Tackle Box

If you are a glamour girl of the makeup-wearing kind, invest in a central command center for your wares. Forget fishing dusty eye shadow brushes from the bottom of makeup bags or grasping at tubes of lipsticks huddled at the rear of a bathroom drawer. Keeping a messy makeup spot is not just a mammoth time-waster, it’s not good for your skin (as in, it’s gross) and also makes it hard for you to maximize your beauty—because you don’t know where in blazes to find anything.

 

organize your makeup

Scared straight? I hope so. Time to invest in a makeup kit…and a tackle box does the trick at a great price.

 

Organize Your Makeup So it Makes Sense…To You

When you go to adorn your face, all of your cosmetic choices should be visible to you and then easily stored in a place where they remain clean and organized by category. Your makeup organizer should have lip liners separated from eye liners, mascara set apart from lip sticks and so on. It will make your makeup duty much more fun, creative and fast.

 

Don’t Need a Pro Makeup Kit? Try This DIY Makeup Organizer…

plano_tackle_box_makeup_storage_beauty_tip

For this I recommend not a makeup artist’s box or teen-type “caboodle” but a fisherman’s tackle box.

Why? Tackle boxes are way more sturdy and serious than the toddler-ish looking makeup kits from the drugstore. They are also more practical than the serpentine seven-tray systems created for professional makeup artists.

A tackle box is also radically less in price. For instance, a Plano 6101 1-tray tackle box (pictured) offers more than enough makeup space to the average glamourpuss, and costs around $11 the last time I checked on Amazon. (You can also go wild and get the 2-tray box for around $14.)

I have owned the same Plano 1-tray tackle box since I became serious about makeup and decided to steal my sister’s tackle box, who at the time used it to store art supplies. I’m not being cheap, this is a pure case of if it’s not broke, why fix it?

 

A 2 tray fishing tackle box...I mean, makeup organizer

A 2 tray fishing tackle box…I mean, makeup organizer

 

There are 3 and 4-tray boxes if you’ve got a ton of makeup, but the beauty of having a 1-tray box is that it keep you disciplined, and also forces you to throw out old makeup that you shouldn’t be putting near your face anymore.

My tackle box fits my makeup organizing and storage needs so thoroughly. Despite having been lugged cross-country more than once and used daily for many years, it has remained stubbornly in top shape. The durable plastic is lightweight, non-staining and easy to clean—simply empty the contents, soap it up with dish soap, scrub it thoroughly and rinse.