History behind BeautyCounter

December 3rd, 2016

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Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and, like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything. So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety.

And so I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress. Here you’ll find a wealth of empowering information about ways we can all make the world healthier, along with safer products you can trust. Because we all deserve better. Our vision is bold; real answers are never timid. Help us put truth back in beauty.

OUR MISSION

To get safer products into the hands of everyone.

Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including, but not limited to, asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise, due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.

There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.

What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day, and to make their own judgments about safety.

IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE.

Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. In Canada, Health Canada maintains a current list of close to 500 chemicals that are prohibited for use in cosmetic products and a current list of close to 80 chemicals that are restricted for use in cosmetic products. The United States has only partially banned 30 to date.

WE DESERVE BETTER, AND WE’RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

At Beautycounter, we’re committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by U.S. and Canadian law: We’ve banned the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals through our Never List—all while ensuring our products perform and that they’re as indulgent as any luxe shampoo, lipstick, or oil in the market.

It’s not easy work, but it’s well worth it.

This is about progress—not perfection. Because every little bit counts.

Learn more about the impact the environment is having on your health.

 

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FRECKLES

July 6th, 2016

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Fashion’s love affair with freckles never ends. It all started back at Paul Smith’s spring/summer 2014 show, makeup artists mapped a constellation of faux dots across models’ cheeks and noses. “The inspiration was a portrait of a very fresh, natural and tanned young Jane Birkin,” explains Petros Petrohilos, a London-based makeup artist who designed the look using a M.A.C brow pencil in Lingering for “a sheer freckle” and another in Coffee for “a more precise dot.” Meanwhile, H&M’s sister brand, & Other Stories, launched a freckle makeup pencil for those who would like to custom create some of their own.

A fondness for freckles has been a bit of an insider obsession for some time. Nearly 50 years ago, legendary editor Diana Vreeland wrote a missive to her Vogue team after seeing the summer-issue layout: “I am extremely disappointed that no one has taken the slightest interest in freckles on the models. I heartily suggest that we get going as soon as possible on this delicious coquetry.” She made a good point. While age spots signify, well, age, freckles speak to youth and playfulness. Dots on dots on dots evoke a carefree nostalgia. Freckles say “I’m fun! I have enviable leisure time! I’m the friend who brings margaritas!”

Silver-screen stars like Ann-Margret, Molly Ringwald and Julianne Moore wouldn’t be nearly as memorable sans speckles. Try to hide them and it rings inauthentic or fake. Just ask Lindsay Lohan, who allegedly caked on concealer (while exposing everything else) on the steamy set of The Canyons to try to distance herself from her freckly Parent Trap beginnings. (It was a #fail.) And then there are the stars of the music and modelling worlds – like Sade, Twiggy, Gisele and Kate Moss – whose signature freckles helped put them on the map.

Spot-on
Also known as an ephelis, a freckle is a collection of melanin in the top layer of the skin. Unlike moles, which can be present at birth, freckles develop over time as a result of sun exposure and genetic predisposition. “They are more prominent in summer because the melanocytes in freckles produce more pigment in response to sun exposure,” says Dr. Jason Rivers, a Vancouver-based dermatologist. If you want to make sure that all your freckles are of the coquettish variety rather than something to be concerned about, start by looking at whether they match. “Freckles that look very similar to their neighbours are harmless,” says Rivers. “In fact, true freckles are not known to develop into skin cancer.” Dr. Julia Carroll, a Toronto-based dermatologist, agrees. If one spot looks out of step with the others, get it checked. “It’s all about assessing with the A, B, C, D, E method,” she says. “If it’s Asymmetrical, if the Border is irregular, if the Colour changes, if the Diameter is larger than a pencil Eraser – these are all red flags that shouldn’t be ignored.”

Connect the dots
Work the natural-beauty angle and keep make-up light. “You should never try to cover up your freckles,” says Petros Petrohilos, a London-based makeup artist. “Your foundation will appear too heavy. Freckles add an element of youthfulness.” Opt for a tinted moisturizer that matches your skin tone – not your freckle colour – for the most natural look. Alexis Comforti, global makeup artist for Laura Mercier, complements freckles by using “soft, neutral tones of pink and peach on the lips and cheeks.”

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Wedge Shoes

June 10th, 2016

“The Height-without-Ouch-factor with Wedge Sandals, Pumps and Booties!”

 

Wish you were a little bit taller? ​

If you consider yourself a heels girl, summer—the season of outdoor weddings, music festivals, and long, leisurely walks around town—can be tricky. After all, you can only teeter along in your stilettos for so long. That’s where wedges come in.

Wedge shoes are definitely the way to go if you’re not a stiletto-gal but still want to benefit from the extra height and leg-elongating effects of high heels! They’re killer chic and foot-friendly. And I also LOVE that they’re sexy in a casual, subtle way. I’d choose wedge sandals over platform stiletto sandals any day.

Ok, so I may be a bit biased when it comes to wedge sandals and boots. I prefer them over most shoe styles, mainly because compared to trimmer heels the chunky wedge heel looks better on my slightly muscular calves. That’s why I always recommend wearing wedge shoes to women with thicker ankle and calves – the shape and size of the heel look way better with the scale of their legs. But anyone can wear them – you just have to know what wedge shoes to look for..

What Wedge Shoes Should I Buy?

They’re available in a plethora of colors and styles. The three main wedge styles are low sandals, high heels and boots. And then again, each of these comes in multiple designs such as open toe, pumps, bootie, platform and gladiator sandals.

Height

It completely depends on what you’re foot’s pain threshold, but then again, most wedge shoes are very comfortable because of their smooth heel and sole!

Wedge sandals heel height guide


Low 1″- 2″ sandals are perfect for low-key casual tee-and-denim shorts outfits, and may be the best choice if you already have miles-long legs or just want to feel extra comfortable.

If you want to add a piff of chicness then upping the height to at least 2″ or 2 1/2″ is a must. They’re not super-tall but they give the right amount of heel to visually lengthen your legs. 2 – 2 1/2″ is also the perfect heel height that is very comfortable but not too “out there”, so they can be worn for walks in the park or when you’re out shopping.

3 – 4″ wedge heels are chic and sassy but may not be the most comfortable height for casual occasions.

Going higher than 4″ is ideal for special occasions and for looking extra sassy.

The best heel height depends on the occasions and what image you want to project. The taller the heel – thus trendier and “forward” you’ll appear.

Style

It’s to each own, but if you want a pair of wedge shoes that will last a season or two then I highly suggest securing a basic, versatile style that goes with all of your outfits. Think neutral colors such as black, navy blue, nude, brown, white, etc.

Versatile and timeless wedge shoes styles

The design should be minimal if you want to avoid creating a strong fashion statement or prevent them from interfering with your outfit that you want to show off. A few timeless wedge styles are:Espadrilles, peep toe, closed pump foot, canvas- & leather material.

After securing the basics – go wild on the heel sizes, colors and designs – whatever tickles your personal taste :-)

A pair of mid-to high heel cork wedge footwear is a Spring & Summer essential, but if you want to keep your legs comfy then you should definitely include wedge boots as well. slim heel

Chunky or slim heel?

It depends on the scale of your ankles and legs. Chunky heels always look best with thicker legs; and slimmer styles with slimmer legs. Unless you want to make your leg size obvious.

Color

Neutrals are pretty but if you want a *pow*-statement then a pair of high heel wedge sandals in a color you love. Colored footwear brings attention to your legs so make sure your legs are shaved and toe-nails polished 😉

Trendy wedge shoe styles

Try happy and timeless Spring & Summer colors such as red, turquoise, yellow, orange and pink. A pair of colored high heels looks amazing with a basic sundress or a plain tee-and-jeans outfit.

Note: Nude wedge sandals are a must if you want to add those extra inches to your legs!

For what occasions can I wear wedge sandals?

Wedge shoes are in general casual footwear but can be worn for a range of occasions, weddings included. But the style has to be extra pretty and polished (leave out those hemp espadrilles), especially if you’re the bride’s or groom’s sister. UNLESS the invitation says strictly formal.

Here are a couple of wedge sandal styles for dressy occasions:

Dressy Bridal-appropriate and office workwear wedge sandals and pumps


Pastels and white are perfect for weddings. If you want to look dressy and appropriate for the occasion – look for wedge sandals in a light color (eg. pastels, whites, gold, silver) and lustrous material such as satin or shiny leather (not super-shiny like patent).

Unless your position is in a creative field – pick wedge pumps (not sandals or boots) with a closed toe and in a dark, neutral color.

How Do I Wear Wedge Shoes?

Their versatility makes it possible to wear wedge sandal, pumps and boots with almost anything – from jeans to mini skirts, maxi dresses to shorts.

The magic is in how you mix the styles (style of sandal + style of clothes). We want to make sure that we don’t add too much of for example sexy or casual. We know that an ultra sexy mini dress with sexy high heel wedge sandals look too much. And denim jeans with plain sneakers is a complete bore.

Or if nothing works for your Classic taste, then you can never go with a pair of basic strappy or pump wedge sandals! But to keep it looking fresh and chic – make sure to add a stylish twist with accessories in a bold colors; or experiment with prints and textures.


If you can combine the wedges with something opposite from it – such as casual boyfriend jeanswith trendy wedge shoes – then you’ve nailed the chic style code! Check out how Rachel Bilson does it:

Rachel Bilson looking chic and casual wearing Chloe wedge sandals


You can also try wearing a pair of wedge sandals with a pretty floral dress, but I recommend opting for a shoe style that is different from it. For example floral dress + edgy/trendy leather wedge sandals. You just gotta love how chic Eva Mendes looks here:

Eva Mendes wearing a pretty floral dress with trendy wedge sandals

Got a Classy fashion persona? How about wearing a pair of shorts with a blazer and tall wedge sandals? Take a look at Cameron Diaz’ outfit:

Cameron Diaz wearing a classy, tailored outfit with sporty wedge sandals


See how the wedge sandals brings the classy outfit up a notch? It looks flirty and on-trend without looking too much :-)

 

 

10 Nail Art Looks to Try This Summer

May 8th, 2016

1462552755-screen-shot-2016-05-06-at-114955-leadopFrom reverse French and emoji embellishment to glitter accents and graphic designs, summer ’16 nails are anything but understated.​ Here, art inspiration from Instagram’s most liked nail pros.

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6 Ways to Make Your Blowout Last Longer

April 11th, 2016

Keep your hair on point long after you’ve left the salon.

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Turns out that everything from how you wash your face to your topknot technique can sabotage your blowout.

1. First, use the right shampoo and conditioner.

It’s all about starting with clean, conditioned hair, says Kevin Mancuso, Global Creative Director at Nexxus New York Salon Care. “If you coat hair with ingredients that weigh it down, your hair will fall flat and your blowout won’t look freshly done for more than a day,” he says. Scan the label for lightweight hydrators capable of penetrating the outer layer of the hair strand. Try Nexxus New York Salon Care Therappe and Humectress Ultimate Moisture System. “The silicone-free shampoo provides a gentle cleanse, and the conditioner contains Concentrated Proteins and Protein Care Actives, specially formulated to target areas of the hair that need it most so hair is not weighed down,” says Mancuso.

2. Loosen your topknot.

“As soon as you place hair into a pony or tight bun, you’re ruining your blowout by creating odd bends,” says Lona Vigi, a celebrity stylist for Nexxus New York Salon Care. To keep your hair out of your face, use this pro trick from Jennifer Yepez, a hair stylist in NYC: Brush hair straight up to the top of your head using a tightly bristled paddle brush. Next, wrap hair into a large, loose bun and secure with two bobby pins. If you have thicker hair, create two high buns side by side, she says.

3. Reach for dry shampoo.

Well, between shampoos, that is. And even non-oily hair needs it. Think about it: Hair that hasn’t been washed for one, two, three (or more) days has come in contact with dirt, debris, pollution, and extra layers of hairspray, smoothing cream, etc. Reach for a lightweight aerosol dry shampoo like Nexxus New York Salon Care Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist. Use it between washes to preserve your blowout, and make sure to aim it beyond just your roots. “Turn your head upside down and spray it throughout the length of hair,” says Mancuso. Flip your head back up and use a paddle brush to distribute it from roots to ends.

4. Protect your hairline.

When washing your face, wear a wide cotton headband to avoid getting your hairline wet. “As soon as water hits the hair, it causes frizz,” explains Vigi. Between shampoos, she recommends wrapping dry hair in a microfiber towel (or wearing a plastic shower cap) before you step in the shower to prevent steam from coming in contact with strands, which can cause frizz and make wavy textures curl up.

5. Use the right oils and serums.

You most likely already have some product in your hair from the initial blow-dry and you haven’t washed it since, so it hasn’t gone anywhere. If your hair needs some polishing, opt for formulas that are lightweight, like Nexxus New York Salon Care Encapsulate Sérum. “It’s a miracle on third-day hair,” says Mancuso. And apply smoothing serums and oils to ends only. Mancuso’s tip: Brush hair up into a high ponytail and hold the base with one hand. With the other, pump one to three drops of Encapsulate Serum into your hand and run it down the length of your pony. “Your hair will look freshly blown out when you let it down,” says Mancuso.

6. Look but don’t touch (too much).

Constantly run your hands through your hair or twirl your ends? “Keep your hands away from your hair—especially right after a manicure or when using hand cream,” says Vigi. “The natural oils on your skin plus those laced in hand cream will coat strands and ruin your blowout.”

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8 Accessories That Work With Everything in Your Closet

March 25th, 2016

Taking the guesswork out of accessorizing.

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Accessorizing is not as easy as it looks. “Does this bag match these shoes? Do these earrings work with this necklace?” Who has time for it? To take the guesswork out of how to accessorize, I suggest creating a small stable of bags, shoes, and jewelry that you can consistently turn to when you’re too drained to put together a look or are just plain stumped. With these eight items, you’ll never have to stare aimlessly into your closet again.

GOLD HOOP EARRINGS

Large enough to make a statement, but not too big to take away from a look, these earrings are a foolproof option for everyday wear.

Jennifer Fisher 2in Square Hoops Earrings, $250; jenniferfisherjewelry.com

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A BLACK LEATHER TOTE BAG

A bag that’s polished enough for the office and useful for that massive grocery run? Sold!

Kara Tie leather tote, $475, net-a-porter.com

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CAMEL BOOTIES

Booties, specifically camel colored booties, go with everything from skinny jeans and skirts to flares and culottes. Team these with pieces in the same color family, other neutrals, or even vibrant shades like red and and green.

Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Bootie, $498; stuartweitzman.com

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A SIMPLE GOLD BRACELET

Face it, arm parties are kind of dead and gone. Instead, go with one simple gold cuff that has a little bit of personality.

Miansai Screw Cuff Bracelet, $200; miansai.com

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TORTOISE SHELL SUNGLASSES

A pair of gray and white tortoise shell sunglasses will carry you from season to season, working equally as well with a sundress as they would your winter parka.

Smoke x Mirrors Passenger Sunglasses, $295; smokexmirrors.com

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A SIGNET RING

Cocktail rings are great and all, but when you need something that adds a bit less flashy, more subtle polish, reach for a signet ring.

Elizabeth and James Serra White Sapphire Signet Ring, $110; saksfifthavenue.com

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WHITE SNEAKERS

They may be having a moment right now but let’s be honest, understated white sneakers have been in style forever. Why? Their ability to finish every outfit without distraction is unparalleled.

Tretorn Canvas T56 Sneakers, $68; jcrew.com

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AN EVERYDAY NECKLACE

A dainty necklace that you can personalize is far more fun than a diamond pendant, but just as beautiful.

Maya Brenner 14K Gold Asymmetrical Letter Necklace, $240; mayabrenner.com

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WHAT THE KARDASHIAN-JENNERS WORE TO #YEEZYSEASON3

February 14th, 2016

Sparkles, fur, more sparkles.

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While the Internet is still trying to process #YeezySeason3—the clothes, the production,T.L.O.P, Kanye’s new album, heard in full for the first time—let’s take a moment to bask in the glory of Yeezy’s most loyal and most sparkly fan section: the row of Kardashian-Jenners who came out to support him in full peacock mode, dancing to every track and mouthing every lyric.

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People Styleis reporting that the clothes were designed by Kanye in collaboration with Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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THAT IS A LOT OF LOOK.
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ALL WHITE EVERYTHING.
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NORTH KNOWS IT’S IMPORTANT TO BALANCE OVER-THE-TOP FUR SLEEVES WITH PRACTICAL FOOTWEAR.
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SO MUCH FUR. SO MANY SEQUINS. SO MUCH POWER.
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5 TIMES HAT HAIR LOOKED TOTALLY CHIC

January 23rd, 2016

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Embrace hat hair this winter with styles that are simple, surprising and far from an afterthought.
TRAP QUEEN

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A pretty knotted ponytail with soft, face-framing pieces does the trick of adding femininity to a heavy hunting hat. Separate your hair into three sections like you would for a classic braid, then tie the two on the outside together in a knot in front of the middle section. Wrap them around and knot them again in the back, and finish by securing the whole ponytail with an elastic.

Albertus Swanepoel Bambi hat, $250,albertusswanepoel.com; White + WarrenEssential Cashmere Turtleneck, $198,whiteandwarren.com.

LA VIE BOHEME

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With the band? Road-tripping through the Southwest? Top off loose waves and a handful of peekaboo braids with a felt hat in rich ruby.

Gigi Burris Kyleigh Brim Hat, $345,gigiburris.com.

5 WINTER BREAK DESTINATIONS AND WHAT TO WEAR WHEN YOU’RE THERE

December 21st, 2015

(And what you’d wear when you get there. Dreamy sigh.)

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Whether you’re getting away this year or not, there’s always time for a little destination dreaming. Here, the stunning locales that are at the top of The Fashion Guitar blogger Charlotte Groeneveld‘s list—and the pretty pieces she’d bring in her carry-on.

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SAINT BARTHÉLEMY, CARIBBEAN

Why: At St. Barts, the sun is always shining and the people are always smiling. Groeneveld calls it the ultimate warm-weather escape from the frigid New York cold.

Wear: Of course, you’ll need an eye-catching bikini. “I tend to tote around all of my belongings in a cute little pouch when I’m at the beach,” Groeneveld says. “Also, I like to wear tortoiseshell accessories. They look quite posh, but in an understated way.”

Fossil Jacqueline Multifunction Gold-Tone Stainless Steel and Acetate Watch, $185;fossil.com

Givenchy Small Pandora Wristlet Bag in Embellished Black Textured-Leather, $1,050;net-a-porter.com

TopShop Bamboo Print Halter Bikini Top and Bottoms, $56; topshop.com

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2. ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND

Why: The Swiss mountainscape is utterly breathtaking, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more charming alpine town in Western Europe.

Wear: “It’s such a glamorous locale,” Groeneveld says. “I’d mirror that in my après-ski look with a fur gilet, gold accessories, and a luxe leather bucket bag.” Keeping your cold-weather essential slung over a shoulder frees your hands for a glass of mulled wine, she adds.

Fossil Haven Bucket Bag, $248; fossil.com

Max Mara Eddy Gilet, $2,790;matchesfashion.com

Eddie Borgo Dome Estate Gold-Plated Crystal Bracelet, $600; net-a-porter.com

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3. AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Why: It’s a big-city destination with a small-town feel. That makes it the perfect place to shop and sightsee, as well as kick back and really relax, Groeneveld notes. (Plus: Christmas markets!)

Wear: “Compared to hectic New York, a few lazy, laid-back days lolling around Holland would be a welcomed change,” Groeneveld says. “A cropped cashmere knit feels cozily appropriate, along with a colorful flats and a chic hold-it-all wristlet wallet.”

Shop Similar: Fossil Sydney Zip Clutch, $85;fossil.com

Tibi Cropped Cashmere Sweater, $650; net-a-porter.com

M. Gemi The Brezza, $248; mgemi.com

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4. ASPEN, COLORADO

Why: It’s so picturesque, it actually feels like an exotic European escape, Groeneveldsays. Plus, it’s where A-listers choose to ski stateside.

Wear: “After hopping off the bunny slopes, it’s all about your lounge-around-the-lodge look,” Groeneveld says. “Think feminine snowboarder with a pale pink lipgloss and fur-lined boots, topped off with an edgy, oversize watch.”

Fossil Machine Chronograph Black Leather Watch, $165; fossil.com

By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Nude Hydra-Balm Lipstick, $36; barneys.com

J.Crew Women’s Sorel for J.Crew Joan or Arctic Boots in Black, $180; jcrew.com

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5. SINGAPORE

Why: It’s truly the best of both worlds. Jet across the Pacific to experience Eastern culture and cuisine with Western art and, of course, shopping.

Wear: “I love how everyone has fun expressing themselves through fashion over there,” Groeneveld says. “I’d experiment with mixing and matching bright pops of color. But whatever you wear, you can’t forget to add a cute bag charm to your purse—it’s still the must-have accessory in Asia!”

Fossil Monster Bag Charm, $48; fossil.com

Roksanda Barham Bi-Colour Dress, $1,231;matchesfashion.com

Aquazzura Wild Thing Sandals, $585;farfetch.com

How to wear leggings now: 10 fashion rules

December 12th, 2015

Your complete guide to wearing leggings: the new rules and biggest fashion mistakes.

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We love leggings as much as anyone, but, as with any fashion staple, there are ways to wear them well, and ways to wear them so that you look like Lindsay Lohan circa 2008. (Sorry, LiLo.) We chatted with Sansyrae St. Martin, a Toronto-based fashion stylist with Plutino Group, for her expert tips on how to wear leggings so that you look cool, on-trend and super stylish—and avoid confusing them with tights.

How to wear leggings rule #1: Leggings are not pants or tights. Let’s start with a process of elimination, friends. Leggings are wonderful in so many ways, including their ability to blend style and comfort in one clothing item. But they are not, under any circumstance, considered pants. (Sorry).

They also are not office attire—for that we have plenty of smart on-trend looks to choose from. Nor are leggings to be worn as tights under dresses. To recap: leggings are not pants or tights.

How to wear leggings rule #2: Mix it up. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk how amazing and versatile leggings are on their own merit. “You can wear them with a button-down long shirt belted around the waist and ankle boots,” says St. Martin. “Or with high boots and a long blazer. This is a sharp and classy look but still very comfortable.”

How to wear leggings rule #3: Long tops rule. It’s safe to proclaim that tops should, in almost all cases, be long enough to cover the buttocks when wearing leggings. Stylist addendum: “Most rules in fashion can be broken by someone who knows what they are doing, but generally speaking, yes, it’s much more flattering to pair leggings with a long top,” St. Martin explains. “If you must wear them alone, try to find leggings that are as thick as jeggings so they give you a more compact look. You don’t want everyone to see your booty bounce,” she adds. Just as you shouldn’t be subjected to witnessing theirs.

How to wear leggings rule #4: Length matters. Leggings should fall just above the ankle—anything shorter automatically creates a stinted silhouette by cutting you off at the shin.

How to wear leggings rule #5: Wear bold prints cautiously.
A few words about colourful and floral-print leggings: “As fun as they are, they are really only flattering on long, lean legs,” says St. Martin. “Like the camera, this trend adds 10 pounds.” (Ouch.) Stick with a basic colour palette for ultimate utility and curve-appealing wear. “Darker leggings are more flattering on most bodies,” explains St. Martin. As a rule, stick with black and charcoal.

How to wear leggings rule #6: Wash your leggings. Seriously. Just as leggings aren’t pants (or tights), nor are they jeans either—unlike denim, leggings need to be washed regularly. “The elasticity relaxes as your body heats it up and the washing helps it to go back to normal,” says St. Martin. “Leggings are partially or totally synthetic and so they don’t breathe as well and they do need to be washed at least every other wear.”

But they don’t need to be hand-washed to keep them looking their best. “I would suggest a delicates bag so they don’t get stretched around in the machine, and avoid any form of heat—hot water, warm dryer, iron or steam— because heat breaks down the elasticity over time.”

How to wear leggings rule #7: Consider your footwear. For a sleek, biker chic spin on leather-patchwork leggings, pair with a cool moto boot. Or for an elongated, almost seamless silhouette, try over-the-knee leather boots. Have fun and be versatile with your footwear pairings.

How to wear leggings rule #8: Consider the occasion. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid wearing leggings for a job interview or holiday parties, and formal settings like a wedding or meeting the parents for the first time, advises St. Martin.

How to wear leggings rule #9: …Or wear them anyway.
Since there’s always an asterisk to every rule in fashion, if you can make the rest of your outfit work around your leggings, then go for it. “Honestly, someone with a great eye can probably style them in a way that they can be worn anywhere, but it’s really, really tricky.” You’ve been warned.

How to wear leggings rule #10: This is not yoga class. Unless you are currently in a yoga studio, or on your way to class (or straight home right after) this is not the time to make workout wear-as-daywear happen. Striving to be comfortable in your outfit is one thing, but pairing leggings with running shoes and a sweater while running errands on Saturday could lead you down a slippery slope into a sweats-only wardrobe. Don’t be that girl—be better.

Kate Hudson returning to her hotel after visiting the Wendy Williams show in New York City, NY. January, 28, 2014 X17online.com

KNOW ABOUT YOUR NEW HAIRCUT, FROM AN EXPERT

November 14th, 2015

You recently copied my style, so allow me to give you a few tips for keeping it fresh.

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Dear Justin,

I recently received a note from my good friend Danielle notifying me that you and I have the same haircut. She’s an OG fan of yours, tracking your whereabouts, waiting for #Purpose to drop at midnight, and of course, staying up-to-date on all of your hair changes. And so it has come to my attention that you jacked the side-shave I’ve been rocking for the past year. But that’s ok, I’m flattered, really. From your smile on the Today Show, you seem to be enjoying it as much as I am! Since we’re hair twinsies now, I figured I should let you in on a few secrets to keeping your new hair looking as dope as possible.

 First things first, this style is not as easy to upkeep as it looks. We’re talking trips to the barber at least twice a month to get your sides shaved. Once every week if you’re diligent or if your hair grows as quickly as mine.

What are you using to keep your shine intact? I suggest you wash with ​Kérastase Nutrive Bain Nutri-Thermique and condition with Kérastase Masque Nutri-Thermique. After that, run some Jane Carter Solutions Nourish and Shine  (or even avocado oil!) through your strands. This trio will nourish and treat your processed hair.  Speaking of processed hair, how often are you taking a flatiron to your ‘do? My stylist (Deion at Serenity Salon in Koreatown) says it’s important to keep the heat out of your hair so it won’t break off as much. Leave heat styling to the professionals!

Next, I know you’ve got a pretty busy schedule these days with those live dance performances and filming loads of skateboarding Insta-videos. When I work out (Flywheel and high intensity training with the crew at Nike) I wear a wide headband and put my hair in a woman bun to maintain volume at the roots. My woman bun is pretty much what you’d call a man bun, but I’m a girl so I feel the need to put a qualifier on it and take back the style.

As far as off-duty styling is concerned, I’d choose a side to which you flop your hair and stick to it. Mine lands opposite of my good side (yes, that’s a real thing) to balance and highlight the shape. On nights out, I usually slick it back for an Old Hollywood Rat Pack sort of vibe. Not sure if your ears are pierced, but big earrings really shine with this cut too. Just a thought.

Anyway, with those few tips you should be all set. Welcome to the shaved-sides club and don’t forget to thank model Binx Walton for the inspiration!

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THE ONLY BOOT YOU’LL NEED THIS FALL AND HOW TO WEAR IT

October 10th, 2015

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It’s time to put your sandals away and find the perfect pair of boots that will last you well through the winter. A suede black boot with a sturdy heel is the perfect option because of its versatility. Here, we show you five ways to wear the only shoe you’ll need for the next two seasons.

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6 Effective Beauty Uses for Pumpkin

September 27th, 2015

Score glowing skin with your favourite fall flavour.

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From your Starbucks latte to the orange-laced displays at your local grocery store, it’s official: Pumpkin season is officially upon us. What you may not realize, however, is that this iconic American fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit!) has some serious beauty benefits.

“Pumpkin contains enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids that increase cell turnover, brighten and smooth skin, and are great exfoliaters,” explains New York dermatologist, Vitamins A and C help prevent free-radical damage and boost collagen production for younger-looking skin. The zinc in pumpkin seeds is good for acne to help decrease oil production, while the essential fatty acids help with barrier function to increase hydration, she adds.

The beloved fall gourd is even good for your strands. “The essential fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and E help increase the moisture of hair and maintain cell turnover of the scalp while healing inflammation,” says Wexler. And if you have an oily scalp, you’ll appreciate this—the zinc in pumpkin helps control the level of sebum, or oil, the scalp produces, says Wexler.

Ready to give pumpkin a go? Try these at-home recipes created by licensed esthetician, who is also founder and formulator of Enessa Skincare. And if you’re not a DIY type, we’ve also suggested product versions you can nab on your next store or Sephora run.

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2. FACE MASK

1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp manuka honey

Mix ingredients together. Apply a thin layer to skin, and rinse off after five minutes.

 Turmeric powder helps brighten skin and heal inflammation associated with acne, while manuka honey is a humectant that provides moisturization and additional anti-acne properties, says Ornstein.

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3. FACE SCRUB

1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup benzonite clay
1/4 cup chamomile tea

Mix ingredients together. Apply a thick layer to skin. Wait 60 seconds, and then massage to exfoliate and rinse off.

The ground flaxseed is the secret ingredient here that washes off the dead skin cells that the pumpkin enzymes exfoliated off.

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4. BODY SCRUB

1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup jojoba oil
1/4 cup coffee grounds
1/4 cup Himalayan salt

Mix ingredients together. Use as a body scrub in the shower or bath.

Jojoba oil is super-nourishing and rich in antioxidants, making it a great carrier oil for a body scrub. Caffeine from coffee grounds helps smooth out skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite as a bonus. Pink Himalayan salt contains trace minerals that are beneficial for skin.

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5. IN-SHOWER BODY MOISTURIZER

1 tsp pumpkin seed oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp monoi oil

 Mix ingredients in a spray bottle, and spray on body in shower after cleansing, making sure to rinse completely.

Coconut milk is extremely hydrating and rich in anti-aging and soothing fatty acids and oils. Monoi oil contains methyl salicylate, which nurtures skin and prevents environmental damage. This one is so unique, you’ll need to make it yourself!

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6. HAIR MASK

1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup jojoba oil
5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil

Mix ingredients together. This can be used as a scalp treatment or hair oil mask on clean hair. Allow it to sit for several minutes, then rinse out completely.

Coconut, eucalyptus, and lavender are all natural ingredients that help stimulate the scalp to protect against hair loss. Jojoba oil hydrates both the scalp and hair.

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7. PEEL-OFF EXFOLIATING TREATMENT

1/2 cup pumpkin juice (While this can be difficult to find in stores, it’s easy to juice at home. “Simply peel it and separate out the stringy pulp and seeds before juicin”.)
2 packs unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp tomato juice
2 tsp egg whites

Microwave the mixture so everything dissolves together, and then wait for it to cool (but not to completely solidify). Apply two layers onto skin, allow to dry, then peel off.

The gelatin creates the peel-off mechanism while tomato juice helps brighten skin and control sebum production. The egg whites help lift and tighten skin.

29 THINGS EVERY GIRL NEEDS IN HER APARTMENT BEFORE SHE TURNS 30

September 13th, 2015

Décor wisdom from Lauren Conrad.

Your 20s can feel like a constant state of flux. Frequent moves are a fact of life as you transition from college to your first real apartment and beyond. But by the time you’re 30, you’re usually ready to settle down a bit.

I’m not by any means saying you have to be in your forever home or have your whole life figured out before your 30th birthday. But I do think that’s when it’s time to move on from the hand-me-down dishes and decorate your “big girl” apartment.

Your space is often a reflection of your state of mind. And if you’re living in a chic, well-decorated space, you’re more likely to be successful and happy in other aspects of your life. So in honor of my turning 30 next year (eek!), here are 29 things I think every girl should have in her apartment before the big 3-0.

1. A cake stand. So you have a way to properly display any homemade treats.

2. A set of eight or 12 wine glasses. You can buy inexpensive ones from IKEA, but no more drinking out of plastic cups when you are 30! You should have enough wine glasses to entertain or throw a dinner party.

3. A beautiful area rug. A good rug does a lot to make your space feel warm and inviting. It’s one of the best investments you can make when it comes to decorating.

4. A dedicated workspace. If you ever work from home like I do, you should have a designated home office area — even if that’s just a small corner of your bedroom with a desk. You will be much more productive than you are working from your bed or your couch.

5. A flea market find. I love some of the bigger home decor stores, but I’m also a huge advocate of collecting unique pieces that you can’t find anywhere else.

6. A nice set of hangers. Slim-line velvet hangers will help to keep your closet organized and make it easier to fit more clothes on a rack.

7. One piece of art that you love. It doesn’t have to be pricey, just something you love.

8. A comfortable mattress. You spend so much of your life in bed. “Spring” for a nice mattress.

9. A living thing. It can be a pup or a plant — it’s great to have a little life in your home.

10. Photos of loved ones. And not just on your phone. It’s good to print and frame some photos even in today’s digital age.

11. A sewing kit for last-minute repairs. Your mother isn’t there to sew on a button for you anymore.

12. A matching set of dishes for dinner parties. Chipped, hand-me-down dishes should definitely be traded in for a nice set by the time you’re 30.

13. A set of napkins for said dinner party. No more paper towels when you are hosting guests for the evening.

14. A garment steamer. It’s so much easier to use than an iron. I think every girl should have one.

15. A coffeemaker. Not going to Starbucks every single day can help you budget for more important things like saving up for a house or car.

16. A selection of beautiful coffee table books. They are one part décor and one part light reading.

17. A bottle of Champagne. Sometimes there is celebrating to be had.

18. A fire extinguisher. Make sure you know how to use it too.

19. A sturdy, sharp kitchen knife. It makes all the difference when you’re cooking.

20. A cheese board. Everyone loves a good cheese plate.

21. A small tool kit. So you can hang pictures, put together furniture, etc.

22. A flashlight. This is good for emergencies or power outages.

23. Nice stationary and stamps. So that you can send a thank-you note or letter.

24. A nice vase. I love picking up fresh flowers and displaying them in my home.

25. A matching set of towels for the bathroom. They don’t have to be fancy, but they shouldn’t be threadbare.

26. A food processor. Once you own a food processor, you will wonder how you ever lived without one.

27. A stand mixer. At least if you like to bake a lot, like I do. If not, you can save counter space with a handheld electric mixer.

28. A scented candle. I burn candles whenever I have guests visiting or want to relax at home.

29. A reliable vacuum. It’s time to toss your old vacuum that doesn’t work well and invest in a powerful one.

 

STOP TRYING TO BE THE ‘COOL BRIDE’

July 31st, 2015

A message from your bridesmaids: quit feigning nonchalance and voice your needs. Please.

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Say you’re a bridesmaid. You’re slammed with work, but spending your Sunday afternoon accompanying the bride to multiple wedding dress appointments, diligently taking iPhone shots to promptly e-mail to seven other women and her mother. It’s probably raining outside. Also, most bridal showrooms host two groups of women at once, often resulting in a passive-aggressive bid for the mirror, like a pastel Hunger Games. If you’re particularly unlucky, the other group of women is from District Loud and The Worst. In a scenario like this, it would take the actual patron saint of bridesmaids to not be irritated when the bride seizes this moment to declare, “I don’t even really care about this wedding.” Like…come on.

Being a bridesmaid is a commitment. There’s the constant Gchatting of dress options, the insistence on joining her wedding Pinterest board so you can weigh in, and the silent acceptance that, at least for the time being, the bride’s life simply deserves more discussion than your own. Often, the saving grace is the bride’s unabashed enthusiasm for the proceedings. She knows what she wants, and she gets it. As an unmarried woman, I know it’s sticky territory to judge brides. But in fact, that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to say. Terrified of being perceived as a “Bridezilla,” these brides are actually judging themselves. And to overcompensate, they bend the opposite way, which is actually lamer to me than an eight-month raw diet or a bridesmaid-wide ban on dyeing hair.

Frankly, it’s hard to blame them, considering sexist tropes of crazy brides, like sexist tropes of any sort of woman, have gone a long way in institutionalizing unfairly gendered judgments. “I wonder how much Bridezillas exist outside of Internet outrage pieces, TLC, and urban legend?” says Laura, 28, engaged to be married in May. She continues, “There’s a sort of weird competitiveness, in online wedding forums and in real life, to be the person who spent the least on their wedding. There isn’t really a place to be like, ‘I spent $100K on my wedding and I fucking loved it!’ Those women kind of have to live in the shadows, because everyone else loves to be like ‘I spent $5 and it was the most homespun wedding and I loved every second.'”

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Ultimately, however, the “Cool Bride” problem has nothing to do with money or personal taste—by no means do all women want a big fancy wedding, and if a bride really does want a low-budget, low-key ceremony, it’ll be just as awesome as any bougie affair. It’s the same principal as Gillian Flynn’s oft-discussed “Cool Girl.” Regardless of her observation that some women only pretend to like the same things guys do in order to appear low maintenance, there are also some women who like beer, video games, and don’t care if the guy calls her or not. Whether or not they are superior to other women is a matter of opinion, but for argument’s sake, let’s just say that by these parameters, Coors Light-slugging Olivia Wildes are cool girls. Therefore, the difference between a legitimate cool bride and a “Cool Bride,” much like the difference between a cool girl and a “Cool Girl,” is artifice, a self-imposed stifling of what you really want.

Quite often, it doesn’t even seem like the “Cool Bride” wants a low-key wedding, considering that the demands she makes of her bridesmaids are often on par with a Bridezilla’s. For instance, “I don’t want to have a big bachelorette night out, can we just have a low-key little dinner party?” is often Cool Bride-speak for: “A hedonistic, carefree night out with sexy Instagrams sounds fun for everybody, but I don’t want to seem like a generic bride. So do you mind cooking a four-course meal and buying enough mid-priced champagne for 17 women you don’t know? Of course you don’t.”

This is significantly more demanding of a maid of honor than a raucous night out would be. But, hoping her words speak louder than her actions, this is another way for the bride to caveat that she’s totally above traditional wedding stuff. The killing blow: After you’ve spent all that time and money on the Veuve Clicquot and Whole 30 and Paleo diet accommodations, the “Cool Bride” is likely to casually mention that she doesn’t even believe in marriage.

Carlye, 27, is getting married in three weeks and voices the fear that drives much of this pervasive attitude: “Having grown up in a post-My Super Sweet Sixteen world, I do feel like it’s in poor taste to complain about having a party. No one wants to hear you complain about it. At the end of the day, you fell in love, you’re getting presents and someone’s doing your hair for you, what’s to bitch and moan about?”

Carlye suspects that much of the “Cool Bride” attitude comes from a good place: The genuine worry that being too over-the-top will make her bridesmaids hate her: “Everything with bridesmaids has stressed me out more than any aspect of the wedding. The pressure to make sure they actually feel appreciated and have a good time—and that I’m not the friend they roll their eyes about when they’re back home discussing bad bridesmaid experiences—is on, big time.”

This is sweet, but ironic, because the only thing that’s more fun at a wedding ceremony than getting drunk and dancing to “Apache (Jump On It),” is knowing that your friend is truly having the kind of wedding she wants. And when brides feign nonchalance rather than voice their needs, it actually makes bridesmaids’ jobs more complicated, like when folks on TV had to figure out what Lassie was trying to tell them.

“I think I want [brides] to be honest,” says Julia, 27, a single friend who’s twice been a bridesmaid and is fully aware of the “Cool Bride.” “As a bridesmaid, I want certain demands to be made of me so I don’t accidentally disappoint. Even if it ‘doesn’t matter’ what color dress we all wear, what if I wear the wrong one?” Counterintuitively, it’s less effort and anxiety, she says, to be the “put-upon bridesmaid.” So, go ahead, brides, make your demands. You know what’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold.

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HOW TO EFFECTIVELY DRESS LIKE A NEW YORKER

July 9th, 2015

Everyone has their own idea of what New York is like. Mine came from Gossip Girl reruns, which portrayed NYC as a city where everyone wears fabulous clothes. To my surprise, the show was pretty accurate in that respect. As an Ohio native, moving to the Big Apple was a huge transition, and looking the part was even harder. New Yorkers ooze effortless style, leaving tourists feeling rather basic. But no need to worry: Here’s our definitive guide to dressing like a true New York native.

 

 

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LEATHER JACKETS ALL YEAR LONG
Whether you’re uptown or downtown, a leather jacket is never out of place. It gives your outfit a certain edge that sets you apart but also keeps you on-trend with fellow New Yorkers.

BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
Many colors come and go, but black will never go out of style, and New York natives are privy to this style secret. You can never lose while wearing this winning color. Navy and gray tie for second as chic year-round neutrals.

THE STATEMENT SHOES
If you don’t remember anything else, your shoes matter the most—and no, I’m not talking about comfort. Beauty is pain, and if it means you have to truck across town in high heels, then so be it. If you’re smart about it, you’ll stow away equally fashionable flats for the walk to the subway.

THE “IT” BAG
One thing you will never catch a New York woman without is her handbag. It’s a necessary investment that you can’t skimp on. Whether it’s a classic Chanel 2.55 or a cute tote from Topshop, it’s not about the price, but your commitment to the bag.

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ACCESSORIES
You want your outfit to speak for itself, not be outshined by accessories. Delicate silver or gold jewelry adds the perfect amount of flair to any outfit.

BEAUTY IS KEY
If one thing’s for sure, New York women are always well-manicured. From their perfectly coiffed hair to pedicured toes, everything is always in place.

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ICONIC EYEWEAR
Rain or shine or day or night, stylish eyewear is essential to completing your New York look. It doesn’t matter if you need the sunglasses—all that matters is that you look good wearing them.

CONFIDENCE
New York is all about attitude. You have to wear your outfit with confidence. The New York pavement is your catwalk, so let your clothes speak for themselves.

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5 TIPS FOR GISELE-LEVEL BEACH WAVES

June 17th, 2015

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Does your hair know that summer is here?

 

 

 

 

 

Honing in on the most effective beauty products can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Rank & Style simplifies the search by giving us daily lists of the top 10 products in basically every category. And the lists aren’t based on opinion: They’re created scientifically, from data culled from magazines, blogs, department stores, and social media, all of which help to rank products by popularity, quality, and buzz.

Today, we’re ranking the top five salt/surf sprays that promise to make your hair look Gisele-level beach sexy. So head to the beach, or don’t. These products will make your hair look like you did either way.

5. Victoria’s Secret Beach Hair Wave Spray, $12; victoriassecret.com

Since the VS Angels have the best beach waves in the biz, it’s no surprise a Victoria’s Secret product lands on the list. This promises sexy, effortless “fresh-from-the-beach” hair—and it delivers.

4. John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Salt Spray, $10; ulta.com

Rank & Style notes, beauty editors rave about John Frieda’s sea salt infusion gives beautiful, touchable, windswept waves—no beach day needed.

3. Davines This Is a Sea Salt Spray, $27; davines.com

This ultra-hudrating mist gives mega-body and—added bonus—it smells like summer.

2. Oribe Dry Texturing Hair Spray, 8.5 Ounce, $42; amazon.com

Backstage at fashion week and on set, hair pros agree, there’s no substitute for this mattifying, sexy-smelling aerosol mist.

1. bumble and bumble Surf Spray, $27; sephora.com

A timeless classic, this salt spray creates ropey windswept waves, no sand or surfboard needed.

This list isn’t complete! To see more of the best products for achieving a summer glow, visit Rank & Style.

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9 FOOLPROOF WAYS TO GET YOUR FEET READY FOR SPRING SANDALS

May 4th, 2015

See where toothpaste factors in.

Now that these sunny days are starting to become consistent and we’re wrapping up our spring shopping—or okay, at least trying to—there’s just one thing standing in the way of throwing on our new collection of warm-weather footwear. Thanks to the bitter cold and a daily routine of stuffing our lower extremities into wool socks and boots, our feet are simply notready to be unveiled just yet. But our sandals can’t just sit there untouched forever, and it’s time to get moving on de-winterizing our toes.

For help, we turned to nail guru Jin Soon Choi—owner of luxe NYC pedicure destination JINsoon, as well as the popular polish and nail care line by the same name—for her expert tips on uncovering gorgeous feet worthy of showing off. See why she relies on tooth-whitening strips for perfect nails and why you should never touch a blister, below.

  1. Consider investing in an electronic callus remover.
    “I am surprised to have found that this is the most effective way to remove calluses,” says Choi. “It doesn’t require a lot of effort and it’s thorough.” The Clarisonic Pedi is a great option, but this kit by Lilian Fache also gets the job done at a quarter of the price. Choi recommends using whatever device you choose on clean, dry skin in order to get the most polished finish possible.
  2. A foot file is another option.
    “Diamond is best, but metal will work in a pinch,” says Choi, whose own diamond file is relatively inexpensive (and well worth it regardless). She recommends filing before soaking, unless you opt for a callus-removal gel, which can help soak away a majority of dead skin. Be Natural’s gel is very effective—and you can use a file afterward to take care of any areas it might have missed.
  3. Maintain that smoothness with a pumice stone.
    Choi doesn’t recommend it as an initial solution to stubborn calluses, as it’s not nearly as effective as any of the options mentioned above, but it’s great for keeping roughness at bay after that initial exfoliation. “This can be done daily in a shower,” she says. Just make sure feet are wet first.
  4. To target dry patches, soak and then exfoliate.
    Calluses aren’t the only rough spots that might show up—the areas around our ankles and heels tend to get very dry and scaly during the winter without proper care. “Exfoliate them with products when the area is dry, but after soaking,” recommends Choi. “You can use exfoliating gloves with an exfoliating agent. And, of course, moisturize the area immediately after.”
  5. Two words: SPA SOCKS.
    “For truly deep moisturizing, the old-fashioned method works best,” says Choi. “Exfoliate, apply thick cream, and wear cotton socks overnight while you sleep.” (Give your hands the same treatment.)
  6. Un-stain those toenails with ingredients from your medicine cabinet.
    Specifically, toothpaste, whitening strips, and hydrogen peroxide. “The surest way to un-stain toenails is to saturate cotton in hydrogen peroxide and put it on each toe nail, wait three to five minutes, and scrub it off,” Choi advises. “Another method is to apply whitening tooth-paste or whitening strips on your toe nails and let them sit for a while, then scrub them off with a brush and rinse.”
  7. Cracked heels? Leave that to the professionals.
    Choi highly recommends a paraffin wax treatment for speedy treatment of this particular ailment. And while there are at-home options, a visit to the salon is probably worth it in this case. Follow by smothering your heels with heavy cream.
  8. Don’t try to “cure” a blister.
    “Treating blisters is a misnomer,” says Choi. “You can’t treat them; you just have to keep them clean and protected so they don’t get infected, and let nature take its course.” Do so with the help of antiseptic and clean socks, and by keeping shoes off whenever possible to let the injury breathe and to avoid additional aggravation.
  9. Finish with polish—and killer shoes.
    Now that your skin and nails are ready for their spring debut, attention must be paid to the stylish details. We’re particularly smitten with this moody green from JINsoon’s spring collection—as well as any one of these awesome shoe picks from fashion editor Danielle Prescod. (The more revealing, the better.)

 

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HOW DENIM DESIGNER LELA ROSE BECKER THROWS THE PERFECT POOL PARTY

April 12th, 2015

Her L.A. shindig was as laid-back and cool as a pair of her brand’s jeans.

At a late lunch in Santa Monica Canyon hosted by Lela Rose Becker, co-founder and director of sales for Mother, talk eventually turns to the enemy of blue jeans. Tim Kaeding, Mother’s designer and cofounder, fires the first shot: “Denim is not having the best time right now, because everyone’s wearing yoga pants.” Dressed in head-to-toe blues, save a pair of black Converse, Tim looks rather bummed. Immediately the dozen or so guests, sitting at a smoky glass table set with rose gold flatware and amber goblets, erupt into chatter. Everyone is eager to slam on the scourge of Los Angeles fashion that has infected the nation, according to this denim-clad crowd of designers and stylists, including Shiva Rose, Maryam Malakpour, and Chloé Bartoli.

“But everyone’s butt looks so good in denim,” cries Jacquie Aiche, a jewelry designer dripping with purple tourmaline and gold. “You can’t say that about yoga pants.”

“I blame the Westside,” Becker says. “They started it.”

Despite denim’s slight faltering in the marketplace—according to recent reports, sales are down by 6 percent—Mother is enjoying a strong presence. Stocked in Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, the near-ubiquitous jeans strike a balance between chic and relaxed.

Becker’s beautiful home, perched near the Pacific, is a sign of her successes in the denim industry (before Mother, the 41-year-old designer held the top sales post at Citizens of Humanity). Shared with her husband, Dave, a real estate agent who found the house himself six years ago, the Becker residence is a multitiered upscale tree house, outfitted in earthen hues, oceanic blues, and lots of wood, including shady outdoor decks with a hammock and a wine cellar. The pool, surrounded by vibrant greenery and plenty of gray-toned nooks for lounging, is one of the prime entertaining spots. Before lunch, the guests sipped gin cocktails in the sun and snacked on caterer Annie Campbell’s toast points with goat cheese, honey, and basil.

“We barely ever go out,” Becker confesses. “That’s probably not very cool.” But it’d be hard to leave this vision of California dreaming, which the Beckers embody as well. Eternally sun-kissed and low-key, the pair love to have family over for dinner parties that start with Dave cooking farmers-market finds and end with everybody—from their parents to their nieces and nephews—rocking out to videos from Beyoncé, Rihanna, and LMFAO. “We love the all-ages dance party,” Becker says, “with the adults dipping into a little tequila.”

When the couple do venture out, it’s typically to take their Australian shepherd, Ozzie, for a stroll, sometimes to the beach. Becker, a California native who has never lived outside the state, craves the ocean’s calming effect, which she pays homage to at home with elegant, nautical touches. No matter how busy she may be keeping Mother jeans on the minds of fashionistas, she likes to return to a serene environment. “Life-work balance is important to me,” Becker says. “I really value quiet time and relaxing.” Just never in sweatpants, of course.

CAN WE EVER GET OVER JANE BIRKIN?

March 30th, 2015

It’s funny how our personal style develops. For some, it’s innate. For many, though, it’s formed through images. Generation after generation, we look to Marilyn Monroe in that white dress, Jean Seberg in Breton stripes, Jane Birkin’s bangs, and Brigitte Bardot’s bouffant. Every decade or so, another woman—or two —join that elite club. Madonna on stage in a Gaultier corset. Kate Moss in her vintage leopard-print coat. Sofia Coppola wearing a banker-stripe shirt.

They’re our style icons. They inhabit our Pinterest boards, our Instagram feeds, our fashion magazines. They are the ultimate source of inspiration, culled from just a few photos. The term “style icon” is terribly overused, often attributed to a beautiful woman whose personal style is nonexistent. Consider the disinterested red-carpet star whose stylist is bound to become more iconic than she, or the pop singer whose trendy, ostentatious costumes will never be as thoughtful as Lady Gaga’s. We’ve typed the phrase “style icon” so many times that it has lost much of its sacred meaning.

And yet, there is still a place for it. While the actress in the pretty dresses might fade away, and the pop star might get bored with her silly getups, a true style icon is frozen in time, forever admired.

So, why do we need them? Style is about fashion, yes, but it’s also about identity. As a young girl, or woman, we use clothes and makeup as a way of figuring out who we are. (Cue the high school goth phase.) And as we age, we get smarter about how we use clothes to communicate. A suit means business, while a little back dress means sex. (Sometimes the roles of those particular ensembles are reversed, depending on how nuanced your own style becomes.) These women that we love? They are totally themselves. Maybe not truly as perfect as we deem them to be, but they project a certain sense of self assurance. The thing that we all want.

MADONNA, BRIGITTE BARDOT, MARILYN MONROE, KATE MOSS

But our first influences are not necessarily from the pages of a magazine, or a blog, or Jane & Serge: A Family Album. (Which is available for $53.99 on Amazon.com, in case you’re interested.) Our mothers and grandmothers are the ones to set the tone. There’s a photo of my mom in a true-blue Breton striped shirt, paired with white cotton pants, that I’ve always loved. And I’ll never forget my grandmother’s high-low look: wool trousers, not-too-granny granny shoes, a pretty turtleneck and a fine handbag, all topped off with an Old Navy fleece vest.

Later on, our friends make an impression. In high school, cliques are driven by fashion choices. At my suburban high school in the late ’90s, there were goths, hippies, and plenty of Abercrombie devotees. That mentality moves into the workplace, if more subtly. While there are fewer social boundaries around the way dress as adults, it’s hard not to be influenced by those around you. Writing about fashion means that I talk about clothes with my other friends who write about fashion, and in turn we often end up buying the same things. Just observe the rows of Stan Smiths at Fashion Week to know that sometimes we don’t mind looking alike.

But it’s those icons—the Janes, the Brigittes, the Kates of the world—that help us, funnily enough, to find our personal filter. I like to think that I have a good sense of style. But that is a result of years of experimentation, copping stripey tops from Seberg, boyish silhouettes from Coppola, and understanding that Birkin’s high-waisted flares will never be one of my “things.” Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s also a way to test drive ideas. At the end of the road, you’ll likely arrive at a style that’s very much your own.

HOW TO GET THE BEST EYEBROWS FOR YOUR FACE

March 10th, 2015

A no-fail approach to finding your natural arch.

Though Cara Delevingne is certainly the reigning eyebrow queen du jour, the truth is that her power arches are simply not one-size-fits-all—while it’s obviously a natural look for the supermodel, the bold style doesn’t work for all faces. Fortunately, the beauty trend of late has been moving away from this indiscriminate thick brows edict in favor of the virgin brow—that is, embracing and playing up the arches we were born with. The problem? Through years of tweezing, waxing, and shaping our eyebrows, it’s hard to know what our natural arches actually look like.

This is exactly the problem eyebrow guru Kristie Streicher is known for solving. “I believe everyone looks best with what they are naturally given, whether it’s full and thick brows, or smaller brows, which are often associated with fine and delicate facial features,” she says. Streicher’s signature “feathered” brow—a natural, soft, tapered look meant to mimic our god-given arches—has earned her a cult following of editors, models, and celebrities alike. And to achieve this, she famously puts her clients through brow rehab: A tough-love program of no hair removal whatsoever for at least eight weeks.

But we learned firsthand that the wait is well worth it. We asked Streicher to lay out her secrets to growing out and shaping our ideal arches—using our own newly rehabilitated brows to illustrate.

  1. Jog your memory.
    The easiest way to recall what your natural brows look like? Look back on your pre-tweezing days. “I will sometimes have clients find a picture of themselves as an adolescent to see what the growth potential can be, and work from there,” says Streicher.
  2. Grow, baby, grow.
    It’s time to join brow rehab: Which means NO hair removal whatsoever for at least eight weeks—up to a full year. (Zilch, nothing, nada.) “By the eighth week, I can begin to see the natural eyebrow line,” Streicher explains. “But it may take up to 12 months for EVERY hair on the brow area to finally fill in and for brows to reach their potential.” Fortunately, growth serums can do wonders to help speed things along, though they sadly can’t help everyone. “Although it does work well on most people, it’s difficult to promise the same results for everyone,” she says. “Prolonged and repetitive over-tweezing can traumatize the hair follicles, causing them to be dormant and may weaken their ability to regrow.” If you opt to try a serum, Streicher advises, choose one with a high concentration of Prostaglandin, the active growth ingredient. Apply serums diligently every night for at least six weeks to see real results.
    Kristie recommends: GrandeBROW Growth Serum, $80; grandelashmd.com
  3. Start with a tint to really see what you’re working with.

    Tinting is a game changer, even for those of us who are naturally dark-haired—oftentimes, our brows look sparse, but the hair is actually just a tad lighter in some places. “It’s a natural way to enhance what hair you have, as well as richen and define your brows,” says Streicher. “Even adding the same level of color can help fill in any sparse areas and give the illusion of a fuller brow.” Since your eye area is so sensitive, choose a salon that uses vegetable-based dyes—or picka natural tint of your own if you’re trying this at home.

  4. Tweeze the strays—conservatively.
    Start plucking hairs that fall outside the natural line of your arch. Streicher’s longtime assistant, William Scott, offers a handy way to visualize things: “The best way to look at your brow is as if it’s built in horizontal rows,” he says. “As you’re shaping, don’t move up or down a ‘row’ (whether you’re tweezing from the top or bottom of the brow) until you’ve paused to look at the big picture and how much you’ve taken away already.” Streicher adds that it’s essential to err on the side of cautious. “With each tweezing it’s important to maintain a rather large ‘buffer’ between what you’re tweezing and your growing eyebrow shape,” she says. “It is also very helpful to fill in your ideal eyebrow shape with pencil or powder first. Be sure to extend ends all the way across the brow bone when filling in—the ends are most important. This will give you a more clear idea of what should be tweezed and what should be left alone.”
  5. (And please don’t wax. Ever.)
    “I only tweeze,” says Streicher. “The eyebrow deserves the detail-oriented and precise approach of tweezing. Waxing can create a very clean and distinct hair-to-no hair line of contrast, and in my humble opinion, this can look contrived and quite dated. Tweezing allows the brows to be a bit more feathered looking, leaving a soft line.” And a more natural look is far from the only reason to avoid wax altogether. “In addition, waxing can sometimes break the hair at the skin line instead of pulling it out from the follicle,” she continues. “It can be irritating and damaging on the delicate eye skin, and over time, waxing can cause the breakdown of elasticity causing the skin to prematurely sag.” It also makes the skin more prone to skin damage. Who knew?
  6. Choose the right pencil or powder.
    You’ve made it this far, so be sure not to sabotage your new know-how by selecting the wrong hue for your coloring. (It’s a common mistake!) “Powder works best on oily skin and pencil on more mature or drier skin,” Streicher advises. “Choose a shade that is the same as your eyebrow hair color, not the hair on your head, as sometimes it is a different shade. If you have red hair, use a warm blonde. If you’re blonde, use a taupe or soft, ash brown. Brunettes should use a medium brown and grey or silver foxes should use an ash brown or taupe.”
    Kristie recommends: Surratt Expressioniste Brow Pencil, $24; barneys.com
  7. Fill in sparse areas with the pencil or powder, paying special attention to the tails
  8. Set everything with a gel”Think of it as the mascara of the eyebrow,” says Streicher. “Gel not only adds color, but also thickness and fullness to the brow hair. I also like the hold that brow gel offers, so be sure you brush this product into the brow correctly: Start with brushing the hairs upwards at the start of the brow, closest to the nose. Then brush them to the side in the middle portion of the brow, as this covers any holes or sparse areas—think of it as a brow comb-over. Then finally, brush the ends up and out. I like to use the tinted brow gel with a spoolie type brush. It offers a more even distribution and coverage and allows for better hair shaping.
    Kristie recommends: Blinc Eyebrow Mousse, $24; blincinc.com

WHAT LIPSTICK ARE YOU WEARING? OSCARS EDITION

February 24th, 2015

We found out the shades so you can get the exact look yourself.

From poppy apricot pinks to moody berry hues, we saw a rainbow of lipstick shades on the Oscars red carpet—and we want to try them all! Here, we narrowed it down to our top six favorite lip looks from the 2015 Academy Awards, and asked each starlet’s makeup artist to tell us which particular lipstick they are wearing, too. (Can’t exactly copy a look if you don’t know the exact product used, right?)

Naomi Watts’ deep plum liptick is L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Color in Violet Parfait ($13).

 

The matte orange-red lipstick on Margot Robbie is Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Raven ($28). Also, find out how to get the rest of her makeup look.

Chloë Grace Moretz’ soft pink lipstick is a new shade from Laura Mericer: Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour in Petal Pink ($28).

Lupita Nyong’o’s aubergine lipstick with a hint of shimmer is Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Lipcolor in Aubergine Velvet ($30.50). To create more of a bronze effect like hers, first line the lips withLancôme L’Absolu Lip Coloring Stick in Sheer Chocolate ($25).

The gorgeous deep wine lip on Chrissy Teigen is Maybelline New York Color Sensational Creamy Mattes in Divine Wine ($7.50).

Emma Stone’s peach-y coral lip color is Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in HD Tulip ($8). (Click here to find out how to get her entire look as well.)

5 MAKEUP MISTAKES THAT ARE MAKING YOU LOOK OLDER

February 11th, 2015

We’re all on the quest to look and feel our most youthful and fresh—and in the beauty world, there are many creams, facials, and procedures to aid us on this mission. But something as simple as the way you apply your makeup can also have a great effect on how young (or old) you look, and sometimes, it’s a very significant effect.

Here, Kimberly Soane, the director of artistry at Bobbi Brown, walks us through some of the most common, and most aging, makeup application mistakes. She also gives easy tips to correct them and how to put on makeup in the most flattering way, and we even have photographic proof. The more aging way is pictured on the left, and the correct way is on the right. Take a look:

 

MISTAKE # 1: Wearing foundation that does not match your skin color.

Many women end up looking they have a floating head or they are wearing a mask because their foundation does not match their face and neck. When you go too light it makes your skin appear flat and lifeless. Instead of natural, it will look like the makeup is just sitting on your skin, which can add years to your face. But if you go too dark, you are not highlighting your features, but dragging them down and adding a dullness and heaviness that is just as aging.

In order to get the right color, when testing out a foundation, do not blend it in too much. Simply tap it on your face from the top of your cheekbone to the bottom of your jawline and try to not go lighter or darker than your actual skin. If you are tan on your neck and body, you can bring that color into your face with a bronzer, without having to use a foundation that’s too light. The goal is to connect your skin by blending it evenly across.

Soane used: Bobbi Brown Skin Weightless Powder Foundation in Natural with Medium Bronzing Powder (on the right).

MISTAKE # 2: Choosing a lipstick that is too dark.

As you age, you lose definition in your lips, so to appear more youthful, you’ll want to wear a lipstick that adds fullness. A dark color does just the opposite, making your lips look smaller, less plump, and less highlighted. Instead, choose something in a mauve or pink tone. Adding a layer of gloss is helpful as well. Many women feel like they are too old to wear lip gloss, but a shiny finish will actually add a youthful plumpness.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’re forbidden from trying out all the berry and wine hues that are so popular for fall. But if you decide to go dark and are concerned about looking older, stay away from something with a heavier texture or matte finish because it will stay flat on your lips. Opt for a sheer and hydrating formula or a lip stain.

Soane used: Bobbi Brown Pink Nude Creamy Matte Lip Color with Crystal Lip Gloss (on the right).

MISTAKE # 3: Only lining the bottom of your eyes with liner.

“So many women I talk to say ‘I only line the bottom,'” Soane told us. “And when I ask them why, they say because ‘It’s easier.’ It’s tragic; top liner is mandatory.” Though it may be easier to apply eyeliner on the bottom, only doing so will drag your features down and make your eyes appear smaller and your overall appearance seem older. Applying eyeliner on the top as well will open your eyes up and brighten your face. But be sure not to make the liner too thick, which can also be aging.

When applying eyeliner, try to get the product as close to your lash line as possible, so it appears to be an extension of your eyelashes. Start at the outer corner and work your way in along the top lash, then do the same for the bottom, but apply the line a little thinner than the top. Make sure that the bottom and top lines connect at the corner of the eye and add a touch of dark shadow to the bottom of the eye to soften the look.

Soane used: Black Ink Long Wear Gel Eyeliner and Smokey Nudes Eye Palette (on the right).

MISTAKE #4: Applying the wrong shade of blush too low on your face.

Many women do not wear a shade of blush that adds youthfulness to their face. Some choose a brown color because they think they are adding definition and contouring, but it ends up looking muddy, dull, and like the makeup is just sitting on your skin. Other women often choose a product that is too soft in color, which can wash you out and age you as well.

To find the right shade, pinch your cheeks and try to match the natural color that you get when you actually blush. When applying, start at the height of the apple of your cheek and blend it up and back. Some people apply blush on the bottom of the cheekbone, but you want to place it higher to define and lift your features.

Soane used: Bobbi Brown Pale Pink Blush (on the right).

MISTAKE #5: Not adding color and defining your brows.

As you get older, your eyebrows get thinner, or simply from years of over-plucking, they just don’t grow back. Not filling them in with a pencil or brow powder can leave you washed out and looking older, while a full brow will lift the face, define your features, and create an overall youthful appearance.

To pick a brow product, look for ones that are the same shade as your hair. If you are blonde, choose something that matches your roots; for silver or white hair, go for a soft gray tone; if you are brunette or redhead, try a mahogany or sable. For those with fair to medium skin, steer clear of anything that is red-based, and if you have a darker skin tone, choose something with warmth. Start by brushing your brows up and over. Then square the head of your brow off with the product and bring the color through the arch, all the way to where your brow would naturally end.

Soane used: Bobbi Brown Dark Brow Kit (on the right)

 

5 BEAUTIFYING PRODUCTS TO TRY WHEN YOU’RE STUCK INDOORS

January 27th, 2015

From your hair to your toes.

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Whether you’re stuck in the house because of a blizzard or it’s just your day off, the winter season often calls for a lot of time spent indoors. It’s always nice to wrap up on the couch with a good book or veg out watching a movie. But after awhile, all the lying around can make you a little stir crazy, right? Plus, the lack of sunlight and all the unnatural heat can be super drying on our hair and skin and leave us looking dull and lifeless. So we say: Take advantage of this stay-at-home hibernation time when you’re not in a hurry for once, and treat yourself to some good old pampering. You’ll feel productiveand pretty, both problems solved. Here are five ways to indulge—and some good items to stock up on for future days spent snowed in.

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AIR: WEN by Chaz Dean Healthy Hair Care Kit

When you have a little more time on your hands, this three-product hair treatment is a great way to revive your dry winter hair, get rid of frizz, and add shine and body to limp locks. Start by rinsing your hair. Massage a generous amount of the Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner into your scalp for a few minutes, then rinse it out. Next, spray the Replenishing Treatment Mist from the middle of your hair to the ends. Finally, apply the Re Moist Intensive Hair Treatment liberally throughout your hair and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Now is your time to sit in front of the TV while the mask works its magic.

 

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FEET: Baby Foot Exfoliant Foot Peel

Since you’re spending so much time off your feet, why not give them a little extra love, too? This Japanese foot mask and cult beauty favorite made with natural extracts will give you more bang for your buck than actually getting a pedicure. Sure, it won’t paint your toenails for you, but it will get rid of all those nasty dead skin cells on the bottom of your feet (you know what we’re talking about). The layer of skin on the soles of our feet is thicker than anywhere else on our body, which makes it easy for dead cells to accumulate and harder for them to be removed by simple exfoliation. Enter Baby Foot: Just wash your feet, step into the gel-filled socks, and wear them for an hour while you relax before you wash them off with soap. In about five days (sorry, no instant gratification here) all the dead skin cells will peel away and you will be left with, yes, feet as soft as a baby’s.

$25; beauty.com

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FACE: Lumafirm Freeze-Dried At-Home Intensifier

This treatment is a little different from your typical antiaging at-home mask. In fact, Kim Lee, an educator at Pevonia, calls the unique vitamin B2-, vitamin C-, potassium-, and iron-rich formula the first ever “natural face-lift.” But all you have to do is wet your skin and apply it to your face, neck, and décolleté, then massage in the product until it is fully absorbed into your skin—and you will see an immediate firming, smoothing, and brightening effect. “There are no acids or hydroquinone in the formula,” explains Lee. “With this natural approach, you will see results most dramatically around frown lines, age spots, and on dark under eye circles, and your skin will look youthful and flawless.

$22; pevonia.com

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CAPTION

NAILS: Caption Nail Kit

Giving yourself a manicure is a pretty obvious at-home beauty activity, but if you use a nail kit from Caption it may just feel like a whole new experience and make you look like you stepped out of the salon. The polish itself looks and acts like a gel, but without the need to use a UV light. Meaning, it lasts just as long as a gel manicure and has that chip-free gleam, but it has none of the health risks. Yup: truth. The caption nail kit comes with a base coat, polish, top coat, and drying drops, because even though you have extra time around the house, no one likes to wait for their nails to dry.

$40; captionpolish.com

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BODY: Oyin Handmade Bath Products

A long, soothing bath is the most indulgent and restorative of snow-day activities. Run the hot water, light a candle, and shake this fizzy milk powder into the tub. Soak until you are fully relaxed and the beads of cocoa butter will absorb into your skin, leaving it ultra-soft to the touch. After your bath, apply this blended body oil all over your damp skin to seal in all the moisture. It also works as a great massage oil if you have someone to indulge with on your day off.

Fizzy Milkshake Bath Powder, $13; oyinhandmade.com

After Bath Blended Body Oil, $12; oyinhandmade.com

THE 8 WORST THINGS YOU CAN DO TO YOUR SKIN

January 19th, 2015

Stop. Picking.

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Scary truth: You can wreak a lot of havoc on your own face. Scarier truth? You can even do it in the process of trying to improve the quality of your skin.

1. Picking
Reminder: You’re not a dermatologist and should not be picking at your pimples, ingrown hairs, or anywhere else on your face. It’s one of the biggest assaults against your skin and can have permanent effects.

“The more people press and manipulate blemishes, the more inflammation they create underneath,” explains Dr. Nazarian. “The result is scars or discolorations left on the skin, which can last months, if not forever.”

2. Over-Exfoliating
Your skin can’t take too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to exfoliating. Dr. Rouleau’s advice? Use a good facial scrub or exfoliating acid—sparingly. “It can be used seven days on and seven days off,” she says. “During the days when it is not being used, nourish the new healthy cells with a great moisturizer appropriate for your skin type.”

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3. Over-Washing
Washing is another skin habit that will suffer from surplus. Don’t forget, your skin is a super delicate organ—be very particular about what you put on it and how often you do so.

“Most tend to use harsh soaps that strip natural oils from their body and disrupt the ideal pH of their skin,” says Dr. Nazarian. “Chronic over-washing will cause skin to dry and crack, leaving it prone to infections and flares of inflammatory conditions like eczema, and can even highlight signs of aging, like small wrinkles and lines.”

To ensure you’re not over-drying your skin, look to super-hydrating cleansers that gently clean without destroying the balance of natural oils.

4. Using the Same Products Year-Round
Your skins needs different things from season to season. Each change should be a reminder to re-evaluate your regimen. Here are Rouleau’s recommendations:

  • Winter: “The focus should be on moisturization and hydrating products.”
  • Spring: “Think spring cleaning with deep pore cleansing and exfoliating products to revive the skin from the winter dryness.”
  • Summer: “Focus should be on protecting skin from the sun with sunscreen and antioxidants, which have powerful protective qualities. Products should be lighter-weight in the spring and summer since there is more humidity in the air.”
  • Fall: “Increase exfoliation to repair the skin from the summer sun damage.”

5. Tugging at the Skin Around Your Eye
This is where skin is thinnest, which makes it the most delicate. And since it’s the first to show signs of aging, be gentle with it!

” Pulling on the skin while putting in contacts, applying eyeliner, or rubbing aggressively to remove stubborn eye makeup can create wear and tear on the collagen and elasticity fibers, causing visible lines and wrinkles prematurely,” explains Rouleau. “Always apply eye cream with the ring finger (it’s the weakest) and use a gentle patting motion to avoid rubbing and tugging.”

6. Tanning and/or Not Wearing Sunscreen
It’s no secret that sunning yourself is just about the worst thing you can do to your skin. “Every tan, even a slight darkening, is a sign of skin damage,” explains Dr. Nazarian. “With repeated exposure to UV-radiation, skin cells can mutate, causing deadly skin cancers like melanoma. If that wasn’t bad enough, chronic radiation and tanning also causes signs of skin aging, like wrinkles, sagging and drooping, brown spots, and uneven tone.”

As far as protection goes, you should be taking precaution daily if you want to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer. “Every day of the year, rain or shine, harmful UV rays come through windows in your office, home, or car,” says Rouleau. “Make sure your moisturizer contains a sunscreen, so you only need to apply one product. Don’t forget, the best anti-aging product in the world is sunscreen.”

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7. Smoking
As if you needed another incentive to quit, just know: Your skin will be so grateful. In addition to causing premature aging and wrinkling, it’s endangering your health. “Smoking cigarettes increases your risk of squamous cell skin cancer, a dangerous skin cancer that can metastasize and spread if not caught early,” warns Dr. Nazarian.

8. Neglect
Failing to look after your skin, like you would your teeth or hair, is its own form of abuse. But justcleansing ain’t gonna cut it: “Washing your face in the morning isn’t quite enough to satisfy your skin-care quota,” explains Dr. Nazarian. “Skin requires daily moisturizing, daily sun-protection, and annual monitoring to screen for skin cancer. Skin cancers can usually be treated, and cured, if caught early. There’s no excuse for neglecting your health by skipping your exam.

THE 8-STEP PLAN TO CRUSHING CRAZY GIRL CRAVINGS

January 7th, 2015

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Have you ever tried to kick a sugar habit? You make it through the first day, only to find yourself fighting the urge, struggling with the impulse to scrounge for that last piece of “emergency chocolate.” All of a sudden, your body seems to have a will of its own and you’re eating the sugary treat, like a drowning woman gasps for air.

WTF?!, you think, after. Why did I succumb to these cravings again?

Because, darling, you’re just a puppet—a roving home for the trillions of bacteria that live in your body. For a long time, I’ve called them “the beat within,” and now science is proving this reality.

The Harvard School of Public Health reports that bacterial cells including yeast and fungi outnumber our larger human cells by ten to one, with more than 1000 varieties living everywhere from our skin to our tear ducts.

Put simply, we are more bacterial than human. These tiny organisms help us digest our food, create vitamins and hormones, and keep our skin healthy. And though we don’t know the full extent of their impact on our health yet, one thing is for sure: They need to eat too.

And some of them prefer the bad stuff. Like a bunch of frat boys who move into an apartment and wreck the place, these “bad” bacteria, including the candida yeasts which result in vaginal yeast infections, have one favorite food that keeps them multiplying: sugar.

Normally those little beasties are kept in check by the other “good” bacteria, but our modern routines are like a carpet bomb on the inner microbiome‘s healthy, balanced ecology. Everything can affect the delicate relationship, from highly refined and sugary diets, to constant stress, to antibiotic overuse or hormonal imbalance.

Chances are that imbalance is what sent you to your panic place. Their sugar cravings are oftenyour sugar cravings. Now, not all sugar cravings are caused by bacterial overgrowth, or dysbiosis—we’ve all felt the emotionally calming call of a cupcake after a rough day or breakup—but the dangers of these bacterial imbalances are real. Digestive distress from bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and leaky gut are all warning signs of bacterial disharmony. If these symptoms persist, the puppet master will cause you to eat your way into weight loss resistance, hormonal and thyroid conditions, blood sugar imbalances, skin problems, and mood swings.

This may sound weird, but your gut is your emotional brain, and it houses as many neurotransmitters as the brain in your head. From nervous knots and anxious butterflies, to gut feelings about people or situations, your tummy is like your internal GPS. When it’s unhealthy, impaired, or overrun by the wrong bacteria, your ability to trust yourself and feel confident in your decisions may also become impaired.

Okay, so now you’re freaked out. Don’t worry. Here’s how to get back on track:

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1.

Select naturally fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, unpasteurized miso paste, and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, which bring a wide variety of natural probiotics (the good bacteria) into your digestive system.

2.

Limit sugars—including alcohol, honey, maple syrup, agave, and even fruit (yes, even those green juices with a green apple.) They feed the bad bacteria and should be excluded if dysbiosis is suspected.

3.

Avoid starchy foods such as grains, corn, baked goods (even gluten-free), and potatoes in order to “starve” the bad bacteria.

4.

Ditch the dairy. Use unsweetened coconut or almond milk instead.

5.

Begin your day with ten minutes of meditation with deep breathing. Place your hands on your belly and focus your relaxation on the gut.

6.

Take a few deep breaths before each meal, consciously relaxing your gut before you eat.

7.

Eat slowly and chew completely in order to help your gut digest your food properly.

8.

Use a hot water bottle to relax your belly at the end of the day.

You gut got this.

How to Look Hot and Healthy When You Have Pale Skin

December 17th, 2014

Because we’ve got a long way to go ’til summer, ladies.

It can be intimidating to apply makeup on fair skin: Go too bold, and you can look like a kid playing at your mom’s vanity. Go too light, and you risk looking a little ghostly. Makeup artist Michiko Boorberg offers a simple guide to finding a happy medium.

Foundation
Many women pick a base that’s too dark for their skin or that has the wrong undertone, says Boorberg. With either choice, they end up with makeup that looks like, well, makeup. “The best way to match your foundation is to know your undertones,” says Boorberg. Find out if you have cool (pink) or warm (yellow) undertones by checking the veins at your wrist. If your veins are blue, you have cool undertones. If they are yellow or olive, you have warm. Once you know your undertone, starting testing. Never compare makeup to your hands because they receive the most direct sunlight. “It’s good to try foundation on the jawline and see which foundation blends the best,” says Boorberg.

Blush
“You don’t want to put too little color or use too dark [of a color] on the skin,” says Boorberg. “Stay away from anything too brown.” She recommends rosy pinks and peaches because they naturally blend into pale complexions. Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 210 ($26, sephora.com) is a soft coral that blends seamlessly, giving the skin that I-woke-up-like-this winter flush.

Bronzer
The darker the shade, the more obvious it is to the naked eye. Choose a bronzer that is only one shade darker than your skin tone. Regardless of the time of the year, the application should be invisible to the eye. Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in golden light ($40,bobbibrowncosmetics.com) works well for many fair complexions.

Lipstick
“The best lipstick [shades] for pale skin are nudes, pinks, and light corals,” says Boorberg. When choosing a complementary nude (which can be a tall order), she recommends looking for ones with a slight apricot color. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita ($32, sephora.com) is a soft blend between nude and rose.

While a true beige will make skin appear even paler, so will a bold, dark shade like purple or dark red. “Either keep it light and fresh, like a light pink or coral, or bright, bold and fun, such as fuchsia or bright orange,” suggests Boorberg.

Eyes
“A common mistake is to go too dark with shadows on paler skin,” says Boorberg. “This can start to look too dark and goth.” Instead, she recommends skipping blacks and grays and focusing on lighter, softer hues, such as brown, gold or coral. For flattering shades, use CoverGirl Enhancer 3-Kit Shadows ($4.24, covergirl.com) in cafe au lait, golden sunset, or Major Distraction.

healthy young skin 5 Steps to Sexier Skin

 

VICTORIA’S SECRET MODELS SHARE THEIR BEAUTY TIPS AND MUST-HAVE PRODUCTS

December 3rd, 2014

After months of trainingdieting, and working out, the Angels will walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (held in London for the first time ever). Here, we rounded up the beauty products and practices some of the Angels swear by all year round, whether they are preparing for the big day or not.

Karlie Kloss

Beauty Secret: “I get breakouts when I wear makeup to exercise, so I clean my face before and after I work out. I also use Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. I’m always shocked and horrified at all the junk in my pores.”

Must-Have Products: “I like Living Proof shampoo and conditioner. They make my hair bounce in a different way. I like products that streamline my morning routine. Sunday Riley has a really good foundation: It’s very velvety. The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is good. I love RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up for under the eyes or on a blemish.”

 

 

Jasmine Tookes

Beauty Secret: “I learned to ice my face right before going to bed from my mom’s dermatologist a long time ago and I’ve done it ever since. You take an ice cube and run it all over your face until it melts away and it leaves your pores really tight and your face really firm.”

Must-Have Products: “I’m very simple and clean and natural when it comes to my beauty routine. For my hair, I love a simple wave: I curl it with a spiral curling iron and just add in some Moroccanoil. For my body, I use baby oil, and I wash my face with Cetaphil, and then I put Vitamin E oil on my face before I go to bed.”

Candice Swanepoel

Beauty Secret and Must-Have Beauty Product: “My skin is so sensitive so I use mostly natural products. Less is more in my opinion. I use coconut oil for my body and tea tree oil and green tea face wash.”

Doutzen Kroes

Beauty Secret: “Curling my lashes. Lucia Pieroni was the first one who taught me how to do it and how it makes a difference. Even without mascara, they look better curled.”

Must-Have Products: “I usually keep it to a minimum and don’t wear too much makeup to give my skin a break from when I’m working, so my skin care routine is just jumping in the shower and putting on moisturizer. I’ve been using vitamin E oil and that’s been working really well and then I’ll put on lip gloss or mascara and that’s it. And L’Oréal Paris BB cream—it’s quick and not heavy.”

SUGAR AND AGING: HOW TO FIGHT GLYCATION

November 18th, 2014

The relationship between sugar and fine lines can be sticky. Find out why!

Rare is the woman who can indulge with abandon at dessert and not wonder where a little extra wobble might show up later. We all know that when it comes to our bodies, sugar is a sly villain—falling prey to its siren song (presumably something like an Oompa Loompa ditty) will give our taste buds a hit of pleasure before wreaking havoc everywhere else. But there probably aren’t many of us who worry that eating it might also cause wrinkles—and that’s not a sweet story either.

The science is this: When you have sugar molecules in your system, they bombard the body’s cells like a meteor ­shower—glomming onto fats and proteins in a process known as glycation. This forms advanced glycation end products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs), which cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed. Much of what is known about glycation’s ill effects comes from diabetes research: The connective-tissue damage and chronic inflammation resulting from diabetics’ sustained high blood sugar can lead to debilitating conditions, such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s, vascular tightening, and diseases of the pancreas and liver.

The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy—collagen and elastin. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance. The presence of AGEs also makes the complexion more vulnerable to bad-news assailants such as UV light and cigarette smoke. As New York–based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, puts it: “Number one, the glucose makes the cells abnormal; and number two, it creates free radicals. So you get a double whammy when it comes to aging.”

food addiction, food addicts

To an extent, glycation is a fact of life. It’s happening right now, to all of us. It can even be measured: The cross-links formed between sugars and proteins emit a fluorescence, which scientists can capture using Visia complexion-analysis cameras. “If you take a fluorescent image of children, their faces will come out very dark,” says Procter & Gamble biochemist Greg Hillebrand, PhD, “but with each decade, the AGEs, and therefore the brightness, will accumulate more and more.” This means that by the time we reach our dotage, we can expect our Visia visages to resemble those of the incandescent aliens in Cocoon. The external signs of glycation show up around the age of 30 or 35, when a perfect storm of built-up sun damage, environmental oxidative stress, hormonal changes, and the development of AGEs begins to result in, well, a-g-e. “When you’re younger, your body has more resources to ward off damage, and you’re producing more collagen,” says New York– and Miami-based dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD, who in 2007 was one of the first to launch an anti-aging skin-care line specifically addressing glycation. “When you reach a certain age, these sugar by-products begin to build up at the same time that your threshold for damage is getting lower.”

Lest you rue the day you first tasted a Krispy Kreme, note: Refined sugar isn’t the only culprit. Health-nut staples such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables turn to glucose when digested too—albeit in less damaging fashion. And even if we could completely eliminate all types of sugar from our diets, we shouldn’t: It’s an essential fuel for cells and energy metabolism, critical to survival. “For most people with normal levels of glucose, the glycation process is something that happens gradually over the course of a lifetime, and it’s really not that big of a deal,” Hillebrand says, “but diet and lifestyle choices can affect how quickly the effects can be seen on the skin.” One of the key hallmarks of glycation, Hillebrand explains, is the yellowing of skin often seen prematurely in smokers. “Smoke reduces antioxidants in skin, and smokers’ vitamin C and E are being used up trying to take care of all this oxidation that’s caused by smoking, so they don’t have a lot of antioxidant potential to take care of normal processes like glycation,” he says. “And if you add a high-glycemic-index diet, you’re just asking for trouble.”

Beauty

While glycation can’t be completely stopped, it can be slowed (though Hillebrand says there are pharmaceutical companies working on “AGE busters” that could break the cross-links once they’ve already formed—”something that would apply to a number of diseases as well as skin aging”). From a dietary standpoint, forswearing white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup—which studies have shown increases the rate of glycation by 10 times, compared with glucose—and simple carbs is a no-brainer. “Even though all carbs get converted into sugar, when you eat the good ones, like brown rice and whole-grain bread, you get less glucose, and you get it more slowly,” Karcher says. Brandt also recommends taking supplemental carnosine, an amino acid that has been shown to protect against AGE buildup.

Skin care too makes a difference. Scientists have been on the hunt for potent antiglycation agents since the ’80s, when biochemist Anthony Cerami, PhD, found that aminoguanidine molecules block glucose-collagen pairs from forming, but products containing viable AGE fighters only began to appear on the market about five years ago with the introduction of Brandt’s Lineless range. Now that glycation is widely recognized as a major cause of aging, lots of comprehensive anti-aging creams contain AGE fighters too. Superstar multitasker green tea has been proven to significantly interfere with the glycation process while stimulating collagen synthesis—so if you’re using a product containing green tea (or drinking it regularly), you’re already protecting your skin. “Anything that stimulates the fibroblasts to build new collagen is going to help eradicate damage,” Brandt says, noting that retinoids and some dermal fillers fall into this category. “Since your body has a process where old collagen is broken down by enzymes and new collagen is generated, what’s going to happen is that the old glycated collagen will eventually be eliminated and replaced by un-glycated collagen.”

Fall Beauty Lessons From a Makeup Mastermind

November 3rd, 2014
When we need advice, we like to go straight to the pros. Here, we’re talking all things beauty with the Director of Global Makeup Artistry for Estée Lauder, Blair Patterson, who’s worked with Brooke Shields, Lily Tomlin, Carolyn Murphy, Constance Jablonski, and more. He let us in on the mood for fall (“warm, sophisticated, and playful”), the biggest trends and must-have products, and one thing every woman needs to know.

What’s In and What’s Out 

Some of fall’s biggest trends are nothing new: glossy red lips, a full, manicured brow, and satin skin (not too matte, not too dewy). When it comes to looks that are no longer on-trend, Patterson doesn’t really see things that way. “If something works for you, rock it,” he says. “Just make sure you’re checking in with your makeup routine as frequently as you update your wardrobe. If it makes you look older or tired, wash it off your face. Other than that, always have fun, try new things, and practice, practice, practice!
”

Surprising Fall Makeup Trends (and How to Get Them) 

Smoky green eyes. This fall is all about big eyes in shades of sage and olive. To get the look, apply white eyeliner on the lid or a light concealer as a base to soften the pigments, then blend in the shadows. The end result should be a soft and sophisticated watercolor effect.

Disheveled eyeliner. The eyeliner we saw on the fall 2014 runways was “not too perfect,” says Patterson. To accomplish this, the key is to bring attention to the lashes by lining the eye just above or under the natural lash line so you can see a bit of skin.

 

Three Top Makeup Mistakes

-Patterson believes getting stuck in a routine is the most common mistake. “Try something new,” he says. “You can always go back to what is comfortable, but you may be surprised!”

-Women also often forget to balance the eyes and lips. “If you love a bold lip, keep the eyes neutral and vice versa,” recommends Patterson. And try not to apply too much eyeliner or foundation. “Start light and build up to what works best with your needs.

-Finally, don’t forget to pay attention to your eyebrows. “It is so important to shape your brows—they frame the entire face.”

Two Products Every Woman Should Have

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Envious
“Every woman needs a power lipstick for emergency situations that require superhuman confidence.”

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair
“I can’t work or survive without it,” says Patterson. “I use it at least five times during every makeup application, sometimes more. The amount of things it can do besides what it was designed to do is large enough for its own interview.”

One Thing ALL Women Should Know About Makeup
“It comes off, so try something new once a week.“

HOW TO TAME SPLIT ENDS

October 18th, 2014

No haircut required.

 

You’ve been growing out your hair into long, Jemima Kirke waves for months now, and yet, there’s something standing in your way of Jessa hair perfection: split ends. Nothing will kill the length and strength of hair quicker than split ends, and they’re so tricky to fix, because the more you have, the quicker they multiply. Plus, everything from brushing to straightening to fishtail braiding can exacerbate the situation. Luckily, we’ve got a plan to get rid of them that starts before your morning shower and keeps working straight through the night, even while you sleep.

Pre-Shower:

To fight the good fight against split ends, defense should begin before you even shampoo. Try pre-wash treatments that act as cuticle menders and sealants, like Michael Van Clarke’s 3” More Inches Pre-Wash Treatment. Apply it an hour or so before getting in the shower and leave on as long as you like, letting the cashmere proteins and amino acids perform their anti-aging, moisturizing magic. Or reach for Orico’s Superseed Vitamin Dry Multi-Oil, which you can leave on for just 15 minutes before you hop in the shower.

In Shower:

For a one-two-punch of split end mending sorcery, Davines Melu Shampoo and Conditioner will revitalize strands that are prone to breakage. The spinach extract and apricot butter strengthen and soften while the Quaternium-8 makes combing through wet or dry tresses super easy. It also minimizes heating tool damage and protects the hair by significantly cutting down drying time.

Post-Shower:

AG Hair’s Keratin Repair Serum uses one of your locks’ primary building blocks, keratin protein, to penetrate frazzled cuticles and bond to broken hair, correcting past damage and preventing further breakage in the process. As you continue to use it, you’ll find your split ends fused together and the overall health of your hair renewed. As an added bonus, it restores elasticity, giving you bouncier tresses, too.

Another keratin-packed wonder, Phyto Paris’ PHYTOKÉRATINE Reparative Serum, uses not only the aforementioned ingredients, but also silk peptides, which act like a bandage, smoothing and repairing split ends immediately. Plus, its hyaluronic acid is an unparalleled moisturizer, so applying to your ends will give you a supple and shiny look, straightway.

Before You Style:

Reach for Gold Lust, a nourishing and non-greasy oil that’s liquid gold for dry and damaged manes. As one of Oribe’s most popular products, its signature mixture of watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower extracts works as your hair’s arsenal against aging, oxidative stress, and the deterioration of your cuticle’s natural keratin reserve. Boasting a bevy of oils, this emollient formula is sure to be a standout shelf staple in your battle against brittle ends.

If you’re looking for something that offers immediate relief from frizzy locks, opt for R+Co’s Tinsel Oil. It features exotic oils like argan and jojoba compounded with antioxidant rich vitamin E for a supremely strengthening formula that will leave your hair in child-like form, no frizz in sight.

While You Sleep:

Nighttime is the right time to rectify your split ends, as your strands are least exposed to external aggressors while you catch up on your Zzzzs. To repair while you snooze, spread a nickel-sized amount of Phyto’s SECRET DE NUIT Intense Hydration Regenerating Night Treatment through freshly brushed ends before bed. You’ll boast suppler, shinier, and more manageable locks upon waking, thanks to the ceramides encapsulated in chronospheres, which offer time-released hydration and nourishment while you hit the sack.

 

healthy-hair

HOW DOES YOUR (GUT) GARDEN GROW?

October 9th, 2014

Nutritionist Kathie Madonna Swift argues that drugs, stress, and poor food choices are causing obesity, and that nurturing your digestive bacteria is the fastest way to lose weight

 

For decades, farmers have been using anti­biotics to fatten up their livestock—they don’t know exactly how it works, but it does. Want to build a bigger chicken? Mix some bacteria-killing drugs into its feed. Research has suggested that this principle might also apply to humans: Some scientists speculate that all the antibiotics we’re prescribed, beginning in infancy (American children are, on average, prescribed at least one course of antibiotics per year), may be playing a role—along with our overly processed diet—in the expansion of our waistlines.

Kathie Madonna Swift, a holistic nutritionist based in western Massachusetts, has gathered quite a following over the years through her work at various health centers in the Berkshires: Clinton-family health guru Mark Hyman’s UltraWellness Center, Canyon Ranch, and, now, the Kripalu Center. In The Swift Diet (cowritten with ELLE contributor Joseph Hooper), Swift hypothesizes that the onslaught of drugs and nutrient-free food has damaged our “microbiota”—the array of bacteria that live in our bellies—transforming what should be friendly flora into fat-­harvesting frenemies that turn our ­digestive health upside down and make our thighs balloon. Fear not, there is a cure—but be warned: It does involve a whole lot of arugula.

You coined the term “irritable weight.” What does that mean?Kathie Madonna Swift: Over the years, I’ve worked with so many women who have struggled with weight issues and who have also been trying to manage their problem digestion. I see irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and being overweight as two faces of the same problem.

Your book is about weight loss and healing the microbiome of the stomach—and yet you begin by talking about the brain. Why?It’s the big missing piece in most weight-loss approaches. I do these weeklong seminars, and it’s always an aha! ­moment when I tell people about ­research showing that chronic, unremitting stress affects the microbiota and that, in turn, the bacteria influence neuro­transmitters in our brain, affecting not only our digestion but our emotions, too. There’s a lot of research with animals showing that changing their gut micro­biota can radically change their behavior—making timid mice act more boldly, for example. And in humans, stress can alter the amount of mucus in the stomach, which affects the strains of bacteria that thrive there, which in turn can affect the chemical messengers that link the whole gut-brain connection.

How would bad gut bacteria cause weight gain?What we think happens is that, all too often, beneficial microbiota are not fed, not tended to, not nourished with what they need, which is a plantcentric, fiber-rich diet. They’re getting too much sugar, too much unhealthy fat. They’re getting wiped out by overuse of anti­biotics. There’s a decline in healthy bugs, and opportunistic bugs begin to flourish. When that happens, there’s a shift in ­intestinal permeability—some scientists have refer­red to it as the opening of the biological doorway. You want nutrients to get through the gut wall into the bloodstream, but you don’t want unfriendly organ­isms, pathogens, or big protein molecules to leak through.

Is that “leaky gut”?Yes, but I’m still keeping watch on other mechanisms that might be at play. As with most anything in nutrition or ­science, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. But when these bad things seep through, they cross-talk with your ­immune system and set up low-grade, chronic inflammation and a shift in ­energy balance. In some individuals, these bugs become energy harvesters and storers. There’s evidence, for example, that American kids, who get so many anti­biotics and live in such a hygienic ­environment, are missing bacteria that keep the hunger hormone ghrelin in check. Lose the bacteria and you lose control of your appetite.

So what do we have to give up, and what should we eat to properly feed our microbiome?You have to eliminate what I call the micromenaces—first, foods with high carbohydrate density. I use the example of a rice cake. It seems so virtuous, but its carb density is actually very high because there’s nothing to it—it’s all carbs, whereas foods that are often not allowed on low-carb diets, like fruit and sweet potatoes, contain a lot of fiber and water along with the carbs—so their carb den­sity is lower. Cut out sugar, of course, and unhealthy fat: the mass-produced vege­table oils and trans fats. And then there are specific potential gut irritants: gluten, lactose, the additives and chemicals in processed foods that might be playing a role, alcohol….

You cut out all that forever?No! Once you’re feeling better, you can experiment with adding foods back in. Don’t permanently eliminate a food until you’ve tested it three separate times. Because otherwise, people can really whittle their diet down to nothing.

And what are the top foods for nourishing the gut?I really try not to pick favorites, but my son started calling me “Arugula” one year because we were eating so much of it. You want to increase the amount of prebiotic foods you eat—that’s the good, starchy vegetables and legumes, ancient grains, and lots of herbs and spices, lots of fruits and vegetables. And add in fermented foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, and raw apple-cider vinegar. I think a key element here is diversity. Try to eat seasonally, because that forces you to mix it up.

You also suggest people try a probiotic supplement. But is there a risk that in dosing yourself every day you’ll reduce the diversity of your microbiota, limiting it mostly to the one you’re taking in a pill?Some scientists think there might be a risk. In fact, a lot of clinicians might switch it up a bit—I do this myself. For ­example, I have had some patients with IBS use Align supplements for a week or so, which have some actual data supporting their use with IBS, and then we might go to a different broad-spectrum pro­biotic, alternating the organisms. We’re still experimenting with probiotics. Some supplements do have research behind them, but we are not yet at a place where we can make definitive recommendations about which are best.

Putting aside weight gain for a moment, are there other conditions that might improve with a better microbiome?Well, certainly two of our other epidemics—diabetes and heart disease—are affected. And so are autoimmune conditions—multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and others—because so much of our immune system resides in the gut. With the brain connection micro­biota have, I think improving the gut can help maintain cognition and increase the neuroplasticity and resilience of our brains. There’s a lot that’s still uncharted territory, but I really believe there’s an oppor­tunity at the plate.

The skeptic in me says that anyone eating such a healthy diet would lose weight, no matter what’s going on with the gut biome.So true! I actually didn’t want the word diet in the title of the book. It should be a way of life. But I think knowing how your food affects your microbiome is ­motivating—that kind of understanding and awareness can really inspire. You can almost visualize this community of organisms multitasking to help us stay well. They are an ecological community, and all we need to do is nourish it.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MILK YOU’RE DRINKING

September 13th, 2014

Milk does a body good—or does it? From soy to almond to regular old cow’s milk, we decode what you’re putting in your coffee.

Drinking milk is a part of our culture, whether on its own or in all the other dairy products we consume, from cheese to yogurt to ice cream. But lately, traditional cow’s milk has come under fire because of the hormones and antibiotics given to the livestock that produce it, the negative environmental impact of dairy farms where it’s made, and the high fat content within it. (Plus, so many people are just naturally lactose intolerant.) Luckily, there are many milk alternatives out there. Almond milk is having a major moment, while formerly popular soy milk is on the way out. And as for the other options? We spoke with three nutritionists to get the lowdown on 10 different kinds of milk.

This creamy nut milk has ousted soy from the hippest coffee shops across the country, but is it worth the hype? For those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, almond milk contains many of the same nutrients as cow’s milk, but with fewer calories. “Almond milk provides a hefty dose of vitamins, including vitamin E and biotin,” says Carly de Castro, co-founder of Pressed Juicery and author of Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing, & Living Well. “This makes it especially beneficial for cardiovascular health, blood sugar balance, and getting supple and moist skin. Plus, it’s low in calories and can easily be blended into a latte or green smoothie.”

Still, you should always look for unsweetened or unflavored almond milks, and check the label, as many processed versions contain added sugar or salt. Nutritionist Arielle Haspel also warns that almond milk can contain carrageenan. “This is a substance that doesn’t have too much research on it yet,” she explains. “But it is thought to degrade in the gastrointestinal tract and in the liver and turn into a ‘carcinogen,’ resulting in a serious inflammatory agent that may cause intestinal abnormalities and possibly cancer.”

Soy milk has a lower sugar content than regular milk and is less expensive than other milk alternatives. It also contains phytoestrogen, which can accelerate calcium absorption. But it is often highly processed and contains many additives, so it’s no longer recommended by many nutritionists. They think soy is toxic to the body unless it’s fermented, like in miso soup, salad dressings, tempeh (a fermented soy and grain product), and tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce), explains Haspel. Unfermented forms of soy are known to cause an imbalance of sex hormones, inhibit protein absorption, and deplete the thyroid of iodine, one of the most important minerals needed for growth and metabolism. “I heard that drinking two glasses of soy milk daily for one month is enough to alter a woman’s menstrual cycle,” Haspel told us.

Whole milk is high in potassium and contains a balanced distribution of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, but it contains the the sugar lactose, which is difficult for many people to digest, explains nutritionist Keri Glassman. Also, because it is pasteurized, the good bacteria is often killed, so drinking it can decrease the immune system’s ability to fight pathogens. Dairy products can also contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and fat to a person’s diet. “Diets high in fat and saturated fat can increase the risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease,” says Haspel. “Also, breast feeding mothers may tend to have colicky babies if they consume cow’s milk, as the cow’s antibodies can pass through the mother’s bloodstream into her breast milk and to the baby.”

Bad news for those thinking they were taking the healthy route by drinking fat free milk. Dairy intrinsically has fat, so the more fat that is stripped and skimmed, the more processed the product is. Because it’s skimmed of fat, very often sugar, artificial flavors, and chemical additives are added to compensate and make it taste better. So many products made with skim milk, like fat-free yogurts, cottage cheese, puddings, and ice cream have more sugar and carbohydrate content than the one percent, two percent, and full-fat options. “Most people tend to eat more of the fat-free option and end up hungrier faster because it doesn’t fill them up or satiate their taste buds,” says Haspel.

Drinking skim milk can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, explains Glassman, because the body needs adequate levels of fat to absorb certain vitamins, including A, D, E and K. If there are inadequate levels of fat in your diet, your body may need to take vitamin D from reserves stored in your bone.

“Organic milk is one of the best options if you’re drinking cow’s dairy, because it is free of hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics,” says de Castro. Organic milk also has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, which helps to lower inflammation while improving cognition and cardiovascular health.

So while it’s more expensive than regular milk, organic milk is definitely worth the splurge. If not organic, Haspel explains that dairy cows are often given synthetic hormones to increase milk production that you will end up taking into your body. In addition, many cows need to be treated with antibiotics because they’re producing more milk than they naturally are able to, so they end up attracting infections. Traces of these antibiotics and hormones have been found in samples of milk and other non-organic dairy products.

Raw milk has not been pasteurized or homogenized and contains living bacteria, enzymes, and many enzyme-based, pathogen-killing systems. It’s known to significantly boost immunity, especially in children who get sick frequently. It also may help with asthma and improve digestive function and ability, explains Haspel.

Even though it’s cows milk, raw milk typically doesn’t cause the same symptoms in those who are lactose intolerant as other cow’s milks. But because it’s not pasteurized, there is a risk of taking in bacteria and is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. “Make sure you know and trust the origin of your raw milk,” advises Haspel. “It should come from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows, and the farm should test the microbial count of the milk to ensure there’s no bad bacteria.”

Coconut milk is made with the meat of the coconut, which is one of the richest sources of beneficial fats. It contains medium-chain fatty acids, which support thyroid function and therefore boost your metabolism. This can help with weight loss, despite its higher caloric content, says de Castro. It is also rich in vitamins, iron, and fiber, and contains lauric and caprylic acid, which are both antibacterial and antiviral.

Coconut milk is derived from a grain, so it’s not good for those sensitive to gluten or on the Paleo diet. Canned varieties are too thick to use as a replacement for milk, but they can be used as an egg or cream substitute. Still, the canned variety has a very distinct coconut flavor that may overpower the other ingredients in a recipe.

In the bohemian pockets of cities like Los Angeles and Boulder, goat milk is becoming a regular café option. It has more calcium than cow’s milk, which helps build strong bones and teeth, as well as more magnesium, which boosts immunity. It is also known to cause less allergic-like symptoms, so for those who are lactose intolerant, it’s a good option. Some people, though, are averse to its grassy taste, and it has more calories, fat, and saturated fat than cow’s milk. It is also lacking B vitamins and selenium.

This nutty and easily-digested milk alternative often gets a bad rap because it is made with the seeds that marijuana is grown from. Thus it can only be sourced in places where the hemp seed is legal, like Canada, explains Haspel, even though it has none of the compounds or effects of THC. And hemp milk is a good option for vegans, those who are lactose intolerant, or have nut allergies, as it’s a great source of protein, containing the 10 essential amino acids, along with healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. “It is also a rich source of vitamin A, folic acid, and zinc, which are all needed for healthy development, skin turnover, and immunity,” says de Castro. It does, however, expire very quickly.

“Rice is believed to be one of the most hypoallergenic foods, making rice milk perfect for those susceptible to food allergies,” says de Castro. It is a bit thin and watery and has a very neutral flavor, so it often tastes best in blended drinks and baked goods rather than on its own. Also, most rice milks are derived from white rice, not brown rice, so they are more processed. And while rice milk does contain less fat than regular milk varieties, it has a significant amount of carbohydrates, and is relatively lacking in vitamins and minerals.

 

HOW TO RING STACK, FROM THE GIRLS WHO KNOW IT BEST

July 28th, 2014

On their 10th anniversary, the masterminds behind fashion’s delicate jewelry craze talk their rise to cult-fandom, growing up, and give us a sneak peak at their gorgeous new lookbook—as well as a lesson on how to master an update on their signature, edgy-pretty ring stack.

“None of this was instantaneous,” says buyer Leigh Plessner. “The turning point for us was also a turning point for Williamsburg, when the stylists and models and actresses started hanging out on Bedford. They really took our pieces out there and were so influential when it came to giving us our initial push forward.”

 

And now that stacking delicate gold rings has become more commonplace (“it’s not this new phenomenon anymore,” Plessner says), the “kittens” are wearing Catbird jewels in new and unexpected ways. It’s cool to see this shift in real time, with the girls who come into the store. It’s extended upwards to the ears [Editor’s note: We agree!] so we’re doing a few new earrings for the fall. But it’ll be Catbird’s take on the trend, subtle and glittery,” says Vardi. “It’s being absorbed more into personal style, a thin chain layered with a statement necklace, or a stack of bands with a vintage cocktail ring. It’s about ease and confidence,” adds Plessner.

 

Still, it’s a safe bet to assume that with a decade of business and a legion of high-profile fans under their belt, the women of Catbird know how to stack ‘em like no other. In their stunning new lookbook, Vardi and Plessner display an updated version of their signature ring stack that’s perfectly on point with fashion’s latest obsession with edgy adornment. Here, they give their discerning guide to mastering the look.

 

LEFT HAND:

The Maleficent ring is such a special piece for us, so we let that stand on its own on the index finger, accented by a slim band (the Mignon) as a first knuckle ring. This can be replicated with your favorite stone ring, be it an heirloom or your favorite cocktail ring.

The middle finger is what we call a “power stack” because it creates a bit of drama. We did this one with a heavy layeringof gold Twisted StackersTiny Chain ringsThreadbares, andHeart rings. It’s topped with a Tomboy on the first knuckle in rose gold.

We love the look of something bare next to a power stack, so we put a single Threadbare on the next finger and carried that to the pinky to create the illusion of gold running across two fingers.

RIGHT HAND:

Moving to the right hand, an Opal Teardrop ring was paired with rose gold Threadbares because the blush hue really picks up the opalescence. Our stone rings sit on the index finger of each hand as another way to create loose symmetry.

We left the middle finger bare since it’s framed by heavier stacks on either side.

For the ring finger, a playful cat-ear ring (the Lovecats) surrounded by Fairy Light bands adds dimension and texturewhile the pinky bands pick up on the shimmer from the black pavé.

BONUS TIP:

Don’t be afraid to mix metals. Here we did a balance of rose and yellow gold, with soft hints of silver.

 

 

5 Steps to the Sexiest Legs Possible ‬

July 14th, 2014

 

With all the denim cut-offs, short dresses, and bikinis in our summer wardrobe, our legs are constantly on display. They are one of the sexiest parts of a woman’s body, but are often prone to bumps, cellulite, dry skin, and even funky tan lines. So we’ve put together a regimen of exfoliating, smoothing, and sculpting products to get your gams geared up for all the attention. From shaving cream to body wash to bronzing lotion, these products can be used in tandem or individually to suit your needs. So go ahead, raise that hemline.

EXFOLIATE: Orlane Paris Aqua Svelte Slimming Scrub Shower Gel

This is not your average body wash. When this algae and sea salt scrub comes into contact with water, the caffeine-rich formula releases exfoliating, detoxifying, and slimming particles that slough away dead skin cells and fight off cellulite. For the first step in your gorgeous gam process, massage the gel into your legs (and the rest of your bod as well) in a warm shower, then rinse off with cold water to tone the skin. Not only is it made of ingredients from the ocean, it is full of marine fragrance notes that will leave you with a refreshing seaside-like scent.

$65; orlane.com

 

SHAVE: EOS Ultra Moisturizing Shave Cream

Amp up your shaving process with this non-foaming shaving cream packed with natural conditioning oils, shea butter, and vitamins C and E. The paraben-free formula is so rich and moisturizing that you can use it wet or dry and it will leave your legs supple and smooth until you need to shower again.

$3.50; evolutionofsmooth.com

 

SMOOTH: Paula’s Choice RESIST Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

Although your legs are definitely going to be moisturized after you’ve bathed and shaved with the above products, we still recommend using a post-shower lotion. This silky formula is particularly good for the gams as it utilizes a retinol complex, antioxidants, and skin-repairing ingredients that intensively smooth and firm skin. It is made of plant oils, but is not greasy and leaves no build-up.

$19; paulaschoice.com

 

BANISH BUMPS: Valmont D. SOLUTION BOOSTER Body Slimming Serum

If you need a little extra help when it comes to the uneven areas and cellulite on your legs, this serum is worth the investment. Apply to your problem areas after you moisturize and you will feel its high-concentration formula with a refreshing mint scent instantly working. It wakes up and refreshes the skin, and leaves it feeling tighter and looking smooth and toned.

$255; boutiquevalmont.com

 

BRONZE: Votre Vu Silk Stockings Perfect Leg Lustre

If you are looking for a little faux glow to finish off your look before you hit the town or the beach, this lotion will cover your legs in a semi-sheer veil of color and help hide any remaining bumps or tan lines. It’s also ultra-hydrating and infused with vitamin E, chamomile, and Saint John’s wort. But of course, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen.

$34; votrevu.com

 

7 Ways To Make Your Outfit Look Expensive

July 2nd, 2014

High-low dressing is the art of creating fashion looks that are super chic, on-trend—and on budget.

Here’s how to master it.

7 ways to make your outfit look expensive

Having a great sense of style should not be confused with having an unlimited budget to finance it. In fact, some of the greatest outfits—snapped on the streets or on that style savvy Kate Middleton—are a mix of high-end and fast fashion pieces, for a timeless and personal look that happens to be totally on trend.

To deconstruct the art of high-low dressing, we chatted with Amy Lu, a celebrity stylist based in Toronto, for her expert tips on how to curate your closet each season.

1. Build up the bones of your wardrobe

For a wardrobe that you can stand beyond one season, search for key items, designer or otherwise, that you know you’ll love forever. “Look for investment pieces—think about things that will be timeless in your wardrobe,” says Lu. These will be the “bones” of your closet. “Then look for trendier pieces to fill it out.” The on-trend items—from fun prints to timely cuts—give the outfit your unique touch.

So what makes up the bones of a timeless wardrobe? Think classic boots, denim, and a beautiful handbag. “That’s where you should be spending your money,” she says. The rest of your look can be spruced up with accessories and flirty tops from stores like Aritzia, Zara and H&M, she adds.

 

2. Add in inexpensive on-trend items
A thoughtful, put together outfit isn’t about wearing off-the-runway designer pieces head to toe, but mixing in great on-trend items with your basics. “Fast fashion has increased the accessibility of super trendy pieces that are affordable,” says Lu about the straight-off-the-runway looks found at Topshop and Joe Fresh. “The art of wearing it well is to look expensive head to toe.”And it doesn’t actually have to be. “Try a quality black sheath dress,” says Lu, “and mix in a funky blazer and great accessories.”

3. Opt for chic neutrals 
A great way to determine if something will become a classic in your wardrobe? Ask yourself if it’s something you’ll wear all the time. “Pay attention to great-quality fabrics,” says Lu. “Invest in dress pants, pencil skirts, and a sheath dress as your basics.”

clean pant in wool poplinmax 2 pant in bistretch cotton blend

 

In terms of colour, a neutral palette with black, grey, navy are great colours to keep in mind. And while we love a floral or metallic print pant this fall, it may not bode so well in your closet season after season.

4. Swap in fun accessories for your night look

Bumping up your basics with colourful fast fashion pieces and chunky statement jewellery makes for great transitional dressing as well. “Going from work to play is easy to do with accessories,” says Lu. “Swap in your kitten heel for something higher.” And leave your oversized purse at the office, and bring out a sleek envelope clutch in its place.
5. Invest in a great coat
Think about it: when you’re out of the house running errands all day, what’s the one piece you have on throughout it all? Your coat. “It doesn’t matter what you have on underneath,” says Lu. “Look for a well-tailored coat in a shade that looks fabulous.” We couldn’t agree more.

6. Be like Kate Middleton 
The reigning queen (or Duchess, we should say) of high-low dressing is Kate Middleton, who famously mixes designer labels like Jenny Packham and Alexander McQueen, with off-the-rack fast fashion pieces. “Kate Middleton has access to the best clothes in the world, and she still rocks Topshop,” says Lu.

And then of course, there’s Michelle Obama, who’s known for wearing designer pieces from Jason Wu as much as she is for sporting looks from J. Crew. “It’s calculated and she looks incredible.” 

7. Whatever you’re wearing, just rock it

At the end of the day, high-low dressing is all about piecing together different looks you love for one outfit that’s uniquely your own. “The whole point is to pair great basics together with pieces that look expensive,” shares Lu. “And great shoes.”

9 THINGS YOU NEED TO STOP DOING TO YOUR SKIN ASAP

June 11th, 2014

If you’re breaking out or your skin is simply not as even and moisturized as you’d like, these bad habits may be the cause and you never even realized it.

Washing With Harsh Cleansers

Many people who are prone to pimples or have oily skin gravitate toward exfoliators and cleansers that dry things out. In theory, this seems like a good idea, but they actually strip the skin of all its good oils and diminish its own natural protective barrier, explains Noelle Herzog, brand president of Karin Herzog skincare. This actually accelerates oil production and will increase breakouts. Herzog suggests using a nourishing face wash with a milky texture like Karin Herzog Cleansing Milk.

Using Products in Jars

Anti-aging products contain antioxidants, which break down with repeated exposure to light and air. “Jar packaging lets that occur with each use,” says Bryan Barron, research and content director for BeautyPedia.com. “So your anti-aging products become less and less effective.” He suggests using tube-packaged products, such as Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer.

Skimping on Sleep

We all know how a good night’s rest can benefit our energy levels, metabolism, and mood. But it also has a great effect on our skin, even beyond those dark, under-eye circles, explains Dennis Gross MD, the creator of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare. “When the skin is getting less than optimum fuel, it can become dull and pale,” he says. “Lack of sleep can be so stressful that it actually causes our bodies, including our skin, to generate free radicals.”

Using Cotton Pillowcases

Speaking of sleep…persistently pressing your face into a pillow (especially if you are getting your eight hours) can cause trauma to your skin, including permanent creases as our collagen breaks down. Gross suggests swapping out your cotton pillow for satin or silk as they cause a lot less friction. Also, pillowcases accumulate a buildup of residue, if you are acne-prone, you should try to wash your sheets once a week.

Talking on the Phone Too Much

No, we would never say you can’t talk on the phone—but, on speaker may be better. Your cell gathers bacteria on its surface, so it is important to clean it often. But it is actually the pressure on your face (from any object) that traps oil in and causes zits.

Going to Bed With Your Makeup On

Kate Bosworth recently said she could count the times she has gone to bed without taking her makeup off in her life on one hand—and we all know how her skin looks. Gross says one of the biggest mistakes women make is not properly cleansing and removing makeup at night. This clogs oil glands and impacts your makeup into your pores, which makes them appear larger. When your collagen levels decline as you get older, your pores will not snap back after becoming enlarged. Additionally, leftover makeup can lead to inflammation, which can generate free radicals and lead to breakouts.

Using Too Many Products

We all have our beauty routine, or are trying to find just the right one. But you may be using too many active products at once, tipping the scales toward irritation rather than being beneficial. “If your skin has become sensitive, red, or flaky, chances are you’re overdoing it,” says Barron. He suggests alternating a soothing product like Paula’s Choice CLINICAL Instant Calm Advanced Redness Relief every other day with your peels, retinoids, and active serums.

Applying Products Out of Order

One of the keys to getting the maximum benefit from your skincare regimen is to apply products from thin to thick consistency after you cleanse, i.e. toner, serum, cream. Heavier products can block lighter-weight ones from penetrating the skin and doing their job, says Gross.

10 natural makeup and beauty product ingredients

June 3rd, 2014

Those key ingredients to look for in natural makeup and natural skincare products.

10 natural makeup and beauty product ingredients

 

You enjoy a bit of honey in your tea, but why are honey and tea showing up as ingredients in your beauty products? With the market and demand of natural makeup and products growing faster than you can say sulphate-free, it’s high time to school yourself on what some of the most popular natural ingredients will do for you.

Sea buckthorn
This shrub bears berries, which are high in vitamin C so you’ll find it in moisturizers and serums for its abilities to stimulate collagen production, making your skin look firm, elastic and minimizing fine lines. It is also helpful for inflammation thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids it boasts, and the vitamin E it contains is soothing for itching.

Rose oil
This oil is good at helping skin maintain moisture (which is key in creating a healthy skin barrier function). It, too, like sea buckthorn, boasts vitamin C, which can help get skin glowing. Also, thanks to the vitamin E it contains, rose oil is good for calming red, irritated skin.

Black tea
You’ll gain a new appreciate for one of your favourite beverages when you use skincare products with black tea. It can help boost skin radiance while also making it appear smoother. Thanks to the caffeine it contains, it is helpful for helping to reduce puffiness.

Honey
This sticky, sweet natural sweetener has long been used for its wellness benefits. When used in skincare, this antioxidant-rich ingredient offers antibacterial benefits. Honey also works well at helping the skin retain moisture, which means you can look forward to supple.

Soy
Think of soy as your natural antiaging weapon. It helps boost collagen production, so your skin looks more elastic and firm (read: fewer fine lines and wrinkles). Soy can also brighten skin while also minimizing any pigmentation.

Tea tree oil
This essential oil works well as an antiseptic treatment, which makes it a natural go-to when trying to manage blemishes or help with any wounds. It also works at fighting bacteria, making it an ideal choice to helping with athlete’s foot.

Argan oil
One of the most popular ingredients in the last few years, argan oil, thanks to being rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, ferulic acid, vitamin E, polyphenols and squalene, is fantastic for a number of different beauty benefits. It can help fight free radicals, so it’ll appeal to you if you’re concerned with aging; healing properties (due to the vitamin E) mean you can try it on irritated, inflamed skin; and argan oil can be great for boosting skin’s moisture.

Oats
Your wholesome breakfast grain is also good for your skin topically. The antioxidants it boasts will help promote circulation, for a glowing complexion. Reactive, sensitive skinned women will adore it for the soothing properties—look to products containing oats if you have a sunburn or flare-up of inflamed, dry skin.

Calendula

This herb has long been used to help with fighting bacteria (so turn to it when you have an injury such as a cut), but those looking for plumper-looking skin will want it, too, as it can help stimulate collagen production. Suffer from dry skin? Calendula can help restore moisture to parched skin, thereby creating a more youthful, glowing appearance.

SKINCARE basics: The bare minimum you need to do for glowing skin

Lavender

Well-known for its soothing aromatherapy properties, lavender is also anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, so you can turn to it if your skin is sunburned, has broken out into a rash or a pimple. Also, it can boost circulation—healthy circulation is key to boosting skin cell turnover; hello, glowing skin.

 

5 incredibly easy summer hairstyles

May 22nd, 2014

When it comes to summer beauty, everything including your hairstyle should be easy and carefree – here are 5 styles to get you through this hot and steamy season.

5 incredibly easy summer hairstyles

This summer, follow the KISS principle—keep it simple, sister—when it comes to your hair. After all, there are pool parties, beach BBQs and romantic summer dates you have to get to. There’s no time to fuss over your hair. These five simple but pretty summer hairstyles will get you straight through to fall.

Easy summer hairstyles: The sleek ponytail
The flirtiness of a ponytail will never go out of style—and it’s such a relief to pull all of your hair back and off of your face and neck, isn’t it? This look (as seen on the Nina Ricci runway, is playful but polished, which makes it just right no matter what you have penciled into your busy social calendar. To do it right, Rabi Bazzi, a senior hairstylist at Bruno Desjardins salon in Montreal, says that it’s best if your hair is a little bit damp (so either after you’ve washed your hair and it’s still a bit wet, or simply spritz dry hair at the roots with a bit of water). “This will help control tension to help make it sleek when you pull your hair back,” he says. Add the tiniest bit of gel for a touch of control to your hair, then using a fine tooth comb, comb hair back. To find the right positioning of your ponytail, Bazzi says to aim for it to be at the middle of your earlobe in terms of its height. “Then, just check that the tension is equal all around—it’s there more volume on one side, then comb it out to be even—then secure with an elastic.”

Easy summer hairstyles: The chunky braid
All the curly (and wavy) haired ladies, consider this look your summer saviour. You may covet the stick-straight hair of your besties, but their hair can’t pull off this cool look as seen on the Rachel Zoe runway. Even better? It works great on day-old unwashed hair. To get the look, Bazzi says to start with parting your hair. Not sure where your natural part is? “Pull your hair back and then let it fall—your natural part will reveal itself.” Says Bazzi. Then, grab big sections on either side of your head and pull to the middle back (where you have your third section). Start your braid and as you place each section, add more hair to each piece to create the French braid. Keep your hands off your comb and brush—you don’t want a perfected braid, after all. Pieces that fall out are part of the slightly disheveled look, but if you find there are too many, then you can pin the excess ones to the centre with a bobby pin.

Easy summer hairstyles: Pretty, loose bedhead
This look is all about “I woke up like this” hair – it’s bedhead, that is, piece-y and slightly untamed and dirty (but in a good way), and it calls for a little bit of work to make it look as good as it did on the Proenza Schouler and Alexander Wang runways. You can use a curling iron with a big barrel to achieve the look, but Bazzi prefers to use rollers that are 1.5 to two inches in diameter to create this romantic, loose look. “With a curling iron, it can sometimes end up looking too precise. I think people often find rollers easier to apply—they’re not as hot as a curling iron, for one, so they’re easier to handle,” he says. He recommends applying a bit of mousse to almost dry straight or wavy hair, and then applying the rollers in any order. “To get some volume light at the roots as much as possible when you put the roller in,” he says. Let the hot rollers sit for about 15 minutes (do the rest of your makeup or get dressed in the meantime), remove the rollers and then use your fingers to brush out the waves. Bazzi recommends a paddle brush with natural boar bristles, too—the natural bristles won’t create static. Finish with a flexible-hold hairspray (his personal favourite is Sebastian Shaper).
Easy summer hairstyles: Messy topknot
There is so much to love about the messy topknot—which the models rocked on the Kate Spade catwalk. “This is perfect for the girl on the go to get your hair that’s not done out of your face and look presentable,” says Bazzi. To get it on the very top of your head, he recommends leaning over so that your head’s upside down and pulling your hair to the very tip of your hair and gathering it there. Stand upright, and start twisting your hair. It’ll start to naturally twist down onto itself into a serpentine roll on the top of your head. “It’s okay that you have flyaways—this look is about not being too perfect,” he says. Using a hair pin (that’s the open type of pin—not to be confused with a bobby pin, which is closed) loosely secure the topknot with four to five hair pins by placing the hairpin down towards your scalp and then twisting it to lie parallel to your scalp as you push it into your hair. Then, with a bobby pin, trap the hairpins into place by inserting it across each one.
Easy summer hairstyles: Hair accessories
Any of these four easy hairstyles can be elevated with a pretty hair accessory. The loose, piece-y ‘do can be dressed up with a boho-chic floral crown, for example. Or the sleek ponytail can be made sporty with a wide headband as seen on the Vera Wang runway, or keep it sleek and dress up what you secure it with (we adore the clasp used on the hair for the Jason Wu show).

3 Effortless Steps for Summer Makeup

May 13th, 2014

No-fuss summer makeup in just three steps. Seriously, friends. It can be done.

3 effortless steps for summer makeup

 Want to look like effortless cool girl on the beach with hair undone, golden, glowing skin and impossibly fresh face? We all do. And rather than glaring at her with the jealous cut-eye, we found out how you can actually do it. We chatted with Jenny Smith, Lead Makeup Stylist for NARS to get her best tips on how to look flawless and gorgeous in as little time as possible (we’re talking a two minute summer makeup routine here, friends). Here are her three steps to effortless summer makeup.

“Make it a focus on the skin,” says Smith. “I always like to do a primer beforehand too, because if you’re going to take an extra 10 seconds, this is where you should do it to really get that flawless finish. Think about doing one thing to each feature (eyes, cheeks, lips). But the clean complexion is what makes you look perfected.”

1. Summer makeup: “When you’re thinking lazy girl makeup, literally one or two minutes and you’re running out the door, think tinted moisturizer,” says Smith. “Everyone wants their skin perfected. We’ve seen it all over the runways and the best way is with tinted moisturizer and maybe a touch of conclear where needed.”

2. Summer makeup: Cream blush and bronzers are your summertime BFFs for your cheeks. “The Multiple (NARS’s iconic creamy blush stick) is great for creating a contour. Use a bronzey, slightly darker one to create contour along your cheekbone and work with your bone structure. The use lighter one for a little pop of colour on the apples of the cheek,” Smith advises. You can always go a bit brighter on your blush in the summer, so for that extra pop pick a vibrant pink for a healthy I just-spent-a-day-lounging-pool-side vibe. “Then just sweep on a light dusting of powder.”
3. Summer makeup: If your summer life consists of going from the beach to out for a posh dinner (we want your life, btw), you can still stick with your basics above, but Smith gives tips on taking it up just a notch. “If you’ve been at the beach all day and you need to do something to look a little fresh, add a little mascara and then a slick of lip gloss. For an extra step you can just fill in your brows. ” Easy. Skin, cheeks, eyes and lips. Done and done.

 

5 eyeliner mistakes you didn’t know you were making

May 5th, 2014

Think you have your cat eye or smudged liner down? Think again, these 5 tips will take your liner to the next beauty level.

5 eyeliner mistakes you didn't know you were making

Perfect your eyeliner in all forms(smoked, crisp, winged, or delicate) by making sure you’re not making one of these common mistakes that Rimmel Canadian makeup artist and spokesperson, Vanessa Jarman shares with us.

 
1. Dull tools
“It’s not uncommon to use an eye pencil that’s dull more often than not,” says Jarman. That means you won’t be creating a clean, perfected line when your sweep across. “Simply keep a pencil sharpener in your bag and make a habit of sharpening your pencil as need be.” Jarman suggests every 2-3 makeup applications.

 

2. Skipping the shadow
Does you eyeliner ever smudge or transfer up your lids? You must have skipped your eye shadow step. “Even when it’s placed tightly to your lash line, you may notice those nasty transfers to your lids,” says Jarman. “Usually the transfer isn’t seen with your eyes open, but every time you look down the transfer is visible.” It’s all because the natural oils on your eyelids causes the liner to move. “This can be easily prevented by simply remembering to apply a shadow or face powder to the eye lids first.” Take it further by prepping lids with primer before shadow. NOTE:Using waterproof pencils will last longer before a transfer but even then your eyelid oils can break that down.

 

3. Not removing all of your eyeliner
“We use eyeliner to rim the inside and outside of our lash lines,” says Jarman. “Removing this type of eye makeup can sometimes be challenging.” Here are Jarmon’s tips for making sure you remove all that makeup and liner residue.

– “Apply makeup remover on a cotton pad and place directly over your eye. Hold for 5-10 seconds allowing the remover to absorbs into makeup before wiping. Repeat this step 2-3 times depending on the intensity of your eye makeup.”

– “Try not to pull the cotton pad down along your cheek. This will only move your dark eye make up from zone A to B, creating a bigger mess to clean.”

– “Q-tips are the perfect applicator for wiggling tightly and precisely through the root of your lashes for that final clean up.”

 

4. Eyeliner gaps
“Mascara isn’t the only product you should apply starting at the root of your lashes, be sure to do this with your eyeliner as well,” says Jarman. Otherwise you could end up with a slight gap between your lashes and the liner – especially fair-haired women.

 

5. Nix the hard pencils 
“The softer your pencil is, the easier the application will be,” advises Jarman. “It’s rare to find an eye pencil on the market today that won’t apply smoothly or isn’t soft. And if you happen to have an old pencil in your makeup bag that’s difficult to apply, it’s time to toss it in the trash!” A soft pencil will create a clean, straight line, but can also be easily smudged into a smoky eye. “You will find brighter, bolder and more impactful finishes with the newer eye liner formulas out there,” says Jarman.

 

 

How to pull off the stylish sneaker trend

April 8th, 2014

The sneaker is having a high fashion moment this spring. Here are 5 ways to sport your perfect pair.

sneakers-page-two.jpg

 
The explosion of sporty fashion on the Spring 2014 runways—see Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, Thomas Tait—has sparked the resurgence of sneaker culture among the style set. Here are five fresh ways to wear the trend.

1. Build your outfit around your sneaker 

Neon runners or classic all-white Converse sneakers? Your call, but whatever you decide use the sneakers as the anchor of your look. “Style the rest of your outfit based on your running shoe,” says Juliana Schiavinatto, a Toronto-based fashion stylist. “Pair a cute dress with a sneaker to elevate your look to a more sartorial level.” Opt for a more neutral outfit if you choose a colourful running shoe.

2. Create the ultimate high-low look 

The trick to pulling off the sneaker in a stylish way is how you mix it in with the rest of your look. “Don’t look like you’re going to the gym!” warns Schiavinatto. She suggests pairing a feminine blouse and tailored skirt with a Chanel-inspired all-white trainer. Or try a denim shirt with a floral skirt and a pair of colour-blocked Nike Air Max runners.

3. Choose the right sneaker for your body type 

“Find the right proportion of shoe for your body type,” says Schiavinatto. So if you have a smaller frame, try a low-ankle sneaker like Adidas Gazelle or Converse. As a general rule, “Something that’s not too heavy and not too light is a good balance.”
4. Balance your look with the right accessories
This season’s runway take on the sportswear trend allows for playful interpretation on the street. “It doesn’t have to be athletic-inspired everything,” explains Schiavinatto. “Mix it up.” That can mean pairing a cute denim jacket with tennis shoes or ripped jeans and wedge sneakers. “Add a Chanel-style blazer or a great bag to bring your outfit to the next level of style.”

5. Add sneakers to your shoe wardrobe
A whimsical pair of runners is a playful (and comfortable!) investment to add to your shoe wardrobe. But even as they make their way to the front rows of Fashion Week, sneakers aren’t a replacement for a classic black heel for the office or date night—at least not yet. “If you work in a more modern, creative environment, [wearing sneakers] is more acceptable,” says Schiavinatto. On the romance front, Schiavinatto warns, “They can still be slightly man repelling.” Our opinion? Totally worth it.

How to find the perfect dress for your body type

April 1st, 2014

You know you’re going to buy a dress (or five) this spring. Here’s how to make sure it’s the absolute best one possible.

How to find the perfect dress for your body type

There’s no feeling like hitting the town knowing that you look your best. “The perfect dress will make you look and feel like the most beautiful version of yourself possible,” explains Sansyrae St. Martin, a Toronto-based stylist with Plutino Group. While there isn’t one universally perfect dress that speaks to all of us, there is a perfect dress for everyone. How to find it? “You need the right colour, fabric and cut for your body and style.”

NBD, right? We asked St. Martin to share a cheat sheet of how to find the best dress for every body type.

1. Body type: Pear shape
Perfect dress:
 “Fit and flare is usually the most flattering for a pear-shaped woman,” says St. Martin.
Why we love it: “You want to emphasize your tiny torso with a nice tight bodice and then let the flare cascade off your feminine curves.”

2. Body type: Athletic
Perfect dress:
 “Halter necklines are a great way to soften yet emphasize beautiful shoulders.”
Why we love it: “The athletic woman is so toned, she can look incredible in light jersey fabrics which are usually impossible for women to wear.”

3. Body type: Petite
Perfect dress:
 “Keep it short and sweet,” says St. Martin.
Why we love it: “For petite women, a body conscious dress cut above the knee will keep the dress from overwhelming your natural beauty.”

4. Body type: Curvy
Perfect dress: 
“The wrap dress is most flattering on someone who wants to emphasize her waistline,” says St. Martin. “The Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress is flattering on many women because it does hang so nicely on the body however, there are exceptions. If a woman carries most of her weight around her belly and is tiny in the arms and legs, then it could make her look more boxy than she really is.”
Why we love it: “Wrap dresses are wonderful for a curvy woman because it emphasizes all the right areas— drawing in at the waist and the V-neck pulls the attention to the neck and face.”

5. Body type: Big-busted
Perfect dress:
 “V-necks and substantial straps or capped sleeves will provide not only comfort but also a very flattering complement to a busty woman,” explains St. Martin.
Why we love it: “You want to wear a colour that will make you pop, a fabric that flatters your bodies curves and a cut that emphasizes your best assets.

6. Body type: Tall
Perfect dress: 
“Tall women can really get away with a lot but one of my favourites is the slim-fitting long-sleeve dress that is cut mid calf,“ says St. Martin.
Why we love it: “There are basic rules that you can follow but usually the best thing to do is to try it on. You never know: a cut that usually does not flatter you may actually be amazing if it’s made in just the right fabric and colour.

Now that you’ve determined which type of dress will suit you best, don’t be afraid to shop around to find the best one. Just remember to wear lipstick. “Try to go shopping with your hair and makeup done nicely because it will give you a better idea of what the dress will look like once you’re all dolled up,” suggests St. Martin.

Shop with a BFF support system or ask the sales staff to snap photos of you from the front and back so that you have a 360-visual reference of how it looks like on you. “Sometimes we let the mirror lie to us, but photos are very honest.”

Our favourite tip? If you don’t need the dress now, buy it anyway. “If you can find the perfect dress, it’s always a good idea to pick it up,” St. Martin advises. Especially if it’s a classic LBD or in a timeless cut, the right dress will inevitably find its moment to make you shine. “When a special event comes along, we may not be able to find what we are looking for or we may be too busy to take the time to find the right dress.”

 

5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Wardrobe

March 26th, 2014

How to clear out your winter closet and shop for on-trend and investment pieces that will live on beyond one season.

5 ways to spring clean your wardrobe

There’s nothing sadder than investing in a killer new wardrobe of on-trend pieces each season, only to have to toss most of them away by then end of it (R.I.P.). While our wardrobes could benefit from a good spring cleanup right about now, there’s a way to whittle down to the essentials—pieces that can transition into the next season and ones that get stowed away for next season—and part amicably with the rest. Alexis Honce, a Toronto-based fashion stylist, shares her top tips for how to spring clean your wardrobe, and maintain a well-curated closet each season.

Spring clean your wardrobe: How to edit 

Set aside a couple of hours on the weekend to comb through your wardrobe—that way you won’t feel rushed into making any rash decisions. “You’ll need to go through your entire closet and this will take a while,” says Honce. “I think every woman should love all the pieces in her closet, so that’s where you start—any pieces you love, you keep. If you don’t love it, set it aside.”

Spring clean your wardrobe: Learn to let go

There comes a point where you must part with the pieces in your closet that are damaged or that you never wear (and let’s be honest, never will). But do so wisely: “Toss pieces that were super trendy and that you haven’t worn in the last few months,” advises Honce. “Neon was a big trend last season, but this spring it looks dated.”

If a piece doesn’t quite fit right but you don’t feel is worth the price of alteration? “Toss it!” Consider donating previously loved (and gently worn) pieces or sending them to a consignment shop. “That way you actually can make some money off these pieces that don’t work in your closet anymore.”

Spring clean your wardrobe: Hang on to the classics 
Since trends come and go, there are pieces that you can stow away and bring back in the appropriate season. “Metallics always come back in fashion, so those sequin dresses or metallic pumps you bought for the holidays will still be super hot over the next couple seasons,” says Honce. “Plus these are fun pieces to keep when your outfit needs a little wow factor.”

The sheer trend from winter was huge on the Spring 2014 runways, so those pieces—think sheer cutouts or lace detailing— will easily translate into your wardrobe this season.

Of course, there are your fashion investment pieces that will never go out of style. “Always keep your staples—a great fitting pair of black dress pants, silk shirts, and luxurious knits. They work in every season!” And hang on to your leather boots and over-sized jackets for next winter as well. Bonus? “Packing all these pieces away will make room for your fabulous new spring purchases,” says Honce.

Spring clean your wardrobe: What to bring back this spring

It’s time to bring out of hibernation those top accessories from last spring—mainly, the ear cuff. “They were introduced last summer and it has taken them a while for them to catch on, but now are the It accessory for spring.”

Another ladylike trend from last spring that’s back again this season is lace detailing. “This spring season, designers have made lace modern by creating pieces in cool colors,” says Honce. Think the rainbow of pastels seen at Burberry Prorsum and Badgley Mischka. “I would wear them with unexpected pieces in your wardrobe, like a denim jacket and cool runners.”

Spring clean your wardrobe: Shop for pieces with longevity 

When adding to your wardrobe at the beginning of spring, keep super on-trend pieces to a minimum. “They will look great for a season or two but often they don’t last more then a year,” says Honce. Instead, invest in a closet full of staples, and then mix in on-trend pieces at a more affordable price point.

As for the investment pieces that will take you from spring into early fall, look for a denim shirt, black waxed jeans, a great pair of booties for day, a thin leather jacket and a luxurious light knit sweater. “The best fashion advice I can give is to find your own style and don’t transform your look each season, depending on which trends are hot.”

6 Bad Beauty Habits That Are Making You Breakout

March 18th, 2014

How to avoid these common patterns in your beauty routine for a flawless look every time.

6 bad beauty habits that are making you breakout

 

Sometimes in the midst of a rushed morning and chaotic schedule, we cut corners in our beauty routine—and our skin suffers for it. “I don’t want to call them bad habits, only because for most women, it’s not habit but a necessity or necessary evil,” says Stephanie Daga of Fresh.Beautiful: The Skin Studio in Toronto. “We lead busy lives and often forget to take care of ourselves, and sacrifice proper care in order to get all those things on our ‘to-do’ lists done.” Daga shares six common beauty habits that we’re all guilty of having in our beauty routine—and are unknowingly causing skin to breakout—and how to avoid them.

1. Making lifestyle choices that are affecting your skin

“Some common ‘habits’ that women have that often lead to breakouts are poor nutrition and diet, lack of sleep and an inconsistent skincare routine such as not washing your face properly at the end of the night or removing all your makeup,” says Daga. “These three things all paired together leads to most skin issues: breakouts, dullness, bags under the eyes, and dryness.”

2. Not cleaning your makeup brushes
Makeup brushes that go without a proper cleaning can breed bacteria and spread dirt,” says Daga. It’s a constant cycle: dirt from your face, goes into your product, then back to your face, and then sits on your brush until the next time you use it. “To avoid breakouts by brushes, I would suggest wiping down each brush with a brush cleaner after daily use, and more importantly, giving them a thorough washing weekly.”

She recommends using a gentle baby soap to scrub away makeup and bacteria—and to consider storing makeup brushes away from the bathroom and off of messy sinks. “All that dampness and water can lead to quicker bacteria build-up.” If you apply makeup in the bathroom, store brushes upright in a glass or mug while not in use and then return that mug to your bedroom vanity afterwards.

3. Using double-duty beauty products all the time 
Double-duty products—hybrid cheeks and lips, eyes tints that save you time and money—are great for rushed mornings, but shouldn’t be part of your daily beauty routine. “Most of the time, the ingredients used for a lip colour won’t mesh well with the skin on the cheeks and vice versa, so it is best to avoid using single-area products all over the face,” Daga says. “When you do, be sure to remove your makeup at the end of the night or as soon as possible to avoid any adverse reactions or breakouts.”

4. Using expired beauty products
We get it—it’s nearly impossible to part ways with a limited-edition luxe bronzer or foundation, but for the sake of your skin, you need discard it when necessary. “Each brand and product will vary in the amount of time they take to expire and for face products, it could be anywhere between 12 months to 24 months depending on the formulation—even less sometimes if the product is organic or natural.”

Keep this timeline in mind: replace liquid foundations every 6 to 12 months, every 12 months for cream blushes, and 12 to 24 months for pressed powders or powder blushes. “Always check out your products packaging before discarding—it will let you know when to toss it!”

5. Not cleaning out your makeup bag

“This is probably the hardest part of loving makeup—keeping a clean makeup bag!” Daga says. She recommends ditching any products where the lids or caps have gone missing, as well as storing your makeup tools separately. “A Ziploc bag containing tools and makeup brushes tucked in your makeup kit over letting them all hang loose is such a better option,” she adds. And regularly clean out the makeup bag itself—at the end of the week (the same time you wash your makeup brushes), empty out the contents and wipe down the bag with an alcohol wipe.

6. Applying makeup on-the-go without washing hands first
Before making any quick touchups, always wash your hands or use a sanitizer first. And look for a clean space. “Perhaps not in your messy car or a less-than-stellar public bathroom,” Daga warns. “Avoid dumping out the contents of your kit on any flat surfaces, since you don’t know what kind of dirt and bacteria could be waiting there for you!”

Dull skin boosters: Skin care and makeup tips

 

5 Reasons To Skip Your Morning Face Wash

March 7th, 2014

Put down your wash cloths, scrubbers and exfoliators. Here are 5 reasons you might want to skip a face wash in the morning and let your skin repair itself.

5 reasons to skip your morning face wash

What if we said it might be better for you to not wash your face in the morning? You’d think we’re crazy, right? It goes against what most of us know as a good skin care regimen, where we think we constantly need to rid our skin of oils, dirt and pore-clogging grime. But it might actually be good to give your skin a cleansing break. It gives your skin a chance to rebuild, and create that natural protective moisture barrier that we often try to replicate with moisturizer. And it can save time.

Here’s why it’s actually a good idea to skip your morning face wash and let your skin repair.

1. It lets your skin repair
“If you cleanse your skin at night and apply your skin care regime, your skin does all it’s ‘repair work’ while you sleep,” explains Jill Carlen, Spa Director at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. “You aren’t exposed to environmental pollutants or dirt, oil or sweat so there is no need to wash your face.”

2. It protects your skin’s natural barrier
Your skin works hard all night building its own natural barrier against the world (a layer of helpful oils keeps skin soft), so why strip it all away as soon as you wake up with a face wash? “Washing your face in the morning can strip your natural defense barrier,” says Carlen. Then it will spend the rest of the day trying to build it again.

3. It saves time and can make your moisturizer work better
You can totally sleep in those extra 15 minutes if you don’t have to think about a full face wash each morning. “A toner or toning lotion can be even better than washing in the morning,” says Carlen. “This is because your day cream penetrates better when your skin is damp but you don’t want to strip your skin just to put nutrients back in.”

4. It can give your skin a natural moisture boost
Not only are you keeping your skin naturally hydrated with its own barrier, but a splash or two of water is not only refreshing, but great for your skin. “Rinsing with water is always good for your skin, it’s thirsty too!” advises Carlen.

5. Your nighttime products will work better
“Cleansers are made to help remove oil, dirt and grime,” explains Carlen. “If you have been sleeping with only night cream and serum, then using a cleanser will try to remove the good oil and moisture you just spent the night infusing into your skin.” To make sure your skin really soaks up every last drop of that nighttime moisturizer and serum goodness, don’t remove it again in the morning.

Who should never skip
All that said, the whole skipping a cleanse in the morning might not be best for every skin type. Highly acne prone skin, or skin that has excessive oils can benefit from a good wash. “If you have extremely oily or acne prone skin, cleansing in the morning with a gentle cleanser can help reduce oil,” explains Carlen. “It can help kill bacteria.”

Dull skin boosters: Skin care and makeup tips

February 28th, 2014

The best skin care habits and makeup application tips you need to know to rid yourself of dull skin and get glowing.

 
 Dull skin boosters: Skin care and makeup tips 

While our daily skin care habits may differ, it’s safe to assume that we’re all striving for the same goal: maintaining youthful-looking skin. And brightening up skin (especially during the winter months) requires a tailored regimen that focuses on clearing away dead, dull skin and enhancing your complexion with luminous makeup. So for expert ways to wage this two-pronged attack on dull skin, we chatted with Dr. Lori Shapiro, dermatologist at Thornhill Dermatology Centre, and Vancouver-based makeup artist Hayley Miller, about the best skin care and makeup tips to get a healthy-looking and luminous complexion.

Improve the appearance of dull skin

Before you can illuminate skin with concealer and foundation, brighten it from within by clearing away any buildup of dead skin cells that causes a dull-looking complexion. “Dead skin is just that—it is dead, retained superficial skin cells that make the skin look dry and flaky,” says Shapiro. And dry skin can happen when you fail to properly wash and exfoliate regularly. “No matter how much you try, you cannot moisturize dead skin.”

Commit to a daily skin care routine by washing your face with a washcloth that provides gentle exfoliation. “You can use an exfoliating cleanser or go deeper with a treatment such as microdermabrasion,” says Shapiro. Try an exfoliating tool such as the Clarisonic Pro. “It will clean the face at least six times more effectively than manually washing the face.”

Add luminosity to your complexion

Once skin is cleansed and exfoliated, apply makeup to warmed skin. “The ingredients in our makeup are activated by heat,” says Miller. And it sits better on the face than when it’s applied to cold, dry skin. Use a concealer that has a silky, iridescent finish to it for a flawless-looking glow (try DaLish Cosmetics Illuminating Concealer). Apply concealer under the eyes and nose, and on the cheeks as a highlighter. “It’s important not to have luminosity all over the face,” says Miller. “It’s more effective to create shadowing.”

ry mixing your foundation with your moisturizer to create a sheerer texture, which leaves a fresh, dewy-looking complexion. “If there’s no dewiness, skin can appear flat and washed out,” says Miller. And if you’re going for a matte finish, be sure to add a touch of shimmer under the brows and on the eyelids to create depth when the light hits those spots.

How to maintain glowing skin
Beautiful skin that naturally radiates from within needs a holistic regimen that not only treats current issues like dead skin but prevents the buildup of dull skin. “For long-term maintenance of a youthful appearance, I suggest an integrated approach,” says Shapiro. “Sunscreen is the mainstay of the regimen.” Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 (SkinCeuticals UV Defense SPF 30). For prevention, add a Vitamin C serum into your morning routine, and look for products containing retinol to even out skin tone and improve fine lines and wrinkles. “This should be combined with a product designed specifically for the delicate skin around the eye,” she adds.”

The best way to wake up with a well-rested and fresh complexion is to practice good skin care habits at night. “On a Sunday night, get ready for the week with a hot bath and exfoliation,” suggests Miller. Apply a face serum (preferably one with jojoba oil) on the skin to moisturize and soothe any irritation.

Try a targeted facial treatment to reduce the effects of long-term skin damage and improve the overall brightness of your complexion. “At Thornhill Dermatology Centre, we often recommend the Silkpeel Microdermabrasion treatment, which combines the benefits of exfoliating with the infusion of either a hydrating, brightening or anti-aging serum.”

But gradually improving the appearance of dull skin all comes back to your daily skin care routine and lifestyle. “Of course, good eating and sleeping habits as well as regular exercise, all impact positively on overall skin health,” says Shapiro.

Valentine’s Day: 7 beauty tips to prep for date night

February 18th, 2014

Your head-to-toe guide to getting ready (and pampered!) for a Valentine’s Day date.

 Valentine’s Day: 7 beauty tips to prep for date night 

There’s nothing like the pressure of a date on Valentine’s Day to be a Hallmark card-worthy night out. But the idea of added extras like chocolate (truffles, please!) and roses (a dozen) shouldn’t get in the way of having a romantic night with your significant other.  So we asked Krista Foulis, spa director at Park Hyatt Toronto’s Stillwater Spa in Yorkville, for her expert tips on how to get ready for date night—V-Day style.

Valentine’s Day beauty tips: Relax before date night 
Making a trip to the spa the week of your date can to help alleviate any stress surrounding the night and help you bring a cool, calm demeanor to the (dinner) table. (And the total-body effect of indulging in self-pampering is long lasting.)

“The best body treatments to help you relax are ones that incorporate an element of massage,” says Foulis. “Our 90-minute Essential European Milk and Honey wrap includes a full body exfoliation, wrap and a 30 minute Swedish massage.” You’ll feel totally relaxed and leave with touchably smooth skin.

Valentine’s Day beauty tips: Get a fresh glow 

You want to put your best face forward on date night—which means well-hydrated and glowing skin. “The best treatment to enhance your complexion is a hydrating masque,” says Foulis. “The SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 masque or Demalogica’s Multi-vitamin power recovery masque are both great options.”

Valentine’s Day beauty tips: Date night staple? A red mani 
There’s something timeless and romantic about a shiny lacquer in a cinnamon hearts shade. “Well-groomed nails give you a very polished look,” Foulis affirms. Invest in nail care tools for a foolproof DIY manicure or a make an appointment the week of your date for a fresh coat. Her pick for the perfect festive shade? “Red polish is great for Valentine’s Day.”

Slip a pocket-sized lotion in a creamy (and totally appropriate) vanilla scent into your bag. “Well-groomed cuticles and hydrated hands can make your hands look younger,” she adds.

Valentine’s Day beauty tips: Try bombshell hair 
If there’s ever a right time for luscious and touchably full look-at-me locks, this is it. “I would recommend wearing your hair down for Valentine’s Day,” says Foulis. Try one of the boldly romantic looks seen on the Spring 2014 runways—tumbling bedhead-inspired curls at Michael Kors or the dramatic side-part seen at Emilio Pucci, anyone?
Valentine’s Day beauty tips: Go for a soft, romantic look 
Complement your bombshell hairstyle with soft and pretty makeup. If anything, a date night is the time to let your most naturally beautiful self shine. “Keeping makeup simple is also best,” she says. “Use a foundation that matches your skin tone, apply a little bronzer all over and then blush on your cheekbones.” Add definition to your best features through highlighting and contouring.

Be sure to round out the look by filling in any sparse areas of your eyebrows, apply your favourite lash-lengthening mascara and finish off with a red gloss or matte lip shade that suits your skin tone.

Valentine’s Day beauty tips: Pick your signature scent (or his) 
Add a personal touch to your beauty routine—one that especially your date will notice. “If your significant other has a favourite scent that you wear, I would recommend wearing that,” advises Foulis.

And moisturize immediately after stepping out of the shower with a rich body butter or body oil—coconut oil-based products are perfect for leaving a soft and beautifully scented finish. “This will keep your skin hydrated longer that using a body lotion,” she adds.

Valentine’s Day beauty tips: Just relax—it’s worth repeating! 

“The best way to relax is in a nice Epsom salt bath,” says Foulis. If it’s first date scenario and you’re looking to calm yourself, turn to the soothing scent of lavender. “You could add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to the bath and sip a cup tea to calm your nerves before getting ready,” she says. And remember to breathe.

Lazy girl’s guide: Winter makeup

January 29th, 2014

Here’s how to do the bare minimum with winter makeup and still look gorgeous this season.

Lazy girl's guide: Winter makeup

 

It’s cold outside and all we want to do is hibernate, even with our makeup routine. We want to do as little as possible, but still look amazing. We know, we know. That seems like a feat that can’t be conquered – like getting through an episode of Scandal without your jaw dropping – but in fact, it can be accomplished. All you need are these trusty and secret tips from Grace Lee, lead makeup artist for Maybelline Canada, in your winter makeup arsenal and you can look amazing with little effort.

“My ideal lazy makeup routine is applying minimal foundation, (Maybelline New York Fresh Dream BB cream for a little bit of coverage and SPF), mascara and blush. I never leave the house without blush,” says Lee. “I tend to rub it into my cheeks and onto my lips when I’m in a hurry.”
Winter beauty: How to save time
“I would say don’t really skip anything that you would normally incorporate into your routine that makes you feel beautiful,” says Lee. The key to the lazy girl’s winter makeup guide is all about time saving tips. “If you are a heavy eye makeup wearer, do your eyes first before you apply foundation or concealer. This will save you from cleaning up a mess under your eyes, having to re-do any part of your face that gets smudged,” Lee suggests. “Products that take care of more than one step are also great. BB Creams cover you for moisturizer, SPF and foundation – no excuse not to protect your skin now!”

Winter beauty: The bare minimum
“My rule is that mascara is a must. Don’t leave home without it,” says Lee. “You can easily incorporate cheek and lip into one product with very little time or effort, and it makes a world of a difference and wakes up your face.”

Winter beauty: Think multi-use 
Make the most of your time and the products that you already have by finding new ways to use them. “Think outside the box for making products work double duty for you. It will definitely save you time and money. For example, you can use a lipstick and take a bit of that colour and rub it into your cheeks for instant blush.”

Three winter makeup looks that take little effort:

Winter beauty: Beautiful skin
The key to looking beautiful without spending loads of time in the mirror? Get your skin in check by making it even-toned and smooth. “Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser is a no brainer when you want amazing looking skin,” advises Lee. The product helps minimize pores, giving your skin a more polished, even appearance. Wear it across the T-zone and other places where you want to minimize pores. Add a touch of foundation (Lee suggests blending it down your nose and forehead, then blend out to the hairline for quick, easy coverage, then add powder to finish it off. TRY: Fit Me Shine Free Foundation stick or Dream Wonder Powder. 

Winter beauty: Nudes or the no makeup look
“Nudes are huge this season and will also be big for spring,” explains Lee. “I love multi-purpose products like the new Master Glaze stick in Warm Nude. You can swipe a bit of the colour across the eyelids, and use it as a blush and contour colour. It’s also great for the lips.”

Winter beauty: A bright Lip
When you have a strong focal point like a bold lip, the rest of your makeup can be super minimal. Lee suggests keeping skin fresh by using a BB cream and a coat of mascara. Then apply your bold lip colour. Lee recommends Maybelline’s Colour Elixir since it wears like a lipstick but has the sheen and ease of gloss. “If you are feeling adventurous, you can apply a bit of the colour onto the apples of your cheeks for color and blend with your finger,” adds Lee.

How to find the perfect red lip shade for your skin tone

January 22nd, 2014

Tomato-red or cool fuchsia? Our expert beauty tips on how to find the perfect red lip colour for cool and warm skin tones.

How to find the perfect red lip shade for your skin tone

 

As iconic as it is elusive, the perfect red lip offers an adventurous lesson in understanding personal style. “It’s like buying a red pair of shoes: you wouldn’t wear them all the time, and do you choose the low burgundy flats or the Christian Louboutin candy apple spikes?” explains Vancouver-based Caitlin Callahan, a senior artist with M.A.C Cosmetics. “So it’s really saying something when you choose to wear a red lip, and then you have to decide what you’re going to say.”

Find the perfect red lip shade: Where to start

One woman’s bright crimson lip is her best friend’s subtle rouge complement—in other words, one shade creates vastly contrasting looks on different skin tones. “I think we would talk about personal style,” says Callahan about the initial deciding factor. “Do you want something really bright and flashy and fun, or do you want something a little more understated? And then we would look at skin tone.” Her red lip litmus test? “When you mirror your skin tone, it’s going to be more subtle; when you go opposite of it, it’s much more of a contrast.”

Just to prove the uniquely transformative power of each shade, Callahan explains that a tomato-orange hue—bright and OTT, to some— would be a more subtle choice for woman with a warm brown-gold skin tone than a fuchsia-based, cooler pink-red.

Find the perfect red lip shade: Determining your skin tone 

While there are few hard and fast rules, generally speaking, those with cool tones have blue, grey or green eyes and blond, black or ash-brown hair, says Lucky Bromhead, a celebrity makeup artist based in Toronto. “If you have hazel, brown or black eyes and brown, black, auburn, or red hair, chances are you are a warmer skin tone.”

Or step outside—florescent or other lighting affects how you see the colouring of your skin—and examine the veins in the underside of your arm near the wrist: blue veins being a cool undertone and more greenish veins signal a warmer one. Bromhead also advises holding up a white sheet of paper next to a make-up free face. “If you see golden or yellow tones, you have a cool skin tone. A warm undertone will look more pinkish, red, or rosy,” she says. “If you are still at a loss, ask an artist behind a makeup counter to help guide you.”

Find the perfect red lip shade: Complementing lip shades with your skin

So how do you select your best red lip shade? “Warm reds have an orange undertone, and they tend to be brighter and have more pop,” explains Bromhead. “Cool reds have a blue undertone and have a strong impact that ranges from bright—think Dita Von Teese or Madonna—to deeper, burgundy-red hues.”

For those with a fair complexion, Callahan recommends a M.A.C red shade with, creamy cooler undertones. “It’s less of a contrast than something orange, but beautiful on a blonde.” For an olive skin tone? “Lady Danger,” she says instinctively about M.A.C.’s vibrant orange-red shade. And forget swiping the lipstick on the back of your hand—for the most accurate read, you must actually wear the shade on your lips. “The best lighting is the rear view mirror of your car—you get that daylight reflected back at you,” says Callahan.

Find the perfect red lip shade: Going against the grain

Red lips are a statement, and like any well put-together look, they require both effort and maintenance. This means using a lip liner beforehand and carrying around a compact for quick touch-ups on the go. “If you are new to red lips, matching the liner exactly will be an easier way to achieve your look and is more mistake-proof,” says Bromhead. “However, teaming a blue-red lip liner with an orange-red lipstick can give a gorgeous result if you are adept at blending,” she adds, citing the ombré lip trend seen at Jason Wu this spring.

But the first rule about getting the red lip look: there are no rules. “I want people to know that they’re not stuck in a hole of ‘this is my shade, this is what I wear’, but they’ll know if it’s glittering on them when they look in the mirror,” says Callahan. “It’s such a personal choice.”

 

How to wear leggings now: 10 fashion rules

January 13th, 2014

Your complete guide to wearing leggings: the new rules and biggest fashion mistakes.

 

How to wear leggings now: 10 fashion rules

 

We love leggings as much as anyone, but, as with any fashion staple, there are ways to wear them well, and ways to wear them so that you look like Lindsay Lohan circa 2008. (Sorry, LiLo.) We chatted with Sansyrae St. Martin, a Toronto-based fashion stylist with Plutino Group, for her expert tips on how to wear leggings so that you look cool, on-trend and super stylish—and avoid confusing them with tights.

How to wear leggings rule #1: Leggings are not pants or tights. Let’s start with a process of elimination, friends. Leggings are wonderful in so many ways, including their ability to blend style and comfort in one clothing item. But they are not, under any circumstance, considered pants. (Sorry).

They also are not office attire—for that we have plenty of smart on-trend looks to choose from. Nor are leggings to be worn as tights under dresses. To recap: leggings are not pants or tights.

How to wear leggings rule #2: Mix it up.Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk how amazing and versatile leggings are on their own merit. “You can wear them with a button-down long shirt belted around the waist and ankle boots,” says St. Martin. “Or with high boots and a long blazer. This is a sharp and classy look but still very comfortable.”

How to wear leggings rule #3: Long tops rule. It’s safe to proclaim that tops should, in almost all cases, be long enough to cover the buttocks when wearing leggings. Stylist addendum: “Most rules in fashion can be broken by someone who knows what they are doing, but generally speaking, yes, it’s much more flattering to pair leggings with a long top,” St. Martin explains. “If you must wear them alone, try to find leggings that are as thick as jeggings so they give you a more compact look. You don’t want everyone to see your booty bounce,” she adds. Just as you shouldn’t be subjected to witnessing theirs.

How to wear leggings rule #4: Length matters. Leggings should fall just above the ankle—anything shorter automatically creates a stinted silhouette by cutting you off at the shin.

How to wear leggings rule #5: Wear bold prints cautiously. 
A few words aboutcolourful and floral-print leggings: “As fun as they are, they are really only flattering on long, lean legs,” says St. Martin. “Like the camera, this trend adds 10 pounds.” (Ouch.) Stick with a basic colour palette for ultimate utility and curve-appealing wear. “Darker leggings are more flattering on most bodies,” explains St. Martin. As a rule, stick with black and charcoal.

How to wear leggings rule #6: Wash your leggings. Seriously. Just as leggings aren’t pants (or tights), nor are they jeans either—unlike denim, leggings need to be washed regularly. “The elasticity relaxes as your body heats it up and the washing helps it to go back to normal,” says St. Martin. “Leggings are partially or totally synthetic and so they don’t breathe as well and they do need to be washed at least every other wear.”

But they don’t need to be hand-washed to keep them looking their best. “I would suggest a delicates bag so they don’t get stretched around in the machine, and avoid any form of heat—hot water, warm dryer, iron or steam— because heat breaks down the elasticity over time.”

How to wear leggings rule #7: Consider your footwear. For a sleek, biker chic spinon leather-patchwork leggings, pair with a cool moto boot. Or for an elongated, almost seamless silhouette, try over-the-knee leather boots. Have fun and be versatile with your footwear pairings.

How to wear leggings rule #8: Consider the occasion. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid wearing leggings for a job interview or holiday parties, and formal settings like a wedding or meeting the parents for the first time, advises St. Martin.

How to wear leggings rule #9: …Or wear them anyway. 
Since there’s always an asterisk to every rule in fashion, if you can make the rest of your outfit work around your leggings, then go for it. “Honestly, someone with a great eye can probably style them in a way that they can be worn anywhere, but it’s really, really tricky.” You’ve been warned.

How to wear leggings rule #10: This is not yoga class. Unless you are currently in a yoga studio, or on your way to class (or straight home right after) this is not the time to make workout wear-as-daywear happen. Striving to be comfortable in your outfit is one thing, but pairing leggings with running shoes and a sweater while running errands on Saturday could lead you down a slippery slope into a sweats-only wardrobe. Don’t be that girl—be better.

How to find the right pair of blue jeans for your body type: Expert denim shopping tips

December 27th, 2013

We round up the basic, need-to-know denim shopping tips for every body type from a blue jean expert.

How to find the right pair of blue jeans for your body type: Expert denim shopping tips

Blue jeans. We all love and wear them, but most of don’t actually know how to find the right pair for our body types, and are therefore walking around in the wrong size. “It’s tough to find the right pair of jeans because there’s so much to choose from, and walking into a store can be pretty daunting,” says Joel Carman, owner of a Toronto denim store. As he points out, the right pair of jeans “really impacts how you look.”

To help navigate the vast and diverse world of blue jeans, we asked Carman to share his expert shopping tips on selecting the right pair of jeans for every body type—from cut to wash to the alterations that make them uniquely yours.

How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #1: Decide what you’re looking for 

Grab a buddy—for moral support and because friends don’t let friends shop alone—and make an afternoon of your blue jean-buying ordeal. Before walking into a store, do your research: find a place staffed with knowledgeable salespeople who can customize your shopping experience.

But don’t be overwhelmed by a floor-to-ceiling wall of denim: this gives you options. “We’ll narrow [the selection] down to colour, to fit, to what the customer wants to wear it for,” says Carman. “What’s the occasion? Do you want it for daytime use, just hanging around, or do you want to wear it at night with a pair of heels?” More good news: “There are so many beautiful styles and things have changed so much that I think [denim shopping] is really exciting for women.”

How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #2: Choose your wash

Decide between dark or light blue jeans. “Light is daytime denim,” Carman says about sun-bleached and faded styles. “But I think if you want a lot of versatility in the denim, you would want to go darker. Darker denim you can dress up or dress down.” Also, darker washes are also naturally slimming (it’s why we love LBDs) while a lighter fade will accentuate size. “The darker the denim, the trimmer you look.”

How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #3: High rise or low?

Mercifully, the low-rise cut denim is no longer the norm it was just five years ago. “Women want to be a little more secure, they want to be able to move around, bend down without exposing themselves, and still look great,” explains Carman. Higher back and front rises work miraculously for this.

“Rise is a really a key issue, so depending on how long or short your body is, you have to have the right-sized jean.” Carman cites Canadian denim brand Fidelity, whose skinny jean comes in both an eight-inch and nine-inch rise, which is tailored to the body type of the wearer. “The shorter girl needs a high rise,” says Carman about maintaining the illusion of an elongated, streamlined silhouette. “They have constructed ladies’ jeans so that the waists come in to fit properly, so you’re not going to have gaping in the waistband any longer.”

How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #4: Get the right fit—really 

A common misconception about denim shopping is that buying a bigger pair will be able to hide your shape completely. Simply put, the smaller the jean that you have on, the trimmer you look. And the reverse is true: a larger pair of denim will make your body appear bigger.

Opt for the tighter side of tolerance, Carman advises. “The general rule of denim is that, in the way that jeans are processed, they don’t shrink a lot— unless you’re buying a really raw jean,” he says. “So you want to buy the jean to fit.” Many women shy away from curve-hugging denim and end up with a pair that’s too loose to begin with, which will then stretch and become baggy overtime. “And it doesn’t flatter them,” he says.

How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #5: Keep your profile

“I think in every body type, what we’re always trying to do is accentuate length because women are very conscious of their hips, their waists,” says Carman. “And what we want to do is take the emphasis off that and give them a really long, narrow profile.”

While skinny jeans (those with a 10-inch opening at the bottom) have been around for while, the sexy flare is back in 12 and 14-inch openings—just enough to fit over a heel or wedge. “It really accentuates your height. And the longer the leg looks, the longer you look, the thinner you look,” he says.

Size logic: a taller woman would want a trim-fit jean, whereas petite women should look for a fit that’s as narrow as possible with a slight opening on the bottom, depending on the occasion. Curvier girls need a jean that fits in the thigh—anything baggy that droops will simply add bulk.

 How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #6: Consider pocket placement

When you’re trying on a pair of jeans, make sure that the back pockets and the yoke—the V-shaped section just above them—aren’t too low. “It’s going to make your butt look saggy,” warns Carman. Look for a higher pocket in a medium size (or smaller for petite frames).
How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #7: Alter to fit 

If you’re making the investment in premium, high-quality jeans, don’t be afraid of making alterations to get the perfect fit. “People say ‘I don’t have to shorten, I’ll just roll them up,’ but if you want a nice pair of crisp jeans to wear at night, they should be tailored,” says Carman. “Cuffs are good for boyfriend jeans and a casual look for summer, but when it comes to really getting dressed up, they should be the right length, not long and sloppy.”

Waistbands can be both taken in and let out, depending on the girl. “People will always say, ‘Well, they’re only blue jeans’, but you wear your blue jeans more than your dress clothing and people see you in them more, so that’s when you should be looking your best. And that’s when you should have the best fits,” he says.

How to find the right pair of jeans expert tip #8: Buy, wash, repeat

As beautiful and perfect-fitting as your jeans are today, they’re not going to last forever. “People’s expectations of blue jeans are very high, because a blue jean is meant to be durable,” Carman says. “But when you wear them everyday, and the way you wear them, and how comfortable you feel in them, sometimes they don’t wear quite as long as you think they should.”

And the process to get the stonewash, faded and ripped jeans you love so much takes wear out of denim, reducing its lifespan (raw denim will last longer because it hasn’t been processed). “Blue jeans change all the time and that’s what we like about them: they fade, they become different, they mold to your body,” Carman says. “It’s a whole different experience wearing a pair of blue jeans than it is wearing just about any other garment.”

Beauty tips: Holiday beauty 101

December 5th, 2013

Beauty hold up! Before you start adding on false eyelashes, loads of shimmer and berry red lipsticks, remember that ‘less is more’, especially when it comes to your holiday beauty routine.

Beauty tips: Holiday beauty 101

 

With the holiday season buzzing and party after party for you to attend, you’re busier than Ryan Seacrest on New Year’s Eve. That could mean you swipe on as much makeup as possible to get glammed up, but don’t forget that, as with many things, your makeup included, less is usually more. So before you pile on the sparkles and dig out the false eyelashes, we say take a step back and reconsider. Is a face full of sparkle really your best look? Or should that trick be left to Nicki Minaj (really the only person who can legitimately pull it off).

“The number one mistake women make with holiday makeup is going the ‘more is more’ route,” says David Allan Jones, a makeup artist at Page One Management in Toronto. “This works on a Christmas tree but not for your makeup.” So, what does work? Jones fills us in on his best beauty tips for the festive season.

Beauty tips: Choose one feature to highlight
A full face of makeup can be difficult to get just right. “Full makeup requires perfect balance and that takes years for us professionals to achieve and requires a balanced face as well,” explains Jones. “To avoid this, you must pick one feature to use as your standout moment when you enter a room.” Jones says to choose between your eyes, mouth, cheeks, brows, eyelashes and skin; let one feature shine and let the others star in supporting roles. “Whatever you do, your support features should be groomed and whatever you what you want to show off, you need to turn up the volume and that’s it,” he says.

So instead of going the ‘more is more’ route (put those false eyelashes aside), here’s how to look dazzling this holiday beauty season, without going over the top.

Beauty tips: Instead of  False eyelashes
Try Dramatic eye makeup 

Here’s how: “Take a black pencil and fill in the base of your lashes to make the roots of your lashes look thicker,” says Jones. “Then, with a cotton tip with makeup remover, take away the extra so the black is just at the base only. With an eyelash curler, give your lashes a full curl until it feels like they’re about to touch your brows. Start with the top of the lashes, then push the mascara wand from the under side, swaying it side to side as you push and roll the wand up the length of your lashes. As you get to the end of the lashes, hold the wand for a moment so that you don’t lose the work you did on the curl. Do this three of four time or until you get the thickness that you are happy with.” False eyelashes need not apply.

Beauty tips: Instead of  Sparkle on your face
Try Beauty balm 

Here’s how: “There is a big trend of beauty balms for the cheeks right now,” says Jones. “They give colour and a beautiful sheen of glow to the cheeks. Givenchy has a beautiful lip and cheek balm that gives shine and a touch of colour. Marcelle has a foundation balm that I’ve just come across that gives a beautiful feel to the skin.”

Beauty tips: Instead of False nails
Try Making your real nails look fab 

Here’s how: Jones says he prefers natural nails in demure colours but we think brightly coloured nails are the perfect party accessory. The best way to rock a bold nail colour is to keep your fingers nicely manicured and your nails short and shapely. Long nails paired with bold colours look like claws. That’s a holiday don’t!

Beauty tips: Instead of An overly coiffed hairdo
Try A soft, loose bun 

Here’s how: Jones says to leave the curling iron and hot rollers in the drawer! This season, amp up your hair style by adding a soft volume mousse to your hair to give it some texture. “Take a large round brush and a blow dryer to give your hair some soft, loose waves,” says Jones. “Then softly pull your hair back into a loose bun. Let your face shine forward. Be confident and don’t hide behind a curtain of hair.”

Beauty tips: Instead of  Overpowering perfume
Try Shower gel 


Here’s how:
 “We’ve all had the experience of someone’s perfume coming into the room before they do, right? Perfume should entice a person to come closer, not repel them,” says Jones. The solution? He recommends a shower gel; many companies make shower gels in the same fragrance as your favourite perfumes. “It will leave a light hint of your fragrance veiled over body. Only in the most intimate setting will someone notice your fragrance.”

Beauty tips: Instead of  Heavy foundation
Try Tinted moisturizer 

Here’s how: According to Jones, heavy foundation never covers the problem. In fact, it’s more likely to highlight the very things you’re trying to hide. “I usually start with a tinted moisturizer to balance the colour, then I’ll go over with a pencil brush and pick off the problem areas one by one,” he says. “If your skin is good with just a few small areas that need help, you can skip the base and go where you need it with a foundation brush and just blend in some liquid base in a tone that makes it appear the same colour as the rest of your skin.”

5 dos and don’ts for perfecting your holiday makeup 
Party dress? Check! Louboutins? Check! Flawless makeup? Jones provides these final tips before you race out the door to dazzle your friends:1. Do keep your skin looking fresh.

2. Do blend your colours; don’t overdo the colour.

3. Don’t over correct your brow or lip line, as it will only give a drag queen feel to your makeup.

4. Do make sure that your foundation blends with the rest of your body.

5. Don’t go too dark or sharp on your eyebrows.

 

Healthy beauty: How to get a white smile

November 20th, 2013
 

Expert tips on the whitening products to try—and what to avoid—to achieve that bright Hollywood smile.

Great hair and flawless skin are always associated with healthy beauty, but a bright, white smile is crucial to maintaining a look that naturally glows. And achieving a whiter smile is not simply a vain pursuit—it’s about committing to overall health and adjusting your lifestyle to reflect that with a radiant smile.

For the best whitening practices and tips on how to safely achieve a brighter smile, we consulted with Dr. Rick Caldwell, president of the Ontario Dental Association.

 
The truth about a white smile
While we all love to be able to flash our pearly whites—in photos and IRL— a white smile doesn’t always equal perfect health. “While we know some patients are looking for a brighter, whiter smile, having one doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth and gums are healthy,” says Caldwell. Like anything related to total-body wellness, keep up with your healthy habits—at home and with a professional. “A regular dental exam is the best way to maintain your oral health and help combat any potential issues that could impact your oral health and overall health.”
 
When to whiten—and how
Before investing in teeth-whitening products and professional treatments, be mindful of the culprits that can be slowly causing teeth to dull and yellow—and working against your cause. “Drinks such as red wine, coffee and tea may lead to surface stains on teeth,” says Caldwell. Of course, you could always sip your morning Starbucks latte through a straw for the same deliciously caffeinating benefits without the risk of staining teeth.

But in order to start the whitening process safely and effectively, consult your dentist first to see if you’re a good fit. “It is very important to make sure teeth are healthy before any whitening procedure –no cavities, no exposed root surfaces, no cracks or chips,” advises Caldwell. “All bleaching products migrate towards the nerve of the tooth and can be dangerous if you have a pre-existing issue.”

 
Once your smile has been assessed, it’s time to think about what route you’ll take to whiten and brighten it up—at-home products such as whitening strips and toothpastes, or professional procedures (a prescription take-home kit or in-office peroxide application activated by a laser light) under the care of a dentist.
“While there are many whitening options, there is no single method of lightening teeth that gets a permanent result,” says Caldwell. “And not everyone’s teeth will whiten to the same degree. It depends on a number of factors such as the number of teeth involved, the severity of discolouration, the natural colour of your teeth and your diet.”
 
For your best results, depending on how many shades whiter you would like to go, again, ask your dentist first. “There are many options for teeth whitening,” says Caldwell. “Taking into account your unique oral health conditions, your dentist will be able to determine what, if any, tooth whitener is the right one for you.”
 
A healthy white smile—for life
Keeping a more holistic commitment to healthy beauty and living is your best bet to achieving and keeping that Hollywood smile. “Maintaining a healthy diet is key for your oral and overall health,” says Caldwell. As for that healthy smile? Include foods like yogurt, milk, salmon, trout, cantaloupe, strawberries, carrots, spinach in your diet, says Caldwell. “And regular dental exams, brushing twice a day and flossing daily are critical,” he adds.
 

 

Top 5 fall hairstyles

November 13th, 2013

A roundup of the hottest must-try runway hairstyles to try this fall.

 

There are a few things we love that fall does for our beauty routine—it allows us lighten up on bronzer, and this season, embrace our inner punk. Some of the best fall hairstyles we saw on the runways were badder, bolder versions of the classic bobs and ponytails we’ve seen in past hair trends.To help us navigate this season’s runway hair trends, we chatted with Rossa Jurenas, Schwarzkopf Professional essential looks artist, for her picks on the best fall hairstyles—and how to easily get each look yourself.
 
MUST-TRY FALL HAIRSTYLES
 
1. The wet look
 
One of our favourite wash-and-go runway hairstyles this season comes to us by way of glossy, damp-looking waves seen at Prada and Alberta Ferretti. And they’re super easy to achieve, says Jurenas. Take a water-based pomade (Jurenas recommends Schwarzkopf OSiS Aqua Slide) and run it through damp hair. That’s it.
And while slick, hair isn’t greasy looking and still has a soft, pliable movement to it. Avoid using mousse and gel, which makes hair hard and crunchy-feeling.
 
2. Punk inspiration
 
This isn’t your hairstyle equivalent to teenage rebellion—it’s a glamourous, sophisticated punk in the form messy braids and faux hawks. “Punk can sound too edgy and gothic,” says Jurenas when describing these runway hairstyles. “But it’s actually rich-looking.” Think strong and confident (and regal!) short haircuts at Louis Vuitton.For a more literal take on these punk-inspired runway hairstyles, there’s the chunky and disheveled coloured Mohawks at Jean Paul Gaultier. Or take your inspiration from Rodarte’s runway look. “Try a simple braid for a rocker-punk look,” says Jurenas.
 
3. Airy, voluminous curls
 
Put down your flat iron, friends. Big-time volume is back this season. “Think cloud-like texture,” says Jurenas, citing the fluffy halo of curls seen at Marc by Marc Jacobs’ runway show this season. “It’s bigger hair for more shock value.”
The big, aerated waves are a loose interpretation of those sleek 1940s Hollywood glam curls—literally. “It’s not the finger wave—it’s a softer curl.” One of our favourite classic hair trends, the gelled, slicked-back Marcel wave has been brushed out for a naturally voluminous feel. “It’s soft but it has form,” she explains. “It’s controlled chaos.”To get the pillowy waves seen at Bottega Veneta and Diane von Furstenberg, apply cushion rollers to damp hair at night. The next morning, brush out waves for a natural look. “It’s big hair pushed to the next level,” says Jurenas.

4. Disheveled ponytail 

The best thing about the perfectly messy ponytail hair trends this fall is that you can easily achieve them on second-day hair (a complementary look to the voluminous curls you created the day before). “The next-day low ponytail will have a textured look to it,” explains Jurenas. Just spritz in a dry shampoo to soak up any excess oil and refresh the hair.

“The low pony should be disheveled,” she adds. Think the low-slung, messily pulled together fall hairstyles at Richard Chai and Lanvin. “Very soft and romantic.” And don’t worry about taking the look too far. “Don’t think, ‘is this piece hanging out too much?’” she assures. “Is it?”

5. Bold colour

Like the regal-looking fall hairstyles, “Colour is getting richer,” says Jurenas about the palette of  intense reds on the runways this season. “The ombré look is slowly dissipating and we’re seeing hot, bold tonal colours cascading throughout the hair.” And it’s not one solid colour throughout—see the orange-coloured ponytails at Alexander Wang and purple-streaked faux hawks at Fendi “It’s bold accent pieces and tones pulled through the hair.” And of course, the marker of top fall hairstyles? “It’s very expensive-looking,” says Jurenas.

 
 

The top 5 flat iron mistakes

November 1st, 2013

Expert hair care tips on how to prevent heat damage and safely get

smooth, sleek hair.

Beauty mishaps—whether unintentional or as a result of a hurried schedule—happen to the best of us. Add in an extremely hot flat iron and the fact that you’re already late for work, and it’s no surprise that many of us are unknowingly causing damage to our hair on a daily basis. We chatted with Roch LeMay, Matrix lead educator, about the common mistakes we’re all guilty of when it comes to using a flat iron, and how to safely get straight, sleek hair without causing any further damage.
Flat iron mistake #1: Flattening out volume 
Ironing out the kinks in your hair shouldn’t translate into lifeless, limp locks. “The trend movement is about volume,” says LeMay about the sleek, voluminous tresses seen on the runways at Versace and Diane von Furstenberg this season. “Glamourous, with a big finish and lots of volume.” If you’re opting for a pin-straight sleekness, add dimension to the hair with a high-gloss serum or spray.The fix: Work a texturizing cream through hair for a downtown gritty feel and to add some just-rolled-out-of-bed volume to straight hair. Or try a look straight out of Oscar de la Renta’s Spring/Summer 2013 runway, and add a fuchsia pink highlight for colourful dimension.

Flat iron mistake #2: Not adjusting the heat setting
Just like with the diverse array of targeted hair products, there’s no one-size-fits-all in flat irons, especially when it comes to adjusting the heat setting. “A woman with bleached-blonde hair needs a different heat setting from someone with coarse, curly locks,” LeMay advises. Women with naturally curly hair, for example, require a lower temperature than their smooth-haired friends to tame locks.

The fix: Look for a professional flat iron with a good-quality heat setting control, and ask your hair stylist which temperature is best suited to your hair. “It’s impossible to have one that suits everyone,” he says.

Flat iron mistake #3: Straightening wet hair 
We all know how tempting it is when blow-drying hair in the morning, to use a flat iron on slightly damp hair—heat is heat, right? Wrong. Using a flat iron on wet hair is extremely damaging, says LeMay. “It creates steam and causes bubbles to form within the hair fibre, which cracks along the hair shaft,” he explains as the cause for damage. When hair crackles, the cuticle, which acts as a shield, flakes off, and the strand is left vulnerable to more breakage

The fix:
 “Allow hair to dry completely before using a flat iron,” says LeMay. “This helps to keep moisture in the hair.” It also ensures a smooth, lasting finish. “The blow dry is the most important foundation,” he adds, noting that curly hair needs a careful, thorough blow dry with a round or paddle brush before passing a flat iron through it to last. “You’ll never see a stylist blow-drying hair in any direction!” Point taken.

Flat iron mistake #4: Forgetting to use a heat-protecting product 
The only safety net between your delicate tresses and 450 degrees Fahrenheit of concentrated heat should be a thermal-protectant hair product. “It’s very important to prior to application of the flat iron,” he says.

The fix: Apply a heat-protecting product to seal up the hair cuticle and leave a silky finish. Try Matrix Thermo Glide Express Blowout Crème. And invest in a professional hair mask treatment to protect and resurface dry ends to a smooth finish.

Flat iron mistake #5: Using a flat iron everyday 
The process of washing hair, then applying heat through blow-drying and styling tools takes a toll on hair—especially when repeated several times per week. But it’s not like we’re planning to stop any time soon. “We have a tendency to forget that hair is an important par of our everyday image,” says LeMay. Focus on cutting down on the use of hot tools where possible, and amping up on thermal and colour-protecting products for good measure.
The fix: Instead of washing hair and re-styling before a night out, mist a thermal-protecting spray into hair and run a flat iron over top to quickly refresh your look. For a more lasting, long-term commitment to straight, sleek hair, opt for a professional smoothing service at your salon. “It won’t leave hair completely straight, but it’ll be easier to manage,” says LeMay, citing the reduced time in blow-drying and styling, especially during humid summer months. And anything that cuts down on styling time and frizz this season is all the proof we need.

 

10 Tips for Acne-Prone Skin: Follow this advice for clear, glowing skin

October 17th, 2013

1. Cleanse Gently
Deeply cleansing oily skin sounds like a great strategy but harsh cleansers can strip skin of its protective barrier, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria. And soap has a higher pH than your skin, which can over-dry skin and cause oil production to go into overdrive—which you definitely don’t need. Try a balancing face wash like Jurlique Purifying Foaming Cleanser ($34,jurlique.com) to rebalance oiliness while smoothing and soothing skin, or a gel cleanser such as Spa Technologies Marine Gel Cleanser ($30,spatechnologies.com), which is full of anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe inflamed skin.

2. Skip Exfoliation
Scrubbing seems like the perfect way to cleanse and purify, but for most acne-prone skin, anything more than a teensy bit of exfoliation is way too much. Use fingertips to massage skin gently (a little blood flow is good, but don’t go crazy) and avoid abrasive ingredients like beads altogether. Afterward, pat skin dry—never rub with a washcloth or towel.

3. Avoid Over-Drying
Many products meant to combat acne are super drying to skin and can trigger extra oil production, which, as you now know, is bad news. Avoid alcohol-based astringents (they’ll parch you in an instant) and moisturize immediately after washing while skin is still damp to optimize absorption. Look for oil-free products that will hydrate without gunking up pores. Try Arcona AM or PM Acne Lotion ($40-52, arcona.com), which is formulated with a blend of stabilized retinol, salicylic and lactic acids to control breakouts, or Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer ($28, juicebeauty.com), which offers lightweight hydration from algae, pomegranate, and aloe.

4. Make Salicylic Acid Your BFF
It’s scientific-sounding, but salicylic acid is totally natural (it’s derived from plants like willow bark) and it’s one of the most effective anti-acne ingredients around. It targets acne by sloughing away dead skin cells that clog pores and lead to breakouts. Unlike benzoyl peroxide, it won’t kill bacteria, but it also won’t suck all of the moisture from your skin or cause peeling and redness. Try Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster Serum ($56, eminenceorganics.com) or Mychelle White Cranberry Cleanser ($18, mychelle.com), which contains 5% willow bark to cleanse pores.

5. Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Makeup tools harbor dirt and bacteria like white on rice. Brushes and puffs for loose powder should be washed every 2 weeks and sponges at least once a week. (Toss the sponge if there are no remaining white sections.) To wash brushes, make a solution using a few drops of facial cleanser or shampoo and temperate water, swish brushes in the solution, rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and lay flat on a towel to air dry. For puffs and sponges, moisten, apply a drop of facial cleanser and gently rub under temperate water until it runs clear. Air dry.

6. Choose Makeup Wisely
When your skin is acting up, reaching for concealer and foundation is a knee-jerk reaction. But consider switching to mineral-based cosmetics. They contain ingredients like silica, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide that sop up excess oil without clogging pores, are usually a good bet for pimple-prone skin. Try La Bella Donna Loose Mineral Foundation ($55,labelladonna.com) or Compressed Mineral Foundation ($55,labelladonna.com), which will calm skin with anti-inflammatories, provide natural-looking coverage, and won’t clog pores.

7. Examine Your Hair Care
If you’ve been breaking out on your forehead, back, or neck, check out the ingredient list on your shampoo and conditioner: they may contain aggravating ingredients (namely artificial fragrances and preservatives). Try changing up your hair care routine with products that are fragrance-free and don’t contain paraben preservatives.

8. Stay Hands-Off
Keep your mitts off your face, please. The last thing acne-prone skin needs is added dirt and bacteria from roving hands. And fight the urge to pick or pop pimples: Squeezing skin not only causes irritation and aggravates breakouts, but it also comes with the risk of scarring. Not cute.

9. Ditch Dairy Products
The jury is out whether there is a definitive link between dairy and acne, but many skin care experts agree that the components in milk related to testosterone hormones may stimulate oil glands, creating a breeding ground for acne. Try cutting out dairy for 2 weeks to see how your skin reacts. Or swap out cow dairy for goat and sheep dairy—some say these have less of a negative effect.

10. Beware of “Noncomedogenic” Claims
Noncomedogenic is a fancy way of saying a product won’t clog your pores. So, these products are an ace in the hole for acne-prone skin, right? Think again. There is no official FDA definition of the term noncomedogenic or a defined list of ingredients proven not to clog pores. The best bet is to look for oil-free products that don’t contain additional ingredients like artificial fragrances and preservatives, as these commonly cause skin reactions.

 

Fall beauty: 3 updates to the smoky eye

October 9th, 2013

We rounded up three smouldering ways to try the new smoky eye look for fall.

 Fall beauty: 3 updates to the smoky eye 

The hazy, charcoal-dusted smoky eye look flourished where most iconic trends (beauty and otherwise) do: in the glam-filled days of 1920s Hollywood. And while it’s had a shimmering effect onscreen, for the rest of us, “It’s been in for a while and is becoming mainstream,” explains GianLuca Orienti, a Vancouver-based celebrity makeup artist. Just look to the smoke-filled lids at Michael Kors and Lanvin this season.

Orienti and Amélie Ducharme, CoverGirl’s lead makeup artist, break down the smoky eye beauty trend seen on the fall runways, and how to get this season’s colourful update to the smoldering look. 

Smoky eye update: A haze of colour

There’s something very regal-looking about the gradient plum eye shadow seen at Gucci and Altuzarra’s fall runways (especially on green eyes). “It’s very rich, very noble,” says Ducharme. “But you have to know how to do it.”

MAKEUP TIPS: The best looks for HAZEL EYES

Start with matte and flawless-looking skin. Apply concealer and foundation to erase any dark circles and redness, which will only be amplified with a purple eye shadow. Use a black liner (try Covergirl LineBlast 24 Hour Eye Liner) along the top lash line and one-third of the bottom to frame the eye, she says. Smudge a plum-red eye shadow with a pointy pencil brush along the lashes, heading toward the temples.

With a wider blending blush, apply a neutral shade over the lid. To create depth, smudge the plum colour on top toward the outside corner of the eye. “Don’t blend too high,” says Ducharme. “That’s the mistake most women make.” For added dimension, blend in a shimmery brown at the centre of the lid. And finish with two coats of mascara.

Avoid a dramatic, colourful smoky eye for your day look. “It’s unnecessary,” says Orienti. But come nightfall, bring out your brightest, boldest eye shadow. “Colour has a sense of luminosity—it brings out shine in the eye.” The easiest way to find a complementary hue is to choose an eye shadow that’s the same shade as your eye colour. “For blue eyes, select a deep blue eye shadow, and mix in dark grey and black,” he says. “It’s perfect.”

Or go with a colour that matches the darkest hue of your hair colour. For brunettes, “use black and brown colours around the eye,” he says. And choose a soft, neutral lip colour, “That doesn’t fight with the smoky eye,” Orienti advises. Keep eyebrows soft as well. 

10 NEVER-FAIL EYELINERS to try

Smoky eye update: Mix a coloured eye liner with a neural shadow
There’s no limit to the colour palette and boldness of today’s smoky eye, insists Orienti. With a neutral lid swept with a taupe or grey eye shadow, “Try a coloured eye liner along the bottom lash line,” he says. “It’s not for everyone, but it’s a cute, playful statement.” Try a dainty pastel blue eye liner, as seen at Badgley Mischka, or a lime-lined lid from Karen Walker’s fall runway look.

The main rule with coloured eye liner is to keep the rest of the eye neutral. “Use a soft eye shadow on the top lid as your base,” says Ducharme, “Keep the focus on the eye liner.” And use lots of mascara.

MASCARA TIPS: 8 rules to live by 

Smoky eye update: Go for a geometric black liner
While the charcoal and kohl-dusted eye is likely the most common smoky look, the truth is, it’s also the hardest to properly achieve. “The worst idea is to start with black if you have never tried it before!” warns Ducharme. It’s much safer—and more forgiving—to start with a brown eye shadow, and blend in purple for a pretty, shaded effect.

But for the more experimental, there’s Anna Sui’s geometric and dotted cat eye liner on an inky lid. “There’s so many crazy things we can do with eye liner,” she says. For a true smoky haze, blend a gunmetal grey eye shadow right to the brow, as seen at Louis Vuitton this fall.

The top FALL BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Above all, be sure to consider how the smoky eye fits in with the rest of your look. “It has a more dangerous side to it,” says Orienti. Avoid wearing with a polished ’60s-style bouffant or braided updo. “It’s much stronger with messy hair.”

Read more: 
The best luxury beauty and skin care products

Beauty trends: Fall 2013’s prettiest eyes
The best makeup tips for blue eyes 
Beauty trends: Hwo to go punk for Fall 2013

Leggings: How to work them for your body type!

September 25th, 2013

Leggings: How to work them for your body type

We knew it would happen eventually. Hip ’80s styling is back. Think oversized sweaters, ankle boots and yes, leggings.

Under miniskirts, shirt-dresses, oversized sweaters and tops, leggings are the ultimate accessory this fall. Take a cue from the runways of Versace and MaxMara — the ’80s are back in the spotlight. Great news for girls blessed with gorgeous gams, but the prospect of reveal-all legwear has the rest of us running for cover (literally!). Fear not — there are ways to copy the trend without putting less-than-perfect features on display. Read on …

Barbara Atkin, fashion director of Holt Renfrew Canada, offers this advice for all our unique body and leg shapes.
 
Pear
Wear leggings with knee-high boots, layered with an A-line, empire waist or cocoon-shaped tunic-length dress. Wear the dress loose and not belted. Add some of this season’s long necklaces to give your body an elongated image. Play up the top half of your torso and keep the bottom half more fluid and swingy.
Athletic
You have worked out hard, so show off your toned lines by layering your leggings with a body-skimming dress, or layer with a miniskirt and new off-the-shoulder sexy Flashdance top. Ankle boots with rounded toes and high, chunky heels will give you the right lift to accentuate your well-toned calves.
Hourglass
Your womanly curves need to be accented. Layer your leggings with a minidress or tunic. Add a waist-cinching belt and a knee boot or a shoe with a chunky high heel and round or almond-shaped toe. Throw over the whole outfit with one of this season’s must-have knit capes.
Boy-ish
Show off your cute androgynous side with skinny leggings layered with a romantic blouse: Victorian style with high lace collar. Layer this blouse with a vest and throw over the whole outfit an oversized tweed or velvet jacket. Add a jockey cap and the perfect equestrian riding boot.
Petite
Wear your leggings with a high-heeled, rounded-toe ankle boot to give you height and a leggy look. Pair it with a hot mini jumper dress layered over a fine knit turtleneck. If going outdoors, choose a trendy staple: princess line knee-length coats.
Plus-size
Leggings are the perfect underpinning for you when layered over a knit tunic and ankle-length, chunky-knit extra large cardigan. Add a knee-length boot and extra long knit or fur scarf, or splurge on the celeb-coveted extra large satchel bags — now you have flair!
Average
Lucky you! You are not too tall, not too short, not overweight and can wear any of the above-mentioned styles. You may be average but you will always be noticed and have many options to choose from.

Remember to watch your legging wear-and-tear! Leggings are prone to bagging around the knees and bum. When they’ve lost their stretch-appeal, it’s time to turn them in (or place them under house arrest). Consider buying two pairs of your favourite kind to reduce the wear and enjoy a full season of hot, stylish legs.

 

The perfect time of year to wear leggings.

Article complements of Elle Magazine.   
 

Stay Put Makeup for Labour Day Weekend

September 7th, 2013

The sunny months of summer are slowly dwindling down (wah!), and though we’ll miss our weekly escapes to the beach, we certainly won’t miss the frizz, sweat and slip-right-off-your-face makeup that comes along with them. So just in time for the last big weekend of the season, make sure your look stays put with these easy long-wear tips.

Go Prime Time: While this step is more-often-than-not overlooked in most beauty routines, it’s an essential way to lock your makeup in place for a flawless finish. Apply a face primer in areas where excess oil develops throughout the day such as your T-zone. Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control ($42, sephora.com) tackles two issues at once: it makes sure your makeup has heat-proof longevity and helps banish any breakouts thanks to its salicylic-laced formula.

Next step, no creases! When you want to avoid that icky line of caked shadow on your lids, start with an eye shadow primer like cult favorite Urban Decay Cosmetics Original Primer Potion ($19, urbandecay.com). This makes shadow appear more vibrant and promises 24-plus hour wear. FITNESS’ associate beauty editor Molly swears by the shade Eden.

Lighten Up: When the heat is on, skip the full coverage foundation and opt for a lighter version like a BB or CC cream that has skin-boosting benefits such as smoothing your complexion and adding instant radiance. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($35, clinique.com) is lightweight and oil-free, but still manages to mask imperfections. Plus, it protects skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Gel With It: Pack away your powder blushes and choose a cream or gel consistency. They tend to last longer and offer a natural pop of color. Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée in Poppy Paradise ($24, sephora.com) gives your cheeks a pretty, dewy flush, and it lasts for up to 14 hours! It’s infused with 50% coconut water, so it feels nice and cool on those really hot days.

Get Set: Locking your makeup in place is a step you can’t skip. While some setting powders cause skin to look dry and cakey, Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($34, sephora.com) does just the opposite. It regulates shine while still looking radiant.

Line Up: Minimalism is key when it comes to eye makeup. Most times, a subtle winged look is all you need to feel pretty and polished, but the last thing you want is for your wing to go droopy. With Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($20, sephora.com) your look will stay sleek and smudge-proof for hours. We love the Cobalt shade!

Stop Smears: Everyone dreads removing tough-to-budge waterproof mascaras. However, with the threat of raccoon eyes induced by sweat or a quick plunge in the pool looming, long-wear formulas are a must for keeping eye makeup in tact. Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara ($8, ulta.com) lengthens lashes and adds insane volume without running down your face mid-day.

Think Barely-There: When it comes to lips, keep it sheer. Try Dior Addict Lipstick in 643 Diablotine ($31, dior.com). The sheer poppy red gives a gorgeous wash of color without being too overwhelming. Lightly blot this on your lips and apply a lip balm like Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla Macadamia ($4, target.com) over for amped-up hydration.

Take It Off: When the end of the dog day rolls around, reach for Almay Longwear & Waterproof Gentle Eye Makeup Remover ($7, ulta.com). This stuff instantly sweeps away hard-to-remove makeup without leaving the sensitive eye area irritated.

Rachel Zoe’s Style DOs and DON’Ts

August 22nd, 2013

rachel zoeI started styling people when I was just eight years old, without even knowing what a stylist was. One of my guy friends wore only soccer clothes to school, and it bugged me because his family was very well-dressed—they always wore Ralph Lauren—and I knew he had better clothes! So I went to his house one day and set up looks for Monday through Friday. I laid them out head to toe with shoes and everything. Isn’t that weird for an eight-year-old to do? But he wore them and was so handsome.

Fashion, style, taste—I know it’s all subjective. But at the end of the day, I think we’re all just trying to achieve that Pretty Woman moment when we go from God-knows-what-we-were-wearing to total princesses. Shouldn’t every woman feel like she has red-carpet moments? Just saying, shouldn’t we all live the dream? It doesn’t matter if you’re going to an office party or dinner with your boyfriend. It’s about feeling great in that moment and having a picture you can look at later and say “I turned it out that night.”

So here are my DOs and DON’Ts for style like that every day—and what I’ve learned about living a happy life to go with it.

DO tread lightly on trends.

You have to interpret what’s hot to make it work on yourself. If tweed suits are in but you’re not a suit kind of girl, wear the jacket with jeans and a pair of Converses. The idea is that you wear it the way that becomes the most you. For example, skinny jeans couldn’t be more in style, but they make my legs look really short, so I only do them with thigh-high boots.

DON’T wear pants the wrong length.

Something that’s very painful for me is when people wear pants that are too short. I can’t, you know what I mean? Here’s the rule: Unless they’re cropped to ankle length on purpose, your pants should always skim the ground, like just a quarter-inch above the bottom of your foot. In the luxurious life, we would have different pairs of the same style hemmed for heels and hemmed for flats, but most of us don’t, so you have to choose. If you’re going to make the commitment to wear heels, your pants have to skim the ground. Please just commit. I can’t bear too-short pants. They make me crazy!

DON’T mix hardware

Let’s say your bag has silver metal, but your jacket and your belt and your shoes have gold. No. I don’t love mixing.

DO go for “pops.”

Accents of color always brighten you up, whether they’re from a trim, a bag, a shoe, jewelry, a hat, or a whole article of clothing. If you have on a pair of black trousers, and you do a great printed shirt with some beautiful floral print or a bold red color, your whole face can really come alive. The same goes for animal prints or sequins and glitz. But I call it a pop because you should only wear one piece like that at a time. I’ve seen more women in allover looks, and I’m sorry but you just can’t. Pick one.

DO copy people

Take someone in the public eye whose style you admire or whose body you think yours is most similar to, see what they do, and try to emulate it. It’s not bad to copy a celebrity—God, no! That’s what they’re there for!

DON’T get discouraged by a limited budget

Listen, some of the people I know with the smallest spending accounts have the biggest style. The key is creativity in mixing and matching what you wear. Even the girls with Balenciaga bags or Lanvin flats pair them with H&M, Anthropologie, and Topshop. At this point fashion is so accessible, it’s easy to be on trend for very little money.

DO think big picture

Getting dressed is a head-to-toe experience, so you have to think about how your hair and makeup play into what you’re wearing. A ponytail always works. A pony, a braid, a messy topknot, please. Everyone in my office on any given day has a messy knot or a messy pony.

DON’T bedazzle. Seriously.

Anything bedazzled should be gone. I can’t. With the spikes and the bedazzling and the script writing in rhinestones? No. We have to get rid of it.

DON’T rely completely on the mirror.

I’d love to be able to say, “Look in the mirror to see what works best, and you’ll know,” but most people don’t know. Sometimes I don’t! We’re just not the best judges of ourselves, because we’ve been looking at our reflections for our entire lives. I thought blue looked like crap on me, and one day I wore a navy jumpsuit, and everyone was like, “Why don’t you wear more blue?!” The mirror might not always be the most helpful thing, but cameras don’t lie. They allow you to step outside yourself and see an outfit with an objective eye, so take pictures if you’re not positive about a look. And make sure you get lots of different angles.

DO remember that the best accessory is always attitude.

I’m super self-conscious about my knees—they’re kind of chicken-y—so I haven’t worn a miniskirt or shorts since I was about 17. The point is that in order to look good, you need to feel good. If someone’s saying to you, “You look amazing in that skintight dress” but you’re miserably uncomfortable, it will show. You have to find the compromise between what looks best on you and what’s going to give you the most confidence. Half of beauty is the belief that you’re beautiful.

DON’T let yourself go fashion bananas…on your baby.

OK, I admit it: I’m totally obsessed with dressing my son, Skyler. I no longer shop for myself; I just shop for him. But my biggest regret was buying him very expensive clothes when he was a baby baby. A cashmere onesie, furry lace-up booties, Bur-berry, Gucci—he outgrew it all in, like, 10 days! I’m certifiably insane. It’s embarrassing. So please, learn from my mistakes and don’t spend much money on clothes when they’re so young. I’m hopefully going to have another child, and I’ll definitely be taking my own advice.

But the most major DO of all?

Being happy! Now that I’m a mother, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. Honestly, I’m a much different person than I was a few years ago because I just don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. The things that really used to sting, like people judging me? Now I’m able to recognize what’s truly important in my life—my son, my family—and take the high road. Hate is a very exhausting emotion. Trust me, I’ve felt it time and time again, and I still feel it for a select few people. But all hate does is turn you into someone that you’re not. In the end, taking the high road is so much more chic.

New Mom Malin Akerman Dishes on Healthy Snacks, Favourite Workouts, and Beauty Tips

August 15th, 2013

As a new mother with a thriving acting career, Malin Akerman knows how to juggle a hectic schedule. Between spending time with her son, Sebastian, and her husband, she’s also playing Debbie Harry, lead singer of the band Blondie, in the new film CBGB out this October (some of her other blockbusters include Couples Retreat and Rock of Ages). Now she’s adding television star to her resume by starring in a new ABC comedy, Trophy Wife, this fall. In an attempt to be the best wife and mother she can be, she’s taking care of herself by squeezing in workouts and taking care of her family by stocking the fridge with healthy snacks. She let us in on what it’s like to juggle it all.

All Puckered Out: What Really Works (and Doesn’t) to Get Rid of Cellulite

August 5th, 2013

jillian mSupermodels get it. Heck, even Jillian Michaels has it! But you don’t have to suffer with the orange-peel effect on your butt and thighs. We got top derms to spill the secrets on what really works — and what doesn’t — to get rid of cellulite.

What Cellulite Is, Exactly

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cast my envious gaze on those women in yoga class who can put their ankles behind their necks or contort into a full wheel while I struggle to reach my toes. Today, though, as I twist in front of the mirror, trying to look at my own butt, I’m grateful for my inflexibility. It’s as if my body is protecting me from the dimpled, puckered truth.

I am talking about cellulite, which some 80 to 90 percent of women — even Olympic beach volleyball players and supermodel yogis — have. While those oh-so-attractive lines and divots in your fatty bits are in no way harmful to your health, the dermatologists and plastic surgeons who study the condition have nonetheless staged its severity just as they have cancer. From what I can tell, my butt is between stages I and II: a bit of visible orange-peel texture when I am standing, which is more obvious when I clench or grab a chunk (sorry — TMI!). In stage III, you see more ripples on your skin, and stage IV has even more and deeper pits on a larger area of your body, like the surface of the moon in a bad sci-fi movie.

Surprisingly little is understood about cellulite. Here are seven things docs do know.

  • It’s more than skin-deep. In the simplest terms, cellulite is pockets of fat that have squeezed between bands of tissue, called septae, that are under your skin.
  • Cellulite definitely discriminates. Women of all races get it, while virtually no men do. That’s because septae are different in women than they are in men. Guys have sturdier bands in a crisscross formation that keeps fat in place more effectively. Women have flimsier vertical septae that fat can more easily push through.
  • Size doesn’t matter. Both thin and heavy women get cellulite. The more body fat you have, the more likely you are to also have significant dimpling. But even skinny women have some fat between their muscles and skin. That’s all it takes for cellulite to happen.
  • You can’t diet cellulite away. Losing weight sometimes makes it better, but ironically, it can also make it worse. When you drop pounds, you also ditch flab, meaning, theoretically, that you should have less cellulite. However, your skin can become saggy after weight loss, which can make cellulite more pronounced.
  • Your mom may be to blame. Cellulite runs in families. Genes help determine how you store fat and how likely that flab is to push through the septae that are supposed to contain it.
  • Hormones play a role. But exactly what role isn’t known. Because cellulite starts at puberty, doctors think estrogen is involved. However, that hasn’t been proved.
  • Treating it isn’t easy. Liposuction, which has been marketed as a treatment for cellulite, often makes the condition worse. Removing fat with lipo can leave your skin even more puckered looking than it was before.

Why Your Butt Is Bumpy

Cellulite is sneaky. Even the experts don’t agree on the reason it suddenly appears. Some derms say that cellulite is due to poor circulation in the skin covering your behind, your thighs and the back of your upper arms. They believe that the capillaries and blood vessels that bring nutrients to the skin there begin to deteriorate and leak lymphatic fluid into your fat cells, which get engorged. These fat cells cluster together, poofed up with liquid, and move toward the surface of the skin, causing the despised lumps and bumps.

To make matters more blobby, the health of the skin itself deteriorates in this scenario, says FITNESS advisory board member Howard Murad, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and the author of The Cellulite Solution, who is a proponent of the circulation theory. That, combined with declining amounts of collagen — a protein that gives skin its structure — as we age, causes our skin to slacken and become weaker, making any engorged fat cells even more visible.

The trouble is, there’s not much reliable scientific data behind this rationale, says Molly Wanner, MD, an instructor in dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Yet it’s the basis for many popular treatments, including endermologie, in which your fat is vigorously squished and rolled in a machine that supposedly increases circulation and removes stored fat. Numerous treatments, at $100 a pop, are recommended. Ka-ching!

“There is a lot of fiction and marketing out there,” says Neil Sadick, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, who has conducted much of the available research on cellulite and its causes. He and a number of doctors discount poor circulation as a cause and instead point to what MRI and biopsy studies show: that cellulite is a structural problem in the layer of skin called the dermis, which lies under the epidermis, or the skin that we see. Below the dermis is a layer of fat — held in place by a collagen barrier called the subcutaneous dermal junction — as well as the tissue, or septae, which are wrapped around the fat cells.

In men, those septa threads are crisscrossed, a bit like mesh, helping to hold the fat down where it belongs. In women, however, the septae wrap around small groups of fat cells in a more vertical fashion. This means that the clusters of squeezed-together fat cells can more easily migrate up into the dermis, creating the lumps you see in cellulite. Gain weight and you’ve got bigger fat cells, all straining to be free. Think of a quilted ski jacket with the septae as the stitching that makes the squares. The less stuffing you have in each square, the flatter your square is. If you stuff double or triple the amount of down in the squares, the stitching becomes strained and each square looks more distinct. That’s basically what’s going on in your butt. Okay, my butt. “When fat accumulates between these septae, the fat layer expands, which in turn expands the pockets, and your skin gets that quilted-mattress appearance,” explains Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist in New Orleans.

Adding to all the fun, waning levels of collagen cause the subcutaneous dermal junction — the layer that is supposed to hold the fat where it belongs — to weaken. “That means the fat cells are even more likely to wiggle free,” Dr. Sadick says.

Smooth Moves

If you read cellulite treatment claims closely, you’ll notice that reputable ones tend not to say that their cream, laser or massage therapy will get rid of cellulite. The ugly truth is that because cellulite is most likely a structural problem, it’s going to return like the proverbial bad penny if the structure is unchanged. “You cannot cure it,” Dr. Sadick says. “But you can help make it look significantly better.”

That’s the good news: There are ways to temporarily minimize your lumps and bumps. At least two of those techniques — working out and dropping pounds — have other health benefits as well.

Hit the weight room. Exercise is crucial. While there is — shockingly — no specific research on how working out affects cellulite, a toning routine can tighten up the whole package. “Women need to start lifting weights two to three times a week. I’m a big proponent of this,” Dr. Farris says. “Resistance exercise acts like fillers for your skin. If your muscles are more defined, your skin will look smoother.” Dr. Wanner agrees: “If you lose weight and replace it with muscle, you’re going to have a fat layer that’s not as thick, and your cellulite is going to improve.”

Scale back. Getting to a healthy weight can help reduce cellulite. Yet just ditching pounds without firming up is not always the no-brainer cellulite-reduction move you would think it is. When you lose weight, “your skin may be more lax, pulling on the septae, and cellulite may become more visible,” Dr. Wanner says. The younger you are and the better your skin elasticity is, the smoother the results. For the rest of us, strength training is the number-one way to keep things as taut as possible.

Make your skin stronger. Want to do even more to de-lumpify your derriere? Topical treatments that may build collagen in the skin, like Retin-A or creams with retinol or vitamin C, couldn’t hurt and may help, Dr. Sadick says.

Don’t get sucked into trying lipo. A lot of doctors still suggest it, but it doesn’t work and can actually make skin look more dimpled by removing too much fat, Dr. Wanner says.

The bottom line is that the same things you would do to keep your body fit and healthy are your best weapons against cellulite. In the meantime, take it from me: Self-tanner, which can help camouflage the cottage cheese, is a lumpy butt’s best friend.

The Cellulite Treatment Experts Endorse

If you hate your lumps enough to spend big bucks to zap them, Cellulaze, an FDA-approved therapy, looks like a promising solution.

What it is: A laser that is inserted under the skin and shoots heat in three directions. When the laser is rotated, it liquefies fat, cuts the septae that surround fat cells to loosen puckering, and heats the skin to encourage collagen regrowth, says Bruce Katz, MD, the director of the Juva Skin & Laser Center in New York City, who was involved in Cellulaze’s FDA-approval process.

What it promises: A 70 to 80 percent improvement that lasts at least a year, according to Dr. Katz, who says that in the more than three years since he began performing the procedure, no one has reported that their cellulite has come back. (People have had touch-ups, however.)

Who it’s best for: Active women with mild to moderate cellulite who are not significantly overweight and who have good muscle tone.

The cost: A whopping $5,000 to $7,000 on average, depending on the size of the area being treated.

The recovery time: The outpatient procedure is done under local anesthesia. “Most of our patients go back to work the next day,” Dr. Katz says. They wear a Spanx-like surgical garment for a week for the bruising and swelling.

The verdict: “I think it’s a very good technology,” says dermatologist Dr. Sadick, who has used it. However, he isn’t ready to declare the results permanent. And like any invasive procedure, there are risks involved. Plus there is no data on the long-term effects. To find out more or for a referral to a derm who is using Cellulaze, go to Cellulaze.com.

How to Ditch the Sugar Habit

July 24th, 2013

Learn how to break free of the constant cravings and finally take sweet control of your diet.

ditch the sugarSo Long, Sweet Tooth

I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. I chow down on a variety of fruits and veggies, lean protein and whole grains, and I do my best to keep my sweet tooth in check. So I never really worried about how much sugar I was getting — that is, until I recently heard one doctor say that high doses of sugar were poison and another that he was eliminating the refined sweetener from his diet. Uh-oh. Was the sugar I sprinkled on my oatmeal and stirred into my coffee — and okay, the occasional cookie or three — hurting my health?

If I’m eating too much of the sweet stuff, I may have reason to be concerned, doctors say. Sugar is made up of roughly equal parts glucose and fructose. When we consume it, the pancreas releases insulin, which helps our cells use glucose as fuel. However, if we eat more sugar than our bodies can process, insulin instructs our system to store the excess as fat, and we gain weight. The more you weigh, the greater your risk for such health conditions as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Here’s where things get a little sticky. Some docs — particularly Robert Lustig, MD, a professor of pediatrics and endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco — think that the problem with sugar goes beyond that. Lustig believes that the fructose in sugar is especially dangerous, because we can’t digest it properly. That means fructose is metabolized mainly by the liver, which works hard to try to break it down. The strain can result in type 2 diabetes as well as high blood pressure, liver problems and cardiovascular disease, Lustig says.

Plenty of other experts think Lustig is exaggerating the dangers of fructose. “As long as we don’t eat it in excess, our bodies don’t have trouble breaking down fructose,” says David Katz, MD, the director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. But therein lies the real concern, he adds: Sugar itself is not bad, but all of us are eating way more than we should be these days. “That is what leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health problems,” Dr. Katz explains.

Hungry for More

The average American now consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar a year, yet most of us have no clue we’re eating that much. Most of the sugar in our diets comes not from the table sugar we sprinkle into our tea or mix into muffin batter but from sweeteners added to all sorts of packaged foods, even healthy ones like peanut butter and pasta sauce. Why do manufacturers put sugar in so many things that don’t need it? The answer is simple: Most people think a product with added sugar tastes better than it does without it. But the more sweetly delicious food gets, the more nutritional value it loses. Many processed foods have few vitamins and minerals and don’t do much to satisfy hunger. Dr. Katz says, “They provide more of what we get too much of” — hello, sugar — “and less of what we get too little of,” like antioxidants.

Sweeteners are now tucked into a vast array of foods, including salad dressing, bread, mustard and crackers. Some of the healthy snacks fit women eat regularly, like fruit-flavored yogurt, are loaded with sugar, says Alyssa Chicci, RD, a dietitian in Phoenix. “A six-ounce container often contains anywhere from 22 to 31 grams of sugar per serving,” she points out.

Ironically, the sugar in foods only intensifies our craving for the sweet stuff. “The more sugar people get, the more they need in order to feel satisfied,” Dr. Katz explains.

Sweet Relief

So how much sugar should we be eating? Dr. Katz and Chicci say that no more than 8 to 10 percent of your daily calories should come from added sugar. That’s roughly 140 to 180 calories if you consume 1,800 a day. You’re probably getting almost twice that now. Here’s how to cut back.

Eat more whole foods. The less processed food in your diet, the less added sugar you’ll get. When you crave something crunchy, reach for carrots or bell pepper slices instead of crackers. Skip the energy bar and have a banana.

Learn to spot the hidden sweet stuff. “Today there are often several sweeteners in foods, so you can easily get bamboozled when you look at a label,” says Michael Goran, PhD, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. Sugar is rarely listed as an ingredient. Instead it will show up as dextrose, sucrose, maltose, honey, molasses, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate and agave nectar. “When you add them up, sweeteners can total more than any other ingredient in a food,” Chicci says. Scan labels carefully, and when choosing foods like juice, yogurt, dried fruit, soy milk and peanut butter, opt for those that have no added sugar.

Pay attention to rank. Manufacturers have to list ingredients by weight; the more of a substance that’s in a product, the closer it is to the top of the list. “When the first ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup, for example, you know it contains more of that than anything else,” Chicci explains.

Beware of “lightly sweetened” or “low sugar” products. This advice might sound counterintuitive, but “there are no FDA regulations governing the use of those phrases, and their meaning is ambiguous,” Chicci says. The product could contain almost as much sugar as the original version does. Instead, look for labels that say a product is “sugar-free” or has “no added sugars.”

Don’t go all artificial. It seems sensible to use an artificial sweetener in place of sugar. But a new study in the journal Appetite found that using these sweeteners could result in weight gain. Experts believe that they make you hungry because they give you the sweet taste but not the calories, leaving you unsatisfied. Limit your consumption of artificial sweeteners the same way you limit your consumption of sugar.

Sip smarter. Sweetened soda, bottled tea and fancy coffee drinks are basically liquid candy, according to Chicci. Opt for unsweetened versions, or drink water with lemon or lime squeezed into it for flavor.

Train your tongue. Because your taste buds have fallen in love with the taste of sugary foods, you’ll need to let them get used to unsweetened stuff. Try a food at least 10 times, suggests Jessica Crandall, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Or eat something unsweetened, like plain yogurt, mixed with the sweetened kind for a week or two to ease into the lower-sugar lifestyle.

Don’t skip meals. “Eating regularly will prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low, which can make you crave sugar,” Chicci says.

Feast on fruity desserts. Fruit is naturally sweet, has a lot of filling fiber and few calories, and is packed with nutrients. Try strawberries with plain yogurt, fruit salad garnished with mint, or grilled peaches (cut peaches in half, remove pits, brush with canola oil and grill about two to three minutes a side; serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt).

The Real Deal on High-Fructose Corn Syrup

It’s the ingredient everyone loves to hate. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is used in soda and a wide variety of processed foods because it’s cheaper than sugar, has been blamed for playing a major role in the obesity epidemic in the United States. But the latest thinking, based on a review of all the research conducted on HFCS, is that it may actually be no worse for us than any other type of sugar.

Most scientists and doctors now agree that HFCS is safe in moderation. Biochemically, it’s similar to table sugar — roughly 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. “High-fructose corn syrup has the same sweetness, the same number of calories and the same impact on the body as sugar,” says James Rippe, MD, a cardiologist and the founder of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, who studies nutrition and weight management.

HFCS can make us fat if we eat too much of it, but so can sugar, experts say. The real culprit in the obesity crisis is our overconsumption of all kinds of food, period. The average American now eats 425 more calories a day — an extra meal’s worth — than she did in 1970.

In addition to cutting back on sweeteners, you should monitor the total number of calories that you’re consuming, says John White, PhD, a leading expert on HFCS and other sweeteners and the president of White Technical Research, a food and beverage consulting firm. Keeping your total calorie count down will help you stay at a healthy weight and be healthier overall.

Eat All Day and Never Get Fat

July 10th, 2013
Munching more often can stave off hunger and help you maintain a healthy weight. Here, how to make this food lover’s diet work for you.

eat all dayEat Smaller Meals More Often

Consuming five small meals daily instead of three square ones can keep you fit and trim, nutrition experts say. But what exactly is a small meal?

“Four hundred calories every three hours or so throughout the day,” says Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. (That translates into 2,000 calories, the number an average active woman needs daily to maintain her weight. If you’re looking to lose, aim for 1,600 calories and eat only four of the meals below. Space them every four hours instead of three.)

“Eating this way helps prevent your blood sugar from crashing and keeps you satisfied.” Since you won’t be starving, you’ll be able to make smarter food choices and stick to your diet. Kick-start your meal makeover with this 2,000-calorie menu from Au Bon Pain executive chef Thomas John, who recently created the low-cal Portions line for the chain.

What to Eat at 7:00 A.M.

3/4 cup oatmeal (instant or quick-cook oats made with water) with 1 tablespoon honey. Top with 2 ounces (about 50 small) blueberries and 1 ounce (about 23) almonds.

PLUS 1 cup coffee with skim milk

What to Eat at 10:00 A.M.

5 celery sticks, 5 carrot sticks, and 1 medium apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter

PLUS 1 cup fresh orange juice

What to Eat at 1:00 P.M.

Pita Pizzetta

Toast 1 whole wheat pita. Spread with 1 tablespoon pesto. Top with mesclun greens, 2 ounces grilled chicken breast, and 3 grape tomatoes, halved.

What to Eat at 4:00 P.M.

1 ounce Brie cheese, 1 small bunch grapes, 1 ounce walnuts (about 14 halves), and 6 whole wheat crackers

What to Eat at 7:00 P.M.

Grilled salmon with tomatoes, eggplant, and quinoa

Combine 1/4 cup quinoa and 1/2 cup chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Lightly coat 3-ounce salmon fillet, 1/4 eggplant cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and 1 large tomato, cut into wedges, with olive oil. Grill until salmon starts to flake apart and veggies are soft and tender; season with salt and pepper. Place cooked quinoa in the center of a plate and top with the grilled salmon, eggplant, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil leaves to taste.

Splash of Color: Budge-Proof Summer Makeup Combos

July 5th, 2013
Water-resistant makeup looks to sport all season long.

summer makeupIt’s a Colorful World

You’re a mover and a shaker, but when it comes to your makeup, you need it to stay put. The hottest new eye, cheek, and lip shades come in water-resistant budge-proof formulas that won’t slip and slide in the heat. We’ve paired four stunning combos you can rock with ease all summer.

Mint Eyes Plus Bronzed Skin

In the same way mint ice cream wakes up your taste buds, mint eye shadow refreshes your whole look. For added keep-it-in-place insurance, swipe an eye shadow primer over your lids as a base. Our pick: Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($20, urbandecay.com). Then layer on a mint cream shadow, like 1. Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #53 ($23, sephora.com). Using your finger, swipe the cream lightly over your lids for a sheer wash or build it to your desired intensity. Complement icy lids with sun-kissed skin by dusting a matte bronzer, like 2. Laura Geller Baked Impressions Water-Resistant Matte Bronzer in Medium ($38, qvc.com), along your cheekbones.

Violet Eyes Plus Rosy Cheeks

For eyes as striking as a purple Hawaiian sunset, brush a shadow in violet — the color that makeup artists name as the most flattering — over your lids. One that won’t smear: 1. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Eye Shadow in Perpetual Purple ($8, drugstores). Wing out the shadow to elongate your eyes, then balance the strong shape by rubbing a girly pink stain on the apples of your cheeks. Dab what’s left on your finger on your lips. We like 2. Estee Lauder Pure Color Cheek Rush in X-Pose Rose ($28, esteelauder.com), which has a sheer gel finish that lasts until you remove it.

violet eyesBlue Lashes Plus Juicy Pink Lips

An easy way to extend your post-tropical-vacation high: Wear piercing Caribbean blue around your eyes. Draw a line along your upper lashes; try 1. CoverGirl Ink It! By Perfect Point Plus in Aquamarine Ink ($8, drugstores). To amp up the captivating effect, layer on a few coats of blue mascara, like 2. Chanel Limited Edition Inimitable Waterproof Mascara in Blue Note ($30, chanel.com), which won’t migrate even after a spontaneous cannonball into the pool. Give lips a fresh, feminine finish with a pink stain, such as 3. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain ($34, yslbeautyus.com); it offers the shine of a gloss, the pigment of a lipstick, and the staying power of a stain.

Teal-Rimmed Eyes Plus Glossy Peach Lips

Wearing a piece of turquoise jewelry makes you feel exotic. Apply that concept to your face by rimming your eyes in the blue-green shade. Using an angled eyeliner brush or a cotton swab, trace your upper and lower lash lines with a cream liner, like 1. Aqualillies for Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Splash ($24, tarte.com), which was put to the test by synchronized swimmers (it passed with flying colors). Contrast the bold shade with a glossy peach pout. 2. Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge in #18 ($24, sephora.com) is a wand with color on one side and a clear water-resistant topcoat, which locks in pigment, on the other.

10 Foods to Never Eat

June 24th, 2013
Drop that spoon! Everyone deserves the occasional indulgence, but before you dig in there are a handful of foods you should steer clear of to avoid damaging effects on your body, skin, and waistline. Here, experts weigh in on 10 foods to push off your plate for good.

frostingFrosting

That store-bought frosting from a tub might taste great on cakes and cookies, but it’s packed with problems. “It’s one of the only items in the grocery store that still has trans fats, which are terrible for your health and waistline,” says Melina Jampolis, MD, physician nutrition expert and coauthor of The Calendar Diet. “Trans fat raises bad cholesterol, lowers good cholesterol, and causes inflammation, which can lead to belly fat and diseases ranging from heart disease to diabetes.” On top of that, tub frosting is loaded with sugar, and high-sugar diets contribute to premature wrinkles. Yikes.

Bagels

If you’re prone to skin problems and tempted to grab a bagel before you go in the morning, think twice. “Bagels have a massively high glycemic index, which increases insulin and leads to increased inflammation in the body, which is shown to possibly accelerate aging and worsen acne and rosacea,” says dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, codirector of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC. Opt for an English muffin with peanut butter instead.

Processed Baked Goods

So convenient, so tasty (if we’re being honest here), but so not worth it. Those pre-packaged mini muffins, doughnuts, and dessert cakes will add tons of calories and loads of unwanted sugar to your diet, plus they aren’t easy to digest. “These foods are bad on so many levels, because they are filled with high sugar content and preservatives for a longer shelf-life — they can literally sit there forever,” says Dr. Tanzi. “Sugar increases inflammation in the skin, which on top of irritating acne and rosacea, can make you look puffy and bloated. Skip the wrapped stuff and grab fresh fruit for a sweet fix instead.

Soda

Dietitians and doctors all agree: Soda should be nixed from your diet completely. “One can of soda is like a can of water with 10 packets of sugar in it,” says nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, and director and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC. “The recommended amount of daily sugar for a woman is about six teaspoons or 24 grams, and soda has way more than that.” Good old fashion H2O is still your best option. If you want to jazz it up, add a slice of fresh fruit for flavor.

Sugary Cereal

A bowl of Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, or Cap’n Crunch might taste like nostalgia, but it’ll wreak some havoc with its high amount of inflammation-causing sugar and gluten content. “For some people with sensitive skin, gluten can exacerbate breakouts, leading to increased redness and, yes, more breakouts,” says Dr. Tanzi. Opt for low-sugar, gluten-free options like Rice Chex and Corn Flakes.

Stick Margarine

Choose a small amount of regular butter or soft spread over stick-shaped margarine when topping foods or baking, says Taub-Dix. “Margarine is usually loaded with trans fat,” she says. Don’t forget that stick margarine is found in plenty of pastries, crackers, snack foods, and even microwave popcorn, so limit intake to keep cholesterol levels in check.

Jarred Tomato Sauce

It’s easy to forget sources of sugar when you’re making recipes that aren’t traditionally considered sweet, but they do exist. Tomato sauce is a big culprit, says Dr. Tanzi. “Make your own, because the store stuff has a ton of sugar.”

Bacon

Noshing on bacon as a side for breakfast, as a topping for salads, or as an addition to your sandwich? Bad habit. “I know it’s only 45 calories a strip, but it is really high in fat, sodium, and the preservative sodium nitrate,” says Taub-Dix. Veggies or a few nuts are better options for a crunch, and won’t create such problems for your heart and digestive system. You’re better off avoiding it, but if you must have a little bacon? “Stick to half a strip to crumble on foods like salads and sandwiches,” Taub-Dix says.

sundaesMaraschino Cherries

This preserved fruit might turn up in your cocktail or on your sundae. Start choosing the real deal over sugar-packed, processed maraschino cherries. “These have artificial colors, like red-40 and red-3 dyes, that add no nutritional value,” says Taub-Dix.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is low in calories and has some good vitamins and minerals like riboflavin and vitamin B-6, but the extremely high sodium content will leave you bloated and at risk for conditions like hypertension. “There are so many low-sodium, lighter soy sauce options, there’s no reason to buy the regular stuff anymore,” says Taub-Dix. Yet she still recommends using the light stuff sparingly. “A tablespoon of the low-sodium soy sauce is about 600 milligrams of sodium instead of 900, so it is less but not none.”

Ace Your Base: Find the Best Shade and Product for You

June 17th, 2013
Use this guide to find your perfect match and look flawless.

foundationFind Your Match

Face it: A great foundation is a must for flawless-looking skin, but it’s tricky to get it right. Only 15 percent of women choose the correct shade if the appropriate tools aren’t provided, says Sarah Vickery, PhD, CoverGirl’s principal scientist. And color is just one piece of the puzzle. From tinted moisturizers to loose powders, there are countless formulas and finishes and different techniques for applying them. We’ve got you covered with this simple three-step guide to finding your perfect match and putting it on like a pro.

Step 1: Find Your Formula

Take this short quiz to determine the product that best suits you.

How would you describe your skin?
A. Oily/combination
B. Dry
C. Normal
D. Sensitive

What’s your biggest foundation gripe?
A. It disappears by noon.
B. It looks flaky and dull.
C. It feels heavy.
D. It irritates my skin.

What are you trying to hide?
A. Large pores and/or acne
B. Fine lines and/or brown spots
C. Nothing; I just want to blend minor imperfections.
D. Redness

The look you crave is
A. matte
B. dewy
C. natural
D. even

foundation 2Your Foundation Results

If you scored…

Mostly A’s/Zap oil When a foundation that contains oil comes into contact with oily skin, things get slick, causing your makeup to break down and slide off. Choose an oil-free liquid with lightweight silicone, which helps pigments adhere but won’t clog pores, says Troy Surratt, a makeup artist in New York City. We like Neutrogena Shine Control Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($14, drugstores). On the go, pick a travel-friendly pressed powder with silica, the solid equivalent of silicone. Try Revlon Age Defying with DNA Advantage Powder ($14, drugstores).

Mostly B’s/Go creamy Boost hydration with a rich anti-aging formula that contains moisturizing ingredients, like glycerin, says Brett Freedman, a makeup artist in Los Angeles. Our pick: Shiseido Makeup Radiant Lifting Foundation SPF 17 ($45, shiseido.com). A BB cream, such as Origins A Perfect World BB SPF 15 ($35, origins.com), is also a good choice: It packs emollients, anti-agers, antioxidants, and sunscreen in one tube.

Mostly C’s/Lighten up Lucky you! You’re blessed with low-maintenance skin and can wear any foundation, says Charlotte Willer, a makeup artist for Maybelline New York in New York City. For a believable finish, go for sheer liquids with light-reflecting particles, like L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup ($13, drugstores). Or opt for a tinted moisturizer that has just enough pigment to even out your skin without being noticeable. We love NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA+++ ($42, nordstrom.com).

Mostly D’s/Correct and cover If you’re the sensitive type, mineral makeup is for you. Most, like Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation ($28, sephora.com), contain skin soothers, such as zinc, and are free of potential irritants, like fragrance and preservatives. Highly pigmented mineral formulas cover broken capillaries, redness, and discoloration. If you find loose powder too messy, look for a pressed version, such as Physicians Formula Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30 ($14, drugstores).

Step 2: Choosing Your Shade

Tips for the Department Store

Being able to try before you buy at a department or specialty store is a huge bonus, but you can still snag the wrong shade unless you do the following:

Ask for help. Get color-matched by a trained makeup artist — and score some free samples while you’re at it.

Test the right spot. Swipe shades along your jawline to take into account the color of your neck, which is often paler than your face. The right hue should disappear into your skin.

See the (natural) light. Harsh overhead lighting can cast unflattering shadows. Stand near a window or head outside to check your color, says Emily Kate Warren, a makeup artist in Los Angeles. Or visit the Estée Lauder Beautiful Skin Studios (esteelauder.com/locator for locations), which use Philips Lighting technology to mimic day, evening, and office lighting.

foundation 3Tips for Shopping at the Drugstore

Thanks to high-tech displays and extensive shade ranges, it’s easier than ever to meet your match at the drugstore. A few helpful hints:

Do your homework. L’Oréal Paris, CoverGirl, and Revlon have complexion-matching applications on their websites, Warren says. Log on to answer questions about your skin and receive product and color suggestions to use as starting points.

When in doubt, go darker. If you blend the color well, you’ll look tan. But wearing a too-light shade will always make you appear chalky and overly made up, Willer says.

If at first you don’t succeed, get a refund. “Many drugstores, like CVS and Rite Aid, allow you to return makeup, even if it has been opened,” Warren says.

Step 3: Apply It Like a Pro

Different formulas require different application strategies. Eliminate guesswork by opting for products “with a built-in brush or sponge tip,” Surratt suggests. Or consult our cheat sheet:

Tinted moisturizers and BB creams: Rub them onto skin with your fingers.

Liquids, mousses, and creams: Brushes are best: Choose a flat-topped style that has synthetic bristles. “Unlike natural bristles, synthetics won’t absorb the makeup, so it transfers better onto skin,” Surratt explains. Buff in a circular motion from the center of your face, blending outward.

Powders: To keep it light, use a fluffy brush to sweep powder up and down the T-zone, Surratt says. Leave cheeks bare for a bit of glow. For more coverage, pick a brush with dense bristles, like a kabuki, and swirl all over.

Sticks: Swipe foundation straight from the tube onto problem spots and buff with a makeup sponge.

Sizzling Hot: 4 Easy Ways to Update Your Look for Summer

June 10th, 2013
Don’t waste a precious minute of summertime stressing about your hair, skin, and makeup. Keep your look natural and no-fuss with these easy, breezy secrets for your prettiest season ever.

summer beautyKeep Cool with Melt-Proof Makeup

The biggest color trend this summer: sheer shades. “Bright translucent eye shadows instantly perk up your face and are easier to maintain in the heat than a rich lipstick or vibrant blush,” says Dick Page, Shiseido artistic director. Go for the bold with lilac eye shadow or cobalt-blue eye­liner. Blend it with a small damp brush to diffuse the pigment and give it staying power.

Makeup Products for Summer

Rimmel London Glam’Eyes Quad Palette in State of Grace ($6, drugstores). NYC New York Color Mono Eyeshadow in Manhattan Gaze ($3, drugstores). Elizabeth Arden Smoky Eyes Powder Pencil in Blue Sky ($16, department stores). Lancome Color Design Eye Brightening All-in-One 5 Shadow & Liner Palette in Amethyst Glam ($48, department stores).

Flaunt Your Fun Nails

Color-saturated fingertips and toenails look great against your faux glow. For a streak-free application, paint on two light coats of polish. “Thin layers dry faster, so they’re less likely to smudge,” says Jan Arnold, cofounder of CND, a nail-product company. The hottest colors of the season: tangerine for your fingers and teal for your toes. Both are flattering on all skin tones.

Bright Nail Polish Shades

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish in Fairy Teal ($8, drugstores). OPI Turquoise Shatter ($9, Ulta stores). Essie Nail Polish in Braziliant ($8, drugstores). Revlon Top Speed Fast Dry Nail Enamel in Chili ($6, drugstores).

sexy hairMake a Splash with Sexy Hair

Summer is the time to embrace your natural texture, so send your blow-dryer on sabbatical. For a laid-back style that still looks smooth, apply an antifrizz cream to damp hair. Comb it through with your fingers, then air-dry strands for a not-too-perfect finish. “You’ll have flyaway-free hair that holds up on even the most humid days,” says Sarah Potempa, a celebrity stylist for Aussie.

Frizz-Fighting Hair Products

Pantene Restore Beautiful Lengths Smoothing Balm ($5, drugstores). L’Oreal Paris EverSleek Frizz Taming Creme Serum ($9, drugstores). Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Penetrating Oil ($8, drugstores). Fekkai Smooth Sailing Anti-Frizz Cream ($24, Nordstrom stores).

Show Off Your Shimmering Skin

Go too heavy with the bronzer and you can end up looking orange. To get a golden luminosity, dilute your self-tanner by mixing it with an equal amount of body lotion and apply it every few days, says Linda Hay, a makeup artist for Victoria’s Secret. And remember, before you head outdoors, put on a nongreasy sunscreen, such as Banana Boat SPF 110 Sport Performance UltraMist Continuous Clear Spray ($11, drugstores).

Golden Beauty Products

Dior Nude Healthy Glow Powder in Sunset ($46, dior.com). Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess ShadowStick Duo in Gold Bronze ($20, department stores). Sephora Collection Sun Disk in Aruba ($22, Sephora stores). Australian Gold Instant Bronzer SPF 30 Continuous Spray ($10, drugstores).

Look Good on the Go: Travel Beauty Products and Tips

June 4th, 2013
travel beautyWhether you’re jetting off to a beach vacation or heading home for the holidays, you’ll want to look your best without packing the entire bath­room cabinet. To help you stay gorgeous — and spill- and crumble-free — we asked experts and some glam globe-trotters for ingenious tips for maintaining your beauty regimen on the fly.

Tips to Pack Wisely

Choose your travel companions wisely.

Save space in your luggage by leaving body wash and moisturizers at home. Whatever you find in your hotel room — or Mom’s bathroom — will probably do the trick. That is, unless you have a fave product that seriously multitasks: “My must-have is Neutrogena Body Oil [$10, drugstores],” says celebrity makeup artist Amy Oresman. “It serves as my daily hydrator, my skin soother after too much sun, my shaving cream stand-in, and my frizz-and-flyaway tamer.” As for shampoo, BYO only if you have damaged and/or color-treated hair, says Rita Hazan, a celebrity colorist and salon owner in New York City. “The hotel kind can be drying and color stripping.” What you should bring: your own conditioner, a mild liquid facial cleanser, and a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. “I also pack cortisone cream in case of inflammation, Aquaphor for severe dryness or cuts, and acne cream because the stress of traveling can trigger a breakout,” says Diane Berson, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.

Downsize dramatically.

You know not to lug full-size products along; travel-friendly containers that meet the TSA’s 3.4-ounce regulation can ride in your carry-on bag. One thing to keep in mind if you’re filling your own bottles: “Leave a bit of room at the top, so the container will be less likely to explode with changing air pressure on the plane,” Berson says. Or make it easy on yourself and “collect beauty-counter samples to take on trips,” says Melanie Brandman, the founder of TheTravelCurator.com. “These can be used on the road, then thrown out.”

Avoid baggage-claim calamity.

Dodge spillage inside your suitcase by putting a piece of tape around the seal of your travel containers, Hazan says. Then place them in two ziplock bags, with the closures on opposite sides. Push the air out before you seal, because changing pressure in the plane can make ziplocks explode. Next, nestle the bagged bottles inside easy-to-wash jeans or T-shirts, suggests Julie Morgenstern, a professional organizer in New York City. “If something does spill, the cotton will absorb it.” Finally, lay your bagged liquids flat, says Jenny Cho, a Suave Professionals celebrity stylist. “Otherwise the bottles can crack.”

How to Look Great While Traveling

Prevent a breakup.

If you’ve ever found bronzer crumbles all over your vacation wardrobe — or a sticky sea of fragrance at the bottom of your suitcase — you know that powders and perfumes need special care. “To keep your powders from shattering in transit, all you need is a flat, round cotton pad,” Oresman says. “Lay it directly on top of the bronzer, blush, or shadow, and close the compact.” Her tip for traveling with your perfume? “Stick your double-ziplocked fragrance inside a long sock, then roll the sock around it for cushioning,” she says. “Put the sock inside a shoe to buffer it against bumps,” Morgenstern advises.

Treat as you travel.

Makeup and desert-dry airplane air don’t mix: Chances are, your skin will look flaky when you land. Instead, take advantage of the downtime — and the fact that the other passengers are total strangers anyway — to treat your skin. Brandman swears by a liberal coating of Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($48, sephora.com) “to brighten and prevent dullness.” While you’re at it, apply a lip balm, Berson says. The goal is to create a serious moisture barrier between your skin and the cabin air.

Revive on arrival.

Your hair can feel superparched after a flight, Hazan says. “Pack a free sample of a moisturizing hair mask; when you reach your destination, apply it, put on a shower cap, and sleep with it on overnight,” she recommends. “Shampoo and condition in the morning, and your hair will look shiny and healthy again.” If your face needs some extra TLC, put your lotion in the minibar fridge. The cooling effect will refresh you from jet lag as the product hydrates your skin. A good choice: Yes to Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer SPF 30 ($15, yestocarrots.com).

Travel-Friendly Products

Save space and still look great with these clever and compact skin, makeup, and hair essentials.

The Sonia Kashuk Brush Couture Four-Piece Brush Set ($13, target.com) offers the precision of regular-size brushes and fits easily in your makeup bag.

Double Duty

One side of the Mark Double Do Shape and Gloss Kit ($18, meetmark.com) contains a solid gloss that gives hair a sheen; the other holds a defining wax.

Take It Off

Whisk away stubborn waterproof mascara and long-wearing lip stains with Almay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($6, drugstores).

travel beauty 2Power Up

The Revlon Ionic Styler Dryer ($18, drugstores) weighs slightly more than one pound but delivers 1,875 watts of power to dry hair fast.

Beauty Balm

Smooth tangerine-scented Jurlique Love Balm ($7, jurlique.com) on parched lips, cuticles, elbows, and heels for instant relief.

Perk Up

Caffeine, algae, and pea peptides are packed into the pinkie-size H2O Plus Eye Oasis Instant Hydrating Stick ($26, h2oplus.com) to depuff sleep-deprived eyes.

Stay Fresh

La Fresh Travel Lite Antiperspirant Wipes ($3 for eight, lafreshgroup.com) provide serious — and clear — protection.

All-in-One Kit

Jemma Kidd On Location Kit in Dare to Bare ($23, target.com) houses eye and lip primer, three neutral shadows, peachy lip and cheek cream, and highlighter

Travel-Ready Scents

Wherever you go, the warm and spicy blend in Lucy B Cosmetics Roll-On in Royal Egyptian Amber and Honeysuckle perfume oil ($24, lucybcosmetics.com) will lend your trip an exotic feel.

Bring Sexy Back: Flaunt a Hot Rear View

May 28th, 2013

When you hit the gym, toning the muscles in the back of your body is a top priority — think butt, quads, and calves. But in your daily beauty routine, these areas are often out of sight, out of mind. Our simple backside beautifiers will help you flaunt a hot rear view — in short shorts, a bikini, or nothing at all — with crazy confidence.

sexy backGo Back to Basics

Bacne is keeping you from rocking a cutout Lululemon top or a backless LBD on date night.

The cause: Your workout plays a role: Women sweat most on their upper middle back, according to a study published by the American College of Sports Medicine. “Back acne often has the same triggers as facial acne — hormones spur an increase in oil production, and dirt and sweat clog pores — yet it’s typically tougher to treat because creams are rubbed away when you put on clothes or lie down,” says Paul Frank, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. “And this type of acne can be extreme because the skin on that part of the back is thicker and the hair follicles are larger, creating a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.”

DIY solution: Grab a loofah that has a handle or attach the Clarisonic Body Brush Extension Handle ($25, clarisonic.com) to your go-to face tool, then lather up your back with an acne wash that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to unclog pores. Three times a week, reach for a peel with glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid, such as Cane and Austin Retexturizing Body Pads ($70 for 60 pads, caneandaustin.com). After every sweat session, take a shower or wipe down with an anti-acne towelette and change into a fresh top. “Trapped sweat can irritate skin even more,” says Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.

In-office treatment: Isolaz, a pore-cleansing laser that uses vacuum technology, can make your back squeaky clean. You’ll need to see your derm a few times a year for the treatment and pay about $400 a session.

Get Smooth Arms

You do a gazillion triceps dips for sexy arms, yet you’ve got stubborn red bumps.

Red Bumps

The cause: Why do you have “chicken skin” on your arms but your friend doesn’t? Genetic roulette. But you’re not alone: About half of women have what derms call keratosis pilaris, or KP. “It’s a smooth armscommon skin condition that is actually a type of eczema,” says Jeannette Graf, MD, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. “Excess old skin cells build up around hair follicles, creating bumps that turn red as the follicles become inflamed and raised, causing the skin to become rough. The drier your skin, the worse the problem gets.”

DIY solution: Daily buffing. Look for gentle exfoliators that have fine granules and hydrators like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Also effective are chemical skin smoothers such as urea and salicylic, glycolic, and alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids. We like AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion ($16, drugstores). “These products break down dead skin on the surface, clearing the hair follicles,” Dr. Graf says. Once the bumps are gone, switch to a retinol-based cream, such as Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($20, drugstores), and apply it to your arms three times a week. “Retinol will help keep cell turnover at an even, healthy pace,” Dr. Fusco says.

In-office treatment: If your KP is out of control, over-the-counter creams might not cut it. Dr. Frank suggests a stronger approach: three to four sessions, at about $400 each, with a Medlite laser. “The short pulses of light increase cell turnover, cleaning the hair follicles much more efficiently than exfoliating creams can,” he says. Or you can ask your derm for an in-office peel, about $100, to kick-start cell turnover — and finally kick KP to the curb.

Do Some Leg Work

You worked hard to shed extra weight, so the last thing you need are stretch marks on your thighs reminding you of your heavier self.

Stretch Marks

The cause: “When skin grows faster than it was meant to — from rapid weight gain — its network of collagen fibers becomes uneven and creates visible indentations,” Dr. Graf explains.

legsDIY solution: The best time to target stretch marks is when they’re reddish purple. “That’s when you can still stimulate collagen production to repair the skin,” Dr. Fusco says. Use the same retinol (or Rx retinoid) or peptides that you use to firm your face, or try skin smoothers with silicone, such as dimethicone. To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, slather on creams with moisturizing cocoa butter and hyaluronic acid, then follow up with a body oil. “These emollients increase the skin’s pliability so it’s better able to bounce back,” Dr. Graf says. Try hyaluronic acid-packed Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy ($40, drugstores).

In-office treatment: Dermapen, a resurfacer that delivers tiny shots of heat to the skin to boost its natural ability to repair itself, “can help soften the appearance of scars and stretch marks,” Dr. Frank says. Treatments start at around $750, and you’ll need one to four.

Spider Veins

Unsightly spider veins make you think twice before slipping on a pair of cutoffs or your favorite running shorts.

The cause: “The tiny spider veins on your calves and the backs of your thighs tend to get worse with age because the small blood vessels there don’t work as well as they once did and become dilated,” says M. Dean Vistnes, MD, the founder of SkinSpirit skin-care clinic and spa and a plastic surgeon in Palo Alto, California. Although they aren’t pretty, spider veins are nothing to worry about from a medical standpoint.

DIY solution: Hide veins temporarily with body makeup like St. Tropez Self Tan Perfect Legs Spray ($18, sttropeztan.com). For more coverage, pat on concealer with a makeup sponge.

In-office treatment: Unlike varicose veins, which are easy to target, spider veins can be difficult to treat. Dr. Frank recommends Asclera, a detergent-like liquid that’s injected into the poorly working blood vessel to break veins down. You’ll need two to five treatments at $400 each. But while it might work right away, new ones will probably pop up.

Cellulite

No matter how good you are about eating salad for lunch and saying no to a second piece of cake, the cellulite on the back of your thighs and rear stays put. WTH?

The cause: Cellulite is actually a skin condition, which explains why even women who are a size 2 can have it. “Fibrous bands in the skin start to pull down skin and fat cells that are close to the skin’s surface, creating a puckered appearance,” Dr. Frank explains. Again, you can thank Mom and Dad, along with your hormones and metabolism, for how much — and where — you have it.

DIY solution: You can rub skin-tightening creams on your bum 24-7, but if you aren’t downing plenty of water and eating your fruit and veggies, cellulite will appear more pronounced. “Foods that are acidic or cause inflammation, such as diet soda and processed snacks like chips, cause fat cells to swell, making cellulite look worse,” Dr. Frank notes. Regular leg workouts like squats and lunges help rev up circulation, which also keeps puffiness at bay. Look for topical treatments with ingredients, such as caffeine and L-carnitine, that produce a Spanx-like effect. “They cause fluid from the area around fat cells to drain while firming the surrounding skin,” Dr. Fusco says. Try caffeine-packed Clarins Body Lift Cellulite Control ($68, clarins.com).

In-office treatment: Docs swear by VaserSmooth, an ultrasonic wand that melts superficial fat and breaks fibrous bands that can result in skin dimpling and contour irregularities. The wand’s high-intensity energy also steps up the body’s collagen production and tightens loose skin. The one-time in-office procedure will cost you big-time, though: It starts at a whopping $4,000.

6 Foods That Fight Off Belly Bloat

May 13th, 2013
It’s time to de-puff that pouch! Bloating — fluid building up between cells in your body — can be caused by poor digestion, too much sodium, or your period. But according to experts, if you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can usually avoid it. Good news, right? Stay in bikini-ready shape all year long with these bloat-busting bites.

water 2Water with Lemon

A lot of people skip sipping on water when they are bloated, when in reality they should be doing the opposite. “People tend to think that when they’re holding on to water they should cut back drinking it, but that’s not the case,” says David Grotto, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and The Best Things You Can Eat. Retaining water is actually your body’s way of holding on to fluid so you don’t dehydrate. If you’re having a bloating problem, that’s the time you want to push fluids, not restrict them, says Grotto. Since lemons are a natural diuretic and a gentle laxative when added to warm water, consuming the liquid can help reduce the amount of salt retained in the body. Just make sure you drink from the glass and not through a straw, so you don’t take in any extra air.

Celery

Over the years this green crunchy stalk has been used as a digestive aid to regulate bowel movements and to control intestinal gas because its chemicals are known to decrease fluid retention. “Celery has a high water content with a detoxing system, which can help to purge your body of toxins,” says Grotto. Other top picks for veggies that will help reduce fluid retention include cucumber, summer squashes, parsley, and any other kind of leafy greens. When it comes to eating vegetables in general, lean toward cooked over raw. “The fiber structure is broken down once they’re cooked, making them easier to digest,” says Grotto. “Even if the raw vegetables have a high water content, it can result in more bloating for some people.”

Watermelon

All kinds of melons are beneficial to your health, but watermelon is known as one of the juiciest fruits on the stand. That’s probably because it consists of 92 percent water. According to Grotto, it also has a natural diuretic property and is a great source of potassium. “The balance between sodium and potassium is important when it comes to controlling bloat,” he says. For DIY spa water, try mixing lemon, cucumber, watermelon, and rosemary for an ultimate belly-deflating fix. (A word of caution: You may need to use the restroom more than usual when sipping on this.)

Rosemary and Turmeric

Rosemary has been used to treat everything from heartburn and headaches to toothaches and high blood pressure. But it also treats intestinal gas and helps digestion, says Jackie Newgent, RD, culinary nutritionist, FITNESS advisory board member, and chef. She suggests steeping it in your tea or combining it with celery or parsley to make your own cooking broth. Valued in Asia for its ability to fight pain and inflammation, turmeric is also key in aiding upset stomach and bloat reduction, says Newgent. Use the bright yellow spice in a curry dish or to flavor your favorite foods.

Beans and Lentils

The majority of Grotto’s patients with bloated bellies are taking in too much sodium and not enough potassium and fiber. “Ramping down your sodium and increasing your potassium will have an almost immediate effect of reducing bloat,” he says. Lentils, with their high amount of fiber, are a good choice for aiding with digestion. Potassium-rich foods include white beans, soybeans, and lima beans — and they are also the highest-fiber vegetables you can get. Newgent adds that beans are naturally high in both estrogen and protein and can relieve period-induced bloat.

Yogurt

Since a lot of people are sensitive to lactose, it’s better to opt for yogurt instead of milk in your next smoothie, especially the kind with live active cultures in it. “Yogurt is already pre-digested and the milk sugar is broken down, where as in milk it’s not, which can create gas and bloating,” says Newgent. The nature of the active cultures lactobacillus and acidophilus found in yogurt can improve symptoms of bloating. Stir in some melon for an ultimate bloat-busting snack!

Tips to Ban Bloat for Good

To keep your belly flat all day, Grotto and Newgent say to keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Keep your sodium intake to a minimum and opt for fresh food over processed. For example, fresh turkey breast will have less sodium than processed, packaged turkey.
  • Limit your alcohol intake. When you drink too much you can get dehydrated, which will result in your body pulling in fluid.
  • For bloat as a result of constipation, focus on foods that hold water, like wheat bran or all-bran cereal.
  • Your lifestyle can affect bloating, so make sure you get enough sleep and get in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day to keep fluid moving in your body. If you travel often and sit on a plane or just sit at your desk all day, make sure to move your legs or take a lap around the office every hour.
  • If your bloating is becoming a chronic problem, consult a physician.

Don’t Sweat It: Your Post-Workout Beauty Woes, Solved!

May 6th, 2013

Whether you run, lift, or are into Spinning, we know you don’t let beauty challenges get in the way of a workout — especially when you’re armed with these easy fixes for the biggest skin, hair, and nail bummers that affect active women.

post workoutFit Beauty Tricks

    My hair is a frizzy mess after yoga.

Before hitting the mat, mist a dry shampoo, such as Aveeno Pure Renewal Dry Shampoo ($8, drugstores), all around your hairline, including the nape of your neck, where sweat often collects and causes fuzz. If you have supercurly or hard-to-manage hair, comb a light leave-in treatment, like Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Overnight Miracle Repair Serum ($6, drugstores), through the ends to seal in moisture and form a barrier against frizz, says Gregory Patterson, a hairstylist for Blow, The New York Blow Dry Bar in New York City. Then pull hair into a high topknot and slip on a mesh head wrap, such as the Lululemon Athletica Bang Buster Headband ($14, shop.lululemon.com), to soak up sweat. After class, blow-dry your hairline with the head wrap still on, pushing it back just a bit. “This will force the curly, frizzy hairs down so they dry smoother,” Patterson explains.

    My skin feels tight and itchy after swimming.

Before you get in the pool, apply a thin coat of skin protectant to form a shield between you and the drying chlorinated water, advises Adam Geyer, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. A good one: Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($5, drugstores). After your swim, take a shower, says Elizabeth Hale, MD, also a dermatologist in New York City. While your skin is still damp, slather on a moisturizer with aloe or ceramides, such as Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($48, kiehls.com). “The regular application of a nourishing moisturizer helps keep skin healthy and diminishes the itch,” Dr. Geyer says.

    I don’t have time to take off my makeup before my lunchtime workout.

A good rule of thumb: Go light on makeup on the days you’re working out. “Avoid ingredients such as mineral oil and petrolatum because they may clog pores,” says Mally Roncal, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. Instead, “stick with sheer cream-based products that allow your skin to breathe and won’t clump,” advises Troy Surratt, a makeup artist in New York City, who recommends using a tinted beauty balm, a long-lasting lip crayon, and a waterproof mascara that adheres tightly to lashes and won’t smear. We like Maybelline New York Dream Fresh BB Cream ($9, maybelline.com), Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm ($16, clinique.com), and Mally Beauty Waterproof Volumizing Mascara ($20, qvc.com). After your workout, mist water on your face and reblend your makeup with a sponge, or pat your cheekbones and nose with premoistened wipes. “Then just reapply a touch of makeup where needed before heading out,” Surratt says.

My lips get chapped when I run. I carry lip balm with SPF in my pocket, but I can’t seem to shake the flake.

“Dry lips are often a sign that our internal water balance is off,” Dr. Geyer says. “Coffee, alcohol, and certain foods have a dehydrating, diuretic effect, so bump up your water consumption to eight glasses a day.” The way you breathe may also be a factor. “Many runners are mouth breathers, which really dries the lips,” Dr. Hale says. “Make an effort to breathe through your nose whenever possible.” To help open up your nasal passages, try Breathe Right Nasal Strips ($5, drugstores). Whatever you do, don’t lick your lips. “The enzymes in saliva dry out skin; as saliva evaporates, it wicks moisture from your lips,” Dr. Geyer explains. With that in mind, use your lip balm to seal moisture in, and apply a generous layer of it before bed to soften any flakes, Dr. Hale says.

Beauty Tips for Active Women

    My ponytail or bun won’t stay put during Spinning class.

A bun is best held in place with a corkscrewlike accessory like the Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin ($7, drugstores), which works on all hair textures, Patterson says. Insert the pin in the crease of the bun closest to the scalp and twist away. “As you turn the pin, it grabs both the bun and the hair underneath for a secure hold,” he says. For a firmer ponytail, use a holder with a hook on either end, like Ricky’s NYC Rickycare Bungees ($5 for four elastics, rickysnyc.com), to prevent any strands from falling out. And a shot of lightweight hair spray never hurts.

    My makeup always cracks in my gym bag.

Look for a makeup bag with compartments to keep products from bouncing around, or line the inside of a regular cosmetics case with a thin towel or cloth. “This will add extra padding to protect your breakables,” Roncal says. For even more cushioning, wrap your palettes and any glass bottles — for instance, your foundation — in tissue and keep them separate from one another. Surratt is a fan of padded makeup bags from brands like LeSportsac and Vera Bradley. Our favorite: Sephora Quilted Organizer in Black ($32, sephora.com). Still have breakage? Consider switching to products packaged in tubes rather than glass.

    My hair is dry because I wash it so much, but I can’t bear not to shampoo it after a workout.

Lather up with a silicone-free moisturizing formula like Nexxus Hydra-Light Weightless Moisture Shampoo ($10, drugstores). If you use hot tools, don’t even think about skipping heat-protectant spray; look for one that prevents damage from temperatures as high as 450 degrees. “Styling without it will do more damage than washing your hair every day,” Patterson warns. Try Redken Iron Shape II Finishing Thermal Spray ($16, redken.com for salons). Get in the habit of applying a weekly hydrating mask. “You might also consider using a humidifier, because it can keep your skin as well as your hair moist,” he says.

    My nail polish always chips during CrossFit.

If it’s done right, your mani should be tough enough for any workout, says celebrity manicurist Elle. Consider a salon or at-home gel manicure, like Sephora by OPI Gelshine At-Home Gel Colour System ($159, sephora.com), which uses a UV light to cure the polish so that it resists chips and stays glossy for weeks, says Jin Soon Choi, the founder of Jinsoon Hand and Foot Spa in New York City. Be sure to seal each nail by running a little color under the tip, where cracks often begin. Power up regular polish by applying a “sticky” base coat, like OPI ChipSkip Manicure Prep Coat ($13, opi.com for salons), so the hue adheres better. Finish with a keratin-infused topcoat, such as Dermelect Cosmeceuticals High-Maintenance Instant Nail Thickener ($16, dermelect.com), which strengthens and adds shine, Elle says.

More Fit Beauty Solutions

    I rush to shower after my gym session but break into a sweat as soon as I get dressed.

“Our core temperature rises when we exercise, and sweating is the way our body cools down,” Dr. Geyer explains. “Even after your heart rate and breathing return to normal, it can take a while for your body to expel the excess heat.” So do your cardio at the beginning of your workout rather than at the end. “If you wind down with stretching or light strength training, which requires less exertion, it will help bring your temperature down,” Dr. Geyer says. Then drink cold water and take a lukewarm shower followed by a cool rinse. “This can also help minimize sweating,” he says.

    The baseball cap I wear while running flattens my hair, and I don’t have time to restyle.

“Before your run, massage a dry shampoo with micronized cornstarch, such as Blowpro Faux Dry ($20, blowpro.com), into your scalp. The finely milled powder will work to reduce static and volumize hair at the root,” Patterson says. “Then mist on a soft-hold hair spray to help lessen the friction of your hair against the hat,” he adds. Our pick: Dove Style + Care Strength & Shine Flexible Hold Hairspray ($4, drugstores). Post-run, take off your hat, give your head a few minutes to cool down, then rake your fingers through your hair while scrunching your roots for body.

    I take two showers a day, including one after my lunchtime workout. But I don’t have time to apply body lotion twice.

Try to keep both showers short, especially if there’s no time for moisturizing afterward, and use soap sparingly. “One of the cardinal sins that lead to dry skin is overwashing. Suds only those areas prone to odor, sweat, and bacteria, like your armpits, and skip your legs, arms, and back if your skin is dry,” Dr. Geyer says. Use a rich “moisturinser” shower cream, which moisturizes as it cleans, says Hale, who likes Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash ($6, drugstores). When you have a few minutes post-shower or at night, apply an extra-heavy cream — not a lotion — all over. “Lotions don’t restore or protect quite as well as creams and ointments do,” Dr. Geyer says. Try Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizing Creme ($8, drugstores).

    Sunscreen drips into my eyes during my run.

Instead of an SPF lotion, try a water-resistant stick, such as Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Stick SPF 55 ($5, drugstores), which sinks into the skin. If you’re supersensitive, consider a tear-free sunscreen made for babies, like Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Faces Ultra Gentle Cream Sunscreen SPF 45+ ($11, drugstores). Apply it lightly on the forehead to minimize the migration factor, and pat your eyebrows with a tissue before heading out, Dr. Geyer says. Sunscreen often collects in the brow area, and it will start to run once you sweat, he explains. Finally, “a sweatband is always a good option to prevent dripping,” Dr. Hale says, “and a hat is a must to protect your face when the sunscreen wears off.”

Ready, Set, Glow: 7 Bold Makeup Trends to Try

April 29th, 2013
You’re game for new workouts — Zumba, Barre Burn, Kettlebell Cardio — so why be shy with your makeup? Here, seven ultraquick ways to break out of your concealer-lip balm-mascara rut.

glowGet Radiant Skin

If you have normal to dry skin, use a makeup sponge to blend liquid highlighter over your cheekbones and eyelids, down the center of your nose, at the corners of your eyes, and on the cupid’s bow above your lips, suggests Jackie Gomez, the celebrity makeup artist in New York City who created these looks. Dust a highlighting powder over these areas to set. Use only a powder formula if you have an oily complexion.

Your Tool Kit 1. MAC Cosmetics Extra Dimension SkinFinish in Superb ($28, maccosmetics.com) 2. Tarte Maracuja Blush & Glow in Candlelight ($32, Sephora stores) 3. Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Highlighter in Rose Illumination ($34, department stores)

Branch Out with Black Liner

Using feathery strokes, draw a thin line with a creamy pencil or gel along the top and bottom lashes, connecting them at the outer corners and then extending them straight out toward your temples about a half inch. Do the same at the inner corners, bringing the liner in toward your nose a quarter inch. “Continuing the liner beyond the perimeter of the eyes makes them pop,” Gomez explains.

Your Tool Kit 1. Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Intense Black ($15, department stores) 2. Lancôme Liner Design Gel Eyeliner in Black Fishnets ($25, department stores)

Look Sun-Kissed with Coral

“Peachy shades give you a fresh-from-the-beach glow, more than bronze and pink do,” Gomez says. Smile and apply a coral blush to the apples of your cheeks in circular motions, blending slightly up and out along your cheekbones. The fairer your skin, the lighter your application should be. Keep eyes and lips neutral so your cheeks take center stage.

Your Tool Kit 1. Yves Saint Laurent Voile de Blush in No. 1 Carmine Veil ($30, yslbeautyus.com) 2. Bare Escentuals Buxom True Hue Blush in Euphoria ($24, Sephora stores) 3. Benefit Chachatint Lip & Cheek Stain ($29, benefitcosmetics.com)

glow 2Try a Punchy Pout

“Strawberry pink brightens your face,” Gomez says. “You look pulled together in seconds.” Pick whatever formula you prefer — lipstick, gloss, or tinted balm — and pat it on with your fingers, building to your desired level of boldness. If your lips are thin, fill them in with a matching liner to fake fullness before applying lip color.

Your Tool Kit 1. Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Crème Lip Colour in Paradis ($33, department stores) 2. Maybelline New York SuperStay 10HR Stain Gloss in Pink Plush ($9, drugstores) 3. NYC New York Color City Proof 8HR Lip Gloss in Perpetually Hot Pink ($4, drugstores)

Brighten Your Eyes

“High-impact purple is a fun alternative to a smoky eye,” Gomez says. Deep grape hues work best at night; for day, pick a soft violet. Apply shadow from the lash line to the crease, then sweep the color down around the outer corner and underneath your bottom lashes. Define the inner rims with black liner for depth.

Your Tool Kit 1. Maybelline New York Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow in Painted Purple ($7, drugstores) 2. Mark I-Mark Custom Pick Eye Shadow in Mystical and Pink Dust ($6 each, meetmark.com)

Shift out of Neutral

More interesting than khaki or brown, caramel is “a flattering hue, warm and glowing,” Gomez explains. Apply the shadow from your lash line to the crease. Top it with a coat of clear lip gloss or balm to give lids a beautiful sheen. If the shadow starts to crease midday, lightly blend it with your finger.

Your Tool Kit 1. Rimmel London Glam’Eyes HD Eyeshadow in Heart of Gold ($6, drugstores) 2. Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color in Sunshower ($25, shiseido.com) 3. Almay Intense i-Color Satin-i Kit for Blue Eyes ($8, drugstores)

Max Out Your Lashes

After using an eyelash curler, layer on three coats of mascara — choose one with a chubby wand to pump up the volume — sweeping up and toward the outer corners of your eyes to fan your fringe. Finish by running the wand along the tips of your lashes for lift and fullness.

Your Tool Kit 1. CoverGirl LashBlast 24HR Mascara ($9, drugstores) 2. Avon SuperExtend Extreme Mascara ($9, avon.com)

Get Fitter, Firmer, Faster! 18 Fitness Shortcuts

April 24th, 2013

fitness tricksFollow this sneaky but foolproof shortcuts to whip your body and motivation into shape.

6 Quick Weight-Loss Tips

Use these secrets to peel off pounds.

Fire up your metabolism with intervals.

One study found that doing 10 four-minute speed bursts with two minutes of slow walking or cycling after each (60 minutes total) three times a week upped the body’s ability to use fat as fuel during exercise by 25 percent after six weeks. “Shoot for an eight or nine on an intensity scale of one to 10, where 10 is an all-out sprint,” says lead researcher Christopher Perry, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Jot down meals and moves.

People who used an online weight-control program were most likely to lose pounds when they regularly recorded their weight loss, calories consumed, and activity, a study at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock revealed.

    Sleep off the flab.

Getting between six and eight hours of shut-eye a night helped dieters shed more weight in a recent study from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon. “Plus, consistently increasing your sleep, even if by only 30 minutes a night, and sticking to regular bed- and wake-up times can provide you a boost in alertness and help prepare you for your workout,” says Cheri D. Mah, sleep expert at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory.

Bypass the fat-burning zone.

Forget this so-called sweet spot, when you go slow in order to sizzle a higher percentage of calories from fat: Burning more total calories at the highest intensity that you can sustain means you’ll also burn more fat overall. For a measure of which zone you’re in, strap on a heart rate monitor. Walk or jog lightly (the half-effort pace dubbed the fat-burning zone), noting the number of beats per minute (bpm) on its display. “That’s the number to reach on an easy day,” says John Porcari, PhD, FITNESS advisory board member and program director in the clinical exercise physiology department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Then power walk or run at your usual pace and see what your heart rate is; this is your moderate-intensity target, which is your best bet for getting a longer workout with a bigger calorie burn. Add some short, fast intervals toward the end and note the bpm to mark your high-intensity zone for when you want to push it.

Crack an egg for breakfast.

Go for a little extra protein first thing in the day and your brain will stave off the munchies later on, according to the latest findings from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Former breakfast skippers who ate a morning meal with a side of yogurt showed fewer feed-me brain impulses and felt fuller.

Incinerate more calories per step.

Burn 15 percent more calories (about 40 calories more per hour) by adding a slight incline (around 6 percent) to your normally flat 3.5-mile-per-hour walk, advises Mark Fenton, author of The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness. The steeper the hike, the bigger the spike in calories blasted at any speed.

 

Incline Speed Calorie-Burn    Spike
10% 3 mph 50%
15% 2.5 mph 75%

6 Fast Fitness and Workout Tips

Tone up in no time, from your ticker to your tush, with these easy tweaks.

  Sculpt sexier limbs in one blow.

Breathing out as you lift those dumbbells may make you firmer, according to new research from the University of Montana in Missoula. Exercisers in the study who exhaled on the effort rather than inhaling or breathing normally lifted significantly more weight during triceps extensions, hamstring curls, and chest flyes. Contracting your ab muscles as you exhale can shore up your core to help you hoist extra weight in a standing position, according to study coauthor Sheng Li, PhD.

Get more go with a cup of joe.

You’ve heard that coffee can kick-start your workout, but how much does it take to net the effect? According to recent studies from the Australian Institute of Sport, even small amounts of caffeine — 1.4 milligrams per pound of body weight, or about two cups of coffee a day for the average 140-pound woman — can help boost speed during cardio, like cycling and swimming. For the best pick-me-up, take your daily dose shortly before you hit the gym or when you start to flag.

Switch up your workouts for max results.

Attention, runners and fans of other high-impact cardio classes: Build in 30 minutes of full-body strength training followed by 20 to 30 minutes of walking or low-impact cardio twice a week to ease up on your muscles and joints, recommends FITNESS advisory board member Marty Jaramillo, sports physical therapist and founder of ICE Sports Therapy in New York City. (Female soccer players who added stretching, strength training, and other exercises to their training had fewer injuries than those who did not, a study in the British Medical Journal found.) “Make your effort the exact opposite of the previous day’s,” Jaramillo says. “If you go hard on your run, go easy on the strength training and vice versa.”

Tighten your abs with balancing tricks.

Exercising on wobbly surfaces forces you to engage your core more, flattening your belly. Do your biceps curls standing on one leg on a Bosu ball or this pike move with a stability ball: Start on the floor in full push-up position with shins on top of ball. Contract your abs and lift your hips to slowly roll the ball forward, keeping your legs straight (end with ankles on ball), to form an inverted V; roll back to start. Do two sets of 20 reps.

Squeeze more sculpting out of each rep.

Rather than do three fast sets of one strength-training move, do one set of 10 controlled reps in 60 seconds, says Wayne Westcott, PhD, fitness research director for the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. “Not only do you save the time you would have used to rest between sets,” he says, “but because you’re no longer relying on momentum, you’re also guaranteed to work the targeted muscles more and maintain good form.”

6 Tips to Get More Motivated

Rev up your mojo in mere seconds.

Move to improve your ‘tude.

Sneak in a morning sweat session and you’ll experience the exercise high all day: Research from the University of Vermont in Burlington shows that doing just 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise — brisk walking or easy-paced cycling, for example — gives you a feel-good mood recharge that lasts up to 12 hours.

Turn your playlist into a pace maker.

Download the free BeatScanner tool at bestworkoutmusic.com to have it pull the tunes from your playlists that match your tempo, or try the site’s Workout Music Studio ($27) to alter the beat of your faves to suit your pace. Result? A never-ending supply of music to help you roll through every workout.

See green to enjoy your routine.

A Swiss study of 319 city dwellers determined that they found outdoor workouts more restorative than indoor ones. Find a walking or jogging route on mapmyrun.com or a nearby bike path at mapmyride.com.

Chill out to firm up.

Take five at the water fountain to clear your head before you rep: Less-stressed exercisers who lifted weights increased their strength gains by up to 25 percent compared with tenser folks, according to a study at the University of Texas at Austin.

Have a great flex.

A post-workout cooldown can leave exercisers with a that-wasn’t-so-tough impression of their last sweat session — a better mind-set for getting back to the gym the next day. Perform a few soothing

Divide and conquer any distance.

Imagine mini finish lines along your jogging loop to rejuice your stride and make the time fly. For instance, think in five-mile increments when you tackle double-digit distances, top U.S. marathoner Kara Goucher says. “If I start to get tired, I visualize myself crossing the finish line, which helps me dig a little deeper.”

Think Spice: 8 Spices with Health Benefits

April 15th, 2013
spicesIf you’ve ever tried chia seed pudding, you know that superfood doesn’t always equal superdelicious. Before you buy another bag of something that looks as if it belongs in a bird feeder, consider this: Just a pinch of oregano can turn even grilled cheese into a disease-fighting dish. “Technically, spices are vegetables in concentrated form,” says Wendy Bazilian, RD, the nutrition adviser for the Golden Door Spa & Fitness Resort in Escondido, California. “Like veggies, they contain thousands of healthy phytonutrient compounds, including antioxidants.” But spices are calorie-free and require no prep. Pop the tops on these eight pronto.

Curry Powder

Health Perks

The starring role in this blend of herbs and spices belongs to turmeric, which contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory “that’s 50 times more potent than vitamin C or E,” says Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, a professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the author of Healing Spices. In fact, one study shows that curcumin inhibits the growth of certain breast cancer cells, and other research suggests it may also protect against stomach and colon cancer.

How to Use It

  • Rub curry powder on halibut, tilapia, or pork loin before roasting.
  • Try it in this light-but-luscious soup recipe from Aliya LeeKong, the culinary creative director and chef for Junoon restaurant in New York City: Place two halved and seeded butternut squashes cut side up on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast at 400 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, over medium heat, sauté two onions, chopped; three garlic cloves, minced; two tablespoons of curry powder; and salt to taste in one tablespoon of olive oil until the onions are soft. Working in two batches, scoop the roasted squash into a blender and puree with the cooked onion mixture, six cups of chicken broth, and one-third cup of crème fraîche until smooth.

Rosemary

Health Perks

While grilling and sautéing require little to no added fat, cooking at high temps produces compounds called heterocyclic amines, which are harmful free radicals that may cause cancer, explains Hannah El-Amin, RD, a dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Luckily, marinating meat in a mixture made with rosemary before firing it up prevents the formation of heterocyclic amines by as much as 84 percent, a study at Kansas State University found.

How to Use It

  • Combine two tablespoons of olive oil; one-half cup of lemon juice; half a garlic clove, minced; and one tablespoon of rosemary to make a marinade for chicken or steak.
  • Mix together equal parts rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and rub the mixture directly onto chicken breasts, suggests Limor Baum, a registered dietitian in New York City.

Oregano

Health Perks

“I think of dried oregano leaves as miniature salad greens,” Bazilian says. One teaspoon contains not only six micrograms of bone-building vitamin K but also the same amount of antioxidants as three cups of spinach. And preliminary research indicates that oregano can help fend off stomach flu. “Bacteria often hitch a ride on the food we eat, and oregano may keep them from multiplying and making us sick,” Bazilian says.

How to Use It

  • To make salad dressing, heat one tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and one-half teaspoon of oregano in a small pan over medium-low heat for two minutes, or until the mixture smells fragrant, Baum says. Drizzle over spinach with a splash of red wine vinegar.
  • Give canned soup an upgrade by stirring in one-half teaspoon of oregano.

Cinnamon

Health Perks

A seesawing blood sugar level can drive hunger and cravings; the antioxidant compounds in cinnamon help prevent those spikes and dips by improving the way your cells metabolize glucose, El-Amin says. What’s more, research shows that eating half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease within six weeks.

How to Use It

  • Baum tops baked sweet potatoes with a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • The spice pairs well with lentils, says LeeKong. She cooks one cup of dried green lentils in two cups of vegetable stock with a cinnamon stick (which is removed before serving) for a hearty side dish.

Ginger

Health Perks

Besides helping to settle an upset stomach, this peppery spice can also lessen workout-induced soreness: People who consumed one teaspoon of ground ginger daily for 11 days experienced a 25 percent reduction in exercise-related muscle pain compared with those taking a placebo, one study shows. (Gingerol, a chemical in ginger, is thought to reduce inflammation and block nerve pathways that process pain.) And Thai researchers recently found that middle-aged women who took a daily ginger supplement for two months exhibited a greater attention span and scored higher on memory tests than women who took a placebo.

How to Use It

  • Add one-eighth teaspoon of ground ginger to pancake, waffle, or muffin batter, Bazilian suggests, or sprinkle the spice over applesauce or toast with peanut butter.
  • For a 160-calorie dessert, sprinkle ground ginger over one-half cup of vanilla frozen yogurt topped with half a small pear, sliced.

Nutmeg

Health Perks

Despite having a hint of sweetness, this spice may help prevent cavities. “Your mouth is a hotbed of bacteria, and nutmeg fights the germs with antibacterial compounds,” Bazilian says. Chief among them is macelignan, which reduces plaque formation by 50 percent and eradicates cavity-producing microbes, according to Italian researchers. Additionally, nutmeg is rich in protective anti-inflammatory compounds that can lower your risk of cancer by stifling tumor growth, Aggarwal says.

How to Use It

  • Add one-fourth teaspoon of ground nutmeg to ground coffee.
  • Bazilian makes slow-cooker chili with one-fourth teaspoon of ground nutmeg, one-half pound of ground turkey or chicken, browned; two 14-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed; two 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes; one-fourth teaspoon of cinnamon; one-eighth teaspoon of garlic powder; and salt and pepper to taste cooked on low for four to six hours.

Cayenne Pepper

Health Perks

Talk about red hot: Capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne its burn, also “helps crank up your body’s thermostat, firing up your metabolism and helping you burn extra calories and fat,” Bazilian says. In a study at Purdue University, people who added half a teaspoon to their meal ate 70 fewer calories at their next meal and craved fatty, salty foods less.

How to Use It

  • Stir a dash of cayenne into a tub of store-bought hummus, sprinkle the spice over whole wheat toast topped with mashed avocado or add one-fourth teaspoon of paprika (another capsaicin-containing spice) and a few shakes of cayenne to air-popped popcorn.
  • For a sweet treat, Bazilian recommends savoring an ounce of spicy dark chocolate, like Chocolove Chilies & Cherries in Dark Chocolate or Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate bar.

Cumin

Health Perks

One tablespoon of these aromatic seeds fulfills 22 percent of your daily requirement for iron, a mineral that helps keep your energy level high and your immune system in flu-fighting shape. And according to preliminary research, cumin may also boost your brainpower: In an animal study, consuming cumin extract was shown to improve performance on memory tests.

How to Use It

  • Toss 10 medium carrots, sliced, with two tablespoons of olive oil, two-and-a-half teaspoons of kosher salt, and two teaspoons of cumin seeds; roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  • Toast one-half teaspoon of cumin seeds in a pan for about five minutes over medium-high heat, then add them to a pot of rice before cooking, LeeKong says.

Keep It Spicy

Just like fresh produce, spices pack less of a punch — for your taste buds and your health — over time. Here’s how to make sure yours have plenty of kick.

Read the fine print.

Most spices have a “best by” date on the bottle. If they don’t, write the date of purchase on the cap. Toss dried herbs and ground spices after two years and whole spices after three.

Keep your cool.

Moisture and heat can suck the life out of your spices fast, so store them in a dark, relatively cool and dry place (that is, not above your stove), Limor Baum, RD, says.

Whole up.

When possible, purchase whole spices, like black peppercorns and cumin seeds, and grind them yourself as needed with a mortar and pestle or a spice or coffee grinder.

Show off.

Keeping your spices organized can prevent you from leaning too heavily on salt. Clean out your junk drawer and fit it with an in-drawer rack (find one at containerstore.com).

Kate Middleton’s Royal Pregnancy Style Parade!

April 9th, 2013

Kate Middleton has earned serious style points  since joining the royal family, flying the flag for fashion in a series of  designer pieces and high street fashion finds. And with burgeoning baby bump to  dress, we’ve found ourselves waiting on her every outfit.

So, to satisfy our style craving, we have decided to look back at every one  of the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy  looks to date.

Forced to reveal her baby news early, due to a severe bout of morning  sickness and a brief hospital stay, Kate  Middleton made her first post-pregnancy appearance on the steps of the  King Edward VII in London. What did she choose for her moment in the spotlight?  A pretty Diane von Furstenberg Simyonette coat with ruffled sleeves, and pretty  lilac scarf. Safe choice, but lovely, nonetheless.

After a period of rest at home, it was back to work for the Duchess, who  showed the first hint of a pregnancy glow as she presented a Sports Personality  of the Year award during the live ITV show. With all eyes on her, Kate’s  sartorial choice of a flowing green Alexander McQueen gown certainly didn’t  disappoint.

Next on Kate Middleton’s pregnancy  hitlist was a pretty red Whistles dress, which she wore to the unveiling of her  portrait at the National Portrait gallery. The very ‘Kate’ knee-length number  skimmed over her curves and showed no sign of a baby bump. Yet.

Just weeks later a tiny baby bump was visible as Kate  visited an Action On Addiction centre in London, in a Max Mara wrap dress (from  the 2011 collection, no less), an Asprey 167 button pendant and Episode  heels.

She may be expecting the years most talked about baby, but pregnancy hasn’t  stopped Kate Middleton indulging her her  favourite game of style snap. The Duchess recycled her favourite burgundy Hobbs  Celeste coat for an outing to Grimsby, teamed with a pretty pleated dress from  Great Plains, which promptly sold out around the country. No surprises there,  then.

At the beginning of March, Duchess Kate took her baby bump on it’s first trip to  the races, yet again proving that chic pregnancy styling is no match for her.  For the outing, Kate chose a cosy camel  coat and £488 Aquatalia by Marvin K brown boots, teamed with the jaunty matching £240 Lock & Co Betty Boop hat she’s worn twice of late. Spot on for a rainy  day.

She may have suffered a little wardrobe malfunction (shoe heel caught in a  drain, it’s happened to the best of us), but pregnant Kate  Middleton recovered perfectly during a St Patrick’s Day visit to the 1st  Battalion Irish Guards. The Duchess wowed in a green £1,150 knee-length belted  coat dress by design darling Wickstead, which she first wore to the ceremony in  2012. We love it just as much the second time around.

After stepping out in a string of designer styles, pregnant Kate  switched back to high street for a charity visit with Prince William, stepping  out in a £46 black Tophop dress with a gorgeous white Peter Pan collar. Still no  sign of maternity wear, but we love this look. Top marks.

With her baby bump becoming ever more visible, Kate  Middleton didn’t compromise on her style choice for an outing on the  London Underground with the Queen. Setting the pregnancy style bar high, the  blooming Duchess delivered spot on styling once again in a teal blue By Malene  Birger coat with pretty black beads. Accessorised with a baby on board badge, of  course.

Looking every inch the radiant mum-to-be, Kate, predictably, chose tartan for a visit to  Scotland with Prince William, and a blue and grey plaid Moloh ‘Workers’ coat  with a price tag of £425.

Earning bonus style points for her final pregnancy look, Kate  Middleton showed off her most recent style in a striking scarlet Armani  coat, which was first spotted at Prince William’s passing out parade in 2006, no  less. Wow.

 

Styling Tips to Make You Look Slimmer Instantly

April 1st, 2013
Turn heads no matter what shape you are. Try these styling tips from TODAY Style Editor Bobbie Thomas to look slimmer instantly.

style slimmerKnow Your Type

The first trick to styling yourself slimmer is to determine your body shape. “Most women’s bodies mimic one of a few basic shapes — pear, inverted triangle, straight, or hourglass,” says Thomas. “Once you know which shape you are, aim to keep your upper and lower halves balanced. For a full-hipped, small-chested pear this might mean a dark, simple shape on the bottom and a playful, bold blouse on top. Broad-shouldered triangles might consider more of a fitted top and a fun, flared skirt. Hourglass and straight body types can invest in belts to highlight or create waistlines.”

Graze, Don’t Cling

We’re talking about how your clothes fit, not about the buffet table or your current fling. “When it comes to T-shirts, tops, skirts, pants, and dresses, fabrics that gently graze your body without clinging to you will be the most flattering,” says Thomas. When you do slip into skinny jeans or leggings, go looser on your top to balance the look out.

Fool the Eye

Designers know women want styles that will slim them down, so keep an eye out for clever cuts while shopping. Thomas recommends looking for dresses with dark side panels to narrow your frame or color-blocked garments that can give you some shape. “Strategically placed prints can also do a great job enhancing or minimizing your figure,” she says.

Support Your Girls

Nothing can pack on the pounds more than saggy boobs in an ill-fitting bra. For the well endowed, Thomas suggests investing in a cleavage-reducing style, like the Lilyette Minimizer Bra. If that doesn’t do the trick, try adding a bandeau on top of your regular bra for a controlled top that isn’t too constricting.

Break the Rules

“When it comes to both fashion and fit, there really are no rules,” Thomas says. “You might hear a cowl neck is only good for small-chested women, or maxis are only for those 5’7″ and taller, but you have to listen to your own voice. As long as you have confidence, you can rock whatever you want — if you’re wearing it with a smile.”

Grin and Bare It: The Best Hair-Removal Products and Tools

March 25th, 2013
Your mission: to remove unwanted hair with as little pain and as much skin pampering as possible. The good news is that it’s less torturous than ever — not to mention faster and less messy — thanks to the latest tools and high-tech innovations. Here, top derms and hair-removal experts reveal the best methods for defuzzing each body part so your skin feels silky for weeks.

ouch reliefPut Your Best Face Forward

“You need to be precise about removing hair from your brows to get the best shape,” says Cindy Barshop, the founder of Completely Bare Spas in New York. First comb your brows and pinpoint stragglers. “Then use cool, hard wax, which adheres to only the hair, not the skin, so it’s great on delicate areas,” Barshop says. “It’s also thick enough to not drip in your eyes.” Try Parissa Brow Shaper Mini Wax Strips ($10, parissa.com). Start at the inner corner of the brow and work outward. Press each patch on firmly, smoothing it in the direction of hair growth, wait 10 seconds and pull it off in the opposite direction. “This uproots the hair for a clean finish,” says Keisha Pittman, the lead aesthetician for Bliss49 Spa in New York City. The same cool wax also works wonders for defuzzing the upper lip, chin, and sideburn area. Try larger wax strips, such as Veet Ready-to-Use Wax Strips for Bikini, Underarm, and Face ($9, drugstores); sprinkle skin with baby powder first to absorb oil that can prevent the wax from grabbing fine hairs. If you’re sensitive, consider a depilatory cream, like Bliss ‘Fuzz’-Off Facial Cream ($24, blissworld.com), which contains aloe. Spread on a thick layer to dissolve hair, wait three to four minutes, and then wipe it off with a damp tissue.

Smooth Your Underarms

The hair under your arms grows in different directions, which makes it tricky to remove. The quickest and most convenient option for most women is shaving, says Jody Levine, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Rub on an exfoliating body scrub to slough dead skin, which can trap hair and lead to ingrown hairs; then use a five-blade razor with a flexible head that pivots to follow the contours of your pits and eliminates fuzz in a single pass, such as the Gillette Venus & Olay Razor ($11, drugstores). “I tell patients to install a small mirror in the shower so they can see exactly what they’re doing,” Dr. Levine says. Start in the middle of your underarm and shave in the direction of hair growth — upward for the top half and downward for the bottom half. As you shave, pull the skin taut.

Show Off Silky Legs

Before you lather up your legs, consider this: Waxing will not only cut time from your shower routine, but it will also let you enjoy hair-free results for as long as three weeks. Pittman suggests using hot wax, which has a thin consistency and spreads easily over a large area. Try Sally Hansen Ouch-Relief Wax Kit for Face and Body ($10, drugstores). Dip your spatula in the heated wax pot, wipe off any excess, and work in zones — thighs, knees, shins, and ankles — to make sure you don’t miss any spots. Spread on in patches that are roughly four by six inches, applying in the direction of hair growth, Pittman says. To remove, press a cotton or muslin strip over the wax for a few seconds, hold the skin down firmly with one hand and whisk the strip in the opposite direction of hair growth. Use two pulls instead of one: Pull the strip halfway off, then regrip it at the base and continue the rest of the way. “This helps prevent stubble and bruising,” Pittman says.

Get an Oh-So-Bare Bikini Line

Though many women are quick to reach for a razor when it comes to removing hair down there, experts recommend waxing to prevent ingrown hairs. Their pick for this most sensitive of areas: a hard wax applied without strips. “It has a lower melting point than other types so it hardens quickly and poses less risk of burning,” explains Ramon Padilla, the director of Strip: Ministry of Waxing in New York City. “It also functions like shrink wrap around coarse hairs, making it easier to remove them quickly.” We like Completely Bare Salon Quality Face & Other Sensitive Areas Wax Kit ($13, cvs.com). After heating the wax to a molasses-like texture, spread a thick layer over your bikini line in the direction of hair growth, working in four-square-inch sections on each side and moving from the hip inward. (To get a better view, sit on the floor in front of a mirror with the soles of your feet pressed together.) Leave a thick edge and wait 10 to 15 seconds, Pittman says. “Once the wax hardens, hold the skin taut with one hand and pull the wax in the opposite direction of hair growth in a quick, fluid motion,” she advises. Finish by pressing gently on skin to soothe the area. Still feeling the ouch? Try the BareEase Prep Kit  ($18, bareease.com). Created by an anesthesiologist, it contains a lidocaine-based cream to numb skin prewax.

zap hairZap Hair for Good

Curious about laser hair removal, which destroys hair follicles with a concentrated beam of light? Here’s the deal: It works best if you have light skin and dark hair, says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C. Expect to have three to five treatments, spaced a month apart, to permanently reduce hair growth. The cost is about $1,000 for the upper lip and $3,500 for the legs. If you’re not ready for such a commitment, consider the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X ($449, triabeauty.com). The first FDA-cleared at-home laser device for the face and body, it utilizes the same diode laser derms do. Use it once a week and you can permanently remove hair in three to six months, the manufacturer says.

Waxing vs. Shaving

Waxing Pros

The results last. Because you’re removing hair at the root, your skin will stay smooth for weeks. Regrowth feels smoother. Waxing doesn’t create blunt edges, so hairs come back softer and finer.

Waxing Cons

It’s messy. You need to use a cotton sheet or a towel to catch any drips, and then you have to wash off sticky residue. It takes skill. Unless you’re a pro, waxing is time intensive. Plus it hurts and can create redness if not done right.

Shaving Pros

It’s fast and easy. As long as you shave with a fresh razor cartridge (replace it after about 10 uses), you can zip across each body part speedily. There’s no pain. Just lube up with a hydrating shaving cream, like EOS 24-Hour Moisturizing Shave Cream ($4, drugstores), and go slowly around tricky spots like knees and ankles to avoid nicks.

Shaving Cons

Hair grows back fast. Shaving cuts off hair only at the surface, so you’ll start to see regrowth by the next day. There’s stubble. A razor slices hair bluntly, which can create a prickly feel.

Bright Spring Makeup Trends

March 18th, 2013
bright makeup trendsChuck your boring eyeliner or basic red lipstick and upgrade to one of this spring’s hottest hues. Here are five simple tweaks that can create a wow-worthy new look.

Bold Lips

Beauty Staple: Matte-red lipstick

Easy upgrade: Poppy lip gloss. Try NYC New York Color Big Bold Plumping Lip Gloss in Supersized Red ($4, drugstores).

DIY tip: Going sheer and bright makes your entire face look fresh. Apply a coat of orange-red gloss, then dab extra in the center of your lip for a plumping effect.

Bold Eyes

Beauty staple: Black pencil

Easy upgrade: Blue liquid liner. A good one: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Periwinkle ($20, stilacosmetics.com).

DIY tip: Blue makes your eyes pop. Draw a thin black line along your lashes to add definition, then layer a powdery blue liner over it for a vibrant flash of color.

Perky Blush

Beauty staple: Matte bronzer

Easy upgrade: Hot pink-and-peach blush. We like Lancôme Blush in Love in Pommettes D’Amour ($49, lancome-usa.com).

DIY tip: Two-tone powder blush gives you a natural-looking glow. Swirl a small blush brush in a matte peach powder and apply it along the hollows of your cheeks. Then dust a shimmery bright pink on the tops of your cheekbones; it’ll catch the light whenever you smile.

Coral Lips

Beauty staple: Nude lip gloss

Easy upgrade: Coral lipstick. Go with Maybelline New York Color Sensational Vivids Lipcolor in Shocking Coral ($7, drugstores).

DIY tip: Adding a punchy color to your lips will perk up your skin tone. Swipe your fingertip across the lipstick, then gently pat it onto your lips to build your desired shade.

Bright Eyes

Beauty staple: Beige eye shadow

Easy upgrade: Shimmery green eye shadow. Check out Tarte Beauty & the Box Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Quad in Secret Garden ($22, sephora.com).

DIY tip: Green shadow brings out the flecks of gold or honey in your eyes. Dip an eye shadow brush in the fern shade and follow your eyelid creases from inner to outer corners, extending the shadow slightly. Fill in your lids for a sophisticated yet modern look.

Smooth Moves: Dry Skin Solutions from the Pros

March 5th, 2013

If you recently peeled off your running tights only to find a blizzard of flakes underneath, you’re not alone: Dermatologists say that dry skin is their patients’ number one complaint come wintertime. Fortunately we’ve got you covered. Here our experts share smart, easy solutions that will leave your skin baby soft.

Five Surprising Skin Saboteurs

1. Cuddling up in front of a fireplace.

“Sitting by a fire is cozy, but it’s also dehydrating,” says Renée Rouleau, a Dallas-based celebrity aesthetician. “Lather up with lotion first to create a barrier.”

2. Wearing your fave wool sweater.

“Wool can cause friction and irritate your skin,” Rouleau says. “Layer a cotton T-shirt underneath and swap a wool scarf for one made of cotton.”

3. Spritzing on your signature fragrance.

“Check the ingredients list on the body mist in your gym bag. If it has alcohol, which is drying, replace it with an essential oil,” suggests Jeannette Graf, MD, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York

4. Checking Facebook.

“Resting your laptop on your legs heats up your skin and can cause irritation. Place a pillow underneath to protect yourself,” Rouleau advises.

5. Taking a dip in a hot tub.

“The chlorine and heat equal double dryness,” Rouleau says. “Skip the hot tub altogether.”

Save Your Skin

Bathe your skin in mega moisture and save time with these simple tips.

In the Shower

“Make your shower shorter by cleansing and exfoliating at the same time,” recommends Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Invest in a Clarisonic Plus with Body Brush ($225, clarisonic.com) and squeeze a moisturizing body wash onto its head. “It’ll lift off dead cells without stripping your skin,” Dr. Day says. Also, switch your shampoo. “Use one for color-treated hair; the milder formula is less drying on your hands, neck, and back,” says Rouleau. And don’t linger under the spray, no matter how tempting it is on a frigid day. The water dries out your skin, says Dr. Graf. Set a timer for 10 minutes or less and get out as soon as it goes off.

After the Shower

To lock in moisture, “pat yourself dry with a towel and then, within three minutes of stepping out of the shower, apply a generous amount of cream that contains ceramides, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid,” Dr. Day says. One we love: Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Moisturizer ($16, drugstores). To cover hard-to-reach spots like your back, mist on a dry-oil spray such as J.R. Watkins Naturals Lavender Body Oil Mist ($9, jrwatkins.com) or Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil ($38, moroccanoil.com).

TLC for Your Trouble Zones

These speedy, derm-approved DIY fixes will make rough hands, elbows, knees, and feet history.

Hands and Feet

Combine two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of honey, and two cups of warm water. Soak your hands and feet in the mixture for five minutes. Then pat them dry, apply Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($5, drugstores), and slip on cotton gloves or socks for two hours or overnight.

Elbows and Knees

Swipe one pump of glycolic acid serum on your elbows and feet before bedtime to dissolve dead skin cells while you sleep. A good one: Renée Rouleau AHA Smoothing Serum 20% ($47, reneerouleau.com).

Flaky Patches

Pick up a bottle of evening primrose capsules at a health food store. Puncture one or two capsules, squeeze the oil on any dry areas, and massage it in. The fatty acids will help heal parched skin.

OSCARS 2013 Best and Worst Dressed

February 27th, 2013

Save or Stash: The Denim Guide

February 19th, 2013
How many pairs of jeans do you own? That’s the beautiful thing about denim, they never really go out of style (for long). Here, a sneak peek of what denim trends to save for this season and which ones to stash for the time being.

Save: Skinny Jeans

Skinny cuts aren’t going anywhere, so keep several pairs in your closet. Dress up dark wash denim with heels and a blazer for a night out, cuff them to pair with ballet flats and a button down, or wear them with riding boots and a chunky scarf as the temperature starts to fall.

Stash: Boyfriend Jeans

Swap in: Loose-Cut Jeans

You can still get away with your favorite baggy boyfriend jean, but to update the trend opt for a loose-cut fit. Slimmer through the thigh and a bit more feminine, you can still belt these low on the waist and roll them up above the ankle. Top off the look with embellished flats or a heeled bootie to make this stolen-from-the-boys style even more girl-friendly.

Save: Distressed Jeans

Paint-splattered, ripped, worn, bleached, or all of the above, distressed jeans are typically the most comfortable, so get excited to cozy-up again this season. Think about contrasts when donning destroyed denim. Consider an assortment of sparkly baubles, girlie polka dots, bright tops, and thick, chunky heels. And when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a white t-shirt and a motorcycle jacket.

Stash: Boot Cut

Swap in: Trouser Jeans

This season, trousers are taking over. Fitted through the hips and thighs with a major flare from the knee down, this trend can easily step in for your beloved boot cut. Tall shoes are a must, and have the added bonus of lengthening your legs. Wear a blazer for a classy take or a cropped sweater for a more casual look.

Save: Cropped and Cuffed

A big hit for spring and summer, these styles hit just above the ankle and will be just as popular for fall wear. (Bonus: It just got a whole lot easier to show off your shoes!) Instead of a colored tank and sandals, trade up with your best short boots, boldest and brightest heels, or staple flats for daily wear. Try a printed round-neck sweater on top or a utility coat to add a little edge.

Stash: Overalls

Swap in: Denim Dresses

Perfect for layering, the long-sleeve style goes great with a striped shirt peeking out from underneath, along with a pair of riding boots. Go simple and keep the accessories minimal, or try a more detailed bib necklace. With this low-key look, you’ve got tons of options.

Save: Wide-Leg

These jeans are fitted in the hips and hang loose from thigh to the floor. Just make sure to handle with care: With all the volume on the bottom you’ll want to keep things fitted on top. Try belting a cardigan or tuck in a printed blouse. You can take dark washes to the office, but save the lighter tints for weekends.

Stash: Pastels

Swap in: Jewel tones

Soft pastels are too springy, so put away you lighter-colored denim for warmer weather. To give your look that pop of color, choose hues like ruby, sapphire, or emerald. Let the denim do the talking and keep it simple with a white or black tee. To go a little bolder, try color blocking with another rich solid shade. Skinny cuts are great for everyday wear and trousers make a professional, polished statement at the office.

Save: White Jeans

Forget the rules: White denim after Labor Day is definitely a do this season. And you should! Go for a skinny cut, which are easier to transition from flats to boots as the seasons change. Layer with a trench or double up with a darker denim shirt on top. The blank canvas of the pants give you wiggle room to sport standout shoes and accessories, or go the minimalist route.

Stash: Denim Vests

Swap in: A denim jacket

Denim vests can be easily worn over sundresses and sweaters, so keep yours in your closet for future wear. Then shake things up and invest in a jean jacket, a key layering piece for fall. A few things to keep in mind: Make sure it hits the waist and is fitted, not too loose or snug. Roll the sleeves and let a few layers of colorful shirts peek out. For cropped cuts, match with a maxi skirt or chunky accessories.

Save: Printed Jeans

No need to donate your animal prints or funky floral jeans. As the skies turn gray they’ll help brighten up dreary weather while still staying seasonally appropriate. For animal prints, make sure to pick a muted color like gray, navy, nude, or maroon for more wearability. A white blouse with black extras is a fail-safe outfit, or go for small pops of color to punch up this wild style.

Be Well Bites: The Best Foods to Eat After Having a Baby

February 11th, 2013

Ah, motherhood. You’ve gained a new little bundle of joy — and to go with it, some extra pounds. Don’t let food worries add to your stress and sleepless nights as you adjust to your new schedule. We sought out the best foods to keep you going and slim you down in the process.

Rev Up Your Engine

The key to your energy isn’t just how much (or little) you sleep each night, but instead, what’s on your plate. “One of the main things a healthy diet can do is give new moms energy,” says Kathy McManus, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and director of the department of nutrition at Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It’s important to spread food throughout the day so that you get an even amount of calories. This will give you lasting power to take care of your baby and yourself.”

Need-to-Know Nutrients

When you eat foods rich with nutrients, you’ll notice that your calories go a long way. You’ll feel fuller longer, and will have the get-up-and-go mentality you need for those 3 a.m. feeding calls. McManus suggests the following to fuel up on:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein, like fish, beef, and soy foods
  • Dairy — choose skim or low-fat milk
  • Leafy greens
  • Iron, especially if you suffer from postpartum symptoms. You can find this in things like fortified cereals, prune juice, and lean meats.
  • Vitamin C, which can help with wound healing for mothers who delivered via C-section. Find this in oranges, tomatoes, and natural fruit juices.

If you’re in the mood for a snack, McManus says to think carefully before you choose. Steer clear from snack packs since they are stocked with tons of artificial sweeteners. Instead, either have a tiny portion of what you actually want or pick from one of the following:

  • Whole-grain crackers with hummus
  • Nuts (stash some in your purse in case you get a craving on the go)
  • A cup of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk.
  • A hardboiled egg with some carrots
  • Low-fat cheese with a piece of fruit
  • Peanut butter on an apple
  • Plain Greek yogurt — add in a cup of berries to avoid added sugar from the flavored kind.

Eat the Pounds Off

You had the baby, and now you can go back to your old diet routine, right? Wrong. McManus says this is one of the biggest mistakes women make when trying to lose their baby weight. “Being a new mom means you’re going to experience serious fatigue until you adjust to your new routine, so you need a diet that can help carry you, not one that will leave you constantly hungry and feeling deprived,” she says.

To keep your spirits up, McManus suggests not wasting calories that are nutrient dense. “Treats here and there are perfectly fine, but tons of refined carbs, white breads, and sugary foods will have little gratification and will just end up spiking your blood sugar, making you more tired than you already are.” In terms of weight loss, breastfeeding will support some gradual shrinkage, and by taking in adequate nutrients you need, you’ll be able to start exercising again faster.

That’s What Friends Are For

The birth of a child usually follows with a parade of homemade chocolate chip muffins, cupcakes, sugar cookies in the shape of rattles, and tons of other high-calorie, sugary goodies. Instead of the usual welcome wagon of sweets, ask your friends to pick up a few groceries instead.  “People hate to come empty handed when visiting you and your baby for the first time,” McManus says. So when your friends and family ask if you need anything, be honest! Ask them to pick up some yogurt they think you’ll love, a can of nuts, and whatever other food you may need to keep your energy levels high.

“Your eating pattern is important not only for your energy, but also in determining how quickly you’ll feel back to your old self,” McManus says. “The more you stick to a healthy diet, the faster you can recover and get back to your exercise and daily routine.”

Hair That Packs a Punch

February 4th, 2013
Take your strands from scrawny to brawny with our shine-boosting, strength-building plan.

Your Hair Repair Plan

Your daily routine may be hurting your hair. But don’t sweat it — I.D. your issue and fix the damage fast with our expert how-tos.

If you are a clean freak

You’ve been shampooing twice a day. “Overwashing strips hair,” says Matthew Fugate, a hairstylist for Sally Hershberger in New York City.

Your plan: Build in recovery time

Wash every other day and use a dry shampoo in between, says stylist Erin Anderson, a co-owner of Woodley and Bunny Salon in Brooklyn. Try Sachajuan Volume Powder ($32, sephora.com). Or just use conditioner to rinse away sweat and add hydration. Try Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Volumizing Conditioner ($6, drugstores).

If you are ponytail obsessed

You sport a slick pony to keep your hair out of your face during workouts. Trouble is, this too-tight style causes breakage, especially if you use an elastic band that has a metal clasp or you spritz with hair spray.

Your plan: Cross-train

Braid your hair and anchor it with a smooth elastic, like Blax Snag-Free Hair Elastics ($4, smoothiesstore.com). Use a headband, like Evolution No Slip Grip Head Wraps by Scünci ($4, drugstores), to keep your bangs back.

If you are a flatiron fanatic

A sizzling-hot straightener fries the hair shaft, depleting it of moisture. The result: split ends and breakage.

Your plan: Bulk up

To fortify weak strands, apply a weekly hair masque that contains protein. Try L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm ($7, drugstores). “Forget 450 degrees; 350 is a less damaging heat,” Fugate says. Or try Coolway Iron Styler ($150, coolwayhair.com), which straightens at temperatures below 300 degrees.

If you are a swimmer

“Laps may keep you lean, but chlorine can erode the outer layer of hair and leave a residue; it also gives blondes a green tinge,” says Nathaniel Hawkins, a celebrity hairstylist in New York City.

Your plan: Detox

Use a shampoo that will remove chlorine buildup, like René Furterer Repairing After-Sun Shampoo ($23, renefurtererusa.com for salons). Before you swim, wet strands in the shower so they won’t absorb as much pool water.

If you are a color queen

Chemical processing breaks down the cuticle layer, making hair brittle, says Laurie Daniel, a colorist at Rita Hazan Salon in New York City.

Your plan: Trim and tone

Cut split ends and use a nightly treatment twice a week. Try L’Oréal Professional Mythic Oil ($32, lpsalons.com for salons). Forty-eight hours before and after coloring, deep-condition. Try Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Moisture Masque ($42, sephora.com). Use a color-safe shampoo, like Clairol Pro Color Safe Repair Shampoo ($9, sallybeauty.com).

Feed Your Lovely Locks

The secret to good hair days may be in your kitchen. Eat these five foods daily for sleek strands.

Greek yogurt: “To keep hair healthy, 25 percent of your calories should come from protein,” says Lisa Drayer, RD, the author of The Beauty Diet. “Greek yogurt has about double the amount of protein in the regular kind.”

Walnuts: Essential fatty acids in walnuts can help prevent your scalp from flaking. “The healthier your scalp, the better your hair,” says trichologist Dr. David Kingsley.

Lentils: These legumes are rich in iron, which red blood cells need to carry oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles, boosting growth.

Whole wheat bread: It’s loaded with B vitamins, as well as silicon, a mineral that contributes to strong hair.

Oranges: The vitamin C in citrus keeps hair healthy. “A deficiency can cause breakage,” Drayer says.

Styling Products for Extra Shine

Polish your look with one of these gloss-enhancing styling products.

Wax: Joico Super Shine Glossing Polish ($16, joico.com)

Best for taming unruly hair that needs some sheen. Use wax to style dry hair.

Cream: Carol’s Daughter Monoi Split End Sealer ($25, carolsdaughter.com)

Best for thick hair. Use a dab before you blow-dry for smoother, sleeker strands.

Shine spray: BlowPro Time to Shine 3-D Illuminating Mist ($21, ulta.com)

Best for fine hair. The light mist won’t leave hair greasy, according to Hawkins. Spritz it on dry hair for instant radiance.

Balm: Lush Shine So Bright ($10, lush.com)

Best for damaged hair. It smoothes rough strands and reduces the appearance of split ends so your hair reflects light more evenly. Rub it onto dry ends.

Oil: Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil ($6, drugstores)

Best for “Thick or curly hair,” Fugate says. A little goes a long way: Add a few drops to your hair before you blow-dry and afterward for even more shine.

Intense Hair Repair

Need extra help? Treat your locks to one of these salon services.

Frizz fighter

Redken Smooth Lock In-Salon Service ($45 and up, redken.com for salons) subdues pouf-prone hair in 45 minutes with protein, polymers, and oils, and lasts for as many as 10 shampoos — 13 if you use Stay Sleek Leave-in Cream ($17, redken.com for salons) at home.

Multitasker

With Kérastase Fusio-Dose and HomeLab treatments ($100, kerastase-usa.com for salons), a pro customizes your 30-minute treatment and three at-home products to suit your colored, dry, damaged, or thinning hair’s needs. Results last six to eight weeks.

Gloss getter

Sebastian Professional In-Salon Cellophanes Glossing Treatment ($65, sebastianprofessional.com for salons) delivers protein, and it deposits a clear glaze or translucent color in just 15 minutes to boost shine for four to six weeks.

Prettier Hair in a Pill?

A new supplement on the market promises thicker, shinier hair. It’s packed with marine proteins, biotin, vitamin C, horsetail extract, and other nutrients that foster hair health. But as long as you eat healthfully, you don’t need it. “There’s no evidence that ingesting more than the recommended amount of any nutrient gives you extra benefits,” Drayer says. However, if you are dieting or nuke your veggies, which can deplete nutrients, then it’s not a bad idea to pop two a day, says Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist for Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy. Try Viviscal Extra Strength Hair Nutrition Dietary Supplement ($50, drugstores).

Best Beauty Looks from the 2013 Golden Globes

January 15th, 2013

Best Updo: Jennifer Lawrence

Dove celebrity stylist Mark Townsend worked his magic on the “Silver Linings Playbook” winner. “When I saw Jennifer’s Dior Couture gown I immediately knew I wanted to pull her hair up to accentuate the amazing silhouette of the dress,” he said. He used Dove Style+Care Nourishing Curls Whipped Cream Mousse and a diffuser to accentuate her naturally curly texture. He braided three to four inch sections of hair around her face and pulled the ends into a low chignon. Then, he secured it with bobby pins and locked it in place with hairspray.

Best Makeup: Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington’s pretty indigo eye really stood out on the red carpet. Celebrity makeup artist Carola Gonzalez used Lancôme Color Design Infinit 24H Eye Shadow in Evermore Lilac to get the look. She kept the color concentrated on the lids up to the crease, and she balanced the bold eye with a nude lip.

Best Lip: Jessica Alba

The only thing better than Jessica Alba’s peach Oscar de la Renta gown was the vibrant tangerine lipstick she paired with it. “The dress was the inspiration,” says makeup artist Lauren Andersen. “I loved the contrast between her glowing skin and the matte orange lip. It’s an almost tropical pop of color that’s not an exact match for the dress but close.” The color was Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Riviera, which is soft but matte and can last up to 14 hours — perfect for an awards show.

Best Hair: Nicole Richie

We’re still on the fence about Nicole Richie’s periwinkle eyeshadow, but we instantly swooned over her flawless retro waves. After blowing out Richie’s hair, Suave Professionals stylist Jenny Cho then used a one-inch barrel to curl her hair and pin the ringlets in place. Then, she blasted the hair with a blow dryer all over for 2 minutes to help set the curls. Next, after removing the pins, she gently brushed out the curls for a softer look and finished with a light misting of Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Super Hold Hairspray and a drop of Suave Professional Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil for shine.

Best Glowing Complexion: Kate Hudson

No big surprise here: Kate Hudson’s minimal makeup effect let her radiant skin take center stage. “I wanted to create a modern interpretation of Brigitte Bardot for Kate’s makeup,” says makeup artist Leslie Lopez. “I always think less is more and wanted to give her a strong eye without being overwhelming.” Leslie used Almay Smart Shade Mousse Makeup in Light/Medium for foundation and added a dash of Almay Smart Shade Blush in Coral on Hudson’s cheeks. For the eyes, she accentuated the crease in the eyelid with Almay Intense i-Color Shimmer-i Trio for Green Eyes and defined the eye shape with Almay Intense i-Color Defining Liner in Charcoal for Blue Eyes.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cold Season

December 13th, 2012

The first full week of winter is here, and though the crisp winter air feels awesome during morning runs, the sudden temperature change could bring on a miserable cold. I recently chatted with Dr. Anthony F. Jahn, an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat specialist), on how to prevent a cold, plus, ways to erase any telltale signs of one should you come down with one.

Prevent: It’s not the sexiest advice, but Dr. Jahn suggests using a nasal rinse such as Ocean Saline Nasal Spray ($5, drugstore.com) every day. It has a saline solution that is non-medicated so it’s safe to use often. It’s also great for children and expecting moms who are unable to take medication. Just rinse your nasal passages with it to flush out any harmful germs or viruses. Fun fact: You have 15-minutes from the time you contract a cold virus until it reaches your system, so if you are diligent about using a saline wash, you could dodge a cold.

-Cope: If you start feeling under the weather, the best thing to do is consume plenty of liquids. You should call in sick from work to prevent spreading the cold and to give you time to rest, which is key to recovery. It can be tempting to lace up your sneakers for a workout (especially if you’re sitting at home all day), but you shouldn’t exercise since it puts your body under additional stress and can stall your recovery. Dr. Jahn also suggests upping your intake of vitamin C and zinc to boost your immune system.

-Conceal: When you do have to return to work, cover up the signs of your cold by using a rich balm to soothe your chapped nose and mouth like Blistex Cold & Allergy Lip Soother ($2, drugstore.com). Then apply a yellow-based concealer to cancel out redness like Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer ($23, bobbibrowncosmetics.com). A pop of pink cream blush (try Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Fresh Pink, $8, maybelline.com) on your cheeks will let you fake a healthy flush until you’re feeling better.

Best Nail Colours for Winter 2012

December 5th, 2012

Painting nails is like killing two birds with one stone. On one hand, this is a great way to take care of yourself, a number one step of beauty regime. Since men are not familiar with paining nails (I mean, regular men, not EMOs), polished nails distinguish women from men and make it the easiest way to attract the opposite sex. It’s also a great way of spending your free time at ease. Imagine painting your nails while being completly gassed – definitely not possible.

As we all know, not only clothes are affected with seasons. Nails get seasonal too. In Winter 2012, there are quite a few remarkable nail trends to follow. Colours always play the first fiddle so why don’t you take advantage of winter weather and stay home to try new nail colours? Here they are!

Number one, burgundy. This colour nods to the trendy wine hue palette and it’s a winter classic that never goes out of style. Rich, deep, and sophisticated, it shines with a polished perfection. Wear it with a deep burgundy lip for a classic evening look as seen in Salvatore Ferragamo. Guess who is sporting burgundy nails? Selena Gomez herself!

Number two, silver and gold. Of course not at one go. This season presents a new take on these classic hues. Silver is more reminiscent of a gunmetal gray whereas gold plays with green undertones. Keep the polish short and square to avoid looking too vampy (Fergie sports the trend impeccably). Search for inspiration in runway as the trend was seen in Chanel fashion show.

Number three, emerald green. You’ll love this shimmering and electrifying colour just like Rihanna does. The rock star-worthy colour extends a huge nail polish trend of last seasons, jade green (aka mint) invented by Karl Lagerfeld himself. Ready to amplify any holiday ensemble? Paint your long round talons in emerald green for an instant effect!

Number four, nude. The contemporary fashion staple: there were pumps, bags and now we have nails. The perfect beige is the modern way to wear a nude nail. Choose the rounder tips to elongate the fingers just like Lady Gaga. Spice it up a bit with a half-moon manicure consisting of black and beige, as in Phillip Lim.

Always keep in mind that good nude nail polish can go from casual to dressy.

The 10 Best and Worst Foods to Eat for Sleep

November 28th, 2012
Ah, sleep. It’s something we relentlessly crave, but we never seem to get enough of it. Aside from the daily stressors in life, there’s one big thing that can keep you from snoozing — your diet. Here, the best and worst foods to eat for sleep.

Best: Cereal and Milk

Your go-to breakfast staple can also moonlight as the perfect pre-bedtime snack. Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein enables our bodies to produce the “happy hormone” serotonin, which in turn produces melatonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect, explains Danielle Omar, a DC-based registered dietitian. Just stay away from sugary cereals to avoid getting a sugar high right before bed. Other safe nighttime snack bets include cheese and crackers, cottage cheese and fruit, or oatmeal with milk for a similar soothing effect.

Worst: Protein

While protein is a vital part of our daily diets, too much of it means less sleep at the end of the day. “High-protein diets have a tendency to give you more energy and not calm you down,” says Dr. Michael J. Breus, author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. Instead, remember to munch on a high-carb, low-protein snack that’s no more than 200 calories before bed.

Best: Passionfruit

Though not always available in the nearest supermarket, it’s worth finding if you’re in need of some serious shuteye. Passionfruit contains somniferum, which has sleep-inducing properties. Omar recommends eating the fruit as is, or try it as a juice or tea.

Worst: Alcohol

Sure, your eyelids may start drooping after that second glass of wine, but chances are you’ll have a restless night of sleep once you turn in. “After drinking alcohol, usually you get drowsy and fall asleep,” says Omar. “But you don’t get into the REM stage of sleep.” When that happens, you’re kept from achieving a deep, uninterrupted sleep — as the bags under your eyes will tell you the next day.

Best: Bananas

Often called “a pill in a peel” by experts, bananas contain high levels of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a muscle relaxant, which can help us start snoozing faster. Also extremely helpful is the whopping 422 milligrams of potassium one banana contains, since studies have shown potassium can help regulate sleep patterns and nerves.

Worst: Fatty Foods

The fattier your dinner is, the less sleep you’ll get, warns Dr. Breus. Eating foods high in fat (especially ones that are greasy or fried) will likely cause uncomfortable heartburn or stomach issues when you lie down. Stick to low-fat snacks and make sure to eat at least two hours before hitting the hay.

Best: Cherry Juice

A 2011 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that tart cherry juice is a great sleep aid. Adults who drank two glasses of cherry juice daily slept an average of 39 minutes longer than usual. Turns out cherries boast some of the highest levels of melatonin among natural foods, explains Dr. Breus. Try a small nighttime smoothie to start dreaming with 1 cup concentrated tart cherry juice, half a banana, 1/2 cup soymilk, and 5 crushed ice cubes.

Worst: Spicy Food

Not only will that Thai takeout leave your mouth on fire, it may cause nightmares, says Dr. Breus. “I’ve had patients who’ve said when they eat a spicy meal it affects their dreams at night.” Backing up these claims is a study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology, which found that subjects who ingested Tabasco sauce and mustard with their dinner had elevated body temperatures during their first sleep cycle, causing sleep disruption and more awake time at night.

Best: Warm Milk

Most of us were fed warm milk as babies and toddlers to help us fall asleep, but the science behind why the drink makes us sleepy is lacking, says Dr. Breus. “There’s not enough tryptophan in a glass of warm milk — you’d have to drink a gallon and a half of it to feel any effect.” It’s likely that warm milk works as a placebo for inducing sleep because it’s comforting. Hey, whatever works, right?

Worst: Caffeine

The effects of caffeine may be obvious, but what’s not so obvious is that the stimulant stays active in our bodies for eight to ten hours. “The effects vary from person to person, but by the afternoon you should cut off the caffeine,” says Omar. And that doesn’t just mean that third cup of coffee after lunch. “That means chocolate too!” she says.

Soothe Your Skin: Solutions for Sensitive Skin

November 19th, 2012
Redness, peeling, stinging — ouch! Give your fragile complexion the TLC it craves with these dermatologist-tested solutions.

Treat Flaky Skin

Sure, a rosy glow is a sign of a kick-butt workout (go you!), but if you’re still sporting that flush long after you’ve left the locker room, you’re probably among the 60 percent of people in the United States who say they have sensitive skin — a number that’s doubled during the past 30 years, according to Jessica Wu, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles. Why the increase? Derms suspect that one of the main reasons is product misuse. “Women are choosing the wrong products for their skin,” says Howard Sobel, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. That can lead to inflammation, the root of all redness. If you don’t treat it, the condition may affect your complexion, making it more vulnerable to wrinkle-inducing damage, Dr. Sobel says. But now, help is on the way! We identified the five most common sensitive-skin complaints and asked top docs to share their best soothing secrets.

Treat Flaky Skin   If you’re experiencing scaliness, your skin is sending you an SOS: “It’s so inflamed that the cells are lifting, which results in peeling,” says Debra Luftman, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles. The probable cause is an irritant in one of your products or an allergic reaction to an ingredient.

Calm the culprits   Treat inflammation with a 2.5 percent hydrocortisone cream and stop using scrubs, retinoids, and alpha hydroxyl acids. Also, fortify your skin with a moisturizer that contains niacin, like StriVectin-SD for Sensitive Skin ($79, strivectin.com). You should see a difference in just three days, notes Leslie Baumann, MD, a dermatologist in Miami.

Fight future flare-ups   If it’s an allergic reaction, which is characterized by a swollen rash, go to your derm, who can ID the allergen with a patch test. (Preservatives and fragrances are two biggies.) Choose products that are labeled “fragrance-free” and avoid those with a laundry list of ingredients. “Fewer ingredients mean fewer chances to react to something,” says Jeanine Downie, MD, a dermatologist in Montclair, New Jersey. Reconsider your cleanser, too. Foaming washes can strip away protective oils. Opt for a milky formula and make sure alcohol isn’t one of the first ingredients. We like Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Solutions Sensitive Facial Cleanser ($10, burtsbees.com).

Soothe Stinging Skin

Ever apply a lotion and then feel a burning sensation? Doctors aren’t sure why, but certain ingredients irritate nerve endings in your skin.

Calm the culprits   Cooling facial mists or masks with anti-inflammatories offer quick relief. Good ones: Philosophy Hope Springs Eternal Deep Sea Ultra-Fine Hydrating Mist ($20, philosophy.com) and One Cucumber Aloe Calming Mask ($3, target.com).

Fight future flare-ups   Avoid common irritants, such as vitamin C, lactic acid, glycolic acid, and avobenzone, an ingredient in some sunscreens. Instead, use a mineral-based sunblock with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide; both have anti-inflammatory properties. Find them in Yes to Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer SPF 30 ($15, drugstores).

Get Rid of Itchy Body Bumps

These patches may be an allergic reaction to something in the environment. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a link between air pollution and rashes. If your spots are clustered mostly on the backs of your arms, they could be keratosis pilaris (KP), which is eczema that occurs when follicles get plugged up with dry skin.

Calm the culprits   Relieve itchiness with an oral antihistamine, like Claritin. To treat KP, slather on lotion with urea, such as Eucerin Everyday Protection Body Lotion SPF 15 ($9, drugstores), to help exfoliate. Use Bio-Oil PurCellin Oil ($20, drugstores) for spot treatment.

Fight future flare-ups   Ditch scented laundry detergents; many people are allergic to them, says Suzanne Kilmer, MD, a dermatologist in Sacramento, California. Control KP by taking short showers and applying a rich cream while your skin is damp. We like J.R. Watkins Naturals Apothecary Coconut Milk & Honey Hand & Body Lotion ($10, jrwatkins.com).

Reduce Redness

If your skin is an angry shade of crimson, with broken blood vessels and acnelike bumps, you could have rosacea. This condition afflicts more than 16 million Americans, typically after the age of 30, and may be triggered by hormonal changes and sun exposure. Flushing occurs when blood vessels dilate quickly, a process brought on by sun, stress, spicy foods, alcohol, coffee, and even exercise.

Calm the culprits   To get the red out, reach for a cream that contains anti-inflammatories, such as green tea­ — found in Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer ($35, discoverproactiv.com) — feverfew and caffeine, to help constrict blood vessels. For severe, recurring inflammation or red bumps, see your doc. He or she can prescribe a topical gel, such as Finacea (azelaic acid), or an anti-inflammatory pill, like Oracea.

Fight future flare-ups   There’s no known cure for rosacea, but avoiding triggers will help keep it under control. (Need help identifying them? Download the Rosacea App for your smartphone or iPad.) One thing you shouldn’t skip is the gym. Working out lowers stress, which, along with sun damage, is one of the main causes of rosacea, explains Dr. Downie, who tells her patients that drinking ice-cold water while they exercise may help ease symptoms. If you have severe redness, laser therapy and light treatments can reduce the number of blood vessels near the skin’s surface so you’ll suffer fewer outbreaks over time.

Fight Acne and Get Rid of Pimples

Sadly, breakouts don’t stop when we graduate from high school. According to Olay, the average age of acne patients is now 27, compared with 21 just 10 years ago. Experts believe this may be because of such factors as fluctuating hormone levels and increased use of anti-aging cosmetics.

Calm the culprits   The top three ingredients in your anti-acne arsenal are salicylic acid, to unclog pores — found in Clearasil UltraRapid Action Seal-to-Clear Gel ($10, drugstores) — benzoyl peroxide, to kill bacteria; and sulfur, to relieve redness. While you’re zapping zits, don’t forget to use moisturizer or your oil glands might produce even more pimple-causing sebum. Twice a day, apply a noncomedogenic moisturizer, such as Eau Thermale Avene Serenage Nutri-Redensifying Night Cream ($49, aveneusa.com for stores).

Fight future flare-ups   Keep pores clear so that new pimples don’t form. Dr. Kilmer recommends using the Clarisonic Deep Pore Cleansing Brush with the Clarisonic Mia ($25 and $149, clarisonic.com), which has oscillating bristles that gently clean and exfoliate. And watch out for sneaky pore cloggers, like hair conditioner, says Dr. Baumann, who suggests cleansing skin after conditioning. Also, spread a thin layer of benzoyl peroxide on pimple-prone areas — your face, chest, and even your derriere — before breaking a sweat.

Fake Flawless Skin

Camouflage spots with a lightweight base, like peptide-rich FusionBeauty PrimeResults Tinted Moisturizer + SPF 15 Sunscreen ($40, Ulta stores).

Redness Correcting Moisturizer

Neutralize ruddiness with green-tinted Physicians Formula Redness Correcting Moisturizer ($17, Walmart stores and Walmart.com).

Redness Remedy

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Redness Remedy ($27, bare escentuals.com) gives your complexion a warm glow and calms skin with aloe vera and oatmeal.

Cheek Defining Powder

To define your cheeks without adding rosiness, use nonirritating MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Give Me Sun! ($27, maccosmetics.com).

Spot and Splotch Concealer

Hide and soothe scarlet splotches with cucumber-infused Almay Wake Up Undereye Concealer ($9, drugstores). The built-in brush lets you place the color precisely where you need it.

Stretch Your Beauty Dollar

November 12th, 2012
Save time and money with these easy at-home beauty alternatives, from facials and haircuts to celebrity secrets and bargain salon services.

Hair Care: Be Your Own Colorist

Conceal annoying grays and overgrown roots with a quick trip to the local drugstore instead of the salon.

1. Choose a box of color that closely matches your current shade. The most goof-proof kits: “Those that specify a non-drip formula on the box and come with applicator combs or brushes,” says Jason Backe, Clairol color director.

2. When you need to hide roots, apply color to new growth only. (Leave on for the specified time.) “This prevents overprocessing hair that’s been dyed in the past,” Backe says. If you require allover color, follow the box directions.

3. Once a week, wash with a tinted shampoo to prevent color from fading. Limit total washes to every other day, and always condition, which maintains color. Depending on your hue, try Riveting Reds, $6.99, or Shimmer Lights for brunettes, $8.79, both at sallybeauty.com, or Pantene Blonde Expressions, $6.49, drugstores.

See a pro if…You want a head of highlights (they’re difficult to do on your own) or plan on going three or more shades lighter or darker.

Trim Tactics: Tackling the At-Home Haircut

Say good-bye to split ends without booking an appointment with your stylist. Here’s how:

1. Regular scissors often have only one working blade (the dull side sweeps away just-cut hair), which can damage the hair shaft. Buy a set of professional shears (above, Fromm Spectrum Shears, $44, sallybeauty.com). “Both blades slice into hair for the cleanest cut,” says Eliut Rivera, a New York City salon owner.

2. Divide and clip dry hair into three sections: the crown, the left, and the right. Unclip, pull the crown area straight up, and twist it. Cut into the ends vertically — not straight across — taking off damaged hairs in half-inch increments. “This creates a soft finish, rather than a blunt, uneven one,” Rivera says.

3. Repeat the process on the left and right sides, but pull and twist hair downward rather than upward.

See a pro if…Your style is one length (such as a bob), which takes precision, or if you want a total change.

Wax On, Wax Off

With a little practice — and these smart tips — you can clean up your bikini line as fast and accurately as the experts (we promise!).

  • Overapplying hot wax can burn skin, says Janet Chao, head aesthetician at the hair-removal company Parissa Laboratories. The solution: pre-coated strips, which contain just the right amount. Before applying the strip, trim hairs to the length of a grain of rice (anything longer gets messy) — and don’t wash the area. “Your natural body oils act as a protective barrier,” Chao explains.
  • Soften the strips by rubbing them in your hands until warm. Pull them apart, prop up one leg to stretch skin so wax goes on evenly, then press the strip on in the same direction as hair growth.
  • Hold skin taut with one hand, then quickly pull off the strip with the other in the opposite direction of hair growth. Rub off any residue with olive oil; it dissolves wax.

See a pro if…You want a Brazilian wax (to be done only by experts) or if your bikini line is prone to ingrown hairs.

Get a Tan from a Can

An airbrushed finish is no longer limited to top salons. Get a perfect glow at home with these steps:

1. Aerosol self-tanners offer a flawless application — if you have the right touch. Practice by making small circular motions on a sheet of paper. “If it’s too wet on the paper, you’re too close,” says Fiona Locke, educator for St. Tropez tan products. The secret: Stay 6 inches away.

2. The active ingredient in tanners, DHA, is soaked up by dry patches of skin. This leads to too-dark spots. Buff your entire body first with a loofah and apply lotion to dry, thick-skinned areas (ankles, knees, elbows, knuckles).

3. Using the technique you perfected on paper, apply tanner to skin. Spray cans with 360-degree technology (like Mystic Tan Build Sunless Tanning Spray, $38, sephora.com, left) let you spray upside down — great for your back.

See a pro if…You plan on baring a lot of skin; spray-tan artists use airbrush machines that rarely make mistakes.

Nail the Perfect Mani/Pedi

Score a perfect 10 on fingers and toes — and preserve the freshly painted look — with these strategies.

1. After showering, use a scrub on hands and pumice on feet to slough roughness and smooth calluses. Push back cuticles and file nails until even, then clean the surface of each with polish remover. “Dirt and oil prevent color from sticking,” says Alisha Rimando of Dashing Diva nail salon in Port Washington, New York.

2. Instead of speed-painting the base, color, and top coats, wait three minutes between each. “It takes four glopped-on layers more time to dry, increasing the chance of  smudges,” Rimando says.

3. Take the polish over the edge of your nail (where chips start) to add days to your paint job.

See a pro if…You can’t risk nicks or imperfections — or you just need a little TLC (like a hand massage).

Cut Costs on Professional Treatments

When you must see a pro, do it on the cheap.

  • Trim costs at the salon. Beauty schools such as Empire (find one at empire.edu) offer way-low prices (shampoo, cut and style, $8; highlights, $37).
  • Nab a free facial. Seek out the Shiseido and Cle de Peau Beaute counters at the department store. Their skin experts provide facial services gratis.
  • Score a no-cost manicure. Beauty 360 stores by CVS/pharmacy offer relaxing hand massages, pro polish changes, or both. Walk-ins welcome!
  • Take advantage of Spa Week. The biannual spring and fall event, which next runs April 13 through 19, features spa treats for $50 each at more than 750 U.S. locations. Prebook yours at spaweek.org starting March 16.

Star Steals: Celebrity Budget Beauty Secrets

Even celebs enjoy frugal finds. These can’t-live-without-’em beauty bargains — all $8 or less — prove looking glamorous needn’t be pricey (even in Hollywood!).

Save Face: Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester is a fan of Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets ($4.99, drugstores).

Soothe Skin: Tyra Banks likes Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ($1.79, drugstores) so much she gave bejeweled jars of it to her studio audience.

Shine On: Stylist David Evangelista mists Becki Newton‘s hair with Garnier Fructis Style Brilliantine Shine Glossing Spray ($3.99, drugstores).

Go Long: Isla Fisher‘s lashes were defined with Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara ($8, drugstores) in Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Bag These Beauty Bargains

Great cosmetics don’t have to break the bank. These seven essentials — case included — cost less than $40.

1. Sephora Signature Clear Stripe Bag, $7, sephora.com: Easy-to-clean vinyl, dressed up with punchy pink stripes, lets you find what you need quickly — and in style.

2. Sonia Kashuk Eye Shadow Quad, $9.99, target.com: Color lids with any of these four shades or use them wet as liner along the lash line.

3. CoverGirl Exact Eyelights Mascara, $8.95, drugstores: Light-reflecting colored minerals spike this black mascara, acting like mirrors to accentuate your eye hue.

4. Maybelline New York Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation, $9.79, drugstores: The light-as-air formula goes on smoothly, making skin appear near-flawless.

5. N.Y.C. New York Color Cover Stick, $1.99, drugstores: Packed with antioxidant vitamins A and E, this stick makes dark circles, freckly spots, and pimples disappear.

6. Sally Girl Lip Gloss, 99 cents, sallybeauty.com: The moisturizing lacquer never feels sticky or tacky.

7. E.L.F. Shimmering Facial Whip, $1, eyeslipsface.com: The ultimate multitasker, this cream (in six shades) tints cheeks, eyes, and lips.

31 Ways To Boost Your Health, Feel and look So Much Better

November 10th, 2012

Try one of these tips each day — you’ll feel better and get fitter and smarter in just one month.

                                                                           

 

 1. Give lip service.       

Thirty minutes of making out can improve allergy symptoms. Research shows that kissing reduces the amount of chemicals your body releases in response to allergens.

2. Turn up the heat on your sheet.

Bedding contatins thousands of dust mites that can irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate eczema, according to a new study. Wash sheets in H2O that’s at least 140F to make sure you kill the critters.

3. D-stress.

Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D can decrease your risk of developing a stress fracture by 20 percent. Active women should strive for 1,000 IU of vitamin D and 2,000 milligrams of calcium daily to keep their bones strong, experts say.

4. Get your head examined.

Melanomas found on your scalp or neck almost double your risk of dying compared with those detected elsewhere on the body, report researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Because they’re often hidden by hair, malignant moles and other skin abnormalities are typically detected too late for treatment to be effective. See your MD for an annual skin check.

5. Clean up your mouth.

Two ounces of yogurt a day (the typical container holds six ounces) may protect you from gum disease, a recent study in the Journal of Periodontology shows. The “good” bacteria in yogurt helps fight germs in your mouth.

6. Play red light, green light.

For increasing your endurance, four to six 30-second bursts of all-out cardio are just as effective as up to an hour of training at a lower intensity. Short on time? Use intervals to get stronger more quickly.

7. Reboot your brain.

Mundane tasks, such as entering data into a spreadsheet, can switch your mind into default mode, making you more likely to mess up within about 30 seconds, scientists say. Feel like you’re operating on autopilot? Snap out of it by going for a quick walk down the hall.

8. Debug your desk.

As many as 283 species of bacteria can thrive in ordinary office dust, including nasty streptococcus, the main cause of strep throat, and staphylococcus aureus, which can lead to MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, according to a recent report. Wipe down your workstation, keyboard, and phone regularly with a disinfectant such as Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner or Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner.

9. Shrug it off.

Strengthening your trapezius muscle, which runs from your shoulders to your neck and upper back, can reduce chronic neck pain by up to 80 percent.

10. Juice Your Looks

A diet rich in vitamin C and linoleic acid (a fatty acid found in many vegetable oils) can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dryness, and thinning skin, according to a study.

11. Get Sappy

Spending just 30 minutes a day consciously thinking of a loved one can promote mental and emotional well-being, say University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. Cultivating the feeling of love and compassion stimulates the brain to make new connections and neural pathways.

12. Chill Out

Just two to three minutes under cool water in the shower can boost your mood. The cold may cause the brain to release feel-good hormones.

13. Go Slow-Mo

Doing tai chi regularly not only improves your endurance and flexibility but may also help control blood sugar and improve your immune system. The exercise increases levels of certain bacteria-fighting T-cells in your body, research shows.

14. Be a Dairy Queen

Women on a low-calorie diet who took supplements to up their calcium from 600 milligrams a day or less to 1,200 milligrams a day lost an average of 10 pounds more than those who didn’t boost their intake, according to a new study. Your brain may be able to detect low calcium levels in the body and tries to compensate by increasing your appetite for foods rich in this mineral, experts say. Skim milk, low-fat cheese, and fortified OJ are all good sources.

15. Straighten Up

Tension in your neck may affect how your body regulates blood pressure, animal studies indicate. At work, sit with your back firmly against your chair, your feet on the floor, your knees slightly higher than your hips and your chair close to your desk.

16. Go Green

Drinking green tea with your antibiotics helps the medication destroy harmful bacteria up to three times more effectively, researchers found.

17. Grab Some Garbanzos

People who regularly consume beans typically weigh six pounds less than those who don’t, even though they take in more daily calories. Researchers believe this may be because the legume eaters get more fiber but consume less fat, especially saturated fat, than those who shy away from beans. Throw a handful into salads, soups, or pasta sauce for an extra boost of protein and fiber.

18. Chomp Cravings Away

Chewing gum after lunch can curb hunger, a recent study shows. But pick your stick carefully. Ingesting too much sorbitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. We like sorbitol-free Ice Breakers Ice Cubes White sugar-free gum.

19. Reach New Heights

Wearing a pair of moderately high heels (2 to 2 1/2 inches) can strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles, which can improve your sex life.

20. Munch a Bunch

About one cup of red grapes a day can help suppress the abnormal cell formation that leads to most types of breast cancer, according to a recent study in Cancer Prevention Research. Resveratrol, a natural compound found in grapes, grape juice, and red wine, may prevent estrogen from reacting with DNA molecules, which can lead to cells becoming cancerous, scientists say.

21. Run For Your Life

Joggers have a 40 percent lower risk of dying than people who don’t lace up their sneakers, according to Stanford University researchers. Runners are less likely to have cardiovascular problems or develop disabilities as they age. Motivate yourself to become fit by training for a 5K.

22. Be a Cookoo For Coconut

An oil high in fatty acids made from coconut oil has been shown to burn fat and promote weight loss, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. People who consumed four to five teaspoons of this type of oil (in baked goods and through cooking) every day for 16 weeks lost almost four pounds more than those who used olive oil.

23. Get Crackin

Adding one egg a day, yolk and all, to your diet can increase good HDL levels without increasing bad LDL cholesterol levels. Low levels of HDL have previously been linked to memory loss.

24. Strike a Pose

Relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation help your body beat the symptoms of stress before they harm your health, according to researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

25. Tap Into The Magic of Mushrooms

White button mushrooms can boost your immune system by improving how your T-cells work, according to recent preliminary studies. T-cells are the white blood cells that help protect your body from harmful intruders.

26. Try The Silent Treatment

Being exposed to just 35 decibels of noise (about the sound of people talking softly) while in bed could raise your blood pressure by six or seven points, according to a recent study. Snooze more peacefully by investing in a white-noise or sound machine like the Obus Forme Sound Therapy Relaxation System ($30, amazon.com).

27. Get Your Game On

Playing video games with a lot of action sequences can sharpen your visual skills by 20 percent, according to research from the University of Rochester in New York.

28. Hit The Sauce

People who munch on apples, eat applesauce, or drink apple juice are 27 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome — a combination of health problems, such as increased blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, that can lead to heart disease and diabetes, research shows. Other studies suggest that eating apples may reduce your risk of breast cancer.

29. Take a Nature Break

Heading outdoors for 30 minutes when the sun is shining can make you happier and improve your brain’s ability to process new information, according to a study at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics.

30. Go! Go! Go!

If you feel the urge, race to the restroom. Having an overly full bladder can increase stress on the heart, upping the odds of a heart attack in those at risk, a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows.

31. Fly Away

Women who take at least two vacations a year are more happily married than those who rarely get out of town, because they are less likely to be depressed, tense, or tired. Book your summer trip now.

Secrets for Flawless Skin – Even in Winter Months

October 29th, 2012

We all know that one baby-faced person with perfect skin. No blemishes, no dry spots – just a smooth, clear, radiant complexion. How do they achieve and maintain such a perfect complexion year-round? Here are some secrets.

1. Science and Medicine:
The main thing women use to achieve the baby-face complexion are pills. There are several different kinds of pills that can control acne; birth control, hormones, antibiotics or pills specifically made for controlling acne. If you want to go this route, talk with your doctor and find out which would best be suited for you. If you are nature-oriented and do not want to mess around with pills, keep on reading. There are more beauty care secrets!

2. Use Cool Water:
Many of us have long been taught that drying out your skin is the best way to control acne. We have news! It’s not. Drying out your skin will cause it to produce more oil to gain back its ‘protective layer’. Washing your face with a mild gel, such as Cetaphil or Spectrojel, and rinsing with cool-lukewarm water will keep your skin clean and clear without drying it out.

3. Keep Hydrated:
Inside and Out. Aside from drinking plenty of water each day, fill your sink with lukewarm or cool water and add a few drops of oil. Coconut oil and Almond Oil are great choices. Hold your breath and soak your face for as long as you can. Come up for air and keep soaking for about 3-5 minutes. Your skin loves to soak up water, and you probably know that after having a long bath your skin feels the most soft and smooth. Finish your soak by immediately applying a light, unscented facial moisturizer and either let your skin air-dry or gently pat dry with a towel.

4.Blot Excess Oil:
If your skin is constantly oily and shiny, blot with oil absorbing sheets. There are many different brands and they all have one main goal; to remove excess oil without the need for adding more pore-clogging powder to your face. Keeping as less stuff off your face as possible will keep it looking fresh and healthy.

5.Keep it Clean:
The number one rule of maintaining healthy looking and flawless skin is to keep your hands off it. Your hands and fingertips are crawling with bacteria. You don’t want this on your face and seeping into your pores. This is the number one way breakouts occur! Try to keep as much away from your face as possible and always remember to wash off your makeup at the end of each day.

Following these simple beauty care tips will give you smooth, clear and hydrated skin making it easy to apply makeup or feel confident without wearing any cover-up at all.

Stay Healthy All Year Long

October 16th, 2012

1. January – Oranges

Look for: Firm, smother skin and heavy for size.
Reap these benefits!
Great source of potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure and heart health; vitamin C for staving off post-workout free radical damage and disease.

2. February – Brussel sprouts

Look for: Firm, compact heads
Reap these benefits!
Good source of vitamin C for fighting disease; potassium and folate for healthy heart, blood pressure and fending off cancers.

3. March – Asparagus

Look for: Odorless, dry and tight tips; not wilted or limp stalks
Reap these benefits!
Rich in folic acid for keeping homocysteine levels down, which helps reduce risk of heart disease, cancers and mental decline; antioxidants for strong blood vessels and healthy  cells.

4. April – Honeydew melon

Look for: Spherical shape with waxy (not fuzzy) surface and heavy for size
Reap these benefits!
Great source of vitamin C, shown to diminish wrinkles and keep youthful skin.

5. May – Strawberries

Look for: Shiny, bright red, firm not mushy
Reap these benefits!
One of the best fruits for disease-fighting antioxidants and phenolics, particularly fending off breast and colon cancers.

6. June – Blueberries

Look for: Firm, plump and dry with dusty blue color and uniform in size
Reap these benefits!
Rich in plant-based chemicals called phenolic acids and anthocyanins, which fight cancers and heart disease and boost memory; ellagic acid fends off bacterial infections.

7. July – Cherries

Look for: Firm and red with stems attached, avoid soft, shriveled or speckled
Reap these benefits!
Contains cyanidin, a plant-based compound that can bring down inflammation. Cherry juice has been shown to reduce muscle pain and strength loss postworkout.

8. August – Tomatoes

Look for: Bright, shiny skin and firm flesh
Reap these benefits!
Packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which may fend off cancers, particularly ovarian cancer.

9. September – Broccoli

Look for: Odorless, tight heads with bluish, green florets
Reap these benefits!
High in sinus-infection-fighting vitamin C; calcium for preventing menstrual cramps and headaches; and high amounts of sulforaphane, which helps prevent breast cancer.

10. October – Pumpkin

Look for: Firm and heavy; avoid ones that are mushy and blemished
Reap these benefits!
Good source of fiber, which is good for blood sugar control, potassium for keeping blood pressure in check and overall heart health and lutein, for eye health.

11. November – Sweet Potatoes

Look for: Firm with smooth skin, avoid dark spots, cracks and softness
Reap these benefits!
Excellent source of beta carotene, which has been shown to fend off breast cancer; vitamin C for healthy cells and fiber for good blood sugar control.

12. December – Kale

Look for: Dark green in small bunches, avoid brown or yellow leaves
Reap these benefits!
High in carotenoids, such as lutein, good for eye sight and lowering the risk of lung cancer, esophageal cancer and oral cancers; potassium for optimal blood pressure and calcium for strong bones and teeth.

Fall Faves from Target

October 9th, 2012

We love any excuse to shop, and the change of seasons means it’s time to switch up our wardrobes a bit. We want a few fall staples, but we want to do it on a budget. So we turned to our bargain shopping fave, Target, to pick up the best in fall fashion.

1Red sweater dress

The color red is hot this fall, and we’re loving this red sweater dress for its combination of two big fall fashion trends — red and sweater dresses.

2Leather jacket

As if you needed a reason to rock a leather jacket this fall, right? Leather is so in this season, and a jacket is the perfect way to incorporate the trend into your wardrobe.

3Lace Flats

Flats are trendy year-round, but there’s nothing like a pair of them in the fall. This fall, try a pair adorned with lace, one of the season’s biggest trends.

4Polka dot rain boots

Fall foliage is nice and all, but fall rain? Yeah, it’s no fun at all. Instead of whining about the weather, brighten up a rainy day this fall with these on-trend, adorable polka dot boots.

5Flare jeans

Skinny jeans have had their moment in the spotlight for quite some time now, and while they’re not going anywhere, they’re making a bit more room for other denim trends, like flare jeans. Channel your inner ’70s goddess this fall with this chic pair from Target.

6Work dress

Work dresses are no longer boring and obligatory. This season, they’re sexy and sassy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

7Black tights

If black tights aren’t a fall fashion staple, we don’t know what is! Slap on a pair of them under a dress or skirt, or layer them under your shorts for a fall-friendly look.

8Animal print bag

Animal print was one of the hottest trends on the fall 2011 runways and has been invading the fashion world ever since. If you’re nervous about going wild, try flirting with this bold trend by carrying a statement tote, like this one.

9Mustard-hued flats

Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, fashionistas! Mustard hues were so hot on the fall runways, and even if the color isn’t highly flattering on you, you can still rock the trend in a small way, like on your feet.

10Jade green ruffled top

Jade green dresses were one of fall’s biggest runway trends, but we know the color isn’t flattering on everyone. If you want to rock the trend in a subtle way, try this chic top.

Bobbi Brown’s Beauty Rehab

September 26th, 2012

Got a pesky beauty question? Celebrity makeup artist Bobbi Brown has the answers to all your beauty blunders.

A pedi that lasts

How can I add a few more weeks to the life of my pedicure?—Anne Ludlow, Laguna Niguel, CA

Bobbi: I rely on a few tricks that help a lot. First, apply an oil to your feet before bed—anything from coconut oil to plain old olive oil is great for adding moisture and nourishing cuticles (top with socks). Then, once or twice a week, throw on a clear top coat to strengthen your nails and add shine. If your polish has already dulled or you spot a chip, just a single coat of a totally new color (it should be darker than the original) to make your nails instantly deeper or brighter. Voila—good as new!

Brow business

What are the rules for plucking your brows?—Lynda Farrington, Wellington, FL

Bobbi: Some brow experts say never to pluck above your brows, but I say you have to tweeze strays wherever the pop up. You don’t want to take too much off the top though, because that changes the brow’s natural shape. To avoid overdoing it, go back and forth between the left and right eye. Keep in mind, as you get older, brows don’t grow back as thick, so pluck conservatively. In my 20s, I was an early Brooke Shields with my full brows, but I would tweeze them skinny—now I miss that strong brow. The upside is there’s less upkeep!

Prevent puffiness

My eyes are puffy when I wake up. Any tricks to take down the swelling?—Hannah Weller, New York City

Bobbi: Avoid eating anything too salty before you go to sleep. My weakness? Edamame! If you’re going to indulge, drink a lot of water before you go to bed (and sleep with your head elevated). In the morning, use a gel eye mask or make your own by filling a Ziploc bag with ice and resting it on your eyes for five minutes. Finally, massage in an eye cream that contains de-puffing caffeine to reduce any swelling.

Fix discolored nails

I want to keep my nails bare, but they look yellowish without polish. Any advice?—Christina Paonessa, Philadelphia, PA

Bobbi: It’s smart to take a break from polish, especially darker shades: Keeping nails covered for long periods of time can cause discoloring. When yellowing becomes a problem, I whiten my nails with a solution of 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide combined with 2 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda. Apply the paste-like mixture onto each nail with a cotton swab, and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing. Then buff your nails to get rid of any remaining discoloration.

Stinky scents

Help! I work with someone who wears a fragrance I can’t stand. What can I do?Stephanie Hoitt, Boston, Mass.

Bobbi: A touchy, touchy subject. Pull her aside and politely ask her to not wear her scent to work because it gives you a bad headache (or triggers your allergies). Strong fragrances can be offensive, so I like single-note scents (such as vanilla) that have a subtle smell and don’t invade anyone else’s space. Soft scents: Lavanila Healthy Fragrance in Pure Vanilla($39; sephora.com); Clean Cotton T-Shirt Eau de Parfum ($38; ulta.com)

Wide-eyed

Eyelash curlers scare me. Any tricks to using them?Joanne Ferrara, Mantua, N.J.

Bobbi: Place the curler as close to your lid as possible without pinching the skin. Look into a mirror, and lift your lid a bit; press gently for 10 seconds. Don’t have a curler? Apply mascara and, while lashes are still wet, curl them with your index finger. It really works! Sally Hansen Flirty Eyes Classic Eyelash Curler ($5; drugstores)

Gorgeous grin

My smile isn’t very white (I’m a big coffee drinker). What can I do?Alanna Smallwood, Linwood, N.J.

Bobbi: Between pro bleaching treatments, I swear by whitening toothpastes made with gentle abrasives—I like the ones with little grains in them. And once a week, I rub on Supersmile’s bleaching gel (it comes in little swabs). I’ll also wear a pink lipstick with blue undertones when my teeth need brightening.

Never break an eye pencil again

Do you have a trick for sharpening eye pencils? Mine always break! Nicole Kruse, New York City

Bobbi: The problem could be that your sharpener is the wrong size, so make sure you keep the one that comes with the pencil. If yours didn’t have a sharpener, buy one that fits from an art-supply store (they tend to have better blades). Also, clean the blades frequently. The easiest way is to use a cotton swab with most of the tip removed, so it’s small enough to get in there and clean out debris. Never use water—that could make your sharpener blade rust.

Freshen up

“After lunch my makeup always fades. How can I quickly touch it up so I look fresh? ” Mindy Marranca, Buffalo, N.Y.

Bobbi: Most of us think lipstick is the answer, but you’ll get more of a beauty boost with concealer. Just smooth a creamy concealer (like Clarins Instant-Light Brush-On Perfector ($32; clarins.com) directly beneath your eyes. (If your skin is dry, smooth on a little eye cream before applying.)

Color-coordinate your makeup

“I wear the same makeup every day, but some days it doesn’t look right. Does outfit color affect how your makeup looks?” Ruby Chapman, Bensalem, Penn.

Bobbi: Absolutely! Don’t try to match your makeup to your clothes, just find a “nude” (not naked, just natural) look that works when you’re wearing basic black. When you have on bright colors, a soft blush (like NP Set Baked Powder Blush ($20; target.com) that mimics the natural color of your cheeks is best. On days you wear pastels or white, apply a brighter blush so you don’t look washed out.

Battle the bloat

“I have PMS, and I feel puffy all over. Help!” Beth Scarnati, Los Angeles

Bobbi: When this happens to me, I make a green juice with cucumber and parsley in my juicer. Putting good stuff in my body makes me feel better all over, and the water in the juice seems to flush away bloat. Also, skip shimmery makeup and light colors, which can make your face look even puffier.

Break the biting habit

“I bite my nails when I’m nervous. How can I stop?” Kristen Cappello, New York City

Bobbi: Trim and buff your nails to a short length so you’re not tempted. Then apply a bad-tasting top coat ($10, Amazon.com). To break the habit, find something else to do when you’re nervous. Breathing exercises help me, but  if you need something to do with your hands, get a strand of worry beads that you can fiddle with.

Feel instantly fresh

How can I leave the gym looking refreshed, not all sweaty? Lisa Welsh, Ramsey, N.J.

Bobbi: Don’t apply moisturizer or foundation at the gym—your body needs to cool down before you use any type of lotion, or your makeup won’t last. Just wash your face, dry it, then dot concealer under your eyes and apply mascara and a lip gloss. You’ll have a nice glow from working out, so skip blush. Before you leave the locker room, dab away any sweat or oil with blotting papers ($10, sephora.com).

Quick glam-it-up trick

“When I entertain, I don’t have time to get myself ready. What’s your trick for looking good fast?” Kerrie Slattery, Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Bobbi: My trick is pretty simple: a great pair of sparkly earrings ($45; jcrew.com). Seriously! Just pull your hair back, throw on a pair—I love anything from J.Crew—and your whole face lights up. You can also do lip gloss and blush, but you won’t need lots of makeup once the earrings are on.

Get organized

“I’m always on the go, and my makeup bag is a mess! How do you organize yours?” Laura Foust, Charlotte, N.C.

Bobbi: Inside my zippered nylon bag I carry a mini brush set and a personalized palette that I make by scooping a little bit of my regular cream products (concealer, blush, lipstick, etc.) into a refillable compact ($18; beauty.com). For everything else, I try to stock up on those deluxe samples they give out at beauty counters.

Quick Tricks: The 5-Minute Face

September 17th, 2012
Get your makeup done in just five minutes with these in-a-flash tricks.

Step 1: Foundation

Mix dime-size amounts of sunscreen and liquid foundation — we like Maybelline New York SuperStay 24HR Makeup ($10.99, drugstores) —  in the palm of your hand and apply it like lotion. For foolproof blending, “make sure they’re the same type of formula — both oil-free, for example,” says Petra Strand, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist.

Step 2: Concealer

Using a concealer stick, such as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Smoothing Stick ($6.49, drugstores), swipe a line of color along the orbital bone of each eye. (Think football-player stripes.) To nix dark shadows, work the color into your skin with fingertips; the warm touch will help the makeup go on smoothly, preventing a cakey effect.

 

Step 3: Blush

Dot cream blush, like Sonia Kashuk Creme Blush in Petal ($9.99, target.com), onto the apples of your cheeks; blend in a circular motion. Then tap the shade onto your lips. “Applying the same color to your skin and mouth instantly awakens your face,” Strand explains.

 

Step 4: Eyes

Hold an old credit or business card just above your upper lashes. Wiggle the brush of your mascara — try  Rimmel Sexy Curves Waterproof ($7.49, drugstores) — back and forth at the roots. This applies “a thick layer of dark color at the lash line, eliminating the need for liner,” Strand says.

Easy, Effortless Eye Makeup Tips

September 3rd, 2012
Erase lines, dark circles, and puffiness with these ultraeasy secrets. Then say “Eye do” to the latest makeup techniques for a sexy, I-slept-eight-hours look.

The Eyes Have It

Your eyes are one of the first features people notice. But the skin around them can age faster than that on other parts of the body, so it’s important to treat it with TLC. Undereye skin is among the thinnest on your face and vulnerable to damage. Every time we make an expression, we crinkle our skin, and “temporary creases can become wrinkles,” says Yohini Appa, PhD, senior director of scientific affairs at Johnson & Johnson. Here’s how to smooth things over and put all eyes on you.

Hide and Get Rid of Crow’s Feet

Conceal them: Powders and heavy creams accentuate lines, says Matin Maulawizada, global artistry director for Laura Mercier. Instead, use a sheer concealer with pearly pigments to diffuse wrinkles and, rather than rubbing, dab it on. “This creates a soft, natural edge,” says Wende Zomnir, executive creative director for Urban Decay.

Correct them: Docs’ favorite ingredient for fighting lines is retinol, which increases firmness. The eye area is sensitive, so “apply the cream only around the bone of your socket,” says Brooke Jackson, MD, a dermatologist in Chicago. Dab it on to boost absorption. Prevent creases by wearing sunscreen for sensitive skin and sunglasses daily.

Dynamic Duo:
Rimmel London Match Perfection Concealer ($6, drugstores)
Roc Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream ($23, drugstores)

Hide and Get Rid of Dark Circles

Conceal them: To camouflage raccoon eyes, apply a corrector in a peachy pink first and then follow with your usual cover-up and blend. “The peach tones will cancel out the blue undertones of shadows for a youthful, healthy look,” Maulawizada says.

Correct them: Dark circles have many causes, including allergies, irritation, and fatigue. Address those problems and the shadows should disappear. In the meantime, try a cream with kojic acid, a botanical skin lightener that can help spots fade, Dr. Jackson suggests.

Dynamic Duo:
Pixi Eye Bright Kit ($24, Target stores)
DDF Erase Eye Gel ($52, sephora.com)

Hide and Get Rid of Undereye Bags

Conceal them: Instead of covering up puffiness, which can result in a cakey look, use a concealer brush to apply a skin-matching, matte cream concealer on the dark ring below the pillowy part. “This helps minimize bags,” Maulawizada says. Then blend tinted moisturizer underneath your eyes to even out the skin tone.

Correct them: Send bags packing by using a caffeine-laced cream. “Caffeine soothes puffiness and decreases swelling,” says Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. At night, sleep on an extra pillow to prevent fluid buildup. Still have bags in the a.m.? Place a chilled teaspoon under each eye to deflate it.

Dynamic Duo:
Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer ($19, benefitcosmetics.com)
Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller

Two Minutes to Sexy Eyes

Get a smoldering look with this quickie makeup plan that suits every eye shape and color. Just see for yourself!

Step 1 – Curl your lashes with Chanel Precision Eyelash Curler ($34, chanel.com), pinching them three times — at the roots, in the middle, and on the tips.

Step 2 – Beiges can be blah, but taupe shades add depth. Swipe MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Satin Taupe ($15, maccosmetics.com) across your lids, extending it just above the crease. The color brings out golden flecks in green and hazel eyes, enhances the richness in brown eyes, and warms up blue eyes.

Step 3 – Trace your upper and lower rims with a bronzy, dark brown pencil, such as Wet N Wild Color Icon Shimmer Pencil in Copper ($1, drugstores), concentrating on the outer corners.

Step 4 – Highlight the inner corners and your brow bone with Smashbox Eye Beam Double-Ended Brightener ($22, smashbox.com).

Step 5 – Finish with two coats of black mascara. We like Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes Mascara ($25, lancome­usa.com); its cone-shaped, tapered brush separates hard-to-reach lashes.

Perfect Vision

Try these eye-opening tricks if you wear glasses.

More is more: Having those windows of plastic between you and the world means you need to add oomph. Layer on a little extra eyeliner and a deep-toned shadow.

Boost your roots: A bit of additional mascara at the base of lashes will make your fringe look thicker, diverting attention from your frames to your eyes.

Play up your brows: It’s important to emphasize your arches because they tend to peek over the frames. Groom strays with a brush and define sparse areas with gel.

Reduce glare: Ask your optometrist to add an antiglare coating to your lenses. “It will help your eyes pop,” Urban Decay’s Zomnir says.

Negative Ions Are So Vital To Your Daily Life, Look and Feel So Much Better

August 23rd, 2012

Have you been getting your daily dose of negative ions?   You have to!!  They make you look and feel better.

We need exposure to negative ions to be more positive in our life. I know, it sounds a little backward at first, doesn’t it? Negative ions are invisible molecules that clean the air around us by attaching themselves to positive ions (from dust, smoke, electronics, car exhausts, our breathing, etc.), so they’re not just floating around for us to breathe into our system. Generally the more populated a city is, the fewer negative ions and the more positive ions.  This is why I love golf so much or any form of outdoor activity that gets me to grass, water or the mountains.  These are negative ion hotbeds.

Negative ions help relieve stress, increase vitality, strengthen the immune system and so much more.That’s why we all feel so incredibly good after being at a waterfall, in the mountains or at the beach. The human body is meant to be absorbing negative ions on a regular basis, so it’s no wonder why there are so many health problems related to fatigue, depression and immune disorders. It’s no wonder why so many people find it incredibly hard to let their true nature shine. Most people aren’t exposed to nearly enough negative ions. All the technology around us has virtually eliminated the positive ions in the air — unless you live at a beach with no cars or electronics or out in the wilderness or mountains, etc.).

Often people think they can escape pollution by staying indoors. It’s quite common for indoor environments to be just as, if not more than, polluted as outside. When you look around most bedrooms or offices, there are at least a couple of electronic devices. Think about it … laptops, mobile phones, televisions, lights, heaters, electric blankets and so many of the countless electronic gadgets available these days. They all release positive ions galore! Even man-made fibers in carpets, clothes and furniture all reduce the level of negative ions and increase the positive ones in the environment. The house you live in or the place you work at could very well be more polluted than outside! Combine this with other pollutants (if you live in a populated area) and you can almost guarantee that you’re getting exposed to way too many positive ions. This over-exposure to positive ions contributes to the body being in toxic overload, unless small steps are made to make your environment richer in negative ions.

Here are some tips to help bring more negative ions into your life:

Use Himalayan rock salt lamps or an ion generator or purifier in your house and in your office, if possible. These lamps and purifiers mop up positive ions and help bring back natural harmony to your environment.
Place potted plants (real ones) throughout your house and office. It’s very common for modern houses to be more polluted than outside, so enjoy bringing the beauty of nature into your home.
Connect with nature. Get barefoot and walk on raw earth. The earth is charged with negative ions! Our feet are conductors to absorb negative ions, so go outside and experience a lovely barefoot walk. Simply walking on the earth is so healing.
Spend time at the beach or a waterfall. There’s a reason why we feel so good after being at the beach or at a waterfall. Because of the crashing pure water, these precious parts of the planet are especially charged with negative ions.
Use natural, preferably organic deodorants, body washes and creams. You can even use Himalayan rock salt soaps, which are quite mainstream now.
Use organic sheets, towels, clothes and dishwasher and laundry detergents, if you really want to go the extra distance in your efforts to increase negative ions and decrease positive ones in your life.

Use negative ion products such as bracelets, necklaces, yoga towels, yoga mats, basically any product that includes negative ions in their composition.  It will help energize you and allow you to perform exercise and daily activities in a more focused and energized way.  

Make the incorporation of including negative ions in your daily life as if you are taking vitamins or eating the right food.  You will exercise longer and harder, feel more rested and generally more in tune with life.  It’s your mini way of visiting the mountains or the beach.

So, if you’re not feeling as good as you know you could feel, it may be as simple as looking at the environment you’re in and making some small changes here and there. To me, it’s all about getting back to our true nature, which is full of joy and vitality. We’re meant to connect with nature, not pollutants, so in gratitude for the body we have been blessed with and in gratitude for the amazing planet we live on, do yourself a favor and bring some negative ions into your life.  You will look and feel better.

5 Must Have Makeup Products

August 14th, 2012

face-with-blushHighlighters. Face primers. Brow fillers. Ever gotten the hard sell for these newish offerings and wondered if they actually serve a purpose? “They do, more than you can imagine,” says Suzy Gerstein, a New York City–based celebrity makeup artist. So much so that these items deserve a permanent home in your cosmetics bag, right alongside your mascara, foundation, and lipstick. Here, the underrated products you didn’t realize you needed, wanted, or had to have.

Highlighter

Think highlighters will make you look like you’re wearing shimmery special-occasion makeup? No worries. Highlighters are great for every day because “they contain pearly pigments that light up your skin,” explains celebrity makeup artist Fiona Styles. So you get a soft and subtle glow.  Brush on your cheekbones before blush (to help blush adhere), then dust on top of blush for a more luminous.

Face primer

If you want your makeup to go on evenly and last all day, a primer is a must-have, says Amy Kernahan, makeup artist and owner of Amy Kernahan Makeup Studio in New York City: “It’s also great for smoothing fine lines and shrinking pores.” Just dab a thin layer over your moisturizer and give it a minute to sink in before putting on makeup. New formulas come with built-in color (so you can forgo foundation) and tackle skin issues like acne and rosacea.

Invisible lip liner

Sure, Angelina Jolie can opt for just gloss. But for those of us who aren’t blessed with that full of a pout, her makeup artist has the secret. “Lip liner!” says Mary Burton, who has worked with Jolie. “It’s the five-second step you can’t skip,” because it adds instant fullness and keeps lipstick in place. For those of us who can never figure out how to choose the perfect color, new wax-based, invisible liners have made it ever so easy to create a colorless waterproof border that defines lips. The best part? “It guarantees that liner won’t look drawn on, which is never a good look,” says Burton. Trace the pencil just outside the lip line, then follow with your regular lipstick.

Brow filler

Most women avoid filling in their brows because they’re afraid they won’t look natural, says brow expert Reema Khan, founder of S.h.a.p.e.s. Brow Bar: “But the fear of bad pencil lines can be put to rest with colored brow markers and gels—the easiest, most natural way to fill in brows.” Brow markers (they function like a pen) are perfect for targeting small gaps “Just make sure to run a clean mascara spoolie through brows afterward to remove any excess pigment,” she adds. Another option: brow gels that look like mascara, and are just as easy to use. “One quick brush across the brows and you’re set,” says Khan.

Eye-brightening concealer

This life-changing new breed of concealer is “the first thing I reach for when I begin making someone over,” says Gerstein. “Sheerer than traditional cover-up, brightening concealers are infused with peachy-pink, light-reflective particles that do a great job of canceling out dark circles and reviving the skin under your eyes.” To apply, just run the applicator (they typically come in easy-to-dab-on pens) under the eyes from the tear duct to the eyes’ outer corner, then use your ring finger to gently blend. While you’re at it, dab any excess over your lids and up to your brow bone to even out discoloration there, too—many formulas are so lightweight, they can double as a crease-free shadow.

Beauty, Fashion and Fitness, Great Combination

August 11th, 2012

Fashion and fitness. Never used to be much of a subject.  You really didn’t worry about what to wear when working out.  Now most of us do.

There are so many great clothes now for working out plus they’ve been made to look great.  Companies like LuLuLemon changed the way we look when getting on a sweat.  Enjoy these super videos about fashion and fitness and then finish with a summer workout video.

How To Save On Clothes – TheBeautyProspector.com

July 30th, 2012

Outfitting your family at retail prices can put a real stress on your budget, but it doesn’t have to. From members-only and social media deals to smartphone shortcuts, finding the clothes you want at prices you can afford has never been easier.

GET MORE FROM YOUR STORE

Use these smart shopping strategies to nab the best prices at retailers you already know.

  • Sign up for a rewards card: Goodwill card holders earn points when they shop there. You can redeem the points to get a coupon for $10 or 25 percent off, depending on your area. The Super Savers Club at Savers stores gives you access to exclusive online content (like e-mail deals and advance notice of sales) and birthday coupons.
  • Ask about sale days: Call a thrift store to find out its sale schedule. Many locations have at least one day a week when all or most items are half off.
  • Look for brand names: Many designers sell their surplus inventory to warehouse clubs. Calvin Klein hoodies and jeans can be found at Sam’s Club and Costco at 90 percent off, and BJ’s has featured big discounts on items from Nautica and Nicole Miller.
  • Buy the basics: You often can find essentials, like underwear, at prices that beat department store sales. A six-pack of Hanes men’s T-shirts, for example, costs 60 percent more on sale at Macy’s than at Costco.
  • Enjoy personal service: Loehmann’s gives you up to 65 percent off department store prices, and some locations even offer free personal shoppers, who can help you stay within your budget and alert you when your favorite brands are on sale. Call a nearby store to schedule an appointment.
  • Find bigger inventory: Unlike department stores, which shop by season, chains such as T.J.Maxx, Winners and Marshalls replenish their merchandise every week, so you’re more likely to nab trendy, affordable pieces, as well as last-minute seasonal items.
  • Combine deals: Shop at chains that let you use personal rewards and discounts along with in-store specials. For example, at Kohl’s you can use percent-off discounts simultaneously with dollars-off promotions.
  • Use the store credit card: Although you should swipe only if you can pay off the balance right away, keeping a store credit card has benefits. A GapCard gives you birthday deals, 10 percent off every Tuesday and rewards points that lead to extra savings.

The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper

July 18th, 2012

If there’s one thing Bob Harper doesn’t like, it’s anything complicated. But  what he also doesn’t like is trying to take the easy way out when commitment and  hard work are needed. So he’s pulled together 20 simple rules for weight loss that reflect all the  above. “They aren’t easy,” he told us about his rules in a recent phone  conversation. “My publisher really pushed back when I first came up with these.  But after years of working with Biggest Loser contestants, I know what  needs to be done when it comes to losing weight.”

Here are Bob Harper’s 20 Rules to get and stay skinny!

RULE 1: Drink a Large Glass of Water before Every Meal – No Excuses!
RULE 2: Don’t Drink Your Calories
RULE 3: Eat Protein Every Meal – or Stay Hungry and Grouchy
RULE 4: Slash Your Intake of Refined Flours and Grains
RULE 5: Eat 30 to 50 Grams of Fiber a Day
RULE 6: Eat Apples and Berries Every Single Day – Every Single Day!
RULE 7: No Carbs after Lunch
RULE 8: Learn to Read Food Labels So You Know What You Are Eating
RULE 9: Step Guessing About Portion Size and Get It Right – for Good!
RULE 10: No More Added Sweeteners, Including Artificial Ones
RULES 11: Get Rid of Those White Potatoes
RULE 12: Make One Day a Week Meatless
RULE 13: Get Rid of Fast Foods and Fried Foods
RULE 14: Eat a Real Breakfast
RULE 15: Make Your Own Food and Eat at Least Ten Meals a Week at Home
RULE 16: Banish High-Salt Foods
RULE 17: Eat Your Vegetables – Just Do It!
RULE 18: Go to Bed Hungry
RULE 19: Sleep Right
RULE 20: Plan One Splurge Meal a Week

Get Glowing Skin Naturally With the Right Diet

July 10th, 2012

Eating a wholesome and healthy diet is good for our overall well-being, but have you ever thought that what you eat might also be beneficial to your skin and outer beauty? If you want to get glowing skin naturally, there are foods that can truly be called skin friendly. Treating and nourishing your skin from the inside out, these beauty foods give you a head start to fight signs of aging, wrinkles, and dullness.

Water

This is nothing new for most us, but make it a habit to try to drink plenty of water everyday. When you are hydrated, your skin is hydrated. Internal hydration keeps wrinkles at bay and flushes out any toxins. According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of water you need daily varies from person to person, but eight glasses a day is a good guideline. Try to drink even when you’re not thirsty, and carry a water bottle with you for easy on-the-go hydration.

Nuts and Seeds

In Ayurvedic medicine there’s a saying: Eat like a bird. Before you laugh, consider this: Nuts and seeds are high in omega-3s and good fats, both of which are excellent for the skin. Many nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds, are also high in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that fights aging.

Carrots

While eating any vegetables is always good for your skin, carrots are a really great choice for snacking. They are high in vitamin A, which is needed for cell growth. If you have dry or dull skin, carrots are your way to get glowing skin naturally. Eat them preferably raw so you get the best nutrition.

Raspberries and Blueberries

These two berries are a good source vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant. You might need vitamin C when you’re having a cold to help your immune system, but make sure you get it outside the flu season too. Your skin will stay elastic and glowing.

Pink Grapefruits

This classic breakfast fruit has some serious kick! The pink color in grapefruit comes from lycopene, found also in other red foods such as tomatoes and watermelon. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that protects your cells and fights free radicals that come from pollution and UV-rays.

Little Daily Tricks to Wake up Slimmer, All Year!

July 3rd, 2012

Daily do’s

We get it: You want to lose the jiggle but don’t want to blacklist your favorite eats, count every single calorie, or overdose on gym hours. The great news is, you can drop weight without dieting: Experts say making small change-ups to your day is one of the best ways to lose. We grilled health and fitness pros for the tweaks that will help your shape the most. Road test a few, and you could shed 5 (this week!), 10, or even 20-plus pounds without a whole lot of effort.

Power up PB

“Buy natural varieties of peanut butter and pour off the oil sitting on top. Each serving will have 20 fewer calories and 2 to 3 fewer grams of fat. It’s a small difference that’ll add up to a couple of pounds per year.” —Amelia Winslow, personal chef in Los Angeles and founder of the healthy food blog Eating Made Easy

Pop to it

“Skimping on fiber will make you gain weight. Forget the pretzels and go for a bag of low-fat popcorn. It has five times the fiber and only 90 calories for six cups, so it’s filling and satisfying. A recent study found that when women doubled their daily fiber intake from 12 to 24 grams, their bodies absorbed 90 calories less per day. You could lose almost 10 pounds in a year!” —Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss

Dance your butt off

“Kick up your heels and go dancing with your girlfriends—or have a solo dance session at home. Fast-tempo dances are not only a blast to do, but in an hour you’ll torch 400 to 500 calories. That’s equivalent to light jogging on the treadmill, but it’s way more fun!” —Christine Avanti, author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food: Lose the Fake Food and Kickstart Your Weight Loss

Switch things up

“At the gym, lift one set of heavier weights than you’re used to. And on your walk or run, add backward walking and sideways shuffling in one-minute bursts. You’ll challenge your muscles in new ways, work them at a variety of angles, and improve your balance. These things will tone you up and burn extra calories.” —Gunnar Peterson, celebrity trainer to A-listers (including our December cover star Sofia Vergara!) in Beverly Hills, California

Nix nighttime eating

“Cutting out after-dinner snacking is a quick way to help you shed 5 pounds in a week. At night, we’re usually scarfing down junky foods in front of the TV—and it’s easy to consume a meal’s worth of calories, plus belly-bloating sodium. If you’re typically hungry before bed, it might mean you’re eating dinner too early, so push it back. Snack on fruit at 3 p.m. Then at 5 p.m., have a snack bar. At 7:30, you’ll be ready for dinner, and you’ll be eating late enough to stay full for the rest of the evening.” —Heather Bauer, RD, author of Bread Is the Devil: Win the Weight Loss Battle by Taking Control of Your Diet Demons

Be a crunch monster

“Fill your plate with crunchy, chewy foods like carrots, apples, and whole grains. They take more time to chew, and their fiber makes your body work harder to digest them—so you’ll burn more calories during your meal. Eating this way can increase your total calorie burn by 5% throughout the day!” —Leslie Bonci, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Sports Medicine

Keep it simple

“Just focus on cooking wholesome food; you’ll eat well and could even lose 5 pounds in a week. For breakfast, have yogurt and some fruit; for lunch, eat a soup and a winter salad with tuna and walnuts; at dinner, fill your plate with 3 to 4 ounces of fish or chicken, a couple of veggies, and a piece of fruit. And feel free to use a bit of butter or olive oil—you don’t have to deprive yourself.” —Mireille Guiliano, author of The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook

Beat booze bloat

“Downsize your wine glass to cut calories. Wine glasses today are giant goblets, so it’s easy to pour 6 ounces, or one-and-a-half servings, without noticing. That means those two glasses a night might actually be closer to three (almost half a bottle!), adding up to 300 calories. Instead of drinking this way every day, have a regular-size 4-ounce glass a couple of times a week. You could drop more than 20 pounds this year.” —Tim Church, MD, director of preventive medicine research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Play hard

“Slip exercise into everyday life, and make it fun. Head outside and go ice skating with friends or shape a snowman with your kids. You can even stage a pillow fight in your living room. That burns 82 calories in 20 minutes, plus you’ll laugh the entire time!” —Missy Chase Lapine, author of The Speedy Sneaky Chef

Try upside-down

“Season and butter the bottom of  foods. For example, butter the bottom of toast, and salt the bottom of potato rounds. This sounds weird, but it really helps with weight loss. When you eat foods this way, the flavor hits your tongue right away, and you actually taste more of it. Ultimately, that means you can cut out at least half the belly-bloating salt or butter.” —Devin Alexander, chef and host of FitTV’s Healthy Decadence and author of The Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook

Dine in slow-mo

“Make sure you’re the last one to start eating and also the last person to finish. I do this, and it helps me slow down and chew my food properly instead of inhaling what’s on my plate—and more. Eat this way and you’ll take in fewer calories at your meals.” —JJ Virgin, PhD, author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy: The 5-Step Plan to Sleek, Strong, and Sculpted Arms

Dress the part

“Make a few changes to your party outfit, and you’ll beat the temptation to overindulge. At a cocktail party, carry a clutch instead of a purse. With a cocktail in one hand and your handbag in the other, you won’t be able to reach for too many hors d’oeuvres. And wear a form-fitting dress—it’ll be your biggest reminder to not revisit the food table for seconds.” —Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You

Go by the numbers

“Stop eating when you’re at a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is famished and 10 is Thanksgiving full). When you stop at 5 or 6, chances are 20 minutes later, you’ll feel like a 7 or 8. This tactic is great for parties and vacations—and could save you lots of calories per meal.” —Ellie Krieger, RD, host of Cooking Channel’s Healthy Appetite and author of Comfort Food Fix

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Keep Your Breasts Healthy: Beautiful Decolletage in Your 30s, 40s, and 50s

June 14th, 2012

I’ve asked dermatologists about their clients’ leading concerns about keeping their breast healthy, and what steps we can take to avoid premature aging. This advice from the pros will keep your decolletage dazzling.

30s
You’ll start to notice brown spots and uneven pigmentation, says Debra Jaliman, MD, professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Beat back the clock: Try an over-the-counter product like Nia 24 Sun Damage Repair for Decolletage and Hands ($44; www.amazon.com), which contains nicotinic acid, a substance proven to reduce age spots and discoloration, Jaliman says.

40s
Your concern: vertical wrinkles up and down your chest.
Beat back the clock: Talk to your derm about collagen-stimulating lasers. Recently developed ones like the Genesis or Medlite actually stimulate skin to make new collagen, which makes the chest appear more plumped up. Most women need three to six treatments, costing about $400 each (results usually last three to five years).

50s
Years of sun exposure can leave your skin with a crepe-y look.
Beat back the clock: At-home or in-office glycolic peels will stimulate collagen production. A Photosome-based treatment will repair damage; try Remergent DNA Repair Formula ($125; available through dermatologists). And OTC products with hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture, will improve your skin’s appearance temporarily.

Home Remedies for Hair Growth

June 4th, 2012

Thousands of men and women struggle with snail-speed hair growth, or  hair that just isn’t growing at all. Older men and women especially have  difficulty with this problem because of a change in hormone levels that comes  with age. Fortunately though, with a variety of lifestyle changes, you can help  reduce hair loss and improve the growth of your strands. In some cases,  lifestyle changes such as better eating habits and exercising more can have a  noticeable effect on hair loss.

But keep in mind that what you’re applying to your locks also plays a  big role in determining your hair’s growth. After all, the shampoo and  conditioner you use in the shower can hinder hair growth. So be sure that you  are keeping your strands strong by using leave-in conditioners in addition to  getting regular trims. Using organic and natural products are best because they  contain less chemicals than other brands. You’ll be able to find hair care and  other beauty items at your local health food store or online.

Foods and Vitamins for Hair Growth

Protein is a major part of growing your strands because hair is essentially  protein; so not getting enough protein in your diet will stunt your hair’s  growth. Eat fish, chicken, tofu, beans, and  lentils to remedy this problem. You can also start incorporating  protein shakes into your diet by using whey protein powder.

Eating more citric fruits like oranges and  lemons will give your hair and body the vitamin C that is needed for  healthy hair growth. Green peppers offer vitamin  C too, but you can also take supplements to ensure that you’re getting between 1,000 and 3,000 mg a day.

All of the B vitamins are also important for  growing strong hair and nails. Taking biotin or a vitamin  B complex supplement will benefit you greatly. Use these supplements  with food and water for the recommended dosage labeled on the bottle.

If you’re on a wheat or gluten-free diet, you may be experiencing an iron  deficiency, which can lead to hair loss. Iron will increase the blood  circulation in your scalp, thus enabling hair to get what it needs to grow. If  you’re willing to add liver, apricots, raisins, prunes,  lentils, and egg yolks to your diet, then you’ll be fine!

Making sure that you drink plenty of water will not only keep your hair hydrated, but also your nails as well. The average amount of water we need is 8 glasses daily; so rather than drinking sodas and fruit juices with meals, drink water instead.

If you’re into partying or drinking regularly, you may want to consider  cutting alcoholic drinks out of your diet to improve hair growth. Assuming  you’re not comfortable with eliminating alcohol from your diet completely, then  at least consider reducing the amount you drink while also incorporating water  in between drinks. Similar to drinking too much alcohol,  smoking also has negative effects on hair growth because it limits the  blood flow to your scalp and other areas of your body. In turn, this stunts hair  growth in both men and women alike.

Using vitamin E oil on your scalp and strands can enhance  hair growth by stimulating scalp circulation. Taking vitamin E capsules  internally will also help keep your hair strong and make it grow. Foods  with vitamin A such as kale, carrots, eggs and  squash are great for growing strong and shiny hair.

Homemade Treatments for Hair Growth

There are a variety of treatments that have been passed down from  generation-to-generation, and are said to improve hair growth and minimize  baldness in both men and women. Here is a list that we’ve compiled of the most  popular home remedies for hair growth:

Cayenne pepper and olive oil can be combined to promote  blood circulation to your hair follicles.

To create this, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of cayenne  pepper and 2 cups of olive oil.

  1. Mix them together, and then store the mixture in a dark bottle so as  to protect the solution from the sun.
  2. Let the mixture meld together for two weeks before you begin applying  it to your scalp and hair regularly.
  3. Let the mixture sit on your hair for half an hour or more before you  use shampoo and conditioner

Recommended usage is every other day.

Another pepper treatment involves the use of castor oil and  vodka!

To create this treatment, you’ll need one large  jalapeno pepper, 0.5 cup of vodka, and 2 tablespoons of castor oil.

  1. Begin by dicing the pepper up into small pieces, add the vodka, and  let the mixture meld together for 10-15 days.
  2. Once you’ve waited long enough, spoon the peppers out of the vodka,  and then add the castor oil and shake well.
  3. Massage onto your scalp, and allow it to rest on your hair for an hour  before washing with shampoo and conditioner.
  4. You can also sleep with this treatment on your locks (use a night  cap to avoid ruining your pillow)

Other Home Remedies for Growing Healthy Hair Faster

Massaging grape seed oil onto your scalp and  hair is another home-based treatment that can be used to improve hair growth.  Massage onto your scalp before bed and wash in the morning.

Sleeping with a tight pony tail can damage your  strands because of tossing and turning in bed at night. So instead of  sleeping with a bun, try sleeping in braids so your hair isn’t being broken when  you roll your head around on the pillow.

A really good 20-minute treatment for hair growth is to combine a few tablespoons of aloe vera with one tablespoon  of honey.

  1. Mix the two ingredients together and apply to your scalp.
  2. After the 20 minutes are up, wash with shampoo or baking soda and  water,
  3. Condition per usual.

Eggs and olive oil are great for adding shine to your strands, but they can also help to grow  hair as well.

  1. Mix one egg, a tablespoon of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of honey  together
  2. Apply this mixture to your scalp with massaging motions.
  3. Use a towel or shower cap to hold your locks in place for 30 minutes,  then continue to wash hair normally as well as condition.

The following method is similar to the pepper hair treatments mentioned  previously; however, you’ll need an onion this  time!

  1. Pour several teaspoons of minced onion into your shampoo, and let the  onion meld together with the shampoo for at least 10-15 days.
  2. Once it has combined, use the shampoo as you normally  would.
  1. You can grind an onion up in a food processor, and then use the  leftover juice to rub onto your scalp to provoke hair growth in dormant hair  follicles.
  2. Leave the juice on for 30 minutes before shampooing your  hair.
  3. You can also add lemon juice to this mixture; simply use equal parts  lemon juice to onion juice for the same amount of time.

All of these treatments can improve hair growth as well as help with thinning  hair. But keep in mind that some other reasons why you may be experiencing hair  loss or hair thinning could be due to stress, environmental  issues, sickness, or pregnancy. If you are allergic to  anything previously mentioned, do not apply them topically to your scalp or skin  since this can cause adverse reactions.

Dr. Oz Recommends Fighting Belly Fat with Secrets from the Ocean – Hype or Helpful

May 22nd, 2012

On a recent episode of the Dr. Oz Show that focuses on getting your body swimsuit-ready for the beach, Dr. Oz recommends four belly fat fighting nutritional foods and supplements from the ocean. However, before rushing to the nearest health food store, here is some extra information to consider about his belly fat fighting supplements that alerts you to what is hype and what is helpful.

Algae Oil

Algae oil is a rich source of one type of omega-3 fatty acid and works to fight belly fat by reducing inflammation in your body. Inflammation is one of the key contributors to storing excess fat in your body—particularly in the abdominal region. Another benefit of algae oil is that it does not have a fishy taste or odor to it unlike other omega-3 containing fish oil supplements or when eating sardines.

However, the best recommendation for getting omega-3 fatty acids into your diet is by eating oily fish such as sardines and anchovies that are natural sources of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) omega-3 fatty acids. Taking supplements like an algae oil pill is not as beneficial as eating oily fish because it turns out that algae oil contains only DHA and not EPA.

If you cannot stand eating sardine or are a vegetarian, then supplements or foods fortified with omega-3 fatty acids are recommended. With that in mind, you need to be sure that you know if your supplement has both DHA and EPA, or just one and not the other to be sure that you are taking the correct dose. The general recommendation is 1000 milligrams (1 gram) of DHA and EPA combined—not separate. Therefore, you may need to adjust the number of capsules you take per day because not all omega-3 supplements contain the same amounts of EPA and/or DHA.

Dr. Oz’s recommendation of 600 mg per day of DHA-containing algae oil supplement is within the normal recommended range. Before taking more than this dose, however, you should first consult with your physician and take into consideration any food sources of additional omega-3 fatty acids that you may already be taking.

Flounder

Flounder is a fish that lives near the bottom of the ocean and can contain as much as 30 grams of protein in one filet. The belly fat fighting advantage to this is that its high protein content will make you feel fuller than you would feel by eating some other types of fish.

Flounder is also low in saturated fat and is a good source of Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Potassium, Vitamin B12 and Selenium. However, one category that flounder fails in is that it is high in cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of raw flounder is listed as containing 13.6 mg of cholesterol. Depending on your cholesterol numbers, you may want to consult with your dietician and physician before filling up with flounder.

Nori seaweed

Nori is one of 20 types of edible seaweed and is often used in sushi rolls. The pigment in Nori contains Fucoxanthin—a carotenoid found in some seaweeds. The belly fat fighting advantage of eating Nori or other foods that contain fucoxanthin is that is believed to aid in fat loss by reportedly stimulating a protein called Uncoupled Protein 1 (UCP1) which increases the metabolism in fat cells.

In one study published in 2010, animal studies showed that feeding mice a fucoxanthin-rich seaweed extract actually suppressed body weight gain and improved the fat cell burning by increasing the metabolism in mice that were on a high-fat diet.

Dr. Oz recommends baking sheets of Nori seaweed in the oven at a low temperature until they are crunchy and use them as a potato chip snack substitute.

Chitosan

Chitosan is a modified dietary fiber derived from the chitin component of the shells of crustaceans such as crab, shrimp and cuttlefish. Chitosan is often advertised as a “fat trapper” and reportedly helps fight belly fat by blocking fat absorption in the stomach, which then allows the fat to pass on through the intestine and out the body as waste.

Dr. Oz says that it is especially good for your diet cheat days when you want to reward yourself with something fatty like a cheeseburger. He recommends taking 1000 mg of chitosan 30 minutes (with water) before consuming a fat-filled meal.

However, multiple studies in respected journals have found no evidence that eating chitosan will result in weight loss or that it is actively binding to fat in the stomach in test subjects fed fatty meals.

While there are nutritional benefits to eating some foods and supplements from the ocean that can help fight belly fat, like all dieting advice you have to take it with a grain of salt and do your research.

Self Tanner Road Test

May 6th, 2012

Airbrush sprays! Tanner-infused puffs! We tried ’em all so you can find your perfect formula and get a sexy glow.
You love the look of a tan — it can make you appear healthier, happier, even thinner — but the sun has become public enemy #1. Luckily, the newest sunless tanners impart a truly believable glow at prices that suit every budget. Choose your formula: an aerosol spray (just like a salon treatment!), a quick-absorbing mousse, an easy-to-apply cream or gel, or a goof-proof towelette. To help you navigate the options, 12 top products were tested. Here’s what you need to know.

Winner: Most Even Finish: Mystic Tan MysticSunless Tanning Spray
$20.95, mystictan.com
The Claim: “Delivers a healthy, even, streak-free tan every time.”
Our Tester Reports: “It developed into a nice, even, golden color overnight, similar to what you’d get at a Mystic Tan booth; but you’re able to control the coverage and don’t have to leave home.”

Winner: Deepest Bronze: Rodial Brazilian Tan
$59, amazon.com
The Claim: “The darkest, yet most natural-looking, self-tan on the market.”
Our Tester Reports: “It took time to apply because the shade is so intense, and initially it looked uneven. But  once I showered off the tinted lotion, it looked really great.”

Winner, Best for Legs: Bella Bronze Espresso & Crema Anti-Cellulite Tinted Self-Tanner — Legs
$28, bellabronzesun.com
The Claim: “Anti-cellulite agents help diminish dimpling.”
Our Tester Reports: “After just a few applications, my skin didn’t seem any firmer; but the color boost made my thighs look sleeker and my cellulite less noticeable.”

Winner, Best for Dry Skin: Neutrogena Moisture Rich Sunless Tanning SPF 20
$9.49, drugstores
The Claim: “Contains an SPF, so you can use it outdoors.”
Our Tester Reports: “I’m an avid boater, so the SPF was a great incentive. It went on smoothly, it didn’t feel greasy like sun block sometimes can, and I got compliments on the golden shade.”

Winner, Most Natural: Estee Lauder Go Tan Air-Brush Self-Tan Spray for Body
$29, esteelauder.com
The Claim: “Vitamin E leaves skin moisturized to help maintain color for days.”
Our Tester Reports: “The shade was very light (more of a glow than a tan), but it stayed even for days and faded uniformly all over, while most tanners fade in patches.”

Winner, Easiest to Use: Almay Sunless Tanning Gel for Face
$9.99, drugstores
The Claim: “A tint makes the formula mistake-proof. Vitamins A and C soften skin.”
Our Tester Reports: “The light gel spread really easily and evenly, and I’d go so far as to describe the scent as pleasant! The shade was pretty pale, though.”

Winner, Best Buildable Color: Coppertone Gradual Tan Faces
$6.99, drugstores
The Claim: “Builds up to a natural-looking color, so users can customize their shade.”
Our Tester Reports:  “I was a self-tanning virgin, but this was so simple. I just applied it like I would a moisturizer. I got a nice, even glow, kind of like wearing a light bronzer!”

Lancome Flash Bronzer Glow ‘N Wear Natural
$29.50, lancome-usa.com
The Claim: “Dries in minutes for an instant and even, golden glow.”
Our Tester Reports: “The properties that make the light gel soak in quickly caused it to become dry and sticky right away, making it difficult to blend. But the instant glow it gave me was worth it!”

Dove Energy Glow Daily Moisturizer with Subtle Self-Tanners
$6.99, drugstores
The Claim: “Essential moisturizers hydrate skin, and tone-enhancers gradually build a subtle glow.”
Our Tester Reports: “I used this four out of five days and saw only a slight change in my skin tone. But it doesn’t require a lot of blending to look natural, so I’ll keep using it.”

Dior Self-Tanner Shimmering Glow
$30, sephora.com
The Claim: “A hint of shimmer creates a luminous glow.”
Our Tester Reports: “The built-in sheen made my legs look really sleek and glamorous, but I really didn’t like the strong odor that stuck around until my next shower.”

Lancaster Deep Bronze Aqua Gel
$24, bathandbodyworks.com
The Claim: “Incredibly easy to apply,  and dries lightning fast.”
Our Tester Reports: “I loved the watery consistency, but it dried so fast I wasn’t able to blend it well enough. The final color looked a bit orange and uneven.”

Summer Beauty Tips – TheBeautyProspector.com

April 30th, 2012

 

Summer like winter, requires its own special beauty tricks. After all, it is in summer that your eyeshadow becomes a greasy pool in your eyelid creases, your hair falls flat or frizzes to a crisp and your hair color looks like mud against your tan.  But have no fear, there are fixes to your summer beauty problems. To keep you looking best, here are my ten favorite beauty tips for the hot season.

Embrace, Don’t Fight, the Elements
Humidity can wreak havoc on curly and straight hair. But instead of fighting the elements this summer, try to embrace them. Curly hair is uber-sexy in summer. Keep away the frizz with product such as Phyto Plage Protective Sun Veil ($20) after a shower or swim. Your curls will will be protected, but they won’t frizz up.  Superstraight hair “doesn’t say summer,” says stylist Mark Townsend in Harper’s Bazaar. Put your flatiron away for the summer and let hair dry naturally. Most hair has some wave in it, and beachy waves never go out of style. If you are near an ocean, get in it. Saltwater has wonderful effects on all hair types. You’ll love the look once your hair has dried.

Colored Hair Needs Protecting
The sun will turn colored hair all types of wild colors. Protect your color with a protector like Fekkai SunShine Shield Spray.  My stylist, Antonio Gonzales of Eva Scrivo Salon, agrees. “I was at a really nice hotel in South Beach and this woman comes out of the pool and applies her hair masque. I was like, ‘You go girl!'” says Antonio. “She was protecting her highlights.”

Blah Hair? Get Thee to the Hair Colorist
Nothing is more gorgeous in summer than lighter hair. I look particularly fantastic with light blonde highlights around my face. Nothing shows off a tan better than highlights. Plus, color can add body to fine, limp hair.  When choosing a summer color, stick to natural colors. The sun will naturally lighten hair, so you don’t want to go to an extreme. Got black or brown hair? Consider caramel highlights or opt for all-over hair color a shade or two lighter than your current color. I suggest getting hair professionally colored or doing it yourself with a store-bought box. But beware the old lemon juice trick you did in junior high: Lemon juice will naturally lighten hair, but it is also wickedly drying.

Foundation Is Out, Tinted Moisturizer Is In
If you refuse to go bare in summer and can’t imagine life without your foundation, consider putting away your foundation for the season and trying a tinted moisturizer. I’m warning you, you may never go back to your old foundation.  Lighter than foundation, tinted moisturizers still cover flaws but feel less “cakey.” And while foundations can feel as if they’re melting off your face, tinted moisturizers won’t. Most women are darker in summer, so if you insist on using your foundation, consider one shade for summer and a lighter one for winter. My favorite tinted moisturizer is Laura Mercier, which contains SPF — a bonus all year round.

Go for a Bold Nail Polish
If you are flaunting your toes all over the place this summer, then consider painting your nails a fun, bright color. Bold colors such as hot pink or bright orange (don’t laugh) are especially popular this summer and look great on most skin types. Bright colors are especially striking against dark skin.  When choosing your summer shade, consider your sandals. I plan to stick with my light pink — anything brighter clashes with my favorite summer shoes. Sigh.

Don’t Forget to Protect Your Other Parts
Studies show while most women know to put sunscreen on their faces, they skip their chests, hands and necks. Their faces age well, but nothing else does. Who wants to have 80-year-old hands and a 60-year-old face? My advice: When you apply sunscreen, take a couple minutes to slather it on your check and neck. Use whatever’s leftover on your hands.  It’s important to apply sunscreen a couple times throughout the day. One application in the morning won’t necessarily last a full 12 hours.

Avoid Common Bra Faux Pas
Sundresses are all the rage right now in New York, but every day I see at least a half dozen pairs of saggy boobs bobbing about like elephant trunks. A bad (or no) bra can really throw off an otherwise cute look. And there’s really no excuse for it since these days they make bras for every kind of dress.  Tank tops are fun, but visible bra straps are tacky. Make sure to do a bra strap check before heading out into public.

Pick the Right Self-Tanner
The other day I saw the gorgeous model Helena Christensen in the West Village. First I thought, “Oh look, there’s Helena! We’re the same height!” Then I thought, “Oh my. Helena’s a victim of the orange, splotchy, bad self-tanner legs.” I’ve seen quite a few orange women wandering around these days, a shame considering there are so many great self-tanners on the market that look super natural.

Keep Your Makeup From Melting Off Your Skin
For years I watched helplessly as my eyeshadow melted into my eyelid crease by the middle of the day. Then I discovered MAC paints, which work like an eyeshadow primer. Shadow sticks to the “paint” and won’t budget the entire day.  To keep eyeshadow from creeping into your eyelid crease, prime lids with an eyeshadow base, which acts like a primer. A good base should also hold your eyeliner, but to ensure it also doesn’t rub off on lids, apply eyeshadow over the line to “set it.” Better yet, skip the pencil eyeliners for summer and opt instead for a liquid liner, which won’t budge as the day wears on. As for mascara, waterproof mascara is a great bet.

Don’t Be Afraid of Shine
Dewy skin is gorgeous. Don’t overpowder your face because you’re afraid it’s a grease pit. Instead, try blotting papers.

Pink, Flushed Cheeks are Gorgeous
Nothing’s more natural in summer than pink, flushed, “just-back-from-a-run” skin. To get this look, apply bronzer on all the bits the sun would naturally hit: forehead, cheeks and nose. Then apply a pink blush on the apples of your cheeks.

Pull Hair Off Your Face
Keep the sweat off your neck with headbands, ballerina bands, ponytails, loose buns or even kerchiefs. All are gorgeous looks for summer.

Facial Beauty Exercises to Help With Toning Your Neck and Face.

April 29th, 2012

Facial beauty starts with nice tight firm skin. Many people try to do this with cosmetics or creams and that’s OK. However, try some exercises to tighten the muscles in your face and neck.

I have included 3 videos that use facial exercises as part of your beauty regimen. Try them. I have and I just feel better and honestly think I feel firmer in the face and neck area. Be a beleiver!!

MORE Beauty Q&A with Pro Tennis Player Caroline Wozniacki – TheBeautyProspector.com

April 16th, 2012

Professional tennis player and Proactiv spokesperson Caroline Wozniacki manages to have flawless skin despite constant sweat and sun exposure on the court, so we jumped at the chance to get her secrets. Here’s what she said about the products that keep her looking gorgeous, her on-the-road routine, and her proudest career moment.

What’s your haircare, makeup and skincare routine like on a typical day?
Caroline Wozniacki: I really try to keep my daily routine simple and natural.  I always like my skin to feel light and clean, so I really try hard to use products that are good for my skin and keep me looking naturally fresh.  Since I travel so much, I like to make sure my routine can easily come with me from country to country! I make sure to drink a lot of water, get plenty of sleep and moisturize my skin every day.  I find that doing these simple things are easy ways to keep me looking my best.

You’re constantly on the court and exposed to the harsh sun. How do you keep your skin protected?
CW: I wear SPF under my daily moisturizer every day. I’m on the court and outside playing so much that I don’t want to have to worry about my skin getting damaged from the sun.  So I just make sure I am properly protected every day. Now it’s such a routine that I pretty much have SPF on all the time!

How did you start working with Proactiv?
CW: I started having bad breakouts when I was about 15 years old. I was playing a lot of tournaments back then, so I was in the public eye a lot and didn’t really feel comfortable with all the cameras around because I wasn’t confident about my skin.  I decided to give Proactiv a chance, and my experience was really positive. After about a week, I started to see significant results. I was so happy, and didn’t have to worry about breakouts anymore.  Since I love the product so much, I figured a partnership with them was a great idea.

What’s the one beauty product never leaves your bag? Why?
CW: Once again, SPF is really important to me so I always have some in my bag with me.  You never know when you’re going to need it! I’m also obsessed with a bunch of the Oriflame lip glosses so I keep those on hand most of the time as well.  I hate when my lips are dry or chapped! So I always like to have lip treatments with me, and if they have SPF in them, even better.

What are your gym bag beauty essentials?
CW: Definitely my blister patches! Compeed makes these amazing blister patches that I keep in my gym bag all the time because I wear them almost every day.  Blisters are the absolute worst when I’m playing or practicing and can really affect my game so having the patches on me makes a huge difference.

What does your training consist of?
CW: Naturally I spend a lot of time on the court, but I also spend a fair amount of time training off-court. I also like to mix it up and have some fun with boxercise.

What’s your biggest beauty indulgence?
CW: I definitely indulge in my fair share of massages, but most of them are more sports therapy.

What are the beauty products you can’t live without?
CW: Proactiv 3 Step System, Proactiv Refining Mask, Compeed Blister Patches, Oriflame Giordani lip gloss line, Oriflame Divine Body Cream and the Proactiv Advanced Blemish Treatment.

Where do you get the confidence and energy to keep working your absolute hardest on the court?
CW: I’ve always been very motivated to do my best when I play.  It’s definitely a passion and drive within me that keeps me going and playing my best.  I also come from a family of athletes, so they have always been very supportive and motivating which helps me stay focused and try my hardest.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
CW: Holding the #1 position for so long is definitely something I am really proud of.  I finished at #1 for two years in a row, so that is something I really strive to reach again.

Beauty Q&A with Rebecca Romijn – TheBeautyProspector.com

April 6th, 2012

Rebecca Romijn reveals how she gets those beach waves and that fresh, glowing skin, plus the products she can’t live without.

What’s the one beauty product that never leaves your bag?

Rebecca Romijn: I always carry Wella Ocean Spritz to refresh my hair. It mimics sea water and adds great texture. It’s a very good low-maintenance solution for someone who’s on the go.

What are your haircare, makeup and skincare routines like on a typical day?
RR: I cleanse and moisturize my face in the morning and at night, and never forget sunscreen.

What are your secrets for looking great no matter where you are and what you’re doing? Do you have a go-to makeup look or hairstyle?
RR: I don’t wash my hair every day; in fact I always prefer “second day hair”. It’s easy and it does what I want it to do!

What are you gym bag beauty essentials?
RR: I always carry a hair elastic and bobby pins in my gym bag to put my postworkout hair into a bun. A bun is an easy classic. I also put on a great pair of sunglasses and Smashbox O-Gloss for my lips. The pink shade is natural-looking and perfect on everyone. And I love the texture.

What’s your biggest beauty indulgence?
RR: My biggest beauty indulgence are regular facials, and I splurge on Oyxgen Plasma by Knutek. It’s a miracle-worker, and I use it morning and night when I cleanse. Oxygen helps with fine lines and to heal blemishes.

What’s the best tip you’ve picked up from the makeup, hair and skincare experts you’ve worked with?
RR: The best tip I’ve learned from makeup artists is to regularly use the Clarisonic on my face. Even if I think I’ve removed all my makeup, it’s amazing how much cleaner my face becomes after I use my Clarisonic. It’s possibly the best investment I’ve made in my skincare routine since I’ve been an adult.

Carrie Underwood’s Secrets to Beauty – TheBeautyProspector.com

March 27th, 2012

Carrie Underwood shares her beauty tips in this video.  She works at it and look at the results. She’s gorgeous.

5 Way to Rewind the Beauty Clock

March 20th, 2012
Glowing skinYou’ll jump through hoops to keep your body looking young (and you have the legs to prove it!), but what are you doing to stave off the signs of aging skin? Here’s how to turn back the clock.

Ward Off Wrinkles

Feel as if you need a chemistry degree to navigate the cosmetics aisles? You’re not alone. According to Olay, 33 percent of women say that picking out skin-care products is more confusing than filing taxes. Chalk it up to an explosion in the number of products. Plus, the markers of aging are showing up as early as your twenties and thirties, especially if you often exercise outdoors, and that has created a whole new category of creams and lotions, says Tina Alster, MD, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C. But no worries. We’ve found the top ingredients to battle your most common skin problems and help you look years younger.

Ward Off Wrinkles

Your daily run might do wonders for your body, but it can tax your skin. Sunlight and toxins such as pollution and smoke unleash damaging free radicals. “These can increase inflammation in your skin and cause collagen to break down, paving the way for lines,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a dermatologist in Boston. But just as you can halt muscle loss by lifting weights, you can help slow down collagen loss.

Your superstar ingredients: Antioxidants
A daily dose can neutralize free radicals before they do harm — and allow cells to repair existing damage. There are a ton of options out there, but the pros suggest sticking with well-studied types, including vitamins C and E, ferulic acid, and lycopene.

How to use them: “Think of antioxidants as being like the vitamin boosts you add to smoothies,” Dr. Hirsch says. In the morning, try a sunscreen infused with these agents. At night, use a cream containing collagen-stimulating retinol or peptides to smooth lines.

Fight Spots

We’re all for embracing your freckles, but when you’re dealing with a large mark that doesn’t fade after summer, it’s time to take action. “Spots are indicative of cumulative sun damage,” Dr. Alster says. They can appear in your mid-twenties, typically on your face, décolletage, and hands. According to a study, uneven skin color can make you look 20 years older. Yikes! Fortunately, there are ways to get even.

Your superstar ingredient: Hydroquinone
Derms consider this skin lightener the gold standard for fading spots. Available in prescription (4 percent) and over-the-counter (2 percent) strengths, it works by breaking down the melanin in spots. If you have sensitive skin, try gentler kojic acid.

How to use it: Apply a thin layer of a brightening serum all over your face twice a day. “This treats any discoloration that hasn’t yet surfaced,” says Katie Rodan, MD, a dermatologist in Oakland. Top it off with sunscreen.

Prevent Dullness

As we get older the rate of skin-cell turnover starts to slow, causing a buildup of dead skin. And the pace at which these cells are shed isn’t the same all over your face. Cells in the T-zone, where there are more oil glands, tend to get replaced faster than the skin on the sides of your face. The result? A patchy effect that interrupts light reflection. But it’s easy to get glowing again.

Your superstar ingredient: Glycolic acid
It helps break apart the gluelike substance holding dead skin cells together, Dr. Alster says. The result: An even, more luminous surface.

How to use it: Glycolic acid can irritate skin. If you can tolerate the ingredient, smooth on a moisturizer containing it daily, or try it two times a week if you have sensitive skin. If that’s still too aggravating, try a glycolic-based cleanser, which rinses away dead skin.

Erase Acne Scars

What’s worse than a monster zit? The ugly spot it can leave behind for weeks, even months. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily a scar, Dr. Hirsch says. It’s often hyperpigmentation, the work of your melanocytes — pigment-producing cells that go into overdrive when skin gets inflamed, as it does with acne. This condition is more likely to affect people with darker skin tones. Luckily, you can speed up the healing and fading process.

Your superstar ingredient: Salicylic acid
This will help promote cell turnover, so you’ll shed melanocytes at the surface, which can make spots fade faster. Salicylic acid also unclogs pores and can prevent new zits from emerging.

How to use it: Apply a salicylic acid peel once a week, but not more often than that. You don’t want to overdo it; drying out your skin will only increase inflammation

Reduce Redness

Sunburns normally fade after a couple of days, but get enough of them and you may be sporting a perma-flush. Because sun damage can generate broken capillaries, a ruddy complexion may be a precursor to aging, Dr. Rodan explains. Other triggers, such as alcohol and even extreme temperatures (like those in your hot yoga class), can induce a flare-up. Topical treatments will get the red out.

Your superstar ingredient: Topical niacinamide (vitamin B3)   It not only calms the flush but also helps strengthen your skin, locking out potential irritants, Dr. Rodan says.

How to use it: Apply a calming cream that contains this anti-inflammatory daily, even when your skin isn’t red, to help prevent any future flare-ups.

Yoga Can Change Your Life, Tone Your Mind and Body, Part of Your Beauty Regime

March 6th, 2012

Beauty starts internally and externally. Keep your body in shape and your mind too. Yoga offers both for a more beautiful you. Yoga is becoming so popular and for good reason. Practice Yoga for a more beautiful you.

Yoga has become such a popular exercise program and lifestyle. I have included a great article from Web MD about all the benefits of yoga. There are so many. For someone in a weight loss program, it helps your focus and offers super exercise. I always recommend cardio exercise as well as yoga. This can be just getting out and walking.

Yoga is so much more than physical that the article discusses. The mental side of yoga is so important to a healthy life. It always you the chance to escape the stresses of our normal lives.

Finally, I included a few Yoga videos that will introduce you to the practice. Try them. Go at your own pace and make yoga part of your weekly ritual. You will love it.

The Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and currently, close to 11 million Americans are enjoying its health benefits. Yoga can hardly be called a trend.

Most Westernized yoga classes focus on learning physical poses, which are called asanas. They also usually include some form of breathing technique and possibly a meditation technique as well. Some yoga classes are designed purely for relaxation. But there are styles of yoga that teach you how to move your body in new ways. Choosing one of these styles offers the greatest health benefits by enabling you to develop your flexibility, strength, and balance.

Even though for most healthy people yoga is a safe non-aerobic form of exercise, it is not without its risks. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the yoga injuries most commonly treated in emergency rooms involve overstretching and strain from repetition to the neck, shoulders, spine, legs, knees.

Also, certain poses can increase your risk of injury if you have conditions such as:

severe osteoporosis
high or low blood pressure
ear problems
problems with your spine
pregnant (including risks to your unborn child)
Here are some tips to help you reduce your risk of injury from yoga:

If you are pregnant or have a pre-existing health condition: Consult your health care provider before starting a yoga program. Your health care provider can help you know how to judge what type and level of yoga exercise is safe for you.

Don’t try learning yoga on your own. Work with an experienced and credentialed instructor to learn the proper way to perform the exercises and avoid injury.

Yoga is not a substitute for medical care. Yoga offers many health benefits and may even be included as part of some treatment plans. But it’s still important to work closely with your regular health care providers and get proper treatment when you need it.

Know your limits and stay within them. Before beginning any new type of yoga, ask about its physical demands. Find out how strenuous it is. Talk with the instructor and others who do that type of yoga to be sure it’s suitable for you.

Go slow. You’re not in competition with anyone else in the class. Learn the basics, such as proper breathing and how to maintain balance, before you attempt the more ambitious stretches.

Warm up properly before every session. Cold muscles increase your chance of injury.

Wear proper clothing. Wear clothes that allow you to move freely.

Ask questions. If you don’t understand an exercise, ask to see it again before you attempt it yourself,

Stay hydrated. That’s especially important if you are practicing what’s called “hot” yoga, which is done in a very warm and humid room.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Yoga isn’t supposed to hurt. If you feel pain, stop. If the pain persists, see your health care provider. Stop immediately if you have chest pain, feel faint or overheated, or become dizzy. Get immediate medical help if the sensation continues after you stop.

Yoga and Flexibility

When some people think of yoga, they imagine having to stretch like a gymnast. That makes them worry that they’re too old, unfit, or “tight” to do yoga. The truth is you’re never too old to improve flexibility.

The series of yoga poses called asanas work by safely stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. In addition, yoga increases the range of motion in joints. It may also increase lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.

Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. And no matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga. The greatest gains were in shoulder and trunk flexibility.

Yoga and Strength

Some styles of yoga, such as ashtanga and power yoga, are more vigorous than others. Practicing one of these styles will help you improve muscle tone.

But even less vigorous styles of yoga, such as Iyengar or hatha, which focuses on less movement and more precise alignment in poses, can provide strength and endurance benefits.

Many of the poses, such as downward dog, upward dog, and the plank pose, build upper-body strength. This becomes crucial as people age. The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abdominal muscles. Poses that strengthen the lower back include upward dog and the chair pose. When practiced correctly, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.

Yoga Can Help Posture

With increased flexibility and strength comes better posture. Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength. That’s because you’re counting on your deep abdominals to support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand “tall.” Another benefit of yoga is the increased body awareness. This heightened awareness tells you more quickly when you’re slouching or slumping so you can adjust your posture.

Yoga Benefits Breathing

Because of the deep, mindful breathing that yoga involves, lung capacity often improves. This in turn can improve sports performance and endurance. But yoga typically isn’t focused on aerobic fitness the way running or cycling are. Taking an intense power yoga class that gets you breathing hard in a heated room, however, can provide an aerobic benefit.

Most forms of yoga emphasize deepening and lengthening your breath. This stimulates the relaxation response — the opposite of the fight-or-flight adrenaline boost of the stress response.

Yoga Means Less Stress, More Calm

Even beginners tend to feel less stressed and more relaxed after their first class. Some yoga styles use specific meditation techniques to quiet the constant “mind chatter” that often underlies stress. Other yoga styles depend on deep breathing techniques to focus the mind on the breath. When this happens, the mind calms.

Among yoga’s anti-stress benefits are a host of biochemical responses. For example, there is a decrease in catecholamines, the hormones produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Lowering levels of hormone neurotransmitters — dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine — creates a feeling of calm. Some research points to a boost in the hormone oxytocin. This is the so-called “trust” and “bonding” hormone that’s associated with feeling relaxed and connected to others.

Yoga, Concentration, and Mood

Harder to pin down and research scientifically, concentration and the ability to focus mentally are common benefits you’ll hear yoga students talk about. The same is true with mood. Nearly every yoga student will tell you they feel happier and more contented after class. Recently, researchers have begun exploring the effects of yoga on depression, a benefit that may result from yoga’s boosting oxygen levels to the brain. Yoga is even being studied as an adjunct therapy to relieve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Yoga’s Benefits the Heart

Perhaps one of the most studied areas of the health benefits of yoga is its effect on heart disease. Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Yoga was a key component to the heart disease program designed by Dean Ornish, MD. This was the first program to partly reverse heart disease through lifestyle and diet rather than surgery. On a biochemical level, studies point to a possible anti-oxidant effect of yoga. And yoga has been associated with decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as a boost in immune system function.

Yoga’s Effects on Other Medical Conditions

As yoga has become more popular in the West, medical researchers have begun studying the benefits of therapeutic yoga. This is also called integrative yoga therapy or IYT. It’s used as an adjunct treatment for specific medical conditions, from clinical depression to heart disease. Yoga benefits other chronic medical conditions, relieving symptoms of asthma, back pain, and arthritis. Most worldwide clinical studies are happening outside of the U.S. But even the NIH has funded clinical trials on yoga and its health benefits for insomnia and multiple sclerosis.

Other Benefits of Yoga

Some studies have suggested that yoga may have a positive effect on learning and memory. Other researchers have been studying whether yoga can slow the aging process, increase a person’s sense of self-acceptance, or improve energy levels.

Some potential benefits of yoga may be hard to study scientifically. For instance, yoga has been said to increase spiritual awareness. Nevertheless, there is an abundance of anecdotal claims for what yoga can do. Go to any yoga studio and listen to students after class. Some will even tell you that yoga can help improve marriages and relationships at work.

The only way to be certain of all that yoga can do for you is to try it for yourself and see.

http://www.BeBalancedEnergy.com Make a BeBalanced Energy bracelet or Energy watch part of your yoga attire. They help increase energy, flexibility and balance. Just like Yoga.

Skin Secrets for Your Sweat Sessions, Keeping Your Body In Shape and Your Skin

March 1st, 2012

While you’re focused on getting your body into top shape— or keeping it that way— it’s easy to forget about your skin. Jasmina Aganovic, creator of the anti-aging skincare line Stages of Beauty, has some quick tips for keeping your skin in as good condition as your bod— before, during and after your workouts.

BEFORE
Your face could touch a mat (crawling with bacteria!) during crunches, yoga, Pilates, or push-ups, and bacteria can cause breakouts. Before working out, wipe down the surface with sanitizing wipe. You can also bring a clean towel to lay on top of the mat prior to your sweat session.

DURING
While working out, you want your skin to be able to breath to avoid clogged pores. Wearing makeup or cosmetic products that are heavy can cause complexion congestion: Specifically, avoid anything that contains occlusive silicone or petrochemicals, like petrolatum, mineral oil and propylene glycol.

AFTER
There are three skincare essentials no gym bag should be without: makeup remover wipes or pads for pre-workout, cleanser and toner. If you have time, do a full facial cleanse to get rid of sweat and grime after you exercise. In a hurry, swipe a clarifying or balancing toner over your face to sweep away dirt and freshen your face.

Top 10 Superfoods for Healthy Hair and Skin

February 23rd, 2012

The secret to healthier hair and glowing skin? It’s not in your makeup case. It’s in your diet. Nutritionist Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of The Beauty Diet, says these superfoods will give you gorgeous skin and beautiful hair.

Blueberries

This low-profile berry was ranked number one in antioxidant activity by the U.S. Department of Agriculture compared to 40 common fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in blueberries protect you from premature aging, so add half a cup to your yogurt or cereal every day.

Wild Salmon

Wild salmon — not farm-raised —  is one of the best food sources for omega-3 fatty acids, which helps keep your skin supple and moisturized. Salmon also has selenium, a mineral that protects the skin from sun exposure. The vitamin D in salmon keeps your bones and teeth strong and healthy, too. You won’t have a problem adding salmon to your diet since there are hundreds of ways to enjoy this beauty superfood. Try it grilled, baked, in your pasta, with a salad, in sushi, or just with a side of asparagus.

Spinach

This leafy green vegetable is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Spinach is loaded with lutein, which keeps your eyes healthy and sparkling. Spinach is also a good source of vitamins B, C, and E, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Trade your lettuce for spinach, or saute spinach for a quick, healthy side.

Oysters

The jury’s still out on whether oysters are really aphrodisiacs, but they are a good source of zinc, which aids in skin cell renewal and repair. Zinc also keeps your nails, hair, and eyes healthy. Who needs an aphrodisiac when you look and feel beautiful?

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the best source of the anti-aging antioxidant lycopene. Surprisingly, lycopene in tomatoes is more easily absorbed by your body when it is cooked or processed, so make sure to stock up on canned tomato sauce, tomato juice, and ketchup.

Walnuts

You don’t need to eat cupfuls of walnuts to enjoy their many benefits: smoother skin, healthy hair, brighter eyes, and strong bones. Get your daily dose of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E by eating a handful by themselves or throwing some in your salad, pasta, or dessert.

Kiwis

This small, brown, fuzzy fruit is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, which keep skin firm, help prevent wrinkles, and are great for healthy bones and teeth. The antioxidants in kiwis also protect you from cancer and heart disease.

Dark Chocolate

We won’t judge you if you keep a secret stash of chocolate in your purse or desk (or both). In fact, we recommend you do — especially if you’re willing to share. Dark chocolate helps skin stay hydrated and protects skin from sun damage, and contrary to popular belief, chocolate does not cause acne. Before you make a mad dash to Godiva or Ghirardelli, however, keep in mind that the best kind of chocolate has a high flavanol content and should be at least 60 percent cacao.

Yogurt

One cup of low-fat yogurt has more calcium than a cup of fat-free milk, which is great for your posture, nails, and teeth. Mix it with fruit or granola for a healthy breakfast or that essential midafternoon snack.

Sweet Potatoes

You should be eating this superfood more often than just at Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights aging. Hate them mashed? Try them cut up and roasted with herbs or onions for an easy, awesome side.

Cold Weather Skin Care

February 3rd, 2012

We know how to get over winter with the help of some little tricks: vitamins against illnesses, winter jackets against frost, traveling to Egypt  against missing sun. But do you remember that winter also asks for a change in the cosmetics you use?

During winter, many factors influence the condition of our skin:  cold temperature and winds, over-dried atmosphere indoors, and sudden temperature fluctuations when we leave for the outdoors. These contrasts give your skin a good training, but they also hurt it and make it look a little red. Irritation and peeling is common as well. In order to avoid this, you need to help your skin stand against the aggressiveness of weather.

Frost resistance
It is widely known that the face reflects the overall condition of the body. All the magic of cosmetologists would be useless if you didn’t follow a healthy lifestyle. So if you want to look better, you should try to give your skin (and yourself) better living conditions and protect it from negative influence.

Lack of vitamins.
Winter is the time when our body needs vitamins most. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (citrus, kiwi, pomegranates).  It is also good to support your skin with vitamins which are designed to strengthen the skin tone, hair, and fingernails.

Oxygen starvation and decreasing of the level of physical activities.
It is harder to avoid this but still possible. Get rid of laziness and heavy fir coats. Go to open skate rinks and try skiing. By the way, walking will do as well. The most important advice is to follow two main conditions for the health o