Category Archives: Beauty

What’s Your Black Hole?

I’ve been seeing a lot of blogs recently about decluttering, a topic that’s near and dear to my post-move heart.

Now that most things are neatly stored away, I sometimes forget what I already own. This leads to embarrassing discoveries when I buy something and realize later that I already have more of the same or similar — often in multiples.

aroma aromatherapy aromatic blur

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My particular nemesis is skin care, especially bath products.  For some reason I can’t resist new ones.  Is it because these luxuries are relatively inexpensive? Because of the implied promise of silkier skin, relaxation, leisure, stress relief, or dare I say even a more youthful appearance?

From now on, I’m going to try to remember to check all those carefully labeled storage bins before I succumb to the siren call of another new lotion, potion or emotion.

Does anyone else have this, er, problem?

yellow steel bathtub

Photo by kelly samuel on Pexels.com

Drama at the Hairdresser

Generally speaking, a visit to the hair salon is relaxing.  Sure, people might get a bit tense if someone cuts their bangs too short, but I don’t think of it as a high-stress environment.

Well, earlier today I got my hair colored and cut and when I got there, the salon was abuzz.  Apparently, a client had gone more or less berserk only a few minutes before I arrived.

It all started when this woman started ranting at the person doing her hair, stating that she “hates lesbians and Americans.” Umm, ok…. not sure what provoked the outburst, but she continued in that vein.  The stylist said that she didn’t appreciate being yelled at, whereupon this woman started swearing, jumped out of the chair, knocked over a sign in the entryway, and then proceeded to swipe all the products off the shelves onto the floor, before storming out of the salon… with hair dye STILL in her hair.  Hoo boy.

Clearly, this poor woman has issues and is perhaps someone who should be under a physician’s care.  I doubt she’s homeless because this isn’t exactly El Cheapo Haircuts and she’d been there before.  So where are her family? Friends? Neighbors? Co-workers? Can’t anyone in her world see that things are just not right and help her? I mean, the woman is running around in public with dye on her head.

Hair-raising.

 

Hump Day Hacks: Looking Younger

I know, I know.  These days, it’s politically correct to look “rested”, “relaxed” or “fresher”. But if someone said you looked much younger than your chronological age, would you really be insulted?

Herewith, some easy hacks from a recent beauty round-up:

  1. Keep skin care products in the fridge. They’ll work faster and keep fresh longer.
  2. Boost your brows.  Thicker eyebrows signal youthfulness. Fill in with pencil while they’re growing in.
  3. Wear a double-duty sunscreen. An antioxidant formula will reduce the effects of skin-damaging free radicals. I love the La Roche-Posay Anthelios line.
  4. Check your eyesight.  Squinting deepens frown lines, so you might need a stronger prescription, not Botox.
  5. Pick lighter lipstick.  Our lips get thinner with age, and dark colors make your lips look smaller, as well as emphasizing any vertical lines. Stick with rosier shades and avoid orange or peach tones, which make teeth look yellower.
  6. Blush higher.  Swirl your blush at the highest point of your cheekbones, and choose a warm pink, apricot or bronze shade that’s close to your skin tone.
  7. Choose camouflage vs. concealer. Regular concealer is oilier, so it tends to “pool” in fine lines. Concealers labeled “camouflage” cover dark spots better, too.
  8. Speaking of dark spots: Sunblock, retinoid, and gloves will keep your hands looking younger.  Applying a dot of diluted lemon juice before bedtime may help too. Note that acids can irritate skin so gradually build up to twice a day.
  9. Best foot forward. Dry, scaly feet wreck the effect of even the most gorgeous shoes. Before bedtime or working out, apply a layer of over-the-counter salicylic acid to rough areas, cover with a small amount of Vaseline or thick moisturizer, and put on socks. The combo will soften your feet and help protect against blisters and calluses.
  10. Accessorize wisely. A small investment in a broad-brimmed hat, larger sunglasses and a scarf can protect against wrinkles, sun spots and pricey treatments.

And if someone asks to see ID the next time you buy alcohol, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

oval brown wooden framed hanging mirror

Photo by Nadine Wuchenauer on Pexels.com

Good News Monday: Monotony Helps People Lose Weight.

Well, maybe.  The general idea is that eating the same thing every day emphasizes food as nutrition, not entertainment.  When meals are less exciting, we’re less likely to overeat.

The caveat: mix it up to avoid both nutritional deficiencies and bingeing when the boredom gets to be too much.

Here’s an interesting POV on the subject: https://www.healthline.com/health/eating-the-same-thing-pros-and-cons

 

Scenes From a Derm Convention

Much as I dislike having my yearly skin check, I always enjoy chatting with my dermatologist, especially about the crazy things women (it’s mostly women) will do in our mostly futile attempts to defeat the march of time.

She had me laughing during my otherwise unpleasant squamous surgery with the following report.

Dr. D had recently attended a dermatology conference.  She said you could tell at a glance what everyone’s specialties were.  The cosmetic derms all had the age-indeterminate, inflated look you get when you have unlimited access to fillers, Botox and multiple procedures. Designer clothes, Jimmy Choos and Birkins were de rigueur. She observed a lot of air kisses with this group; a vigorous hug could potentially squash an implant or two.

Dr. D says about cosmetic work, “Never make the critical mistake of only looking at the mirror straight on.” We need to know how we look from all angles, lest we resemble a blowfish in heat.

In contrast, the doctors involved with serious medicine such as reconstruction for burn victims had the slightly distracted look of people who wished they were somewhere else.  They greeted each other with firm handshakes; no frivolous air kisses for these folks.

One of the lectures dealt with a client whose complaint was that her labia were uneven. (One wonders how she knew that.)  In any event, she’d had cosmetic surgery to repair the issue — I forgot to ask whether one side was inflated or the other side deflated. Next visit! But as Dr. D says, “If you’re with a man who loses interest at the point he can tell that your labia are uneven, you have much bigger problems!”

Finally, here is one of my favorite anecdotes:

One of Dr. D’s clients tried Botox and complained that it “didn’t work” and that she didn’t look any different. Her husband told Dr. D in confidence, “You’ve saved our marriage.”

Apparently, every time the poor man offered a suggestion about where to have dinner or something equally benign, his wife would scowl at him. To avoid an argument, he’d usually change the subject.

Now that she doesn’t scowl, he continues talking and is amazed how often she will be receptive or even agree with him!

Beauty Report: Cellulite — New Help For An Old Problem

About 90% of women develop lumpy, bumpy “orange peel” tissue on our hips, thighs and butts at some point in our lives, often due to hormones, poor lymphatic circulation and other factors like plain bad luck. (Men get it too, but may not care as much!)

It all happens within the fat just below the skin’s surface, a.k.a subcutaneous fat.  Bands of fibrous tissue connect the top later of skin to deeper tissues. When fat deposits push through the connective tissue, you get those characteristic little pockets or dimples. Ugh.

Help’s on the way, though I can’t personally attest to their effectiveness.

See Your Derm

A treatment called Cellfina was FDA approved in 2015 and is said to be minimally invasive. A numbing cream is applied before a needle-thin blade cuts the fibrous bands under the skin with little or no bleeding.  Most effective for the butt and thighs, patient satisfaction is quite high: In one clinical study, 94% of patients were still happy with the results after two  years and 93% were still happy three years later.

Visit the Spa

Handheld radio-frequency tools liquify enlarged fat cells and promote collagen production.  For best results, expect to need multiple treatments over a few months.  An acupuncture specialist may recommend cupping, an ancient Chinese method that improves lymph drainage while breaking up fibrous tissue.  And regular deep tissue massage can help too.

DYI at Home

A microneedling tool such as GloPro comes with two rollers: one for the face and a larger one for the body.  By creating tiny pinpricks in the skin, microneedling stimulates collagen growth, which can minimize the appearance of cellulite.  Follow up with a hydrating lotion to smooth things out even more.

I’ve had my GloPro for a year and never thought to try it on my bod.  Watch this space!

 

Hello, Gorgeous: Why You Need a Sheet Mask

Do try this at home… when you’re alone! The sight of you in a sheet mask could wilt the ardor of the most enthusiastic suitor.

(Think somewhere between Hannibal Lechter and The Mummy.)9547364_fpx

Scary factor aside, I’m addicted to these soft cloths for quick pampering and especially love the ones from Japanese brand SKII.

Reviewers consistently give them high marks for addressing concerns such as:

  • Dryness
  • Dullness and uneven texture
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Loss of firmness and elasticity

Admittedly, SKII is pricy, but I can get at least two uses out of each sheet since they’re well saturated. (Definitely worth it to buy the larger quantity and use monthly.)

How They Work

While traditional cream or gel masks sit on the skin and slowly sink in, a sheet saturated in the same active ingredients increases absorption by pushing them in more deeply. Soft cellulose masks including many cost-friendly Korean brands drape over facial contours  like a second skin. After you’ve removed the mask, rub in any excess liquid and apply a moisturizer to lock in the treatment.

Power Up

Always “add” to a mask by layering extra treatments underneath, say the experts. Before you slip under the sheet, prep your skin with any of the following:

  • Vitamin C, for general skin brightening and radiance
  • Hyaluronic Acid or any hydrating serum, to add instant moisture
  • A few drops of oil for dry, jet-lagged or post-sun skin

Lighter textures tend to work more efficiently, as the active ingredients are more easily absorbed into your skin.

Apply Pressure

Pressing down over the mask – or using a massaging beauty roller — helps the ingredients penetrate the top layer of skin smoothly and evenly.

Chill Out or Warm Up

Store your sheet masks in the fridge, as anything cool will quickly de-puff, smooth and firm up your face, which is ideal first thing in the morning or before an event. Conversely, using a warmed mask helps release tension and relax the face, and can even smooth out expression lines (temporarily of course). Fill your sink with warm water and submerge the packet before opening.

On My Wish List

Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask sounds intriguing. One reviewer wrote: “Infused with glow-giving, skin-plumping ingredients, the real beauty of these is that you can also wear them over makeup (unless your skin is very oily) to give the most incredible radiance to makeup and an almost porcelain finish to skin.”  She suggests wearing the mask for ten minutes over your finished look – even while being driven to a dinner or party, and whisking it off as the car is parked.

Personally, I’m not sure anyone should take the Hannibal Lechter look out in public – wet or dry – but I’ll bet her skin looked fabulous.