Category Archives: Beauty

Beauty Adventures: I Was a Late-Middle-Aged Hair Model

Time: a couple of weeks ago.

I’m recruited by my salon to test a new smoothing treatment.  I have high hopes, since I’ve been waiting for them to find a replacement for the straightening treatment I’d loved and which, sadly, has been discontinued.

This will be fun and instructive — I’m a geek about beauty info — and hey, it’s free.

I arrive for the class at 9 a.m. sharp  (a model must always be professional!) and have coffee while the stylists arrive.  There are six in all, including S, my go-to stylist, and they’re eager to learn about the new product.

Before she starts the presentation, the representative for Keratin Complex asks me about my hairstyle goals and lifestyle, e.g., do I do a lot of vigorous aerobic workouts? (Um, no.)

I do explain that I’d like my unruly waves to become as smooth and “ruly” as possible so that my hair can air-dry without a lot of fuss.  She explains that this process will smooth my hair and loosen the curl but it won’t straighten it the way a chemical process would. This is disappointing, but did I mention it’s free?

(IF I just let my hair dry naturally…) IMG-1110

All the stylists sit in a circle and K passes around information on the products and levels of curl. (Mine is considered moderate; I was hoping for something more dramatic, such as, “Wow, your hair will be such a challenge!”) I love all the technical stuff.

The company offers two types of treatments: an “express”, which is what we’ll be testing today and lasts up to 5 weeks, and a more in-depth option that should last about 5 months.

S washes my hair and K shows the team how to apply the product, comb it through, blow dry, and then do several passes with a special flat iron.  Each stylist takes turns doing sections of my hair, which is a bit weird, but they are here to practice. The whole thing takes about an hour, but a lot of that is Q&A from the class.

When they finish, my hair is shiny and silky, and the treatment has brightened up my highlights. I’m instructed to wait at least 24 hours before washing it, and I’m given small bottles of the brand’s sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to use at home.

K says that she charges $75-$150 at her salon for the express treatment. This sounds a little steep to me, given that it’s only going to last a few weeks.  I’m thinking it should be priced more like a glaze since it’s not a straightening procedure that would alter the hair’s chemical structure for long-term results.

Anyway, off I go, armed with my products, to see how it works in real life.

The next day, my stylist texts to ask if I like the results (yes) and would I be willing to pay that amount for the treatment. (Honestly? Probably not.)

Two weeks and a few shampoos later, here’s my assessment: While my hair is a bit smoother and less likely to frizz, it’s not as silky as it was when I had the treatment. It’s still wavier than I would like, and takes a lot of time to blow-dry. To get a similar look I’d have to use a flat iron, which I try to avoid because it’s so damaging.

However, I’d recommend Keratin Complex to someone who isn’t looking to change their natural texture but does want their hair to be softer, smoother, shinier and resistant to humidity. 

Would this treatment appeal to you? How much would you be willing to pay?

(Left) After salon treatment.  (Right) Minimal styling, 2 weeks later.

 

 

 

 

 

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!