Category Archives: Beauty

Good News Monday: Sustainable Shopping Made Easy

News to me, at least: mega e-tailer Net-a-Porter is highlighting beauty and fashion products created with a sustainable future in mind.

From natural skincare to organically sourced materials, items in the NET SUSTAIN collection meet at least one of eight key attributes that align with the fashion and beauty industries’ goals for positive impact on human, animal, and environmental welfare.

Of course, not shopping — or shopping vintage and pre-owned items — would be even better, but sometimes the heart just wants what it wants.

woman holding card while operating silver laptop

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

 

Good News Monday: You’ve Got Some Nervines!

Got stress? Lately I’ve seen several mainstream press mentions of nervines, natural herbs that are reported to help support the nervous system.

These include tonics made from organic skullcap and oat tops, mildly calming herbs such as catnip and chamomile, and stronger relaxants such as valerian root and hops.

Lavender and chamomile tea are pretty mainstream these days but here are several I didn’t know about, per a few websites. Many are staple folk remedies that have been used for centuries.

Have any of you tried any of these? I can’t personally vouch for them and since herbs aren’t regulated the way drugs have to be, it’s always wise to consult a physician about dosing and possible side effects. Still, I’m intrigued. Any recommendations?

Organic skullcap in bloom with purple flowers

  • Oat tops – Although they may not produce an immediate physical feeling of relaxation, oat tops are called a superfood for the nervous system, meant to support nerve functioning over time. Suggested for anyone who is overworked or relies on caffeine to get through the day, this herb is said to calm the nerves, reduce fatigue, relieve emotional instability, and help restore peace and tranquility to over-stressed and chronically upset people.
  • Skullcap – Helps relieve occasional tension and stress, circular thoughts, and nervousness. Can be used throughout the day during stressful situations or at night before bed to calm worried thoughts. I’m curious to try this one. Considered to have anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, herbalists recommend skullcap for muscle tension, insomnia, chronic headaches and relaxation.
  • Chamomile – A classic, relaxing nighttime tea, the herb is also helpful for relieving mild daily mental stress.  If you don’t like the taste, try adding a little lemon and honey.
  • Lavender – This lovely calming herb is often used in aromatherapy applications. Wonderful in the bath or shower, massage oils, pillows, room sprays, and fragrance.
  • Lemon balm – Sunshine in plant form, this citrusy herb helps with nervous exhaustion, gloom, and restlessness, while also providing pure aromatic pleasure. Rub a leaf between your fingers and inhale deeply for an immediate mood boost.
  • Catnip – Gentle, calming herb suggested for sleeplessness in children and the elderly. Are we all cats at heart?
  • California poppy – Used for its calming properties, this plant helps promote relaxation in those seeking rest. Picture that wonderful scene in The Wizard of Oz!
  • Passionflower – Considered helpful for relieving general tension, occasional nervous restlessness, and supporting restful sleep.
  • Hops – With a distinctive flavor and action known well by beer drinkers everywhere, this plant supports relaxation and helps calm a nervous stomach.
  • Valerian – When sleep seems impossible thanks to nervous energy and a brain that won’t shut off, this potent herb encourages relaxation. Caution: for some people, valerian can have the opposite effect, causing stimulation and even more anxiety.  If this happens, an herbalist can suggest something else.

Wishing you all a relaxing, stress-free New Year.  We all deserve one! xx Alisa

Hump Day Hacks: How To Luxe Up Coach

Happy Wednesday! This showed up in my in-box, and while it’s a sponsored post promoting Amazon products, I thought there were some good ideas for adding comfort to a less-than-luxurious coach experience.  CLICK HERE

Plus, some tried-and-true tips:

  • For a late evening or overnight flight, bring makeup remover pads to clean your face (yes, men, too). Then, pat on a creamy, heavy duty moisturizer to combat airplane dryness
  • Lavender-scented hand cream is pampering as well as soothing
  • Compression socks help prevent leg cramps and DVTs (deep vein thrombosis)
  • A small roll-on arnica pain reliever (preferably not too smelly!) —  try Cryoderm or BioFreeze — for the back of your neck, upper shoulders, and anywhere else you can easily reach
  • A lightweight cashmere shawl can function as a wrap, blanket, or be rolled into a pillow
  • Disposable hotel slippers — another layer between you and the less-than-pristine carpeting
  • Sleep mask, preferably silk. Even when the plane is dark, there’s always light coming from someone’s computer or TV screen.
sea of clouds

Photo by Shane Kell on Pexels.com

Hump Day Hacks: Put On a Happy Face

Dear friends,

I’ve been off my writing game for over a week now, thanks to a nasty cold acquired while traveling despite copious applications of hand sanitizer and Wet Wipes.

Finally emerging from my self-imposed cocoon (and beauty purgatory), I wanted to share five quick tips for a flawless finish, now that summer’s in the rearview mirror.

  1. Prime skin with moisturizing sunblock.  I like L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur with SPF 30. Smooths out imperfections, protects from damage, easy to find and quite inexpensive. You might not even need foundation, but if you do…
  2. First, add highlights.  It’s counterintuitive to do this before applying foundation, but makeup artists swear it leaves skin glowier. Dot liquid highlighter (like the classic Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat) on brow bones, cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and the “Cupid’s bow” above the center of your upper lip. Once you add your foundation, the highlights will blend in beautifully.
  3. Get even.  This often means combining lighter and darker shades of foundation to get the right custom color.  At this time of year, you may be phasing out a tan or finding that your face and neck are slightly different from each other.
  4. Apply from the center out.  Start your foundation application with a light dab in the center of your forehead, nose and chin.  Blend outwards with a sponge or brush for a light touch that avoids the dreaded mask look.
  5. Save concealer for last. Let your foundation dry so the concealer has something to cling to, and don’t go more than one shade lighter than your base.

Stay gorgeous!

oval brown wooden framed hanging mirror

Photo by Nadine Wuchenauer on Pexels.com

Vain Hopes: DIY Eyelash Tinting

After my recent beauty misadventure, I currently find myself in Beauty Purgatory, aka the Oregon Coast, where the only day spa that did eyelash tinting has suddenly gone out of business.

I mean, is it me? WTF?!

Determined to find a solution, I order a lash tinting kit online after perusing some reviews.

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The Godefroy “28 Day Mascara” comes with a tube of color and a tube of developer, plus an applicator and under-eye pads, which I quickly discover are a bit too thick and awkward.

The process is simple:

  1. First, wash and dry your lashes to remove any oils, creams and moisturizers.
  2. Apply petroleum jelly around the eye area, making sure not to get it on your lashes.
  3. Apply color, doing one eye at a time. I suggest using a disposable mascara wand.
  4. Apply developer and leave it on for one minute. Disposable wand for this, too.
  5. Wipe down eye with damp tissue and do the other eye.

Results: Meh, even though I do them twice.  I suspect I’d get better results if a) my lashes were longer, 2) my eyelids weren’t as droopy, 3) I didn’t blink 80,000 times while attempting this.

The search continues…. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I still haven’t heard anything from my erstwhile eyebrow guru.  I really hope she is ok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty Misadventure: The No-Show

Ladies (I presume you gentlemen will not have an opinion), I could use your advice.

I’ve been seeing the same esthetician for several years — A tints and shapes my brows and tints my eyelashes — and she usually does a terrific job so I’ve stayed loyal, even after she left the salon where I get my hair done to go out on her own. It’s less convenient but I like her.

Today I was scheduled for an appointment that had been rescheduled when A got sick a few weeks ago.  I’d received an email reminder as well as an auto-generated text confirmation, so I had every reason to expect business as usual.

I show up at A’s studio, which she shares with a Pilates instructor in a funky older house.  Something is off.  There’s still a painted sign on the curbside stucco ledge advertising Pilates, so I haven’t gone to the wrong address.  But I do seem to have wandered into the Twilight Zone. The doorbell is taped over and dangles from a dingy cord. And not only is A not there, there’s no sign of life inside.

Peering through the frosted glass door I see that the studio on the left has been dismantled. In place of benches, free weights and exercise bands there are several  washers and dryers — is it turning into a laundromat? A’s room is in the back of the house so I can’t tell if it’s operational. Surely she would have said something…. like maybe yesterday?

I text, and then call, thinking maybe A is working out of her apartment, as she’s sometimes done in the past. But I don’t have that address and she never responds.  After waiting a half hour I leave one more message, give up, and head back home with unkempt brows, faded lashes, and no time to get them fixed before we go out of town this weekend.

As of tonight, I still haven’t heard from her so I’m concerned. Has something happened to her? To her beloved dog? Someone in her family? This is most unusual, even though hers is not a completely untroubled life.

But here’s my more selfish question:  This is now the second time in recent weeks that our appointment has fallen through. To be honest, it’s becoming a pain in the ass. Should I give her one more try? Or maybe start getting these services done at a salon where there will be back up if someone runs into a personal issue?

What would you do??

close up photography of person s eye

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

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.