Aug 3

It’s frustrating to take time to apply your makeup just so, only to have it end up looking almost worse than if you wore nothing. There are a few reasons why this might be happening.

Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, you know what a challenge it can be to keep makeup looking fresh. The key is the right product in the right amount. If you need more coverage from your foundation, choose one with moderate coverage designed for oily skin and blot with oil-absorbing sheets, rather than layering on foundation, concealer, and powder, which just turns into a cakey mess. If your skin doesn’t need much coverage, stick to a light application of tinted moisturizer, or swipe on a little oil-absorbing pressed powder.

Dry Skin
Dry skin is tricky because foundation, and powder in particular, can cake up on flaky patches and make your skin look drier. Before putting on makeup, make sure you are exfoliating with a gentle scrub to remove any dead or dull skin, and apply moisturizer. Since dry skin doesn’t need oil control, skip using powder and opt for a light liquid foundation, or a cream compact (we like CoverGirl Simply Ageless Anti-Aging Foundation). Also, be careful not to use too much concealer under the eyes, as that has a tendency to settle into fine lines. If you have dark circles, try a small dab of Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer.

Acne
Covering blemishes is both an art and a science, and less is absolutely more. One of our favorite products for covering acne is Bare Escentuals Blemish Therapy, a loose powder concealer and treatment in one. A few swipes with the included brush helps conceal, and it’s lightweight so it won’t cake.

Apr 25
With so many products available in drugstores, department stores, specialty stores, and online, you could spend hundreds on something that may or may not make a difference for you. This is why I stick to less expensive choices at the drugstore, because there are so many terrific choices there that help keep your skin looking young and healthy, without costing a fortune.

In your late twenties and early thirties, you are focusing on maintaining the youthful appearance you already have and slowing the onset of fine lines around the eyes and mouth. Here are some of my favorite products to keep the skin looking its best:

Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($8)
Regardless of skin type or age, making sure your makeup is completely removed is essential for good skin care, and using a gentle towelette like this is quick, thorough and can be used anywhere.

Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser ($8)
For cleansing when you don’t need to remove makeup, this milky lotion maintains the skin’s moisture balance and preps the skin for anti-aging lotion and/or sunscreen.

St. Ives Fresh Skin Moisturizing Olive Scrub ($6)
I have tried more scrubs than I can count and I always come back to St. Ives. It’s inexpensive and it just works. There are several versions to choose from, but I like this one because it has olive oil, vitamin E and jojoba to gently exfoliate.

Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum ($20)
Eye cream is another skin care product that I have experimented with to find just the right one, and Olay Regenerist is the only one that I buy consistently. The texture is light so it absorbs quickly without leaving an oily film (which makes eye makeup smear) and it has a subtle yellow tone with a hint of light-deflecting shimmer so it’s almost like getting a concealer and treatment in one cream.

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum ($22)
I’ve spent $50, $100, even $200 on anti-aging creams and serums to help slow the appearance of aging, and this product from Boots (available at Target) is consistently the best performing for the best price. I have absolutely noticed a reduction in fine lines around my eyes and mouth, and my skin overall looks brighter and youthful, as if I am stopping time a little.

Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, SPF 30 ($17)
A daytime moisturizer with sunscreen is so important in any skin care routine, especially if you are concerned with preventing wrinkles. I love this lotion because it’s lightweight, layers well with other products, and absorbs completely with no oiliness.

RoC Multi-Correxion Night Treatment ($27)
I like to vary the treatment I use under my moisturizer, so I use this at night and the Boots serum during the day. This lightweight cream from RoC has retinol, antioxidants, and vitamin C so it’s great for not only reducing fine lines and slowing deeper wrinkles, but it helps fade any discoloration spots and makes the skin look brighter.

Remember, our best years are ahead of us, so it’s never to early to start a skin care routine that will keep you looking on the outside as young and vibrant as you feel on the inside!

Apr 11

Nobody likes to deal with blemishes, but it’s even more frustrating when it’s happening to your child. My best advice is a gentle approach to cleansing and treatment that includes a variety of products so you can give the skin what it needs even as it changes.

Any good skin care routine starts with cleansing, and with young skin prone to blemishes, this is even more important. Have a couple of cleansers to choose from, like Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil to take off makeup, Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk to cleanse and calm the skin, and Biore Steam Activated Cleanser with SteamActiv beads when dealing with a breakout (deep cleaning without over-drying). Match the cleanser to what the skin needs at the time – skin care is not “one size fits all.”

When you are dealing with a flare up of pimples or blackheads, resist the urge to pick. Very warm washcloth compresses on the affected area(s) can help draw blemishes out, as well as a mask like Yes to Tomatoes Skin Clearing Facial Mask, applied once a week at most. I also recommend a thin layer of GoClear Intensive Acne Treatment, a personal favorite for treating and calming the area without drying or irritating the skin. Use treatment products like this sparingly, though, and only on the spots that need attention.

For breakout prone, oily skin, moisturizer is usually something that seems unnecessary, but it’s a useful tool on occasion to help prevent the skin from drying out. I recommend Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, Fragrance Free because it’s lightweight and won’t clog pores. You can apply it sparingly to keep the moisture in the skin balanced.

Finally, a word on makeup. Teens love it, and when you’re dealing with a blemish or redness, there is a tendency to want to cover it with makeup, but be careful not to create a cycle of covering a pimple with makeup that only encourages more pimples. Use foundation or concealer very sparingly, only on the spots that need it, and make sure to cleanse thoroughly at the end of the day. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands to be sure you have the one that best suits your skin. Drug and department stores are usually good about taking something back if it’s not a good fit for your skin.

Nov 7

For the last several months I have been on the hunt for a mascara, or two, that I love. I figured I should get out of my Maybelline Great Lash rut and try some newer products on the market.

My first stop was the Paul & Joe line because the sales girl wearing it had almost fake-looking eyelashes and I wanted to be just like her. Paul & Joe Mascara Duo ($26) comes with a volumizing and a lengthening side. The “Volume” side has this comb-like eyelash separator, longer on one side for the top lashes and a shorter side for the bottoms. The thick, creamy formula could be used on its own for fabulous lashes. The “Long” side has a more traditional mascara wand and the formula is totally different, with tons of little fibers in it. Put that on and welcome to your huge, thick, long lashes! Of course this isn’t for the person who needs every lash perfectly defined. If you add this much stuff to your eyelashes there’s bound to be a bit of clumping, but that was completely worth it to me for that amount of lash. The one warning is once this mascara dries, don’t try to separate your eyelashes – it’s too tough for that. Did I mention the fabulous color? I chose #02, because it was an auburn-ish brown, which looks amazing against my blue eyes, fair skin and brown hair. It wears very well and at the end of the day I am a happy camper with lashes that still look gorgeous. An extra perk is the packaging, which is so cute. This floral, aqua and peach colored beauty sits among my other boring black tubes of mascara, and brightens my whole drawer.

On the quest still for huge lashes, the folks at MAC told me I had to have Zoom Lash Mascara. This time I went for classic black. They warned me that it would be clumpy, but that was the “in” thing this season. Fully knowing that, I was very pleased with the way it made my somewhat thin lashes seems so bulky. The formula was pretty dry and I realize that I’d like it if it were a bit creamier. It seemed to run out fast, I think due to the dry formula. For $10 it’s really a lovely buy, lasted well during the day and I’d recommend this for anyone wanting dramatic lashes, maybe to recreate that 60′s mod look that’s so in right now.

After all the hype about Blinc Kiss Me Mascara, I had to give it a whirl. Their big thing is water-resistant “tubes” that coat your eyelashes, and don’t allow clumping. First, the name “Kiss Me” makes me think of lips and I keep wondering why they didn’t just leave it as “Blinc”. Enough of my marketing questioning, onto the review. This mascara’s net weight (.16oz) was quite a bit less than any of the others I’ve tried so far, and for $24, I’m not that excited. The wand leaves much to be desired. It’s too stumpy and puny for my taste. The black color is just fine, and it did make my eyelashes more defined, thicker and longer, but not to any degree that is worth getting excited about. It flaked more than any of the other mascaras I’ve tried. By the end of the day a lot of these little tubes were under my eye. Water-resistant somehow translates into “makeup remover resistant”, too. I found washing it off at the end of the day to be like an eyelash massacre on my face, with persistent little “tube” eyelashes stuck to me. Basically I can sum it up with, “Eh. Not so fantastic.”

Now heading to the drugstore, I picked up a L’Oreal Panoramic Curl. I keep seeing all these rave reviews for L’Oreal’s mascara line. I must say, I’ve been won over. This formula is only $6.99 (even less with a coupon) and is creamy and thick. The wand is slightly curved to help out the curling effect with lots of bristles to coat the lashes really well. One coat is wonderful and somewhat natural looking, two or more coats is a bonus of drama! It does have a bit of a clumping tendency after the first coat, but delivers fantastic results overall. I approve! I’m going to keep exploring L’Oreal mascara in the future.

Last but not least, I went looking for a basic mascara that I could wear on more casual days. I found it in Almay One Coat Nourishing Mascara (the thickening formula). For $5.99 and at 0.4oz net weight, this is a bargain! One coat so nicely colors and “fluffs” my otherwise thin lashes. It’s wonderful for going to the gym, because I look like I have eyes on my face, but not like I’m trying too hard to impress that guy on the stair climber. Even if I keep layering it on, the formula is so smooth, there’s no clumping in sight and every lash is very well defined, yet still soft. It wears well throughout the day, though if I’ve done one coat, I apply a second on top before going out at night. This mascara feels nourishing on because it doesn’t have a dry, rigid feeling on the lashes. Finally, I really like the wand – it’s full and long enough to go over both top and bottom lashes nicely.

Oct 31

Here’s what I’ve started to do after my husband threatened to throw it all away! We all get about a million free cosmetic bags with our gift with purchases (GWPs) so, I have one that goes in my purse, one that sits in my car, one that is in the bathroom, and then on my vanity table. Then I have about four more – one with all lipsticks and glosses, one with eye shadows, one with pencils and one with foundations and other necessities. Then, when I want to switch what is in my car or in my purse, I just pull the necessary stuff from the cosmetic bags and put the others away. And, probably every year, I throw out some of the old stuff.

Another idea is to get a functional, plastic set of stackable drawers, which is nice for things like lipstick, gloss, pencils, and bodycare items. It looks relatively neat, and is a great clutter-buster. If you get the clear kind, you can see everything inside, and you could even label the fronts with what the contents are.

If you organize everything in a fun way, you could even treat it like shopping for new makeup every time you choose your products for the day!

Aug 3

The key to natural, believable bronzer is in the application, as much as in the actual formula and color of the bronzer. No matter which bronzer you select, it should be applied on your face where the sun would naturally “kiss” your skin. For example, along the bridge of your nose and on the apples of your cheeks and/or the top of your cheekbones. Powder bronzers are easily applied, but can get too dark too easily. One of the most natural bronzers around, I’ve found, is Smashbox’s Develop Compact Bronzer. It is a cream-to-powder formula, and it offers a smooth, matte finish. As an added bonus, the Smashbox bronzer contains an SPF of 20, to keep the harmful rays at bay! As with any makeup application, practice makes perfect. You’ll find what you like and what works for you.

Aug 3

Summertime is always tough on feet. They are exposed to the elements, and it’s just not the time when we are willing to hide out battle-worn feet in clunky, closed toed shoes! Summer is the time for light, strappy, and fun!! Your feet carry you around all day long, so pamper your two best friends and get them summer ready with the following pedicure routine.

Remove old polish with a gentle, non-acetone polish remover. It’s always best to use either cotton balls or cotton pads for polish removing – tissues shred too easily. Apply a cuticle removing cream to the nail beds, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. While the cuticle cream is doing its thing, begin buffing down those rough spots with the saving grace for all feet, a Diamancel foot file. I recently spent $48 on the Diamancel Tough Buffer, and let me tell you, it was worth every penny. Diamancel foot paddles are professional grade with diamond dust buffers and easy-grip rubber handles. They are a must in every girls summertime bag of tricks. After buffing and filing away all of the rough skin, take an orange stick and gently push back the cuticle on each toenail. Depending on how long it’s been since I had my last professional pedicure, I sometimes use a buffing block, and actually buff the surface of my toenails to minimize the ridges.

Now comes the relaxing part . . . put those hard-working peds of yours into a tub of warm water, with a wonderful foot soak dissolved in it (try Bliss’ Rosy Toes), and kick back for a while. After the soak, thoroughly dry your feet and apply a generous layer of foot cream (I love Bliss Spa’s Foot Patrol, and also Shea it Isn’t So from Bath and Body Works). Make sure to wipe all excess lotion off of your nail beds. A tiny bit of rubbing alcohol swiped across each nail will ensure that all the oils have been removed. Apply a ridge-filling base coat (try Opi Nail Envy), and then two coats of your polish of choice.

For summertime, it is completely appropriate to wear anything from a bright coral to a muted pale pink shade. Wear what makes you happy! Once your polish is dry, make sure to top it off with a good top coat to minimize chips and maximize wear (Seche Vite Fast Dry top coat is my favorite). Enjoy your new-found summer-ready feet!

Apr 7

The good news is that teen-driven cosmetics are becoming extremely popular in today’s cosmetic market, and there are so many great ways to compromise with your daughter when it comes to what she wants and what you think is best. The first thing I would suggest is the world of oh-so-fabulously harmless lip-gloss

Apr 6

Concealer can be such a great thing, but I agree that sometimes it does just cause a breakout to seem more apparent. I do feel that the most important thing is to treat the breakout properly and to speed up recovery by doing so. We have all been there though, and I know that there are times when you just want to cover them up and let them heal in the meantime. Just when we thought that wasn’t possible, there is a great line of products on the market called Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, a line that is considered “skin-care makeup”. They are truly wonderful and I feel they are extremely effective. I always say that it’s not worth putting something on your skin that doesn’t have beneficial properties to the long-term look and feel of your skin. Jane Iredale offers a mineral makeup that you apply as a foundation and it is packed with the most amazing ingredients, like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Willow Bark Extract, Chamomile, Calendula, and Seaweeds (Algin, Agar and Carrageenan). These ingredients will help your skin look more youthful, diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles, minimizes pores, even out skin tone and the makeup adheres extremely well, so you don’t know you are wearing foundation. There are 10 tones to choose from, which ensures there is a perfect shade for every skin tone. This is key with foundation, and is where most people go wrong, and it can be a painfully two-toned experience. You can check out the full range of tones and products on janeiredale.com and select the shade that’s just right for you.

Apr 6

Let me tell you, it’s all about the proper bag-o-tricks for concealing dark under eye circles. Correcting and concealing this area with a natural look can be quite the task, but there are some phenomenal products on the market specifically for concealing this area, as the hue needed in this type of product is key. As you may have experienced, just masking the area can be somewhat of a disaster if you’re not equipped with the right tools. Concealer should be yellow toned and one shade lighter than your foundation. Bobbi Brown has a wonderful correcting concealer kit that even targets average dark circles right across to very dark under eye circles with different combinations depending on your skin tone. (Check out bobbibrown.com for the full reference chart of colors, approximately $35.)

Before you apply your concealer (or any other part of your beautifying process for that matter), you want to make sure you moisturize your face right before with a nice, light and nourishing day cream. This keeps skin dewy and moist, which will help concealer keep a creamy consistency when it is applied to your face, rather than “caking” as it can do if you aren’t properly moisturized.

Another industrial strength under eye concealer is Benefit Boi-ing. I have used this one many times and it truly does work. It’s quite light yet seems to really be absorbed into the skin and creates a beautiful finish. It is offered in three different shades, depending on your skin tone and is quite reasonably priced at $18 at Sephora.com.

There is one more concealer on the market that I would definitely recommend you trying. Paula Dorf offers her Total Camoflauge concealer that is quite effective and comes highly recommended. It is a simple duo and is offered in three different combinations, which keeps it simple when it comes time to deciding which is best for you ($20 at Sephora.com). I adore all things Paula Dorf and would most definitely suggest trying this one out.

Since it is all about the skin tone, you may want to shop around between these brands to see which line offers the closest to your skin tone. Once you find the perfect match, you will get even better and better with your application and learning the best method for your skin.

The great news is that since so many women suffer from this dilemma, most of the better cosmetic brands on the market have spent a lot of time researching the solution to this type of issue and with the products I have mentioned, they seem to have mastered the answer!

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