Thursday, May 29, 2008

How Callus!

I'm a bit of an exercise nut: love, love love the way I feel after a long run or a good sweat session at the gym. (It doesn't hurt that working out negates my guilt from my all-too-frequent cupcake splurges). But exercising has given me some serious calluses on my feet, and no monthly pedicure can undo the damage. Instead, I rely on weekly DIY sessions with Sally Hansen Just Feet Deep Callus Remover. When the going gets really rough, I slather super-thick lotion (Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme is a fav) and put a pair of socks on, and leave the whole concoction on overnight. What's your smooth feet solution?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Face of a Teen

I woke to a very unpleasant surprise the other day: several unsightly blemishes on my chin. Foolishly, I thought I'd left my teen years (and all the skin woes that went with them) behind, but apparently that was wishful thinking on my part. I'm hardly alone: according to researchers at The University of Alabama, 73 percent of people will experience acne at some point in their adult lives. And thanks to hormones and stress, adult acne is far more common in women than men.

So, what's a blemished beauty to do? I remembered that my dermatologist told me that prescription retinoid products can help, so I slathered on my Retin-A Micro. I needed quick relief, though, so I dabbed on some Clearasil Adult Acne Treatment Cream for good measure. 24 hours later, my face was looking better--but not completely clear. How do you get your acne under control?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


You're smart enough to stay out of the sun, and when you do have to venture out in those harsh rays you're always smart enough to cover up or slather yourself in SPF. If you're still hankering for bronzed flesh though, your best bet is a self tanner, or to make sure that your smile is as white as Regis' is. Two new products make it easier to have the whitest, brightest chompers around. Oral B Satin Floss makes it easy to slide plaque from between even your back teeth and Crest's new Spinbrush has 20x more brushstrokes than a manual toothbrush. Now that's something to smile about!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Chipped Nails? Really??

According to the New York Times Style section, chipped nails are not only not a faux pas, they can actually be chic if done right--specifically, if everything else about you looks perfect: expensive handbag, stylish haircut, impeccable outfit ... and, of course, a whippet-thin figure. Did I mention that you need to be young, too? Under 35, according to one source in the story. Yikes. Honestly, no matter how young and perfect you look, I think chipped nails--especially if they're super chipped and dark--look kind of trashy. But maybe I'm being too judgmental. What do you think?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sloughing It Off

I was surprised when my dermatologist recommended that I exfoliate my face more often; I thought too much scrubbing dried out sensitive skin like mine. "If you use the right product, you'll remove dead skin cells without causing irritation," she told me. "Try using a washcloth with a gentle cleanser"--like Neutrogena's Gentle Foaming Cleanser--"or an exfoliant made for daily use on your face," like Clarins' One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser. I've been giving my dermatologist's approach a try for about a week, and I have to say, my skin does look brighter.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Kinder Clean

Confession: I'm a bit of a germ-phobe. Living in New York City, where it's not unusual to see someone pick their nose on the subway or to get sneezed on when walking down the super-crowded streets, I feel like the fear of germs is practically a survival tactic. But most hand sanitizers seem so ... harsh. Which is why I'm so excited about Surya Brasil's Organic Hand Sanitizer. Made with great ingredients like aloe, acai and peppermint--and without parabens, petrochemicals or artificial fragrance--it's far more natural than your average alcohol-laden sanitizer, yet it kills 99.9 % of bacteria and germs. Guess what I'm arming myself with the next time I walk out the door?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Big Bang Theory

I love the look of sideswept bangs, like these on the lovely Salma Hayek--so classic and fresh. And, according to a friend of mine in the beauty business, they're the key to a wrinkle-free forehead: although no replacement for SPF, they do add an extra layer of sun protection.

I used to think that I couldn't pull bangs off because my super-fine hair usually gets greasy super fast. But after switching shampoos (I'm currently using L'oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss, swoon!), my locks are decidedly less oily, to the point where I can actually wait a day or two between washing. That means I'll be asking my hairdresser for a bit of fringe the next time I see him. If bangs don't shield me from wrinkles, at the very least, they'll conceal the ones I already have.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Getting My Glow On

I mentioned last week that I love pale skin. But ... now that it's little-dress-with-sandals season again, there's no denying that my legs could use a serious dose of color to mask a few, ahem, blemishes (unsightly dimples and spider veins). Real tanning is out--there's no way I'd risk getting skin cancer by soaking up the sun on the beach or in a booth. Which means it's time for some serious self-tanner.

I like Aveeno's Continuous Radiance lotion; of all the self-tanning moisturizers I've tried, it smells the best and streaks the least. But before I turn to that old standard, I'm going to give Peter Thomas Roth's Natural Looking Self Tanner a try. Any other tanners I should look into?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oily Clean?

The words "oil" and "clean" don't exactly go hand-in-hand--which is why I was so surprised the last time I visited my sister and found cleansing oil from in her bathroom. "It's amazing," she raved. "It takes my eye makeup right off, and it leaves my skin unbelievably soft." "It doesn't make you break out?" I asked, incredulous. "Nope! I haven't had a single blemish since I started using it," she told me, pointing to her blemish-free forehead and cheeks. Her skin did look amazing--to the point that I'm giving some serious thought to swapping out my gentle anti-aging cleanser for a few weeks to give cleansing oil a try. Have you used it? What did you think?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Worth a Shot?

I haven't ventured into the Botox waters yet ... and I'm not sure that I ever will. Yet, sometimes when I see my crow's feet getting progressively larger and the worry line in my forehead getting deeper with every month that goes on, I have to admit, it's tempting. But last week, I read about new research showing that Botox may be able to travel to the brain. Yikes! Granted, the study in question was done on rats, and millions of people use Botox every day with no major side effects. Still, for now, I think I'll be sticking to my anti-wrinkle lotions and potions and trying not to frown so darn much. What about you--what's your take on getting injected for the sake of beauty?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Confession: I can't wait for the new Sex And the City movie to come out. I'm a fan of all the women in the cast--but I have a special fondness for Miranda, Cynthia Nixon's character. She's sarcastic, shrewd and deep-down, a die-hard romantic. And, yes, she has the most perfect skin. Short of Anne Hathaway and Sela Ward, is there a stronger case for staying pale as the weather heats up? Gorgeous. Read more about Cynthia at More magazine's website.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How long should a manicure last?

I love the look of manicured nails (mine look best short and squared off, in a light/nude shade--but I like brighter hues and longer lengths, too). But I can't stand paying $10-25 for a manicure knowing that two days later, my polish will be chipped and flaking. For a while, I was opting for no polish, which meant that my nails looked great for a solid week ... but I was always disappointed after leaving the salon, because plain buffed nails lack the wow factor of a regular manicure.

Then I read that having just one coat of color applied makes polish last longer. At my last visit to the salon, I asked the salon tech to stick to a base coat, a single coat of color and a top coat. Eureka! I didn't get a single chip or ding for five whole days. I think I'll be sticking to a single coat of color from here on out. (Disclosure: I suspect this only works with light shades; darker colors usually take two coats to look "even").

Any other tips on making a manicure last longer??

Friday, May 9, 2008

What I'm loving now

I wouldn't go back to my teens or early 20s if you paid me a million bucks--but I have no objections to looking like I'm still a fresh-faced beauty. That's why I was so thrilled when a friend of mine in the beauty biz sent me Benefit's 10 Bronzing and Highlighting Face Powder Duo.

Sheer genius! The pinky/peachy combo gives a serious youth-boosting flush--without making me look like I'm trying to hard to recapture my youth.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Beauty of Fat

I'm no fat phobe, but I never realized that I could actually age myself faster by skimping on healthy fat sources like avocados, almonds, fatty fish and olive oil. Turns out that many of the vitamins your body needs to keep skin looking healthy and hydrated, like vitamins A and E, are fat soluble.

Translation? Your body needs a little bit of fat in order to full absorb them. So more fat = less flaking, wrinkles and irritation.
I'll eat to that.

Q: How much fat do you eat a day?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

SPF: What's Good Enough?

Okay, there's no doubt facial SPF is a must, especially if you want to stave off wrinkles (yes, please!). But when I read recommendations saying women simply *must* slather on SPF 30+ in the morning then reapply several times a day, I can't help but roll my eyes a little: putting on lotion or creme means taking off all my makeup, then starting over from scratch. Who has time?

So I asked a dermatologist friend her take on the bare minimum SPF I need. Her answer? "At least SPF 15 in the morning. That's easy to do, because many face lotions and even foundations"--like Bare Escentuals, one of my favs--"have at least that much." My friend does think a mid-day reapp is a great idea (especially if you're going to be lunching in the park or anywhere else outdoors, which I plan on doing tomorrow!). A simple way to touch up without taking all the makeup off? Use a powder SPF, like ColoreScience’s Sunforgettable. Now that is a beauty plan I can live with.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Speaking of Sunscreen....

An interesting product arrived on our desks last week. Vichy Laboratoires (note the French spelling) new Capital Soleil 15 Sunscreen Cream retails for about $29.00 and boasts an ingredient called 'Mexoryl' SX with a trademark no less which they describe as "A unique UVA Filter."

Further analysis of the packaging explains that Mexoryl or Ecamsule contains Parsol 1789 or avobenzone which has long been the European standard of sun protection and more recently accepted in the U.S. as well.

So, are these hard to pronounce ingredients more effective, say than the standard Coppertone? It's hard to know really, though this one claims to provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and block both long and short UVA rays. When in doubt choose a product that offers broad spectrum protection with at least SPF 15 or higher. (we tend to go much, much higher).

No matter which you choose you'll be skin-sational!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Serums have been a buzzword in skin care for a while now. Part magic elixir, part hard-working face base coat and part treatment product, there are serums to banish redness, soften your skin or tighten things up a bit.

Somme Institute Serum contains a fairly high concentration of Vitamin C and claims to smooth wrinkles and eliminate brown spots. At the hefty price of $82.00 a pop- we hope it's true!

In the future though, you should always be vigilant about sun protection to avoid the formation of new sun spots, or darkening of existing pigmentation.

Skin-tillating fact: Serum is the Latin for whey, the watery part of milk separated from the curd when making cheese.