Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Terrible Trend: Beauty Before Health

Need to get an appointment to see your dermatologist? Tell him you want to find out about Botox. According to the New York Times, dermatologists see patients who want cosmetic procedures--ones not paid for by insurance--far faster than they see patients who need, say, psoriasis or a suspicious mole checked out. Some docs even have separate waiting rooms for cosmetic patients vs. medical patients. Personally, I think this is ridiculous--but given my recent run-in with my dermatologist, it doesn't surprise me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scent I'm Loving Now: Calendula

I'd never given much thought to calendula, an herb that looks a lot like a marigold. Then a friend of mine gave me some Weleda baby products for my daughter, including their Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash. It wasn't long before I was poaching it for myself--it's got the most delicious, woodsy, honey-like smell, and leaves my skin unbelievably smooth. Added bonus: Weleda products are free of all kinds of chemicals, like parabens, that you'll find in most other beauty products.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Spa Swindled

Spa dermatology is on the rise, and while I generally think it's a great concept, I found out the hard way this week that it can have its drawbacks. I went in to a new dermatologist, who practices in a med-spa-like facility, to see what I could do about a pesky rash I have on my arms. He suggested a glycolic peel. I assumed that it--like my visit that day--was covered by insurance, and the dermatologist never mentioned otherwise, so I agreed. Well, when I went to pay my co-pay after the visit, I was informed that I owed several hundred dollars for the glycolic peel!! Needless to say, I was furious--if not illegal, it seems extremely unethical to not disclose fees up front. I won't be going back to that dermatologist again ... lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Something's Fishy

I'm not squeamish, but when I heard about fish pedicures, I was officially grossed out. You stick your feet in a pool of water with tiny carp, and they eat the dead skin off your feet. Supposedly, the beauty treatment, which originated in Turkey but is now available in the U.S., doesn't hurt, but I don't think I could handle dozens of scaly minnows attacking my toes, no matter how effective it is. Would you try it?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shortcut of the Week

Short on time? Who isn't? Well, uber-talented (and semi-famous) dermatologist Dennis Gross M.D., creator of MD Skincare, has devised a product that will cut your p.m. beauty routine in half: the EZ4U 4-in-1 Facial Treatment. These pocket-sized towelettes contain cleanser, tone, wrinkle fighter and moisturizer. Just wipe your skin down and crawl between the sheets. Brilliant!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Friday Fantasy

I got a press release yesterday for a tropical getaway spa package at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego. This over-the-top treat includes a "tropical essence massage”, (coco-mango body polish and a rub-down with Ylang Ylang oil), followed by the "signature spa terre facial”, and last but not least, a manicure and "passionflower pedicure," complete with a rose-petal milk bath. At over $500 for the whole package, I won't be indulging myself in it anytime soon. But it sounds nice, doesn't it?

In any case, have a beautiful weekend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Aren't I Callus?

After nearly two months of sandal season, my feet started to look rough--literally. We're talking hard-core calluses. I recently wrote about how I usually turn to topical solutions to get smoother feet, but even that wasn't cutting it anymore. So I did what any well-heeled woman would, and turned to my Tweezerman callus remover. I know some women are terrified of callus removers because they use a razor blade to take off dry, dead skin. Personally, I've never so much as nicked myself (thank you, safety shield) and nothing, and I mean nothing, is so effective at giving me gorgeous tootsies.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Those Brits know how to do it, don't they? I tried Boots No7 Maximum Volume Mascara this weekend. (For the uninitiated, Boots is a super-popular UK health and beauty retailer who makes many of their own products, some of which they're now offering in the States at Target). Swoon! I'm always looking to make my lashes look lush, and this mascara is as good, if not better, as one of my other favorites--Chanel's Inimitable--but is less than a third of the price. My eyelashes looked longer and thicker without appearing clumpy. I'm checking out some other of Boots' products later this week; rumor has it they have a DIY glycolic peel. Stay tuned ...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stress and Your Skin

Do you need to relax more? A quick peek in the mirror holds the answer. As it turns out, recent research shows that stress can hurt your skin. "We know that stress can have a dramatic effect on the immune system," says Joshua Fox, MD, founder of Advanced Dermatology and a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. "And quite often, that can create immune- related responses in the skin." Read: the more stress you're under, the more you're prone to breakouts, flare-ups with chronic conditions like psoriasis and eczema, and even wrinkles. Dr. Fox's de-stress suggestions: try meditation, hypnosis or biofeedback. Personally, I'm using this as evidence that I deserve a massage!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beauty-full Brows

Like many women I know, I over-plucked my brows for a long time--and have come to regret it. While they've mostly regained their full shape, the outer edges are a bit thinner than I'd prefer (especially now that the Brooke Shields "full" look is back in!). However, most of the brow powders and pencils I've tried have looked super fake--you could spot where I'd filled out my arches from 200 feet away. No longer: I picked up Anastasia's brow pencil at Sephora (one of their saleswomen recommended it), and it's ridiculously effective, yet you can't really tell that I've used a pencil. And the pencil itself, while not cheap, seems to last forever; it's been six months since I bought mine, and I've still got at least half left. It's a must-try!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Beauty Icon: Nicole Kidman

Adding to the evidence that 40 is the new 30, Nicole Kidman, 41, just gave birth to a daughter, Sunday Rose. Nicole's one young-looking mother: nary a sunspot or wrinkle, despite the fact that she grew up under Australia's blazing hot sun. I'm guessing she has an amazing dermatologist to thank--and, judging from her perfect pale skin, a steady regime of SPF.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Spa for What??!

I'm filing this one under "now I've heard it all": the first pelvic fitness spa is opening in Manhattan this month. The spa, called Phit (pelvic health integrated techniques) will offer below-the-belt beauty services that center primarily on Kegels, as well as surgery and laser treatments to help women look and feel better where, um, the sun don't shine. Interestingly enough, the spa will also offer regular spa services like micro-dermabrasion and velasmooth (a laser treatment for cellulite). Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of it all. Would you visit a pelvic fitness spa?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Luscious Lips

Confession: I'd love for my lips to look fuller and younger. I'm not talking Angelina Jolie-inspired pillows--just less deflated (and flaky!) than they are now. Which is why I was so excited to try Olay's Regenerist Anti-Aging Lip Treatment. I've only been using it for 3 days, but I'm already impressed--maybe it's all in my head, but I swear my lips are smoother already, and maybe a bit more plump, too. I'll check back in a week or two from now to let you know if I've seen more improvement.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Footloose and Frizz-Free

I've got pin-straight hair--that means it should be frizz-free, right? Guess again. In hot, humid weather--like the kind we've been having here in NYC lately--my hair turns into a tangled, frizzy mess. Adding a bit of hair spray (I like Frederick Fekkai's) after I blow dry my locks helps a bit. One of my colleagues swears by Japanese hair straightening, a.k.a. thermal conditioning (yes, even for already straight hair--particularly if you like that super-flat look that's in style right now). But another friend with hair similar to mine recommended that I try a far less expensive solution: Citre Shine's Shine Miracle Anti-Frizz Serum; I'm going to give it a go later this week. At less than $8, it's worth a shot!