Natural Beauty Tips for Women

Beauty

Natural Beauty Tips for Women

2 Comments 30 July 2011

Discover traditional recipes to get that curvaceous Brazilian body, creamy African skin and those flattering Spanish eyelashes…

Passed down from generations, every country and region has its own beauty extravagances that the natives indulge in. Inspired by the intrinsic passion of the people, adapted to balance the effects of the climate and sweetly nurtured by Mother Earth, the natural beauty secrets we reveal to you are no less efficacious than the lavish spa treatments on your wish list. Try some of these decadent regional delights – the native way – to become a natural nymph.

Be A Brazilian Beauty

Brazilians make the most of Nature’s gifts to them – massaging their bodies with fistfuls of beach sand, these bronzed beauties benefit more from this pleasurable recreation than they realise. Apart from exfoliating, smoothening and toning their skin, the sand also helps in busting cellulite to hone those curvaceous curves. Try this trick to buff your skin.

Be A Spanish Senorita

These gals just can’t have enough fun! They give their hair a final rinse with equal proportions of cranberry juice and water, all to get that magnificent mane and those natural highlights. Before going to bed, grandmas coax the girls to layer castor oil on their eyelashes to keep them thick and healthy; place thin potato slices on their eyes for 10 minutes to allow the juice to seep in and combat the dark circles that excessive partying can give! Take a cue.

Be A Polish Princess

Beauty gets sweet here. Polish women apply honey on the face as an intensive moisturiser and on their lips to make them baby soft. Honey’s firming and moisture-retaining properties make it popular with the older ladies as well, while it also protects the skin from the damage of UV rays. Immerse yourself in some Pooh-ish delight…

Be A Tangy Thai

Popular for their spicy foods, the Thai have their roots firmly placed in exotic spices and the tenets of aromatherapy. Using kitchen cabinet products in their beauty regime Thai women use tamarind as an inexpensive skin exfoliater for its high acidic content and effectiveness; and pulped ripe papaya in facial masks to instantly nourish and exfoliate the skin. Turmeric is applied topically for its antibacterial and healing properties as it soothes irritated skin and lightens blemishes and scars. Fragrant plants such as citronella, lemongrass and ylang ylang flowers are used commonly aromas for their uplifting and rejuvenating abilities. Try some tangy Thai ingredients off your kitchen rack to stimulate your senses.

Indulge, will ya?

Be A Scandinavian Stunner

There’s no rocket-science here – water is the secret of their glowing skin. Splashing their face over 15 times with ice-cold mineral water every day, these girls know how to activate their skin’s natural faculties to work in their frosty climate. Also a great way to close open pores, stimulate nerve endings and reduce puffiness.

Get splashing!

Be An African Attraction

Extracted from the shea nut, pure shea butter is an intimately held secret with the Cleopatras of this land. For generations, Africans have used shea butter to keep their skin soft and luminous. Pure shea butter is a rich emollient abundant in natural Vitamin A and E and good for healing scars and stretch marks; also ideal for preventing hair fall and fortifying cuticles and nails. There are many shea butter skincare products on the shelves but be cautious, often their goodness is diluted by the presence of other additives.

Be A Japanese Geisha

It’s beauty to the tea with the Japanese. Whether it’s to reduce under-eye puffiness, soothe sunburn or calm an itching insect bite, cool tea bags and diluted tea baths do the trick. Camellia oil is another one of their secrets that smoothens and illuminates skin to give a Geisha-like glow. Rumours have it that Kate Winslet used camellia oil during her pregnancy to prevent stretch marks!

 

Be An Aboriginal Australian

Eucalyptus oil and tea tree oils are commonly used here for their healing properties, but a true aborigine uses emu oil. Coming from the native emu bird, this oil is high in unsaturated and fatty acids – a great way to replenish dry and damaged skin, and even mild enough to soothe nappy rashes on baby skin. Massage it in the Aboriginal way, whether to treat wounds, reduce dandruff, or for simple stress reduction. Make sure you get your hands on authentic oil – only pure emu oil solidifies quickly at cool temperatures; reverse this by gently warming the oil.

Be A Juicy Jamaican

If you’re conjuring up images of piña coladas, brush them aside, because when it comes to beauty, Jamaicans go bananas! They treat their skin with banana peels to soften it, protect it from the sun and also to soothe sunburnt areas.So the next time you have your dose of banana, savour the skins for yours!

 

 

How to Do Makeup For Office Party

Beauty

How to Do Makeup For Office Party

No Comments 29 July 2011

After Hours…

Knock off the fatigue to create a completely knockout makeover for your office party. Concentrate on perfecting a flawless complexion, along with keeping that flawless reputation, of course.

You are pooped, drained and sluggish after a long workday and so is your skin; but relax. Help is at hand.

Makeover Basics

So, the main problem with the office party is that you have to carry out your makeover in the privacy (ahem!) of the public loo.

There you are in the harsh glare of naked fluorescents in all your end-of-the-workday glory; and at this point, the only saving grace is that most of your colleagues are in the same boat.

Problems range from inappropriate lighting for doing your make-up to the lip shade you forgot to carry, not to mention the stale make-up you’ve had on for the entire day. All you have are a few moments to patch it all up, but rev up girl – this could be a breeze!

For starters, plan ahead. Start the day with less make-up on than you would normally wear. That way, when you go in for a patch-up, there will be very little to do. Plus, if you get the chance to start over, there will be less to take off. What we are looking for is the essential stuff – minimum effort and maximum results. So what are the beauty must-haves for your make-up bag?

• Cleansing wipes – Excellent for tidying up stray make-up at the end of the day. If you have a chance to completely start from scratch, these little babies work great.

• Compact foundations – a favourite for re-touching, but if you don’t want powder, you could try a creamy compact foundation to get coverage and clean up smudged make-up. Try Prescriptives, Max Factor 3-in-1, Shiseido Liquid Compact, Estée Lauder Revelation and M&S Perfect Compact Foundation. If you like matte, or if you wear powder anyway, powder foundations will again allow you coverage and camouflage blurred make-up.

• Concealer or stick foundation – synonymously, a concealer is going to serve the purpose of concealing or covering spots, bags, and/or redness. The nice thing about it is that it will serve the purpose not only of a cream compact foundation, but is also portable and available in many colours. Dab it onto places where you need coverage, brush it onto blemishes, and if you need, even scribble it on your face like a big crayon and then blend as a foundation. Revlon Creations, Clinique City Stick, Prescriptives Matchstick and BeneFit Play Sticks are but a few on offer.

• Shiny eyeshadow – shimmer on baby; choose either a very pale eyeshadow that can be washed over the lid to jazz up your eyes, or go for a darker colour that you can apply over your darker contour colour. Either way, the change of finish will do wonders to revive the way your eyes look. Use a pale platinum gold (Chanel Venus or Clarins Vanilla Pearl), a pale silver (Chantecaille Light or Dior Cloud), or even a soft gold (Dior Sand Beige or M&S Metal Sheen). You can also use these tinsel potion as highlighters for the rest of your face and body. However, be cautious if you’re standing fully dressed, this loose messy powder could sandblast you with all its might!

• Colour accent shadow – this sort of product is applied just over the lashline about halfway between the pupil and the outer corner of your eye, blending in a spot about the size of a pencil rubber. It adds great pizzazz to neutral daytime eye make-up, while allowing you to experiment with a colour or finish that might be too outrageous to wear as a main shadow.

• Coloured mascara – a huge trend right now, so if you have the guts, go for it! Apply vibrant and visible colour to clean lashes and you’ll see it quite clearly, but if you are applying it over the top of your daytime black or brown, the look will be a lot subtler. Don’t worry about looking like a kickback from Abba, and use one of the more muted shades such as the black-violets, bronze-greens, plum-browns and the blue-black – they aren’t as dark as black, without being as boring as a brown.

• Vivid ‘Aunt Sally’ blusher – a vibrant blusher can make dull daytime make-up come to life, especially if you only have time to apply a little bit over the more neutral colour you wore all day. A light recoat, and the colour can bring a boost to washed-out cheeks when worn softly, or make a bright statement if you want some colour.

• A lipstick and/or gloss – the important thing is to go for a complete turnaround from what you wear in the day. Change the finish from creamy to high metallic, or something sparkly, transparent and glossy, or for all the dare-devils, maybe even dark and matte. Lipstick is that singular piece of make-up that will make the most visible change in your entire look, even if it is the only thing you have changed. The other option would be to get one of the fantastic new glosses with a vinyl finish (Chanel, Kanebo, Maybelline), or a sparkle (Lancôme, M&S Perfect, Max Factor), or even holographic particles (Sisley). How about doing a strong lipstick plus the gloss, what the hell – you aren’t going to have any shine left by the end of the evening anyway!

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

So all ready to go from daytime doldrums to evening diva? Now with your make-up bag ready, don’t forget a quick change of outfit. Nothing like a daring little something to

wear, but whatever you do, make the transformation easy. Plan something complicated and Murphy’s Law takes over; you get a pile of work on your desk 10 minutes before quitting time and you end up going to the party feeling like the ugly duckling.

So, make sure a few quick changes are enough to make everyone’s eyes pop out, and with any luck, won’t make you look like a total trollop. Just remember; come Monday morning, you have to work with these people again. We don’t want them to get the wrong impression now, do we?

 

Best Facial Moisturizer For Winter

Beauty

Best Facial Moisturizer For Winter

No Comments 23 July 2011

Winter puts beauty under assault. Central heating dries the skin, fatty treats do our waistlines in, and while we’re busy squashing ourselves into scratchy sweaters and control-top hose our hair frizzes in the cold air or simply hangs limp in abject sadness.

Paler, plumper and scalier than in any other season, it takes more than bronze blush to improve our look in winter. Yes, this time of year we must also watch our diet, exercise (sorry), care meticulously for our skin and add color at every opportunity. And when I say color, I mean COLOR. The tint of your hair, the shades of your make-up and the scarf you wrap round your neck all have the power to transform “blah” into “yeah, Yeah, YEAH!”

By way of experiment I took up residence at my local Sephora beauty boutique for one week, plastering my face with a different bronzer each day. I skipped rope. I drank more water, I interrogated my hairdresser and bought an ice blue cashmere scarf and a raspberry red lipgloss. My bathtub is now exfoliation central, with loofah and foot scrub at tub’s edge and vitamin E cream within lazy reach.

The results are quite palpable: Despite the Siberian frost outdoors, I no longer look abominable. Rather, my skin is less flaky and flaunts a rosier glow. My hair is tamer and, dare I say, my waist a bit tighter. Coming back from the brink of sludgy complacency and weary winter resignation takes concerted effort, but follow this seven-day plan and you, too, can be Queen of the Snowflakes…

Friday: Make a date with your skin
Remove dry, flaky skin on your face with a gentleexfoliator (try Clarin’s Gentle Exfoliating Refiner), then apply a natural mask of mashed avocado and settle into a warm, sudsy tub. Shave your legs and scrub the soles of your feet with a pumice stone. This will slough off dead skin cells and let moisture in. Follow your bath with a thick layer body moisturizer and, for your feet, Burt’s Bees coconut foot cream. Drink a liter of water, dab on a trusted eye cream, and make it an early night. You need extra beauty sleep in winter to counter the season’s harsh environment.

Saturday and Sunday: Go for the glow
If you spent all week sneaking nibbles of chocolate, spend the weekend revving your metabolism. My exercise of choice is 15 minutes skipping rope, but running up and down steps works just as well. And for goodness’ sake, always take the steps instead of the catching the elevator or escalator. You need to get your blood pumping in order for your face to glow.

A winter weekend is also the perfect time to road-test a new skin bronzer. King of the bronzers is Guerlain’s Terracotta Moisturizing Bronzing Powder. For darker complexions, MAC’s bronzing powder has a slightly orange hue more suitable for olive and dark skin tones. Esteé Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Soft Matte bronzer is flecked with tiny particles of gold, which reflect light with a touch more glamour than a basic bronzer. Try your new bronzer on Sunday to feel comfortable by Monday. You want to look natural at the office rather than strangely basted.

Monday: Plan the week’s diet
Plan what you will eat this week around the rejuvenating principles of nutrition and hydration. Snack on raw nuts at the office, and eat at least three servings of oily fish (salmon, sardines, red tuna) to get your skin more dewy and protect your hair and nails. Include plenty of water in your plan, plus a daily dose of Vitamin E.

Tuesday: Add color to your closet
Take a look at your winter basics. Your coat might be practical black, but your hat, scarf and gloves needn’t be. Rosebud pink, lilac and aqua make blondes and brunettes sparkle. Pistachio green, white and buttercup yellow glow on redheads. Permit yourself little flourishes of detail – embroidery, fringe or ribbon – on stockings, shoes or your handbag. Don’t let utility crush glamour; even your snow boots can look sexy with a glimpse of cherry red angora sock peeking over the top.

Wednesday: Adopt a new make-up rule
Apply a winter warm-up principle to your make-up by wearing less instead of more. Emily Harmon, stylist and make-up artists at the Oscar Bond salon in New York recommends a good moisturizer, mascara and blush rather than the whole make-up routine. “Pale skin benefits from blush to make [it] look rosier,” she says, “and darker complexions look less sallow with a slightly orange-toned blusher. Just straight mascara looks best on pale blondes and saves brunettes from looking washed out.” For every complexion, Harmon recommends red lipstick and a well-defined brow. “The less natural color we have, the more we need strong definition,” she says. “A pale face throws everything else into relief, so the brows and lips are key.”

Thursday: Get rid of the frizz
By now you are buffed, glossed and dressed; the final detail is maintaining lovely locks. Often obscured beneath a fuzzy hat or tied into a sensible ponytail, winter hair suffers from the static of overheated indoors and frizz from gusts of cold outside. To keep the fur-ball effect at bay, use less shampoo and spray on a hair gloss to damp hair. Smooth the ends of your hair with pomade to prevent wisps and fly-away strands. In a pinch, even a dab of hand lotion will help. Winter hair needs just a little weight and a little shine to look great.

Beauty

Achieving Lovely Legs & Pretty Toes

No Comments 21 July 2011

In the dead of winter I sit watching re-runs of Sex and the City and feel tormented by all the long legs and perfect pedicures. Samantha crossing and uncrossing her long glossy gams, Carrie prancing her pink clean heels and glittering toenails around in strappy stilletos. Charlotte wrapping one firm, hairless thigh around yet another lawyer. And me: scaly, calloused, furry, pale and plump—terrified of the return of the miniskirt for summer

How on earth does one transform the bottom half of a body that is dehydrated, bloated and swaddled like an urban Hobbit in nylon panty hose and leg warmers into resort legs? Well, as usual, the best beauty transformation begins in the bath. Loll in a hot oil bath (Weleda Lavender Massage Oil is best!) and raise one leg and foot out of the water. Inspect your heels, toes, toenails, cuticles, calves and thighs. If what you find is chipped, chapped and quivering with cellulite, despair not. I have a plan!

1. Relax: There are 7,000 nerve endings in each of your feet. That gives you 7,000 reasons why you should learn how to massage them. Pampering your feet, legs and thighs every time you shower or bathe with lush caring strokes (Tip: tepid baths are best for winter skin) pumps up your blood circulation, promotes lymphatic drainage, de-bloats tired gams and, most importantly, relaxes the whole body. Feet get pounded in heels and tortured by the cold so they need extra care right now.

Begin your massage literally at the tip of the toes, drawing little circles on the ball of each toe and then stretching each one out one by one. Rotate your fingers into the balls of each foot and drag the knuckles over the arch. Heels need cradling and coddling and ankles respond to gentle upward strokes. Calves hold a lot of body tension as do thighs. Standing up in the bath (with no mirrors in sight), give your legs and thighs an oil massage with a cotton face towel or large sea sponge. Droplets of bath oil need to go in the bath after you get in, as once the body has absorbed water moisture, the oil is more easily locked in. Cellulite is best battled with massage. Vigorous upward strokes on the bottom and thighs aids circulation, which is your friend in the fat wars.

2. Start sloughing: Exfoliating can be gentle or radical depending on how sensitive your skin feels. The feet respond well to a good session with a pumice stone or an extra -gritty foot scrub. Like massage, exfoliation revs up the skin and blood—energizing a part of the body grown sluggish from sitting in an office. To get feet sandal-ready you need to work on hard heels and calluses every day and be careful to protect them from unwanted corns with comfortable shoes (you can wear the heels in summer!). Shaving your legs is an excellent way to slough off dead skin cells and a good preparation for both moisturizing and sunless tanning.

3. Replenish: You cannot slop enough gooey moisture onto your nether regions in winter. Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Balm should be applied in a thick layer and then worn to bed with socks. Body lotion goes on the shins, thighs and even your derriere before you squish into your pajamas. Find one you can stand the smell of. Burt’s Bees Carrot Body Lotion smells like fresh-baked muffins and is non-greasy. Also scrumptious is The Body Shop’s Body Butter in Mango. For the knees you need a slightly heavier balm, Decleor Baume Aromatique Harmonie for Sensitive Skin is lovely.

4. Stay buff: Buffing toenails in winter is a nice way to take a break from nail polish. Spring for the extra cost of a paraffin pedicure as the wax locks moisture in and leaves the feet baby soft. Persistent home grooming of your footsies makes the occasional spa pedicure more affordable. BLISS make a classic big buffer for smoothing over corns and stubborn heels, keep it at the edge of the tub and whittle away. You’ll get there.

5. Fake the Florida tan: Brown legs look slimmer but for heaven’s sake don’t get the sun involved. Fake it! For impatient people Guerlain Terracotta Sun Gold Body Illuminating Gel provides really insta-whammo bronzing, but tinted legs can strike a strange note in the dead of winter if the rest of you remains pale. Try a bronzing dust on face and shoulders to match. For something more gradual, I love Lancome’s self-tanning cream. It takes about three hours to activate but looks totally natural. If you have less time, try the Lancome Soleil Flash Bronzer, a self-tanning magic mousse that imparts a Brazilian goddess glow.

6. Be firm with yourself: Firm legs are impossible to fake so give yourself six weeks of concentrated lunging, walking and stretching to shift those spongy bits. Skipping rope for 15 minutes three times a week, taking the stairs once a day, walking for half an hour and doing mini leg-lifts (front, back and to the side) for two sessions of 20 reps each four times a week is great start. If you are lazier than that, invest in a pair of fantastic heels. A peep toed pair of Marc Jacobs pumps, a cherry red pedicure and a flirty polka dot skirt will have cabs and limousines screeching to a halt without so much as twitching your hips. Go forth and strut!

The six best leg and feet indulgence products:

1. Molton Brown Sea Moss Stress-Relieving Soak Therapy: This is the right stuff for the busy mermaid when readying for a mini-home pedicure or quickie foot bath.

2. A sea sponge as big as your head for all over body massage and invigorating leg work. Increased circulation makes legs glow!

3. Origins Ginger Body Scrub for spa-style exfoliation twice weekly. This is a divine remedy for rough heels and knees.

4. Aveda Hand Relief Lotion, applied everywhere below the hip bone until the first day of spring.

5. Weleda massage oils in Rose and Lavender for foot massage, de-stress soaking and pre-pedicure relaxation.

6. Estee Lauder Private Spa Collection Crystal Glow Sugar Rub for tub exfoliation sessions.

10 Fashion Tips for Moms

Beauty

10 Fashion Tips for Moms

No Comments 19 July 2011

Everyone talks about the glow a woman has directly after giving birth. That is often where the beauty legend about motherhood ends. After the sainthood of delivery, it’s an easy downhill slide into sensible shoes, sleepless nights, “no-fuss” haircuts and endless pants. The habits formed in the first year of looking after a baby can linger longer.

Mom clothes — jeans, knitted stretchy tops and a glazed rain coat to cover everything up — make every day a Sunday. Ah, yes, but comfort breeds complacency. The trouble with dressing like a yoga teacher every day of your life is that you exist in an orbit so far out of planet fashion there is no safe way to re-enter the atmosphere.

I propose 10 steps back towards reclaiming your edge, your cleavage and the right to wear red lipstick to breakfast.

1. Be visible
The sexual neutrality of the Mother began with Mary and reached its peak with June Cleaver. But a lot of women look pretty bad in baby blue. Wholesome cardigans and oatmeal colored clothes do not make you a better mother.

For inspiration rent “Mermaids” and “Erin Brockovich”. For better hair revise the cut you’ve had for the last 12 months. Even sensibly short hair can look sassy with a feathered fringe or radical highlights.

2. Burn your catalogues
The only thing you should be ordering by mail are slipcovers and gardening equipment. Just because you can’t get to amazing boutiques that easily anymore doesn’t mean you should slip into a miasma of boat neck T-shirts and elastic waisted trousers. Get a sewing machine. Shop vintage online or organize a group of girlfriends to go on quarterly shopping trips to stores that don’t sell “Mom clothes.”

3. Lift your hemline
If Florence Henderson could manage a mini-skirt on the Brady Bunch so can you. Fake tan in summer and a pair of Wolford lacy tights in winter permit you the pleasure of having legs again and kitten heels (as opposed to Birkenstocks) give the thickest ankles some oomph. Don’t rule out 50 percent of you body. Work it.

4. Spend on skin
Dehydration, pigmentation and perpetual eye-bags are the legacy of pregnancy and the late nights and early mornings that follow. Try to get a regime that is simple but steadfast even if it means wearing a moisture mask around the house or keeping eye cream at the kitchen sink, in the car and at the office. One thing worth spending money on is skin. Vitamin E capsules, an unscented cleanser, a quality moisturizer and sunscreen should be with you at all times.

5. Banish coral lipstick
Wear the makeup you’ve always loved and don’t you dare ditch that black eyeliner. Tasteful natural shades and matte lipstick are for newsreaders and Edwardian missionaries not you!

6. Exploit your curves
If you gained weight after pregnancy and some of that weight stuck to your hips and bosom, dress to celebrate that luscious goddess poundage instead of hiding under extra layers. This may be the only time you have real cleavage so indulge in a low-cut cashmere sweater and a gorgeous Italian bra. Who says you can’t wear maternity pads inside a La Perla? Adjusting to a new body shape demands different clothing. Don’t despair about not fitting into college jeans. Go out and buy a bias-cut skirt.

7. Ask your husband
He remembers a favorite dress or a pair of earrings that are now in mothballs at the back of your closet. Reviving the date dressing you once took for granted rekindles the romance of life before Pampers.

8. Demand a gym subscription
Getting your confidence back after one year or 20 years of mothering is a physical thing. Getting to the gym three times a week may seem incredibly optimistic but it could be your only truly private time, so seize it. Don’t ask for flowers this year, ask for CRUNCH.

9. Embarrass your kids
If your children whine when you turn up to PTA meetings in a leopard skin pillbox hat politely ignore them. The conformity that children want will only stifle their little spirits in the long run. What seems horribly eccentric to a seven-year-old may also be on the front of Italian Vogue magazine. Conversely, your children may also give you fashion tips. Why not wear matching plastic bobbles and polka-dot ankle socks to the supermarket one morning? You’re only young twice.

10. Don’t forget scent
Your house doesn’t have to smell like apple pie. Patchouli oil, Ylang Ylang and Anick Goutal also form brilliant childhood memories. Scent, more than clothes, lingerie or even heels ground you in the sensuality and individuality of being a woman. Whether it’s a dab of vanilla essence behind your ears or a bath oiled with Chanel No.19, perfume remains your invisible weapon against sensual mediocrity.

How to Pick The Right Lipstick in 6 Steps

Beauty

How to Pick The Right Lipstick in 6 Steps

No Comments 16 July 2011

We all get stuck in bad beauty habits. The same old lipstick at the bottom of our bag is asked to stretch from dawn to dusk and, sometimes, from decade to decade. Really that’s a shame given that lipstick is the fastest way to bring instant bloom to your face and instant change to your look. Women buy a lot of lipstick, especially in times of recession or war. Recent surveys have revealed a boom in bright red, signifying patriotic pouting style ala Betty Grable. But how many women are really wearing those vivid new shades inspired by Uncle Sam? Not enough. To enbolden your bocca (that’s Italian for kisser) and blaze a new beauty trail try this speedy quiz.

1. The Natural Look

On a day without lipstick you look:

A. About ten years younger if a bit plain.
B. Rosy, sensual and well rested.
C. Slightly Dickensian and miserable.

If you chose….
A. You have a heart-shaped mouth with bottom lip more pronounced than the top. A versatile shape that’s easy to flatter with cream lipsticks. Add a dab of paler color to the centre of the bottom lip for fullness.
B. You have ‘fat’ voluptous lips, the minority that go without color: try a sheer gloss or tinted lipbalm and outline in a neutral pencil.
C.You have thin lips and it’s not the end of the world. Buy a lip brush and go for rosy expansive shades and gloss finishes.

2. Self Portrait

Your coloring is best described as:

A. Extremely pale summer or winter, ala Winona Ryder.
B. Honey coloured, olive and sometimes (in winter) a little sallow, just like Rosie Perez.
C. Dark and lovely, a deep brown skin like model Alex Wek.

If you chose…
A or B, you have cool-toned skin and need to avoid any lipstick with a yellow or orange undertone. Plums, rich blue reds, rosy pinks all work for you.
If you answered C, check out brick reds, bronze, spice, cherry reds, yellow reds, brick reds, apricot brown, soft peach, beige, toast.

3. The Texture Question

Your ideal lipstick would be:

A. Brightly colored with a little gloss
B. Matte with plenty of drama
C. Extremely fattening, rosy and a little sheer

If you chose…
A. Try a cream lipstick and then slick some sheer glitter gloss over the top. Try one of the new irridescents. They are more modern than the frosted looks of the 60s and refracted light is very sexy.
B. For a better matte mouth try a semi-matte for a change: less dehydrating, less ‘cakey’.
D. Thinner lips can wear cream lipsticks just shoose shades that expand- rosy pinks, russet and rich plums.

 

4. The Shape of Lipsticks to Come

Your mouth most resembles:
A. Pouty: Vivien Leigh when Clark Gable leaves her for good.
B. Puffy: Angelina Jolie whilst eating cotton candy.
C. Prim: Anjelica Huston scowling.

If you chose…
A. Your heart-shaped mouth with a thinner upper lip needs pencil definition and a paler color at the center of the lips. Expand the upper lip with a slightly arcing line, add a touch of gloss to the middle of the lower lip.
B. To define a larger mouth, outline the mouth with exactly the same shade pencil and lipstick.
C. Instant weight gain for slim lips: adding a touch of concealer in the middle of your lips on top of your lipstick this helps to ‘expand’ the color by making it a shade paler.

 

 

5. Old Habits

The lipstick you keep buying is:
A. Dusky rose with shades of violet
B. Basic beige
C. Flaming crimson

If you chose …
A. Go buy a new shade today. Try hot pink, burnt rose, cherry red, burgundy, plum
B. Experiment with bronze, taupe, candy apple red, smoky pink, spice
C. If you can wear really strong red, you can switch to something
softer in any shade based in blue. Try a dusky rose, a veil of violet or a fleshy, just-kissed pink. Lighter colors ‘open up’ your features. 

6. Secrets of Good Kissers

You hate when your lipstick:
A. Bleeds and feathers after one cappucino
B. Makes your mouth look messy
C. Makes your face look tired

If you chose…
A. Control runny lipstick with an application of pencil base first and use a baby brush — it really helps. Choose pencils that are not too oily. If they streak on your hand they will do the same on your face.
B. Be the boss of gloss by dusting the lips lightly with powder before applying and outlining lightly in pencil.
C. Try a paler pencil and then match it with gloss. Don’t be afraid to wear your favorite shade as an accent to gloss, blending it in as the final touch. Lipsticks last longer and lunch dates are less of a drama. Complex post lasagna touch-ups crush romance.

At Home Hair Coloring Tips

Beauty

At Home Hair Coloring Tips

No Comments 16 January 2011

Is there is no sadder reminder of summer gone by than old highlights framing your pale face? Faded and wispy, they clash with their darker outgrown roots. My own tired tendrils brought me to a cross-road: To re-dye or re-grow it out?

How many other women face the same problem? I’d guess millions, and I’ll bet those numbers rise when the weather gets grim. Whether you have outgrown highlights, lingering lowlights or a fading semi-perm rinse, the temptation to re-color in winter is fierce. Blonde hair goes ashy, grays become prominent, and in-between shades just seem more so on a gray day.
Boosting or completely changing your hair color without scalding your scalp, getting the wrong shade or spending a bundle takes some research. Mine started in a wig shop. Dragging a completely black Halloween wig onto my head I proved one thing: Pale skin with blue tones can handle darker hair, and blonde highlights are not for everyone. My J. Lo days behind me, I marched into Oscar Bond salon in New York and shook my sad hair in the colorist’s face. Instead of screaming, she just smiled and offered all sorts of comforting solutions. I learned that re-dying, recovering a little gray or simply returning to natural needn’t put you on a chemical treadmill of salon dependency. Rather, heed these smart ways back to gorgeous winter hair.
 

FIRST: RECONDITION

Color-treated hair is weak and dehydrated. It needs a weekly deep-conditioning treatment and special treats such as a month’s break from shampoo (just wash with conditioner), and natural masks like olive oil or whipped egg yolks to keep it shiny. If you must recolor, go to the salon with dirty hair — the oil will protect your scalp!

SALON OR SELF-HELP?

Covering roots can be done safely at your kitchen sink, but you need a friend to help you reach the back of your head and a reliable alarm clock to tell you when you need to rinse out the gunk. Low ammonia, low peroxide dyes are gentler, and match the color to your face — not the model on the box. Commercial dyes tend to be darker than advertised, so choose a shade one or two lighter than your natural color. Some dyes are also more toxic than others. Avoid anything that contains phenylenediamine, acid blue 168, acid violet 73, acid orange 87 or solvent brown 44, as these ingredients have been linked to cancer, says Rona Berg in Beauty — The New Basics. To care for home-tinted hair, wash it in cool (un-chlorinated) water, avoid too many blow-outs and splurge on luscious conditioners.

THE COLOR QUESTION

There’s a big difference between maintaining an existing color and making a radical change. If you’re going to the trouble (and expense) of a professional colorist, why not be a little more adventurous? The present color of you hair might be dictated by complacent make-up habits (the dreaded coral lipstick!), the wrong cut or simple conservatism. I am going a whole shade darker this Christmas to embrace rather than battle my pale white skin. With a different eye shadow or a wavier style that reveals more layers of color, you might find a hidden redhead or a russet blonde waiting to break free. And if you opt for a rinse instead of permanent color, your experiment won’t feel like a new tattoo.

FABULOUS FAKES

Sometimes a color-enhancing shampoo or a henna-rich conditioner is all you need to boost fading semi-permanent color. To hide grays, try hair mascara, which lasts 24 hours, or color mousse, which can last for weeks. To get highlights without actually dying your hair, find a salon that will weave highlighted extensions into your hair. Non-damaging, lengthening and highly glamorous, it’s the ultimate answer for non-committal types.

GENTLE ARTIFICE

For something lasting but not devastating, demi-permanent color is ammonia free and deposits color without lightening. Lower in peroxide and more subtle in the way it blends, a demi leaves less obvious roots. For permed hair, a semi-permanent dye is best because the process involves no ammonia or peroxide. Like a demi, the color lasts six weeks and is subtle at the roots.

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA

If you decide a whole-head dip is the only way to go, you’ll need the gentlest touch possible. Salons have the advantage of better techniques, more sophisticated products and formulas unavailable at drug stores. They also know the degree of color you need. Don’t go in without examples of hair you love torn from magazines, and do wear your regular palette of make-up colors. As salon lighting is not so natural, drag your colorist outside to reveal your true hair and skin tones.

If you’re willing to maintain your re-growth with touch-ups every six weeks or so, the benefits of a permanent color can be rich. Be sure to ask for a low-ammonia, low-peroxide formula, and lean toward products that use botanicals. Try to avoid a bone-dry blow-out immediately after you color, and instead let your hair a rest awhile. Lastly, lift your chin and shake your head as you leave the salon. My mother swears by this feminine flourish, the perfect expression of her triumph over age and nature!

Fashions and Products for “Middle Youth”

Beauty

Fashions and Products for “Middle Youth”

No Comments 11 February 2010

The day I turned 29 I threw out everything in my wardrobe that was chocolate brown or cut soberly to the knee. Investing in a pair of black leather go-go boots, I proceeded to wear emerald green eyeliner, tousled Bardot-style hair, a bodysuit and hipster cords. It didn’t take a shrink to tell me I was desperately fighting the fact that I would soon be 30. Eight years later on my 37th birthday, out came the eyeliner, the big hair, the high-heeled boots and the slippery little dress. Guess who’s fighting 40?

Armed with a jar of Crème de la Mer and a new petal-pink MAC lipstick called Lovelorn, I expect to pout and shimmy my way around the problem. Vogue might coax me to wear a sensible bone-colored trench coat, some beige linen cargo pants and a fluffy little hairdo that softens my laugh lines like Meg Ryan. Harper’s Bazaar might weigh in favoring a conservative, classic little suit and Botox, but I’m not ready for all that. In fact, I will never be ready for earth-colored eye shadow, discreet cosmetic surgery or pebble-colored Armani, and I am sure millions of women at this precipice they call “middle youth” feel the same.

The canyon that exists between Juicy Couture sweats and elastic-waist chinos leaves us all stuck between a rock and bad look. If style is a department store, then there’s a floor missing between teen fashion on one, career woman on two and Grandma’s knitted things on three. It is assumed that 40-somethings are either running the boardroom in a sexless tailored suit or ruling a tribe of kids in jeans and sweats—without much joy in between. Given the gap, many women feel obliged to either ape a much younger style or conform to that weirdly sexless category known as “smart casuals”: boat-necked cashmere sweaters, knee-length A-line linen skirts and brushed-cotton pastel pea coats. Ugh.

“Classics” can easily be an excuse for camouflage. Necklines slowly creep up, hems slip down and perfectly fit figures start to obscure themselves in discreet layers. “Mom” clothes are supposed to be sporty and spill-proof but who said you can’t cook a casserole with a pinch of cleavage? Nigella Lawson does it beautifully. The idea of age-appropriate style is due for a fashion backlash because it is a popular notion that conceals a lie: that women get less sexy as they age and that they should defer sensuality to the young. But I’m not ready to move over just yet. Are you?

Sure, all of us make bargains with maturity. A pink angora sweater looks odd with crow’s feet. But other than the obvious physical changes, aging is a matter of style as well as gravitational pull. Anne Bancroft was only 36 when she played Mrs. Robinson, the ultimate older woman in The Graduate. Yet her hair-sprayed chignon, heavy black eyeliner and severe tailoring made her look prematurely hardened. Looking older is not the natural result of being older. At 28, Grace Kelly was famous for her handbag but not for those frumpy bouclé suits and chunky low heels. Even Princess Rania of Jordan looks chic beyond her years, and so did Jackie-O in her Camelot era. Elegance makes everyone look 40—even Madonna. Perhaps even she came to realize that there’s a time to dress for dinner and wear pearls and heels that don’t feel borrowed.

Dressing like a lady is one of the pleasures of being a grown-up and not a girl. It is also an art. European women understand this but they stretch the conventions so they never look starchy. If glamour is the consolation prize for lost collagen, they work it. Reveling in outrageous perfumes and trailing Missoni scarves, the French and the Italians wear womanhood like a badge of honor. Fruity, full-blown and a bit nonchalant, they’ll team a black tuxedo jacket with jeans, high heels and a studded Sonia Rykiel bag. These women, sporting bracelets they found in India, a beret from the flea market or a single diamond earring, look deliberately ripe…experienced…
wonderful.

Just look at Florida-native Lauren Hutton hopping on her motorbike in silk parachute pants. Or Jane Birkin, all crinkly eyes and tangled long mane ordering another café au lait at Cafe Flore. Witness Susan Sarandon saucy in yet another corset dress and the thought of freezing your face into a static mask of youth just fades. The stars that do less to their faces do so much more as role models: They are fluid and scarred, tanned and defiant—alive. Nipped, tucked and dieted into size-two Dolce and Gabbana, the women who violently cheat their age look attractive but anxious, like custodians vigilantly trapped inside a museum of their own beauty.

Beauty after 40 does takes work, but it shouldn’t feel like a job. I delegate the moisture, elasticity and protection of my almost-40 face to a lot of bottled water and a handful of jars and potions: MD Skincare Maximum Moisture Treatment by night, Nuxe Phytochoc Lift Emulsion by day, Clarins Special Eye Contour Balm 24/7 and Molton Brown Liplift Formula lipstick on days when my lips look set to disappear altogether. Beyond this kit, I’ve found other ways to keep the bloom blossoming: Galumphing around in the snow gulping down fresh air, singing aloud, laughing hysterically, eating herring with ice-cold riesling and making love in the afternoon are also crucial beauty aids rarely listed for “older skin”.

There is no doubt that workouts, a good colorist and an even better bra make good sense, but a passionate personal style is even more important. At 55 my mother has just bought six yards of forest-green fake fur and cut velvet to make an opera coat. At 57 my girlfriend Wendy is trawling the markets of Shanghai for the perfect black silk cheongsam jacket. At 65-plus Helene is wearing a forest of art deco bangles while she paints. These women are not sitting around grieving the loss of a bikini belly, and this summer neither shall I. Forty is no longer a milestone at the start of a style Sahara. Right now I am marching towards it with a mixture of defiance and curiosity: three-inch Cuban heels, DVF wrap dress, five-pound hand weights and all!

10 fashion moments only a 40-year-old can get right:

1. Wearing Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium to breakfast

2. Stealing her husband’s shirts, ties or even his pants if she needs to

3. Teaming a Chanel jacket with jeans

4. Tying a Hermés scarf around the handle of her handbag

5. A real-deal, full-length ballgown

6. Diamonds at brunch and a seriously fake cocktail ring

7. Camellias on a lapel

8. A dress shirt and a black-leather pencil skirt

9. A classic Chanel handbag

10. Red lipstick with red high heels

Falling Into Style

Beauty

Falling Into Style

No Comments 11 February 2010

Plan for 1890s decadence this fall

Fashion follows a pattern of predictable reversals to keep itself fresh. If this summer’s girl was a lusty peasant in flared cuffs, folksy denim and leather, then her sequel is bound to be a prim Princess in tailored velvet jackets and knee high boots.

Hard looks follow soft ones, long skirts follow short and bizarre little twists unnerve enough to keep us shopping for seasonal pieces. If you’re smart you’ll make tiny changes to update your wardrobe and ignore the more outlandish (and expensive) urgings of the glossies. One beautifully cut jacket and a great pair of boots are THE style survival basics for fall, and the rest, well that depends on your hips, your budget and your Cinderella fantasies.

The Jacket

Fall’s jackets are a little bit theatrical. Think Napoleon, Adam Ant and late seventies Oscar De la Renta and you have the jacket of the moment. Epaulets, snug square shoulders and high collars cut a flattering swathe and take us away from the predictable black leather jacket worn eternally by Meg Ryan and Rachel on “Friends.”

The romantic cut of this season’s jackets can be worn with a paisley silk scarf or romantic blouse with lacy frills for evening. During the day it looks best worn laid back: Try a roll neck sweater or long sleeved T in a bold stripe. The new tailored cavalry jacket’s waist skimming lines suit a slender trouser, jeans or a knee length slightly flared skirt.

The boot

Boots on the runways in Europe nudged the knees and reached thigh high at Gucci. A more moderate version looks hot reaching the top of the calf and sports a slightly lower heel — the better to stride rather than hobble. After years of pointed toes, boots for fall are less witchy and sport a rounder toe.

The beauty of investing in a great pair of boots is the sex appeal they lend seemingly innocent and even plain items. Boots transform a gray wool shift, a kilt or a little hand knitted cardigan into something sassy. Wear them bare legged with a straight tweed skirt and a cavalry jacket to lead the stampede.

The crazy knit

The sensible cashmere twin set in pretty pastels has passed. In its place are English eccentrics: sweater vests with sweet rows of knitted stitches across the front. Softening the edges of tailored skirts and trousers are hand knits made to look like jackets, cable knits in shrunken proportions and tight little cardigans sporting whimsical buttons. Pull one on and the season when libraries, long walks and bicycle rides through crunchy leaves beckons.

The pencil skirt

Women cringe when this skirt shape comes back, reaching for killer heels and Spanx® power panties to straighten their lines. If your shape is string bean, by all means wriggle into the season’s herringbone tweed pencil skirts. The rest of us can avail the alternatives: leather skirts flared slightly at the hip, wool lycra (infinitely forgiving) or a sweet little kilt.

Try a straight skirt one size bigger — just don’t buy a thing until you’ve found a coordinating dream jacket. A tightly tailored top affords a longer, more generous skirt, and tall boots shave pounds off your frame. Above all keep your skirt plain: no flounces, no distressed denim and absolutely no chunky hip belts.

The bag

After so many slouchy suede shoulder bags, fringed denim duffels and canvas weekenders, the pleasure of an autumn bag dwells in its structure. Tapestry carpet bags ala Mary Poppins and little velvet handbags for night add a dash of Victorian splendor to streamlined suits and military jackets.

Corsets, crosses and curls

Plan for 1890s decadence this fall. Corsets in velvet and damask worn with chokers, crystal crosses and sweeping skirts make an office girl feel like a Russian empress. To complete the image trade your blow-out for a curling iron or let your natural kinks tumble dry. Romance the look with a velvet muff, or something more subtle like rich plum lipstick or a black velvet ribbon tied around one wrist. With this look, a little goes a long way: a glimpse of lace stocking beneath a sober suede skirt, a Victorian necklace with a straight suit or a little black dress in velvet instead of crepe are fall’s passionate pleasures.

How to Dress a Winter Body for Sun

Beauty, Featured

How to Dress a Winter Body for Sun

No Comments 10 February 2010

Spring-break breakdown

Two white thighs tumble out of a pair of control-top hose under the neon lights of the fitting room. Without the help of Lycra you are a full two sizes larger. The world is going to hell in handbasket and now, so has your derriere. The summer-bikini diet is not working. On top of it all, spring break is luring you to exotic climes on package deals that promise cut-rate sunshine.

But what do you wear when your dreams are in Acapulco and your body is still taking a snow day? How do you compete with the college brats cavorting in their cut-offs, crocheted bikini tops and twig-shaped society girls with Palm Beach winter tans? One flimsy little pareo is not going to save you from beach shame, and neither will a gallon of sunless-tanning lotion. What you need in order to step into the spotlight of a blinding sun are accessories to dazzle and distract as well as shapes that conceal and flatter. Most women expect themselves to look fantabulous after five days of Hawaiian Tropic and lapping waves, but why wait? The illusion of instant breeziness can be concocted long before you clear customs and fling your cell phone into the sea.

Beach-bum beauty: Invest in a day-spa orgy before you go away. Slough off the drudgery of a long winter and start the relaxation process rolling. If you splurge on an exfoliating facial, a pedicure, a manicure and a big glossy sun-kissed head of highlights, even the cheapest knock-off sunglasses and drawstring linen pants will look luxe. Take aftercare products on your trip such as footbalm for heels and a lightly-moisturizing treatment for the tips of your hair (Redken’s Undone is great) and use this downtime to keep pampering.

Pack holiday make-up that is much lighter than your usual office look—and a touch sexier. A bronzing powder, sheer nude or flesh-pink lipstick, blue or deep emerald mascara (black is so bland) and a tinted sunscreen are all you really need. If you are a bronzing virgin or look strangely gilded in the orange tones of most self-tan cosmetics, find a porcelain pale rosy blusher and apply it with a really big blush brush to your shoulders, nose, cheeks and décolleté. Faking the flush of a day in the sun is so much better than a real roasting. Last but not least, switch perfumes. A splash of the sweet, citrus-scented Calypso Homme by Christiane Calle will make you feel like you are in St. John even if you only make it as far as Tennessee.

Flatter your faults

For the coolest cover-up, just look at Drew Barrymore in the closing shots Charlie’s Angels. There she is, cavorting in a sheer cotton caftan that falls off one shoulder and floats ambiguously around her form. When she jumps into the surf the shift becomes a sensual mermaid sheath clinging and concealing at the same time and all but eclipsing Cameron Diaz’s perfect rear end. Instead of cowering from the cellulite police under a beach umbrella, think ahead and spend real time choosing clever beach outfits.

In Italy, the fashionistas take Victorian nightgowns and hand dye them for the summer. You could do the same with a vintage men’s tuxedo shirt. Dip it in pale lilac and team it with a big straw hat and a few silver bracelets. Or wear a sheer floral silk slip and a tiny

white camisole. Layered lingerie takes the trauma out of slinking down to the water’s edge. Who says you have to wear baggy cotton shorts and message T-shirts to power walk the sand? I’d much rather do it in a tie-dyed djellaba cut to knee length, or a black one piece maillot and a bias-cut tango skirt. Sports clothes lack spice!

Never theme-dress

Hawaiian shirts in Hawaii, yachting shoes on yachts, white ruffles in the Caribbean and hot-pink cheesecloth in Mexico scream tourist—or even worse, retirement village group travel. Think about it: A boat-necked striped T-shirt doesn’t help you sail a boat, and blinding white trousers and billowing starchy white shirts are more evocative of the Love Boat than Kate Hepburn on the African Queen. Ditch contrived looks and clothes that look like they came straight from the department store. Look for cream and ivory instead of white whites. Look for relaxed fabrics like crushed silk, linen/cotton blends and Tencel instead of cotton Lycra and seersucker. Break your sandals in for a good three weeks before wearing them. Put your straw hat in the spin cycle. Wear a Javanese sarong, and a linen waistcoat instead of a shell top and Bermuda shorts. In fact, avoid any item of spring/resort clothing that reminds you of a golf course, a bridge party or happy hour in Boca Raton.

Cheat your hips

Retro trends for spring give winter chub quite a lot of grace. Exploit the return of the ’70s A-line halter dress (my favorite is by Marimekko at Anthropologie), the brightly patterned gathered skirt and the pastel cashmere cardigan (a great upper-arm concealer). Distract from wayward hips and thick midriffs by teaming a crisp white linen blazer over a skinny striped T-shirt and a silk combat skirt. Yes! I said combat skirt, not pants. At last some genius has come up with a flattering alternative to the trouser of the millennium. Because, as we all know, combat pants, no matter how elegantly made, only look flattering on Avril Levigne.

Elevate your assets

Ignore the return to ballet flats and dead-flat pointed pumps—they make winter legs look like tree stumps. Spring dresses and capri pants need lift, and pale legs need to extend their line. The most comfortable heel is not the sling-back kitten heel of last spring, but rather a wedge, a solid stacked heel or a platform espadrille. Worn with a floaty handkerchief skirt, some pinstriped pants or even jeans and a vintage-style blouse, a little heel helps you strut instead of waddle. Beware of showing too much heel and toe too early in the season! Save the urge to wear wafer-thin sandals, naked strappy heels and the vixenish mule till high summer. Spring is the season of the lady-like shoe.

Five final golden rules:

1. Be bold, to a point: Brave a bold print, but only on a skirt and only to the knee. Or make an impact with a bold handkerchief silk scarf worn as a choker.

2. Temper pastels with neutrals for added chic: Combine pale pink with caramel, aqua blue with wheat-colored straw, lemon yellow with chocolate-brown leather.

3. Update old favorites: Find a nice floppy hat that looks like you’ve owned it for years and pin a silk flower to the very edge of the brim.

4. Don’t join the club: Avoid suits, starched shirts, bright nautical stripes (except on handbags) huge polka dots and gingham. Country club styles look best on girls under seven and over 70.

5. Unveil your inner dancer: Wear a crumpled silk ballerina skirt to just above the ankle and a cashmere ballerina wrap with platform sandals and a few bracelets. Gypsies know how to slink from season to season.

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