With Christmas just a few days away, I started thinking about watching The Sound of Music and Maria singing about her favorite things. Alas, a new post idea came to mind..I will list my Top 10 favorite beauty items that I use myself or write about often because they always seem to work well for any skintone and type. By the way, The Sound of Music is my all time favorite so it is no surprise that it inspired me to write!
2010 Favorite Things
- Shiseido Benefiance Anti Wrinkle Concentrated Eye Cream-The best eye cream I have ever used as it moisturizes without being greasy and helps reflect light off the eye area. Great for day and night! Available at all major department stores, Amazon.com and Sephora.com
- Estee Lauder Double Wear Makeup-For long lasting foundations, powders and concealers, Estee Lauder hit the bullseye with this line. They have now added lipstick and eyeshadow. Available at all major department stores and http://www.esteelauder.com/
- Shiseido D Program Cleansing Oil and Cleansing Gel-I was lucky to find these gems when I was in Tokyo and my skin has been clearer and brighter.
- Maybelline Great Lash Mascara (All Formulas) -The wand on this mascara is very short and fine which makes it easy to get all the way to the corners of the inner lashes. It takes a little bit longer to build up the lashes, but the result is good definition and I have been using the waterproof formula on brides for years. Available at all major drug stores and Ulta.
- MAC Lipstick-Still only priced at $14, MAC offers a fantastic selection of color that wears well and feels great on the lips. Available at department stores, MAC Stores and http://www.maccosmetics.com/.
- Nars Blush in Orgasm and Super Orgasm-You can wear these colors alone or layered to brighten the face and a soft sweep of Orgasm over the eye will create a sun kissed look. Available at Sephora and http://www.narscosmetics.com/.
- Chanel Waterproof Eye Liner pencils-My oily eyelids never could depend on waterproof liner until I used the selection from Chanel. Even the black glides on beautifully and I have to wash it off at night. Available at department stores and http://www.chanel.com/.
- Clinique Intensive Repairwear for Lips-Dry chapped lips will enjoy this conditioner as it is not waxy and makes a great base for lipstick. I carry a tube in my purse, keep one in the bathroom and one in my bedroom. Department stores and http://www.clinique.com/.
- Vanicream-Vanicream is available in both a cream and lotion. Pharmacists use the cream to help compound dermatology prescriptions as there is no fragrance and the texture is rich without being greasy. For oilier skins, the lotion will give skin moisture without clogging pores. Available at Walgreens.
- Okay, everyone can laugh at this one, but to help blemishes come to the surface quickly and take the red out, I love Natural White Sensitive Extreme Toothpaste for a bedtime treatment. For day time, I use the original Visine formula to keep red at a minimum. Crazy, but it works!
I would love to hear about some favorite products that work well for you!
Before making the trip to the dermatologist because your face has started to break out, it is really smart to look at how you are washing your face. I got my first pimple when I was 10 and had I known that I should have been washing my face like an adult, I could have saved myself a lot of agony.
Here are simple, inexpensive tips that you can share with your friends that will help keep your skin clear and make your makeup look better.
- Washing your face 2x a day with a gentle cleanser like Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser will clean your skin without taking all the oils your skin needs to keep it healthy. We are taught that by drying out oil, we will help clear the skin. NOT TRUE!!! Stripping the skin can actually cause blackheads because the dry flakes go back into your pores.
- In your T-Zone area, which is your forehead, nose area and chin, use an alcohol free toner with a cotton pad to wipe off excess dirt and debris after you cleanse. Neutrogena makes a good product called Alcohol Free Toner that you can also use to wipe down your face after time in gym class or your sports activities.
- Even though your skin is really young and you may have oil, it is still very important to use a light moisturizer to keep the surface of the skin soft. Oil and moisture aren’t the same. Moisture is not produced by the skin or in very little quantities so your skin surface needs to stay protected. If you can find a moisturizer that you like with a sunscreen, that is even better. You only need a few drops before makeup and at bed time to keep the pores from getting extra access to outdoor debris.
- Change your sponges in pressed powder often so dirt can’t build up. If you carry a powder compact in your purse, put a few extra sponge wedges in a plastic bag and dispose of the dirty ones.
- Use an exfoliant or scrub at least twice a week in the shower to get dead skin off the surface of the face. I like to wash my hair, my body and then my face so my pores have time to open. Once you wash your face, use your scrub for about two minutes (especially in the T-Zone) and then rinse. Put your moisturizer on as soon as you get out of the shower to close the pores.
Visit the neutrogena site at http://www.neutrogena.com/.
Have you ever been in this scenario? You walk out the doors and get hit by a gust of blustery wind or for those lucky enough to live in warmer climates, you walk outdoors and feel a blanket of humidity. Suddenly, your nose and cheeks turn into the color of a tomato and all you want to do is run for cover because your rosacea is flaring up. Does this sound familiar? The good news, learning how to balance your skin can help avoid rosacea flare ups or minimize the amount of redness that appears.
Rosacea is a hormonal condition much like acne and can be treated very easily except for extreme conditions which require more aggressive treatments. What often looks like rosacea is often skin that gets red because of using products which can dry the skin out and make it appear delicately thin and raw. Overuse of products such as Retin-A and retinol products can cause this to occur because they peel the skin and make it sun sensitive. Lack of moisture in the skin will also cause ruddiness.
For men and women truly suffering from rosacea, using a simple basic skin care routine and prescription creams such as Metro-Gel, Metro-Lotion or Finacea can keep flare ups to a minimum. One of the biggest issues I see in clients with rosacea is that they have been educated to use soap as a cleanser and no moisturizer with their treatment cream. By following this treatment, rosacea will actually be more apparent during flare ups because the skin becomes so parched and thin, that blood vessels will appear even closer to the surface of the face. People with rosacea need gentle soap free cleansers, alcohol free toners (if needed) and moisturizers that offer a good amount of moisture and sunscreen to keep the surface of the skin healthy. Much like every other part of the body, drinking clear fluids which keep the body hydrated, will also keep rosacea from flaring up because when the body is in balance, it has a natural ability to maintain body temperature.
Visit http://www.rosacea.org/ to learn more about rosacea treatments and http://www.coverfx.com/ to see the best treatment makeup that I have worked with to cover any redness that you are dealing with.
Image used from the Cover Fx website.
After a brief hiatus to study for finals, I am adding a new makeup tip that is near and dear to my heart after looking at my red eyes from looking at too much homework. Eyes can get red from being dry, allergies, illness and tearing. Luckily, there are some quick, easy fixes to brighten you up in just a few minutes.
- The original Visine is still the best product for red eyes. Apply a couple of drops to each eye, gently pat dry and you will see results quickly. For allergy sufferers like myself who tend to get dry eyes, Rohto Hydrating Lubrincant Drops work well both indoors and outdoors.
- Using a navy eye pencil to line the rims of the eyes will give a great contrast to the red in the eye while giving the eye a more defined look. If your eyes tend to be sensitive, line the upper eyelid as closely to the lash line as possible for a similar effect.
- After applying your usual coat of black mascara, apply a blue or blue mascara over the black to make the lashes look fuller and brighten the whole eye. Use a lash comb to separate the lashes to make the eye look wider as well.
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At this time of the year as the parties are in full force, one of the questions that I answer a lot is how to fix puffy eyes. Here are tips that you can do to actually drain puffy eyes and to camouflage them with makeup.
Draining Puffy Eyes
- Lying on your back in bed or setting your head back while sitting at your desk, gently tap the areas that are puffy. This allows the excess fluid under the eyes to drain down through the body which will help alleviate puffiness. The tapping should have very light pressure.
- Refrigerated used tea bags wrapped in plastic, cucumber slices and gel ice masks when applied while lying down help cool the temperature of the skin which will also be useful. Try to lay still for about 5-10 minutes.
- Avoid excess salt in your diet as salt retains water and can cause swelling. Our bodies need sodium to stay balanced.
- Cardiovascular exercise is a great tool for draining excess fluids and to prevent our bodies from fluid build up.
- Drink the daily recommended dose of water.
- Use eye cream to keep the eye area moist. Eye creams don’t have to be oil free. It is when the cream is placed to close to the eye that swelling and irritation can occur. Lightly tap your eyecream around your eyebone and brow bone.
- Use a concealer a shade or 2 darker over the area of the eye that is puffy. When well blended, this helps reduce the appearance of puffiness.
- Two great corrective techniques using a soft warm beige matte shadow and a soft cream matte shadow. Gently brush the warm beige over the puffy areas and use the soft cream to fill in the areas that appear sunken in to give the appearance of those areas looking fuller.
*Image used courtesy of http://www.darkcirclespuffyeyes.com/.
As the days get colder, we notice our skins getting dryer, we may be a little more irritable and normal aches and pains may seem to increase. Is it in our minds? As the air gets dryer, the body feels the effects not only externally, but internally as well because our systems tend to become dehydrated. When we are dehydrated, we tend to feel sluggish because the bodies’ ability to flush out toxins decreases and our body systems slow down.
We often gain weight during the winter due to the fact that we don’t drink enough clear fluids because we may not be exercising the same or we feel like drinking colder fluids will add to the chill that bulky sweaters are trying to warm up. When the body is thirsty and we don’t have enough fluid in us, we tend to get hungry which causes us to eat. Drinking more water and tea will actually help the body’s natural temperature to stay in balance which will help us stay more alert and active. For those of you who don’t like to drink tea, a mug of hot water with a little lemon will not only help you stay hydrated, the lemon will act as a natural diuretic and help the body flush out excess toxins.
I have noticed that I have had people from Europe and Canada reading my makeup tips and since many trips to Canada and my one trip to Europe found me spending a lot of sightseeing time in the drugstores, I wanted to add some brands that I found and loved.
Canada: Shoppers Drug is the ultimate paradise. I could spend hours there without leaving the cosmetics department. I found the Quo, Annabelle and Marcelle lines to have a great variety of products and colors. Annabelle Lip Pencils wear really well and can be used as lip colors by filling in your lips and adding a clear gloss over.
Europe: Where do I begin? Besides having extended versions of Maybelline, L’oreal and Rimmel, Max Factor carries some of the best mascaras and shadows that I have used. Other great brands include Nivea, No 7, Deborah Cosmetics, Galeries Noemie (Paris), Astor and Coty.
Thank you for taking the time to read my tips-I appreciate it! I plan to spend more time in Europe…you will know where to find me!