Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lips to dye for

I can't promise you full lips like famous actresses, but I can say this much...it doesn't take much work  to get lips to die for.

Basic steps:
Exfoliate - gently scrub off the top layer of dead skin. There are several "masks" available that help you do this.
Trap moisture - use a petrolium based lip balm before going to bed (try to avoid "medicated" ones)
Protection - try to use an SPF 15 or better lip balm during the day to keep them from burning. (Yes, your lips CAN burn.) Also keep it with you to reapply after eating.
Let them breath - don't always cover up your lips with lip gloss.
Drink water - as I've said in previous blogs, trapping water on the skin = moisturization, but to be truly hydrated, you need to keep the skin cells full of water to function at their best.
Plumping - although there are products out there, be aware all they are really doing is irritating the sking to cause it to puff up, giving the appearance of fuller lips. (Sorta like whitening your teeth, this is best in moderation -- too much can actually be bad for you.)
Try not to bite or chew on your lips. Also don't lick your lips. You'll end up removing anything you put on to protect them. (The enzymes in your mouth -- designed for helping to start digesting your food, can actually cause damage to the lips/skin causing chapping.)

The fun part:
When applying color to your lips you do have options. There's clear lip balm, tinted lip balm, scented lip balm, flavored lip balm, lip gloss & lipstick to name a few. Some people prefer to layer on products for a longer lasting look. For example, I use a lip primer, and then put on a lipstick, followed by a lip gloss (which I brush on for the best results.)
Try to avoid a "clown" look by not going outside the lines where your lip color changes from pink to flesh tone. I was instructed never to "smack" my lips after applying or blotting them as you smudge off that lovely top layer and ruin the look you were going for. (Obviously, you will eventually talk or eat something, but that's what going to the restroom to powder your nose is for -- just bring your favorite color along to touch up.)
Lip liner is optional -- it tends to go in and out of trend faster than most Hollywood romances last. I have heard one idea for that old lip liner, use it after the primer to coat the whole lip, before using lipstick or instead of it, then topping with the lip gloss. (Most of my lip liners are matte and so they logically go nicely under a sheer sparkly gloss topcoat.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Eye's Have It!

Without naming names, I think it's great that several major brands offer different products that exist because each of us are different. Why shouldn't there be? You have shoes for jogging, boots for snow, heels for dancing and slippers for lounging. Shouldn't your eyes get the same special treatment?

What's your eyelash personality? Do you desire longer lashes? Maybe thicker ones? How about ones that are perfectly separated? (Not clumpy & looking like a tarantula.) Or it could be your lashes are perfect but you just want to keep them from running.

Whatever the case, there's a product out there for you. Not only that, there are curlers and brushes to shape and train them. (Curling your lashes before applying mascara to makes your eyes look wider, more youthful and brighter.) There are even eyeliners to match your needs from solid pencils to liquid and in colors to suit your mood as well. (Eyeliner can be used to enhance eye color, alter the appearance of the set, size, or shape of the eyes or create a dramatic artistic effect.)

But please remember, as silly as this sounds, don't stick anything IN your eye! That means don't line the inside of your eye or get mascara in it. The brush or pencil could cause damage to the cornea (front part). Some people are allergic to the ingredients so please check with your ophthalmologist if you find this happening - you may need hypoallergenic products. There are antibacterial preservatives - to help impede bacterial growth - that can actually irritate the eye.

1) Apply mascara to the tips of your lashes. If you get it too close to the root, you could block the glands on your eyelids that help your eyes to form tears. (Your tears help flush out foreign objects and keep things clear -- much like the wiper fluid for your car windshield.)
2) Don't (EVER) share mascara! The mucous membranes around the eye harbor all sorts of bacteria that can easily latch on to a mascara brush.
3) (Speaking of bacteria - again.) Toss out your mascara every three months. I know it seems wasteful, but there will most likely be bacteria growing in it. (If it's discolored or smells funny, replace it ASAP.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Dry I Am

True or false:

There is a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. True

You can have oily skin that is also dehydrated. True

OK, you may be asking how both statements can be true. The key to this puzzle is that skin moisure is actually water, not oil. Which of course makes today's topic a bit confusing.

Many "moisturizers" use oil to trap water by sealing it to your skin and preventing it from evaporating. So skin that is "coated" with "trapped water" is considered hydrated.

Oily skin holds moisture because it already has it's own oil. (The reason some people have oily skin, is that their bodies are overcompensating by producing to much oil.) This is often caused by washing the natural oils off your skin -- by either washing too much or using harsh soaps.

Have I lost you yet?

So what should I look for in a moisturizer? Some of the more common oil-based ingredients you may recognize are: Jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, sesame oil & canola oil. You may not want to use an oil-based moisturizer if you have trouble with oily skin.

(On a side note, if you're worried about using something that might clog your pores, look for products labeled as non-comedogenic.)

But there are non-oil ingredients found in skin care products that also bind water. Hyaluronic acid, gycerine, lanolin & alpha hydroxy acids. You have options. 

And finally, did you know that dry skin is more prone to wrinkling? (Not something I want to experience!) So, drink that water to help keep your skin hydrated. Why? Because skin is made of cells that are mostly filled with water. Without enough water, your skin can't do it's job properly. How can you tell if your skin is dehydrated? Look for the following: dryness, tightness & flakiness.

So drink up! Here's to your health!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

I spent a lovely weekend in Maine - and a good portion of it outside. I had the good sense to wear my sunglasses and keep most of my body covered. I even had SPF in my foundation. But I forgot to put some kind of sunblock on my neck and chest. I ended up with a pink heart shape on my front side by that evening!

Now I'm sure we've all forgotten to put sunblock on some part of ourselves when going out. I'll be the first to admit that some days I don't bother at all. However, I'm doing myself a disservice when I forgo the sunblock. In my opinion we all should seriously consider using sunscreen every day (Yes, even when it's overcast out.)

Did you know that consumers generally apply only 1/2 to 1/5 the necessary amount of sunscreen for proper protection? An easy way to solve this problem: increase the amount of sunscreen you use and more importantly, re-apply after swimming and sweating. Wearing sunscreen does not give you a license to sit in direct sun. And remember, don’t be shy…re-apply!

Skin cancer is a very real and serious problem. 80 percent of the lifetime damage to the skin happens before the age of 18, so incorporating sunscreen application in to your family’s daily routine is an important prevention measure. Do your homework, read labels but don’t panic. Enlist the help of your dermatologist and ask lots of questions. Let us not forget that sunscreen use should always be enhanced by hats and sun protective clothing.

Important 3-letter words:

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 filters 92% of the UVB. Put another way, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will delay the onset of a sunburn in a person who would otherwise burn in 10 minutes to burn in 150 minutes. The SPF 15 sunscreen allows a person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer.

UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.

UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photo-aging.

There is currently no uniform measure of UVA absorption. There are broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB radiation although it is important to remember that the SPF does not predict UVA protection.