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Neat & Nice Nails

Whether you are showing off a new ring or shaking hands with an acquaintance, well-groomed nails help improve the look of hands and make a better first impression. If nails have tiny white spots, called leukonychia, there really isn’t much you can do to get rid of them. These spots are usually caused by some trauma to the nail or nail bed. The best course of action is to let these grow out on their own and cover them with polish until they do. Even a fleshy pink color like those used in French manicures will reduce the appearance of the spots.

If your nails seem to be brittle and split often, try taking a daily biotin supplement. This will increase your vitamin B intake which will also improve the health of your hair…a bonus! Using a strengthener can also get the job done. A great and inexpensive product is Sally Hansen’s VitaSurge Strength Gel. Applying this product daily will add the extra vitamins to your nails that they are missing. Keeping hands and cuticles hydrated will also make nails smoother and less brittle. Be sure to moisturize every time you wash your hands and rub a little extra into the cuticles while you’re at it.

Nails that look yellow are usually stained due to lifestyle choices. If you smoke or wear dark polishes most of the times, your nails will look more yellowed. A short soak in some warm water and dish soap can brighten up the nails for a while, but using a more neutral polish and avoiding things that yellow the nails will keep the whiter and brighter longer. Going “au natural” for a couple days and allowing the nails to air after a good buffing will also improve their natural color.


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January 30, 2012   Comments Off

Eye Extravaganza

Here are a few do’s and don’ts for making the most out of those peepers. Whenever applying eye shadow, start with a foundation to help keep it in place. You won’t need expensive primers for this, just the regular concealer that you dot on those dark circles can also be dotted above your eye to create a stay-put canvas for color. Once color is applied, BLEND!! Don’t be afraid to blend a little longer than you think is necessary.

Color-blocked eye shadow is not a good look on anyone. Keep colors light at the top and darker on the lid. A touch of white eye shadow (using an eye shadow pencil makes this much easier and keeps the color off the bridge of your nose) will make eyes look brighter and wider. For those of us who are more experienced and may have a few lines that show it, shimmering shadows will highlight those life lines, so be careful. Not all of us care about hiding our wisdom though, so go ahead and give a gold shimmer a try.

Select eye colors that enhance your eye color, but remember that colors like taupe and light lavender can really be worn by the majority. For a more specific to you look, check out a color wheel and choose an eye shadow that falls opposite of your eye color, like purple for green, or gold for blue.  Remember to always have fun with your eye color and mix it up a bit from time to time.


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November 16, 2011   Comments Off

Eyes Made Easy – eyeshadow for your eye color

Finding the right make-up combination for your eyes isn’t always the easiest of tasks. Thanks to companies like Almay, choosing the right eye shades and combos is much easier. They offer eye shadows, liners and mascaras created specifically for the different basic eye colors to enhance the eyes and make them really POP! Whether your eyes are brown, green, blue, or hazel, there is a line of products just for you.

Almay intense i-color

Almay Intense iColor

Most eye colors have a couple of choices of color combination. One is usually more for daytime and one is a little bolder for the evenings. You can also mix and match the options of shadows, liners, and mascaras to achieve your own unique look. The eye shadow choices come in sets of three colors that are aligned in the case in the same order that they should be applied to the eye. So the bottom shadow goes on the lid, the middle shadow on the crease, and the top shadow is applied just under the brow.

Once all three colors are applied, blend, blend, blend. You can even use the bottom color to enhance the eye liner under your eyes. No matter what your eye color, check out this product from Almay that makes eyes easy. Almay Intense i-Color Smoky-i Powder Shadow Kit


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November 9, 2011   2 Comments

Clumps Clumps Go Away – Mascara!

The first step in mascara application is to make sure there are no clumps on the wand before you even begin applying the product. Use a tissue to remove the excess mascara from the wand if necessary. Never, never pump the wand in and out of the tube.  Adding air to your mascara will cause it to dry out faster and clump easier.

To keep lashed from clumping, use a clean mascara wand after you’ve applied your mascara to take away the excess product and separate the lashes more completely. The best way to do this is to apply the mascara to the front of the lashes with your eyes open, then close your eyes and use the clean wand to go over the back of the lashes. Using a lash comb is also an option for removing clumps. Follow the same procedure, but use a lash comb instead of a clean wand. Always be sure to apply mascara at the base of the lashes first and then pull through to the tips.

Keep the wand going in a side to side motion (the shimmy) as you apply the product. If applying a second coat, which should only be done for special occasions or in the evenings, do it immediately after, the first coat is applied. Going over a dry coat of mascara will lead to more clumps and flaking. No one can carry clumps well, so be sure to take a few extra seconds for the proper, clump-free application.


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November 2, 2011   Comments Off

The Magic of Mascara – Choosing a Mascara

We strive for those perfectly plump eyelashes that we can bat at the next cutie to walk by, but how do we get them? And how in the world are we supposed to sort through the myriad of choices when it comes to quality products? It is completely possible to find quality mascara for a reasonable price at your local drugstore.

Avoid off brands where the price seems to be too good to be true…these will clump and make a mess. Once a brand has been chosen, start thinking about the different formula options and what your personal needs are. Options such as lengthening, thickening, and waterproof are the most popular. For contact lens wearers, waterproof seems to be the best option. If you can forgo the waterproof option, try mixing and matching mascaras. Start with a swipe of lengthening and then top it off with a coat of thickening. Along with formula options, there are now color and shimmer options.

Although a shimmering mascara can be subtle and brighten the eyes, avoid glitter-rich products unless you are in a fashion shoot or off to a Halloween party. Soft blacks, charcoals, and black/browns can work for most people for either day or night. If you’re looking to mix things up, try a color that will make your eyes really stand out like plum for blue eyes and purple for green or brown eyes.

After the product has been selected, proper application is crucial. Use the hairdryer to heat up an eyelash curler for better results. Then use the shimmy method of application. Shimmy the wand from side to side as you slowly drag it the length of the lashes. This will help to separate the lashes and avoid clumps. Most of us can skip applying mascara to the bottom lashes, but if you need the illusion of wider eyes, a light touch of the wand to the bottom lashes is fine.


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October 26, 2011   Comments Off

Smelling Good

Creating your own scent can be fun.  Whether you are trying to create a perfume, spritz, or lotion, spend some time exploring the different smells available to you and create something that is uniquely yours.  Everyone has their own preferences.  Smells bring back memories and emotions depending on how you associate them to things in your past.  Start somewhere with a scent that you like or that appeals to you.

If you’re not sure where to start, try sniffing essential oils at your local whole foods store.  If you find a place with a ‘scent bar’ take some note cards and spend some time mixing and matching the different smells that appeal to you.  When exploring scents, there are several categories to know:

Florals are usually the smell of a romantic.  These nodes can range from the delicate scent of violets and roses to the more exotic moonflowers to the more potent musk and sandalwood.

Fougere means ‘fern-like’ and is a popular category for men’s scents.  These smells are usually grassy and crisp, like pine.

Fruity smells create a warmer feeling when they pass the nose.  Citrus is among the lightest of the fruit smells while papaya and passion fruit tend to be stronger.

Orientals are better for evenings and cooler weather.  Scents like amber, clove and cinnamon fall into this category.

Oceanic is light and clean.  These smells include sea breezes and fresh air.

Woodsy (or chypre) is the perfect scent for the outdoorsy.  Patchouli and oakmoss are this category’s most popular.

Once you’ve decided on something you like, adding those oils to an all-natural lotion will create the perfect after-shower moisturizer just for you.


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October 19, 2011   Comments Off

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

For most, the hair on our heads is all we really want.  Desiring to remove unwanted hair on other areas of the body is an ever-growing industry.  There are several methods available to remove this unwanted hair, but very few of them will take care of the hair permanently or on the first try.  When looking into the options, be sure to select the method or combination of methods that is best for you depending on cost, time, skin-type and hair.

Threading is used in beauty clinics and mall kiosks for removing facial hair.  The results are similar to plucking and not permanent.

Waxing is done by applying a heated wax to the hair followed by a strip of waxing paper. Hair is then ripped out by the root.  Although this lasts longer than shaving, it can cause some discomfort and skin irritation.

Depilation is a process that uses chemicals to dissolve the hair.  This usually lasts as long as waxing but has the major side effect of skin irritation due to the chemicals melting away skin cells as well as the unwanted hair.

Electrolysis uses fine-gauge needles that are inserted into hair follicles.  Then an electric current is applied to the root, burning the hair root and stopping the production of more hair.  This procedure lasts longer than others, but requires repeated treatments up to 18 months to be a permanent solution.

Laser treatments are becoming more affordable thanks to newer and more cost-effective treatments being introduced.  Although this may currently be the most effective way to eliminate unwanted hair, it is not always permanent and not for everyone.  Those with light skin and dark hair will see the most benefit.  Laser hair removal works by emitting light at different wavelengths into the skin which normally targets the melanin.


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October 12, 2011   Comments Off

Detoxifying Your Body 101

Staying healthy is an essential part to any beauty regimen.  Detoxifying the body can help to improve overall health and well-being.  Of course, avoiding processed foods and living a more natural lifestyle is ideal, but in today’s fast-paced world that is often easier said than done.  To help counter some of the toxins taken in daily through from the environment, try some (or all) of these at-home practices.

1.      Drink plenty of water.  A well-hydrated body is better equipped to eliminate toxins on its own.  Hot water is especially effective because it is more potent and flushes the body’s systems better than cold.  To make sipping on a warm glass of water more appealing, add some lemon juice which also improves the function of the liver, the body’s natural detoxing machine.

2.      Walk briskly 15-20 minutes each day.  By keeping a brisk pace, circulation and sweat increase and the body is more able to cleanse the lymphatic system.  The act of walking also improves colon function by utilizing the lower abdominal muscles.

3.      Try the ancient Ayurvedic practice of dry skin brushing.  By using a natural bristle brush over the entire body (except the face) in long strokes moving toward the heart, toxins are eliminated.  This also removes dead skin cells and debris which encourages the body to release even more toxins.

4.      If sipping hot water isn’t appealing, try enjoying some other detoxifying drinks such as apple and cranberry juice.  Green tea is a natural detoxifier and anti-inflammatory that can be even more effective when flavored with lemon, ginger, or peppermint.

5.      Soak in a nice warm bath that includes either Epsom or seaweed salts.  Both of these will help to pull toxins from the skin and encourage the release of toxins from vital organs.

6.      Practicing yoga daily can also help to release toxins in the body.  A simply version of the Sun Salutation done in the morning and at night will help to increase circulation and massage vital organs that will aid in the detoxifying process.


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October 5, 2011   1 Comment

Expensive Treatments and Spa Services

Beauty treatments and makeup for celebrities may be out of your budget, but it’s still fun to think about what is really out there. With the average cost of spa massages ranging from $85-$140, more people are enjoying these special treatments from time to time.  Day spas and resort spas around the world offer the standard experiences of various massages, body wraps, aromatherapies, and acupressure at fairly reasonable costs.

However, there are some extra-special treatments out there for those who are really looking to indulge.  These treatments range from $500 for a six-hands stone massage in Hawaii to over $5000 for an Evian bath in South Beach that uses rose petals and 1000 bottles of Evian water.

Some of the more popular and luxurious treatments being offered to the rich and famous these days include facials with 24-carat gold dissolved in the mist that is gently massaged until absorbed and massages that use over $1 million dollars worth of diamonds.

If that financial commitment is beyond your wallet, there are some more reasonable alternatives that include beer or wine baths and massages at various breweries and wineries, caviar shampoo treatments, and white chocolate raspberry body wraps.  Whatever your budget, there is an indulgent moment waiting to be enjoyed.


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September 28, 2011   Comments Off

Designer Nails at Home

Love the look of designer nails but can’t afford the trips to the salon?  Not to worry, creating that artistic nail look can be done at home for a fraction of the cost.  Starting with nails that are clean, well-shaped and in good condition will make the look even better.

Trim nails so that they are all similar in length and shape.  Add a drop of cuticle oil to each nail and massage in before pushing cuticles back and trimming.  Every great artist starts with a smooth canvas.  Achieve the perfect nail canvas by applying two base coats.  Not only will this improve the final look, it will also help to strengthen the nails.

Allow both base coats to dry completely before creating the work of art.

Before starting this project, make sure to have all materials ready and an idea or technique in mind.  Materials don’t have to be expensive tools of the trade.  Everyday items like toothpicks and hair pins can be used to create polka-dots, swirls, letters and more.  Craft brushes also come in very handy for creating unique looks.  Spend some time in the nail care aisle to find polish pens and stencils to help create a fun look.  Be sure to have a pure acetone polish remover and cotton swabs on hand for eliminating any errors.

Once the materials are ready, start with simple designs, glitter, stickers or jewels.  More advanced techniques include blending colors and intricate designs with multiple colors.  Once you have created the desired look, apply a top coat.  To help maintain and protect your art, apply another top coat and a drop of cuticle oil every two to three days.  Whatever the look, be creative and have fun in the process!


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September 21, 2011   Comments Off

Beauty Tips Editor
Laurel Smith