How to Get the ‘No-Makeup’ Look

How to Get the 'No-Makeup' Makeup LookJealous of women who look perfect without a drop of makeup? We are—but here are three easy ways you can get that flawless, natural look, too. From Jennifer L. Scott, author of Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris.

Le No-Makeup Look
The following are my three favorite variations that I observed while living in Paris.

Au naturel
This look is very subtle. It includes a light foundation to even out the skin (either powder or tinted moisturizer), blush, mascara, and a neutral lip color. It is just enough to give you a pretty, professional polish but also looks completely natural. This takes almost no time to apply and is a great look for every day—for when you just want to feel pulled together. The au naturel look is perfect for professional endeavors like job interviews as well as quotidian adventures like running errands.

Defined eye
This variation features a defined eye and neutral lip. It uses the same items as the au naturel look but adds my favorite makeup product—eyeliner. This look is very gamine, very Parisian, and suggests that the wearer is more chic than the average person. She simply got out of bed, tied her hair back, slicked on some eyeliner, and went about her day! (In my case it takes a bit longer to get ready, but you do get the idea.) The defined eye look is great for visiting museums, watching films, attending casual concerts, or engaging in any artistic endeavor. Wear it when you would like to look mysterious. (Highlighting the eyes always ups the mysterious factor in a woman.)

Defined lip
This variation showcases a defined lip (red maybe?) and neutral eye. It would include powder, blush, a bold-colored lipstick (berries, mauves, or reds), and a neutral eye (no eyeshadow, just mascara, with eyeliner optional). This look is more romantic and clearly draws attention to the mouth—perfect for when you are feeling passionate, whimsical, or adventurous. It also suggests that you have better things to do than carefully apply makeup every day, but that you are feminine enough not to forget your lipstick! The defined lip is great for a first date (or any date!) or for any day that you feel like adding color to the face. In the dead of winter, it can boost your morale to use a vibrant shade (such as fuchsia) to highlight your pout.

For more great daily chic tips, visit Jennifer’s blog, The Daily Connoisseur.

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3 Smart Travel Tips

Learn how to look your best for travel photographs, select clothing for travel, and save space when packing for wrinkle-free clothes, from Eva Scrivo, author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, the Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self.

Look your best for photographs
Unlike photographs taken at events such as weddings or reunions, pictures from a vacation usually do not capture us looking our best. Yet we show them off for years to come. If you know you will be photographed at a special destination or a picturesque spot, make sure that your clothing does not clash with the backdrop. During my trip to India, on the day I visited the Taj Mahal I wore a cream-colored top and scarf that I knew would look great in the photo with the surroundings. This may sound like compulsive planning, but being photographed at one of the wonders of the world is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I knew that I was going to have those photos forever. You will be thankful for years to come by making sure that at times like these you are wearing something flattering and your hair and makeup look good.

Smart packing tip 1: How to select clothing for travel
Plan ahead and lay out your wardrobe on the bed to begin the “editing” process. I place my shoes on the floor near my potential outfits so that I can mix and match and see how everything works together. Omit items that you can do without to avoid overpacking. Think about ways to maximize what you have by pairing things and layering them, which should allow you to pack even less. For instance, bring a cardigan that can work with a skirt, pants, and a dress. Select a blouse that is versatile enough to go with the pants and the skirts you are bringing. And choose a pair of shoes that look good with all your outfits. Always pack flats for walking and heels for going out to dinner.

Smart packing tip 2: The space-saving, wrinkle-free packing solution
Because I often travel for work, I have gotten packing down to a science. Here is the most effective way to fit more items into carry-on luggage and ensure that they will not be wrinkled upon arrival. Instead of folding each garment, lay them out on top of each other and roll them into one large, compact parcel. Start with one article of clothing and smooth it out on a flat surface. Be sure to smooth away any wrinkles with your hands, since creases will lock into the fabric once it is packed. Place another piece of clothing on top of that one and smooth it out, and so on, stacking them like pancakes until you have assembled a nice flat stack. Fold in the sleeves on top of the pile and carefully roll the entire stack inward, as if it were a yoga mat, into one big roll. Your shoes (tucked in shoe bags) should be placed around the perimeter of your suitcase, with the roll of clothes in the middle. Compress it with your hands before closing the bag. Upon arrival, you will be surprised at how smooth your clothes have remained.


How to Glow on Your Wedding Day

You want to look fresh and dewy cheeked, but you also want your groom’s head to turn. Achieve both with this step-by-step makeup application guide from Lauren Luke, YouTube sensation and author of Lauren Luke Looks: 25 Celebrity and Everyday Makeup Tutorials.

1. Prime the eyelid all over to just above the crease with an ivory frosted primer. Using an eyeshadow brush, apply the pale lilac eyeshadow over the top of the primer.

The Palette
-Ivory frosted primer
-Pale lilac frosted eyeshadow
-Grape-colored frosted eyeshadow
-Raspberry matte powder blush
-Cream highlighter
-Matte peach lip liner
-Rosy-gold creamy lipstick
-Black mascara

2. Use a blender brush to apply the grape-colored eyeshadow. Dab it onto the outer corner going out to the bone and work back along the crease, pushing the brush into the inner corner.

3. Smile, and use a fluffy brush to gently tease the raspberry powder onto the apple of the cheek. Flick the brush back and forth to blend well.

Then apply highlighting cream, starting from the outer eyebrow, down under the eye in the shape of a C, across to the center of the cheekbone. Blend the highlighter into the blush to create the dewy effect.

Tip: The dewy effect is created by a combination of raspberry matte powder blush and cream highlighter.

4. The lips. Start by drawing a Cupid’s bow with a matte peach lip liner. Make sure it is a good natural color so the line won’t look harsh. Outline the top and bottom lips and then fill in with the pencil (you will need something underneath the lipstick when you kiss the groom). Then apply a creamy rosy-gold lipstick. Finish with a touch of black mascara — to the top eyelashes only.

Lauren Luke, author of Lauren Luke Looks: 25 Celebrity and Everyday Makeup Tutorials, is a 27-year-old single mom from England who is the poster child for the power of new media. Her homemade makeup tutorials showing viewers how to recreate celebrity looks became an Internet phenomenon.

Watch the video: Lauren Luke discusses the book
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Try This: 5-Minute Skin Detox Treatment

For glowing, soft, healthy skin, try this simple Eastern medicine technique. From Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self, by acclaimed hair and makeup artist Eva Scrivo.

Dry brushing of the skin has been practiced in Eastern medicine for centuries as a form of exfoliation and to increase circulation and lymph drainage as well as to assist in the elimination of toxins through the skin. On a purely aesthetic level, dry brushing once a week will also give you glowing, soft, healthier skin.

To do this quickly and efficiently, you will need two natural-bristle body brushes that can comfortably fit in the palm of each hand. Before getting into the shower, vigorously brush your skin using sweeping strokes over your entire body. Since dry brushing helps to improve circulation, your strokes should be in the direction of the heart — upward on the legs and arms and downward from the neck and chest. Your skin will start to look pink, but because of the soft natural bristles, the sloughing is gentle and feels invigorating. Brush over the skin for a few minutes, then get into the shower or bath. The steam helps your skin to eliminate the toxins that the dry brushing has brought to the surface, while the water rinses off the dead skin cells.

Eva Scrivo, author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confidential Self (Copyright © 2011 by Eva Scrivo), is one of today’s most well known and respected names in beauty. She is a highly acclaimed hair and makeup artist, radio show host, television personality, and an entrepreneur who owns a successful salon in New York City.


When to Toss Your Makeup

Makeup, like food, has expiration dates. Bacteria can build up and can lead, in the worst case, to rashes and infections. From Wear This, Toss That! Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time, by Amy E. Goodman.

Here’s a tip: Place a small sticker on the product and write the month and year (such as 4/2011) you open it. Better yet, calculate the date it expires and write that down. And if anything has a strange odor or is starting to separate, crackle, or clump, just toss it!

How Long Should You Keep It?

Concealer — 1 year
Foundation — 1–1½ years
Facial powder — 2 years
Blush, Powder — 2 years
Blush, Cream — 1 year
Bronzer — 2 years
Pencil Eyeliner — 2 years
Liquid Eyeliner — 3 months
Eye Shadow, Powder — 2 years
Eye Shadow, Cream — 1 year
Mascara — 3 months
Brow Liner or Powder — 2 years
Lipstick — 2 years
Lip Gloss — 1 ½ –2 years
Lip Liner — up to 3 years, if pencil
Makeup Brushes — wash every 3 months with a brush cleanser
Nail Polish — 2 years

Skincare Products
Cleanser — 1 year
Moisturizers — 1 year
Eye Cream — 1 year
Sunscreen — 1 year
Makeup Primer — 6 months–1 year
Lip Balm — 1 year
Exfoliators — 6-9 months
Anti-aging Masques & Treatments — 6 months–1 year

Amy E. Goodman, author of Wear This, Toss That!: Hundreds of Fashion and Beauty Swaps That Save Your Looks, Save Your Budget & Save You Time (Copyright © 2011 by Little Professor Productions, LLC, and The Stonesong Press, LLC), is a frequent contributor to the Today show, as well as The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, and Movie & a Makeover, among others. A former correspondent and editor for InStyle and senior editor for All You, she is currently an editor at large for Southern Living and fashion trend director for Timex. She lives with her husband and two young children in Washington, D.C.


Start-to-Finish Makeup Guide for Women with Acne

With the right tools and a handful of tricks of the trade, applying makeup needn’t be a chore for those with imperfect skin. Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields asked professional makeup artists for their best makeup trips for women with acne. Here are 14 tips from their book, Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications.

Following are some of the best tips about makeup application we’ve learned from professional makeup artists. The products listed are available at drugstores, department stores, or company websites. Remember, have fun with your makeup — let it be a life-enhancing experience, not an obsessive chore.

  • Always begin with a clean, dry face. The correct order for successful makeup application is medication, moisture, sunscreen, makeup. Try using dual function products, such as a moisturizing sunscreen, to lessen the number of products on your face. Remember, always let your medicated products dry completely before applying anything else.
  • Never use medicated cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur on the eye area, as they can be intensely irritating.
  • When in doubt, make sure your makeup is noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic. These terms indicate that the product has been tested and shown not to promote acne.
  • It’s often best to apply foundation and powder to skin that has been primed with some form of moisturizer. Otherwise, foundation and powder can cake and be uneven in appearance. For those with extremely oily skin, a mattifying lotion will help set makeup so it doesn’t streak.
  • It’s easy to smear mascara during application, which you then have to remove from the skin. If this happens often, particularly if you have long lashes, try applying your eye makeup and mascara before your other products. This way, if mascara smears by the side of your eyes or onto your cheeks, you won’t have to reapply your concealer or foundation. This is especially important when you’re using medicated products first.
  • Makeup varies in different lighting. For instance, if you work in an office with fluorescent lighting, it will look different from the way it does in your bathroom. For a more even and natural look, apply makeup in natural light. Sitting near a window and using a hand mirror works well.
  • More is not better, especially for those with severe acne. The temptation is to keep reapplying concealer or powder during the day, but this can often have the opposite effect, drawing attention to the pimples as well as adding potentially acnegenic ingredients to the area.
  • Makeup migrates into the pores. For those with acne, medicated makeups containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide allow this migration to benefit your complexion by healing and preventing acne.
  • Makeup also rubs off. To limit this, keep your hands away from your face whenever possible. We know this can be extremely difficult, but if you keep rubbing the makeup off, you’ll want to keep reapplying it, which sets up a vicious circle of overuse and irritation.
  • “If you have extremely oily skin that causes your makeup to streak after several hours, place a piece of cellophane tape over the streaks and pull it off,” suggests Melissa Greene, a makeup artist in Brooklyn, New York. “It sounds crazy, but it works. This will pull off the oil and leave your makeup intact. You can also try blotting papers, such as Proactiv Solution Oil Blotter Sheets or Lancôme Matte Finish Shine-Control Blotting Sheets.”
  • Don’t be afraid of color, but if you have a lot of acne, it’s best to highlight only one area of your face at a time. If you like dramatic eyes, go for subtle lips, and vice versa. Keep your cheeks neutral. And if your face tends toward redness, stay away from the red, pink, and purple families for shadows and blush, as they can appear to intensify it.
  • Makeup formulations are all different. Experiment until you find the best colors and textures for your skin. Note: Nearly all brands accept returns if a product causes irritation.
  • Never share makeup, especially mascara and eye shadows. This can cause infection and contamination.
  • Applying makeup is an acquired skill, one that is often crucial for women with acne. A makeup lesson from a professional makeup artist who understands acne can be illuminating and save you hundreds of dollars by steering you away from the products that might not work best for you. Being taught how to apply makeup properly will also help cut down the time it takes to put on makeup, an asset to anyone already overburdened with work, school, and family commitments.

Katie Rodan, M.D., is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kathy Fields, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Francisco. Both have been profiled in Best Doctors in America, and their work has been featured in numerous national magazines and television shows. They are the authors of Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications (Copyright © 2004 by Rodan & Fields Inc.).


8 Essential Foods for Gorgeous Skin

Acai is the new pomegranate, and goji berry is the new blueberry! Who can keep track of all of the “super skin foods” touted in magazines? And honestly, who needs to? Here, Dr. Ellen Marmur reveals the top eight everyday food elements, from antioxidants to zinc, that will help optimize your skin’s health.  From Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

As popular as the “super skin foods” topic may be in magazines, there’s not much sound scientific evidence behind all of it yet. Scientists are studying the effects of many foods and vitamins on the health of the skin, but strong studies are still pretty scarce. Even so, there are things you can eat that definitely benefit the skin in particular, and deficiencies of certain nutrients is damaging. A lack of protein can lead to poor wound healing and hair loss, and a fat deficiency can bring on dry skin and brittle hair and nails. A lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy (yes, even in this day and age!), which leads to spongy gums and bleeding hair follicles, among other awful skin conditions. So don’t be caught short of the nutrients your skin needs in your diet, but don’t make yourself crazy either. It’s really not too difficult to incorporate essential food elements into your daily meals.

Top Substances in Food That Optimize Skin Health
>>> Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C is found in: Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, and tomatoes

Vitamin E is found in: Sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables

What they do for skin: These antioxidant vitamins fight oxidation damage in skin cells’ DNA. Because they are key elements in the structural proteins in the body, they are important to the integrity of the blood vessels and hair follicles. They’re required for the formation of collagen, and medical studies have found that they decrease wrinkling of the skin. Vitamin E reduces inflammation and helps wound healing. Vitamin C enhances the immune response.

>>> Vitamin A
It’s found in: Fish oil, salmon, carrots, dairy products, spinach, and broccoli

What it does for skin: Since it promotes normal keratinization (the turnover of skin cells), it helps with conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Without it, skin becomes extremely dry and dull. It’s important to note that if you use a synthetic retinoid (a derivative of vitamin A) on your skin, you may need to stop vitamin A supplementation, since too much of this vitamin can lead to hair loss and liver dysfunction.

>>> Protein
It’s found in: Meat, eggs, grains, sunflower seeds, dairy products, fish, legumes like beans and peas, and nuts such as walnuts and pecans

What it does for skin: Protein is a component of all the cells in the body and a building block of skin tissue. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, the building blocks of new proteins for the body’s constant reconstruction job. They are like Legos, coming in different shapes, sizes, and types that help construct collagen or create lubricating ceramide in the skin. It’s a perfect economy, with the amino acids being recycled into new proteins on a supply-and-demand basis.

>>> Zinc
It’s found in: Turkey, almonds, Brazil nuts, and wheat germ

What it does for skin: This anti-inflammatory mineral calms irritation in the epidermis and helps to heal acne and treat rosacea. It also facilitates cell regeneration.

>>> Biotin
It’s found in: Egg yolks, brewer’s yeast, bananas, lentils, cauliflower, and salmon

What it does for skin: This B vitamin strengthens skin, hair, and nails. (A deficiency is extremely rare because bacteria in your intestines make all the biotin you need.) A deficit can lead to hair loss or dermatitis (itchy, scaly skin). Some people swear by biotin supplements to strengthen brittle nails, but studies haven’t proven that it’s beneficial for anyone who’s not deficient in the vitamin.

>>> Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 is found in: Seeds, nuts, eggs, and sunflower and soybean oil (which are in lots of snack foods, such as crackers, cookies, and cereals)

Omega-3 is found in: Cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines, flaxseed oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds

What they do for skin: These essential fatty acids support skin health, improve nerve and vascular function, and act as antioxidants. Omega-3 has strong anti-inflammatory properties and may calm skin conditions such as rosacea or eczema and minimize redness. It also boosts immune system functioning. Some nutritional studies have shown that omega-3 may protect against squamous cell skin cancers and decrease sunburn response. Studies have shown that diets rich in the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid are associated with less skin dryness and thinning. But it’s important to note that these fatty acids must be balanced in the body. For example, too much omega-6 and linoleic acid can cause an inflammatory response in the body, while omega-3 minimizes it. Because of the prevalence of omega-6 in processed snack foods, it’s believed that we are getting an abundance of them and not enough omega-3. And studies have shown that too much omega-6 can increase the risk of everything from high blood pressure to dementia and depression. The key is balancing your intake of the two.

>>> Monounsaturated Fats
They’re found in: Olive oil, canola oil, and avocados

What they do for skin: These healthy fats help to maintain the water level in the epidermis and supply the ceramides and fats that keep the bricks and mortar of the skin healthy and intact. This translates into less itchy, healthy-looking, glowing skin.

>>> Antioxidants
They’re found in: Blueberries, green tea, red kidney beans, olive oil, artichokes, pomegranates, dark chocolate, and red wine

What they do for skin: These are indeed the superheroes of the nutrient family. We’ve heard a lot about how antioxidants extinguish the dangerous free radicals (the toxic oxygen molecules that can be by-products of cell renewal and are also generated by pollution and sun damage). The polyphenol antioxidants in green tea have also been shown to help prevent certain skin cancers and protect skin against sunburns. Antioxidants found in red wine and green tea are being studied for their possible cancer-fighting potential, but so far the results aren’t conclusive. There have been studies that strongly showed that the antioxidants in green tea (among them epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG) protect the DNA in skin cells from UV-induced damage.

Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty (Copyright © 2009 by Dr. Ellen Marmur), is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical center in New York City and specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She lives in Manhattan with her family.



Antiaging Products Demystified: 4 Rules to Remember Before You Start Shopping

There are thousands of antiaging products filling our heads with promises, from pricey prestige brands to drugstore options that are more reasonably priced. How can you choose between them, and which ingredients actually might work? Dr. Ellen Marmur, author of Simple Skin Beauty, demystifies the cosmeceutical mystery with these four rules.

Some products state that they prevent and reverse the signs of aging. Others claim to firm, smooth, and lift the skin, and there are plenty that guarantee they stimulate collagen and diminish wrinkles. Anti-aging products do fill our heads with promises. (I completely expect to wake up looking like Gwyneth Paltrow after using one.) There are thousands to pick from, from pricey prestige brands to drugstore options that are more reasonably priced. How can you choose between them, and which ingredients actually might work?

Most of us feel baffled and frustrated, with way too many choices. (Remember my overwhelming shopping trip?) According to the American Academy of Dermatology in Schaumburg, Illinois, 94 percent of women are confused by their anti-aging options. So let’s demystify the cosmeceutical mystery. There are four rules to remember:

1. Prevent aging skin with what you already own: sunscreen.

Sun protection is the best anti-aging product you have and the best investment you can make. Ninety percent of cosmetic skin problems that occur with age (wrinkles, sagging, hyperpigmentation) are caused by sun exposure, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Therefore sunscreen is the best honest-to-goodness miracle cream on the market. There is no point in buying a bunch of anti-aging products to repair damage if you don’t prevent it in the first place by wearing sunscreen every day. Most cosmeceutical ingredients try to mimic substances found in the body, such as antioxidants, peptides, growth factors, coenzymes, copper, and vitamins. So protecting what we already have naturally and maintaining optimal skin health with daily sun protection and moisturizer is worth a thousand anti-aging beauty solutions. In fact, I have a collection of sunscreens and I use them all differently — an oil-free, broad-spectrum SPF 15 for daily use; an SPF 30 when I know I’ll be outside more of the day; a body lotion with added sunscreen; and an even stronger broad-spectrum sunscreen spray for the beach. Because your skin type changes and the amount of sun exposure you receive does too, your sun protection needs to be compatible. Owning several formulations of sunscreen also reduces the excuses not to wear it, and sunscreens are a better investment than a bunch of cosmeceuticals. Think about it this way: every time you put on sunscreen, you’re preventing the signs of aging and therefore saving money on expensive products or cosmetic procedures to fix fine lines or sun spots.

2. Read product labels closely.

The label must list ingredients from the highest concentration to the lowest, so if the anti-aging element you’re looking for, be it niacinamide or vitamin C, is near the bottom, there’s not enough in the product to do anything. (Keep in mind; a high concentration of the chemical is one way to get it into the skin). Most often, a cosmeceutical acts primarily as a good moisturizer, which is wonderful, but it won’t have much more than superficial and temporary results. Most of the ingredients on the label — the water, moisturizers, binders, and preservatives that make up the vehicle — are inactive. Often an anti-aging product includes silicone to provide a smooth texture to the product and make the complexion look smoother too. It may also contain a little glycolic acid or lactic acid to exfoliate the skin and provide instant gratification. These elements don’t actually change anything below the surface of your skin. At least make sure that the antioxidant or peptide you’re buying is very near the top of the ingredients list. De- coding the label has limitations, however. Most of the time a product does not state the concentration or percentage of the ingredients (and it doesn’t have to). And too high a concentration of some ingredients, such as vitamin C, can be toxic to the skin. You also can’t tell from the label whether an ingredient, like an antioxidant, is stable or not.

3. Choose your anti-aging ingredients wisely.
Okay, let’s shift gears. Let’s pretend that all these cosmeceuticals work.

With so many new ingredients promising to fix so many problems, how should you decide among them? Do you need an antioxidant or a peptide? And what is a growth factor, anyway? Is a prescription retinoid safe, or should you try an over-the-counter version first? Step back, look at your skin, and consider what products you already own. A moisturizer? A sunscreen? A chemical exfoliant or a scrub? (Check to see if your moisturizer already contains an antioxidant or one of the ingredients I’ll discuss soon. You may have been using an anti-aging product for some time without even knowing it.) Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with a cosmeceutical. Are you in your twenties and looking for a preventive product? An antioxidant is a good bet. Do you want to fight wrinkles? Then something with retinoic acid will work. If brown spots and uneven skin tone are your problem, you can use retinoic acid or try a product with niacinamide. Narrow down what it is about your complexion you want to improve, and that will help narrow down your options.

Tending to your complexion is like caring for a garden, which needs a certain amount of water, nutrients, soil, and sunshine to grow and be healthy. If you overfeed or overwater it, the garden is destroyed. In the same way, putting too much of a good thing on your skin is not necessarily better or more effective. I’ve had patients come in with red, irritated skin and show me twenty different products that they use on it. How do all these ingredients react with one another? Are they overlapping the same kinds of chemicals, such as acids, over and over again? Try to pick one or two active ingredients — an antioxidant and a retinoid, for instance — and stick with them for at least three months (a fair amount of time to see if you get results). Switching from one ingredient to another within a span of a couple of weeks — a niacinamide product, then a kojic acid, then an azeleic acid to get rid of brown spots, for example — cancreate a cocktail of chemicals on your face that can be extremely irritating.

4. Research products, and learn the difference between miracles and marketing.
Do your homework on ingredients, and think logically about their claims. Frequently what is proclaimed to be a new chemical innovation turns out to be a derivative of something that already exists. For instance, an exciting ingredient (whose name was created and patented by a cosmetic company) claims to stimulate the production of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and increase the storage of moisture in the dermis. This chemical has a cool, sci-fi name and sounds like an amazing discovery, yet it’s simply a plant-derived form of xylose (a sugar molecule like the GAGs). Again, the manufacturer’s tests are proprietary, and most products containing the ingredient also include hyaluronic acid, a superior humectant. So it’s hard to say which one is responsible for any water retention results in the skin. A little sleuthing online can tell you what a hot new ingredient actually is and if the clinical studies behind it are for real.

Most of these ingredients aren’t really under the jurisdiction of a dermatologist. Traditional medical training has nothing to do with a popular antioxidant like CoffeeBerry, or an ingredient like rare, Japanese seaweed. As a doctor, I must form a medically educated opinion about whether these things provide substantial results or not. I read the claims and the literature available, put them through my dermatologic understanding of the body, and judge if it’s a reasonable hypothesis or not. So far three things have been proven to work as anti-agers: sunscreen, moisturizer (to maintain the health of the skin’s barrier), and retinoic acid.


Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty (Copyright © 2009 by Dr. Ellen Marmur), is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical center in New York City and specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She lives in Manhattan with her family.



How to Get the Right Look for Your Lips

Six simple steps for picking the best shade for your lips and making the color last, from makeup guru Laura Mercier, author of The New Beauty Secrets.

Let’s start with your lip care routine. This involves gently exfoliating your lips and treating them with a balm that both nourishes and moisturizes. Exfoliate as often as needed using a special lip scrub, a gentle face scrub, or even your toothbrush. Don’t ever use anything harsh, like a loofah. The skin on your lips is much too delicate. I like to exfoliate my lips in the shower. Once I’m out, I cover them with a thick coat of balm. Give the lip balm time to sink in and do its job. Once you’re ready to apply your makeup, wipe off the excess lip balm with some tissue. You don’t want too much emolliency because your lipstick or lip gloss won’t last as long.

You should also practice good lip habits such as drinking enough water. Your lips dry out quickly when you’re dehydrated. Smoking is the worst habit for your lips because it stains, dehydrates, and cracks them.

The Right Shades for You
Once you understand the lipstick and gloss colors that are most flattering on you, you’ll be able to create a variety of lip looks. Best of all, you won’t waste money on colors that don’t work. To begin, you need to know the lipstick or gloss tone that’s right for your complexion. All shades can be divided into two families — warm tones and cool tones. The cool ones include anything with a hint of blue — mauves, fuchsias, milky pinks (imagine fuchsias mixed with white), purples, blue-reds, and berries, just to name a few. Warm tones have a hint of yellow or orange — browns, chestnuts, brown-pinks, beiges, taupes, caramels, corals, and orange-reds. If your skin tends to be yellow or sallow, shades from the cool family will probably look best on you. Extreme warm tones tend to play up the yellowness of any complexion, so try them if your skin is on the pinkish side.

Experiment with different lipstick shades when you have no other makeup on your face. You’ll be able to see which colors brighten your complexion and work best with your eyes and hair. You may find that you can wear warm and cool tones, or you may discover that one tonal family suits you best.

If you are always unsatisfied with your lipstick, mix two lipsticks or other lip products together to find the perfect color. Try mixing warm and cool tones. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

What Is Your Lip Tone?
Another thing to consider when picking lipsticks or glosses is the natural color of your lips. A highly pigmented pout be it pink, blue, or purple, will affect the shade of any lipstick or gloss you apply to your lips. This explains why a lipstick may look one way on you and another way on a friend or a model in a magazine. Keep this in mind when you sample lipstick on the back of your hand and wonder why it seems so different on your lips. It’s because the undertones are completely different. Look for shades that complement or counteract your natural lip color.

Getting Started
The next steps depend on the look you want and your needs. You can simply put on some gloss or sheer lipstick, or you can use a lip pencil to color your lips and cover it with lipstick or gloss. Since I’m sure you have these fundamentals down pat I’m going to take you beyond the basics and teach you some advanced lip tricks.

Pencil Makes Perfect
Lip pencils are a great tool to use to make your lipstick last correct any asymmetric proportions, provide definition, or make your pout larger. Make sure to chose a color that’s a slightly enhanced version of your natural lip tone.

If you like the shape of your lips and just need a little definition, follow the outline of your mouth with the pencil. Next, color in the rest of the lips from the outside to the inside. It’s like coloring inside the lines in a coloring book. You don’t want to see a dark, obvious outline around lighter colored lips. Nothing’s more old-fashioned, and it doesn’t look elegant or sophisticated.

For Serious Lipstick Work

Just as your face sometimes needs to be prepped before applying makeup, so do your lips. The tips and tricks that follow all require the same lip preparation, which I’m going to describe here. You need some camouflage, your lip pencil, translucent setting powder, and a powder puff. Using your finger, press a little camouflage into and around your lip line until it disappears into your skin. (Don’t cover your lips entirely.) Dip your powder puff into a small amount of translucent powder and shake off the excess. The amount that remains is all you need. Press the puff very lightly over your lips. You want a surface that is dry, not dry-looking. Now your pout is prepped and ready for you to use your lip pencil as directed in the paragraphs that follow.

Get Bigger Lips (Naturally)
Almost everyone dreams of having sexier lips, but few people use their lip pencil correctly to achieve this look. Instead of drawing outside your entire lip line, just widen the middle of your top and bottom lips. (You may not need to do the top and bottom. Some people have naturally plumper bottom lips or vice versa.) Once you prepare your lips, raise the bow of your top lip by drawing slightly above it and reconnecting it at the middle on either side. Make the lower lip a little rounder at the center.

This looks more natural and is an easier correction than going from corner to corner and drawing outside your entire mouth. The exception to this rule is if you have very thin lips. In this case, you can draw outside the entire lip line to enhance its appearance. Don’t forget to fill in the space between your natural lip line and the correction.

If your lips are asymmetric, then you can use a pencil to correct them. Again, make sure your lips are prepped correctly. This will help you draw in the shape more beautifully and help the color last longer.

Laura Mercier, the author of The New Beauty Secrets: Your Ultimate Guide to a Flawless Face (Copyright © 2006 by Gurwitch Products, LLC), is one of the most renowned beauty authorities in the world today. Her 20-year career as a makeup artist has brought her from Provence, Paris, and points around the globe to red carpets, photo studios, and movie sets. Laura’s work has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, Elle, W, and other magazines, plus countless advertisements, album covers, movie posters, and more. Laura Mercier Cosmetics, her beauty brand, has enjoyed great success since 1996.



5 Beauty Products You Love but Don’t Need

Despite all the advertisements to the contrary, skin truly needs the barest minimum. You may love your eye creams, toners, face masks, and other beauty products, says Dr. Ellen Marmur, author of Simple Skin Beauty, but they’re unnecessary luxuries.

They sure are fun to buy and lovely to use, and all the jars and bottles look pretty in your bathroom, but these cosmetic options are far from essential. If they’re not in your budget and you don’t have the time for a twenty-minute face mask or an added step in your nightly regimen, then skip them — and don’t feel guilty about it. When it comes to cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting, these three things won’t do anything more for your skin than your three essentials. If you want to treat yourself to a special skin care purchase or an at-home facial, go for it. I don’t blame you, and I do it too. But please don’t be tricked into thinking you need it.

Eye Cream
If you’re going to cancel one item from your shopping list, this is the one. It’s just as effective, and far more efficient, to multitask with your regular moisturizer and daytime SPF. Yes, it feels nice, but, no, it is not a necessity. In actuality, it’s simply redundant. The skin around your eyes is more delicate, but unless you are massaging a thick balm on the rest of your face, the moisturizer you use on your face and neck has the same formulation and many of the same ingredients that you get in any eye cream. The same moisturizing ingredients can treat the fine lines and dryness around your eyes just as well as they take care of the same issues anywhere else on your face.

What about puffiness or dark circles? I’ll tackle both those issues in chapter 8, “Skin SOS,” but suffice it to say that an eye cream isn’t going to eliminate them. Dark circles are due primarily to your anatomy, while puffiness is often a sign of water retention inside your body (often from lack of sleep). A cool compress or cold, damp chamomile tea bags will calm puffiness better than a special eye cream, although they are both temporary cures. If you are bothered by puffiness around your eyes, make sure your regular moisturizer contains anti-inflammatory ingredients such as chamomile, cucumber, or aloe vera (which would be found in an eye cream as well).

In a classic comedy bit, Jerry Seinfield speculates about why women need all those truckloads of cotton balls. How can they possibly use so many, and for what possible purpose? The answer: toner. How many cotton balls and bottles of astringent did we go through in high school and college, anyway? Toner is meant to remove residual makeup and oil from the skin. But since most cleansers these days do that just fine, toner is an unnecessary added step. Gentle, soothing alcohol-free toners (they usually contain moisturizing or anti-inflammatory substances like rosewater or cucumber) are totally superfluous if you use a moisturizer. (However, I do prefer them, even to makeup remover, to take off any extra bits of eye makeup or concealer because the consistency is so watery.) An alcohol-based astringent toner (similar to the antiseptic version we all remember as teenagers) usually contains ingredients such as witch hazel or salicylic acid to get rid of oil. For those who are addicted to washing their faces in the morning, a quick swipe of toner instead may be just the right remedy. These are great for combination skin conditions, to eliminate oil from one area of the face (rather than all over). For the most part, I, like Seinfeld, don’t have much use for cotton balls.

Face Masks
I relish the thought of giving myself an at-home facial, relaxing in front of the TV wearing some kind of blue or green face mask. The odds of this happening (with four kids, a crazy schedule, and a husband who would laugh himself silly) are slim to none. But so are the chances that a mask — whether it be one for moisturizing or a clay mask to “soak up” oil — can do something really transformative or long-lasting to my skin. Can a mask super-moisturize your face and seal the hydration in? Yes, but only until it’s rinsed off. Truthfully, masks are like ChapStick for your face — an occlusive film over the surface that provides a nice, temporary fix. For someone with sensitive or rosacea skin, a mask packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients (such as aloe vera, allantoin, and chamomile) and humectants will feel wonderful and soothe the skin, but only while it’s on the face. Again, it’s always important to read the label, especially if your skin is feeling sensitive. Fruit acids or menthol, which are commonly found in masks, could cause irritation.

Moisturizing Masks
If a mask has active ingredients, such as anti-inflammatories or antioxidants, they might be better absorbed into the skin because of the occlusive barrier of the mask. But that’s a big “if,” since those ingredients would have to be lipophilic (oil-loving and compatible with skin) and microscopic enough to penetrate pores in the first place. By the same principle of occlusion, I sometimes treat eczema on the body by applying a steroid cream, then putting plastic wrap over it to provide an occlusive barrier so the cream doesn’t evaporate or wipe off. This also provides a slight pressure that pushes the medication onto the skin. It’s similar to slathering on a rich foot cream and then covering the feet with cotton socks — although, unlike a medicine, the moisturizing effect wears off the minute you wash your skin.

Clay Masks
Clay masks don’t actually absorb or “soak up” oil, and they can’t really “purify” and “detoxify” your pores either. A mask with kaolin (a mineral-rich clay), sea mud, or even charcoal does provide a gentle way of exfoliating by coating the skin like an adhesive. When it dries and is rinsed off, the mask theoretically pulls off some dead cells, debris, and oil with it. It’s the same concept as rolling a lint brush over the surface of a sweater. Pore strips work the same way, and they’re terrific. Sometimes a clay mask contains active ingredients like sulfur, which is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, or tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. But a treatment like this won’t be more effective than a salicylic acid exfoliant and diligent nightly cleansing. A clay mask can reduce the oil you have right now, but unfortunately it’s just going to build up again in no time.

Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin (Copyright © 2009 by Dr. Ellen Marmur), is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical center in New York City and specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She lives in Manhattan with her family.