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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

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Winter Makeup and Skin Care Tips and Tricks

Winter challenges your skin and makeup more than any other season. Here, what you need to know to give your skin the extra care and attention it needs, plus tips on beauty products for achieving the right winter look. From Riku Campo author of Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Make Up and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products

The change of seasons is always refreshing, but winter challenges the skin and makeup more than any of the other seasons. Cold temperatures, snowy weather, heated rooms, and excessive hot showers to warm you up (which, unfortunately, also dry your skin) all make your skin need extra care and attention.

The biggest problem is dry skin on the face, hands, and knees, and sometimes all over the body. The best advice is to moisturize. And moisturize.

Sometimes the dryness can turn into eczema. In that case you must turn to a dermatologist, who can help you choose the right skin care products. You can also use 0.1% hydracortisone once a week on the areas that are really dry, irritated, and itchy. Eczema is genetic and is most aggressive in winter.

The indoor heat along with the cold outdoor temperature makes your skin drier, no matter what your skin type is.

Dry skin: Use a facial serum or oil under a thicker-formula moisturizer.
Oily Skin:
Use an oil-free serum and oil-free moisturizer.
Combination skin:
Use oil-free products on the T‑zone and a thicker moisturizer on the cheeks, which get drier in the wintertime.

Sometimes those with oily skin should protect their skin with slightly creamier face products, especially against extremely cold temperatures and wind. Look for oil-based moisturizers (including almond, jojoba, or avocado oil) that don’t clog the pores. Sometimes you might get whiteheads (tiny white cysts containing lamellated keratin that a dermatologist or esthetician can take out with a tiny needle) around your eye area or on your cheeks.

If you have dry skin, you must avoid water as much as you can; take short showers, and wash your face with a cleansing milk. And everyone should drink more water (or hot green tea) in the wintertime.

Many times dry skin gets flakes on the eyelids and cheeks and around the lip area. The best way to get rid of them is to exfoliate the skin right after showering, when the skin is still soft. After that apply a thick layer of a cream-based hydration mask all over your face. Leave it on for five minutes, then press a tissue on your face and let it absorb the mask. Don’t scrub your face; just gently tap it with the tissue so you get all the extra mask off your face.

Do this in the evening, and by morning your skin will be much softer. You can use the same method on superdry lips: exfoliate your lips and the skin around them with an exfoliating cream or lip scrub (many cosmetic manufacturers make lip spa products with scrubs and various kind of balms and sealing creams).

You can also put a damp hand towel in a microwave for three minutes to heat it and then press it on your lips for a minute to soften the skin, then scrub the dead skin off gently with the towel.

Note: Scrubbing the lips with a toothbrush is really hard on them and can actually break the skin.

MAKEUP
Base
Slightly richer foundations are better than tinted moisturizers because there is more to cover on your skin in the winter (uneven areas on the nose, cheeks, and eyelids).

You must use SPF/UVA/UVB protection all year round. The sun that reflects from the snow is as strong as the sun that reflects from water. So choose a day cream with at least SPF 15, or a foundation with SPF. Skin is also paler in the winter, so you must use a wintertime base.

Powder is needed all over the face for oily skin. Those with combination and dry skin should use powder on the T‑area only to set the base. If your skin is dry and flaky, don’t use any base product, just a face oil and your protecting SPF 15 face cream (but you can still use mascara and tinted lip balm).

Eyes
Most cosmetic companies launch autumn/winter collections full of darker shades for eye and lip makeup colors; dark grays, plums, burgundies, deep Spanish reds, and dark chocolate browns. That is because the fall/winter fashion shows give the direction to the makeup world as well. But there are no rules for which colors to use on a seasonal basis. Most of the products are matte and simply look better in winter: more dramatic and deeper hues that go hand in hand with fall/winter fashions. But remember that what works on the runway does not always work in real life.

If you love pastels in winter, go for them. Keep in mind, though, that if your face is pale, pastel colors will create a washed-out look that is not flattering; light pastel eye and lip makeup looks better on tanned skin, which is why pastels are very popular in the summer. For a cool-tone winter look, wear deeper colors on your eyes and give your lips a matte fuchsia tone instead of light icy pink. Or use some color on your eyes and keep your lips pale (as in the photo: I gave the lashes a shocking blue wintry color!).

Mascara should be waterproof; rain, snow, and going from outdoor to indoor temperatures will make regular mascara run. You don’t always have to use black mascara; try brown, blue, or green. Water-resistant eye pencil is excellent; because it’s made of waxes, it will stay through the rain. Water-resistant liquid eyeliners are good but don’t necessarily stay well because of their flakiness. There are some special eye makeup sealing products that you can apply on top of the eyeliner to make it hold longer. But an umbrella will do a better job in the end. I have also used water-resistant mascara as eyeliner, and sometimes it stays better than most of the real waterproof liners.

Lips
Cracked lips are the number one problem in winter. If your lips are superdry, skip the lipstick and use tinted lip balm, which is available in many different colors. The pigmentation is not that high, but you will get smooth, healthy-looking lips with a beautiful sheen. Make sure the balm has SPF and UVA/UVB protection. Exfoliate your lips regularly throughout the cold months. That way you will get rid of the dry flakes on the surface of your lips.

If you want a more dramatic winter look, fair skin looks really good with well-lined red lips, darker skin with well-lined deep brown or deeper cool reds. More moisturizing, richer-formula lip glosses are welcome products in the winter when the temperature drops below 0° Celsius. But on a really cold day, skip the glosses and use tinted lip balms. They protect and moisturize your lips the best.

Blush
Blush is a key item to the winter makeup look. It really gives some color to your skin and wakes up your whole face. Use the powder formulas, which sit better than gel or cream blushes. The color of your blush is completely your own choice; again, if you have a cool-tone look, use pink; for a warm tone, it can be peach, warm sand, or terracotta. The only color I would leave out are bronzes. They really don’t look great in winter.

Hands and Nails
Keep your hands moisturized. You can even sleep with cotton gloves on after applying a thick layer of hand cream to your hands. In the morning your hands and cuticles will be soft and moisturized.

Darker nail colors look trendy in the winter. You can buy a lipstick to match with your nail color because cosmetic companies launch the looks that way. It will always give a very sophisticated, mature look.

I have oily skin in the summer, and in the winter it’s dry. How can I make my skin behave in a more balanced manner from season to season?
Ole Henriksen answers:
It’s not unusual for an oily/eruption-prone skin to become surface dry in the winter season. Two things cause this: the products used to normalize the oily skin, and the dry indoor heating plus outdoor freezing temperatures. A mistake that many people with oily skin make is to use products with too many drying agents in every product they use.

This is not necessary. It creates a dry surface mantle and potentially more oil flow below the skin surface, which can cause blemishes. Balance is the key here, using a blend of oil-free formulations with humectants such as algae, aloe vera, sorbitol, and glycerin, combined with cell-proliferating and purifying extracts such as sugar maple, sugarcane, lemon peel, and lactic acid, and finally reparative antioxidants such as vitamin C, superoxide dismutase, green tea, and African red tea. In addition, an antiblemish stick containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, bentonite, and kaolin is a must for this skin type. So the answer is to use products that contain the right blend of active ingredients and have a light texture.

Is Vaseline good for my lips in the winter?
Vaseline used on its own isn’t thick enough to stay on the lips for long periods, but if incorporated into a lip balm formulation it works well. For people who may not like the fact that Vaseline is a mineral oil extract, there are other extracts that work just as effectively at keeping lips soft and nourished, such as jojoba seed oil, mango seed butter, carnauba wax, and cranberry seed oil.

TIPS
Use a humidifier to add moisture to your indoor space if you have to use drying central heating. Put one in your bedroom, and you will notice the difference in your skin in the morning, especially when using face serum and night cream. Your skin will be softer and moister.

If you have very dry skin, use soap-free body wash instead of a soap bar when showering.

You can use a thicker-formula face cream (at least 60% oil) as your night cream. The same cream works as a deep-moisturizing face mask: just apply a thicker layer of the cream all over your face, except in the eye area. Keep it on the face for 10 to 15 minutes, and then press a tissue on the face to absorb the extra oils from the skin. Do this in the evening, and your skin will be moist, especially if you have the humidifier in your bedroom.

If you have sensitive skin, use a protective barrier moisturizer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Riku Campo, author of Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Make Up and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products, lives in Los Angeles, where he has established himself as the makeup go-to guy for some of today’s most celebrated models and entertainers. For more information, visit www.rikucampo.com.

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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).

Toner
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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.

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Home Beauty Remedies That Really Work

Thirteen favorite do-it-yourself beauty treatments that are both easy and inexpensive, from actress and Dancing with the Stars alumna Lisa Rinna, author of Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever

  • To lighten age spots, mix the juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 2 ounces of plain yogurt together in a bowl. Yogurt contains a natural bleaching property. Rub the mixture into each spot, including sun-damaged cleavage. Do this several times before you need to attend a big event, and your skin will look even and gorgeous.
  • To make my absolute favorite face tightener and pore minimizer, beat 1 egg white to a froth. Apply the foamy liquid to your entire face, focusing on problem areas around the jaw, eyes, and forehead. Let it dry completely (about ten minutes), then gently rinse and pat dry.
  • To combat under-eye bags — there are many tried-and-true remedies for this problem — try placing cucumber slices, raw potato slices, moistened tea bags, or chilled spoons over each eye. Leave them on for ten minutes or so, then check your results. Repeat until bags disappear.
  • To reduce puffiness around the eyes: Preparation H is an old tried-and-true prescription for shrinking eye puffiness. It works, but some people find the ointment greasy and/or are put off by its smell (or just the idea of it). I am one of those people. Someone told me to try Tucks pads, and guess what? They work just as well as Preparation H and are odor and grease-free. You can use them on your neck, jaw line, or forehead — any place that needs quick tightening.
  • To make a fantastic moisturizing mask, mash up an avocado and apply it to your face. You’ll look scary while it’s on, but after removing it with warm water you’ll see that it works.
  • To make my excellent exfoliator, mix a few tablespoons of sugar with a few tablespoons of olive oil or water, if you have acne-prone skin. Gently massage the mixture all over your face. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • To make a gentle exfoliator, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the mixture all over your skin. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry.
  • To make a clay mask – which is great for pulling toxins out of your skin — some facialists use (I kid you not) 100 percent clay kitty litter. (I told you I’d try anything!) It contains the same ingredients that are in the expensive clay masks. Make a paste of the clay by mixing it with water, and apply to your skin. Let it sit until it hardens, and then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • To make your own collagen booster, mash 1 cooked carrot with 1 avocado, then add 1/2 cup heavy cream and blend. Apply the cream to your face and neck and leave it on for fifteen minutes. Then rinse with cool water. The beta-carotene in the carrot, the vitamin E in the avocado, and the calcium in the heavy cream combine to boost collagen levels, lighten age spots, and improve overall skin tone. Do this once a week for a month and your face will glow.
  • To use oils to your advantage: coconut oil is a miracle moisturizer on dry hair, nails, feet, you name it. Olive oil is a legendary Mediterranean beauty secret for supple, soft skin — rub it on your skin, your feet, and your nails. To condition and repair damaged hair, combine 1/2 cup of olive oil and 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and let it sit overnight. The next day, remove the rosemary, and massage the oil into your hair; let it soak in for ten to fifteen minutes, and rinse with warm water. Then shampoo to get rid of the oil residue. Sesame oil is another great all-over body moisturizer. Neutrogena makes a body oil that is super light and smells heavenly; apply it to damp skin after you shower for a smooth, subtle sheen that also accentuates muscle tone and enhances a tan. Right before I step onto the red carpet, I like to rub a little lavender oil on my arms and legs. It smells great, and it makes my skin soft and silky.
  • To make a lip exfoliator — you should try to exfoliate your lips once a week to get rid of dead skin and plump them up — mix a paste of honey and sugar and rub the mixture on your lips. Then use a toothbrush to slough off the dead skin.
  • To make an instant lip plumper, simply rub cinnamon on your lips. It’s that easy.
  • To make my ultra hand moisturizer, blend 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of honey, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Use it every time you wash your hands and your hands will be silky smooth in no time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Rinna, author of Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever (Copyright © 2009 by Lisa Rinna), is an award-winning actress and television host, best known for her roles on Days of Our Lives and Melrose Place, as well as her co-hosting duties on Soap Talk, her appearances on Dancing with the Stars, and her red-carpet interviews on the TV Guide Network. She is the creator of a line of dance-themed exercise DVDs called Lisa Rinna Dance Body Beautiful, and she runs her own successful boutique, Belle Gray, with her husband, actor Harry Hamlin, with whom she has two daughters, Delilah and Amelia.

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7 Easy, Natural Eye Treatments You Can Make at Home

You don’t need to spend a fortune on eye creams. You can make these masks and treatments using ingredients found right in your kitchen. From Return to Beauty by Narine Nikogosian

If we are fortunate enough to have our eyesight, we are able to enjoy all of the world’s magnificence and beauty. My son’s smile, the canyons I drive through after work, even my husband snoring on the sofa — I take in my life with my own beautiful eyes.

Happy, sad, worried, or frightened — these windows to the soul also tell others all they need to know about us. If your eyes are watery, this means there are vitamins missing from your diet. Also, the older we get, the drier our eyes can become. These problems can be fixed with adjustments in our lifestyle and diet.

We need to take good care of our eyes. Good eye vitamins are A, E, C, B, and B2. Foods that are rich in these vitamins include carrots, green beans, green onions, melons, tomatoes, bananas, potatoes, cabbage, wheat, walnuts, garlic, chicken, pinto beans, milk, and fish.

Avoiding the following habits will help your eyes maintain health: overworking, too much computer time, too much television time, smoking, alcohol, and not enough sleep.

EYE REMEDIES
TIRED EYES

To rejuvenate your eyes after a long day, fill a large bowl with water and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Soak your face in the water, opening and closing your eyes several times. Soak clean cotton balls in green tea and swipe them over closed eyes.

PUMPKIN EYE MASK
Peel and seed a slice of pumpkin. Cook it in 2 cups of water until soft, then mash it and add 1 teaspoon of honey. Place inside clean gauze, then place over your eyes and relax for 20 minutes.

POTATO EYE MASK
Peel 1 small potato. Shred it, then place it in clean gauze. Cover your eyes with this and relax for 15 minutes. Rinse off with cold chamomile tea.

RED IRRITATED EYES
In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley and 1 cup of milk. Soak clean cotton balls in the mixture and swipe them over closed eyes.

REMEDIES FOR DARK CIRCLES
As well as changing those habits that help to create dark pigmentation under the eyes, try one or all of these recipes. (Sometimes darkness under our eyes or on our eyelids is genetic, but these recipes help lighten its appearance.)

Dark Eyelids
Place 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley on your eyelids and rest for 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Dark Under-Eye Circles
Place 2 teaspoons of organic cottage cheese on clean cotton balls. Pat gently under your eyes and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
OR
In a small saucepan, put 3 teaspoons of diced cucumber into 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Mix in 1 teaspoon of honey. Allow to cool. Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and pat gently under your eye area. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Narine Nikogosian, author of the Return to Beauty: Old-World Recipes for Great Radiant Skin book (Copyright © 2009 by Narine Nikogosian) and the Return to Beauty Vook, trained in nursing with a concentration in dermatology in her native Armenia and Russia before she came to the United States. She ran the successful Starface salon in Glendale, California, and later built a well-respected reputation as a talented aesthetician at Ole Henriksen Face/Body on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Her clients include many of Hollywood’s top stars, including Jessica Alba, Carmen Electra, Charlize Theron, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kiefer Sutherland.

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How to Make Your Natural Eye Color Really Dazzle

Time-tested tips for making your blues bluer and greens greener, from The New Beauty Secrets by Laura Mercier

Don’t Be Afraid of Color
The majority of women stick to neutrals when it comes to their eye makeup, but you should give color a chance from time to time. It’s a great mood enhancer. I know psychiatrists sometimes tell their patients to stop wearing black because it has a way of drowning you emotionally and sapping your energy. Think about why you reach for a certain red blouse or blue sweater. It might seem arbitrary, but perhaps your psyche needs the calming effects of a specific hue or the energizing effects of a particular shade. Consider that the next time thoughts of violet eyeshadow or forest green liner pop up in your mind. Maybe you should trust yourself and give them a try. Follow your instincts! There is always a way to wear color — whether light, pale, or muted — that won’t be intimidating.

Intensify Your Eye Color
There are simple ways to make your natural eye color really dazzle. As you probably know, certain colors complement and enhance other colors. The same theory works with eye makeup and your iris (the colored part of your eye). You can make your eyes bluer, greens greener, and so on. I’ve found that the following basic color combinations work the best:

Brown Eyes
Try: Use eyeshadow or liner in gray, black, navy blue, neutral chocolate brown, or chocolate brown with a hint of red, pink-brown, gray-brown, burgundy, or eggplant. You also can use paler or medium versions of these shades as eyeshadow, as well as light mauve, light pink and peach. You can use gold shadow if your skin tone is not too sallow or yellow.

Avoid: If you have brown eyes and olive skin, skip neutral browns like khakis, taupes, and yellow-browns. They won’t make your eyes look alive and will only emphasize the yellow in your skin.

Blue Eyes
Try: Use eyeshadow in fleshy pink, brown-pink, beige-pink, peachy-pink, muted mauve, grays, light dusty blues, turquoise washed, black, or all browns. Use eyeliner in gray, black, brown, navy blue, bronze-gold, or dark purple.

Avoid: If you have pink-toned skin, stay away from shadows that are pure pink. By all means, don’t use strong pinks such as fuchsia, or you’ll end up resembling a bunny rabbit. If you have pure blue eyes that tend not to change color, you should avoid green eyeshadow and liner. Avoid blues that are too strong because they can overwhelm your eye color.

Green or Hazel Eyes
Try: Shadows in peach, light pink, muted pink, mauve, green, bronze-green, gray-green, brown-green, khaki, caramel, gold, any green mixed with gold, and all browns and grays. If your complexion is very olive and your dark circles too yellow-brown and deep, stick to the cool colors like navy blues, slate grays, mauve-grays, bright mauves, pinks, black, or eggplants. Use liner in navy, deep purple, black, gray, gold, or brown.

Avoid: Don’t use any green that’s not subtle. You don’t want to wear bright, vivid greens because they will overwhelm your eye color. If you want to try a bright color such as teal or turquoise, make sure to apply as a subtle wash so it brightens the eye area without overwhelming your eye color.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Caring for Brushes and Other Beauty Tools

Internationally recognized beauty authority Laura Mercier, author of The New Beauty Secrets, shares three insider tricks for maintaining your makeup applicators.

Washing Your Brushes
Caring for your brushes means washing them on a regular basis, not using them for a year and then tossing them. If you wait until your brushes look dirty, you’ve waited far too long. Apply makeup with clean tools; It’s better for your brushes and your skin.

Basically, there are two kinds of brushes: those you use with creamy products and those you use with powdery products.

Let’s talk about the first group, which includes brushes for concealer, camouflage, eyeliner, lip products, cream eyeshadow, and cream blush. These should be washed daily. This is a must for anything that touches your eyes or that you use to cover pimples because of bacteria. This probably sounds like a pain in the neck because you’re so busy, and the last thing you need is another chore. But once you get in the habit, quickly washing the brushes will become second nature. You can wait until you come home from work to clean them, instead of doing it right after you apply your makeup in the morning.

To get started you need some tissues and antibacterial dishwashing detergent. The detergent is perfect because it will disintegrate any grease or oil. Squeeze a little detergent on the brush and gently work it through with your fingers. Put the brush under warm running water and continue to work the soap through all the bristles in the direction of the hair, taking care not to bend the bristles. The soap will be creamy and opaque at first, then less so until you just have clear running water going through the bristles.

Put the freshly washed brushes on a paper towel or dish towel to dry, and reshape the brushes if necessary. For example, if a brush ends in a point, smooth the bristles back into a point. You can place the brushes near a heat source, like a radiator, but never directly on top.

For powder brushes, the directions are almost identical, with the exception that you don’t have to wash them as frequently and you should use mild soap or shampoo. Again, be gentle. It’s like washing your favorite La Perla bra, not scrubbing stains out of your jeans.

Sponges and Puffs
You should wash your sponges with mild soap under warm running water after every application. You should wash puffs in the same manner every few days or each week. Some makeup artists throw their puffs into the washing machine, but I don’t recommend it. Most laundry detergents aren’t mild enough, and all the tumbling around can damage them.

Put your sponges and puffs on a paper towel or dish towel to let them air dry. You may need to reshape your puffs.

Carry with Care
Do you travel with your tools? Maybe you take them to work every day, or perhaps you’re going on vacation and want to bring them along. Make sure to have a nice case or brush roll in which to carry them. Don’t toss them into your makeup bag where they’ll get beaten up and dirty. Another option is to buy a travel-size brush kit that comes with a special carrying case.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.

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