Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

Red Carpet Ready Calendar

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Awards Season is here and Hollywood is abuzz with diets, dresses and detoxes.  However, a perfect complexion is just as important as the right hairstyle and jewels. We are all aware that celebrity skin secrets and stars beauty tricks are slightly more complex than a great makeup artist.  Below, is a timeline for getting red carpet ready and achieving star-worthy skin… even in HD!

2 Months Before the Red Carpet

  • Chemical Peels-  A medium-strength chemical peel, such as a  TCA peel, can produce pretty dramatic results. These procedures can renew collagen and elastin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and reduce large pores, soften acne scars, and combat hyperpigmentation, evening the skin tone. However, the actual peeling of the skin can last a couple weeks. Celebrities have these procedures performed at least a month before their big event.

2 Weeks Before the Red Carpet

  • Injectable Fillers- Celebrities often turn to fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse and sculptra to treat deep lines and wrinkles. The various options of fillers now available to the public provide patients with several options when it comes to texture and desired results. Depending on the type of filler, the results can last as little as 2-6 months or as long as 1-2 years. It is generally recommended that treatments should be performed about two week before a major event.

5-7 Days Before the Red Carpet

  • Botox- Botox treatments are one of the most commonly used and accepted cosmetic dermatology procedures on the market. While the list of celebrities with botox (and denying it) is never ending, many star such as Jennie Garth, Lori Loughlin, Vanessa Williams and Jenny McCarthy have come clean about receiving Botox treatments. Since the FDA approved the procedure in 2002, there has been a continual demand for the product. In fact, when used correctly and in moderation Botox treatments are a great preventative measure. Recovery time is minimal, but it is recommended Botox 5-7 days before an event just in case there is a reaction or bruising.
  • Microdermabrasion- Microdermabrasion is great to have done a few days before a red carpet appearance. It makes skin look and feel smoother almost immediately and the results can last for several weeks after the treatment. There are even a few DYI kits that let you perform microdermabrasion treatments at home, I suggest the kit from Personal Microderm.

48 Hours Before the Red Carpet

  • Facials- Celebrities are known to indulge in extravagant facial before big events, including Mila Kunis’ recent $7,000 Golden Globes facial utilizing rubies and diamonds. While the scientific evidence is inconclusive when it comes to using exotic stones, facials are renowned for relaxing and rejuvenating client’s right before events. Facials are great because they are specifically designed and targeted to each person’s skin concerns. Facials include extractions, cleansings and appropriate masks, which revives the dull skin and is a great quick pick-me-up.

A Few Beautiful Resolutions and How to Keep them for 2011

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

As we all know, along with the New Year comes  New Year resolutions. There are the ever popular lose weight, save money, stop smoking, try new things and to learn a different language. However, working at a beauty company, my coworkers have a few more specific goals for 2011 and as you can guess they are all beauty and health related.  When polled, the members of my office listed everything from styling their hair every morning to running a half marathon to eating more antioxidants to performing weekly at home manicures (ok, that last one is mine, and sad to say, 5 days in and I have already failed…chips galore).  Not surprisingly, statistics show that around 90% of New Year resolutions fail. While New Year resolutions can be tough, here are a few tips to attain your beauty and health goals for 2011.

One of my co-workers vowed to blow-dry her hair every day, not to haphazardly apply her makeup in the car and to not pick at her nails. If your resolutions mirror hers and revolve around a more put together appearance, try incorporating one new element at a time.  Grand beauty ideas are fantastic but even just the smallest tweak to your beauty ritual can make your confidence soar. Get a great blow out in the beginning of the week, try a manicure with shellac nail polish (they last for weeks and don’t chip!), or set aside an extra 5 minutes for your makeup and indulge in a new eye shadow palette (I adore Becca Cosmetics palette).

A handful of other coworkers made resolutions along the lines of a healthy detox, working out and living a booze free 2011. In fact, one of them boldly declared that she “will only eat fruits and vegetables, workout an hour every day and not drink alcohol at all!” While this is an extremely commendable new year resolution, experts insist that making extreme goals and absolute resolutions (think words like always, never and every day) is just another way to set yourself up for failure.

While incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet is amazing (think of all the antioxidants you will get!) it’s not very likely that someone that ate cheeseburgers twice a week will be able to solely exist off the fruit of the land (literally speaking).  If a healthy lifestyle is your resolution this year, try setting attainable and manageable health goals. Challenge yourself to eat 8-12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, drink more water, attempt Meatless Mondays (its only one day, not forever, you can do it!) and hold off on the booze until a well deserved weekend cocktail. Instead of working out for one hour, seven days a week and loosing 10 lbs in 10 days, try a non-weight related goal. Aim for 5 hours of cardio a week (that way if you miss a day or two, there are still five or six days left to make up for it) or train for a race. You won’t be worried about the number on the scale, just the accomplishment of reaching your goal.

Moral of the story? When it comes to new year resolutions, moderation is key. Cheers to 2011!

The Best Beauty Trends (and the worst!) of 2010

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Flickr user limonlucikolata

flickr user chicagophotoshop

2010 was a pretty beautiful year, literally speaking. Aside from a few missteps and casualties (Bump-its anyone? Jersey Shore-esque tans? Anything from the Taylor Momsen makeup bag?), this past year has ushered in some gorgeous new looks and brought relevance to retro trends as well. Below is a list of some of the best beauty trends 2010 had to offer.

  • Ombre Hair- Good news for those who despise the monthly trips to the salon for touch-ups! Perfectly maintained hair is out and ombre hair is in!  Celebs like Nicole Richie and Rachel Bilson started bucking the beauty rule of root maintenance this summer.
  • Retro hair- Think beehives, a la Scarlet Johanson, and Veronica Lake waves made popular by beauties such as Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie.
  • Cat eye makeup and winged eyeliner- A favorite of everyone from Lauren Conrad to the make up artists at fashion week, this easy-to-achieve look dominated the beauty pages in 2010.  With a steady hand and an easy-to-use liquid eyeliner (I prefer Hourglass Cosmetics Calligraphy Liquid Eyeliner) anyone can perfect this subtle, yet sexy come-hither look. Again, please remember, you are going for subtle, not Little J!
  • Pixie cuts- For the past couple months, stars have been chopping off their long locks one-by-one to reveal a gamine and gorgeous, yet classic do. Celebrities such as Michelle Williams, Ginnifer Goodwin, Carey Mulligan, Emma Watson, Elisha Cuthbert and Rihanna have all made the cut, literally. Beware though; this hair trend is not for everyone.
  • Braids- The braided hair style is my personal favorite look from this year. The mixture of simplicity and versatility, mixed with my laziness and unruly mane, has turned the braid into my go-to hair style.

The worst? There were some doozies! The aforementioned Bump Its, Oompa-Loompa tans, raccoon eye makeup, also snuggies, neon makeup and scraggly extensions (again, bad year for Taylor Momsen) … but the absolute worst beauty trend of 2010? Vajazzling!

Working Overtime- Eye shadow can play almost every role in the makeup bag

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Flickr user Jacklyn DL

As you might be able to tell from some of my other blog posts, I’m not exactly the biggest of beauty junkies. Don’t get me wrong, I do like makeup and feeling feminine but I simply detest spending time, energy and money on pampering. My makeup bag is pretty bare, not because I don’t need that much makeup, but because I have found my no-fail products that work double and sometimes triple duty- cutting down on clutter, cost and time. The MVP of my makeup bag? Eye shadow! There are so many different uses for eye shadow that with a few different shades and pigments, you could practically toss half of your beauty product arsenal! Read on to learn about them.

  1. Eyeliner- Eye shadow is a great substitute for actual eyeliner, plus there is a far greater selection of shades! Simply wet an angled or pointed brush, dip into your eye shadow and voila—custom eyeliner!
  2. Eyebrow pencil- Very similar to the previous tip, applying eyeliner, eye shadow may also be used as a great eyebrow pencil.
  3. Blush- Red and pink eye shadows are not the most popular shades, but if you happen to have a color that suites your skin tone (perhaps it came in an eye shadow palette with various colors) it can be a great blush.
  4. Lip gloss- Making lip gloss with eye shadow can be really fun and produce great results! Start with Vaseline on the back of your hand and start mixing in different shades of eye shadow until you create the perfect color
  5. Nail Polish- This use of eye shadow was news to me and I have yet to try it. However, one of my cosmetically gifted coworkers told me about this little trick and swears that it works wonderfully! Simply mix your favorite color of loose eye shadow with clear nail polish to create your desired shade. Try a vampy burgundy or purple, one of this winter’s hottest trends!

Pixie Please! The Newest Hairstyle for Fall

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Emma Watson's Pixie Cut flickr user skoykkahwin

Forget the Rachel, say goodbye to Posh’s angled bob and peace out to Blake Lively’s tousled tresses. There is a new style on the block and it is taking Hollywood by storm. Meet The Pixie- the IT 2010 hairstyle. For the past couple months, stars have been chopping off their long locks one-by-one to reveal a gamine and gorgeous, yet classic, do. Celebrities such as Michelle Williams, Ginnifer Goodwin, Carey Mulligan, Emma Watson, Elisha Cuthbert, Rihanna, Katie Holmes and Hayden Panettiere have all made the cut, literally. The most recent addition to the ever growing list of short haired beauties is Ashlee Simpson Wentz, whose husband debuted the pixie haircut via twitter. So you think you want to jump on the pixie bandwagon? I got some advice about the 2010 hairstyle trend from Shear Genius contestant and stylist to the stars Janine Jarman—read on and learn how to make this fun look work for you.

Beautyfix: Let’s talk pixie cuts.

Janine Jarman: It makes me so happy to see short hair on girls! To me, short hair looks so feminine—it makes the face and eyes really stand out.

Beautyfix: Are different variations better for different face shapes?

JJ: Yes, there are hundreds of charts online of face shape and hair cuts that are designed to make your face shape look as close to an oval as possible. That’s the ultimate goal, so if you have a square jaw you want to have layers cut down into the jaw and round it out. If you have a heart shaped face, same thing—you want longer layers and a side bang cut down and over so that it makes oval.

Beautyfix: How often do pixie haircuts need to be trimmed to maintain the shape?

JJ: Every four weeks. Short hair cuts need to be cut a lot more often than long hair cuts.

Beautyfix: Any tips on how to gracefully grow out a pixie cut?

JJ: Hair accessories are the best way to grow out any hair-do. Once it gets to chin length and lower, get extensions if it’s that torturous for you.

Longer Lashes in the Blink of an Eye

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I, like most women, love the look of luscious, long eyelashes. (Wouldn’t we all love to walk around every day with Kim K’s stunning lashes?)  Although, due to clumsiness, laziness and lack of time, I rarely make an effort.  My unsteady hand generally results in mascara on my nose and eyeliner smudged on my lid and cheek (don’t even ask how it gets there, I have no clue). Fake eyelashes? Please, there is NO WAY I trust myself with eyelash adhesive around my eye region.  I toyed with the idea of trying a product such as Latisse or RapidLash—but I don’t want to deal with a prescription and both of these products contain Prostaglandin, which can alter the color of your eye. Even though I don’t have gorgeous blue or green peepers, I’m kind of partial to the boring brown eye color that I was given.

I recently decided to try Smartlash, a new eyelash enhancement which utilizes VisiLash Technology to create a gentle product that produces serious results. SmartLash is prescription-free formula that replaces harmful ingredients, such as Prostaglandin, with mild peptides to improve the look of lashes and brows without affecting the remaining eye area and skin. Although, what really sold me were the clinical results.

A 30-day independent clinical study yielded the following results:

  • 100% saw an increase in the appearance of eyelash length, fullness and thickness
  • Participants experienced up to a 68% increase in the appearance of lash length!
  • 100% said they feel like they need less mascara
  • 100% indicated superior performance compared to previously used eyelash enhancers

SmartLash is so incredibly easy to use. I just apply it to my lash line, as if I am applying eyeliner, twice a day and I’m done. I have only been using the product for about 4 days, so will check back in after a month and share my results!

You Are What You Eat

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Flickr user .craig

Here is some food for thought: what you put into your body is just as important for your skin as what you put on it. The foods you eat directly affect your outward appearance, primarily on your skin. While the beauty industry is constantly evolving and progressing with scientific breakthroughs and discoveries, spending hundreds of dollars on the newest revolutionary product might not be the only solution.  Although proper cleansers and creams are vital, achieving gorgeous glowing skin can be as simple as assessing your diet and adding food for healthy skin. The next time you are tempted to hit the beauty aisle, perhaps you should consider the food section first because beauty really does come from within!

What to consume for healthy-looking skin:

  1. Whole grains- Not only do these healthy starches help whittle your waistline—they can also help prevent acne. Unhealthy carbs, such as potato chips and cookies, affect hormone levels and cause the body to produce excess oil, which clogs the pores. Next time you’re craving carbs, put down the Pringles and pick up some popcorn. The fiber will not only fill you up but regulate your insulin, which keeps your hormones and oil production in check.
  2. Water- There are countless benefits of drinking water. Water is crucial to proper skin hydration. Plus, it carries nutrients to cells, aids in flushing out toxins, and helps your body sweat more efficiently. It sounds gross, I know, but sweat is a natural cleansing mechanism that brightens the complexion and keeps skin looking fresh.

    Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography

  3. Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries and Plums- These four super fruits contain some of the best antioxidants out there. The benefits of antioxidants are vast, and can play a role in everything from preventing heart disease to boosting the immune system. Lucky for us, these delicious fruits also play a major role in anti-aging. They protect the skin cells from free radical damage.
  4. Green Tea- Another reason to go green! Green tea benefits include antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, packing a 1-2 punch for beautiful skin. Studies suggest that green tea, which protects the cell membrane, can reduce the risk of UV damage and thus minimize the risk of skin cancer. Also, the polyphenols found in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties, ideal for people trying to prevent and reduce acne.
  5. Turkey- Roasted or smoked turkey has a high concentration of zinc, which helps maintain the collagen and elastin fibers responsible for the skin’s elasticity and firmness. Zinc also helps regulate sebum production, putting a stop to shine and helping to prevent pimples. Other foods for healthy skin that contain zinc: chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, baked beans and beef.
  6. Salmon- Get soft, supple skin by adding salmon to your diet.  It’s rich in omega3 fatty acids, which are essential for healthy cell membranes—they hold in moisture and help keep skin plump and youthful. Omega3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties and can decrease clogged pores.

Blow Dryer Blues- Is the price tag always worth it?

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

flickr user rainpie

I have been without a blow dryer for over three months. This statement might shock you, as it did most of my co-workers, but it’s true. My last blow dryer (not the best hair dryer in the world but a trusty $29.99 drugstore brand) had a good run but ultimately went up in flames. Literally, flames…mid blow dry. I’m just not sure why I went all of three months without purchasing a new one. It could have been laziness, cheapness, or a subliminal nostalgia for my youth, when I was a competitive swimmer and had perpetually wet hair. Whatever the reason, I lived by way of air drying and declared a strike against purchasing a new blow dryer. I would even go as far as making a trip to the gym before a big meeting or event, specifically to use their hair dryers. Weird, I know.

Last weekend, I finally buckled. I had 45 minutes to shower and get ready for a wedding, which meant no time for a quick gym/borrowed blow dryer visit. Facing defeat, I made a visit to the beauty supply store by my house, where I stood in shock, taken aback by the overwhelming variety of blow dryers, features and technology. There were dozens of blow dryers, all boasting breakthrough science and revolutionary patents—and not one of them resembled my previous $29.99 model in any way, least of all in price. In a fit of pure frustration, I selected the cheapest (a mere $119!) blow dryer on display, paid, and left.

Grudgingly, I admit that my hair felt so much better after drying it with my new, expensive (relatively speaking) blow dryer. I began to wonder: is there some actual merit behind all the patenting and revolutionary technology?  Luckily, I have a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips, thanks to my extremely beauty-savvy coworkers (after all, our company is called Intelligent Beauty). For this particular question, I quizzed Jac, our non-official hair care expert.  She informed me that while it isn’t always the price tag that determines the best blow dryers, there are certainly key terms, technological aspects and features to look for when purchasing a blow dryer.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure your blow dryer is at least 1800 watts. This ensures adequate power to blow dry your hair. (Lower wattages = more time to dry, resulting in more heat damage to the hair.)
  • Ionic Technology is a fairly common phrase in the hair care world. It refers to a technology that generates negative ions that neutralize positive ions in the atmosphere. This process allows hair to dry faster, seals the cuticle, and reduces frizz, leaving hair smooth and shiny.
  • A ceramic hair dryer actually has a self-regulating system that senses if the dryer is getting too hot. The air flow is at the right temperature, and the coils are made out of ceramic as well.
  • Tourmaline blow dryers utilize a technology that speeds up the drying process by about 60%, which ultimately reduces damage caused by heat.
  • Another feature to look for in a good blow dryer: different temperature and speed settings, which allow you to adjust your preferences manually.

The moral of the story? There are several different options fitting for several different bank accounts.  The reigning king of the blow drying world is the T3 Featherweight Luxe, which actually nourishes the hair. For a more budget-friendly blow dryer, opt for something along the lines of the Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styler. Just make sure your blow dryer has at least one of the features listed above. It all comes down to amount of time spent drying—less time, less heat, the better the blow dryer!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

By Liz W

mother's day

Photo courtesy of Apple Bottom Photography

Mother’s Day is around the corner and even if you shower her with gifts every day of the year, Mother’s Day should be the day that shows her how much you care. When trying to come up with Mother’s Day gift ideas for the most important lady in your life, try thinking about what she does every day, not for you and others, but for herself. Does she love gardening? Cooking? Travelling? Going to day spas? The outdoors? If you focus on what she already loves, then gift buying will be easy and will melt her heart. Knowing you spent time thinking about giving her something she loves will mean more than the gift itself.

Ideas for Mother’s Day Gift Giving

For a jet-setting mom on the go, give her the gift of time. Whether she spends her days carting around preschoolers to non-stop T-ball practice and ballet lessons, or she is preparing for her first grandchild by picking him up little gifts from all her worldly destinations, a busy mom is a busy mom.

For someone who rarely takes a break and spends all her time on other people, give her the gift of some me time. Don’t just stop at gift certificate for her to enjoy some relaxing spa treatments; actually schedule the time for her to go and arrange for all her motherly responsibilities to be handled by someone else for the day.  That extra bit of planning to make sure she can really take some time for herself will mean the world to her and will really show that you care.


For the mom to be or new mom, give her a grown up gift. New moms are usually considered the easiest mom’s to plan for on mother’s day since motherhood is taking center stage in every aspect of their life, but focusing on HER, instead of the baby will be something she won’t expect. Chances are, she has been showered with gifts for her new little bundle of joy ever since the happy little plus sign on the pregnancy test popped up last year, so she might be feeling a little bit left out with all the love and attention the little one is basking in.

mom to be

Photo courtesy of Apple Bottom Photography

If the mom in question is your beautiful wife, give her the gift of some baby-free romance. Send her a gift basket stocked with everything she needs to get ready for a very adult evening. Include some pampering bath products, a romantic candle like Diana B. Black fig candle, and a bottle of her favorite wine. Then, tell her to relax in the tub, and get ready for a romantic date when you get home. This will make her feel like sexy, sophisticated woman, and she will never have felt more appreciated.

No matter what the mom you want to celebrate is interested in, just showing her that you are deeply appreciative of all that she does is the most important message to send on Mother’s Day.

Detox Spa Treatments: Japanese Enzyme Bath

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Wood shavings are a key ingredient in a Japanese enzyme bath

Photo by Dravir.B

This past weekend a girlfriend and I decided to try a Japanese enzyme bath at Willow Spa in Santa Monica. It sounded unusual, and was something new even for me (a beauty professional and self-professed spa junkie). I have experienced many different types of spa treatments all over the world, and some have been strange and usual, but nothing prepared me for this. The Japanese enzyme bath is a dry bath made up of wood shavings, rice bran, and fruit and vegetable enzymes. The combination of the ingredients generates a tremendous amount of heat so when you step in it’s very warm and toasty. As my therapist Yuki was burying me in a large pile of hot dirt and wood chips, I couldn’t help but call out to my friend “I’m having a very LA moment right now!” I mean, where else would people pay to be buried in what is basically a large, hot pile of compost?

All kidding aside, I was very curious to see what the whole experience was about. It is a detox spa treatment, and I am always game for a little detoxification. When we arrived at the spa we were treated to a warm foot bath with fresh rose petals and grapefruit slices and a pampering foot massage. They also gave us a shot of an Akatsuki Enzyme Drink (very thick and sweet tasting, but supposedly a good internal complement to the external enzyme treatment we were about to receive). The enzyme drink is made from fermented vegetable and fruit extracts and contains over 400 enzymes. Enzymes are essential for good health, but apparently many of us suffer from an enzyme deficiency. Learn more about how enzymes work here.

While our therapists massaged our feet they described what was going to happen next and warned us about the smell. As we approached the treatment room we quickly understood what they were talking about – it smelled like garbage. With our bathing suits on, we stepped into the dry bath mixture and they proceeded to cover us fully from the neck down (like when your big sister buried you in the sand at the beach). It starts off warm, but after a while you start to feel very hot. The therapists come in and check on you every 5 minutes and give you water to drink through a straw and blot your face with a cold compress to help keep you cool. The maximum time for a heat treatment like this is 20 minutes. We both stuck it out for the full time, but we had to pull our hands and feet out after a while because we were getting too hot.

I must admit, as strange as the experience was, there was something very comforting and relaxing about the way the treatment made me feel. After our 20 minutes were up we proceeded to take showers to wash off all of the dirt. This is no easy task, I assure you. After our very long showers we were taken to a massage treatment room and received lovely Thai massages. As we left we were instructed to drink lots of water to hydrate and to help the detoxification process. We were also told to eat lots of protein, (but not meat) and fresh fruits and vegetables. We took that as an opportunity to treat ourselves to sushi.

The Japanese enzyme bath treatment made my friend feel relaxed, but it made me feel more energized. I am in the process of moving which has left me in a constant state of exhaustion, and when I arrived at the spa I felt drained and tired. After the dry bath, I felt more awake and relaxed at the same time. I’m not sure if it actually detoxified my body (I’m not sure how I could know that), but it did have an instant effect on my energy level and feeling of well being afterwards. We both had a nice glow to our skin too.

If you are interested in getting this type of detox spa treatment, you may have to travel. According to Willow Spa, they are one of 2 spas in the United States that offer the treatment. There is also a location in Northern California called Osmosis. Otherwise you’ll have to visit Japan.

What’s the strangest spa experience you have had?