Posts Tagged ‘body care’

10 Easy to Follow Weight Loss Tips for Every Day

Friday, September 10th, 2010

As much as I love summer- the vacations, the sun, sand, bike rides and ocean breezes, there are a few things that really start to take a toll on my body and waistline- namely the barbeques, burgers and booze that are synonymous with warmer months. I assumed that after Labor Day passed, I would be back to my healthy eating habits and kick the added calories. Although, I seemed to have forgotten that after summer comes my other favorite time of year- Football Season. (Go Canes!) Along with football season comes even more barbeques, burgers and booze. Sigh. Luckily, there are some easy ways to lose weight without giving up all the fun stuff. With just a couple tweaks to my diet and following these simple healthy eating tips throughout the day and week, I can still have my cake and eat it too…. or burger… or margarita.

  1. Cut your portions down. Portion control is such an easy thing to correct during the day. Instead of eating an entire bagel for breakfast, eat half.  Our portions are generally much larger than a recommended serving size.
  2. Go Green! And red. And Purple. And yellow. Eat as many colorful veggies and fruits as you possible can during the day. Not only are they a great low calorie snack but they provide tons of nutritional benefits!
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Often times people mistake dehydration for hunger pains. Before you sit down to feast, drink a glass of water or two and reevaluate just how hungry you truly are.
  4. Eat wholesome foods. If you cannot pronounce some the chemicals, additives and substitutes, don’t eat it.
  5. Take your vitamins. It is a simple way to get your daily nutritional needs and it aids in weight loss. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.
  6. Behave on school (work) nights. Try to limit alcohol, going out to dinner and generally unhealthy habits during the week. If you treat your body right throughout the week, not only will it be reflected in your energy level and your performance at school or work, but then you will deserve a nice meal or cocktail (or three) on the weekend.
  7. Drink coffee. Caffeine is a great appetite suppressant, just be sure to go light on the sugar and cream. Black coffee has close to zero calories but can quickly become unhealthy.
  8. Get moving. I know working out is harder for some people than others but add a little cardio to your weekly routine and you won’t be nearly as worried about the hot dog that you had on Sunday.
  9. Get your beauty sleep. Research shows that less than 8 hours of shut eye can decrease your metabolism and increase hunger.
  10. Educate yourself. Just being aware of nutritional facts will help you make healthier choices. Sign up for weight loss newsletters, emails and tweets. Eat This Not That is a great website that give nutritional info and guidance on everything from what fast food lunch is most nutritious to options at a BBQ.

Take a Relaxing Bath to Melt Away Stress

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Take a relaxing bath to reduce stress. Flickr user Dennis Wong.

Studies have shown that women experience stress differently than men. If stress in women is different, then it makes sense that women would need different stress relaxation techniques than men too. When women are stressed, they tend to want to talk about it and they want to nurture themselves and their loved ones, whereas men tend to go into fight or flight mode. Shelley Taylor, PhD has coined the phrase “tend and befriend” to describe the way women respond to stress differently than men. If nurturing is an important part of the way women cope with stress, then it makes sense that my girlfriends and I compulsively want to visit spas and take relaxing baths – a different approach than the men in my life tend to take.

Managing stress can be stressful in and of itself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a quick fix, there are a few simple things that can instantly make you feel better within the comforts of your own home. I often feel like I’m having a Calgon moment – a million stressful things going on at once and a need to escape them all, if only for a moment. Calgon was definitely on to something with their “Calgon, take me away!” commercials, “The traffic, the boss, the kids, the dog!” I’ve never actually used Calgon, but growing up seeing their commercials taught me that you can melt away stress by taking a relaxing bath.

From bath salts to bath oils, there are many different types of bath products that can help you create a relaxing bath. An aromatherapy bath will take advantage of the relaxing powers of certain scents, in addition to soothing and pampering your skin. SpaRitual organic bath salts will help you relax naturally while providing aromatherapy benefits. They offer variety of scents, but if you want the most relaxing option, I recommend the Geranium Oil-infused Close Your Eyes Organic Bath Salts. Geranium Oil is known to have a comforting and healing effect and promotes stability and balance. Learn more about Geranium Oil here. Another good choice — Pevonia Botanica makes Anti-Stress Bath Salts with Essential Oils that are infused with Lavender and Ylang-Ylang for a calming effect.

Bath Oils are great if you want to moisturize your skin during your quest for tranquility. Decléor is a French skin care brand that was started by aromatherapy experts over 30 years ago. They incorporate aromatherapy into many of their products, and have a great post-bath treatment oil that you can apply to your skin after a bath or shower – but I like to make this product do double duty and I pour a couple caps of the oil into my bath water. Learn more about Decléor’s Aromessence Spa Relax – Relaxing Body Concentrate at our favorite beauty ecommerce destination

Several brands also feature bath products that are more of an elixir. We’re fans of Kerstin Florian’s Krauter Kamille Bath. Chamomile isn’t just for drinking! The chamomile flower in this bath soak will improve your state of mind and help you relax deeply. This is a great choice before going to bed.

Aside from having the right product in your bath water, make sure you create a relaxing atmosphere as well by lighting a few candles – personally I turn off all the lights and bathe by candlelight alone. A cup of your favorite tea, or even a glass of wine is a great companion for this experience. And if you’re up for it, some mellow music – but silence can be very fulfilling as well.

What’s your favorite way to relax?

Beautyfix Summer 2010 Product Spotlight: Kinerase Eye Treatment and Boscia Hand Cream

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

By Jenna

Hopefully everyone by now has selected and customized their latest Beautyfix kits for Sumer 2010. Choosing just a few out a plethora of products is difficult. Any of the products available are great ones, but if you’re looking for a wrinkle cream or an eye cream the Kinerase Intensive Eye cream was a great choice. On the other hand (pun intended), some extra moisture for your hands is always a good choice as well. For this you’ve probably chosen the Boscia Daily Hand Revival Therapy SPF 15. For today, I’d love to highlight these two fabulous products featured in the latest season of Beautyfix and how to use them.

Kinerase’s Intensive Eye Cream is a wrinkle cream by kinerase that is meant to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the delicate eye area. Why is this important? Keeping the skin around your eye area moisturized is extremely important in helping prevent fine lines and wrinkles. It’s one of the most sensitive and delicate areas and can show your age, premature aging and sun damage very easily. This cream contains kinetin and is rich and emollient to provide intense moisture to illuminate your eye area and create a supple texture. What I love about this eye cream is that it’s great for any skin type even sensitive skin. It also works well with makeup application and doesn’t make your makeup slip and slide. The formula is also hypoallergenic and fragrance free making it useable for anyone. Kinerase is a fantastic brand that I’ve come to love and be a fan of. You won’t be disappointed with this eye cream.

Flickr user: Steven K. Wili

How to use: Apply twice a day as desired. This means that you can use it once in the morning before makeup application and at night after you wash your face.

Boscia’s Daily Hand Revival is a perfect take-with-you-anywhere item. Storing this in your purse will be a hand saver. This hand cream is non-greasy and has a very gentle scent so you won’t be knocking anyone’s senses out at the office. It’s also an all natural hand cream which is an A+ in our book at Beautyfix. It’s great to use any time of day and it’s nourishing and soothing for your hands. Not only does it fare well as a therapeutic moisturizer, but it has SPF 15 to shield your hands from UV damage and free radicals. It’ll soften and protect your hands and cuticles without any sensitivity or too much moisture while leaving your digits looking healthy and youthful. After all, you can always tell a woman’s age by her hands.

If you didn’t choose these two, don’t fret, they’ll be available on How do you like the products you chose?

Hair Removal Techniques: Making the Best Choice for Body Hair Removal

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

By Jenna

Summer can be loads of fun and filled with vacations but news flash: vacations aren’t fun when you’re hairier than a bear underneath that swim suit. Unless you’re going au natural, body hair removal is something that we can’t ignore. There are many hair removal techniques available, and for some can be a nightmare. The trick is finding the best one for you. From shaving, waxing, electrolysis, threading and laser the cost of hair removal is also more than just money, it can be painful. Here’s a breakdown of what these techniques are all about.

Flickr User: digipam

Shaving can be a pain and the next step up is waxing. Hair waxing is easy, cheaper than other techniques, and is painful for a short amount of time. Waxing is a semi-permanent hair removal technique that removes hair from the root. There are many different types of hair waxing and should ONLY be performed by a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician. It’s effective to remove a larger amount of hair at one time and can last from 2 to 8 weeks. A drawback of waxing is it can be painful and some people experience ingrown hairs, minor bleeding and bumps. Hair follicles are the strongest the first few times when your hair may be a little thicker causing these setbacks.  Ingrown hairs and these complications can be helped by exfoliating the areas before and after waxing which is highly recommended before getting your sweet spot waxed. If you’re sensitive to waxing and razor burn I highly suggest Get the Bump Outta Here by No Scream Cream.

Electrology involves (you guessed it) electricity to permanently remove hair and has been around for over 135 years as well as effective on ALL hair colors. Electrolysis is the actual process in which the hair is removed. This process can also be costly, cause some discomfort during sessions and take a few visits but it is the ONLY PERMANENT hair removal technique available.  A licensed practitioner will slide a solid, thin metal probe into each hair follicle in the same direction of hair growth. Yes that means one at a time. If your professional knows how to do this properly, this will not puncture your skin. Electricity is then delivered from the probe into the follicle which causes localized damage to the areas that generate hairs. There are 3 different methods used in electrology; galvanic, thermolysis and blend. For complete permanent hair removal, it may take up to 4 years to complete.

Laser hair removal is tricky. After its introduction, the FDA declared laser hair removal methods can only claim to reduce the growth of hair but not permanently remove it. In 1997 lasers were approved for “permanent hair reduction” in the United States by the FDA. Instead of destroying the hair follicles, they can ‘shock’ them into a temporary hibernation which reduces hair growth. Laser hair removal is widely practiced and the efficacy of it is generally accepted in the dermatology community. Lasers can cause localized damaged by selectively heating dark target matter or melanin in your skin, in the area that causes hair growth (follicle) at the same time not heating the rest of the skin. Laser works best with dark, coarse hair and light skin dark hair combinations are ideal with new lasers are now available to target darker skin and darker hair. This technique is widely popular because of its speed and efficacy although the efficacy is dependent on the operator and laser technology used during the session. It usually takes 3-8 treatments suggested 8-12 weeks apart and can require touch ups. The major cons to this are the cost and side effects. Some normal side effects can by hypo or hyper-pigmentation (which can be permanent), swelling, burning, itching, and redness. For some it works like magic and for others, no results at all.

Flickr User: wander.lust

Before making any decisions and spending thousands of dollars on hair removal, your best bet is to weigh your options and make the best decision for you. There are also alternative options like creams and at home hair removal treatments. One of my favorite new toys to play with is the Silk’n SensEpil Home Hair removal Device. It’s FDA approved, effective, and allows you to get the same laser hair treatments normally performed at your dermatologist’s office in your comfort zone at home. Less hassle and less costly. Do your research and take the plunge. You’ll be bikini ready in no time.

What kind of hair removal techniques are you a fan of?

Getting The Perfect Tan Using Self Tanner

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Summer is approaching and in America, that means it’s time to be tan. After our warnings of how harmful the sun can be, the best and safest way to get a tan is by using self tanner. Some may be a little hesitant to use a self tanner because of many concerns like streaking, blotching, getting orange instead of bronze or just plain looking like Carrot Top. Worry no more, by taking precautions and prepping your skin, you can be on your way to the perfect fake tan without the UV exposure. These simple steps will help your self tanning lotions last longer, make application easier and look more natural when you’re done.

Step one: Exfoliate your skin before applying self tanner. This is extremely important before applying self tanning lotion. The key is to get as much of the dead, dull skin cells off your body using a gentle scrub. This makes your skin a refreshed, even canvas before application as well as reduce the chance of the lotion coming off unevenly and it’ll make the sunless tanner last longer. By using a body scrub, I can guarantee that your skin will be glowing and look healthier overall. You can use a body scrub in the shower minutes before applying self tanner. Apply liberally and massage gently in a circular motion for best results. I recommend using a salt or sugar scrub to avoid any harsh chemicals. My two favorites to use are: Eucalyptus Sea Salt Scrub by Sonoma Lavender and Korres Grape Seeds Body Scrub.

Sunless tan

Source: Flickr User Vincent Boiteau

Step two: Find a self tanning lotion that is moisturizing and suitable for your skin. This will help with easy application and will nourish your skin instead of harming it. Choosing a self tanner that is vitamin enriched or derived from more natural sources will look more natural and sink into your skin better. Remember: chemicals will react with other chemicals and ingredients. You don’t want to put on a self tanner, then jump into the pool and have the chlorine trigger a chemical reaction with the ingredients in your sunless tan. Natural ingredients work just as well if not better than chemical filled cosmetics and it’s better for your health. My picks in this category are Tarte Cosmetics Sunburst Body Lotion with Self-Tanner and Mystic Tan’s Sunless Tanning Lotion. Tarte’s self tanner isn’t for longevity and it’s for someone that wants some color for about a day or two. I love this formula because it’s enriched with vitamin E and C and is moisturizing, and deeply nourishing while providing a gorgeous bronze color. Plus, it’s fun to put on with the tiny sunbursts! Mystic Tan’s sunless tanning lotion goes on like silk and gives a perfect natural looking tan that lasts. You can decide how dark you want to go and its choc-full of antioxidants, hydrators and nourishing botanicals.

Step three: Take your time! I can’t stress enough to you that you absolutely have to take your time when applying self tanners! If you rush through the process or rush through application and drying, you can leave streaks, blotches and ensure that you’re new fake tan will look FAKE. Start with clean, exfoliated skin, apply liberally and give enough time to let the lotion or cream dry. If you need an extra hand, ask a friend or your significant other to help you get the hard to reach areas. Sunless tanning lotions are easier to apply and cover your entire body to get that streak free “I just went to cabo” tan. Using gloves will also help you not to get “tan hands.” If not, be sure to wash your hands right after application. If not, the tanning lotion can turn the inside of your hands a nasty color, therefore your fake tan will be a secret no more.

Skin care with sun care is the way to go. If you’re ever in doubt, you can always test out what that self tanning lotion will look like exactly on your skin beforehand on a body part that can be easily hidden. There are tons of products out there like sunless tanning wipes and sprays along with a variety of options. If you know you aren’t good with products that spray, use your best judgment and opt for something else. Being comfortable is important at the same time as finding what works best for you. Most of all, when you’re all done, enjoy your hard work and your beachy looking skin. Looks good on you doesn’t it?

Women Helping Women – Four Truffles Organic Body Care

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Beautyfix caught up with Four Truffles founder Ana Soriano to discuss her organic body care brand and her dedication to philanthropy work for women and children throughout the world.

Ana Soriano

BF: What inspired you to create Four Truffles?

AS: With Four Truffles I found something that allowed me to combine two of my passions – my love for the beauty industry and my love for helping other people with my philanthropy work. I started doing a lot of philanthropic work in my local community; we are in the Palos Verdes area. When I realized there could be a connection, I thought, wait, hang on one second here. Im always around women, and Im always hearing about beauty from the inside out- I want to practice that. So I found a way to marry those two passions together by creating Four Truffles.

BF: What is your beauty background?

AS: I started in working in the beauty industry in 2001 working behind the scenes with bigger brands and big retailers, as well as some start-ups. Ive been involved in doing product development and designing promotional tools to help brands get out in the market place. I have a nice, well rounded knowledge of the industry.

BF: Your company is very women-focused. Why is that important to you?

AS: We have a philosophy that we call a Women for Women Journey and its about the belief that women are born with an innate sense of family and community and unity. Growing up I saw why my Mom worked so hard and why she wanted to always make sure we had a better life, and she wanted to give us the best of everything. She really saw the importance of making sure that the family was together. It was interesting when I started this brand because I wanted to find ingredients that really benefited the women who would be my end users, but also the women who worked behind the scenes. Thats one of the reasons we work with Argan Oil. The women in Morocco who cultivate it they have the same philosophy there as we have here. Its all about women who want to make sure that family stays together. I thought that was really beautiful and felt that it was the perfect tie-in for our whole philosophy. We really aim to create a circle of giving.

BF: What are some examples of how your company helps improve the socio-economic lives of women around the world?

AS: There are a number of giving-back programs that we do. For example, the use of Argan Oil in all of our products directly affects the women in the Berber Tribe. They are the ones who care for the land and who are in charge of harvesting the oil. When we purchase the oil from them, they get paid directly.

Our Shea Butter comes from Burkina Faso and its the same idea. The women are in charge of cultivating and harvesting the Shea trees. They are directly impacted when people such as us purchase from them.

Both sources use traditional means of harvesting and producing the product by hand to preserve the trees, land and its resources. It is a major source of income and opportunity for personal growth for these local women who leverage both to access better education and business skills that allow them to flourish, be confident and provide for their families and community.

Once we complete the process and our goods are packaged and were ready to sell them, we turn around to help our local communities in the South Bay. The causes we support locally are women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and who are experiencing a tremendous poverty level. We give back by financial means, but we also donate a lot of our time and do hands-on work.

BF: Argan Oil and Shea Butter are key ingredients in your products why?

AS: Those ingredients are really effective and they have so many benefits. Theyre safe and effective for all ages, first of all. The Argan Oil is really rich in fatty acids, which allows it to soften and hydrate the skin. Also, its really good for reducing skin irritation, so its great for someone who has eczema, psoriasis, or severely dry skin. In addition its filled with Vitamins A, B1, E and F. Its been proven, its been tested, and its been proven to work for centuries.

Shea butter is super rich in hydrating properties due to its rich fatty acid and vitamin A, E and F content. It also has a non-greasy feel that helps heal, soothe, moisturize and promote skin elasticity. It forms a protective layer that helps lock in the moisture and serves as a protective barrier from all the harsh chemicals and free radicals that are floating around the environment.

BF: How do you source your ingredients?

AS: We source them from various places, whether its directly from female-operated cooperatives, or going through partners that are primary distributors who obtained Ecocert certification for the ingredient.

For our packaging we have our signature wooden truffle jars that we source directly from artisans in the Philippines. We designed and developed those from scratch by working hands-on with the artisans there.

Official Beautyfix Selection: Four Truffles Products

BF: What percentage of your products are made with EcoCert organic certified ingredients?

AS: It depends, we have 3 main products the Body Butter, the Body Smoother and the Creamy Body Wash. The Body Butter is 75% organic, the Body Smoother, I believe is 60-65% organic, and the Creamy Body Wash is 55% organic – the rest of the ingredients are natural and vegan. Sometimes its not feasible to go all organic because of the accessibility and performance. For the Smoother, for instance, its easier to access natural raw sugar than the organic so we opt to do it that way. We use raw sugar in various forms and sizes to get the best results.

BF: Why was creating a natural and organic brand important to you?

AS: We think that what you put in, on and around your body is really crucial. As everything in the world evolves, we find that nature is always constant and we value our resources. We try to use natural ingredients that are derived by natural processes in the most eco-friendly ways. There are already strong traditions and history behind holistic skin care remedies. For us, just by going back to those roots, we can count on something with a proven past and perfect it for our current use by marrying it with scientific technologies. I am a strong believer in naturopath and holistic medicine. I have had personal experiences doing more of that school of thought versus the advanced medicine and I know that it works.

BF: What is the benefit of using natural and organic body care products?

AS: When youre using ingredients that are cultivated and harvested using really pristine methods, youre putting in your products the wholesome goodness that you actually get. Youre keeping everything intact. To me, when you have something as pure as that and you put that on your body, you cant go wrong.

BF: Is your packaging environmentally friendly too?

AS: We are starting to look more towards that. Our labels are produced with a company who has been awarded with green certifications and a low carbon footprint. We always aim to use products and services from environmentally friendly sources and were looking for more eco-friendly packaging overall. Theres a big push to make sure everything goes in that direction.

BF: Are there other green business practices that your company observes?

We source our signature wooden truffle jars directly from the Philippines to support local artisans and then we support a local plant-a-tree movement. Our philosophy is to pay it forward to Mother Nature.

BF: What are your dreams for the future?

AS: As we grow we want to give back even more. Were streamlining our giving-back programs and getting more organized with our donations. This year we are implementing a charity of the quarter program, and we will organize four major promotional fundraisers each year. Were doing one right now for Haiti. Its called Make Your Mark for Haiti, where we directly support an organization called New Life for the Children or NLC. Its a great cause.

You really have to dig in to learn about whats going on with Haiti. Weve been exposed to it so much and hear about it all the time that theres a great need, but its not until you actually start reading about it and really learn about specific organizations, what theyre about, what the problems are, and what the needs are, then you really start to understand, okay, this is how I can help. Its really good to know, to find out the progress of the donations that youre pouring into a certain organization. Its very rewarding to see the impact or to hear about the impact from the help that youre giving them.

In the second quarter were supporting Bridges of Hope. Their main thing is building schools for women and children who have been affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

As we grow, our hope is to be able to make a bigger impact in helping women through our philanthropy.

Managing Stress with Massage Therapy

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

By Jenna

Let’s face it. Times are tough and stressful. Work, kids, money, everything is on your mind all the time and it tends to build up mental stress and physical stress that we don’t need. You don’t mean to be a worry-wart, but you can’t help it. Neither can I, not to mention my lovely bad-luck streak that happens to be lasting my entire life. There are things that we can do other than eliminate the sources of stress to help with managing stress. One thing that is a must in my life that I’ve made a vow to do is get monthly massage treatments to keep myself in tip-top shape. Since the economy is sooo solid right now (sarcasm), to me a spa treatment (aka my stress reliever) is an investment in the state of my mental and physical well being. As a result of the recession, less fluff is needed in treatments and more get-to-the-point massages are on high demand. Here are a few of my favorite stress relieving massage treatments to help you ease your body, mind and soul.

A massage has profound effects on your body and frequent visits can do even more. Benefits of massage therapy include:

  • Increases circulation
  • Relieves migraine pain
  • Reduces spasms and cramping
  • Relaxes and softens muscles
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improved concentration
  • Enhances sleep quality
  • Decreases depression and anxiety
  • Alleviates lower back pain
  • Improved range of motion
  • Enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow
  • Promotes tissue regeneration reducing scar tissue and stretch marks

The most common massage treatment is the Swedish massage. This type of massage involves long, gentle flowing strokes and is perfect for first-timers or those who want relaxation. If you’re into harder pressure massage, Shiatsu or Deep Tissue might be the one for you. These are designed to really loosen you up. The masseuse will target specific areas for a deeper relief using slower stoke techniques. Reflexology massage involves manipulation of nerve reflex areas in your hands, feet and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. This is used to stimulate body organs and relieves congestion in your body by using pressure points in these reflex zones. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils in your massage that stimulate your senses. Based on what’s ailing you, each essential oil can be used to target your needs. My all time favorite massage has to be the hot stone massage. Smooth stones are hot water-warmed and placed along your body to melt away your stress and muscle tension. They’re also used during the massage as massage tools in the hands of the masseuse that glide across your body. It’s a deeply relaxing treatment and the hot temperature of the stones is heavenly. The hot stones are also warming you and comfortably raising your body temperature for better circulation.

Flickr User: Jaylara

Take a second and think about this estimation: 90% of disease is related to stress. Along with sun damage, stress ages us faster internally and externally. After all, skin is your largest organ. Going for a spa day or getting a luxurious treatment or whatever it may be, shouldn’t be considered as a frivolous or unnecessary purchase. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you’ll be after some spa therapy. It’s about being in a relaxing and positive state of mind. The spa is tranquil for a reason: to be soothing and relaxing for YOU. Spa treatments aren’t just a luxurious treat but they are pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic, and stress relieving. It releases muscle tension, ails pains, lessens depression and anxiety, releases endorphins and improves circulation. Your body is good to you and wants to be the best it can be, so why not treat it to the best things available? It’ll be thanking you day by day, when you’re taken care of. There are tons of different spa treatments that are dedicated to your wellness at affordable prices. You’ll find everything from basic massages to intricate spa treatments for moms-to-be to holistic treatments. There’s a huge spa world out there, all you have to do is explore it!

What are you favorite spa treatments?

Nix the Nicotine

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

By Liz W

smoking effects on the skin user mark sebastian

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for our health, but many people fail to realize how smoking affects the skin. There are many factors that cause wrinkles, and smoking is definitely a culprit. Millions of well-informed people continue to smoke as the health risks they are faced with seem to be way off in the distant future. If you are looking for some motivation to quit smoking now (and the myriad health risks haven’t been enough incentive) think about how it affects your appearance. If you want to prevent wrinkles, put that cigarette down; not only will you look better, but your overall health will improve. Let your vanity help kick you into full-speed quitting gear.

Smoking effects on the skin and the aging process are very real. Even after a short time your skin can start to lose moisture and become chronically dry, as well as being depleted of vital nutrients and antioxidants that keep skin looking healthy and young. Smoking diminishes essential collagen and elastin in your skin too. There are skin care products that can improve collagen and elastin levels in the skin, but despite all of the efficacious beauty products that exist, nothing will reverse the severe damage that smoking causes. Ultimately, prevention is the best cure.

The constant pursing of the lips speeds up the formation of fine lines around the mouth, and the repetitive squinting and shutting of the eyes to avoid smoke exposure adds many more toes to those crow’s feet around them.

The only thing that speeds up aging of the skin more than smoking is sun damage. Smokers in their 30’s generally have as many wrinkles as non-smokers in their 50’s. This is because nicotine affects the way our blood vessels work and cause them to constrict, blocking a lot of the oxygen that is trying to reach your skin. The lack of oxygen on the skin’s surface is what causes the sallow, dull, smoker’s skin.

Quitting smoking is extremely hard, but so is waking up every day and being unsatisfied with your appearance. So if you want to stay looking young and beautiful for as long as possible it is in your best interest to nix the nicotine now!

Here are some helpful tools to help you quit smoking.

Beauty Guide: Get Your Beauty Sleep!

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

By Jenna

Think about this long and hard. How many hours do you sleep at night? Many of us don’t get enough beauty sleep, and this takes its toll on our skin. For those of us who are sleep deprived, we often walk around like zombies throughout our days. Late nights out, late nights at work, and late nights in front of the television all take a toll on our bodies. For what price? Sleep deprivation is not only bad for our bodies, but it’s terrible for our mental health and affects the way we look.  Beauty sleep is not just a myth; it’s extremely important to our overall health and well-being, and is essential for younger looking skin.

When we drift off to slumber land our body is at peace. What you probably don’t realize is that your body is working its magic overnight. It’s trying to refresh, revitalize and keep you looking your best for the next day. Consider sleep as your body’s maintenance time. Sleeping too little can have adverse health effects on your body that can lead to diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, irritability, slower reaction time, slurred speech and tremors. Skin cells regenerate faster at night than during the day and ultimately help your skin look younger.

Lack of sleep causes you to age faster by changing your metabolism and affecting your hormones. The period of deep sleep, or R.E.M., is when people typically have a surge in growth hormones. These increased growth hormones help repair and rebuild tissue like your muscles. Your body’s cells also show increased production and less protein breakdown when you sleep. Proteins are important because they are needed for cell growth to help protect and repair damage from stress and UV rays. It’s not just about how much you sleep (a minimum of 8 hours per night are generally recommended), it’s also about the quality of your sleep. Better quality sleep = younger looking skin overall. Here are some tips for getting a good night’s rest.

Getting enough quality sleep is one of the best natural skin care techniques for looking your best. You can enhance this time by using skin care in the evenings that are rich in anti-oxidants. You will get increased benefits, as the anti-oxidants will stay active on your skin longer while you get your beauty rest. I love using Dreamweaver by Sircuit Skin before bed as an overnight moisturizer. The chamomile in it calms and relaxes my skin for a deep, heavenly sleep. Decleor’s Aroma Night Regenerating cream is also a dream to use. Infused with black orchid and primrose, you’ll awake to renewed and radiant skin.

Flickr User: EF Photography

Sleep deprivation also affects your skin hydration. When you’re not getting enough sleep, the first thing you run to is caffeine. Not so great for your skin! Caffeine exhausts your skin and takes away moisture from your body leaving your skin thirsty. If you’re stuck sleeping only a few hours in a night, take coffee and tea out of your diet and stock up on water. Adding water back into your system will have your skin looking moisturized instead of completely water deprived.  Sleep also acts as a natural moisturizer when you perspire. Usually when you sleep your entire body (including your face) tends to perspire more, giving you a natural skin treatment.

I don’t know about you but not getting sleep makes me a really cranky monster. Not being a morning person to begin with, the last thing I need is to compromise the well-being of my body. Getting my beauty sleep not only helps my human self function better, but I’m happier and less likely to get into a funk of depression. One thing that helps me get my quality beauty rest is having a satin sleep mask. It blocks light so my sleep isn’t disrupted. There are many different eye therapy masks you can also try to rejuvenate your tired eyes. Now take a minute and listen to your body, it’s telling you something. Are you sleep deprived? Are you dehydrated? Are the bags under your eyes so bad that they’re impossible to hide with even the strongest concealer? Get some Z’s.

Skin Care Advice: Banish the Booze

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

By Liz W

Effects of binge drinking user Angie Torres

Even with the best anti-aging skin care products in the world, keeping your skin hydrated and healthy is almost impossible if you indulge in more than an occasional glass of wine. Many of us may enjoy a cocktail now and then, but moderation is the key. If the nights you go to bed sober are becoming few and far between, you might notice your liver isn’t the only thing that is suffering. Here’s some information about how alcohol affects your skin.

After a few nights of binge drinking, our body is literally sucked dry of all its precious water. If the chronic cotton mouth isn’t bad enough, our skin beginning to resemble the cracked sandy floor of the Sahara should instill some fear in us. Over time, with regular boozing, dry itchy skin is the least of our troubles; there are many things that can go haywire and ruin any beauty routine.

Ever heard the saying “you are what you eat”? Well in the case of red wine, it is all too literal. One glass a day can keep the heart attacks away, but more than that and you will start to develop a burgundy hue, that over time may become permanent. All alcohol causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate and eventually they will stay that way. The condition called telangiectasias is the chronic dilation of the capillaries, leaving your face constantly flushed. Excessive drinking also worsens acne and rosacea, so the combination of all three could leave you looking like a ripe tomato.

Red is not the only color that your skin can turn as a warning sign that you might be hitting the bars a bit too often. Alcohol depletes the body of Vitamin A, which is an essential antioxidant that helps keep the skin looking and feeling healthy and supple. When the body is low in Vitamin A the skin can look grey or yellow and very dull. Dark circles under the eyes usually accompany this condition, making the person look even more tired than they already are.

It’s easy to rationalize when you are young that one more drink can’t hurt and you will never look like your old Aunt Mildred who was never caught without her whiskey and water. But the effects of binge drinking are real, and it is smart to put yourself in check and detox for a while if you notice you are hitting up the clubs more than a few times a month.