Zit Fairy Dance On Your Face?

For all your beauty advice…

We’ve all been there. We have a big event coming up…a party, a date, a job interview, even your own wedding and wouldn’t you know it? You get a visit from a little fairy. No, not the tooth fairy that leaves you a little cash…I’m talking about her evil twin The Zit Fairy! She may be cute, the devious ones usually are, but she leaves disaster in her path. I don’t know about you, but she often leaves me a big ‘ol 50 pounder on my chin right before a big event. Thanks lady! If she’s paid you a visit recently there are ways to fight the damage that she’s done.

I’ve been fighting breakouts my entire life and I’ve come up with some pretty good solutions on treating this problem. I’ve tried everything from toothpaste to mashed up aspirin mixed with water on a blemish. I don’t break out as often anymore, thanks to mineral makeup (see Mineral Makeup…Must Have or Messy, for my thoughts on that) But I do get the occasional visit from the Zit Fairy…I guess she misses me. I think I was one of her favorite landing spots all through high school.

The first thing you need to do, or avoid doing, is pick at it. Do not try to get anything out of a blemish unless it’s right there at the surface. A couple things could happen if you pick at it. You could spread the infection and that will give you more zits. You could just push the thing deeper into your skin, literally making a mountain out of a molehill. And worst of all, you could scar your skin and you don’t want to do that. It’s bad enough that sucker is there, you don’t need it leaving a scar as a reminder of her visit.

When it first appears, treat it with a blemish cream. Look for one with either Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide. Both ingredients will help dry up the problem. Just a little warning: Benzoyl Peroxide can be known to bleach fabrics, so when you’re using a product that contains this ingredient, you might want to keep that in mind and make sure you don’t get it on anything. There are so many treatments on the market, I can’t even begin to start naming brands. Pretty much any skin care brand will have a blemish-zapper in their line. If you don’t have anything on hand, the old stand by always works…toothpaste. Just dab a little on the problem overnight and you will notice a huge difference in the morning!

Is it ready?? Here’s what you can try only if you can see there is something there, ready to get out. Wash your hands first. Press a hot, wet washcloth against the blemish for a minute or two. This will soften the skin on and around the blemish. Wrap tissue around the tips of both index fingers and feel with your fingers to find the very outside of the circumference of the zit. When you have located the spot, press down on the spot while gently squeezing the area. Do not force it. If it’s ready to escape, it will. If you can see something trying to get out but it’s being stubborn, go back to the first step and repeat the steps. Only repeat this process a few times. If it’s being that stubborn, it’s clearly not ready to come out and you don’t want a scar. When you get what you can out of it, put ice on it for a few minutes, clean the area with a good astringent and apply a hydrocortisone cream to the blemish. Remember, this is my method of doing this, but it has worked for me. I am not a doctor, but I am a licensed Esthetician and I have been professionally trained on how to do this.

One important tip to keep The Zit Fairy at bay? Stop touching your face!! This is such a bad habit to break and I have a hard time with this one myself. I notice I’ll get a recurring blemish on an area where I rest my hands when I’m working at the computer. Same spot all the time. If I really pay attention and force myself not to touch my face, I don’t break out. Wow…maybe The Zit Fairy lives on our hands? I hope these are some good tips for you. What are your thoughts on breakouts? How do you keep The Zit Fairy off your face? I look forward to your responses.

You’ve Been Beautified!

Makeup…too young to start?

For all your beauty advice…

I have an 11-year-old daughter. I work in makeup. She is around this stuff all the time and sees how much fun I have with it and she became intrigued. “Can I start wearing some, mom?” she asked me one day. My first thought was no, you’re not ready. After all, I was just changing her diaper and watching her take her first steps, there’s no way she’s ready to put makeup on…is there? Then I reflected on my life and realized, I was 11 when my mom started letting me put on a little makeup. I remember how excited I was, I remember feeling like my mom had a different level of trust in me by handing me the reigns and letting me give it a go. I still had mixed feelings on this subject, so I decided to Google it…then I thought, that’s crazy, Google doesn’t have any kids…what do they know? I had to listen to my gut on this one.

I went ahead and let her put on some mascara. She has pretty blue eyes with thick lashes and that mascara made her eyes look even prettier. I let her wear it out of the house, to school this week. Wow! Has it raised some issues!! My husband told me he 100% disagreed with me, my ex-husband told my daughter he 100% disagreed with me. I have some friends that tell me 11 is way too young and it’s one thing if I am going to let my daughter wear it in the house, but to leave the house with it…no way. Seriously?? What’s the big deal?

Here’s what I don’t think people understand. My decision to let her do this was based on my past and the relationship I had with my mom, which was amazing! If you read my first blog post, you will read how I have been intrigued with makeup my whole life. My mom understood and trusted my judgment at age 11 and let me start wearing some. That is why I thought it was ok to go ahead and let my daughter try some on. I admit, I didn’t consult with my husband and get his thoughts. I didn’t consult with my ex husband and get his thoughts, either. Why? Because they have no experience on this subject at all. They don’t wear makeup, they never have, therefore they don’t know the thrill behind it. Honestly, I didn’t think this was going to be such a big deal, so I just didn’t ask their opinion. Maybe I should have, maybe I shouldn’t have, but the fact remains, they’re men…they don’t wear makeup. End of story.

Here’s why I think it’s ok. First of all, it’s mascara people! It’s not a full face of makeup she’s leaving the house with. It’s mascara…get over it. If you observe women in a Sephora store or in cosmetics in a department store you notice something. They are happy and they are bonding…something about this stuff makes us giddy. I just wanted to share that with my daughter. I did not force this issue on her. She asked me; I saw no harm. This is a rite of passage for girls, a bonding experience with their moms. She’s on the edge of hitting the “I hate my mom” stage; I am trying to be open and understanding so we can have a relationship with communication. I would much rather approve of her wearing makeup than finding out she went to school and applied it behind my back.

Here’s what I really don’t get. Parents think it’s ok for kids 11 years old to have a cell phone, but not wear makeup. Really, who are you calling? I am 36 and even I’m not that important! Parents think it’s ok for kids 11 years old to have their own computer, but not wear makeup. And my favorite…parents think it’s ok for kids 11 years old to wear padded push-up bras, but not wear makeup. I guess my bottom line on this subject, and why I truly didn’t think this was going to be such an issue is: this was between her and I. But, because of the negative reactions I received, I didn’t get to have any satisfaction from what I thought was going to be a special time in our lives. I mean seriously, would I rather have her enhance her breasts or her eyelashes? I thought I chose the safe one.

Clearly this post isn’t a product review…it’s a random rant. But, it’s something that raised a lot of opinions. Share yours with me. What are your thoughts on this? How old were you when you were allowed to wear makeup and not have to sneak it on at school?

You’ve Been Beautified!

Nail Art…Tasteful or Tacky?

For all your beauty advice…

Someone asked me recently what I thought of nail art. Is it acceptable or frowned upon? Is it a do or a don’t? Is being a 36-year-old professional too old for some nail designs? Good question. Nail Art…Tasteful or Tacky?

I think there are lots of opinions on this subject. I think if you went out and asked 100 women if they thought nail art was tasteful or tacky, you would get a close call. Those who love it, stand by it and love it. Those who hate it, hate it. Here are my thoughts on this.

Why it’s tacky: When you say the words “nail art” the picture that automatically forms in my mind are super long nails with a jungle motif on them. Nails that are so long you can’t do normal every day functions and so decorated they make you dizzy are just plain scary to me. I really don’t think there is a need to have your nails jeweled, jazzed, and Heaven forbid, pierced! That’s not to say I haven’t tried it on a time or two but what it really comes down to for me is two things. #1 it’s unattractive and #2 it’s just plain distracting! You really don’t want your overdone nails to be the only thing people remember about you. I heard a quote once that went “your clothing should suggest, not advertise” I think the same can be said for nails.

Why it’s tasteful: Nail art can be subtle. I think, the more subtle, the more tasteful. I see nothing wrong with a cute design on one finger, or even one toe. There are all kinds of subtle ways you can include nail art into your manicure. A little glitter, a flower or two, adding a little color into your French manicure…these are great ways to express your love for nail art without going overboard. I think nail art for special occasions is more than acceptable. Over Christmas, I saw some really great manicures that included nail art and it wasn’t tacky at all. I’ve seen French manicures for weddings that have a little extra something in the form of nail art. Airbrushed flowers, doves and hearts are very popular for weddings. Done very small and subtle on nails of a normal length, it can definitely be tasteful and acceptable in the workplace.

A couple things to think about with nail art. The upside of it is if you indulge and you hate it, it’s just nail polish that can easily be removed. No commitment! Whether you think it’s tacky or tasteful, remember this: People who can do nail art are extremely talented! Personally, I can’t even draw a stick figure so I can’t imagine trying to create something on a fingernail. I’ve seen some beautiful work done on nails. Even some of the extreme manicures that fall into the tacky category amaze me with the talent. Those who create the designs are true artists in my mind.

So, the answer to the question remains. Nail Art…Tasteful or Tacky? I think less is more. If it’s subtle, it can be tasteful. If it’s overdone and too busy, I think it’s tacky. I think this was a great question and I hope my opinions interested you. What do you think of nail art? If you wear it, do you do it yourself or do you have your nail tech do it for you? Let me know, I look forward to your comments.

You’ve Been Beautified!

Q&A Monday

For all your beauty advice…

Good morning, and happy Monday! I am loving the questions you all are sending me daily. Lots of great subjects that I love researching for you or giving you my opinion. Read on about dry lips, sallow skin and lightening dark hair.

I drink a lot of water and apply lip gloss and lip treatments, however they are still very dry and at times, they peel. Help me! I am afraid my boyfriend will stop kissing me!! Julie B.

Julie, this is a common problem this time of year, with the winter drying everything out on us. I know some people have this issue year-round as well. Not fun. You want to be able to smile, or kiss your boyfriend, without feeling like your lips are going to tear. I have a couple suggestions for you. Try exfoliating your lips with a lip mask or lip exfoliator. Philosophy and Mary Kay make a good scrub for your lips and Sephora brand has a lip peel that is like a gel mask you leave on for a few minutes and then wipe off. Or try to make one yourself with a little bit of honey and sugar mixed together. Do this once a week and you will notice a difference. Make sure you are following up with a good lip balm. There are tons to try on the market; I really like Smith’s Rosebud Salve. It’s very light and makes my lips feel very soft. A good, deep moisture trick…put pure Vitamin E or Shea Butter on before bed to give your lips extra hydration overnight. Keep drinking lots of water like you do; avoid licking or touching your lips as much as possible…I think that’s a habit we all do more than we can imagine! I hope this helps…happy smooching!

I just got over the mother of all colds and my skin looks awful! What can I do to perk up my complexion after having been sick? Kim A.

Kim, glad you got over the nasty cold…stuff seems to be going around lately and I caught it too. Not fun! I know exactly what you are talking about with your skin looking as bad as you felt. It feels like your skin is dry and tight, but oily at the same time. I have a couple tips that can help get your complexion back to normal. One important step is to exfoliate your skin to get the dead skin cells off your face and make room for the skin to breathe. This can be achieved with a face scrub or by simply using a wash cloth or a facial brush when you are cleansing. There are a couple really good masks you might want to try as well. Bliss makes an awesome mask called Triple Oxygen Facial Mask. It feels really good and it’s a quick mask. Just 5 minutes and your skin perks right up. Another truly awesome product to give you a healthy glow? Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask by Fresh. But, I don’t use it as a mask. When my skin is feeling sallow and not so healthy, like after a cold, I use this mask as a night cream. Leaving it on overnight will have your skin looking amazing the next day! A quick tip: when using this mask as a night cream, don’t rub it in. Apply it like moisturizer and let it soak in. If you rub it in, it will ball up and fall off…you don’t want that to happen. This mask is pretty expensive, $85 (I know, I just about fell over, too) but it is that good. Use a little heavier moisturizer after you’ve been sick and drink plenty of water to re-hydrate your skin. Take two of these and call me in the morning!

I have dark brown hair and want to go a few shades lighter with highlights for spring. Do you think that is ok to do? Debbie B.

Debbie, this is kind of tough to answer if I don’t know what your hair looks like. A lot of things factor into this decision…how dark your hair is, what shape your hair is in, skin tone, etc. I can give you some tips on choosing a color for you. It’s pretty common for people who color their hair on a regular basis to change it up when the seasons change. Darker for Fall and Winter, lighter for Spring and Summer. If you’re wanting a change I would suggest an all over color with added highlights. For the all over color, I would choose a shade that is no more than 2 shades lighter than your natural color. You don’t want to go too light all around, it might look harsh or wash you out. For the added highlights, I would choose a color that is 2 shades lighter than the color you choose for the all over color. That will give you the extra light pieces to brighten you up for spring and add some dimension to the over all look. Consult with your hair stylist for the right shade, or if you’re picking your color up at Sally Beauty Supply to do it yourself, ask the associate working, they know their color and can give you some tips.

Once again, thanks for the questions. Keep sending them my way and don’t be shy to ask me anything on here! Have a great week!

You’ve Been Beautified!

What I’m Loving Right Now and mmmmmm…What I’m Loving Right Now!

For all your beauty advice…

When I do product reviews, I was thinking I would review a few that I really like and think are worth your time and money and put a review in there on a product I don’t think you should waste your time with. (See both What I’m Loving Right Now and mmmmmm…Not So Much posts). Maybe I woke up in a good mood today, or maybe I just couldn’t find fault with the products that caught my eye in my inventory this morning. Yes, the only way to refer to the amount of makeup, skin care, lotion, perfume, and hair products I have is to call it all inventory. And yes, one day I will post pictures of my makeup “altar” and all the goodies I have on there. As I was looking at the items that I wanted to review, I couldn’t find one this morning that I didn’t think you should at least try at some point, so I decided to end your work week with a good review on all the products I selected!

I’ll start with fragrance. I have a purse size fragrance by Fresh called Sugar. It’s light and has a slight note of citrus to it when you first spray it on. I never really thought sugar had a scent, but that’s the only way to describe this fragrance. It lasts all day and smells so good, you might want to lick your arm…but don’t, that’s gross. Fresh has a good collection of fragrances, but this one is by far my favorite. Check out their website at fresh.com or go to select Sephora stores to take a whiff!

My next product of the day is cream eye shadow by Benefit. I normally stay away from cream shadows because they crease so fast on me…I know, I know, there I go again with my oily skin. But I have to bring that up in talking about a cream eye shadow because usually that’s everyone’s biggest complaint with them. I’ve said it before, and you’ll hear me say it numerous times, Benefit rocks!!…they are one of the coolest lines I have ever used and they are always coming out with new and fun items. These shadows stay put all day and can be applied very sheer or as heavy as you want. They also double as an eyeliner, you just have to have an eyeliner brush and apply it on your lash line. A must have for everyone! With 13 shades to choose from, I am sure you’ll find one that’s right for you. Find them at benefitcosmetics.com or Sephora and Macy’s as well.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to deal with dry lips, especially during the winter season. I’ll be featuring one of those questions soon in my Q&A Monday, but I have two favorite products that I like to use on my dry lips. The first one is a lip balm I just happened to pick up one day at Walgreen’s. Yes, I said Walgreen’s. It’s called Lypsyl and it’s a Beeswax based product. It feels so good on my lips and it has just the right amount of minty-ness to it. It’s similar to Burt’s Bees lip balm, but I like this one a little better. For only about $4, I highly recommend it. The second product I like for dry lips is Smith’s Rosebud Salve. This is definitely a multitasker! Not only is it great for dry and chapped lips, but you can also use it for rough cuticles, dry spots on your skin, diaper rash, burns, etc. It has a very light powdery rose scent to it and it feels amazing when you put it on. The little tin it comes in is really not that little and it sells for $6 and will last so long. You can find it at Sephora or online at drugstore.com. I use it on my lips every night before I go to sleep and my lips feel very soft when I wake up. Note: the rose scent in this product is so light, it won’t bother men to use it…it really is for everyone!

That’s what I’m loving right now! Have you tried any of the featured products today? If so, what do you think? I look forward to the replies!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Mineral Makeup…Must Have or Messy?

For all your beauty advice…

Move over liquid foundation, there’s a new kid in town and she’s not going anywhere! I’m talking about mineral makeup. If you’re wondering what that is, I’m wondering where you’ve been, but I’ll tell you. It’s foundation that looks like loose powder but it’s made from crushed minerals without any of the chemicals, dyes, and preservatives found in traditional makeup. What I thought would be a trend in cosmetics, is practically exploding in the beauty industry. A lot of the brands claim better skin health with prolonged use of mineral makeup. It seems there is no gray area with mineral makeup…you either love it or hate it.

I used to hate it. I tried Sheer Cover about 6 years ago and I absolutely hated it. What claimed to be for all skin types made my oily skin feel like it had 2 times more oil on it about an hour after I had it on. I passed this product on. (I would later find out that I just never gave it a chance.) I would still hear raves about this stuff, but I had no interest in trying it ever again, until I had no choice. I was out of foundation and I was using a liquid one from Mary Kay that I really liked. Good coverage, didn’t make my skin feel like it had “gunk” all over it. I called my Mary Kay consultant and she was out of my liquid foundation, but she had their new mineral foundation and she thought I should give it a try. I was very hesitant because I had convinced myself I hated it. She assured me I could return it if I wasn’t happy with it. So, I gave in. The first week or so I didn’t really care for it, but I started to notice something after about a month. My skin wasn’t breaking out like it used to and the only thing new I had added to my regime was the mineral makeup. Hmmm…maybe this stuff is really miraculous?

People tell me a lot that the reason they hate mineral makeup is that it’s way too messy and leaves powder all over everything. Well, the first rule in using it is if you see a powder cloud when you’re putting it on your brush, you are using way too much…yes you are….YES, you are! I would have to say that 90% of the products I buy claim a little goes a long way. This is very true with the mineral makeup. You tap a little into the lid of the container and move the brush in circles on the lid so the makeup can really get down into the bristles of the brush. Then you hold it, bristles up, and tap the side of it against the lid to ensure it all got worked into the brush. Then you buff the brush in circular motions over your face. The more you buff, the more you get the foundation on your skin. Most of these products come with instructions, so really pay attention to them so you know you’re using it right. I usually find, if I hate a product, it’s because I’ve been using it wrong. Once educated on something, chances are you’ll love it!

Bare Escentuals is probably the most popular of the mineral makeup. Once I ran out of my Mary Kay mineral makeup, which took over a year, I turned to Bare Escentuals and I see the hype now. I still get some breakouts on my skin, but this product has really helped clear some things up. About time…I’ve been fighting breakouts my whole life it seems. Bare Escentuals has so much to choose from in their line. Blush, eye shadow, mineral veil, warmth etc.. I used to steer clear of the eye shadow because I didn’t think working with loose shadow would be easy. I got over myself and gave it a try and I love it. They have so many colors to choose from and I want them all!

I think once you figure out how to work the product, you will see what I see. Mineral Makeup…definitely a must have! Do you love it or are you still not convinced? Tell me about your experience with mineral makeup, I love getting comments and opinions from my readers!

You’ve Been Beautified!

Might as well face it, I’m addicted to smudge

For all your beauty advice…

Years ago when I worked at Nordstrom, I fell in love with an eyeshadow from MAC. The color is called Sketch and I think MAC still makes it. I really liked the dark burgundy shade and the texture was very nice, too. I was a little intimidated to put something so dark on my eyes until one of the makeup artists suggested I try using it as an eyeliner. Well, I didn’t know you could do that…I guess I figured there were rules, but there really aren’t. Playing with the products and experimenting with new colors is the only way to learn. The best time to try something new is when you are ready to wash your face for the night. Put on that dark eyeshadow or red lipstick and play around with the new things you’ve heard about and have been wanting to try. You’re getting ready to take it off for the night anyway, right? That’s how I introduce new techniques and color palettes into my routine, by trying them out before bed time just to see how it looks.

Most people know that there are 2 kinds of eyeliners, liquid and pencil. I don’t have a very steady hand when it comes to trying liquid liner, so I have always stayed away from it. In the last few years the newest rage in eyeliner has come in the form of a smudgepot…or a cream eyeliner. Stila calls theirs Smudgepots and that’s just what I’ve started calling all cream eyeliner. I’ve had the opportunity to use quite a few of these: Smashbox, Buxom and Lauren Luke all make great ones. I resisted using these for a long time because I thought they would be just as hard to apply as liquid. Not true. Even the most shaky hand can put this product on…like a lot of things, it just takes a little bit of practice.

The easiest way to describe how to put this on is playing connect the dots. You apply this product with a brush. Someone where you purchase this from can help you find the right brush. Some of them will come with the brush included. Get a small amount of the cream liner on the brush and starting at the outer corner of the eye and working your way in, dot the product onto your lash line. After you have finished drawing the dots, go back to where you started, no need to apply more product to the brush, and “connect” the dots together with the brush. There! That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now you’re done! I admit I was intimidated by this product at first, but I gave it a try and now I think it’s one of the easiest things to apply.

Since this trend has started, it seems like everyone has gotten on the band-wagon. I mentioned a few brands that I like above, but lately I’ve noticed that they are everywhere. L’Oreal and Maybelline just came out with their version of these liners available in stores all over the place. I haven’t tried these two brands yet, but they’re both getting great reviews! They range in price anywhere from $10-$12. Really, they aren’t so different in price from what you find in a department store. I know Clinique retails for $14.50 and Buxom is $15. The prices go up from there on fancier brands.

At first these smudges only came in your classic brown and black. Not anymore. You can find these in so many different colors now, it’s hard to choose just one! Some brands have them in a palette so you can sample the different colors out there. I am addicted! Once you get used to applying this cream eyeliner, I think you will love it, too. I find I use very little of it, so the ones that I have will last me forever…now I just need to add to them and start playing with some color! Oh, and a nice side benefit I’ve gotten since mastering the smudge? Liquid eyeliner stopped being so scary and now I’ve mastered that as well!

You’ve Been Beautified!