Seriously…You’re Returning That?

For all your beauty advice…

A couple of places I have worked have had very good return policies. Well, good for the customer, anyway. Places like Sephora and Nordstrom will happily take your product back…no matter how long you’ve had it and no matter how much you have used. Whether it’s an eye shadow that you’ve brushed your finger across once, and decided the color was all wrong for you, or a blow dryer you’ve spent tons of money on, they will take it back…with a smile, no questions asked. I understand that, under some circumstances, a product needs to be returned. But some of the things people return surprise me, and I’ve often wanted to ask them, “Seriously, you’re returning that?”

The Clarisonic cleansing system is one that I see come back occasionally, and I just don’t get it. The Clarisonic is an amazing, high-tech way to clean your skin. This cleansing brush gets your skin so clean, and removes dirt and makeup like no other cleansing system out there. Your serums and moisturizers will absorb much better when you use this system. So, why the heck are people returning it?!?! The only thing I can think of is, sticker shock. Clarisonic is amazing, yes. But, it’s also expensive. I don’t think anyone who’s actually used it for any amount of time could look me in the eye and tell me it doesn’t work well, so the price has to be the only reason someone would bring it back. I’ve spent a lot of money on products and gadgets over the years, and this one is worth the investment. Give it a chance, and don’t let the price get you. If you could afford it initially, you can afford to keep it.

Another product I’ve seen come back that clearly hasn’t been given a chance: Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment. This treatment is a solid product that you turn into an oil by warming it up in your palms. It is designed to treat damaged, color-treated, and processed hair. It will add moisture, and strengthen your hair over time. It will also hurt your wallet when you buy it. Ojon products are amazing, but they are expensive. I think, like the Clarisonic, this is probably the main reason they come back. But, when someone gets this as a gift and they bring it back, I want to flick them in the head! I would love to get a full size Restorative Hair Treatment as a gift! It will last forever, and keep your hair looking beautiful. Maybe I’m just a little vain when it comes to my hair, but I would NEVER return this treatment.

Sultra styling tools make your run-of-the-mill flat-iron look like old news. So, why would someone return it? This makes me crazy! When I first started cutting hair, flat irons weren’t popular yet (did I just make myself feel old, or what??). We used round brushes, or paddle brushes with a blow dryer, and to get those big curls, we used velcro rollers, or a large barrel curling iron. Once flat irons hit the market, “styling tools” were close behind. They’re not classified as just a flat-iron, because they can do so much more than just straighten your hair. They can make the straightest hair hold curl all day, and they can be used to create those beautiful beach waves we see on the red carpet at every Hollywood event. The only reason I can think of that this one gets returned is, the purchaser wasn’t taught the proper way to use it. It’s pretty simple; even the most challenged person can replicate the waves and curls that are shown in the user guide. Price is probably a factor with this product as well, but I’ve learned over time, you get what you pay for. Be patient and learn how to use it, you will love it!

Other products I see come back that make me shake my head? Lip stick and lip gloss that are halfway gone, but people all of a sudden decide they are the wrong color. Blush and eyeshadow that have clearly been used multiple times. And, my favorite one of all: supplements that are returned after the entire bottle has been consumed, with customer claiming they “just didn’t do anything for me”. Really? It took 60 days worth of vitamins for you to realize they weren’t doing anything for you? I wish the Colorado Lottery had a return policy…why can’t they take back my one dollar ticket that was obviously defective because it didn’t win? If stores will take back products they can’t re-sell, this makes perfect sense to me!

Do you return your beauty products? If so, what have you taken back to the store and why?

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at

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Q&A Monday

For all your beauty advice…

Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I got some great questions this week. Read on about nail and lip colors for fall, sticky lip gloss problems, and rubbing alcohol and skin care.

Dear Brooke, I love keeping up with the new trends. What’s hot for nails and lips this fall season? Melissa F.

Dear Melissa, I love the new colors that come out in the fall. It doesn’t matter if it’s clothes, or makeup, I just get so excited knowing that change of season is around the corner. I’m noticing an interesting trend with nails for the fall. Opaque colors like gray and  beige, or a mix of the two (think “greige”) are hot for nails. Dark reds and plums are also hot for nails. Lips tend to be bold in the autumn…plums and browns are always great for the fall, but this year I am seeing a lot of dark red lips making a statement. Anyone can wear red, it’s just about shopping around and finding the right shade for you. Don’t be afraid of some color, have fun!

Dear Brooke, I need some color on my lips, but I absolutely HATE the way most glosses and lipsticks feel on my lips. They always feel too sticky and heavy. What can I use to give me some color, but not have that coated feeling on my lips? Thanks! Lynn G.

Dear Lynn, Heavy feeling product is no friend of mine! I love lip gloss and lip stick, but I quickly move on from a product that either feels way too heavy, or tastes bad. But, have no fear…you do have some options. Try a lip stain. They are everywhere now, and they do just what the product title advertises….they stain your lips so you don’t feel the heaviness of product on your lips, and because they are a stain, they last a long time. You can top a stain with a little bit of gloss, or your favorite lip balm. Some lip glosses and lipsticks that have never felt heavy on me? MAC lipglass is long wearing and has never felt sticky or gooey on my lips. Also, L’Oreal Colour Riche lipstick and lip gloss is very nice. It’s high in pigment and shine, but it’s long-lasting and feels very smooth going on and it stays that way all day. Smith’s Rosebud salve is great as well. Plus, it can be used for a lot more things than just lip gloss!

Dear Brooke, I have noticed that the toner I use after I clean my face is mostly alcohol. My question for you is, if the toner is basically alcohol, is it safe to save some money and just use regular rubbing alcohol as a toner. I have been breaking out a lot and wondering if rubbing alcohol will help my breakouts? Amy L.

Dear Amy, I see the appeal to just use rubbing alcohol, but I am going to give you a firm “NO” on this question. I know that alcohol is a prominent ingredient in a lot of toners, but it’s diluted with other ingredients so it’s not hard on your skin. Using rubbing alcohol alone may clear the problem up initially, but it’s also setting your skin up for some failures down the road. Straight rubbing alcohol will strip your skin of its natural oils and lead to dryness and cracking of the skin later. Also, it will not keep breakouts from happening, it will just dry up the blemishes you have now. Stick with your toner; if that doesn’t seem to be working, see a dermatologist. But, please, don’t use rubbing alcohol on your face!

Thanks again for the great questions this week! Keep them coming. Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at

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Foundation Education

For all your beauty advice…

I was asked recently, by one of my readers, why there are so many foundations to choose from and what are the differences in the numerous formulations. She’s right…with so many to choose from, it can be very overwhelming purchasing a foundation. It’s hard enough to match yourself if you are buying from a drugstore, but throw in all the different textures and coverage, it’s clear to see how you can get confused. Liquid, mineral, powder, airbrush…oh my! Here’s a rundown on different types of foundation and how they serve their purpose.

Liquid Foundation: This is probably the most common form of foundation, or maybe the oldest. This is the stuff we grew up with. A lot of different foundation types can fall into this category. Tinted moisturizer is the lightest of the liquid foundation family. It is perfect for those who posses a normal skin with few flaws (most of us are totally jealous, by the way) Tinted moisturizer will give you light coverage and hydrate your skin. Liquid foundations range from this form to full coverage. If you have oily skin, the best type of foundation to buy is one with normal coverage. Normal to dry skin will benefit from full coverage foundation. Try: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Sephora Collection Hydrating Foundation, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation.

Cream To Powder Foundation: This is a foundation that could fall into two categories: liquid, or powder. So, instead of talking about it in both situations, I let it have special billing. Cream to powder foundation is pretty cool. It starts off as a liquid, but it dries to a powder and provides great coverage. It’s also great for oily skin, because it helps absorb oil and keep your skin looking matte most of the day. The great thing about cream to powder foundation is, you can skip applying powder if it’s part of your beauty routine. Try: Stila One Step Makeup, Urban Decay Surreal Skin Cream-To-Powder Foundation.

Powder Foundation: Powder foundation can come in two forms: loose powder, or pressed powder. Powder foundation, pressed or loose, is great for all skin types. Most powder foundations are buildable, which means the more you apply, the more coverage you will get. It’s great for covering up flaws and evening out skin tone. Try: Make Up For Ever Duo Mat Powder Foundation, Sephora Collection Matifying Compact Foundation.

Mineral Foundation: Not to be confused with powder foundation, mineral foundation is sweeping this category as one of the most popular foundations on the market right now. Mineral foundations are made of all natural ingredients, that are finely ground without any chemicals, preservatives, or dyes typically used in most foundations. Known to possess some great skin care benefits, mineral makeup can also be applied to create a natural look with a sheer application, or it can give you full coverage. It’s great for all skin types, and people either love it or hate it. I used to hate it, until I learned how to use it properly, but now I love it. It gives my skin a natural finish and hides what I need it to hide. Try: Bare Escentuals Mineral Makeup, Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation.

Airbrush Foundation: What is airbrush foundation? I am asked this quite a bit. It is exactly what it sounds like. It is foundation that is applied to the skin with an airbrush for a flawless, “airbrushed” finish. It’s perfect for special occasions, like weddings or pageants, but they’re so accessible now, you can use them every day. Once you learn how to apply it, it won’t take any more time that applying any of the other foundations. The only drawback: it’s an investment to start. Adding to it with refills of your foundation isn’t too expensive, but plan on spending a couple hundred dollars initially. You can also get spray foundation that comes in a can, but gives you the look of airbrush foundation. Try: Temptu, Dior Airflash Spray Makeup.

Well, there’s your Foundation Education for the day. What brand of foundation do you use? What is your favorite formulation? I look forward to your response.

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to

You’ve Been Beautified!

Homemade Hair Masks

For all your beauty advice…

In this week’s Q&A Monday, I featured a question from someone asking me about hair masks. It occurred to me that with the family spa nights I like to write about, and the homemade facial recipes I featured, I have neglected to share some ideas for hair mask recipes. It’s fun to get a little messy and have a spa night with friends, kids, and loved ones. Spending a lot of time in the sun, or the pool, can really dry out your hair, so can heat styling, and chemical treating. So I wanted to share with you a few hair mask recipes that will moisturize dull, dry locks, and add lots of shine!

Coconut Oil Hair Mask: Coconut oil is an excellent treatment for your hair to add shine and bounce to dull, dry hair. Treating your hair with coconut oil is easy, and pretty inexpensive when you look at the oil treatments in stores. You can buy coconut oil at most grocery stores, and health food stores. It’s solid at room temperature, so scoop out a few tablespoons and place them in a cup. Place the cup into a pot with enough warm water to cover the bottom of the cup and allow the coconut oil to slowly melt. You can personalize this to your liking with other oils like lavender or rosemary. Or you can just use it as is. Rosemary can help with scalp conditions such as dandruff, and lavender can be used to help relieve stress. Comb your hair out making sure all tangles are gone; you’ll be applying this treatment to dry hair. Start with applying it to the scalp and work it through to the ends of your hair. Put on a shower cap, or use plastic wrap and leave it on for at least 15 minutes. Longer for really dry hair…you can even sleep in this treatment for maximum moisture. Use a gentle shampoo to cleanse; you may have to shampoo twice to get all the oil out. Chances are, you won’t need a conditioner when you’re finished with this treatment.

Brown Sugar/Olive Oil Scalp Treatment: Healthy scalp=healthy hair (full article on that, coming soon). If you have clogged hair follicles, or build up from too much product on your scalp, your hair won’t grow. It’s important to keep your scalp healthy so the follicles stay un-clogged and nourished. A very easy, and wonderful feeling, scrub is made with two simple ingredients. Brown sugar and olive oil. Take about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and one tablespoon of olive oil and mix them together. Apply directly to your scalp after shampooing, working the mixture in circular motions. The side benefit of this is, massaging your scalp improves circulation, and circulation can help promote hair growth. Rinse out the mixture after you’re done massaging for a few minutes and style your hair as usual.

Olive Oil/Honey Mask: Honey is great for your skin, and it’s also great to use in a hair mask. Honey is a humectant and it will seal the cuticle of the hair and make it shiny. Olive oil is very moisturizing, so the two together will give you soft, shiny hair. Who doesn’t want that? Take three tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of honey, mix them together and apply to your hair. Top with a shower cap, or plastic wrap and leave on for 15-30 minutes, shampoo as usual, rinsing well.

I suggest trying these treatments at night, or on a day off. The point is to take your time and relax. One thing you shouldn’t try? Mayonnaise. I tried this as a mask on my hair once and it smelled like fish for days! Yuck, I know. The things I do in the name of beauty.

Have fun with these, add essential oils and even some fruit. Add some banana to the Olive Oil/Honey Mask to give your hair strength and volume. The great thing about making your own hair masks is, you know exactly what’s going in your product and you can even buy all organic ingredients for a fraction of what you would pay for an already packaged, certified organic product! Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite homemade recipes to treat your hair?

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at

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Product Review…Batiste Dry Shampoo

For all your beauty advice…

I’ve been on the dry shampoo bandwagon lately; a search to find the best product that will clean my hair without me having to actually wash it. Time has become so important to most of us these days, and sometimes I just don’t have the luxury of spending 30 minutes, or more, on styling my hair. (Yes, it can take me that long. Once a stylist, always a stylist) I figured it was time to embrace the dry shampoo craze. I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect, no water needed, cleansing product.

In my quest, I’ve gone as far as using a home recipe that consisted of just cornstarch, to spending countless dollars on products that: 1. Don’t work. 2. Leave my dark brown hair looking gray. 3. Are only ok…and that’s not acceptable. I thought I had found the best dry shampoo in Ojon, but even though it worked, it still had its drawbacks, the main one being price…I’ll just say, it’s pretty painful on the wallet.

Then, I was introduced to Batiste. Originally only available in the UK, Batiste made its debut in the U.S. in March. My instinct tells me, this is going to be big. Batiste makes the same claims all the other dry shampoo products make. The only difference is, Batiste actually lives up to those claims. Batiste comes in two great scents: Original and Blush. Original gives your hair a light, fresh scent, and Blush is a little more girly with some pretty florals mixed together for a nice scent.

Batiste is very easy to use. You spray it on the roots of your hair and leave it on for a few minutes. Massage the product into your scalp and then brush through your hair. A natural bristle brush will work the best, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry, just use what you have and you’ll still get great results. When I first used it, I noticed the ever-present white powder left behind, but was pleasantly surprised to see that once I brushed the product through my hair, that disappeared. Bottom line, my hair didn’t look white/gray, and it actually felt clean, saving me the time of having to go through the daily cleansing, conditioning, styling routine. Impressive!

Batiste is a good multitasking product because it can be used for a pick-me-up after a long day, it can absorb sweat and oil after a workout, it can revive your ‘do before a night out, and it can be used as a finishing product when you are done styling your hair. Just spray a little on the roots of your hair in the crown of your head for some added volume. It’s also perfect for that change of season that’s just around the corner. How many times has it been so cold when you’ve gotten up in the morning, and the thought of getting your hair wet makes you miserable? Just keep some Batiste on hand and winter mornings won’t seem so bad.

So where can you find this amazing product? It’s available at, ULTA, Harmon, Duane Reade, to name a few, but I’m hoping to see it all over the place soon! Another great thing about Batiste? There will be no sticker shock when you make a purchase. It comes in two sizes, 5.05 oz. and 1.6 oz, and it retails for $7.99 and $3.99. Check out for more details.

I am very happy to say that one lucky reader will be able to win a can of this amazing dry shampoo! Stay tuned for details, that contest will be coming soon!

Have you tried Batiste? If so, what are your thoughts? I look forward to your response.

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at

You’ve Been Beautified!

Q&A Monday

For all your beauty advice…

Good morning, and Happy Monday. Thanks for the great questions this week. Read on about touching up your roots in between highlight appointments, hair masks, and expensive spa services.

Dear Brooke, I have highlights in my hair, but the roots have grown out. Is there a way I can touch up the color on my roots and still keep my highlights? Debbie B.

Dear Debbie, There is a way you can touch up your roots until it’s time to highlight again. Get a tube of hair color that is the base of your hair…meaning the main color that’s on your hair. Mix it like you normally do and just apply it to the outgrowth. Leave it on for 20 minutes, but at the 15 minute mark, start combing it down a little further than your outgrowth. If you don’t want to use your base color, pick a shade lighter, but in the same color family. This will make your highlights still look fresh because the roots are taken care of. You can either do this all over your head, or just in the crown and on the sides of your hair to save some time, but cover outgrowth or grays. Let me know how it works!

Dear Brooke, I heat style my hair, and it’s starting to show! The ends are dry, and I’m noticing some breaking too. I’ve heard about hair masks but never tried one. What are some you suggest? Robin S.

Dear Robin, The price we pay for blow drying and flat ironing is damaged hair! My first suggestion would be to make sure you are getting regular trims. Once the ends of your hair start splitting, you need to get them cut. You should start using a thermal protectant in the future to prevent breakage and split ends. I love hair masks! A few I think everyone should try are, Burt’s Bees avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Treatment, and Bed Head Treat Me Right Peppermint Hair Mask. The Burt’s Bees treatment is going to give you tons of moisture and shine because it’s made with olive oil and avocado. Bed Head Treat Me Right is going to give you good moisture and it’s infused with peppermint, so it tingles and feels awesome!

Dear Brooke, I love the idea of going to the spa, but it’s so expensive, I’ve never gone. I just can’t seem to bring myself to spend so much money on the services offered. Why do they charge so much? Jan B.

Dear Jan, Most of the time, you’re not just paying for the service, but you’re paying for the entire experience. A spa is an escape for people, mentally and physically. You are paying for the atmosphere, the service, and usually quite a few other perks. Most spas will offer you something to drink at no charge, mineral water, tea, juice, wine, etc. If there is a steam room, or a dry sauna, that is there for you to use as well. The locker/dressing room usually has a shower for your use, stocked with products so you don’t need to bring anything from home. And, of course, you are paying the technician to perform your service, and they are only getting a percentage of what you are paying. Keep in mind the materials used in a service are factored in to the price as well. I know it can seem extreme if you’ve never gone, but it’s worth it. Still not convinced? Next holiday or birthday, mention the spa to family and friends wondering what to get you for a gift. If they pay attention to your hints, maybe they’ll get you a gift card and you’ll finally get to experience a spa. You will love it!

Thanks for the questions this week, keep them coming! Email me your question for Q&A Monday at

You’ve Been Beautified!

Tween Skin Care Tips

For all your beauty advice…

An online search for the definition of the word “Tween” produced this result: A child between middle childhood and adolescence, usually between 8 and 12 years old. Or, as Britney Spears would put it: “Not a girl, not yet a woman”. Don’t ask me why I just quoted Britney…it’s clear I need help. It’s pretty clear that “Tween” is an abbreviation of the word “between”, meaning that your child is no longer a wee tot, but they are certainly not considered a teenager yet…even though they sure act like one! Growing up is hard to do. As if you don’t have enough to worry about; mean girls, does the cute boy in school like you?, getting good grades…and, of course, starting to break out. My 11-year-old went from having perfectly smooth, baby-soft skin, to breakouts overnight. I remember those days; I feel like I still live those days sometimes. Even 2 rounds of Accutane didn’t knock the breakouts out of my skin. But, I’ve figured out how to control mine, and I can offer some tips for those first breakouts.

The most important thing to remember is, just because your child is starting to get blackheads and zits, doesn’t mean they are ready for an acne skin care line. Their skin isn’t ready for skin care that strong yet; they’re still pretty sensitive. You definitely need to have them using a cleanser of some kind, but one designed for acne prone skin isn’t going to be your best bet. Neither is plain old bar soap. Using bar soap on your face strips your skin of its natural oils, and you don’t want to take the natural oil away. You’ll want to find a gentle cleanser for first time face washers. Cetaphil is good if you want to go the drugstore route. GoClear Clarifying Wash is a new product that is available at Sephora. It’s a good cleanser that is powerful enough to clear up skin, but gentle enough for tweens to use. Velocity, by Mary Kay is a good choice, and so is Purity by Philosophy.

Have your tween start cleansing once a day and work their way up. Over-washing your face can freak your skin out and cause more breakouts. Start with cleansing at night and work up to morning and evening cleansing. If your tween is into sports, or just plays hard, cleansing wipes can be used for extra gentle cleansing throughout the day. I have my daughter use Yes to Cucumbers soothing wipes. She keeps them with her at school and after gym, she wipes down her face to get any sweat and dirt off her skin. They’re really affordable and they smell so good!

Make sure they have the right moisturizer. Please, please, please do not let them use body lotion on their face! This will create a vicious cycle and more breakouts will appear. Body lotion will do nothing but clog the pores they have tried so hard to clean. Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion by Burt’s Bees is an awesome, natural product that is great for clearing up skin, and gentle enough for sensitive skin, making this a perfect choice for tweens.

Slowly introduce treatment products into their routine. They don’t want to jump right in and use pre-soaked pads with benzoyl peroxide, or other harsh ingredients. They can use a gentle facial brush and a scrub a few times a week. If you can afford it, invest in a Clarisonic cleansing system. Absolutely the best money I have ever spent! It has really helped my daughter’s blackheads clear up. Can’t do that? No problem, try Lemon Cream Scrub by Sanitas. It’s gentle enough for young skin, but powerful enough to clear up blemishes.

Those are some good tips to get your tween started. Do you have a tween? Are you a tween reading this? What products are you using, and which ones have helped your skin the most? I look forward to your answers!

Email me questions for Q&A Monday at

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