Each summer, as I dare to don the shorter garments in my closet, I’m taken back to junior high gym class. Playing kickball and running laps with no athletic ability was pretty humiliating, but worse was doing it as the most pallid, Gollum-like adolescent in the gym. As classmates caught sight of my near translucent, purplish legs, I’d hear the common refrain: “Get a tan, girl!”
Could I get a tan? Should I get a tan? I’ve asked myself these questions countless times since I first came to realize I looked borderline cadaverous. Now, more than a decade later, I have the answers. Keep reading »
When it comes to products that I feel very strongly that I NEEEEEED, they generally cost more than my ConEd bill for any given month. I love luxury beauty because it makes me feel that I, by owning and using it, become luxurious by osmosis. It’s a little mind game that I like to play with myself: if I buy this $150 serum, it will make me the kind of fabulous girl who warrants a $150 serum in the first place! Yay marketing! Keep reading »
Exfoliation is one of the most important things you can do for your skin, but the approach has changed immensely over the past couple of years. Whereas a simple scrub once sufficed, we now have endless options that range from chemical exfoliators (like acids and peels) to intense, deep-cleansing physical tools (like the ever-popular Clarisonic). Yes, “chemical peel” is a terrifying name and concept, but its bark is far worse than its bite: while peels were once strictly relegated to the offices of cosmetic specialists, today’s at-home formulas use fruit-derived enzymes and plant extracts to smooth, clarify, and encourage cell turnover to dramatically reduce signs of aging.
Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie offers innovative “professional level” (their quotes, not mine) exfoliating technology with their Cellular Resurfacing 3-Minute Peel, but at $210 for a small jar, the price alone might induce more fine lines than it promises to erase (and skincare naturalists like myself will be put off by the fact that a full list of ingredients can be found … nowhere). This is where Murad Intensive-C® Radiance Peel comes in: at $49.50, it’s less than 1/4 the price of La Prairie’s version, and you can actually feel the active enzymes as they work their brightening, hydrating, pore-shrinking witchcraft. La who, now?
The first step to getting over a problem is admitting that you have one. Now that we’ve divulged our summer beauty routines, I figured it was time to give up the goods on the five-step program that keeps my naturally oily skin looking summertime fly, and by that I mean dry. If you’re having grease problems, I feel bad for you, son, but I can almost guarantee that mine are worse than yours, especially during the hottest months of the year when sweat exacerbates the issue. My face practically screams, “Drill me.”
With years of market research (sometimes referred to as “shopping at Sephora”), I’ve found that the best way to treat my reactive, combination-to-oily skin and keep it under control is by supplementing my sensitive skin wash-and-tone routine with sebum-fighting powerhouses that simultaneously work to clear up blemishes. Most of them will get you matte in a pinch, and others help with oil production and congestion in the long run. Use one or all of these five tried-and-true slick-solvers, blot throughout the day as necessary, and revel in your miraculously matte complexion. Now isn’t that a relief?
My acne-ridden youth (okay, fine, it was like 20 zits total) engrained in me that chocolate was a pimple-flaring, oil-producing skincare devil to be avoided at all costs. In my more recent, better-skinned years I’ve turned to the dark, 80% cocoa variety to cure me of late-afternoon nap compulsion and early-morning sugar cravings, but I never suspected that the chocolate could actually be to thank for my clearer, more radiant complexion. A new report in the Journal of Nutrition discovers what may in fact be the Best News Ever: not only do women who eat more chocolate tend to have smoother, more hydrated skin, but chocolate itself is choc-full of antioxidants that help to shield skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Keep reading »
I don’t know about the rest of the world — or the rest of the country, for that matter — but it’s depressingly hot at my latitude and longitude. Don’t get me wrong, I love the warm weather and sunshine, but I also like to look fairly presentable, and that is not happening right now. This city is a sauna, and there is no hope for me. Because a hot, flushed face is basically my main accessory right now, I’m making a conscious effort to keep refreshing facial mists at my disposal. Though one in the bag will never have quite the same cooling effect as one that’s been chilling in the fridge all day, a burst of a skin-soothing, lightly fragranced water is enough to get my simmering brain, if not my appearance (I’m beyond help), back on track. Here are 10 spritzes (some purse-sized, others larger) that will bring you back to life when the heat is dragging you down.
I wouldn’t know if I could tan naturally because I’ve never actually tried. Aside from the fact that, you know, the sun wants to give you cancer and shit, I’m just not someone who has ever liked to bask outside and broil. My brother and I, unlike our medium-skinned parents and the rest of our family on both sides, are both super-fair, easily burnt freckle faces. We often wonder whose children we actually are (in fact, we both bear a slight resemblance to Guy Fieri). In summers of yore I’ve been totally content with my bright white (seriously, I am the whitest) complexion, but I think I’m on the brink of a change of heart. Frightened by the starkness of my legs, and sporting a subtle, summery ombré fade in my hair, I am ready to join the rest of the world and get a tan. Not a real tan, of course — I still hate laying outside. It’s so boring. Whatever! Problem is, I can’t seem to find the right self-tanner for my skin tone. I figured Jergens Natural Glow was a safe place to start, but the incredibly overwhelming smell put me off after applying it twice. Seriously, I wanted to run away from myself. Keep reading »
I spend a lot of time making sure my skin is properly cared for. I’m a connoisseur of waters, serums, masques, cremes, and oils, so much so that my roommates are forced to tiptoe around our shared bathroom lest they disturb the delicate balance of my menagerie. For all the hours I spend treating my face, you’d think I would remember to slap on some body butter here and there, but not so. My skin is naturally on the oilier side, so lotioning up my arms and legs doesn’t cross my mind often because they never really get dry. I also hate the slimy, slippery feel that typical salves leave behind, especially fresh out of the shower, the time when I least want to put some more stuff on my body. Enter Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner from LUSH (surprise, they consistently make the best products). Think of it less as a lotion and more, like the name implies, as a companion to your soap or body wash. You put it on while you’re still in the shower (I like to do it as my last step), then rinse and towel dry. The result is the smoothest, softest, most deliciously scented (seriously, so good) skin, without the extra layer of emollient. It’s kind of the best. [$29.95, LUSH]
I’m generally terrified of putting oil on my face because I have problematic sensitive skin that reacts badly to pretty much anything I put on it. If it’s feeling dry, a smidge of moisturizer will turn it into a zitty, oily mess. Too oily, and astringent makes it a flaky, dry patchy disappointment. But not so with Bio Oil, which is some magical moisturizing oil that seems to both soothe, and moisturize without turning my face into a noxious puddle of sebacious cysts. Bio Oil, it seems, is one of those crazy skincare products that works great on all types of skin — it reduces the signs of redness and scarring, works great on aging and dehydrated skin, and because it’s pumped full of vitamins (along with lavender, rosemary and chamomile oils), it even helps reduce the signs of scars and stretch marks. Is it a miracle product? Well, just maybe. [$10.17, Amazon]
Skincare used to be a whole daunting arena of the beauty industry that I avoided out of fear. My dry, sensitive skin is so fickle. I washed daily with Cetaphil, scrubbed once or twice a week with St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and glopped on a pricy Bliss face mask every month or so. Most days I removed my makeup before going to bed, but not always, because I am lazy. My skin neither looked nor felt particularly good or particularly bad — just kinda blah and dry, as usual.
In the past few months, I’ve gotten really into skincare for my criminally dry visage. I’ve added new skincare products to my arsenal, which I’ll save for Beauty Test Drives another day. My skin has really been perking up, to the point where The Frisky’s boss has been complimenting me! And for the past few days, I have been using a little handheld device called the Clarisonic Mia 2. No joke, it’s already making my skin look and feel amazing. Keep reading »