Beauty Tips

Curly Hair Love

Woman with Curly Hair

Having naturally curly hair can seem like the biggest blessing and the biggest curse all on the same day. I’ve been a natural curly gal my whole life, but I haven’t always been accepting or knowledgeable of my wild and unruly main. I remember struggling with my big frizzy hair as a child to the point of tears, never wanting to wear it down out of fear of being unable to tame it afterward. It wasn’t until I was about 14-years-old that I began to embrace my natural locks and attempt to learn how to “train” my hair. Every curly head’s curl pattern is unique and special to them, some are frizzier, kinkier, wavier, looser, or wilder than others, but all are beautiful. It took years of trial and error to find a great daily routine, but I finally got it down and offer it to all curly heads to try on their own:

  1. I shampoo once a week, and condition every other day using the Curl Perfection line by Pantene Pro-V, then towel dry a bit using a Turbie Towel. All of these products can be bought at any Target or Wal-Mart.
  2. I apply oil to my scalp and ends of my hair, constantly rotating the type of oil I use to make sure my skin and hair don’t get “too used to” any one particular product. My top three pure oils of choice are olive oil, Moroccan argan oil, and tea tree oil. There are many different manufacturers of these essential oils and I’ve been open to try them all. I usually find them at any Target, Wal-Mart, beauty supply store, or the beauty aisle of any local drug store like Walgreens or CVS.
  3. I use Moroccan Oil brand Curl Defining Crème throughout my entire head. I separate my hair into five parts—two on the back half of my head, two on the front sides of my head, and one section at the crown—and work two pumps of product carefully through each part, separating my curls as I go to really add long-term definition. This crème is a bit harder to find than the other products because not all beauty supply stores carry the brand, but I find mine at a chain of beauty supply stores in the East Bay called Beauty Center.
  4. I apply a handful of gel over the already defined curls in three sections—the crown being one, and the rest of my hair parted down the middle into two sections. I use a really inexpensive gel—less than $5 at Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and CVS—called LA Looks Sports Gel. I’ve used other gels throughout the years when stores are out of LA Looks and I need gel, and usually, any maximum hold gel will suffice. Tip: LA Looks Sports Gel is blue so I tend to get whichever other blue gel is available when I need a substitute.

Now I understand that what works for me might not necessarily work for all curl types, but I would definitely recommend trying all the products I mention here to every single curly-haired beauty to see what results you get. My curls are always soft, tight, bouncy, and defined for days when I complete my routine. My hair has never looked healthier or more beautiful, and that’s my wish for all my curly-haired brethren around the world.

Style Strut: The Long Bob

Woman with Bob Cut

One of the most popular cuts being requested in salons today is a Long Bob, or Lob for short. Women are looking for a style that is easy to maintain but still gives them some length to play with. Whether you’re currently rocking an awesome lob and looking for a few different styles to mix up your styling routine, or are considering joining the lob mob, here are a few lob styling suggestions to get you through to your next shampoo from a fellow lob mob member.

Straight and Sleek

This is a great way to start your three-day style strut. Starting with wet hair, apply a heat protectant all over your damp strands and lightly brush through. Aveda’s Brilliant Damage Control is a great product as it is suited for all hair types, protects against thermal damage, reduces breakage from combing and helps to protect from UV Damage.

Next, grab your handy dandy blow dryer and a paddle brush. Flip your head over and as you blow-dry your hair, brush your hair against your scalp—this is called flat wrapping. To create more volume at your roots, brush the hair in the opposite direction of that which it falls. If you have fine to medium hair this should take no more than ten minutes to get your hair dry. If you have a natural wave or curl to your hair, make sure that you are using a lot of tension with your brush as you are flat wrapping your hair to really get that wave pattern straight.

Once your hair is completely dry, plug in your flat iron—I usually like to wait until after blow-drying to plug my hot tool in, so that I can get a little break from the heat and apply my makeup. When your hot tool is ready, grab small sections of hair starting at your nape and, working upwards, lightly graze over the mids and ends of your hair to finish your sleek and straight style. If you have any fly aways, be sure to smooth down with a finishing product like Aveda’s Light Elements Smoothing Fluid.

Beachy Waves

In the spirit of the late summer, what’s a better style than sun-kissed, wind-swept, beach inspired waves? Begin with a one-inch barrel curling iron or wand. As the curling iron (or wand) is heating up, lightly dust your hair with a light hold hair spray like Aveda’s Air Control. Once your iron is ready, begin by loosely wrapping random sections of your hair around the barrel of your iron. Be sure to wrap the sections in different directions so that there is more movement and irregularity to the overall style. When done, lightly mist with another spurt of light hold hair spray. To add definition to the ends, smooth on a small amount of Aveda’s Light Elements Defining Whip.

Baby Got Bun

Using a brush, pull your hair back into a ponytail that sits on the crown of your head. Using the tail of a rat tail crown, loosely pull the hair around your hair line forward to create a little lift and to help avoid making this style look too done. Pull your ponytail straight up and using your rat tail comb or a brush, depending on tight you want your base to be, backcomb your pony so it is nice and full, it should almost resemble a tuft of cotton candy. Next, beginning at the front of your pony, begin to sweep the hair around itself from right to left to create your bun. Secure with bobby pins or hairpins as you work your way around, creating a nice, full, and fluffy bun. Spray the bun with a firm hold hair spray such as Aveda’s Control Force, then lightly spray the rest of your hair with a light hold hair spray and smooth down any fly aways.

Getting the Perfect Haircut

Woman's Hair Cut with Many Hands

Let’s face it: at least once in our lives, we’ve had a post-salon meltdown. A bad haircut can ruin your day—or many days if it takes awhile to grow out. But that bad experience can be avoided. Here are some simple tips to get the right haircut, and clear communication with your stylist is the key.

Bring plenty of pictures. They give the stylist a general sense of the look and feel you’re going for. Not all stylists are mind-readers and a great visual is worth a thousand words.

Be realistic. A lot of celebrities’ hairstyles look amazing because of hair extensions, Photoshop, lighting, and the attention of a glam squad. If you know a celebrity has a similar hair texture and hair length to yours, then you can probably achieve something similar. Don’t expect the outcome to look exactly like your picture.

Saying “I’d like it short” can mean shoulder-length or even chin length to some stylists. Short. Long. Medium. These words mean different things to different people. Instead, physically show your stylist by using your hair and establish how much length you’d like to remove. Then they won’t take too little or too much off your hair.

Hopefully using these tips can help you better communicate the style and look you want and better establish a long-lasting bond with your next stylist.

The goal is to use good communication to establish a long-lasting bond with a stylist that you trust.

The Magic of DMAE

Dimethylaminoethanol Chemical Structure

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is a nutritional substance that is a powerful anti-inflammatory and membrane stabilizer. DMAE is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that causes muscles to contract and tighten under the skin. Therefore, it can help maintain muscle tone in the face and body as we age, helping to prevent both sagging and drooping of the muscles under the skin.

Application of a DMAE-rich topical treatment results in almost instantaneous benefits. The skin looks firmer, lifted, less lined, and smoother. If a DMAE-containing lotion is spread on one side of the face, gently rubbed into the nasolabial fold, around the eye, forehead, under the chin, and on the neck, results can be seen in about 20 minutes. The side of the face and jaw line with the DMAE will appear more contoured, the eye will be open wider, the nasolabial fold lessened. The effect is dramatic. There will also be an immediate reduction in lines and wrinkles. DMAE is also outstanding in tightening up the dimpled skin on the back of the thighs and the upper arms.

Continued use of DMAE lightens the age spots that are commonly seen on the face and the back of hands and arms. These brown spots are formed from the accumulated lipofuscin deposits in the body. Lipofuscin is a waste product of the cells and usually appears in older people. Another age-defying effect of DMAE is its skin tightening action that slows down the natural sagging of the skin. Aside from plastic surgery, DMAE skin treatments seem to be among the most effective means to lift and tighten the appearance of facial skin.

DMAE is used mainly for optimization of brain performance and enhancement of positive, upbeat moods. Brain functions including thinking, memory, learning, and concentration also benefit from the long-term use of DMAE. Based on studies, surveys, and patient feedback, DMAE is a valuable and, frankly, amazing tool for making brain functions higher. As a bonus, it also gives the user a younger look through clear, even-toned skin that retains its elasticity even at an older age.

Hair Color First-timers

Three Women with Colored Hair

If you are new to hair color and unsure of how to get started, here are some tips that will help you choose what’s right for you.

  • Evaluate your needs

    Are you low maintenance? Do you live a busy lifestyle? Do you want something permanent? These are all questions to take into consideration since some hair color needs to be touched up every two to six weeks depending on the style. Do you work somewhere conservative? You need to consider whether the color will be appropriate for your work and lifestyle.

  • Bring Lots of Pictures

    Visuals speak louder than words. A picture can help a stylist achieve something similar to what you want or even nail it. Never say “do whatever you think looks best”; a stylist may have an opinion about what would look good on you, but your opinion may be different.

  • Choose Colors

    Choose colors that compliment your skin tone. This can help you narrow down your choices.

Don’t be scared of change. Coloring your hair is a change that can be dramatic or subtle. Be prepared to embrace and have fun with it.

Hair Texture Talk

Brown Hair Texture Types

More and more people are seeking out beachy texture for straight hair or to enhance the natural wave or curl they have. Here are some ideas to help your texture shine.

  • Air Dry

    Thoroughly apply product to your hair, and twist or scrunch and allow it to air dry to see your natural texture come to life. A great product to use is the curl enhancer and a hold product like phomollient. Once your hair is completely dry, apply a finishing product like anti humectant and gently break up the pattern of your twists to reveal an effortless style.

  • Diffuse

    If your hair has a natural texture, you want to use a diffuser when you blow dry along with curl enhancing products. A great diffuser to try is YS Park’s. Simply apply your favorite curl enhancing products, and a little heat protectant, and use the diffuser to speed up the drying process.

  • Twist and Diffuse

    This is the method you’ll see used most often in the salon for enhancing texture. You can sit under a dryer and allow your twisted tresses to slowly dry or have the diffuser do the work. By combining the two previous approaches you get a soft textured style that even the most stubborn curls shine through. The key to this is to twist and then allow the hair to dry without further disruption. It’s tempting, but don’t touch the twisted strands or you’ll find your hair will get frizzy!

  • Thickening Tonic

    Here’s a fun fact: your thickening tonic doesn’t always have to be blow dried to activate its benefits. Thickening tonic works well when the product is blow dried into the hair and the amla fruit extract forms a layer on the hair strand that makes your hair appear physically thicker. That’s what makes your hair look so luxurious and full, but you can also spray it in and allow it to air dry to give a beachy texture. Enhancing your hair with thickening tonic is a great idea in conjunction with a hold product like phomollient which has honey in it, so the hold doesn’t need any heat styling to be activated.

  • Volumizing Tonic

    It’s not just a root boost. Try applying volumizing tonic in a light but thorough mist over all of your hair after you spray at the roots. This will give your hair memory and, when you blow dry at home, you’ll be able to add more movement and curl to your style. This is another tip that’s great in conjunction with your favorite hold product.

Cucumber for Healthy Skin

Woman with Cucumber on Eyes

Cucumber slices can fight dark circles and puffy eyes.

Cucumbers may do more for your skin than for your palate. These fruits, members of the melon family, have properties that soothe and soften the skin. For an easy do-it-yourself skin treatment, reach into your refrigerator and pull out a cucumber. You can use it to make a toner, or a mask, or simply lay slices over your eyes to help you look refreshed.

  • Antioxidant Power

    The older you get, the fewer antioxidants you have in your skin to fight wrinkles and sun damage. Because your skin has the ability to absorb antioxidants, cucumbers can help restore some of these. Cucumbers are a source of several compounds that fight inflammation and aging, including cucurbitacins and cucumerin.

  • Vitamin Rich

    Cucumbers contain vitamin C, an antioxidant. They also have plenty of vitamin K—also an antioxidant—which fights dark circles under the eyes. That’s why a couple of cucumber slices placed over tired, puffy eyes in the morning helps you look refreshed. Vitamin B-5 is another compound found in cucumbers that helps your skin retain moisture. The vitamin A, or retinol, in cucumbers fights dark spots and freckles because it helps control your skin’s production of melanin.

  • Wrinkle Fighter

    Cucumbers are a source of silica, which, as a precursor to collagen, can help fight wrinkles. A May 2011 issue of the “Archives of Dermatological Research” published a study concluding that the presence of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, makes cucumber juice a particular effective ingredient in anti-wrinkle products. You can add cucumber juice to your favorite lotion; or make a toner by grating a cucumber, straining out the juice through cheesecloth, and mixing it with an equal amount of witch hazel or rose water. Use a cotton ball to apply it to your face.

  • Skin Irritations

    Cucumbers have high water content and a cooling quality, making them appropriate to help soothe mild burns, particularly sunburn. They can also reduce swelling and relieve minor skin irritations.

Home Facial Massage Techniques

Facial Self Massage Woman

Facial massage can be used to help stimulate and strengthen facial muscles in order to maintain muscle tone and help more mature skin to become bouncy and plump. In addition to muscle toning, facial massage has other benefits. It can help flush out toxins that exist in the lymph fluid just below the skin’s surface. Pressure point massage can help calm angry and congested skin.

If you can afford bi-weekly or monthly facials, then you can reap many of the benefits of facial massage during your treatments. In between treatments, however, you can make a habit of giving yourself a calming, purifying, or stimulating massage at home. Making this a nightly or weekly routine gives your “at home” regimen a boost. All you need is your nightly moisturizer or creme and a few basic movements. Once you have cleansed, toned, and applied your nightly serum, grab some of your moisturizer and follow these guidelines.

There are four basic Swedish massage strokes that you can incorporate into your massage routine. Don’t be afraid to get creative. As long as you aren’t too aggressive, any routine you come up with is sure to be beneficial.

The first movement to know is effleurage. This is a soft, smooth, gliding motion that can be used to warm up the muscles, as well as to calm muscles and move lymph. Remember when massaging to always move in an upward motion, as we want to counteract the effects of gravity that tends to drag our muscles downward.

The next massage movement is called petrissage. This is a kneading and pinching movement. Apply this movement near the jaw muscles to ease tension in the masseter, as well as to stimulate muscles around the jawline. In addition petrissage can be used to stimulate oil production in dry skin types or help to expel excess oil in more impure skin types. Pinch and knead in areas where these imbalances occur.

The third massage movement is called tapotement or percussion. This is a light tapping movement over areas that you wish to stimulate muscles. It works well to tap with all ten fingers—almost like playing the piano—around the cheeks, forehead, and very lightly around the eyes. This movement is amazing for toning muscles, as well as maintaining muscle tone in younger skin types.

The last massage movement is friction, which are small movements using controlled pressure over a certain area. It can be very soothing and relaxing. Use light pressure and compression along the cheekbones and the temples to ease tension. This will feel amazing and you may ease facial tension that you did not know you had.

Test out these basic Swedish massage strokes at home before going to bed. Just remember to be gentle, to work against gravity and, if you have extra sensitive skin, take care with the more stimulating movements.

Instant Eye Lift

Eye with makeup and individual false eyelashes.“Falsies” are my favorite part of any make-up routine. I believe every woman looks better with a little eyelash enhancement. Whatever look she’s going for — natural, voluminous, or dramatic — any woman can find the perfect lashes. But with all the different brands, styles, lengths, and colors, picking false lashes can be quite the conundrum!

My obsession with eyelashes began eight years ago when I first moved to Los Angeles. A friend I met had the longest, most gorgeous eyelashes I had ever seen. I knew I wanted mine to look just like them. I asked her what kind of mascara she used, hoping to learn about a new brand, when she told me that they were falsies. I couldn’t believe it! With no eye makeup on, I figured I would be able to see the ends of the strips she was wearing. But I couldn’t. I asked her to close her eyes. Still nothing. Then she opened her eyes wide and looked up at the ceiling. That revealed a bunch of little black beads on the inner waterline of her lids. She was wearing individual eyelashes, something I had never seen or heard of before, and she told me she put them on herself. That same day she applied individual eyelashes to me and I’ve been addicted to them ever since.

Since that day eight years ago, I have been taught different techniques to achieve many different looks. My personal technique for applying individual lashes is the one my old friend taught me.

With my non-dominant hand I hold the upper eyelid up and away from the eyeball, revealing as much of the waterline as possible. Then, using tweezers with my dominant hand, I pick up an individual set of lashes, dip them in a dot of individual lash adhesive (Ardell dark glue is my favorite), and place the lashes on the waterline. I start towards the middle and first work to the end and then move back towards the inner eye. I carefully place each individual bunch apart from the next to avoid the lashes clumping together.

Applying the individual lashes on the waterline and under your actual eyelashes gives the ultimate look of naturally long and voluminous lashes. The best part about individuals is that you can make them as thick and long as you desire! Stack them close, place them few and far between, or just apply to the ends of your eyes for a sexy winged eye effect. Whatever look you want or whatever the occasion you can achieve it without harming your real lashes. And, let’s face it, any woman’s beautiful face will always look better with a little lash enhancement!

Developing a Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine Application

Finding the perfect skincare regimen can be a hassle. Here are four essential must haves for developing the perfect routine to have flawless skin.

  • Skin Cleanser

    There are many face washes on the market for oily skin. I would recommend a gel cleanser. If you’re acne prone, it can contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For sensitive or dry skin, you can use a cleansing milk or cream cleanser that is much more gentle and moisturizing.

  • Toner

    Start with a spray toner. These are easier to use and it’s just one or two spritzes and you’re done! Toners are good because they restore the PH balance in your skin and can be firming as well.

  • Moisturizer

    SPF, SPF & SPF! Make sure your moisturizer has sun protection factor in it. Depending on its strength, you may need to reapply it throughout the day. Also make sure it’s not a chemical SPF which can cause free radicals that can irritate and damage the skin.

  • Eye Cream

    Eye cream can be selected depending on your needs. There are a wide variety on the market, designed to treat different problems. Some are for moisturizing, some are for dark circles, some for puffiness, and so on.

Oh, and ask for samples! A lot of cosmetic stores offer take home samples so you can try out products before you buy them.

Two Quick Makeup Tricks

Lash Stamping with Mascara, Before and After.

Add these two simple beauty tricks to your everyday makeup regimen.

Mascara Stamping

Eye with Mascara Wand

Everyone wants their lashes to look fuller and thicker. Often that means using lash extensions or serums such as Latisse. But this beauty trick won’t have you spending an arm and a leg getting that fuller lash look. Mascara stamping gives this full lash illusion, and it’s as easy as pressing the wand into the roots of the lashes while applying your mascara, in a stamping motion. This will deposit color to your upper lashline, giving an appearance of having fuller lashes. It may be a bit messy at first but, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked!

Foundation Layering

Contrary to what we may practice and have been taught about makeup application, apply a powder before a liquid foundation. It gives better coverage and a flawless appearance that lasts all day. This trick may save the day, especially for those with oilier skin.

Get your base makeup to stay on longer throughout the day by applying a loose powder before your liquid foundation. You can use any loose powder, but Aveda’s translucent powder would be perfect for this application method. Start with a good amount of your favorite moisturizer, set it with a powder, and finish by adding liquid foundation on top. This will give your skin a fully hydrated feel, but with a matte finish. This application style should eliminate the need to add a loose powder as a finishing step, leaving you with a budge-proof base that will last all day!

The Beauty of a Rose

Rose IllustrationFew people can resist a rose. Fragrant, soft, blooming full–it demands that we smell it, touch it, and stop to admire its beauty. It is an iconic flower and also has a myriad of different uses in skincare. The Greeks and Romans would put rose petals in their baths to perfume them. In distilled forms, roses have been included in both in cosmetics and medicines for centuries.

Rose essential oil is important for more than its attractive scent. Rose helps rejuvenate and replenish skin. It can make your skin as soft and velvety as the petals. It also has anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti viral properties. Rose water is known for its health and beauty benefits. You can pour rose water into a bath, or use it as a toner, or use in cosmetic formulations of lotions and creams. It can help treat acne and acne-prone skin. It also has cleansing properties. Rose oils help reduce swollen spots or redness on your skin. It has calming properties perfect to sooth rosacea and eczema.

When you’re next inhaling the fragrance of roses, or stopping to admire their beauty, give a little thought to the other properties of this amazing flower. Consider adding rose oil to your beauty regime.

The American Wave: Curls are Back

Models - The American Wave

A few weeks ago, I stopped into Dre Holder Salon to visit one of their stylists, who is also one of my good friends. It wasn’t too busy, so some of the other stylists were on break just chatting about some of the new hair trends. However, there was one that really stuck out to me that I wanted to share: “The American Wave.”

The American Wave was pioneered by one of New York’s master stylists, Nick Arrojo. He defines the American Wave as “a professional salon service to create soft, natural-looking, wave and curl patterns, bounce, body and movement for those that want to make the graceful elegance and individuality of texture a part of their hairstyle and identity.”

Nick Arrojo utilizes a system of ‘soft tools’ that reduces the stress on the hair. The techniques he employs, and teaches to others, ensure that the textures that are created are always contemporary, fashionable, and wearable. The system also uses a specialized waving lotion that reconditions the hair for a smoother cuticle filled with life and vitality, not dryness and damage; instead of chemical compounds, American Wave smells like eucalyptus.

As a wave, texture, and volume enhancing service, it creates a range of customized looks, from cascading beachy waves to increased fullness and bounce to curly shapes and styles. The four service options include The Beach Wave, Style Support, Expanded Curls, and Color Wave.

  • The Beach Wave: Using a vertical drag wrap soft tool technique, this style marries straight and wavy textures to create the sexy, tousled beach waves on the vanguard of fashion and beauty trends.
  • Style Support: For clients with fine and/or straight hair, Style Support uses a new spin on soft tool wrapping techniques. It adds volume and texture to hair that lacks life and vitality by creating a resilient consistent wave pattern that helps create better blow-dries and hot-tool styles.
  • Expanded Curls: For those with curly hair, Texture Specialists use a round soft tool wrapping technique to create buoyant and resilient wave and curl patterns that are healthy, frizz-free, and fun.
  • Color Wave: Color Wave allows for any of the American Wave styles to be applied to lightened hair, so you can pair bombshell blondes with bombshell waves and curls.

Since its launch in 2012, American Wave-made hairstyles have been featured at a cornucopia of global hair and beauty shows, shared with thousands of American professionals, and inspired American Wave editorial images and videos. In the salon it is used on clients who want to make the timeless elegance, beauty and grace of texture a part of their identity. Meanwhile, the technology, techniques, and results have featured everywhere from The Today Show to The Chicago Tribune to Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Allure.

Now is the time to embrace your curl, and Nick Arrojo is “proud to be on the front line of the texture trend and to be part of a healthy, free-spirited and unrepressed approach to beauty.” He feels that, “hair should make you look and feel young and carefree, sexy and fun and fabulous. So boost your body and bounce, enhance your natural texture, make your roots pop, create sexy, tousled beach waves and curls suited to the easy-going and versatile fashion and beauty zeitgeist.”

Styling the Man Bun

Man Bun Hairstyle

Attending school in the heart of San Francisco, we see a lot of interesting styles out there on the streets. One style in particular that has continued to grow in popularity is the “Man Bun.” Whether you’re the type of guy who likes to keep the sides nice and tapered with an undercut for a “semi-bun” or prefer to let the long luscious mane flow for a “full bun,” here are some pointers to help you achieve the perfectly styled Man Bun:

  • The Man Bun is typically worn at the crown of the head. But “full buns” can be worn lower towards the nape area of your neck.
  • Depending on Man Bun style—semi-bun or full bun—hair should be around 6 to 10 inches long.
  • Creating your bun:
    • Start at your front hairline and gather and rake all of your hair into one hand on the crown of your head. Once you have gathered all of your hair, secure hair in place with an elastic hair tie by pulling the length of your hair through the hair tie and then twist and wrap the elastic tie around your hair 1 to 2 more times depending on the thickness of your hair, each time pulling the length of your hair through the tie.
    • On the final wrap and pass through only pull the length of your hair through half way, allowing the elastic tie to close on top of the hair and create your bun. You can then wrap the remaining ends around the base of the bun so that no loose hair is visible or leave them free to create a Pony Bun.
  • Another way to style your Man Bun is to again begin gathering and raking your hair towards the crown of your head starting from your front hairline. Once you have gathered all your hair, begin to twist the hair like rope and coil it into a circle on top of your crown. Secure by wrapping an elastic hair tie around it one to two times depending on the thickness of your bun.

Here are a few helpful styling tips:

  • To add more weight to your hair, try washing your hair every 2-3 days. The natural oils that build up will actually help you achieve your desired style and create a better hold for your Man Bun.
  • If you are starting with wet or damp hair, consider using a leave-in conditioner or a styling cream with a waxy-like finish such as Aveda Light Elements Texturizing Cream to create some hold.
  • If you want your bun to look casual, use your hands and fingers! Using a comb or brush to style your Man Bun will cause it to look dressy and done.

Fading Dark Spots on Skin

Product - Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumI’ve always been a picker. I can’t leave my skin alone and try to pick things that don’t even exist.

I’ve been using all these different products over the years, pro-active brightening spot treatment, Derma’e and other concoctions.

I walked into my favorite beauty supply and a friend of mine handed me a sample of Murad’s “Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum.” I saw my dark spots and pick marks start to fade in just two days. I couldn’t believe all the good it did for me in such a short amount of time. Murad’s product has really been a discovery for me.

It has two active ingredients: Hydroquinone, which is a progressive and intense bleacher, and Glycolic Acid. You have to use Hydroquinone sparingly because its effect can wear off; three days using it and two days off. Glycolic Acid is an AHA, which gently exfoliates the skin and sloughs away old skin cells.

This product doesn’t only get rid of old skin but helps renew skin as well. Though I love Murad products, I realize that what helps foster good skin and not having any dark spots is to also use vitamin C and exfoliate at least twice a week to help promote cell turnover and get rid of bacteria buildup.

For anyone out there who hasn’t found their answer to dark spots, I suggest using this Murad product. It worked for me.

Facial Yoga

Face Yoga ExercisesYoga is a practice that is full of spiritual and physical techniques to connect the mind, body, and soul as one. Expected outcomes of yoga include ease of understanding, total relaxation, and even enlightenment. Full of both physical and psychological benefits, it is no surprise that yoga is done around the world; from serious, traditional classes in the heart of India, to the body-toning hot yoga class down the street.

While there are many different kinds, a form of yoga that has not gained much attention is a frontal muscle workout that goes by the name of “face yoga.” Face yoga refers to the exercising of the muscles in the face, and can be done to tighten, tone, and combat signs of aging.

How does it work? Well, the muscles’ movement increases blood circulation in the face, allowing more oxygen to pass through and replenish cells in the area. The techniques can also aid in the production of collagen and elastin, resulting in supple and smooth skin.

Some of the facial moves look odd as they include widening the eyes and sticking out your tongue. However the exercises are performed, here is a video that includes some methods you can try out.

Practicing face yoga for only five minutes everyday can bring great results in reducing signs of aging. Results can be noticed in as little as two weeks and, over time, the look of visible wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin can be reversed.

Simple Yet Versatile Hair Brush

Aveda Paddle-type Hair Brush

Brushing your hair can be a pain especially if your hair tangles easily. One brush I feel that is essential for any hair type is a paddle brush.

Aveda makes a great wooden paddle brush. I like this brush because it’s so versatile. I use it to detangle and while blow drying clients. It’s great for all hair types including curly, coarse, fine, short, and long.

Using the paddle brush as a styling brush is simple and easy. You simple blow dry the hair following the curve of the head. Once the hair is pre-dried, you can take sections and use the padding on the brush to smooth out the hair, perfect for a sleek look.

Also the brush is very gentle. My hair never snags on the brush and it easily detangles the most unruly hair. I would definitely recommend this brush to anyone who just wants an all around good brush for everyday styling and blow drying.

Teeth Whitening

Bright Teeth Illustraiton by Kim Carney of MSNBC

Since I was a child, I’ve watched TV shows depicting beautiful people with white, perfect teeth. I grew up thinking that extremely white teeth were the standard for good teeth. Throughout the U.S., there are many products that sell kits to whiten teeth. In Hollywood, most celebrities don’t just have white teeth. They almost glow in the dark like cartoons.

Myself, I think this is a bit extreme. It’s normal not to have glowing teeth. It’s okay if they are slightly colored. Who can afford the time and money to get teeth professionally whitened once a month?

Are those teeth whitening kits safe? I’ve used several whitening treatments in my coffee addict days. They definitely made my teeth whiter, but they had adverse affects. I used the Crest white strips, whitening toothpaste, and whitening mouth wash. I used the white strips once daily and the mouth wash twice a day morning and night after brushing and flossing. One morning, I went to do my daily routine of brushing my teeth and I discovered a nickel-sized cyst that had grown on my gums overnight. I started freaking out; I’d never seen anything like it before. My bunkmate at the time, who was using the same products and process that I was, also had one near her molars on her gums. We both decided to stop the whitening treatments to see if that was what was causing it. Two weeks later, the cysts disappeared and never came back.

Since then, I’ve promised myself I’ll never use another artificial whitening product ever again. I’ve done a lot of research on artificial tooth care products and their effects, and it’s devastating. They can cause labored breathing, bloody urine, infertility, and incontinence. Wow, no thank you. I’ll stick to my natural whitening remedies.

There are many amazing natural teeth whitening remedies on the internet, but they can be overwhelming. I’ve been using a recipe for a tooth whitening toothpaste that I got from an ex-boyfriend. It’s very simple, cheap, and can last a very long time. Here it is:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 8 drops of peppermint oil

Put the ingredients into a big glass bowl and mix well. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate, scooping out about a week’s worth at time.

That’s it. It’s very simple and very effective. I have seen a great improvement in the color of my teeth from light yellowish to white. It takes about a month to really see any results but you’re avoiding crazy cysts and possible side effects. I will never go back. I love my new natural whitening toothpaste and you will too. So give it a try. It won’t hurt and I really think you’ll love it.

Honey for the Hair

Honey

Honey is an everyday product in many household kitchens including my own. It is used in various recipes as essential ingredient. But a lot of people have taken notice to the health/beauty benefits the product offers. Honey prevents certain types of cancers and heart disease, can reduce ulcers, and also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can even help regulate the body’s metabolism, reduce nausea, and even improve eyesight.

Honey contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin B6, calcium, iron, thiamin, particular amino acids, and so on. Due to its anti-bacterial properties, honey is extremely valuable for skin treatments. Besides being super-moisturizing for the skin, it also can be used as a hair conditioner or lightener. Honey is a natural lightener for skin and hair due to small traces of hydrogen peroxide it releases.

I started using honey as part of my beauty regimen about three years ago. A friend told me how she had started using it as a weekly treatment in her hair. She informed me how much softer and shinier it had made her hair! At the time, I had never given much thought about honey. It had never crossed my mind to use it as a beauty product!

If you would like to see the difference in your own hair, here is a simple hair treatment recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon (optional)

Mix the honey and oil thoroughly together. Optionally, add the lemon juice to the mixture.

Use your hands to evenly disperse the mixture throughout your hair. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes, covering your hair. Rinse off.

Enjoy the wonderful smell and feel of your new, replenished hair!

The Benefits of Microdermabrasion

Female model with exfoliated skin.

If you’ve never heard of Microdermabrasion, it is an amazing machine that can help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, increase the production of collagen and elastin, smooth out and retexture the skin, and help to diminish sun spots, scarring, and other discolorations. This machine creates a mechanical exfoliation using small crystals as well as vacuum suction. The vacuum sucks the skin up while the crystals work to exfoliate dead skin cells and imperfections.

Exfoliation is important for all skin types, including the most healthy of skins, to ensure the process of cell turnover. As we age, the rate of our cell turnover—or the amount of time it takes new skin cells to reach the surface and replace the old, dead ones—becomes slower and slower. For this reason, we all need a little help with desquamating the old skin cells. Microdermabrasion is an excellent way to slough off those dead skin cells to reveal a more polished and lively skin tone.

Another benefit of this treatment, in comparison to other forms of deeper exfoliation such as chemical peels, is that there is relatively no downtime. You can leave the spa the same day with a glowing and fresh complexion.

These treatments can be done alone, or in conjunction to an anti-aging, skin brightening, or deep cleansing facial. It is also extremely beneficial when compared with a gentle peel, to really stimulate cell turnover, as well as to decrease pigmentation and sun damage. In addition, for desirable results, it is necessary to have more than one treatment. Microdermabrasion is a progressive treatment, requiring anywhere from two to twelve treatments to see the desired change in your skin.

Check out your local spa scene to see which spas offers this amazing service.

There are a few things to consider to make sure your treatment goes off without a hitch:

  • Make sure your treatment is followed up with some kind of hydrating product. For full facials, a nice hydrating mask is perfect following microdermabrasion, as exfoliated skin can drink up all the nutrients of the mask. For shorter services, a hydrating serum or rich moisturizer can do the trick.
  • It is also crucial that a good sunscreen be applied following your service, as exfoliated skin is more susceptible to sun damage. Aim for at least an SPF of 30, but SPF 50 is ideal.
  • Furthermore, as one of the goals of this treatment is to help to reduce sun damage, it might be a good idea to avoid prolonged time in the sun for a few days.