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Beware of These Beauty Blunders

These mistakes are ruining your good looks!

Our best efforts to look beautiful don’t always pay off. If beauty is in the details, the problem is that there are so many of them. Exactly what we need to do to look our best can be confusing. Some of us are making beauty mistakes without knowing it, and sometimes we just get bad advice.
 
Awareness and keeping our beauty practices as simple as possible are our best defenses against making beauty blunders. With that in mind here are a few doozies…
 
Rough, Dry Elbows
Dark, dry patchy elbows can drain the elegance from the most gorgeous of outfits. To keep elbows soft, give them a good scrub with an exfoliator before heading into the shower. Follow up with a massage of body oil or a heavy moisturizer.
 
Walk With Style
Teetering on a new pair of four-inch stilettos when you usually wear something lower and more comfy will throw off your whole look, so practice walking before you go out. Take it slow, take longer steps than usual and land the heel and ball of your foot at the same time. It you’re slipping rather than gliding about, try roughing up the bottoms or stick on an adhesive sole to get a better grip on the floor.
 
Brow-How
It’s the year of eyebrows with the current look is thicker than usual and frames and lifts the face. When brows are pale, over-plucked, bushy or too dark, they can throw our features off balance. The key is to clear up the strays outside of your natural arch, trim bushy spots and fill in the sparse areas. If you go to a pro, bring a photo of your own brows at their best or an inspirational pic to be sure they don’t over-wax, over-tweeze, or tint them too dark.
 
Nix Foundation Overload
Modern skin care products make the most of our complexions, which allows us to rely less on foundation to even out skin imperfections. Heavy foundation has a mask-like effect that can sink into lines and wrinkles adding years to our look. After applying the lightest foundation that works for you to the center of your face only - forehead, chin, nose and cheeks, blend it outwards with a foundation brush for the most natural coverage. Double-checking your application in natural light with a hand mirror is always a good idea.

Confessions of the Beauty-Obsessed!

Skin care sins we all commit

When you give beauty advice for a living, knowing that you, yourself commit secret beauty sins produces a heap of guilt. Whenever I get up in the morning and see traces of mascara and liner around my eyes, I feel that twinge of guilt.
 
Okay, full confession: I think a little smudgy morning-after mascara can look kind of sexy, so I don’t always do the nighttime makeup removal and deep skin cleanse I tell everyone else they should do.
 
That made me wonder who else doesn’t always practice what they preach, so I called on my clique of beauty geniuses to reveal all. Here’s what they said:
 
Mary Bemis - editorial director, InsidersGuidetoSpas.com
 
“Occasionally, I shave my legs before I exfoliate. I know I’m not supposed to do that because using a salt or sugar scrub after shaving could make my skin sting or end up too rough.”
 
Sin score: 1 of 5. Why so low? Because it’s not a beauty boo-boo that’s likely to cause any long-term harm. And if you do experience a bad reaction, it’s fairly easy to soothe it with a quality moisturizer.
 
Heather Carter - blogger, Fabulously Cruelty-Free
 
“I like my face to be completely clean, but I don’t like to use eye makeup remover. I wash every night to get every speck of makeup off, which is probably causing wrinkles from all of the tugging. Yeah, I know: Use makeup remover!”
 
Sin score: 2 of 5. I completely understand not wanting to use greasy or oily makeup remover in the eye area because I’m guilty of a similar sin myself. But, as Heather says, over-cleansing isn’t good either because it causes too much pulling on the skin and can leave it dehydrated. I use JAFRA Royal Jelly Gentle Cleansing Milk on a Konjac sponge to carefully cleanse around my eyes (when I’m being good, of course).
 
Kristina Coleman - fashion director, market editor, stylist
 
“I'm guilty of not applying sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF on a daily basis. I feel my body and skin actually crave a little vitamin D to keep them glowing.” 
 
Sin score: 4 of 5. Kristina has lovely skin and I want to see her keep in that way, so her confession worries me. However, she lives on the East Coast, where the sun isn’t as intense as elsewhere, and she isn’t always outdoors for long. As long as you limit your unprotected sun exposure to 10 minutes or less, it does give you a safe and very necessary opportunity to synthesize vitamin D.
 
Karen Marsala - fashion stylist, market editor
 
“I don’t always moisturize after washing my face.”
 
Sin score: 2 of 5. As long as Karen only skips the moisturizer once in a while, it’s not a terrible faux pas. It depends on how much natural oil your body produces. If your skin tends toward the oily side, you’re not doing yourself any real harm by passing up additional hydration occasionally. As you get older, however, skin gets drier, so you’ll want to be more diligent about it as time passes.
 
Michele Meyer - former correspondent, Allure and Lucky, blogger MicheleMode
 
“For too many years I failed to moisturize in the morning. (Shh, don’t tell!)”
 
Sin score: 0 of 5. I’m giving Michele a pass on this skincare sin because she’s repented and seen the error in her ways. In fact, there’s a good lesson for us all here: We can’t fix our beauty mistakes of the past, but we can—and should—commit to the best possible beauty ritual going forward. And that includes moisturizing every morning!

Your Pre-Beach Skin Care Checklist

What to do BEFORE you hit the shores

Whether your next beach vacation is only days or still months away, keep this skincare countdown handy. It can make the difference between a beach blast and a miserable visit to urgent care (or even the ER) for the nastiest sunburn or rash ever.
 
You may be surprised by what can affect how your skin reacts to the sun.
 
30 days before
While you still have enough time to schedule a doctor visit, check your medications for a warning about increased photosensitivity. If you find that note in the label information, see your doctor to discuss alternative drugs and/or get advice about how to best handle the risk.
 
Drugs that increase sun-sensitivity and can trigger what’s known as a phototoxic reaction include: Accutane, antihistamines, some antibiotics, and, especially worrisome if you’re hitting certain tropical spots, anti-malarials.
 
Drugstore remedies that can cause photo-allergic reactions where they’re applied to the skin include hydrocortisone formulas and Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream.
 
Even some herbal supplements and foods can cause trouble. Dong quai and St. John’s wort both increase sun sensitivity, while lime juice can produce the painful rash known as “Margarita dermatitis,” which could also be called “Corona Hand” since it is caused when the sun interacts with the juice that sprays onto you when you squeeze lime into a drink.
 
15 days before
Now it’s time to focus on boosting your skin’s natural sun defenses by tweaking your beauty ritual. If you’re not already using serums with anti-oxidant vitamins C and E, add them now to your daily regimen.
 
Add more anti-oxidant-rich foods in your diet to protect yourself from the inside out, which means eating dark leafy greens and dark berries. Make sure you get plenty of healthy fats like those contained in salmon and avocados, to help your skin fortify its natural barrier function. If you want to add an antioxidant supplement, coenzyme Q10 is a good choice.
 
7 days before
If you don’t already have a stylish hat to shield you against the sun or sunglasses that fully cover your eyes, it’s time to go shopping!
 
Make sure that the hat you choose has a wide brim and is tightly woven so light doesn’t get through. Also opt for wrap-around sunnies to protect your eyes from glare. No squinting—it causes wrinkles!
 
This is also the last time you should do any exfoliating, since product ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), salicyclic acid, glycolic acids, and retinols increase your skin’s vulnerability to sun damage by removing the protective top layer of dead cells.
 
And if you’re thinking about visiting the tanning salon to build up a little “pre-tan,” consider this: According to the American Academy of Dermatology and the World Health Organization, indoor tanning raises the risk of melanoma by 59 percent. Don’t do it! Instead, finish up this week with one last full-body exfoliation and apply your favorite self-tanner so you’ll be beach-ready.
 
30 minutes before
You see a lot of people at the beach or by the pool slathering on sunscreen when they arrive—bad idea! That’s like going to the beach naked and putting on your bikini only after you’ve settled into your favorite spot.
 
For sunscreen to be fully effective it needs to be applied about 30 minutes before you get sun exposure. It’s also a lot easier if you’re in front of a mirror away from sand, so spend a few extra minutes spreading about an ounce of sunscreen on your skin before you head out.
 
Just as important, take the sunscreen with you and remember to reapply it every 2 hours, so that it continues to protect you.

Beach Time Sun Safety

Don’t let the sun damage your skin and hair!

You’re on a beach holiday feeling the glorious heat, luxuriating in the sand, the breeze, and the water. But wait! Did you apply sunblock from your hairline to your toes15-30 minutes before you headed out? If not, you might be risking serious damage to your skin and hair that can include visible signs of aging and skin cancers. 

We all know that unprotected sunning accelerates wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin, yet many of us are not dedicated sunscreen users. Hair is also vulnerable to sunburn; you can’t feel it, but you can see the dull, dry effects of it in the mirror.

With beauty and health issues at risk, here are a some things you can do to keep the elements at bay, so you can relax and indulge during your days at the beach.

Make sure to apply sunblock to your face, ears, nose, neck, under your eyes and décolleté.  A wide brimmed hat and big sunglasses provide extra coverage for these vulnerable areas. Shield lips with a balm that includes an SPF.

Be generous with sunscreen on arms, shoulders legs, tummy and back. Don’t forget feet, toes and backs of hands. Reapply (the doctor recommended) every two hours or as soon as you exit the water.
 
Create an additional barrier between your hair, the sun and water, especially if it tends to be dry or is color treated, by working conditioner onto dry hair. Then pull it up into a top not and wrap it turban style with a scarf.

Take extra cover under a beach umbrella or throw on a fun cover-up – rash guard, t-shirt, kimono or sarong -- when the sun is at its hottest.

After a day at the beach, wash away sweat and sunblock layers from face and body with hydrating cleansers and shampoo, followed by a deep conditioner for hair. Next, repair and hydrate face and neck with an antiaging facial moisturizer. Finish by using a rich body lotion everywhere else before you head out to dinner - glowing and refreshed.
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