Make Braids Work For You

Simple, sophisticated Ways to Unravel this Trend

Braids are having a moment. From the runways at fashion week to every red carpet in tinsel town, the world’s chicest women have been putting on the plaits in unexpected ways this season. And it’s no wonder. Whether you’re having a bad hair day or need to add a little something special to your look, braids will do the trick. Dressed up or dressed down, they can highlight your face, disguise unruly locks or simply help you break up the monotony of your otherwise daily do. Best of all, whatever your length, texture or face shape, there’s a braid that works for you.
Parlez-Vous Français?
You don’t need to speak French to seize the simplicity of this elegant and versatile look - medium length hair and a few minutes of time will suffice. Simply start as far back from your face as you like and gather three sections of hair (one each from the left, right and middle). Then, begin braiding, sweeping up more hair from alternating sides with each round. Depending on how tight you pull, you’ll get a different effect. Looking for high impact drama? Pull hard and tight. Want a more romantic, windswept look? Knit your hair together loosely and tuck the tail under in back once you’ve secured it. Bottom line: whichever style of French braid you opt for, the result is a polished ‘do that travels. 
Knock ‘em out
Meanwhile, if the tightly-cropped French braid works for you, why not try two? Popularized by Kim Kardashian and Beyonce, then taken to the red carpet by stars like Amanda Seyfreid, Boxer Braids are an easy way to add some edge to any outfit. Simply part your hair down the center then follow the French braid directions twice, pulling as tight as you can stand. Don’t be afraid to let the braid stand up (almost like corn rows). The resulting hairstyle goes great with a smoky eye and will emphasize your face…along with your saucy attitude!
Go half way
What about a more gentle approach? Don’t braid your whole head! Take a small section from the front of your scalp, probably to one side or slightly off-center and create a small braid. Do the same on the other side. Then, fasten both back around your head for a half up-half down look that’s a little more polished than simply pulling both sides back. You can even try small French braids on the sides to pack some extra punch. The key is to leave the back long and loose. And finally…
Crowning glory
When it comes to updos, a crown of braid(s) will keep you au courant any time and any place. Want proof? See Olivia Wilde’s French braid at this year’s Oscars. It circled the crown of her head and led back to a braided bun, creating a look that suited the year’s biggest party, yet would’ve complemented any office outfit – the signature of this style’s versatility.  


Mother’s Day Shopping Just Got Easier!

5 Fab Beauty Gifts Your Mom Will Love More Than Flowers

Mom already has you—what else could she want? Sure, that’s what she always tells you, but she deserves something more on her special day, and there’s nothing better than that unexpected treat that will make her feel more beautiful.
Here are five thoughtful ways to tell mom, she matters:
Gift Her Relaxation
Spa or salon gift certificate. Pampering is in order for Mother’s Day, so where better to send mom than the spa or salon for a massage, facial or manicure? To add some substance to your gift certificate or card, slip them into a beautifully wrapped package containing one of the other gift ideas here.
Gift Her To-Die-For Skin
Beauty ritual basket. Choose a nice basket or gift box and pack it to the brim with all the products mom needs for the JAFRA Royal Jelly Ritual. She will love getting everything for a complete, luxurious skincare routine, including JAFRA Royal Jelly’s Gentle Cleansing Milk, the Vitamin Infusions Extra Hydration Serum with Vitamin E, the Vitamin Infusions Pore Minimizer Serum with Vitamin A, the Solar Protection Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50, and the Global Longevity Balm with RoyalActive Peptide. A nice addition is the safe and effective Revitalizing Sonic Cleanser, which will make mom’s skin extra happy.
Gift Her A Zen Moment
Exotic candle or diffuser. There’s nothing more soothing than the sophisticated fragrances of candles or diffusers from luxury brands like France’s Diptypque and  L’Occitane or England’s Jo Malone and Molton Brown or from the U.S.,  Voluspa and Anthropologie. These fancy candles and diffusers may be a little pricey, but the gorgeous packaging and the rich, long-standing scents will impress mom.
Gift Her Comfort
Luxurious robe. A plush, resort-style terrycloth robe will help mom feel like every day is spa day. If you plan ahead (yes, that means now!), you can even get mom’s robe monogrammed when you order from Pottery Barn. To show how thoughtful you are, add a pair of cushy slippers or pretty spa thongs for the ultimate show of luxurious pampering.
Gift Her Beauty In A Pouch
Chic makeup bag. Give mom a gift, that as she unzips daily, she will think of you fondly: A high-quality, well-designed cosmetic case. Give fashionable moms bags from on-trend brands like Coach, Kate Spade and Rebecca Minkoff, but if she is  more conservative, then Vera Bradley is the best option. And if you splurged on mom’s other gifts and are now pinching pennies, visit Target and check out the affordably-priced fun bags from makeup artist Sonia Kashuk.

Is Good Skin Hereditary?

What Your Mother’s Skin Tells You about Your Future

There’s a bit of wisdom that’s passed from father to son that goes like this: “Before you marry a girl, look at her mother because that’s how she’s going to look in 20 years.” But is that accurate? Do we inherit how we age—and specifically how our facial skin ages—from our mothers?
To some extent, yes. Our mothers’ DNA can pass along a predisposition toward brown spots known as melasma, for example, or, worse, melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. The rate at which skin sags as we grow older is also to some degree hereditary. The good news is that if your mother is unusually youthful looking, chances are you will be too when you reach her current age.
However, research done with identical twins that was published in 2009 in JAMA Dermatology concluded that lifestyle plays a strong role as well in how our faces age. In fact, the researchers estimated that about 40 percent of the visible signs of aging (wrinkles, creases, eye bags, brown spots, etc.) are slowed down or sped up by choices we make.
According to the research, cigarette smoking was the strongest lifestyle factor in causing premature skin aging. So if your mother smokes or smoked in the past and you don’t, chances are you will age better—or vice versa.
The other major cause of premature aging is, of course, sun exposure and the damage that the sun’s various types of ultraviolet (UV) rays do to unprotected skin. Broad-spectrum sunscreens, those that protect against both UVA and UVB rays, are a relatively recent invention, so that’s an option our parents didn’t have available to them. So if you’re conscientious about wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun and tanning salons, you may gain an advantage over your mother’s generation.
But it’s not just your own skin health that you need to consider: If you’re a mom, it’s important to teach your own kids good habits. Protecting your little ones against sunburns is particularly important, since childhood sunburns increase skin-cancer risk later in life, as well as produce premature wrinkles. Set a good example by wearing sunscreen and a hat when outdoors and make sure the kids do too.
And know that in the future, when you meet your daughter’s fiancé, he will be thinking what a very lucky man he is.

Ouch! How Far Would You Go for Beauty?

4 Painful Beauty Treatments Explained

Even if you say “no way!” to the knife, there are nonsurgical cosmetic therapies that are every bit as painful. Do they work? Are they worth the agony? Let’s take a look at four ouch-inducing options:  


How much bee-venom treatments hurt depends out how you get your toxins delivered. For what’s called apitherapy, some practitioners apply live, stinging bees; others inject bee venom with a needle. More likely, though, you or an esthetician will simply spread bee venom on your face via a cream or lotion.
Bee-venom beauty treatments leapt into the news when Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton used one before her 2011 wedding. The radiant royal chose a bee-venom mask, which plumps the skin and increases circulation and may help to build underlying collagen due to the mild irritation it causes. Bee venom also contains several kinds of peptides, which are amino-acid chains the skin uses to renjuvenate itself.
More recently, Gwyneth Paltrow told The New York Times she’s a fan of bee-sting apitherapy, exclaiming, “But, man, it’s painful!”
Does it work? Hard to say: Bee-venom facials combine multiple products and methods and the creams contain a variety of ingredients, so it’s impossible to say for certain that benefits are due to bee venom alone.
Pain factor: If you are allergic to bee stings—something you need to know before trying apitherapy—you could die from an injection of bee venom. But the creams and other products are unlikely to cause any pain beyond inflammation and redness in some people.
Doctor required? No.
Painless alternative: Get the bee beauty benefits without the sting with any of the JAFRA Royal Jelly products. For example, JAFRA Global Longevity Balm contains RoyalActive peptide to help skin rebuild itself—and all products contain nutrient-rich royal jelly from bees.


Imagine being stabbed in the face with icy needles. Wielded by a doctor, the Iovera device’s frozen probes penetrate the skin to deliver a blast of liquid nitrous oxide. That’s why this treatment is nicknamed Frotox: The super-cooled liquid works like Botox to disrupt nerve transmission in the facial muscles and thus smooth existing wrinkles while discouraging the formation of new ones. The bad news (or good, depending on your pain tolerance) is that Iovera Focused Cold Therapy is currently available only in Europe and Canada as a cosmetic treatment.
What is available in the U.S. is a much milder form of facial cryotherapy—the CryoFacial—in which the skin surface is chilled with liquid nitrogen. This anti-inflammatory facial promises to stimulate collagen growth.
Does it work?  Yes. Focused Cold Therapy is not a permanent fix, but the anti-aging effects reportedly last 6 months or so, just like Botox.
Pain factor: You’re given local anesthetic at the time of the injections, but you’ll probably need to take a pain reliever later, too. Bruises may appear.
Doctor required? Yes. And you want an M.D. who has experience with this procedure.
Painless alternative: Be your own Botox and relax your face. Make an effort not to habitually frown, grimace or bite your lips. Wear sunglasses to avoid squinting. And always apply sunscreen, of course!


To a get a fresh, new face, free of superficial wrinkles, creases, brown spots and even small scars, you can opt to shed facial skin via laser, chemicals, or abrasion. The catch is that for the procedure to make a dramatic difference in your appearance, the doctor needs to burn or sand off many layers of skin—and that hurts. A lot.
If your whole face is being resurfaced, you may need general anesthetic. At the very least, you will be sedated and have a local anesthetic applied to the skin.
Does it work? Absolutely, after your skin heals completely in three weeks or so. It won’t stop you from aging forever, but it does turn back the clock.
Pain factor: Intense, if the resurfacing is extensive and deep. Prescription steroids and painkillers help with swelling and pain. Your face will be swollen and raw and you will need to hide from the sun for several months.
Doctor required? Yes. And choose a specialist. You can have a mild facial peel with fruit acids in a salon, but that’s not the same thing as resurfacing.
Painless alternative: Make it a consistent ritual to exfoliate gently a couple of times a week.


The Vampire Facial got a lot of attention recently when Kim Kardashian posted a photo of her face slathered in her own fresh blood. However, unless you’re really squeamish, it’s not having your blood drawn for the facial that hurts—it’s the accompanying lasering and microneedling.
For the procedure, the top layer of the skin is burned off with a laser and your blood, which has been collected and separated to remove the nutrient-rich platelet-rich plasma, is applied to your face. The doctor then rolls over the skin with a device covered with fine needles that puncture the skin surface to encourage penetration of the plasma.
Does it work? Yes, but it’s probably the laser treatment and microneedling that improve the skin’s firmness and texture, not the application of the blood.
Pain factor: Burning, stabbing and a face covered in blood? Ow! The doctor may apply a numbing cream or local anesthetic, but your face is going to be inflamed and sore later.
Doctor required? Yes, although there are salons and home versions of the microneedling roller that have shorter, less painful needles.
Painless alternative: Be consistent about cleansing and exfoliating and follow up with products that contain peptides and other nutrients the skin needs to rejuvenate itself.
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