Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beauty Addicts: A Natural Look for Over 40 Skin

Two things I know about aging skin and getting it to look presentable: 1) I no longer care about "healthy" ingredients--over 40 skin care is loaded with them everywhere you turn, so I don't need them in my makeup, too; and 2) I don't want to look "younger"--I just want to look presentable, not "made up", not tired.

Enter Beauty Addicts. If you check out their website, their "Celebrity Addicts" page includes a few over 40 celebs--usually a good sign. Celebs like Sharon Stone, Sharon Lawrence, Ally Sheedy (yes, she's not 18 anymore), Kathy Griffin, Cheryl Hines...
Beauty Addicts Express Shades for Lips

But what got me to try Beauty Addicts was the shade palette. It was reminiscent of a cross between Bobbi Brown and early Physician's Formula (before PF became a gimmick at every turn). The hues are more natural looking--muted tones of earth, petals, smoke.

I got Beauty Addicts blush, eyeshadow, lip gloss (RelationLips) in a range of neutral earthy tones--which usually works with my fairer skin and hair, and blue eyes.

Beauty Addicts Eyeshadow comes in a quad with the usual lid-crease-highlighter shades--which, of course, you can wear however the heck you like (ie, lighter shades for day/looking more awake; deeper shades for night...). The shadows go on smoothly with minimal "settling" in lines and wrinkles--though there isn't a powder-based formula out there that won't do that after a couple of hours. The good thing, too, is that the Beauty Addicts shadows stay in place--unlike the way some eyeshadows have a tendency to leave a sprinkly dust under your eyes.

The same goes for Beauty Addicts blush. Great natural-looking shades that go on smoothly and last longer than I'm used to. They also work pretty well with bronzers--the shades complement each other so you don't have to switch out your shades with the seasons.

To make it quick, easy and uncomplicated, Beauty Addicts has four color families--kind of like a bed-in-a-bag for your face--everything's coordinated--that include shades for lips, eyes and cheeks. My Beauty Addicts color family is called Express--which makes sense as it's truly the express lane option to applying makeup. The other families include Glow (think shimmer & ice), Motivate (think transitioning from work to after-work drinks), and Seduce (think smoky eyes and vino).

If you're thinking of trying Beauty Addicts, opt for the Express shades first as you can keep them lighter for day, or apply more intensely for evening--and still keep a natural look vs coming across as a 40+ year old who's trying to look 20.

One final note--Beauty Addicts does claim (though not in an OTT way) to have some "benefits"--via including things like antioxidants and vitamins A and E and the like. But who cares? At this point, if it wears well, goes on easily and stays on without making me look like a fool...I'm in.

Beauty Addicts prices range from $28 for blush and lips to $35 for eyeshadows. Get them at beautyaddicts.com.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wake Up Over 40 Skin with Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal

It may seem like deja vu as I did a post a while ago about Miracle Skin Transformer, but they've come out with a Treat & Conceal formula that's worth checking out.

It's officially called Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal Eye & Face, for anyone who wants to Google it. The new Treat & Conceal formula is similar in feel and texture to the original Miracle Skin Transformer, except this has more coverage and skips the sunscreen.

If you can imagine your favorite primer, kicked up a notch to include coverage in a skin tone-matching shade, then you've sort of got what Treat & Conceal is all about. It does glide on much like a silicone-based primer, but even though its got that "slip" feel to it, it does cover and it doesn't "move" once applied.

What I did find is that if you've got darker undereye circles, this may not provide enough coverage for you. But for lighter, everyday coverage where you just want over 40 skin to look a bit more awake, this is great. Besides, most women don't really want the heavier coverage of take-no-prisoners concealers like Dermablend for everyday wear--particularly in the hotter summer months when humidity is high (or, for that matter, in winter when dry skin leaves heavier concealers accentuating every fine line and wrinkle).

So what's in this formula--aside from a brighter, more "awake" look--for over 40 skin? In addition to marine collagen and vitamin K, Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal has ceramides to help restore skin's own barrier system (ie, it helps water retention (the good kind) to help keep skin's moisture balance).

The color part of the formula is mineral based which is great for those with more sensitive skin. Typically, mineral makeup doesn't mix well with over 40 skin--it can accentuate fine lines and wrinkles with a settling effect upon application--but as this is a creme formula, and it has silicones, no worries there.

There's really not much to not like about this one. It's available at Beauty.com and Lord & Taylor, and goes for about $36. Available in 3 shades: Light, Light/Medium and Medium.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Over 40 and Going Sleeveless

You're lying if you're over 40 and say you've never had a moment when you've looked in the mirror at your arms and thought, "I need something with sleeves." Between the joys of flab, dry skin, crepiness, wrinkling, age spots and Lord knows what else, going bare and going sleeveless over 40 start to veer over into that "Glamour Don't" category of beauty tips.

I don't believe in defeat, however, so every year around this time I go on a quest to get my upper arms in shape so I can go sleeveless with some level of comfort. Now, first off, a couple of caveats...

One: this includes exercise and I am not a doctor. So should you opt to try anything here, consult your physician first.
And two: given that exercise is involved, I have long learned to accept that when I do either muscle-toning or muscle-building (or any combo thereof) exercise, I tend to bulk up. So what?

So here's how to go sleeveless when the spirit is willing but the arms simply are not...

Exercise to Go Sleeveless (the slacker way)

No need to hit the gym and pump some iron. Sure you can do that, but I prefer the whenever-I-feel-like-it type of workout that requires absolutely nothing but myself as an implement. My favorite tricep exercise in this category is this one.
Step 1: Get on the floor on all fours in this position--keep your elbows on the ground and shoulders above your elbows. Hands are facing down, flat on the ground.

Step 2: Use your hands to "push" down onto the floor so that you lift your elbows off the ground--but do so by leaning onto your hands and pushing through your hands--not by lifting from your hips or torso. Keep your knees and feet on the ground at all times. Do 2 sets of 10 reps. If you're doing it correctly, you'll feel it in your triceps.

Another exercise--remember, this is the slacker route here--is to move right into modified push-ups (aka, "girlie pushups") from the tricep exercise. Heck, you're on the floor on all fours anyway, so why not do the biceps now, right? So just extend your upper body forward a bit and come up on your hands--leaving your knees on the floor still; some people prefer to lift their feet up off the ground while doing these, others keep toes on the ground. Either way, again do 2 sets of 10 push up reps.

I have to disclose that I do from time to time use free weights--maybe 10-15 lbs in each hand--when I'm feeling that inner woman-hear-me-roar thing. But admittedly, it's because my doctor now advises me to do "weight bearing exercise" (over 40? you've heard that one I trust) to help keep my bones strong as I get older--not because I'm thinking of going sleeveless. I also swim and do some other sports which help keep my arms in shape--but again, for the sleeveless thing, it's the above on-the-floor-exercises I prefer.

Buyable Beauty for Going Sleeveless

No beauty blog post would be complete without a beauty product remedy to cure whatever beauty ill we're talking about, and going sleeveless is certainly no exception. Here are my picks:

1. Grab a Loofah. (and use it) Pour a quarter-sized dollop of your favorite shower gel onto it and lightly loofah your arms. Don't scrub--the idea is to gently exfoliate the outer, dead and drab skin cells that are causing your arms to look drier and crepie--or even ashier--than they need to.

2. Grab Eucerin Plus Smoothing Fast-Absorbing Essentials lotion. I'm a Nivea gal through and through, but this Eucerin lotion contains alpha-hydroxy acid to help promote skin's natural sloughing ability--ie, to help continue what you started with the loofah. Eucerin Plus Smoothing Fast-Absorbing lotion is also...fast-absorbing. Some other Eucerin lotions can go on and feel like they're just sitting atop your skin, leaving that tacky feel. Fast-absorbing's the way to go. Use this at night.

3. Grab Nivea Sun-Kissed Radiant Skin gradual self tanning lotion. Last year, it said "firming"--this year not so. But regardless, apply this--it slathers on quite smoothly and even though it does contain self-tanner, you don't really have to worry about screwing up as it "tans" super gradually and its maximum several-days-strong level of tan will never leave you looking like Paris Hilton or Courtney Cox coming out of a bad spray tan session. Still, remember to wash your hands after applying. Nivea Sunkissed Radiant Skin will help even out skin tone and give your skin some slight color to help tone down "imperfections". Use this in the morning, after you've showered, on clean skin.

Both the exercise (even the slacker type) and the beauty product regimen take some level of commitment and consistency--alas, there is no silver bullet in the quest to go sleeveless over 40. And hey, you can always kick things up a notch and head to a gym, get yourself a personal trainer, or even hit the cosmetic surgeon's office for some lipo. But this works for me. For now. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Great Deal from Tocca in Support of Japan Relief Effort

Just passing along a terrific offer from Tocca--but it starts TODAY! From March 24th to April 1st Tocca will donate 50% of all proceeds to the Red Cross in support of their Japan Relief Effort.


Additionally, to help spur on sales in order to raise as much as possible for this effort, Tocca is running a special offer: 15% off your total purchase. All you have to do is use promo code HELPJAPAN when you checkout online.


Tip: need a gift for someone? Team up Tocca's Cleopatra Eau De Parfum Spray with recently published "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stacy Schiff. (hey, nothing like a theme...)

Check it out--a great offer for a very good cause. Visit Tocca.com. Book available at Amazon.com.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maybelline Lip Stain, Cover Girl Outlast Not for Over 40 Lips (or ANY Lips)

Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstain Ad

If there's a makeup item that's akin to the ever-eluvsive knight in shining armor--the one who's supposed to answer all your prayers but never seems to show up in reality, it's lip stain. Think about it. It would be the absolute perfect lip color--particularly for over 40 lips--if it could combine just two little things: long-lasting color and enough moisture to allow your lips to move without feeling like crinkled paper.

There was such a lip stain a number of years ago that came close. Real close. It was Origins Bite My Lips, which more recently became Just Bitten, and even more recently is only available at places like Amazon.com and eBay. It was pretty darn close to the perfect lip stain--it was in a creamier stick formula, in a thin stick tube, and it left a sheer just-bitten stain--natural looking and comfortable to wear. It didn't last as long as I would've liked, but it lasted long enough. Current creamier ones--like Laura Mercier--are my go-to lipstains. Mercier's comes in a compact, so it's fingertip application, which isn't ideal (fingertip stains!), but it's better than this...

So, there's a huge ad campaign for Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstain in September beauty mags. Ok. It looks strangely similar to Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain. Though, the Maybelline lipstain version is touted as being "barely there" and "light as air". It comes in a range of colors to satisfy the younger set (think berry-fuchsia-pink) as well as the over 40 set (think more natural hues of tawny fawn, dusty rosey nudes...). But after that, things go awry...

If I wanted to play with colored pencils...

First off, it's application system is the felt tip pen/marker. Not the most comfortable from an application perspective--think how it would feel to apply a Sharpie marker to your lips. Not ideal. Oh, for sure it's not the first in its class (again, think Cover Girl Outlast). But let's hope it's the last.

The stain--a liquidy line of color--goes on just like that. Like a line. Not like a lipstick. And, quite frankly, if I wanted to take what's basically a liquid colored pencil and draw and fill in my lips like a kid in a third grade art class, great. But I don't. Yes, you can hold it on a slant and apply the color with the side of the applicator, but you lose a little control in the process.

Once you've gotten over the application, the color, which being a stain is matte as it's supposed to be, is indeed a stain, but it dries to the stain. And therein lies the issue. Because Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstain, and Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain for that matter, are water-based, they dry. And when they dry, they feel dry. So your first thought is to slick on something over them--to moisten things up a bit. Say, some lip balm or Vaseline or even some other creamy lip color. Something.

But, alas, the something you put over it defeats the purpose of what the lip stain is supposed to do: last. Anything you put over it basically acts as a mini makeup remover. Or at the very least, a makeup diluter.

I'm usually a fan of drugstore makeup--it's cheap, it works and if it doesn't, you haven't dropped--and wasted--a bundle. But this one is definitely one to pass up...

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Deal on Anti-Aging Skin Care from Dr. Kenneth Beer

This just in...Dr. Kenneth Beer's (who's been on the Martha Stewart Show) skin care line, Scientific, is offering its Scientific Lifting Serum FREE, with the purchase of a Scientific System--there's the Scientific Hydration Package and the Scientific Repair Package. All you have to do is enter code "ANTIAGE10" when you checkout--but hurry--while the offer is just in time to help with those summer skin woes (spots, lines, dryness...)--it is only good until August 31st.

Admittedly, both Systems appear a bit pricey, but when you consider that you're getting a 4-piece set at $195 for the Repair Package pluse a free Lifting Serum (or $185 for the Hydration package plus the freebie), and you compare it to Olay's Pro-X pricing per unit which has many formulas coming in at over $40 each, well, it doesn't seem like so much then.

One of the things I appreciate, too, on the Scientific skin care site is that the ingredient glossary is right there--no need to schlep elsewhere for more info if you come across something you're not too sure about....

And here's another tidbit...Scientific's White Bamboo Exfoliator contains the antioxidant Ferulic Acid. Well for those of you Oprah devotees, that's the ingredient that's the namesake of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic which she's always touting. Difference being, SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic alone sells for $142.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For Great Coverage with Lots of Benefits: Miracle Skin Transformer

I just posted about Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20 at Examiner.com--it's the latest one-formula-does-it-all from former NY beauty vet Sarah McNamara. And, as with all combo beauty products, there's a bit of "necessity is the mother of invention" going on here. Imagine wanting a product that's quick, easy to use--especially on-the-go, and that also provides a flawless look, hydration, acts as a primer and has sunscreen and...Well, you get the point...

But somehow, Ms. McNamara has come up with a pretty good formula for doing all the above. She's included the usual suspects of vitamins A and E (nice dose of those antioxidants) and the SPF 20 for UVA/UVB protection--all of which over 40 skin is sure to love.

Another plus for over 40 skin: Miracle Skin Transformer actually moisturizes--it's a lightweight, indeed, in terms of its feel, but it contains Saw Palmetto Extract, Passion Fruit, and the more heavy-hitting CO Enzyme Q10 (which was a hot topic in beauty news a few years back) to help keep skin hydrated. Add in that it contains "naturally derived silicones"--silicone-based ingredients being those that give the product a "slip" feel--and that allows the product to fill-in fine lines while not giving them a cakey appearance.

Miracle Skin Transformer comes in 4 shades--including one colorless option which works just as well under your regular foundation. You'll find though that if you use one of the colored shades (Light, Medium, Tan) you can "build" the amount of coverage you get by applying in layers--it doesn't take much to develop a more even toned flawless look.

Have to say, I've become a fan in a mere 3 days of so of using this one--and yes (disclosure time!) I did receive it from Dark PR. Miracle Skin Transformer is $48, and it's a B40B must-have...and I'd tell you if I thought otherwise.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend Plan for Whiter Teeth: Checking out Luster

Full disclosure #1: My dentist professionally whitens my teeth.
Full disclosure #2: He tells me I don't need whitening.

Nasty little truth: Stained teeth and yellowed teeth make you look old.

So (and I guess this is full disclosure #3...) I received some product from the folks at Luster--one of which being their Luster Weekend Whitening System. But I also have their Luster 1-hour Tooth Whitening system as well. I've tried both--and believe me, I'm dubious of any procedure that's DIY when I usually get it done "in office". But hey, the Luster systems sound pretty hands-on, in-control, easy-to-monitor--so why not give it a go?

Luster Weekend Whitening is the least expensive of the two systems, coming in at $19.99 at Amazon. Here are the directions:

(1) Rinse with dentist-formulated accelerator mouth rinse - this will increase efficacy of the whitening gel. (2) Apply patented whitening gel to each tooth. Wait 10 minutes. (3) Repeat steps 1 and 2. (4) Complete this regimen twice per day for 3 days (Each step 4x per day)

I'm not a fan of little brush-on whiteners--I like to have something between the whitening gook I'm brushing on my teeth and my lips & gums. Maybe I'm old-school, but it just seems that if your lips and gums touch the whitening solution, you'll either experience some sensitivity to those areas, or you'll blow the efficacy of the whitening process as you're swishing and swiping it all off your teeth. So, to be honest, I held my gums in place--out of the way--as I did this--not the most convenient by a long stretch.

I mentioned sensitivity--and that's one of Luster's biggest selling claims--that it's not. I did not experience any sensitivity--ANY. And I've experienced sensitivity from other whitening processes so I have a bit of a barometer here.

The packaging claims Luster's Weekend Whitening system will whiten your teeth 6 shades--well, I guess it worked a little--but nothing I'd consider dramatic or that "wow! I DO look younger!" type of reaction.

HOWEVER, when I followed up the following weekend with the Luster 1-Hour Tooth Whitening system, I definitely noticed a difference. That's the upside to the 1-hour approach.
The downside? You're basically beholden to your bathroom mirror for an hour. Here's why:
Coming in at $43.99 on Amazon, Luster 1-Hour Tooth Whitening system comes with a whitening accelerator rinse (as does the weekend version) and the brush on whitening solution. Again, neither cause any sensitivity--for me. But it also comes with a cool little gadget--a "whitening light"--that mimics the light therapy used at your dentist's office; obviously, it is not the real deal--and I sincerely doubt it actually does much of anything to help the process--but it's apparently "FDA cleared" and ok for home use. Whatever.

Now, here's the tricky part--in order to do the whitening in 1-Hour, you have to repeat the process...first rinse, then brush-on, then hold light...several times. Ok, MANY times--like you may need to do it 10+ times, each time holding the light in close proximity to your teeth (out of the way gums!) for 2 minutes.The light gadget has a timer on it so it'll automatically go off after the 2 minutes (which can seem like an eternity, so you have to keep telling yourself, "it's only an hour...it's only an hour...") It helped to put some Vaseline (as in petroleum jelly not body lotion) on my lips so they didn't get sore given the constant manipulation over the hour.

I was super careful to make sure NOTHING touched the solution on my teeth--heck, if it does, you automatically diminish the efficacy and who the heck wants to go through all this and realize they've tainted the process? Not me.

After about the first 6-8 treatments, I started to notice a difference. For kicks I went over 10x, and my teeth definitely looked whiter--and seemingly whiter than when I've tried those little OTC strip whitening versions you find in the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy and grocery store.
If you don't want to spend the $$$ on having your teeth professionally whitened, Luster's a good option to try--but I'd go full tilt and try the Luster 1-Hour Tooth Whitening version--it's more money, but for me it worked better.