Protect it!

As I write this, the sun is shining gloriously through my window, lighting up the new spring leaves and making everything warm and beautiful. And while I do love the sun, its warmth, and the cheerful shine it brings to life, I do not love the wrinkles, sun spots, and cancer that lounging in the sun unprotected can cause.

I’ve been watching a good deal of trash television lately, and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Over-tanning! Jerseylicious features a lot of big hair, bad eyeliner, and over-the-top tans. Over the weekend I watched a health show about people who are addicted to strange things, and one girl tanned so often that her skin was orange and she no longer resembled her family members. Why? In a time when the health risks associated with tanning are widely known and much too real to be ignored, why are people still (literally) baking themselves in the sun?

Now, I’m not saying we should all march around looking pasty and pale. There are plenty of sunless tanners out there that look natural and are actually good for you skin. (Check back later this month for a post on self-tanning!)

A lot of people just love being outside in the warm weather, and I don’t blame them at all. It’s wonderful, and getting out to enjoy nature and the fresh air is a perfectly healthy thing. Just please, think of your skin. It holds you together and can make you look radiant and youthful or saggy and old. So protect it!

In the warmer months, I don’t leave home without some SPF. Many beauty products, from powders to glosses, contain sunscreen that you can apply without thinking about it. But as soon as I get out of the shower, I slather on a body lotion with SPF from head to toe. My current favorite? Vaseline Aloe Fresh Protecting Lotion. It smells fresh, smooths skin, and keeps me safe from daily sun damage, all at once. As for my face, I vary the moisturizer, as long as it has SPF 15 or higher. I’m liking Eucerin Redness Relief Daily Protecting Lotion. It soothes redness while also providing protection from the sun.

A tip to keep in mind when applying sunscreen: don’t forget your neck, chest, hands and feet. These parts are often neglected and can give away your age. Nobody wants a youthful face to be accompanied by a turkey neck.

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That Really Chaps my Lips…

Here we are, mid-January, smack dab in the middle of indoor heating season and sub-zero temperatures outside. Despite gulping down as much water as I can stomach each day, and even with diligent application of lip balms and glosses, I’m being plagued by a persistent case of chapped lips. Even my trusty ol’ standby Burt’s Bees isn’t solving the problem. Here, some helpful hints on how to heal (and prevent) chapped lips.

1. Exfoliate. There are many ways to do this, and you may want to vary your technique depending on the severity of your situation. You can gently brush a dry toothbrush over your lips, or rub a dry, rough wash cloth over them to loosen dead skin and create a smoother, less irritated surface. If your mouth is really dry and burning, you can get some relief from Laura Gellar Lip Strip, a cooling sugar scrub designed especially for exfoliating dry lips. After massaging the scrub over your mouth for 30 seconds, you will enjoy a pleasant cooling sensation and a noticeable reduction in any flakes of skin that might have formed on your mouth. It is not a permanent solution, though, and you will definitely want to follow up with a balm of some sort.

2. Moisturize. Keep adding balms and glosses to your mouth to ease the dryness and help create a barrier against elements that worsen the situation. Right now I’m alternating between Burt’s Bees, an Avon lip moisturizer, and Philosophy Red Velvet Cake gloss (see page Glosses & Balms for more info). When my lips are really dry, I find that layering vaseline or a thick lip gloss on top of Burt’s Bees before bed is an extremely effective way to heal and moisturize chapped lips. After a few nights of that treatment and you should be back on track.

3. Hydrate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, drinking plenty of hydrating fluids can help boost your health and your beauty. It helps keep your immune system up, keeps skin (and lips!) from becoming overly dry, and really adds a nice glow to your overall appearance. Keep a water bottle on your desk. And to all of those water-haters out there, do your skin a favor and try Crystal Light or some other on-the-go water flavoring trick. For about 5 calories you can turn a bottle of plain water into a delicious fruity drink. All while saving yourself the trouble of having to repair your poor chapped lips.

Brand Crush: Clinique

It started a few weeks ago, when I went to the Clinique counter to buy my breast cancer awareness lip glosses and was rewarded with a gift with purchase: an apple-printed cosmetics bag filled with free lipstick, mascara, eye shadows, blush, and skincare products. I’m a sucker for free gifts, and those glosses were perfectly pink, moisturizing, and glossy. They have replaced all others in my purse.

Then, when my face turned scaly when I was plagued by the flu, it was Clinique Dramatically Different Moisture Lotion that soothed and repaired the damage.

The deal was officially sealed this past week, however, when I tried the tiny tube of Lash Doubling Mascara that came in my gift with purchase.

I have a brand crush on Clinique.

The glosses and moisturizer are great, but the mascara is PERFECT. It doesn’t clump, it doesn’t flake off onto my face, and it doesn’t irritate my extra sensitive eyes at all. I’ve been using it for about a week, and I’m loving the natural-but-better effect it is giving me.

My crush is sure to be continued once I open my mail today – I’m expecting a package from Sephora, containing, among other things, a jar of Clinique’s Even Better moisturizer, which is supposed to help even out skin tone. Plus Sephora offered a gift with purchase as well, so I’ll also be getting a Clinique cream blush.

Stay tuned for product reviews.

I’m sure I’ll love ’em.

 

How to Survive Flu Season Without Looking Like a Reptile

I can safely say that it is officially cold and flu season, having spent the majority of the last week in bed with the worst cold/flu/allergy attack I can remember in recent history.

You might think that spending that much time in bed I’d be caught up on “beauty sleep” and would be positively glowing. Turns out, the only glow I’ve had is that of a fever, and I’ve been rockin’ the puffy-eyed, chapped lipped, dry skin look.

Not cute.

So, in light of my recent foolishness, here are some tips that I’ve found useful in escaping flu season without looking like a crocodile.

1. Stay hydrated. This will not only help speed along your recovery time, it will help keep you skin from becoming dry and cracked. I drank a lot of tea during my recent bout with dryness. Peppermint is my new favorite – it helps soothe a congested head!

2. Moisturize! Even if you can’t bear to drag yourself out of bed long enough to really spruce yourself up, do yourself a favor and always put on your moisturizer. My nose, cheeks and lips all became outrageously dry last week, to the point where the skin on my nose actually cracked and started bleeding. However, after just one application of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisture Lotion, I was healed. I’ve been using it daily ever since.

3. Hand in hand with moisturizing your face is moisturizing your lips, and for that I say Burt’s Bees! I’ve been layering on various balms and glosses, but only Burt’s Bees was able to soothe and cure my chapped lips. And it’s fortunately available just about everywhere. Drug stores, grocery stores, health food stores, you name it. Get some!

4. Buy Puffs Plus. Totally worth the extra few cents.

5. If at all possible, drag your sick, tired butt out of bed and take a shower. It’ll make you feel like a human.

Following these steps will help ensure you make it out without scales. And these suggestions are all also guy-friendly, so feel free to pass them along to your boyfriend/husband/brother/whiney sick male friend.

I’m actually feeling much better and am mostly back on track, skin-wise. Although I’m currently sporting a volcanic pimple on my cheek.

Time for Queen Helene!