Articles By Foram Mehta

The 21st century has been all about preserving and restoring youth and health — whether it's wearing a sunscreen moisturizer, hitting the gym, or going under the knife. The goal is simple: live longer and look younger.

However, as the 21st century has aged a few years, so too have the plastics that once made women look and feel younger. From one horror story to the next, we have learned that plastics aren't what they seem to be, and can often go awry and ruin your health, your look and your life.

Of course, no one is hopping off the looking younger train. No way! Instead, the craze has taken a turn for the natural.

The Secret Ingredient?

We’ve all heard about the plants and herbs that have magical powers of health and youth locked in them, but the new buzz is surrounding another type of "natural" secret weapon: placenta.

Yep, placenta — the organ that feeds a fetus in a female's womb apparently has anti-aging qualities. Yum.

It turns out, though, that the buzz around placenta having anti-aging qualities can be traced back to the 1930s when women were paying thousands for injections of placenta to help them look younger.

Rumor has it that many companies have been quietly including placenta into their anti-aging products without advertising the practice, you know, just in case women don’t find the idea of applying birth matter to their face and hair so appealing.

However, because placenta is high in hormones and proteins such as estrogen and progesterone (a hormone produced in the ovaries), it's often used in cosmetics, anti-aging products and even hair products.

Who, What, Where and Huh?

"Many companies have been quietly including placenta into their anti-aging products without advertising the practice, just in case women don’t find the idea of applying birth matter to their face and hair so appealing."

Before you start freaking out about whose placenta is where, let us quickly clarify — it isn't human. Most often, sheep’s placenta is used in cosmetic products, but other animals’ placenta have been used as well.

Hair brands such as La Bella and Hask have produced multiple products that claim to include placenta and promise to restore health and vivacity to dry, damaged or color-treated hair that’s looking for nourishment. Some swear by its magical healing powers, while others are more grossed out than anything else.

TIME.com quoted an anonymous 59-year-old aesthetician from Beverly Hills, CA raving about her new skin after beginning her placenta-regimen and nixing the Botox. “The lines are just staying away,” she said.

However, a dermatology professor from N.Y.U., Ronald Branncaccio, says all the hype around the supposedly miraculous ingredient in anti-aging creams is pure bogus. “There’s nothing magical about placenta,” Branncaccio said. “If the cream works, it’s probably because of the moisturizing base rather than the placenta.”

Legal Issues

While reviews are mixed on the placenta’s benefits, health officials seem to lean one way in the placenta debate — and it’s not good news for some companies.

An FDA study in 2002 found that girls as young as 8-years-old began developing pubic hair and breasts after using estrogen or placenta-based products. Ella Toombs, acting director for the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the FDA, told New Scientist magazine that she did not recommend the use of hormone-based beauty products for anyone.

“No amount [of estrogen] is considered safe and can be included in an over-the-counter product.” Toombs said.

According to FDA regulations, any product containing hormones are classified as drugs and must get approval before use.

So curlies, would you use placenta infused products?


Sugar and spice and everything nice — but sometimes things can get a little salty. If it’s summertime and you’re at the beach, a little salt can mean sultry, sensual beach waves, and we all know how hot that look is. You might be wondering, though, if salt is really good for your hair It turns out, while it obviously isn’t the best conditioner for your luscious locks, it does make for a killer styling aid.

“Salt water is so great for the hair because of the natural hold salt gives to hair,” says celebrity stylist Anthony Dickey, who has played with the famous tresses of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelis and Alicia Keys. “The salt combines with the water and moisture in the air (humidity) and makes for the perfect tousled look.”

The ‘beachy wave’ wasn’t originally a salon-crafted look, although many are flocking to them in hopes of a new, effortlessly sexy ‘do. But we forget that the style was spawned from the sandy beaches of vacay-lands, where the golden sun sets low upon the glittering waters. Alas, those lands are only within grasp a few lucky weeks a year (if that), but that doesn’t mean your hair has to wait that long.

You can recreate beach waves at home by making a simple salt-water solution: 1/4 cup water to 2 teaspoons salt. Grab a small spray bottle and spray, baby, spray! Your hair should be moderately drenched so you can work with it. Once you’ve gotten it nice and salty, start twirling and scrunching. Then leave it be! The style is meant to look natural; so too much fussing will ruin the ‘just-walked-off-a-tropical-land look’.


Sarge Brown

Sarge Brown

When Sarge and Joy Brown agreed to participate as a couple on an episode of the ABC television show "Wife Swap," they had no idea it would be the spawn of a big career—and life—move. The reality show, which swaps—you guessed it—wives from two very different families, was only the beginning for the health-conscious couple to show America what good fitness meant to them, and how it could change the lives for millions. The show’s purpose itself is to help two extreme families learn from the other and to become more balanced and harmonious in their everyday lives. The Browns were cast as the order-loving health freaks, and rightfully so. As a former soldier in the U.S. Army and a registered nurse and daughter of a fitness guru, Sarge and Joy couldn’t have fit the part better. Understandably, Joy was to help introduce some order and the ways of a healthier lifestyle to her swapped family. Although her intentions were noble and all in an effort to help, Joy says at times she felt like more of an intrusion.

Joy Brown

Joy Brown

“It was an emotional rollercoaster for me,” she says of the experience. “Mainly because I am used to people coming to me when they want help and not me being forced into someone’s life that did not ask to be there and had full resistance to change.”

Whether Joy’s new family really turned over a new leaf post-taping is uncertain, but America definitely took notice of the couple’s take-charge attitude and wanted more.

“After the show we started getting inquiries from people around the U.S. who wanted us to help them in their weight-loss struggles,” remembers Joy. “Our weight-loss retreat was partly born to meet those requests in a major way.”

And so was born the R3 Fitness and Weight Loss Retreat, also known as the Naples Fitness Boot Camp in Naples, Florida. The “R3” explains the program’s goal: to reverse psychology and sickness; retrain taste buds and mind; rebuild cells and body. The retreat’s website says the program consists of a rigorous, four-week period of fitness instruction, nutritional counseling and motivational training to help men, women, and youth not only to lose weight, but to train themselves to live a healthier life.

Sarge says he especially kept women in mind when planning the program because as his wife points out to him, women can have an increased risk of obesity because of hormonal and anatomical factors.

“I want ladies to find themselves in themselves,” says Sarge. “I want them to discover that what has been holding them back from obtaining their goals has ultimately been them.”

So, what what is the best way to do this?

“Ladies, don’t allow yourself fall in the trap of defeating yourself before the goal is obtained,” he says in reference to many getting bored of their workout regimens and quitting early. “Because you’re only a failure if you quit.”

The Browns incorporate everything from core conditioning, circuit training, and short-distance running to yoga and Pilates into their fitness program and promise that no one looking for help will be left behind. With that said, they invite people to challenge themselves like they’ve never done before.

“It will be a tough road, “ says Sarge. “But everything in life that is worth doing is going to be challenging to obtain it.”


twirl curling iron

Twirl Curling Iron

Maybe if you’ve been hiding under an un-stylish rock lately, you’ve missed out on the hottest trend of 2010: the beach waves. An effortless style that looks messy yet polished, and dresses up just as easily as it dresses down, the beach wave will give you super sultry look that will take you from day to night, work to play seamlessly.

There are a couple of ways to achieve this hot new look. You could go out and get a Pravana Beach Wave Perm, and simply wake up with your waves and go every day. Or you could do it the old-fashioned way of styling it with a curling iron.

Though a conventional curling technique might create more of a curl than a wave, T3 has debuted a new tool called the Twirl Curling Iron, with which they include a step-by-step tutorial to help you achieve the look at home. The company claims the iron is “the only tool necessary to create that beachy wave look.”

Read more about getting beach waves.

This iron sells for about $120 and comes in two sizes: 1” and 1.25”.

And starting June 16 for a limited time, you can also go home with a bottle of T3 + Orlando Pita Elevate Heat Seeking Iron Volumizer if you pick this iron up from Bloomingdale's.

For more help, you can watch a video tutorial online at: www.t3micro.com/beachywaves

Prepare Your Hair

1. Make sure hair is completely dry before beginning. (Tip: Let hair dry naturally to get the most out of any natural waves.)

2. Comb through the hair to ensure there are no large tangles.

3. Divide and section hair into three parts, one at the crown of the head, two at the bottom. Leave one part down to begin beachy waves.

4. Turn on the curling iron, setting the dial to the appropriate tempature based on your hair type. (Tip: for coarser hair, use the highest setting.)

Create Lose Curls

1. Separate hair into 1-2 inch thin sections from the part

2. Insert hair into the bottom of the iron with the lever facing inwards towards the chin.

3. Roll iron outwards, away from the face, towards the back of the head. (Rolling in this direction ensures you will not get a crease.)

4. While rolling, make sure hair does not overlap; the entire section of hair should be evenly wrapped around the barrel.

5. To set the curl, hold the iron until the heat has fully penetrated the hair (3-8 seconds).  Carefully open the iron and slide it out to release the curl.

6. Repeat above steps throughout the rest of the hair

Frame and Tousle

1. Finish by curling the hair that frames the face. (Tip: if the curl does not set perfectly, you can always go back and re-try, but first let the curl cool completely.)

2. Once the hair is curled and cooled completely, run your fingers through the curls to relax them. (Tip: Turn your head upside down and rough up curls for more volume-this creates the soft just-home-from-the-beach look.)


April showers might bring May flowers, but June definitely brings the heat—and not necessarily when it comes to the blistering sunshine outside. Short shorts and tanks, and itty-bitty polka-dot bikinis really spice things up when it comes to summertime, but the look wouldn’t be complete without the perfect hair. But the same old, same old can get boring and repetitive when prepping the perfect look for summer—whether it’s sipping cocktails by the pool or dancing the night away at a nightclub. No worries because Avon’s Spring Trend Report 2010 introduces a few new, fabulous hairstyles straight form the New York catwalks that seamlessly transfer over to summer to help you achieve a super sexy look, from that naturally curly head-to-toe! Try these hot-off-the-press 'dos for your next sizzlin’ summer event!

Bohemian Ballerina

Described as a “young, wispy look” by Tippi Shorter, an Advance Techniques Global Stylist Advisor for Avon, this hairdo is both practical and ultra-chic for those muggy summer nights. While admirers take a long, sweeping look at that elegant neck of yours, you’ll be relishing in the breathing room it gets from your curly tresses: win-win for everyone!

CREATE THIS LOOK

1. Start by using a volumizing mousse (try: AG Foam Weightless Volumizer) through damp hair—root to tip.

2. Use a cushioned brush and blow dry hair section by section, distributing product and creating natural texture.

3. Gather the hair tightly to form a ponytail at the crown of the head and secure with holder.

4. Hold hair at the end of the ponytail and twist firmly in one direction to form a knot into a spiral. Secure with bobby pins

5. Play with the wispy hairs on the side to play up the natural texture.

6. Spray lightly with hairspray to hold style.

Wavy Volume

Whoever said big hair was synonymous with beauty pageants and the ‘80s definitely didn’t make it to the 21st century. Today, volume stands for voluptuous va-va-voom hair—the absolute perfect accessory for a night out. The key to avoiding the has-been beauty queen look is to mix up the volume with waves (say that 5 times fast). The touch of romance will complement the pouf for a soft, tousled hairdo that looks effortless.

CREATE THIS LOOK:

1. Start by using a volumizing mousse through damp hair—root to tip.

2. Use pillow curlers to create soft curls and spray with hairspray to set the curl.

3. Remove curlers and flip hair over head. Spray hairspray to create more volume. Run fingers through the hair, piecing the curls for a softer, natural look.

Sexy, Sleek Side-Part

Who needs headbands, clips, and other sparkly shenanigans when you can amp up your look with a defined side-part? Just changing up the part in your hair can make a drastic difference in your look, and you’ll have everyone wondering, ‘What did she do differently that looks so good?’ The Kardashians may be famous for their signature sultry waves and center parts, but the same waves with a side-part will give you an elegant, polished look reminiscent of that old Hollywood glamour.

CREATE THIS LOOK:

1. Start with clean, smooth hair and apply a serum (try Dry Ends Serum by Avon) to the ends of your hair and a smoothing balm (Super Straight Smoothing Balm) – root to tip.

2. Use large barrel brush and blow dry hair straight.

3. Use a comb to create a defined part on the side of the head.

4. Pull hair into a tight, sleek bun at the back of the neck to make part stand out.

5. Spray lightly with a shine spray (try Mirror Shine Spray) to finish the look with sheen.

Crown of Volume

Don’t worry—this isn’t Snooki’s signature style. A spin on the bang-pouf, this ‘do is bold and not for the meek (although it might help break you out of your shell). Pair it with a sexy dress and a pair of sky-high stilettos that make your legs look out of this world and you’ll ready to stomp down the street with super sass. Watch out summer, here you come!

CREATE THIS LOOK:

1. Try starting with an Anti-Frizz Capsule by Avon to smooth onto damp hair to create a foundation for building frizz-free texture.

2. Work volumizing mousse through hair for extra volume prep.

3. Blow dry hair in small sections with a round brush. Wrap hair tightly around the barrel and aim hot hair directly on hair until dry.

4. Once dry, backcomb top section of hair and pull back to the center of the head. Secure with bobby pins.

5. Take remaining hair and secure in a loose, messy bun at the nape of the neck.

6. Finish with hairspray.


The endless sunshine, the bottles of sunscreen, and the cocktails by the pool — ah, summertime has finally arrived! And what are the perfect complements to these summer essentials? Itty, bitty, polka-dot bikinis, of course! Now, we at NaturallyCurly celebrate all types of hair (no discrimination against the straight-haired gals either, we love you too!) — but unsightly body hair is simply a summer must-NOT. So while we provide you with all the tools, products, and expertise you need to keep your voluptuous mane looking fabulous, we don’t want to leave you high and dry when it comes to unwanted body hair.

There are a couple of options, of course, but some are definitely more inexpensive than others, and some are more long-lasting. While we all dream of the day when we can afford ye olde laser treatment, it won’t do much for prepping you for Summer 2010. And though the razor has been a long-time companion for many women, its short-term benefits often leave it feeling like a fabulous one-night stand. So, we compromise with waxing — painful? Yes. Effective? Yes. Expensive? It doesn’t have to be!

Arabs have been practicing the art of waxing to remove body hair for centuries — and with homemade sugar-based wax. You may remember the waxing fad, Nads? The wax that claimed to be made with sugar and natural ingredients so it was better for your skin and minimized the pain? (The natural ingredients are probably much better for your skin than chemical-based waxes but I don’t know about the pain minimization. You’re still ripping hair out from its root…)

Well, now you can make your own wax at home and really walk like an Egyptian. Even Cleopatra is thought to have been an avid user of sugar wax. It’s easy, effective, and economical! Follow these simple steps, and say hello to a much more beautiful summer (and body)!

What you’ll need:

  • About 2 cups of sugar (granulated is fine)
  • ¼ cup of water (distilled is preferred but tap is fine)
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice (lime juice works just as well)
  • About ½ cup of pure clover honey (optional, but works well)
  • Medium saucepan

Add sugar, water, and lemon/lime juice to a saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon. Put on low heat. The mixture will start bubbling soon. If you stir it while it’s bubbling, it will agitate the mixture and cause more bubbles — which may result in an overflow. If it does this, you’ll have to minimize the heat and take the saucepan off the stove. Once it has settled, replace and turn it back on to low heat.

Watch the mixture every few minutes and give it a stir. Eventually it will turn a golden/amber color. It will take about 30-60 minutes (roundabout) to change color.

Once it changes color, add the honey and stir. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer. This is very important! The water must all boil out so it will take some time. The mixture may start bubbling and frothing again, in which case you must take it off the heat and let it settle. Reduce the heat a little more. When it is on very low heat, it shouldn’t do much but simmer. It will CHANGE COLOR AGAIN. Once the mixture has turned an auburn/brown color, it is done. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

The wax will be VERY hot for a long period of time, so take caution when handling it. The wax will need to cool and thicken so it becomes the consistency of caramel. (It will take another 30-45 minutes.) Once it has cooled enough, it is very important to test it. First, test it on your palm, as it is less sensitive. If it is cool enough, test a VERY SMALL amount on the area to be waxed.

Once it is cool enough, take a rubber spatula and spread in the direction of the hair growth. Place thick cotton strip (or torn-up denim works) on the wax and rub down. Hold skin taut and grab end of the waxing strip. Pull off in one, quick motion in the direction opposite of hair growth. Repeat.
The wax can be stored for future use in a sturdy plastic container. It can be warmed up in the microwave. Make sure always to test the wax’s heat on skin before applying!

Give this homemade treatment a try and make it a spa day for you and your gal pals. What better way to prep for summer time than to do some much needed maintenance with your girls? And hey — throw in a cocktail — we won’t judge. It’ll probably help with the pain too.


Ladies, slip on your Manolos and order up those Cosmos because the Sex and the City epidemic has settled in. Before you can even say ‘Chanel’, ‘New York’, and ‘Mr. Big’, the second installment of the highly anticipated HBO series’ movie series will be hitting multiple theaters near you—and you don’t want to be caught unprepared for the extravaganza! May 27 is the day millions of women (and men, mind you) will be reunited with the fabulous, glamorous, and world-trekking foursome they’ve missed since 2008.

With "Sex and the City 2" comes, of course, a healthy dose of men, fashion, and some opulent fun that only Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte could (realistically) engage in. And one of the reasons women everywhere are undoubtedly so gaga over the Fab Four is their ability to live the lives we all dream of, looking and dressing the way we all dream of! Carrie, the fashion forward glue of the group and lead of the show, definitely wouldn’t be Carrie without her signature over-the-top, experimental, designer duds. And her hair—let’s not forget about that Carrie hair! Almost as famous as she is for her extravagant shoe addiction, Carrie’s ever-changing hairdos have been a major factor in creating the "Carrie look." From the frizzy mane she wore during the earlier days of man-hunting to the polished locks she finally snatched Big with, Carrie’s naturally curly hair has long been an icon of its own. Why was her hair such a key to ‘Carrie’? Some point out the personality her hair took on according to the current man in her life. From Big and Aidan (and Big and Aidan again), to Berger and Alexander Petrovsky, and finally back to Big, nay, John James Preston, it’s no mystery that Carrie’s love life had its share of ups and downs, and so did her hair.

Read more about the sexy ladies here, here and here!

“In the beginning [of the series] her hair was wild and crazy, and her curls were out of control, yet so was her life and her relationships,” remembers "Sex and the City" fan Anna Craig, also the master stylist and co-owner of Trashy Roots Salon & Spa in Austin, Texas.

“As she got older and more in control of her situation, her hair became more controlled and tamed.”

The birth of Carrie and her signature hair was the result of multiple people’s doing. As much as Sarah Jessica Parker was integral to the development of Carrie’s character, she certainly didn’t just roll out of bed onto set and become her. The creation of Carrie required a little more than SJP’s character interpretation. The magic costume designer Patricia Fields worked on Carrie’s wardrobe, hair stylist Anthony Dickey, or “Dickey” as he more commonly is known, worked for her hair once upon a time in Sex and the City history. The founder of Manhattan-based Hair Rules Salon and a hair stylist of more than two decades, Dickey entered the SATC world around the fourth season when he was called in for an emergency to recreate the short, chic, pouf stylist Serge Normant had given Sarah Jessica for her role. But the star and Dickey had already hit off from a previous meeting at the Louis Licari salon in New York City, where she was getting transformed back to her Carrie look after her L’Oreal hair campaign. And Dickey says it was rather the topic of her hair’s upkeep than its style that sealed their friendship.

“[Stylist] Kathy [Golotti] sent Sarah to me for haircuts and hair care, and we bonded over that period of restoring the health of her hair with the utmost care.”

Trust, he says is a key element in a stylist-client relationship—and something he valued in his with Sarah Jessica. After all, the hair may have helped her play Carrie, but it was still “Sarah Jessica Parker” who had to stomp the streets of New York City with it.

Perhaps this is why Dickey also took into consideration the long-term condition of Sarah Jessica’s hair. Conscientious of the potential damage continued styling and product usage could cause on hair, Dickey says he made the health of Sarah Jessica’s hair a top priority, to make sure both Carrie and Sarah Jessica stayed looking and feeling great.

“Hair is such an emotional aspect of a woman’s well-being and sense of style,” he says.

“I did my best to make sure we constantly maintained a delicate, healthy approach to styling. I think Sarah really appreciated that.”

So, what's the big secret behind achieving that sensuous Carrie hair with minimal damage? The big secret is that there is no secret! To achieve Carrie's curly do, Dickey says he used a handy tool most American women own, anyway.

"Most of the styling I did for Sex and the City was with a medium curling iron on 'warm' just to give hair a broken wave, a finished look with texture."

No secret hair stylist tools here, ladies!

While her wacky wardrobe might not be as easy to pull off, it seems Carrie's curly do is a lot more feasible for a night out. And who knows - throw in a Cosmo and a few sexy sidekicks and you, too, might have enough fun to write about the next day.




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