Articles By Beauty Truths/Linda Stephenson

In the sun

Tanning damages the skin

I am often asked, “What should I do to get perfect, flawless skin” – the answer is never just one thing. Also, it not only about what you do, but also what you don’t do. So in the spirit of the New Year and resolutions, here are 5 steps in each category – you decide whether you are better at being a self starter, or a quitter. Even if you just do one thing different that is on the lists – you will notice a positive difference. Remember, it’s the one time that vanity could actually be a virtue.

5 Things to STOP doing

1. Smoking. This is not a pretty habit any way you look at it. Having your skin constantly in contact with the smoke will cause a yellow tinge to the skin. Also, nicotine breaks down collagen, leading to premature wrinkles.


Throw out that old makeup

Throw out that old makeup!

2. Sun tanning. Forget the potential of skin cancer—when you tan, you are damaging the skin and so again, can cause uneven discolorations to the skin as well as premature aging to the skin.

3. Remove your makeup. Don't leave on your makeup on at bedtime. Beyond the need to do extra laundry, not removing your makeup can cause mini breakouts and irritations—especially mascaras and eye makeup.

4. Facial cleanser ingredients. Facial cleansers with foaming ingredients—like lauryl sulphates. Our skin is not designed like fabric—but many people have this idea that foaming = clean. That is just not true and all these foaming agents do is dry out and irritate the skin.

5. Toss that old makeup! Hanging onto cosmetics or skin care products for more than a year—and mascara for more than 6 months. Remember, the product may have been on the shelf or in a warehouse for quite a while before you bought it. If they are or contain sunscreens—always take note of the expiration date, which should be listed on the package.

Treat your face

Treat yourself to a facial

5 Things to START doing

1. Natural skin care products. Use skin care products that contain multiple botanical extracts and active ingredients closer to the top of the ingredient list and the waxes and fillers nearer to the bottom of the list.

2. Be consistent. Whatever your skin care routine is, make it a routine and be consistent.

3. Facials. Get a facial by a licensed aesthetician at least once every season. They will know which products are better for your skin and do any necessary extractions and exfoliation in the correct way.

Eat colorful foods

Add some color to your diet

4. Diet. Have a diet that consists of lots of dark-colored fruits and vegetables—all are high in antioxidants, which is great for the skin. Also make sure that omega 3s (fish, whole grains) are part of your food selections.

5. Supplements. Supplement with a B-complex vitamin – great for hair, nails and skin

And finally, smile, laugh, and surround yourself with positive people that remind you every day what a fabulous, dynamic and incredible person you are!


It always amazes me how concerned we are about our face and the skincare items we use, but we are completely oblivious about what we put on and do to our hair. Hair dyes, perms, Brazilian Blowouts, Japanese straightening, relaxers—all use harsh chemicals that we forget also make contact with our scalp and can cause terrible reactions. As I am a girl currently sitting here with highlights, please don’t think that I am here to preach hair treatment abstinence, but rather to provide you with some information so that you don’t have to become a huge supporter of the hat industry.

First, I have to admit that I am really not a fan of chemical relaxers—especially Brazilian Blowouts that contain completely unacceptable and dangerous levels of Formaldehyde. In Canada, the government regulatory agency, Health Canada, is warning consumers and hair stylists. Even Dr. Oz has recommended against it, so you got to know it’s not a good idea.

Beyond that product—whenever you are going to do something permanent that is going to change the basic structure of your hair—you always should take some key points under consideration:

  1. What is the current condition of my scalp and hair? Situations such as having dandruff, being on serious medications, having known food or chemical allergies, or being under tremendous stress, all may put you at higher risk of you not being happy with the outcome.
  2. Have the stylist review with you the ingredients of the product ahead of time to make sure there are no potential issues.
  3. When in doubt, always take the gentle route first—like semi-permanent highlights first before you commit to a full permanent color.
  4. Patch test. Take a section of hair where it could be hidden if it things don’t work out—do the treatment and see if it ok. It may mean more times to the salon, but will save you grief.

And finally, just remember, you might consider making that big change in the winter months when the back-up hat is a little more stylish and easier to wear.


Straightening

It always amazes me how concerned we are about our face and the skin care items we use, but we are completely oblivious and carefree about what we put on and do to our hair. Hair dyes, perms, Brazilian blowouts, Japanese straightening, relaxers—all use harsh chemicals that we forget also make contact with our scalp and can cause terrible reactions. As I am a girl currently sitting here with highlights, please don’t think that I am here to preach hair treatment abstinence, but rather to provide you with some information so that you don’t have to become a huge supporter of the hat industry.

First, I have to admit that I am really not a fan of chemical relaxers—especially Brazilian blowouts that contain completely unacceptable and dangerous levels of formaldehyde. In Canada, the Government regulatory agency, Health Canada, is warning consumers and hair stylists. Even Dr. Oz has recommended against it, so you got to know it’s not a good idea.

Beyond that product—whenever you are going to do something permanent that is going to change the basic structure of your hair – you always should take some key points under consideration:

  1. What is the current condition of my scalp and hair? Situations such as having dandruff, being on serious medications, having known food or chemical allergies, or being under tremendous stress, all may put you at higher risk of you not being happy with the outcome.
  2. Have the stylist review with you the ingredients of the product ahead of time to make sure there are no potential issues.
  3. When in doubt, always take the gentle route first – like semi-permanent highlights first before you committing to a full permanent color.
  4. Patch test. Take a section of hair where it could be hidden if it things don’t work out – do the treatment and see if it ok. It may mean more times to the salon, but will save you grief.

    1. And finally, just remember, you might consider making that big change in the winter months when the back-up hat is a little more stylish and easier to wear.


Cheap Shampoo

I am often asked how can you tell if a skincare product is really worth the money that you spend on it? Well, the key is in reviewing the ingredients.

First, all cosmetic products in the US are required to have full ingredient listings on the package. So, if they don’t list the ingredients, don’t buy it. This just causes me to have images in my head of someone making it in their kitchen. And not wearing gloves. Yuck.

Second, be aware of the fancy techno-babble made up words like “contains nano-xelix complex #9”. That “new complex” is likely just some clever marketing person who made up a name. Usually it is just a combination of ingredients that are already used in other cosmetics, so just stick to the listing —and you will probably notice that the fancy complex name is not listed there.

Now, when reviewing the listing—this can seem quite daunting. It is at this point that most people regret dropping chemistry after grade 10. Not to worry, even without fluency in Latin, you can figure some things out. Just like on food labels, ingredients are listed with highest to lowest concentration in formula. So all the good “active” ingredients like your vitamins, minerals, plant extracts—you want them as high up on the list as possible. Heavy waxes and oils like carbomers, carnauba wax and mineral oil are really used as thickening agents that bulk up the formula but do not really impart any key ingredients used by the skin— these should be lower on the list. And finally, you want to see fragrance/parfum to be on the bottom of the list. If a product is highly fragranced, it can mean that some of the other ingredients are of lower quality and have a base odor that needs to be masked. Other than that, try to ask for samples before you buy that way you truly know if it is going to work for you and be worth the investment.


A friend recently asked me to recommend a body cream for her that “would go to the gym for her.” I realized at that point how confusing that category of creams really is— especially with the advent of so many new cellulite and skin moisturizing creams.

Cellulite

Cellulite are fat cells that have pushed through to the skin’s middle layer in between the connective tissue creating an uneven dimpled appearance on the skin. This is a condition that affects woman of all sizes—even models who eat one cracker and call it a meal can get cellulite, they just have the advantage of professional airbrushing.

So how can you get rid of it? Well, the bad news is you really need a multi-pronged approach in order to improve the elasticity of the skin and strengthen the connective tissue in your body. First, diet is a key factor, not in how much you eat, but rather what you eat. Avoiding sugar, junk food, saturated fats, alcohol and cigarettes are key. Drinking water helps flush out toxins, and eating natural, non-processed foods is important.

Second, massaging the area with a loofah or skin brush will help stimulate circulation and improve the tone of the skin. Third, the latest research shows that cellulite reduction has been linked to products that contain ingredients such as algae extracts, caffeine, copper, arginine, grapefruit oil and Brazilian cocoa. What these ingredients have in common is that to some degree they all help increase circulation, because ultimately it is your own body’s circulation that will break down the fat cells. As with any body cream, you also want to have it not transfer onto clothing and to have a pleasant scent that you personally enjoy. This is why I don’t tend to favor some of the oil products on the market as they are messy and often have a short shelf life.

So where is the good news? I actually didn’t mention the gym once.



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