How To Beat Chapped Lips (And A DIY Remedy)

remedy for chapped lipsDry, chapped lips are uncomfortable and sometimes painful, and once the weather starts to change, everyone suffers. No one likes the look of flaky, dry skin all over your mouth. So I have a few tips to help you keep your lips soft and smooth if you get stuck under the mistletoe.

I have struggled with chronic dry lips for years, and even year round. Once the cooler temps hit, my lips would dry up and it seemed like there would be nothing that would solve my problem. Even while I was working at Sephora and had access to every lip balm in the world, I still couldn’t find anything that would solve my chronic chapped lips (called cheilitis, for those skin care nerds out there). My lips would be raw from my lower lip to my nose. So what’s a girl to do?

Here’s what I finally figured out.

Stop using products with sodium lauryl sulfate. Or, even better, all sulfates. Many products are touting their sulfate-free status these days, giving the impression that sulfates are evil ingredients. They are not, but they are heavy surfactants (cleansing agents) that can irritate delicate skin. If your skin is already irritated, it can make that irritation worse. Think of it like salt – not bad on popcorn or potato chips, even necessary, but boy does it sting if you get it in an open wound. Some people may have a higher sensitivity to sulfates and the sulfates themselves may cause the irritation. This was my problem. I stopped using a toothpaste with sulfates and my severely chapped lips disappeared within a week. Check your toothpaste and face wash for sulfates and switch it up if necessary. I switched to Sensodyne, which is easy to find at any drugstore. You’re looking for ingredients that have the word “sulfate” in them: sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.

Consider allergic reactions. The lips are thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the body, so I’ve encountered plenty of people who have lip-specific allergies. Try to use one lip balm for a few weeks and see if the condition subsides. If it doesn’t, try a different one, with a different set of ingredients. Once you’ve used a few, you should be able to figure out from the ingredients if you have an allergy. Look at the ingredients list on all the lip balms and try to find the common ingredients.

Severe chapped lips (think lips that crack and bleed, chapping, and irritation beyond your lip line) may actually be caused by a medical condition. Anyone who’s ever taken Accutane knows that it can cause some serious chapping. What I didn’t know? People who are prone to fever blisters and canker sores can also suffer from chronic chapped lips. If that’s you, get to a doctor. You’ll probably want a diagnosis and a prescription in order to get relief. Check out this article from Dr. Audrey Kunin who breaks down hidden causes of chapped lips on Dr. Oz’s website.

Try my DIY lip scrub. It’s so easy, and I even made a video for you. Remember, you can’t scrub away an irritation, so if your lips are swollen, inflamed, hurting, tender to the touch, don’t scrub. Use a product like Aquaphor for the time being, and if the irritation doesn’t subside within a week, you may want to see a doc.

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4 Brow Shaping Mistakes DIYers Make

I rehab brows that have suffered any number of terrible fates.  When it comes to brow imageshaping, I see many of the same mistakes over and over. If you’re a DIY kind of gal, make sure you’re not committing these brow sins.

  • Starting the arch too close to the nose. Starting the arch too far over leads to brows that are too thin and uneven. I call these tadpole brows. Because, yes, that’s what they look like. You’ve created a bald spot, and now your brow has round head and a thin tail.
  • Over-trimming. Trimming too much of the brow leaves too little for the tail. When the tail is too thin or too short, you seem to have half of a brow. Half of a brow is not a cute look, so make sure you leave plenty to work with.
  • Standing too close to the mirror. Take two giant steps back and look at the big picture before you tweeze. Looking at the small view leads you to take too much hair, which ultimately leads to an uneven line and too-thin brows.
  • Ignoring the rest of your facial features. People are so scared to have thin brows that they often leave them too thick. If you have delicate facial features, you need a delicate brow shape. Bushy brows draw attention away from the eyes. We want balance, and like Goldilocks, we want this just right.

Need to put your brows into rehab? Start by letting them grow in as much as possible. It may take months for them to fill in, so this is a great time to practice self-restraint. You can grab obvious strays, but steer clear of the brow line. You may want to consult with a professional to get on a treatment program.

Decide where the brows should start and end by using a straight line from the corner of the nose through the corners of the eye, as the photo above indicates. Your arch should start on the line between the corner of the nose over the pupil of the eye.

Remember that your brows are sisters, not twins. Each brow is different, and though we aim to make them look as similar as possible, it is not always going to happen. Don’t obsess over something that may never happen.

Revitalash Revitabrow Eyebrow ConditionerAim to have a smooth line above and below. The eye is automatically drawn to what is different, and holes in the brows are obvious. If you’ve overtweezed in the past, you may need to fill your brows in to create a smooth line. You can also try my favorite brow savior, the RevitaBrow Eyebrow Conditioner, which I have seen work miracles on overtweezed brows.

Your brows should enhance your features and frame your eyes, not pull attention. If your brows are well done, you shouldn’t even notice them. Arches that arch just right lift the eyes and make them appear brighter, more open, and youthful. Who wants to miss that opportunity?
 

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Get Your Skin Summer Ready

The rest of the country may have been experiencing summer for a few weeks now, but New York City is officially in the middle of a heat wave. Depending on your skin type, your skin may thrive in the summer, or it may get your skin summer ready turn into a big mess.

Typically all skin types, from oily to dry, will start to produce more oil. The heat and humidity makes us sweatier and, before you realize it, you may be breaking out more than normal. It can also help skin types that are prone to conditions like eczema and psoriasis minimize outbreaks.

Here are some tips to get your skin summer ready.

  • Add a salicylic acid wash. Even drier skin types can benefit from a salicylic acid wash a couple of times a week to help control the excess sweat and oil. If you’re normally a dry skin type, try a salicylic acid wash two to three times a week. Oilier skin types may benefit from daily usage. Most salicylic acid washes are found with a 2% concentration normally, so adjust your usage if you’ve found something stronger.
  • Lighten up those textures. Dry winter skin and harsh climates beg for creamy, rich textures. Summer calls for lighter lotions. Heavy creams combined with extra oil production creates the perfect storm for breakouts. Put your creams aside and look for lightweight or oil-free lotions. You may even like a little oil control this time of year.
  • Try an acne treatment. If the summer heat has you breaking out a couple times a week, it may be time to try an acne-control serum. Your skin may just need that extra control. Look for something with a blend of acids, alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic and beta hydroxy acids like salicylic. Daily usage under a moisturizer will keep your skin clearer.
  • Amp up your SPF. Warm weather sends people outside, whether it’s beach vacations, spending weekends on the lake, or even just dining outside more often. Make sure you’ve got your skin protected when you’re outside by upping your SPF protection. I like to keep mineral powders in my bag for touch-ups if I end up outside, so I can reapply my SPF without messing up my makeup (and getting a little extra shine control). I also recommend swapping your morning moisturizer with SPF to a dedicated sunscreen. I like the lighter combination of a hydrating serum and a sunscreen in the summer and find it’s just enough for even my dry skin.
  • Get a pro peel. I’m a huge fan of peels, and I believe that they are worth the extra investment in a facial. Super oily skin and acne-prone types may benefit from a salicylic acid peel a couple of times in the summer for added oil and acne control. Drier types can still benefit; peels remove excess dead skin cells and help keep pores clear. The caveat? Make sure to wear your SPF and don’t plan to peel right before or after a beach vacation.

 

 

Speak your mind! How do you tweak your skin care routine for the summer? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

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Video: Get Bronzed the Healthy Way

 

Tips for Getting a Great Sunless Tan for Your Face

When I self-tan my face, I make sure to contour where I can. Contouring is a great way to give your face extra definition, make it seem thinner, or make something that you don’t like appear less noticeable. It also helps create a natural glow. If you apply the self tanner in one even layer, it can make your skin look flat and dull… even dirty if you over do it! Applying it with a contour looks healthier and more realistic. Remember to start light and build your bronze. It’s always easier to add more contour than to take it away.

I highly recommend that you check out this video tutorial or this quickie cheat sheet from Cara of the MaskCara blog. She explains contouring really well and gives some great step by step pointers. I’ve also pinned her contouring tips to my Pinterest page on my Beautify board, along with a few others, so follow me there to get easy access.

Make sure you start with freshly exfoliated skin. The tan will develop in the uppermost layers of the skin so you want to work on the freshest layers possible. You don’t want to use anything irritating or deeply exfoliating. A gentle peel the night before, or a glycolic wash before applying is perfect. I also sometimes like to apply a super light oil free moisturizer or Body Drench Body Quench Quick Tan airbrush tanninghydrating serum. It gives you a bit of a buffer zone.

Spray in wide circles, aiming for the outside perimeter of the face. Make sure to hit the neck. The aerosol self-tanner I love is Body Drench Quick Tan Instant Self Tanner Spray. Don’t be scared. Aerosols are so easy to use.

Clarins Liquid Bronze Self TanningUsing a compact but soft brush, apply small amounts of the self tanner (gels work best in this case) as you would contour your face… under the cheek bones, one the neck, under the chin, and around the sides of the forehead. The Sun Gelee I used for the contouring is from Spray di Sole and I love it. Another to try is Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning. It’s not tinted, but it’s easy to work with a gives a nice color.

Make sure to layer. Less is more. Don’t be an oompa-loompa. Keep in mind that the tan will develop after several hours. Don’t get wet in that amount of time. Check out my before and after shot to get an idea of how much my color developed after I finished filming the tutorial.

After the video and the next day

After the video and the next day

 

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Squeeze in More Time for Skin Care

how to squeeze in more time for skin care Who needs more hours in the day? Between working a full-time job and building my own business on the side, I need to know where I can apply to get an 8 day week or a at least a 28 hour day. And I know that I’m no different from any of my clients. Sub in a family for the business, or finishing a master’s degree, and my clients are as pressed for time as I am. So how do you stay looking your best? I’ve talked about beating stress before, but when will you action these tips? Here are a few tips that I use to multi task.

  • Do your evening skin care earlier in the evening. Everyone has a moment when they walk in the door and either change clothes, drop a bag, or kick off shoes. Wash your face then, and follow-up with your evening routine. This way you guarantee it’s done before you start passing out on the couch.
  • Mask while you work. I wrote this post with a mask on my face. No joke… I tweeted it here. I figured if I wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep, I might as well cheat one while I work, right? Bonus points for wine while you do it. You can also mask during your favorite TV show, if that’s the only down time you have a week, or while you cook dinner.
  • Benefit from shower time. I do enzyme or hydration masks under the steam in the shower. The steam softens the skin so the mask penetrates better and I get an extra boost to my routine. Plus, it’s easy to remove this way.
  • Mix your serums. I like to spike a hydration serum into my treatment serum and get more bang for my buck. The ingredients of both serums will all penetrate, and it saves me a few extra seconds in the morning.
  • Take just a few minutes to breathe deeply. Ever notice that when you’ve been busy and frantic for a long time, it seems like you can’t remember the last time you took a breath? I trick myself into inhaling. I have calming essential oils by my bedside, and right before I turn out the light, I take just a few seconds to inhale deeply. I’m obsessed with these chakra balancing oils. If this tiny practice of self care helps me sleep more soundly at all, then I’ve done wonders for my skin.

Taking time for yourself can be hard. We’re busy, and it’s just too easy to put everyone else first. If you can carve out even five minutes for some self care, you and your skin will benefit. [Tweet this!] If you do it consciously, even that small amount of time will reduce stress. Take that time. You deserve it!

 

 

Speak your mind! What do you do to squeeze in skin care? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

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How To Find The Best Skin Care

It’s the eternal beauty quest… what is the best skin care? Who makes the best moisturizer? What cleanser is best? In mythe best skin care retail sales days, shoppers would come up to me and ask me, “What is the best skin care?” I would quietly ask them to follow me down a dark hallway, past all the other moisturizers. We’d pass the troll that guards the hidden door into a secret room, where there on a table, under a single beam of light, sits one single jar of the only good moisturizer in the store, which I’ve only showed to this customer because they asked for the best. When you use it, you’ll never break out, all your wrinkles will disappear, your checking account will never be empty, and your house will always be clean.

Just kidding.

There’s no troll.

Perfect moisturizers don’t exist. They don’t exist because everyone has a different opinion on what the perfect moisturizer should be like. So the question should not be “What’s the best skin care?” The question should be, “What’s the best skin care for me?” [Tweet this!]

For example, I was helping a client the other day whose primary complaint was that she was breaking out often. I asked her what she was using and she told me she was using a well known brand. I asked if she was using a product targeted for acne, like a treatment serum or even a cleanser, and she said no. She was using products that might be generally good, just not good for her, because they don’t target her primary concern.

So how do you find a skin care product that’s good-for-you? Here are a few tips.

  • Decide what your primary skin care concerns are. This is the magic question. If you could change one thing about your skin, what would it be? If there’s a bunch of things, prioritize your list. You’ll probably be able to treat a few things at once, but you want to make sure that your primary concern will be targeted.
  • Look at peripheral benefits of the skin care products. Do you want paraben-free? Do you want a natural skin care product? Do you want a moisturizer that fights acne and wrinkles?
  • Set a price. Remember that if you want a product that has many specific features, you may need to be willing to spend more. What is most important? It might be nice to be paraben free, but you might not be able to find skin care that fights acne and wrinkles, has no parabens, and is less than $30. You may have to decide which feature is the one that can be sacrificed.
  • Feel it and smell it. Textural differences and fragrances are very important. If you don’t enjoy using the product because it feels greasy or smells funny, you won’t use it. Your skin care is guaranteed to fail if it just sits in a drawer. [Tweet this!]

I want to know. What is most important to you when you buy a moisturizer or other skin care product? Do you make decisions based on price? Ingredients? A friend’s recommendation? Tell me in the comments below!

 

 

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