Crow’s Feet

Often the first sign of aging, what we not-so-affectionately refer to as “crow’s feet” are wrinkles that radiate out from the corner of the eyes and, apparently, resemble the scaly, splayed feet of crows.  Also called squint lines, these wrinkles become a problem when skin loses elasticity and collagen over time.  They may show up earlier for people who do not care for their skin and later for those who do (source: Discovery Health).

You are more likely to develop crow’s feet if you (1) smoke cigarettes and if you (2) spend a lot of time in the sun (source:  Both of these habits prematurely age skin, and both of these force squinting, which in turn promotes the formation of crow’s feet.  Also, people frequently skip sunscreen around their eyes, exposing this thinner skin to sun damage (source:

How can you prevent crow’s feet, or improve their appearance?  Try protecting your skin from harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen.  Exposure to UV rays is among the most common reason that skin loses elasticity and collagen.  As already noted, if you smoke, this damage is multiplied.

Drink water to stay hydrated and keep moisture levels up.

Try eye creams that contain retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and copper peptides (source: Discovery Health).  If over-the-counter creams don’t give you the results you are looking for, you may try consulting with a dermatologist, who can prescribe creams with higher concentrations of these ingredients.

Ultimately, crow’s feet are likely to develop for all of us.  They are, after all, simply part of aging.  But a little prevention and care can go a long way to not looking like this:

Take another look at the picture above: how old would you guess this woman is?  Late fifties?  Sixty-five?  Older?

Nope.  She is a walking example of what glaring, squinting, frowning, and refusing to take care of one’s skin can do to rapidly and unattractively age one’s face.  She is actually in her early 40’s, but her haggard, rough, and leathery skin, especially the deep, pronounced wrinkles around and between her eyes, makes her look much, much older.

There are worse things in life, of course, than developing crow’s feet.  But if you can prevent or slow them down, or at least not end up looking prematurely old like the unfortunate woman above, why wouldn’t you?

Claudia Stevens Lid & Lip Primer Base

My ongoing quest for an effective eye shadow primer led me into Sally Beauty Supply recently, and I decided to try Claudia Stevens Lid and Lip Primer Base.  I had never heard of this brand, but the saleswoman assured me it is a good one.  I nodded but made a mental note to keep my receipt, just in case.  Good thing.

The product description claims that this item is “makeup before the makeup”, to prevent color fading, creasing, and bleed.  Sounds good, right?

I tried the eye primer first.  My first thought about the primer stick was that it just looked greasy.  How the hell would an oily primer keep eye shadow from creasing?  It applies like a lipstick, or concealer stick, and I topped it with a light dusting of powder before applying eye shadow.

My first reaction to this product was dead-on.  This primer encouraged creasing and actually made it look worse than not wearing primer at all.  I tried it a few more times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and each time my shadow almost immediately creased and looked terrible.

I also tried the lip base, just to see if it could offset the crappy performance of the lid primer.  It ended up making my lip color goop up and collect in the corners of my lips, which is not especially attractive.  Not only that, but my lipstick didn’t last any longer with this base than without it.

I wasn’t impressed, to say the least.  I grabbed my receipt, stuffed this product back into its box, and returned it for a refund.  Out of five stars, I have to give this one a zero.  Not doing what it claims is one thing; actually making make-up look worse is downright appalling.  Save your money on this one!

Get Rid of the Green: Blonde Hair and Swimming Pools

After a summer full of swimming, you may have the same problem as my two stepdaughters: bright, vivid green hair from swimming in a pool.  Don’t worry, you aren’t doomed to Incredible Hulk hair forever.

Did you know that despite chlorine being blamed for turning hair green, it’s actually not chlorine’s fault at all?  Oxidized metals in the water bind to the protein in your hair, depositing its color.  Green tint is actually caused by copper (source: Chemistry).   Imbalanced pH levels in the swimming pool also contribute to turning hair green, as metallic material in the water is dissolved.  The imbalanced water rids itself of the excess, leaving suspended copper to attach to your hair and develop the sickly green color (source:

The best way to tackle green hair is to prevent it in the first place.  Rinsing your hair with clean tap water before getting into the pool prevents your hair from soaking up as much pool water, since it’s already saturated. Combing a conditioner through your hair before swimming can also prevent copper from binding to your hair.  Last but not least, rinse your hair with tap or distilled water after getting out of the pool.  This not only prevents the green discoloration, it also removes the chemicals that damage and dry your hair.

But if it’s already green, what can be done?  My youngest stepdaughter, after months of swimming in a pool at her other home and no one helping her to take any steps at all to protect her hair, ended up with deep green, dry, brittle hair.  She was embarrassed by it, so I researched how to get rid of the green.

There are many home remedies out there for removing the green from hair, and commercial products, like swimmers’ shampoo, are also available.  I decided to try what seemed like the simplest remedy: baking soda.

When my stepdaughter took her bath, we mixed baking soda with shampoo until it created a paste.  I used just enough shampoo to wet and hold together the baking soda, as it is the baking soda doing most of the work here.  I worked it into her hair until the baking soda/shampoo paste formed a relatively thick mask on her hair, focusing on the darkest green spots.  I set a timer and let the mixture remain on her hair for 10 minutes, then washed it out and used a deep conditioner to repair some of the damage.  Almost all of the green was removed with one treatment.  We followed up the next day with another treatment, and her hair was back to 100% blonde!

Want to try something else?  I haven’t tried any other remedies, but here are other ideas:

How to Remove Green from Hair

Home Remedies to Remove Green Tint from Blonde Hair

How to Remove Green Discoloration from Hair

Preventing and Fixing Green Hair after Swimming

*Green hair image courtesy of AmalieSmidth on*

Benefit They’re Real Mascara

Thanks to a Sephora recently and finally opening in my area, I have been able to expand the brands that I test and review.  I picked up Benefit’s They’re Real mascara based on these marketing claims:

What it does:

Research results:
-94% saw dramatic length and volume*
-90% saw base-to-tip curl*
-94% saw visible lift*
-100% saw long-wearing results*

This mascara features an exclusive brush specially designed to maximize the performance of the long-wearing, glossy formula revealing lashes you never knew you had! Staggered bristles grab close to the root, boosting length and volume beyond belief. The precision bristles on the custom-domed tip lift, define, and curl even your tiniest lashes. The end result is luxurious, silky lashes that won’t smudge, clump, or dry out.


The first time I tried this mascara, I swore I had to have applied it incorrectly.  How else to explain the Super-Glue stickiness, clumps, and overall unattractive results?  So the next time I tried it, I tissued off some of the mascara from the brush for a lighter application.  Same gloppy, sticky results, no matter how many times I tried applying it or how differently I applied it.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, since I thoroughly loathed another mascara by Benefit, BADgal Lash Mascara.  It seems to me that Benefit has the real possibility of putting Super Glue and Gorilla Glue out of business with their sticky messes, but have no idea how to make a decent mascara.

My summary: zero stars out of five.  I hated this product and found no redeeming qualities about it at all.

Needless to say, I returned this mess of a mascara and got a refund to hopefully try out something better!

e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder

e.l.f. is a brand sold in some chain stores, like select Target stores, but if you are like me, you need to rely on the online store for this brand.  On a recent Internet shopping trip to e.l.f., I saw the Studio Tone Correcting Powder, a multi-colored powder compact that is supposed to even out skin tone and absorb excess oil.

For $3, I decided, why not? 

When it arrived, my first impression is that the sleek black compact looks much more high-end than the $3 price tag.  The majority of lower-priced, drugstore pressed powders have the same cheap plastic compact, but this one is heavier, sturdier, has a larger mirror, and actually looks sharp.

My second observation?  This powder does not come with a puff inside the compact.  Perhaps the assumption is that you will lug around a powder brush to apply this. Not me.  I had some spare powder puffs, so I tucked one into the case.  The compact barely shuts with a puff inside, but it works.

The color combination of the powder goes on very pale, which is great for someone as white as a vampire like me, but it may not work well if your skin tone is darker than fair.  I apply it very lightly, because a little goes a long way.  It looks better applied with a brush, but if I use a light hand and blend any too-heavy spots, then the puff I put inside the compact works just fine too.

But is it any better than a regular pressed powder compact?  I truly don’t notice any skin correcting qualities, or anything that special about this powder.  The website claims that this powder is multi-colored because “the Blue neutralizes orange, the Green neutralizes red, the Pink neutralizes grey and the Yellow brightens and neutralizes red.”  It just looks like ordinary transluscent powder once it’s actually on my face, albeit a bit paler than the powders I’ve used before.

Which is not to say I wouldn’t buy this powder again.  I really like the compact and the large mirror inside.  And for less than a typical drugstore brand like Maybelline or Cover Girl, it works just as well but looks nicer.  So yes, I’d buy it again and recommend it to a friend, just with the caveat that I am not sold on any complexion-correcting claims!

Pantene Beautiful Lengths Replenishing Mask

Obviously I haven’t been posting here much lately, but finally a product has impressed me enough to dust off this blog and write a review! 

With hair nearly to my waist, I am very particular about the conditioner I use, and I have tried nearly every deep conditioner there is on the market.  When I tried Pantene Beautiful Lengths Replenishing Mask, it was love at first sight.

Pantene’s website claims this hair mask “helps restore smoothness to dry, damaged hair and helps prevent flyaways caused by breakage and frizz” and that the product “helps strengthen hair against breakage so you can grow it longer”.

The first time I tried this hair mask, I noticed it was easier to comb my hair after my shower.  But even better, later in the day when I took my hair down, it was still easier to comb through my hair and detangle it than it normally is.  For hair that tangles like it’s an Olympic event, that is quite an accomplishment!

Anything that makes my hair easier to comb and detangle is already ahead of the pack to me, but this hair mask also makes my hair feel softer and smoother.  I have tried conditioners and hair masks from L’Oreal, Garnier, and other brands, but this is by far my favorite.  I have stock-piled Pantene’s hair mask and keep and extra jar (or two) in my bathroom cabinet.

Bottom line: great product, great price (less than $5), great for your hair!

Wet n Wild Color Icon Shimmer Pencil

This was yet another impulse purchase, yet unlike most of my impulse purchases, I don’t regret this one!  I picked up a Wet n Wild Color Icon Shimmer Pencil in Silver for 69 cents at Walgreens, figuring if I didn’t like it, well, the kids could color with it!

I almost always wear black eyeliner, and even when I don’t, I prefer dark liners like navy or purple.  I decided to try this silver liner on its own and see how it looked.

I lined my eyes top and bottom with the silver pencil, and I instantly loved it!  The liner applies smoothly and without the glittery, teeny-bopper look of most sparkly liner pencils.  There really isn’t any glitter to this pencil; it gets its namesake shimmer from a true metallic color, not from chunks of sparkly glitter.  It’s much more sophisticated and pretty than glitter.

I wore this liner to work today and am still loving it.  I have exceptionally oily skin, but my liner is still going strong, close to quitting time.  (Granted, I applied a rather thick layer so that the liner shows up like a gunmetal gray instead of a barely-there silver.)

Bottom line?  I love this liner, love the color, and would definitely buy it again.  At less than a dollar each, I would love to try other colors, especially blue or copper.