Archive | July 2008

Danger: Heels Ahead

A quick perusal of any magazine, catalog, or shoe store will confirm that one of fall’s trends is the pump oxford, a style of shoe that I really like…except for the heels. Are we really expected to wear 4 inch heels? I am not of the masochistic persuasion, and ummm, I have a real job, prefer to be able to walk, and don’t have the luxury of perching precariously atop skinny stilts, hoping some man will find them maddeningly and irresistably attractive.

Want to know some lovely effects on your body from wearing high heels? How about bad circulation, nerve damage, hammertoe, spider veins, knee and back problems, thigh pain, bunions, ankle weakness, calf muscle disorders, osteoarthritis, thickened toenails, toes curling up from narrow shoes, and stress fractures (source: Flat Facts About High Heels)?

A study by the American Podiatric Medical Association found that 39 percent of women still wear high heels daily. The only good news is, this is down from the 60 percent who wore high heels back in 1986. However, this same study showed that 42 percent of women would wear uncomfortable shoes, and that 73 percent had shoe-related foot problems.

All I can say, wake up, stupid! If your shoes are impairing your body and causing discomfort and outright pain, STOP WEARING THEM, for the love of god! Tottering about and suffering in foot-disfiguring shoes just because they’re “cute” or because some men like them is beyond idiotic. And we women who have sense pay for this imbecility, because designers keep cranking out these foot-crushers for $100+ a pair due to the demand of mindless society-pleasers.

I love the oxford pumps, but until I find one with a low heel, I won’t be dropping any cash. My feet, knees, and back will thank me.

Eyelash Curler 101

One of the most effective beauty tools is also the strangest (and scariest) looking of them all! An eyelash curler can make a big difference in your look. It can also leave you lash-less if you don’t know what you’re doing, so to the rescue is LovetoKnow.com with this article: Hows and Whys of Eyelash Curlers.

The basics: “To use, gently place the curler over your eye and at the base of the lashes. Your lashes will rest between two sets of pads. Squeeze, being careful not to catch your skin. Hold briefly, then release. You may find it easier to go in sections, rather than curl all your lashes at once. Don’t try curling your bottom lashes, as they are too short and you run the risk of pinching your lid….you must not apply mascara before using a non-heated curler, as this can damage your lashes.”

I frequently curl my lashes after the mascara has dried, and I have never had a problem with my lashes sticking to the curler. I find that I get a more dramatic curl if I curl after mascara has dried, rather than before I apply mascara. I live dangerously.

How to care for your curler? “A well-made eyelash curler should last as long as you wish to keep using it. Many are strong enough to withstand being carried in a handbag all day. As with any beauty product, though, and especially one that goes near the eyes, a little extra care goes a long way. The pads, which are most commonly made of silicone, must be changed at least every two months. This is not only for hygienic reasons, but a worn pad can damage your eyelashes. Be your own best judge if you’re using the curler regularly and inspect the pads before each use. It’s best to store your eyelash curler in a closed container to keep it clean, but a quick wash or wipe before use is still a good idea.”

I agree; I wipe my curler before and after each use, but I’m particular like that. A worn pad will snag your lashes and pull, especially the rubber type (I prefer silicone).

Another tip I read over and over was to give a metal curler a quick shot from the blowdryer (at most 5 seconds) to heat it up for better curl, but of course be careful the curler is not downright hot before you raise it to your eyes.

15 Mascara Tips

Mascara is one of my can’t-live-without cosmetic items, and I’m always on the prowl for a newer, better one. No matter which brand you use, About.com offers these 15 Mascara Tips & Tricks (click the link to read the full explanations under each tip):

Tip #1: How to use a lash comb
Tip #2: Try a clean mascara wand.
Tip #3: Don’t shy away from colored mascara.
Tip #4: When applying mascara, wiggle the wand at the base of the lashes.
Tip #5: Thin, short brushes are best.
Tip #6: Give a few coats to the edges by blinking.
Tip #7: Powder under the eye before applying mascara.
Tip #8: Use an eyelash curler
Tip #9: Zig-zag the wand.
Tip #10: For a dramatic look, apply mascara only to the upper lashes.
Tip #11: Use a mascara primer.
Tip #12: Want that 2nd coat?
Tip #13: Do NOT pump wand in and out of the tube.
Tip #14: Another smudge-proof tip — bend the wand.
Tip #15: Wait five seconds before blinking.

The same site has this tip for thicker lashes: “Want thicker, lusher lashes? Try this quick tip: Apply lengthening mascara followed by thickening mascara. (Yes, the types of mascaras really do mean something, it’s not just a marketing ploy). Just be sure to apply the second coat before the first one dries.”

I’ve never tried that; has anyone else?

And last but not least, did you know that one tube of Maybelline Great Lash mascara is sold in the United States every 1.6 seconds? (WHY, I have no idea…as I’ve mentioned, I cannot stand the stuff!)

Drugstore Beauty

Great products with great results don’t need to cost a fortune. The Make-Up Diva lists her favorite drugstore cosmetics in this article: Save Money on Make-Up: Review of Inexpensive Drugstore Cosmetics.

She comments, “When most women think drugstore mascara, they think Maybelline Great Lash; it has been touted for years as a favorite in the business, named countless times as magazine beauty editors’ favorite, but I honestly have no idea why.” I heartily agree. I have never found the allure of this particular product, and in fact, it’s one of my most avoided products.

I also agree with her choice of Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara, even though as a rule, I do not like Max Factor. (Maybe it’s the ultra-cheesy advertisements featuring Carmen “Striptease Cardio” Electra in loud neon make-up and abusively bleached hair…) This mascara runs about $5 and although not my favorite mascara, does a good job for the price.

The Make-Up Diva lists Olay as one of her top picks for skin care, and Olay is the only moisturizer I’ve used for years. (By the way, click here to check out Olay’s current offerings of samples and coupons.)

The biggest downside to buying make-up at drugstores is the lack of testers. I always save my receipt and am not timid about returning a product if I just don’t like it. I don’t know how anyone can be expected to select make-up without testers.

What are some of your favorite drugstore brands and products?

Avon SlickTint

I’m not a big fan of heavy lipsticks, dark colors, or sticky lipglosses, so I was pleased to find Avon’s Slick Tint for Lips, a lip balm with just a hint of color. I have this in two colors:

Glossy Wine

Glossy Opal

I love both of them, though Glossy Opal tends to have less staying power than Glossy Wine. Glossy Opal is a light pink with a bit of a frosted look, but don’t worry, you won’t look like you’ve borrowed Granny’s frosted pink lipstick. I like to wear it when my eye make-up colors are pink or light purple.

Glossy Wine has that subtle red tint like you’ve just finished a glass of cherry Kool-Aid! I can’t stand red lipstick, but this gives just a hint of red without being garish or loud. For ladies with very fine skin tone like mine, it’s a magnificent color. I prefer this color with just black eyeliner and black mascara, so the lips can stand out and so my face doesn’t look overdone.

I like that it’s a lip balm, because even though I love make-up, I really can’t be bothered with lipliner, lip brushes, or touching up with a lip gloss applicator and digging for a mirror…a lip balm is convenient, fits into a pocket, and doesn’t have that greasy feel of most lipglosses.

And the price? Ninety-nine cents! You can usually find it on sale for about 79 cents if you really want to wait and save 20 cents.

PRO’s: small lip balm; convenient; great tint of color; non-sticky; cheap as hell (99 cents)!

CON’s: has a bit of an odd flavor to it when it’s a brand new tube; I don’t know if I just got used to it or if it wears off, but it’s not major or a reason not to try it out

Coco Chanel Allure Sensuelle

I am wearing Coco Chanel Allure Sensuelle today, and this is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, on my list of Top Ten Best Women’s Fragrances ever! Sephora describes this fragrance as “Modern, magnetic and different…created to draw a woman into a more sensual universe with a voluptuous oriental note and a new bright spicy accent.”

I prefer Beauty Encounter’s jaunty product description: “Ooh-la-la! This sensual blend of spicy vanilla-bourbon notes is sure to seduce.” It is definitely a sexy scent, and please be careful with application, or else “sensual” will become “heavy and overpowering”. A little goes a long way!

I love perfumes with staying power, and this one has plenty, making its price tag (about $95 for 0.25 ounce) seem slightly more reasonable, since you won’t be dousing yourself in it to keep it on, and one bottle will last a while. Shower gel for $47 or body cream for $75, though? Get real.

Perhaps the best testimony for this perfume? When I tested this perfume for the first time a few months ago, my boyfriend asked me to wear this scent to bed. Enough said, eh?

PRO’s: sexy, sensual scent; long-lasting; smells luxurious and expensive!

CON’s: hefty price tag for accessories like body lotion and shower gel; can be overpowering if not applied with care

Aquolina Pink Sugar

Aqualina Pink Sugar Eu de Toilette was one of the free samples I received with my order from Beauty Encounter, and hands down, it was the most fun and adorable packaging of any of the sample products in the box! The fragrance samples arrived wrapped in a pink-and-white striped plastic wrapper like a candy (see photo).What does it smell like? Well…just it sounds: like cotton candy. Sephora describes the fragrance as “Playful. Mischievous. Romantic”, but I would describe it as somewhat nauseating. It’s the kind of fragrance a pre-teen would douse herself with before heading to the mall with her poodle-permed and sparkly-nail-polished buddies.

However, if sickly sweet is your thing, you can snag some Pink Sugar for $22 for the solid perfume compact, $40 for a 1.7 ounce EDT spray, and don’t miss out on the $18 roll-on shimmering perfume!

The packaging is cute, and I loved the way the sample was wrapped like a candy. I also really like the solid perfume compact:

Unfortunately, after the novelty and oh-so-cuteness of the packaging wears off, this fragrance is way too sweet for my liking.

Has anyone tried Aquolina Chocolovers? (This company really likes its sugary confections, doesn’t it? )