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Val Monroe (21 posts)
Is mineral makeup allergy-safe?
How to stop breakouts
Help! I have dry, patchy skin!
A: The older I get, the more intrigued I am by the mysteries of the cosmos. You have an operation, all goes well (at least I hope it did), you resume your normal life...and one day a glance in the mirror reveals that your hair is a completely different texture. Yikes! Why?
I e-mailed David Kingsley, PhD, trichologist (explainer of all things hair related), who said that though it's very common to see hair loss about three months postsurgery—anesthesia can temporarily disrupt the hair growth cycle—he hasn't heard of anesthesia changing hair texture. He points out, though, that frizziness is a sign of dry hair, which could mean the oil glands on your scalp are less active than they were presurgery. Kingsley suggests that you switch to a shampoo for dry hair, condition after every shampoo, use a prewash deep conditioner at least once a week, drink lots of water to stay well hydrated, and take a primrose oil or omega-3 supplement.
Keep in mind: While you're waiting for your waves, a good antifrizz styling product will be very helpful.
Val Answers your top haircare questions
Why has my curly hair gone straight?
The best ways to tame frizzy summer hair
A: I'm always happy when I see a question with the words skincare and tight budget, because it's easy to put together a simple, effective, and inexpensive routine. Here, according to Arielle Kauvar, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, is what you need:
1. A gentle cleanser for morning and night. Skip any that contain treatment ingredients—they only get washed off.
2. A serum or lotion with an antioxidant (like vitamin C, E, polyphenols, or CoffeeBerry), to be applied after morning cleansing.
3. A moisturizer with sunscreen to be applied after the antioxidant.
4. An exfoliating scrub or a microdermabrasion-type brush (to be used with cleanser) to smooth the skin once or twice a week (or less frequently if your skin is sensitive).
5. A moisturizer and/or retinoid treatment product for bedtime.
Keep in mind: All the products Kauvar suggests can be bought for a reasonable price at the drugstore.
Val Monroe's skincare regimen
How to keep hands looking youthful
Do firming lotions work?
Val's guide to buying the right beauty products
How can I avoid underarm razor bumps?
Do firming lotions work?
Ask Val: Do I Really Need an Eye Cream in Addition to a Moisturizer if I Don't Have a Lot of Wrinkles?
A: I'm 61 and I don't have a lot of wrinkles, either. I've been using an eye cream since I was in my 20s. Am I relatively wrinkle-free because I've been loyal to the eye cream? No, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. "Eye creams are just variations of facial moisturizers," he says. Both may contain antioxidants to help minimize wrinkles and other ingredients that help tighten skin. Unlike many facial moisturizers, however, eye creams don't usually contain sunscreen, and you get a lot less product for a lot more money. As the doctor astutely notes, an eye cream is unlikely to make much difference except on your credit card bill.
Keep in mind: If you use moisturizer around your eyes, apply it carefully; the one benefit of a cream formulated specifically for the eye area is that it may be less irritating.
A: The stylists I spoke to all agree: The best approach is to get regular "mini" trims every six weeks. (Were you, like me, skeptical about this suggestion, thinking it might be motivated by greed? Stylist Cristophe of Beverly Hills says you shouldn't be charged for these kinds of trims.) You should have a goal: Are you aiming for an all-one-length bob? A shaggy, piecey look? Once you've settled on the goal, your stylist can give you shaping trims with that in mind. In general, keeping the back short while you grow out the layers at the crown can ease you into a longer style; don't cut the top or the sides until they're as long as the back, says stylist Mario Russo, at Salon Mario Russo in Boston.
Keep in mind: It will take about nine months to grow your hair to the length that allows you to cut it into a completely new style.
A: Dandruff might worsen when it's cooler, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, voluntary clinical assistant professor of medicine at UC San Diego. Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff, to you) seems to be triggered by an overgrowth of the yeast malassezia, says Benabio; washing your hair less frequently (as you might in cool months) can lead to more of the yeast. Also, low humidity can increase dandruff, while sunshine seems to reduce it. So the dry air and loss of sunlight in fall and winter might be contributing to your problem.
Keep in mind: Shampooing daily and using an anti-dandruff shampoo at least three times a week (try Pert Plus Dandruff Plus 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, $4; drugstores) should keep flaking under control.
Having recently been graced with a delightful (and gorgeous) Japanese daughter-in-law, I proudly admit to a bias toward all things Nippon. I share this bias, evidently, with Nicky Kinnaird—founder of the beauty apothecary Space NK. Inspired by her frequent trips to an onsen (hot spring) in the Japanese Alps, she worked with Japanese skincare chemists to create the Sai-Sei collection, including a bath and shower gel, body cream, and purifying soap, all aiming to capture the therapeutic benefits found in the hot springs. The company has donated $10,000 to the Japanese Red Cross Society and, in an effort to support the country's struggling economy, will continue to produce and distribute the Sai-Sei collection from Japan.
A: If you have very deep-set eyes (as I do), you might find that brushing an eyeshadow primer (like Too Faced Shadow Insurance Lemon Drop, $18; toofaced.com) over your lids does a lot to keep liner from migrating. A few other good suggestions from makeup artist Pati Dubroff:
• Before applying liner, blot your upper and lower lids with a tissue.
• Use a waterproof eyeliner pencil.
• After lining your eyes, lightly dust your lids with either a translucent powder or a powdery eyeshadow, which will set the liner.
Keep in mind: A heavy eye cream will sabotage all your efforts against smudging, so use a lighter cream during the day (and save the rich one for nighttime).