|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Valerie Monroe (20 posts)
A: Yes. For example, your skin can build up a tolerance for retinoids, the vitamin-A derivatives (and gold-standard wrinkle reducers), like Retin-A, Avage, and Differin; using a greater concentration will improve effectiveness, says Debra Jaliman, MD, author of the forthcoming book Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.
Keep in mind: Increasing exfoliation—by adding an alpha hydroxy acid or a cleansing brush to your regimen—can improve the performance of treatment products.
A: There aren't many things I'm an expert at. Actually, at this moment I can't think of any things, except one: I know how to extend the life of a blow-out. Before I dwell too long on this haunting discovery, let me share my secrets (and stylist Jet Rhys's excellent suggestions). After you leave the salon: 1. Keep your hands off your hair. And avoid brushing, too, adds Rhys. Handling and brushing distribute natural oils throughout your hair, which will hasten your need for a shampoo.
2. Don't let the stylist use any styling products, and don't use any at home, either. Most stylists look at me incredulously when I say, "No product, please," but as Rhys points out, sprays and serums can attract dirt and oil.3. In the shower, use a fabric-lined cap. It keeps your hair drier and protects against frizz better than a plastic cap, says Rhys.
4. If you need to revive your style, dampen the hair in front and on the crown, then spot blow-dry.Keep in mind: When I ask specifically for a blow-out that will last several days, I get better results. Why? The stylist pays more attention, and uses a bit more heat, which increases the style's hold.
Should you use moisturizing oil instead of lotion on your face?
A: I empathize; a dark stain around your hairline sounds like a fine way to ruin the joy of fresh haircolor. You definitely can avoid these stains, says colorist Sharon Dorram, co-owner of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger in New York City. It's simple: Before you color your hair, apply a little Vaseline or baby oil around your hairline to prevent the dye from touching your skin.
Keep in mind:If your preventive efforts don't work completely, try roux haircolor stain remover ($7.50; sallybeauty.com).
The lazy woman's guide to fabulous hair
Get the perfect ponytail in 4 easy steps
Reinvent your hairstyle without a snip
A: It sounds sweet, doesn't it—having your bikini area "sugared?" As if you relax deliciously on a table while someone in a baker's toque carefully caramelizes your privates? Actually, sugaring works the same way waxing does, by pulling hair out by the root. (Not exactly a piece of cake!) But instead of hot wax, the aesthetician smooths a heated preparation of sugar, lemon juice, water, and sometimes glycerin over the skin before pulling it off with either her fingers or a strip of cloth. Dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD, clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine, says there's no evidence that sugaring causes less irritation than waxing, or that it's more effective. If you're not careful, you can have the same kinds of problems associated with waxing—ingrown hairs, skin discoloration, even a burn.
Keep in mind:Though you may have had a good experience with sugaring, you should still take precautions. Don't have it done on irritated skin, be sure the aesthetician uses a fresh pot of the sugar paste, and if you're having facial hair sugared, let her know if you're using a retinoid, which can make skin sensitive.
Val Monroe's skincare regimen
How to keep hands looking youthful
How to stop mascara from smudging
Val answers your top skincare questions
How to conceal dark undereye circles
6 things nobody tells you about aging
The truth about hair loss
Eat your way to healthy, beautiful hair
Val answers your top haircare questions
Most of the time when I meet new people and they hear that I'm a beauty editor, they'll listen to my considered defenses of the president, or my musings about a recent movie I've seen, while they pretend to be interested, drumming their fingers impatiently on the table, waiting for the moment when they can break in with a question.
"So what's the best thing to use on my face?" "Does La Mer really work?" "How can I get glowing skin?" That's what they really want to know. They want advice. But recently I met a woman, who, when I told her that I'm a beauty editor, started giving me advice. "You really need to start wearing foundation every day," she said. "Pack it on; it'll keep your skin moisturized all day long." "Apply lots of moisturizer before you apply your retinoid in the evening," she told me. "Then apply lots of the retinoid on top of that. It works better that way." (Dermatologists uniformly recommend a pea-size amount.)
This woman's passion about her beauty regimen interested me for a couple of reasons. She is smart, and we agreed (passionately) about many other things--favorite actresses (Rosalind Russell), movies (All About Eve), politics (left). Maybe more importantly, she had astonishingly flawless skin--creamy, poreless, completely unlined. Though she didn't reveal her age, I know she's in her mid-fifties. So whatever she was doing for her skin worked very well for her.
There seem to be two types of women in the beauty arena: Those who know exactly what works for them and are passionate about it and those who think they have no clue, that there's a secret (or many secrets) they're sadly unaware of.
Which one are you? If you have a regimen that you think is world-class, what is it? And if you don't, what exactly do you want to know?
For more beauty insight keep reading:
Exclusive: The Best of Ask Val
Listen in on Gayle's interview with O's beauty director
Get answers to your top 20 skincare questions
More than half (56 percent) of women who use anti-aging facial skincare say they're not sure these products work, but they use them anyhow, reports the marketing research company NPD Group. This is a sad state of affairs, don't you think? Here's one way to be sure to get what you pay for.