Q: My scalp is very itchy after I wash my hair. Could I be allergic to shampoo? A:
|Photo: Robert Trachtenberg|
Doubtful, says Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, trichologist (hair expert) at Philip Kingsley Clinic
in New York City. Most likely you have seborrheic dermatitis (fancy for dandruff), the shedding of dead skin cells that is often accompanied by itching and inflammation. Because sweat and sebum on the scalp can intensify the symptoms, you probably need to shampoo more often. Wash your hair every day—especially after working out—with a shampoo that targets flakiness (like Suave Scalp Solutions Anti-Dandruff Nourishing Shampoo, $4, or Head & Shoulders Green Apple, $5; drugstore).Keep ReadingKeep gray hair looking greatHow to pair shampoo and conditionerDo expensive shampoos work better than drugstore brands?
|Illustration: Christopher Silas Neal|
Have you cut gluten out of your diet? If so, you're part of a growing trend; sales of gluten-free products totaled about $2.6 billion in 2010. Now some beauty companies are also touting products free of the hot-button protein (found in grains like wheat and rye). The question is: If you can't stomach gluten—either because you have celiac disease or a less severe intolerance—do you really need to avoid it in your moisturizer and shampoo? Not at all, says Sheila Crowe, MD, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the University of California in San Diego. "There's absolutely no evidence that using a topical product that contains gluten will cause a problem." One caveat, though: If you're a lip licker, you could ingest some gluten from a lipstick, gloss, or balm that isn't gluten-free. So if you have celiac disease, look for lip products without ingredients that include oats, rye, barley, or wheat (such as moisturizing wheat germ oil). We like Mychelle Lip Plumping Gloss ($27; mychelle.com)
. Otherwise, feel free to use any beauty products you like—just don't eat them.Keep Reading
Q: Can my skin adapt to a product to the extent that it doesn't work anymore?A:
|Photo: Robert Trachtenberg|
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.
Q: How can I make a salon blow-dry last?
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
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,
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
|Photo: Robert Trachtenberg|
Not long ago I was chatting in my office with Scottsdale, Arizona, dermatologist Jennifer Linder, MD—one of the loveliest nerds I know—about something of great interest to her: silicones. (This is how she talks: "Silicones, or polysiloxanes, are characterized by a silicone-oxygen backbone. Side groups attached to the silicones vary....") When I mentioned that I'd never liked the idea of putting silicone on my face because I thought it was pore clogging, she gracefully pointed out that silicone doesn't penetrate the skin, so it can't clog pores. Then she said it's inert (meaning that it doesn't react with the skin), so it doesn't cause breakouts. What it does do: create a silky film that reduces moisture loss (good for the skin)—and helps makeup go on smoothly, which is why it's often one of the main ingredients in foundation primers. So when you see dimethicone or cyclomethicone in an ingredient list, you can think, Complexion-friendly.
Who knew? Thanks, doctor!Keep ReadingShould you use moisturizing oil instead of lotion on your face?
I'm still searching for the perfect red lipstick that's not too blue, but not too orange—and I have a makeup bag stuffed with different variations of crimson to prove it. Instead of tossing the tubes that didn't live up to my expectations, makeup artist Kristofer Buckle suggested that I custom blend them in the microwave. "You can bump any shade into your comfort level by adding other colors," he says. While I'm no cosmetic chemist and even less a chef, I'm willing to head to the kitchen in the name of beauty research (and finally finding the ultimate red). You can steal his step-by-step:
- Wind your lipstick all the way up and cut off the bullet with a butter knife. [If you want to soften the color, repeat the same steps with a lighter tone or nude. For more drama and intensity, add a deeper, blue-based shade in the same color family.]
- Place the bullets in a small glass bowl or dish and pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds.
- Repeat until the lipsticks are pliable (but not melted), then mix them together with a knife.
- Scoop out your new homemade shade and put it in a small plastic jar or this purse-sized pill case from Walgreens, 99 cents.
Not only will this end your hunt for the ideal red (or pink, or coral, or...you get the picture), but you'll create a color that's unique to you.What do you think of this DIY idea? Will you try it?Read More12 daring beauty products to try in 20125 easy party updos
When I was a teenager, my mother took me to Elizabeth Arden for a makeup lesson. The aesthetician showed me how to brush my cheeks with a little blush and use subtle pink shadow on my eyelids. She kept saying, "Less is more." I still follow that philosophy; wearing too much makeup is aging. The less-is-more approach applies to skincare, too. When you use a lot of different products, the combination of irritants and fragrances can do more harm than good.
Keep ReadingPassing down the beautyVal asks you: worst (or best) beauty adviceCoffee and tea: DIY beauty masks?
|Photo: Courtesy of DuWop|
On a cold and gloomy January day, summer seems like a distant memory. But if you keep this gold-flecked, shell-shaped compact close at hand you'll feel one step closer to warm, parka-free afternoons. Tucked inside you'll find a creamy blush (to blend onto the apples of your cheeks) and highlighter (to dot along the tops of cheekbones) for a fresh-off-the-beach glow. The only thing missing: the sound of crashing waves.$29, DuWop.com (Also available for eyes and lips)Keep Reading12 daring beauty products to try in 2012January's best beauty buys
|Photo: Courtesy of the Jonas Family|
Four years ago, PJ Jonas, a former systems engineer, was a stay-at-home mom; her husband, Jim, was a former science teacher turned garbage collector. Today PJ and Jim run a booming business making goat's-milk soap in their Indiana home (and barn). With 12 employees (eight of them—their children, ages 4 to 15—are part-time), Goat Milk Stuff
has produced more than 200,000 bars of soap, and now makes lip balms, lotions, and laundry soap, too. PJ talked to us about how her family's cottage industry took off, and the surprising, skin-smoothing power of goat's milk.
Why she went into the beauty business: We needed to buy a new engine for our van. I'd been making soap for our family and friends, so I decided to make some extra and sell it to raise money.
When she realized they'd be able to pay for the engine...and then some: We had so many orders that we were regularly eating dinner on the kitchen floor because the table was piled high with soap. Within several months, I told my husband either I'd have to scale back the business or he'd have to quit his job to help full-time. We decided to take the leap.
Q. I'm 42 and don't have a lot of wrinkles. Do I really need an eye cream in addition to a moisturizer?
|Photo: Robert Trachtenberg|
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.
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