Skin-Care and Beauty
Skin-Care Tip for Summer and Hotter Climates: When the weather is hot and humid, acne can plague even the most mature and clean faces. The scientifically-advanced product advertised heavily on TV and internet by a starlet and other gals costs about 70 dollars US before shipping charges. Meanwhile, at Sam's Club, an analogous acne-treatment regimen-in-a-box costs about 30 dollars US. It contains a big bottle of facial scrubbing lotion, a large bottle of toner, a cream, and a tube of acne-zapping ointment. I estimate that the bottles and tube in the Acne-Free set will last approximately six months. It works!
Skin-Care for Winter, 2008: Drink plenty of water and use a moisturizing cream, preferably an oil-free one. You don’t have to hurry to the cosmetics counter at a mall-based department store (where it's easy to be taked into buying one cosmetic line's whole set of offerings)-- just go to the supermarket and look for Olay’s affordable products. They are on the cutting edge, or the vanguard of skin-care research and development--they have to be. L'Oreal has some high-quality, low-priced skin-creams as well. In our house, my husband and I use both brands.
Makeup: The Less You Use, the Less You Need Two lovely, elderly ladies in my life told me years ago to never use foundation makeup, and I have never forgotten their advice, nor used the wretched stuff. One of them was my Swedish grandmother, who, at the age of eighty, had baby-soft skin on her face. We usually do remember what our elders tell us, even though when they are doing it we couldn't care less. I'm so grateful to her, and to Loulla, the other elder bearing great advice about keeping a bare face. Come to think of it, I have never seen a liquid makeup that looked natural in daylight, where all facial embellishments become apparent. The best thing to do is to scrub your face well with a microfiber cloth and Cetaphil, a wonderful liquid cleanser made in Fort Worth. It is so mild that soldiers in the desert use it to cleanse their faces when there's no water available. This cloth/cleanser combination will exfoliate your skin, which is key to keeping the new, fresh skin-cells at the fore. After washing and drying my face, I like to use just a little pink blush on my cheeks. Try to find one that is non-comedogenic (doesn't clog the pores).
What is it about liquid foundation that is deleterious to the skin? It usually contains oil, which doesn't mix with water, and can dry the skin. I once tossed out a bottle of Clinique face-lotion because I discovered that it had linseed oil in it. Also, liquid makeup, whether or not it contains oil, can clog the pores. Less is more, and of course, choose a sunscreen that won't clog pores or irritate your skin. I use Baby Magic sunscreen when going out for tennis.
Makeup: the less you use, the less you need--because it can damage your skin, thus making you want to cover it up, which is what's known as a "vicious cycle". Keeping one's skin in good condition is not expensive! Copyright 2006 M-J de Mesterton
Enhancing the Face that Nature Gave You, and Creating a Beautiful Visage
Drawing by C. Wirgman, English Correspondent in 1800s Yokohama
Eyebrows ought to help create an expressive face. Pluck them from underneath only, not above them, and aim at getting the stray hairs out of the design. Tweezerman makes the most reliable, accurate tweezers that I've ever used. Eyebrows, eyes, undereyes, cheeks, jowls, lips: I believe that any woman can look lovely if these areas are treated properly. After you have achieved a satisfactory brow-line, you can fill-in spots where the shape is weak--I prefer an ashy, light blonde eyebrow pencil (I use Maybelline, under two dollars US), which doesn't show. Darker pencils can look orange on your skin in the daylight. A well-shaped brow, either thin or strong, if that is your natural growth pattern, can be a great facial asset.
Eyes ought to be the focus of your face. Skip the lipstick and wear a gloss or moisturizing balm. That way, the rest of your face is softened by the beauty of your eyes. Mascara can look hard and harsh in the daytime; it can flake, crumble and smear. I need to accentuate my eyes, so rather than mascara, I use a thin, brown-black eyeliner pencil with built-in sharpener by Revlon. To reduce the stark line that it creates, I soften with just a bit of eyeshadow over it. Restrict use of eyeliner to the upper lid, because any eyeliner at the bottom of your eyes brings down your face and can make you look old. After lining the upper eyelid, I add a little light brown eyeshadow in the most concave area above the eye, tipping it upward towards the outer edges. A little dab of lighter color in the center of the eyelid can have a nice finishing effect.
Never put liquid foundation or powder under your eyes, unless you want to look like you have two crinkle-cut potatoes resting there! It dries the most delicate skin on your face so badly that it may never recover. And speaking of cover, if you really have a dark circle under your eye, don't touch any baggage with concealer; put it only in the very darkest area. Less is more, especially in this area of the face.
Sometimes in the evening, I put the lightest, most skin-friendly pink blush on each cheek, applied very delicately. It brings the focus up from the jowls, and makes you look a bit cheerier. Darker skins can use peach or bronze, but very lightly. Any color added to the skin during the daytime can make one look older. Even translucent powder is drying and can make skin look heavy, so I restrict the use of it to hot summer nights when I am sure that I'm going to have hot flashes and I need something to absorb the excess moisture I exude. I avoid getting any powder or blush on the jowl area, since that can really accentuate the negative!
My husband always tells me not to wear lipstick, since he thinks it makes women look silly, cheap, and old. And if I must wear it, he says to wear a very light pink frost. All right, I cooperate because the fellow has great taste! According to him, his ol' pal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, with whom he body-built at Venice Beach back in the 1970s, won't let "his woman" wear either lipstick or trousers. My husband has the same demands. Well, I only wear pants when riding my bike or a horse, so no problem there, but wearing lipstick is a tough habit to break!
Jawline and Neck
For glamorous evening occasions, here is a device that can give you the illusion of a slim neck and tighter jawline. Under the jawline there is an area which can be brushed lightly with a shading tone of blush. Make sure you don't touch the jawbone with it, but go just underneath it. This is best done at night, since, again, daytime exposes a multitude of sins. This shading technique is especially helpful if one has a bit more "flesh" under the jaw than they desire. Again, this must be done very delicately and with a rather fluffy brush to avoid creating stripes. To avoid an orange-ish effect, I find that a very light pink blush mixed with a very pale frosted brown works well. I will even mix in a little translucent loose powder to facilitate the flow, and then lightly blend downward around the neck. This prevents a line of demarcation. This stuff is awful to remove from one's clothing, so it is best used when wearing a low-necked evening gown. This is advice that you can take or leave, and perhaps some of it will be useful. I learned these techniques and more in Manhattan, New York, when I spent six years working with a fashion and head-shot photographer. We worked with opera singers, Elite models and Broadway stars. Each subject had to visit a particular professional makeup artist before his or her photo-shoot. I was in charge of retouching, with an etching knife, the final product on black and white 8X10" photographs--that's what we did in the old days. It wasn't easy, but I found it much easier and produced more realistic, natural-looking results than the modern method (digital may as well be painting), which I have never used.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006
Maintaining the Flower of Youth
Check It and Chuck It!
Look at the labels on your makeup products. If they are "made in China", they are likely to contain lead, which is a carcinogen.
Check all makeup, lotion, and deodorant products for the ingredient, "aluminum". Aluminum is known to cause a breach in the blood-brain barrier, an anomaly to which Alzheimer's disease is attributed.
A well-preserved blood-brain barrier is required to protect brain cells from being damaged by neurotoxins, which accumulate and poison brain cells.
Another source of aluminum is the non-dairy creamer, Coffee-Mate. I found the Canadian version to be aluminum-free, however. Check the labels on all such products before buying. Some of the less-expensive store brands of non-dairy creamer, such as Wal-Mart and Sam's, are free of aluminum additives (I think they are called flow-agents).
If a product contains one or both of the aforementioned ingredients, chuck it!
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008