Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sharing New Years Rituals

Resolve and Restore this New Year
Every week, prior to New Years, I make new resolutions, create a collage, buy a new daily planner, weigh in and set goals. This year is no different, as this is a ritual that I love to do. In PJ's I sit on a comfy chair, with my coffee or tea in hand, and start to reflect on the passing year. Did I get it right? What else could I have accomplished had I followed-through? And so on… Creating the collage is so rewarding. I collect magazines anyway, which started way back when I first got my license and my Mom would ask that I do the grocery shopping. I developed a negotiating strategy that worked like this, "Ok, I will grocery shop, if I can buy a magazine…". My Mom always agreed and in fact, I think this is what led to my career in beauty. I scoured the teen magazines, studied Cheryl Tiegs' appearance, Brooke Shields' brows, (my sister and childhood BFF both swear they have no brows because I plucked them naked) and would memorize all the new looks. Anyway, off track here… I have a swarm of magazines and what I do is turn the pages and whatever I see that makes me feel happy, is what my scissor snips. Important to note, is that there is no analyzing here, just random snips and cuts of things that are appealing. An image, a word, I just keep going until my brain says to stop. With the scraps of paper in front of me, I place them in no specific order, other than one that just comes natural to the process, and then paste them to a poster board.
Year after year these collages have directed me.
When living in Florida in the 1990's my collage had winter sweaters, change of season nature photos, and it was clear to me that it was time for a move, one that took me back Northeast. This years collage is saturated with smiles, blooming flowers, vibrant color. An obvious time for me to lighten and brighten my world! I am off to Staples for my new agenda book. On a good day, I will meditate, jot down whatever enlightening clarity pops in, and set the goals for the day. On an off day, I will remember that the agenda is upstairs, I am downstairs, and feeling somewhat apathetic, I will stay guilt-ridden as once again, I failed to practice my mediation. But isn't that life? Life is filled with polarities of our being, changing like the wind, one day sunny, another cloudy. I resolve to lighten up, to do my best, to be easy on myself and others. Another great celebration of life. Happy New Years Friends! Marlene

Friday, July 19, 2013

Age Rebel: Botox, The Aging Factor

Age Rebel: Botox, The Aging Factor

Botox, The Aging Factor

I am not averse to plastic surgery or medical spa treatments. It's just that I don't understand why women think that Botox makes them look younger?

My closest friends and family members are hooked and I don't get it. What I see is a very unnatural appearance, that quite frankly irks me. I have truley developed an aversion to the Botox look. Maybe it's my make-up training, I am so used to shaping peoples brows to compliment their eyes. Now I see these stiff brows, expressionless except for where they landed! It lifts the brows up, and the crazy thing is that it should make the eyes look younger but sometimes, it does the opposite, the eyes are either too open and often not symmetric (big issue) or, the upper lid shows even more crevices. Younger people have lots of wonderful expressions and when you lose this ability, it ages you. It's true, that Botox flattens facial lines, I get that. (But its like an antibiotic, you take it for one reason, and voila, get a new infection from the antibiotic.) Yes, with Botox the lines are diminished, but having this artificial brow and eyes that take on a shape of their own, is not always more attractive.

Like most women, I also am looking for ways to look younger. There are so many options available that may not offer the immediate gratification that people seem to get with Botox, but in my opinion, are more beneficial for anti-aging. Favorites of mine at the spas are microdermabrasion for how it takes away dull, dead skin and leaves the skin glowing, Ultra Sound for how it reduces inflammation and skin sensitivity, micro-current facials for how they lift the muscles beneath the skin and over time really improve the tone of the skin, and lymphatic facials for diminishing under-eye puffiness, restoring even skin color and over-all toning on face and neck. All of these also build up collagen production. And in the medic-spas, the injections that use hyaluronic acid are good for filling in the marionette lines around the mouth, and can be used in the brow furrows and even under the brow for an instant but natural eye lift.

There is so much you can do at home as well. An exfoliating brush helps to keep the skin glowing, at home micro-current facial devices 

are great for in-between spa treatments, a hydrating facial mask once a week is great for the skin coloration and texture. And what's good about these options, is they just allow you to look really good naturally! If you do opt for injections, take it easy and go slow. Natural and young people have tons of expression, their face moves, their eyes smile, and yes, they even have lovely wrinkles.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A guide for better application on everyday skin products.

Many times when a client tells me that they are not happy with their products, I wonder if it is how they use them? Just to be sure, it is not a mis-matched product for their skin, I would ask them to bring me in what they use and then we go over the instructions together. I wish I could do this with all my customers, but I have begun to sell online and have many new customers from distant areas that I am not able to reach. For this reason, I have put together a simple guide that encompasses the most widely used products…

This product is so often misused and also the one that most people skimp on. Why you may ask? Well, when I ask my customers this same question, they say that they don’t want to spend a lot on something that gets washed OFF the face. Oh how I wish that this were really true (the part that gets washed off the face…)! If in fact, people washed their face correctly I may agree that MAYBE you could skimp a bit, but more than not, the cleanser does remain on the skin, simply because the product is not used properly.
Here is how to best cleanse your skin.

  1.      Apply your cleanser ,whether it be oil, foaming or gel, with your fingertips and some water. Massage your face, neck, and around (not inside) the eyes. Rinse really well with warm water. (Really well is a good three full splashes)
  2.      Take a flat round wet cotton pad, and from the neck up, swipe the skin well. Most likely you will see dirt and debris on the pad. If so, use both sides of the pad, and one more for the eye area to remove all make-up.
  3.       Splash your face one more time with cool water and then pat dry with a towel.

If you cleansed well, guess what? You don’t need a toner. Toners were originally made to make the skin pH balanced. Old-fashioned cleansers (like a cold cream) left residue on the skin and offset the pH. Modern cleansers are already pH balanced at 5.5. If you insist on using a toner, or just like the way it feels, take a cotton ball and in circular motions, swipe the skin from neck to forehead. A good alternative to a toners are hydrating mists. They add nutrients to the skin after cleansing and are water based like toners. Avoid the eye area.

Serum: Serums should go on before the moisturizer or night cream. A good rule of thumb is that the lightest product goes on first. Most serums are gel based and are lighter than a cream or fluid moisturizer. 

  1. Apply serum after cleansing and toning. Apply a dime size dollop into the palm of your hand.
  2. Dip two fingers into the serum and distribute around your face and neck by lightly patting the product into the skin. Do this a few times until the dollop is gone. 
  3. Then take both hands and use two fingers from each hand and pat all areas of the face and neck to press the serum thoroughly into the skin.                                

Moisturizers: This is your chance to awaken your circulation, by giving your self a two-minute massage. Apply a few dots of the moisturizer at the base of your neck, to your chin, cheeks, and forehead. Now work it in the skin with a hand over hand massage beginning at the neck, to the chin, to the cheeks and up to the forehead. You will see the color return to your skin. Apply your eye cream next. * I recommend following the instructions for your eye products to the T by the manufacturer.

Make-Up Primer or Sealer: This is a fairly new product to the market place. It basically will seal in your moisturizer and leave an invisible barrier so that your moisture stays put all day and your make-up goes on smoothly. I love a primer and believe it is my secret to why my skin looks even-toned and smooth. If you have the extra minute to do this, I promise you it is worth it. Make up primers are usually oil based, but generally they are made from a very light oil that dries upon application. Since oil and water do not mix, it helps the water (moisture) from your moisturizer and serum penetrate and protect it from escaping the skin. 

  1. Spritz a tiny amount of primer-sealant to your palms, press palms together and place on your cheeks. 
  2. Then with your fingertips, move the primer around the face. That’s it! Wait two minutes. Now you can put on your make-up.
*A side note is that between applications of serum and moisturizer, you leave about a minute or two for the product to penetrate. 

Have a question or comment? Are there other products you are not sure how to use? Please write in and I will be happy to respond!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Is your make-up aging you?

I just read an interesting article about how make-up can either age your or make you look younger. Apparently as we age, the color of ones skin tones darkens, there is less glow to the skin and therefor much less contrast in ones overall hues. I guess I knew this but somehow hearing it this way made me think about how cosmetics can really enhance the coloration of the skin. I follow trends and enjoy trying out a new look from time to time. But at the same time I realize that some make-up techniques are not for me. For instance, the NO Make-Up Look. Honestly, it is like I am in a morgue! Everything blends together, my hair, my eyes, my skin, my lipstick, it is just awful. And I don't like it on some beauties either. I thought Halle Berry looked under the weather at the Academy Awards, her NO Lipstick shade just made her look dull. It works well when a person has natural coloration in their skin that contrasts with the rest of face, either the hair is black or the contrast of platinum, the skin is dark or very pale, the eyes are a deep brown or gold, or green or blue, hope you get my point here.
So realizing that ones color pallet gets more monochromatic as one ages, just made me evaluate how I wear make-up.
It makes sense to add a little red to the lips, and it doesn't have to be ruby red, it can be Bobbi Brown red, the red with brown added, a soft and more neutral red. Some of this is intuitive, I still provide make-up services from time to time and the colors I choose are ones that brings out the natural tones in my clients eyes, skin or hair. This is not a matchy-match look. A deep purple can really bring out the green in hazel eyes, a soft blue liner can make the whites of the eyes brighter, a bronze blush can soften a ruddy skin tone. This comes from learning about color but also just from experimenting with various shades. Quick advice, look before you leap. Try a new look at home, or go to a cosmetic counter and see what kind of a make-over they do. But don't leap to buy all the latest colors, see how they wear on you, and look at your skin to see if looks more youthful. The skin tells all. Then if your still not sure, take a photo of yourself. The photo never lies!