Written on December 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
stressful lovely time of year when you wrack your brain trying to think of the perfect gift to give loved ones. For us beauty girls, we love sharing the gift of pampering and helping people feel pretty. The perfect way to do this: gift someone with a Julep Maven Box ($20 per box, julep.com). Simply go to julep.com and sign yourself or your friend or family member up for Julep’s monthly beauty subscription. Complete the quick quiz so your Maven box (delivered each month) is full of products customized to your style (if it’s for a loved one, do your best to answer for her). The box includes exclusive access to new hand-picked trendsetting nail colors, cult favorite skin care products and the latest beauty tools delivered right to your door.
Holiday bonus: there’s an exclusive promo code just for FITNESS readers! Enter FITNESSDEC2013 at checkout now through December 31st, 2013* and your first Maven Welcome Box is free. Doing so also signs you up for the Julep monthly beauty subscription. There are no obligations so you have the option to cancel, skip or send your box to a friend at any moment.
If you’re looking for a last minute present, this is the gift that keeps on giving all year long.
Written on December 2, 2013 at 11:13 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
These days, everyone unfortunately has a connection with cancer (whether it be personal, or through a friend, coworker or family member battling the disease). Though cancer takes a huge physical toll, it can also majorly impact a fighter’s inner confidence. That’s where Look Good Feel Better comes in. LGFB is a program that helps cancer treatment patients regain confidence by helping them deal with the appearance-related side effects of treatment. The charity hosts workshops in all 50 states, which are staffed by local expert volunteers who offer lessons, including how to apply makeup and accessories to address the changes in skin and hair loss that often accompany cancer treatment. A cool part to note: The workshops are free and big-name beauty brands donate the supplies for each participant to keep.
You can also checkout LGFB’s recently launched app—Beauty Mobile App—where users can upload their photo and try on different looks. The tool can be utilized to keep patients’ spirits up and their minds busy while receiving treatment.
Look Good Feel Better is dedicated to changing the way people with cancer approach their disease, reminding them that they are beautiful inside and out. For more information, visit their webpage, Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter.
Written on November 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
Calling all curly-haired girls! We know styling your spirals can sometimes be a bit of a challenge (frizzy flyaways, crunchy strands, too tight curls, etc.). It takes a lot of experimenting to find the right formula for curls that’ll give you a perfect hair day. One of our faves: Ouidad Curl Recovery Whipped Curls Daily Conditioner & Styling Primer ($26, ouidad.com). Not only will this mousse-like product keep your strands soft and supple to the touch, it has a combo of olive oil, shea butter and glycerin to moisturize and nourish your hair for frizz-free shine. But if you’re in need of some serious deep hydration, you can opt for the Ouidad Curl Recovery Curl Defining Styling Soufflé ($26, ouidad.com). This formula is a bit thicker with Mafura butter and melon seed oil. It’ll melt into each curl to strengthen and repair damage. Plus, it smells like sweet butter—yum! But don’t take it from us. Find out for yourself. We teamed up with the curl experts at Ouidad to bring you this special offer: now through December 31st, you can get 15% off your entire order on ouidad.com. Just type in the exclusive code: FITNESS13 at checkout and watch the prices drop. Happy shopping (and happy hair days to come)!
Written on November 22, 2013 at 11:14 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
After months of working on a short hair makeover story (check it out in the February issue!) and toying with the idea of cutting my long locks shorter, I recently chopped off six inches of my hair. This apparently was hardly noticeable to some (ahem, boyfriend who thinks “it doesn’t really look that different”) but a really big deal to me. And though I’m loving my new cut, styling it has been quite an adjustment. No longer can I sleep in a bun and wake up with effortless waves (tragic, I know). Since I prefer my naturally straight hair to have some texture, this posed a problem. So, I’ve recently been spending some quality time with my curling iron. After years of working in the beauty industry, I consider myself pretty handy with one, but even the most-skilled pro can sometimes struggle with getting the dreaded dent. Unless—that is—you’re working with my new favorite tool, Babyliss Pro Nano Tools 1” Rotating Curling Iron ($60, naimies.com). This iron is so easy to use, it actually makes my styling session faster. It has a rotating base, so you don’t have to nearly break your wrist trying to create a curl, and a super thin clip plate so you can chose not to use it if you prefer the feel of a wand. Plus, it’s made of a hybrid mineral complex (a mix of nano ceramic and Japanese kiyoskei) so it smoothes your hair, leaving each strand shiny and frizz-free. With 40 different heat settings up to 430°F, it’s perfect for any hair texture. Seriously, this thing is so awesome; your hair practically curls itself! (Now wouldn’t that be nice…)
Written on November 15, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
This is the time of year when my schedule gets crazy hectic (I’m sure you agree). I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Berlin, Germany (traveling’s fun but stressful) and with the holidays right around the corner, deadlines get tighter, the calendar fills up and getting ready on the run is not out of the ordinary. Half of the battle is just being organized and for makeup junkies like us, that can be tough. But I found a little lifesaver amidst the chaos: Sonia Kashuk Completely Organized Makeup Bag ($15, target.com). It comes in three different sizes (grande, classic and petite) and looks like a chic makeup bag on the outside, but it’s like having a personal organizer on the inside. The multiple-sized compartments neatly hold all of your essentials—from your cell phone and keys to makeup brushes and eyeliners. This pouch can be tossed and turned yet it still keeps everything in place. Plus, it’s made of a stain-resistant material so when one of my favorite lipsticks broke in it this morning (wah!), I just wiped it down with a damp cloth and it was as good as new. A definite must-have for any girl on-the-go.
Written on October 30, 2013 at 9:27 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
Recently crowned Miss America, Nina Davuluri, has a lot on her schedule since getting an upgrade to her title. As the second consecutive Miss New York to win the coveted role and making history as the first of Indian heritage, she is busy traveling the country on a year-long public speaking tour promoting her platform of celebrating diversity through cultural competency. Luckily, she was able to pencil in time for a charity ride at Flywheel, the spinning studio she used to train for the Miss America pageant. We let it fly alongside the beauty queen in class then chatted with her post-workout.
Tell us where the proceeds from this ride are going.
“The ride benefited our scholarship fund, which is a part of the Miss America Foundation. Miss America is the largest scholarship provider for young women. We provide over 45 million dollars each year. And I just won $50,000 in scholarship money and an additional $10,000 from Miss New York.”
And what do you plan to do with your winnings?
“I’m currently applying to medical school so I have a total of $60,000 to put toward my education.”
Do you know which area of medicine you’d like to focus on?
“I graduated from the University of Michigan and my degree was in brain behavior and cognitive science. So that’s a mix of psychology and neuroscience. So psychiatry is definitely on the radar but I feel like it will change once I start being exposed to different fields of medicine.”
Tell us about your training and diet change when preparing for a competition.
“I think one of the most helpful things that my trainer said to me was, ‘Nina, a lot of people have a competition weight and a normal weight and that is okay.’ Because you just can’t live on that sort of regimen. So for me, in preparation for Miss New York and Miss America, I was doing a lot of high protein, low carb but I was also strength training every day and then cardio at night. So it was two-a-days and then after I won Miss New York, it changed significantly because I just didn’t have the time to spend in the gym. So I had one hour a day and I did either FlyWheel, CrossFit or Barry’s Bootcamp; those were my go-to’s. And on off days, I enjoy doing yoga so I would do that just to stay flexible.”
When you’re not prepping, how do you maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet?
“Even during my entire prep I don’t like saying the word ‘cheat meal,’ but for lack of a better term, I’ll say it. It’s okay, I always tell everyone that’s it’s not only okay to indulge and treat yourself because you’re normal and it’s ok to do that. So even now that I’m on the road traveling, I’m very conscious of maintaining that healthy diet. Because for me right now, 90% is diet because as Miss America, I don’t really have access to a lot of gyms and I’m living out of two suitcases so it’s a little more difficult to actually get in my exercise. But traveling with my Jillian Michaels DVDs and doing interval sprints on the treadmill in hotels whenever I can is how I maintain that.”
Traveling makes it so hard. I can get to the hotel gym but it’s the healthy eating that’s tough.
“It is and I think that’s what’s really unfortunate. I think healthier foods need to be made available when you’re in the airport or on the road or traveling or just in general. So hopefully we’ll see a shift in that soon and I think we certainly are starting to.”
What’s the best beauty tip you’ve picked up backstage at beauty pageants?
“My biggest beauty secret is eyebrows. Your eyebrows really frame your face so you need to have a good shape. Tweeze in the sunlight or natural light, that’s the best tip I’ve picked up.”
Written on October 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
You probably know Stacy London as the vivacious stylist on TLC’s hit show, What Not to Wear (the series finale aired this past Friday). But what you may not know is what drew London to the fashion industry in the first place. Turns out, she’s been battling a chronic autoimmune and skin disease—psoriasis—for the majority of her life and found comfort in sparkly, shiny pieces. Here, she opens up about her struggles with psoriasis and the ways in which she’s helping others also affected by it with the “Uncover Your Confidence” campaign, which features educational resources, style advice and a dermatologist finder for the estimated 7.5 million American men and women living with psoriasis. Bonus: she spills on her best beauty tips and recent hair change, too.
Tell us about your experience with psoriasis and how it’s affected your life?
“I was diagnosed when I was four, so it’s been in my life my whole life. As much as people know me for something completely different, it is very much a part of my identity. You know, the heartbreak of psoriasis is a well-known thing. Being diagnosed at the age of four, I really didn’t understand what was happening. I just knew there was something wrong with me because I had these bumps on the back of my ears. So it started as something that made me feel weird and certainly made me feel different than other kids. That is definitely something I started to internalize very early. As I got older, my skin got worse and by the time I was 11, I was basically covered from the neck down in red scales and it was a much harder time because at that age, I was conscious of what I looked like. I had very severe scalp psoriasis so I had to cut off all my hair. So here I was, a little girl with a crew cut wearing turtlenecks and long corduroy pants even in the summer just to hide. That’s when that feeling of really being different and having children and adults react badly to me, that I really started to suffer from it. You know psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. It takes consistent and constant management but also, it’s emotionally devastating. I think that definitely drew me to fashion. Because, feeling sort of like a monster, I wanted all things pretty and sparkly and shiny and perfect and what better place than fashion to find that? I can say now, I don’t think I thought that consciously at the time. It’s sort of a compensatory desire that I didn’t feel good about myself and my self esteem was very low that I gravitated to something that I thought would certainly make me feel better. But when I wrote about psoriasis in my book, the biggest thing for me and that I really empathize with is that you kind of give up when you have psoriasis and the idea that you are ruled by a disease rather than you having control over it. The idea specifically was to manifest this concept of empowerment by creating a style guide that is specific to people who may not care about showing off their psoriasis or may be looking to cover up their skin but to feel relevant and not necessarily trendy but modern and feel like they’re participating in the same fashion trends that other people are. So it’s a great topical guide to what’s going on with an eye on making sure you’re paying attention to materials that could irritate your skin or the length of a skirt that may be more appropriate if you want to cover your leg a little bit more; things through the lense of someone who has experienced psoriasis themselves and wanted style, not just to hide in but to feel beautiful in. Because I think I spent my childhood hiding in turtlenecks and long corduroys and really I wish I had known to use style to feel better not just as armor.”
Tell us more about the “Uncover Your Confidence” campaign?
“It consists of the style guide, one, but it also consists of the dermatologist finder which is about taking control. You know I have been in the care of many dermatologists for over 40 years and it took me a long time to realize that not all dermatologists specialize in psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease and an autoimmune disease. So it’s a much more complex situation. Part of getting the right kind of treatment is to see the right kind of doctor and dermatologist specifically. So one of the things we wanted to do was to help people find the right kind of dermatologist. Part of that idea is that we are asking you instead of learning helplessness, to learn hope and to embrace the idea that just because you may think somebody couldn’t help you the first time you went to visit a dermatologist, that doesn’t mean you saw the right one. The same thing with thinking about your style, like you can’t wear black because God forbid you have scalp psoriasis and it’s going to look like a snow storm hit your shoulders. The campaign offers ways in which to deal with these kinds of things instead of feeling like you have to give up; accepting the situation and then building creatively both your style and, in the process, creating more self-confidence.
Switching gears to beauty. How has the disease affected your beauty routine?
“It’s funny, you know I talk about covering up, and beauty plays such a significant part. It’s kind of ironic because you feel anything but beautiful with psoriasis. For me, one of the things I learned very early on is that I needed to get some sun. As long as I got a little bit of sun, it really improved my skin and my mood. I found that moisturizing creams were not as good as oils. Oils absorb into the skin better, especially when you’ve got really, really dried plaques that can crack and bleed. The other thing is just moisture, period. In the winter, especially when you have dry heat, humidifiers have been essential to me. It’s super important. Since it’s an autoimmune disease, there are other things that you can do just besides the moisture. You need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re eating properly; you need to exercise; you need to think holistically about your whole body.”
Do you have beauty products that help you feel confident when you’re having a bad day?
“Two favorites: Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil ($102, beautyhabit.com) and Radiant Light Serum ($98, beautyhabit.com). If I look super ruddy or flaky, it has worked miracles for me in terms of evening my skintone. The other thing I think is really important with psoriasis is it gets very red. So I recommend using a green tinted concealer to cut the red and then put your foundation over it. I find if I wear anything too orange-y, like an orange-y red lip, that makes my skin look even redder so I tend to go for blue-red tones if I’m going for a red lip. I will say at the moment I’ve been jonesing for By Terry lipsticks (prices vary, beautybar.com). The colors are so saturated and glorious. And I do love Giorgio Armani Blushing Fabric Liquid Blush ($39, giorgioarmanibeauty.com) in the peach shade, #3. It makes you look like your glowing from the outside in.”
You’ve recently made a major hair change, debuting lighter ends. Can we discuss?
“I cannot believe that this has taken hold like it has! I mean, do people know that Syria is happening? I’ve gotten really lovely notes like ‘Bravo!’ and then all these people are like, ‘What’s wrong with you? You’re going through a mid-life crisis.’ I’m telling you right here, right now, you have the exclusive: one, that picture is an Instagram picture. If you’ve heard, there are filters so it looks a little crazier in that picture than it actually is. Number two, I am having a mid-life renaissance and that is why I’m like, ‘It’s time for a change, why not?’”
Written on October 18, 2013 at 11:51 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
Ever since I read here that mascara formulas haven’t changed much in 50 years, it verified my suspicion that when it comes to lash lengtheners, the magic is in the wand. So when my go-to tube recently met its three-month expiration date, I began searching for the perfect replacement. I’ve been testing several but ended up feeling a lot like Goldilocks—one has too many bristles, the next doesn’t have enough; none of them were just right—until I came across Lorac Cobra Mascara ($20, loraccosmetics.com). The unique brush design mimics the shape of a cobra’s head: in addition to a subtle curve for extra lift and curl, it expands wider then tapers off at the end. The sides can be used for separating and defining while the tightly packed bristles offer buildable volume. It’s everything you want in a mascara all rolled into one. And although the formula is made up of the stand-by combo of wax and pigment, this one also has keratin and vitamin E to condition and lengthen your lashes. I never thought I’d be so comfortable putting a cobra head near my eye, but the results sure are charming.
Written on October 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
Have you ever heard that running, especially long distances (like marathons), can actually cause spider or varicose veins? We have, but we weren’t so sure it was true. So with fall marathon season upon us, we turned to a top Phlebology (the branch of medicine that deals with veins and their diseases) expert, Dr. Luis Navarro of the Vein Treatment Center in New York City to clear up any confusion for all of the runners out there who are training for races—big or small.
Does running cause spider or varicose veins?
“Running isn’t a direct cause of spider and varicose veins; the activity is actually beneficial to the circulatory system, and the ‘second heart.’ The ‘second heart’ is a system of muscles, veins and valves in the calf and foot that work together to push deoxygenated blood back up to the heart and lungs. However, if you wear sneakers that don’t offer proper support, the impact on hard surfaces can cause veins to swell. Make sure you purchase running shoes that are properly cushioned, and built specifically for running.”
How can you prevent spider or varicose veins from appearing?
“For some people, spider and varicose veins are a hereditary disease passed along from generation to generation. If you are genetically predisposed to this condition, the veins might still develop regardless of prevention methods. The most important prevention methods include maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, and frequent exercise to ensure proper circulation. If you stand for long periods during the day, wearing compression stockings will also help improve circulation, and help blood flow through the legs.”
If you already have spider or varicose veins, what can you do about them?
“Sclerotherapy is a quick, painless treatment that gets rid of spider and small varicose veins. During the treatment, a mild chemical solution is injected into the vein causing the issue. The solution then collapses the vein, and the body reabsorbs the vein and blood, which is re-routed into a healthy vein. Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic issue; they can cause blood clots and other health risks, so it’s important to have them examined by your local venous expert. If it is determined that you have large varicose veins, there are several methods that can be used to eradicate them, including an out-patient surgical procedure known as an Endovenous Laser Ablation, foam Sclerotherapy or a phlebectomy.”
Are there other options available that don’t include a visit to a doctor’s office?
“If you have already developed spider or varicose veins, you can’t get rid of them without getting a treatment. You can disguise them with self-tanner, or relieve the uncomfortable ‘heavy leg’ feeling by wearing compression stockings. This will temporarily keep the blood from pooling in the veins and relieve discomfort. Also, taking a horse chestnut seed extract may relieve the discomfort and swelling associated with venous disease. Other prevention methods include maintaining a low salt, high fiber diet, keeping an eye on your weight, as obesity can stress your circulatory system and eating foods rich in antioxidants.”
Written on October 14, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
Kristen Bell is a movie star, but during our phone chat, I was pleasantly surprised to learn she’s totally down to earth. She loves food, but won’t let it own her. She loves spending time with her new baby girl (with soon-to-be hubby Dax Shepard), but won’t let her post-baby body be a focus in the media. And though she rarely has time for a major pampering session, she loves to indulge in a manicure and some lipstick (us, too!). Most recently, the Neutrogena Naturals brand ambassador is busy spreading the word about saving water with the Every Drop Counts campaign. Keep reading for the whole scoop.
Tell us about the Every Drop Counts campaign.
“It’s a campaign throughout the month of October that’s intention is to raise awareness about domestic water issues. It’s a partnership between Neutrogena Naturals and the Nature Conservancy with the goal of saving one million gallons of water throughout the month of October. This is the third year we’ve done it and it was massively successful last year. We saved almost two million gallons. On Neutrogena’s Facebook page, you pledge to save water in a variety of ways and you are entered to win a cool trip and there’s weekly eco-giveaways so it’s a way to make it fun and show you that you don’t have to be extreme to make a big impact collectively.”
Why does the campaign mean so much to you personally?
“I’m a big fan of awareness campaigns because change always starts with an idea. When people think of water issues, it’s often considered an international problem and not a lot of people are aware that we have domestic water issues as well and that it’s important to acknowledge that water is not an endless resource while simultaneously realizing how simple it is to help out. It’s a really, really easy thing to do, just to turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. It’s not a sacrificial campaign, it’s just awareness about not wasting.”
We know you just became a new mom to baby Lincoln—congratulations! And you’ve been very vocal about not stressing over your weight post-baby. We’re all about body confidence, so how did you get to that point?
“Well, my main priority after having the baby was spending time with the baby and not losing the weight. I think often times the media creates this shameful narrative about women concentrating solely on their body size post-pregnancy as opposed to the fact that they just made magic! They just literally spit out another human life. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is! So I made a commitment to not allow that to be my narrative and I’ve been very vocal about it for a reason because I want women to know that it doesn’t have to be theirs either. I’m not down to my pre-baby weight; I don’t know when I’ll get there. I’m eating healthy, and I’m active and I’m spending a ton of time with my kid and that’s all I really care about. I’ve looked into how to get more cardio into my routine so I could attempt to get back to my original size so I started jogging. I’ll jog two to three times a week for 10-20 minutes. Nothing intense but just something to burn a little extra and I also do Pilates which I find is really helpful for more muscle tone. Obviously everything gets real stretchy in the middle when you’re having a baby so that helps.”
That’s a very healthy and sane mind set!
“You know, if my body never goes back to the twig I was before, who cares? I’m fine with it. If this is my shape for the rest of my life, I’m fine with it. I don’t really care what everyone else thinks about it, I’m completely fine with my shape.
Confidence is key! So in terms of eating, what are some of your favorite healthy meals or snacks?
“Nuts are a big part of what I snack on. I’m really loving these bars, called This Bar Saves a Life. For every bar purchased a life-saving nutritional packet is given to a child in need. When I was pregnant, malnutrition and kids not having enough food really started resonating with me and so I love snacking on those and I keep them everywhere because they’re delicious and it also makes me feel really good to buy them because it supports a good cause. My go-to at night is a really huge salad but not a lame salad. My salad is a little more like a casserole. I start with something substantial on the bottom like I’ll put a cup of lentils or a cup of bulgar but when I make a bulgar I make it with a vegetable broth so it doesn’t taste like bulgar and then put loads of greens. Then I add every fruit and vegetable possible. I’ll add cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, celery, walnuts and you can add or subtract depending on your taste but I say the more the merrier. Then I usually add a taste of nutritional yeast, which is really high in B vitamins and has seven grams of protein per tablespoon. Then on the top I fry some broccoli or broccolini in an olive oil spray and sprinkle in garlic salt. Throw that on the top and it’s a party. It feels like your eating. I love salad but I do not like salad when I don’t feel like I’m eating food.”
You sound like you know your foods stats, do you like to cook?
“I love it! I’m food obsessed but in a healthy way. It’s never a negative for me. I read the back of everything and know the contents of everything but I never use it in a negative way. I really believe in reading labels. I think you should be obsessed with reading labels. But be careful not to let that tiny insecure voice turn it against you.”
We know it’s nearly impossible to let beauty be on top of your list when you’re a busy mom with a busy career. So how do you find ways to fit it into your schedule and find time for yourself?
“I really like a good manicure—that’s one way that I feel beautiful. Since I use my hands a lot doing housework or dishes or whatever, I like looking down and seeing clean, beautiful nails. For my skin, I really find that less is more. It’s always been that way I think because I have sensitive skin. I think in a product-obsessed world, of which I’m a participant, do not get me wrong. I have to check myself in with what my skin actually needs not what my next-door neighbor’s skin needs. That’s why I really do like the Neutrogena Naturals line so much because it’s really effective. There’s no harsh chemicals, sulfates, parabens in it at all and it’s just enough for me. I use the Purifying Facial Cleanser ($8, neutrogena.com) and it balances my skin. I let my skin take the lead basically and I’ve found that to be really effective. And it’s not often promoted like that. Beauty routines are usually about the more the merrier.”
[To help the water conservancy cause, Neutrogena will contribute 10% of the purchase price of each Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cleanser sold to The Nature Conservancy through October 31st.]
When you’re running out the door, is there one makeup or hair product you always like to have on?
“It’s probably lips. I use a lot of lip balm because I tend to not wear makeup in my daily life. I do love the Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Sticks ($7, neutrogena.com). The colors are really good. For me, if you’re running out of the house really quickly and your only goal is to not look like a corpse, one swipe of those, you don’t even have to look in the mirror; it’s easy.”