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Want a Makeover from Yours Truly?

Written on July 25, 2014 at 9:17 am , by

My favorite part about being a beauty director is helping women feel better about themselves (playing with products is a close second). None of us are perfect but I’ve learned a few insider beauty tricks over the years that I love to share. Those of you who live in the tristate area can come get them first hand. On Thursday, August 7th, I’ll be at the Clarins’ counter at Saks Fifth Avenue from 12pm-7pm chatting with women just like you! For the past few years, I’ve participated in Beauty Editor Day and it’s always an amazing experience. Whether you want a new makeup look (I’m the master at smoky eyes!), need skin care advice (on zits to wrinkles) or just want to ask me your burning beauty questions, book a 20-minute appointment here. Participants get a cool free gift but even more exciting, the proceeds from your $30 session go toward Look Good Feel Better, a charity that helps cancer patients regain confidence during and after treatment. Post-consultation, you’ll look gorgeous and feel great, I promise. Hope to see you there!

Jennifer Hudson On her Role with Weight Watchers and How Her Short Hair Motivates Her to Work Out

Written on February 21, 2014 at 11:38 am , by

Jennifer Hudson has come a long way since she first graced the stage as a finalist in the third season of American Idol. As a Grammy-award winning singer, she went on to star in the silver screen blockbuster Dreamgirls, which earned her a Golden Globe, SAG award and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. After the birth of her first child, she announced she was joining Weight Watchers in 2010 and has since been a success story (dropping from a size 16 to a 6) and spokesperson for the brand.  She discusses her journey in her book I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down ($15, amazon.com). We nabbed some time with her and Weight Watchers’ chief scientific officer, Karen Miller Kovach as they awarded Baltimore with a healthy community grant on behalf of Weight Watchers.

Tell us about what you guys are doing today in Baltimore.
Miller-Kovach: “Weight Watchers is and always has been very committed in terms of ensuring that our program and services are available throughout the world because we’re not just a United States company. We decided to formalize a little bit and so the healthy community grant came out of that and has been awarded to three cities. It was a highly competitive grant process and was judged by a group of independent judges. So a small, a large and a medium city were selected. We’re in Baltimore today, which is the large city that was selected. And celebrating their record and proven ability to provide, within the community, a holistic approach to health and well-being. So, this is a celebration, I think for the community, it’s a celebration for weight watchers to recognize and renew our commitment to healthy living, to weight management and to being an active player in reversing the tide of obesity that exists in our nation.”

Awesome! And Jennifer what does it mean to you to be involved in this type of program?
Hudson: “I think it’s amazing! One of my new year’s resolutions was to help change lives and that’s what this will do. It will give people a new start and direction. So I’m excited to be a part of it!”

What are some healthy habits that you’ve adopted in achieving your health goals?
“I think all around just making healthier choices and decisions. Drinking water, I’m not a water girl but I have to do that. Because that’s important and knowing what’s important for the body not eating just for fun. Being conscious of what I’m taking in.”

What type of workouts helped you achieve and maintain your transformation?
“What I like most, if I’m going to workout, is being outside. I love being outside! I love being able to enjoy things while I’m working out. So I love jogging because I want to be out. I’ve noticed that if I’m in a nice climate, it inspires me to workout more and be more active. Since I’m in Chicago it’s much colder, so you might not feel like working out which makes it more difficult. So when I can embrace the beautiful air, I love to get out and go running. And just most importantly, making sure I’m enjoying whatever I’m doing. Whether it’s doing squats, whether it’s jogging, whether it’s jumping rope, riding a bike, I like to make it fun so I want to do it again. You want to carry it on. So if you’re enjoying it you’ll do it over and over again. I like to make it fun!”

Have you found to have any snacks that give you energy throughout the day, or to have before or after a workout?
“Actually I love a banana! That’s my favorite, if you want to call that a snack! It’s good because it gets that fiber in there, gets your system going and gives you plenty of energy and it’s no points! So that’s something that I love to have. Before I eat anything in the morning I make sure I have a banana or something because it’s filling and you don’t ever want to be too hungry. Because you don’t want to go to the gym, do a workout and then you’re starving, then you’re going to eat anything. If you have something that’s quick, you can grab out of your bag. To me it’s the most fulfilling fruit there is. Eat that up and I’m good to go!”

In terms of your beauty routine, are there any makeup tricks or hair tricks that you like to do before a night out or something to boost your confidence?
“Well, I cut my hair and I think that’s like a weight loss goal for people. A lot of times it’s a goal when you’re going through weight loss. You know it’s like ‘if I ever lose weight I’m going to cut my hair!’ So I cut my hair so I can show off my facial structure and things like that. It’s fun being able to experiment with the new me and discovering who I am now. Like I had the big girl look down, no I’m like ‘okay, what’s my style now?’ Like re-discovering myself and it’s fun! You know, every girl wants to play dress up! So I’m getting to play dress up with myself and find my new self!”

Have you found it to be easier to maintain and to style?
“It is, I think it’s fun and it’s funky! It’s a lot of things but it’s definitely easier to maintain than longer hair. And it inspires me to workout more because I can’t hide behind the hair! If you’ve got short hair you can see my arms and my back, you know what I mean? It inspires me to push even further to work out!”

 

The Genius Behind Our February Short Hair Makeovers: Meet Celebrity Stylist Jen Atkin  

Written on January 17, 2014 at 8:00 am , by

Jen Atkin is the mane mastermind behind some of Hollywood’s hottest hair (think: the Kardashians, Katy Perry and Sophia Vergara) as well as the celeb stylist for Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy. When we planned our February hair feature Chopped, we just knew we had to work with her. On set, she spilled these tips for getting the cut you want and leaving the salon happy. Avoid a hack job by going to your next appointment prepared. “Bring photos, especially if you’re making a big change,” suggests Atkin. Or create a Pinterest board of looks you like and scroll through it with your stylist on your smart phone. Just be ready to shift your expectations depending on your texture and the time you’re willing to spend working with it. “It’s so important to be honest about how high- or low-maintenance you want your cut to be,” she says. To see videos of three readers’ major makeovers, click here, here and here.

Celeb Esthetician Renee Rouleau Answers Your Biggest Skin Questions

Written on August 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

We all want our bodies to look lean and strong, so we hit the gym hard, but those sweat-inducing workouts can sometimes wreak havoc on our skin. Renee Rouleau, Esthetician and Skin Care Expert, gets it—as a CrossFit addict, she knows all about wanting to tone up without having to deal with embarrassing breakouts or runny sunscreen. So we asked her to answer some of your top workout-related skin-care Q’s.

In terms of skin health, how important is it to drink water before and after a workout?
“Since you lose so much water from perspiration, it’s crucial to replace it by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after workouts. The electrolyte-replacing drinks are especially helpful for re-hydrating the body. From a skin-care standpoint, research concludes that drinking water is the least efficient way to hydrate the skin. Skin hydration levels have much more to do with what you are using topically on the skin. A product like the Renée Rouleau Skin Drink ($38, reneerouleau.com) helps hydrate the skin very well. Apply it post-workout to restore hydration.”

I like to wear a headband or a bandana to prevent sweat from dripping down my face, but will that cause breakouts?
“I wouldn’t recommend headbands, bandanas or even hats across the forehead as they can cause a build up of oil and perspiration in the pores which will result in little clogged bumps or acne. If your skin is not prone to breakouts, this may not be an issue for you. If you find that you’re getting clogged pores, try to keep your accessory further back on your hairline but not directly across the forehead.”

How bad is it to wear makeup to the gym?
“Eye makeup and lipstick are fine to wear.  Should you really feel the need to wear foundation, try mineral-based powders as they are sweat-resistant, breathable and won’t clog pores. Either way, you want to clean the skin and remove oils and sweat post-workout.”

I like to remove all my makeup before a workout, but then my skin feels a little dry.  Is applying a moisturizer before sweating OK?
“When you exercise, your skin loses water due to evaporation, leaving the skin dehydrated. Dehydrated skin increases surface lines and causes skin cells to die prematurely, leading to aging as well as dead skin cell build up and clogged pores. Using a lightweight moisturizer will help to retain the water in the skin. If you are exercising outdoors, it’s best to use a very light moisturizer with a sunscreen.”

I sometimes can’t shower immediately after the gym. Could that cause body acne?
“Showering immediately after a workout can definitely help keep your back clear. The people that are most likely to get back breakouts are the ones that produce excessive oil. Generally, those who have oily skin on their face will also have excessive oil production on the back as well. Since oil is a breeding ground for bacteria, one of the ways to reduce back breakouts is to shower often. Keeping the skin clean can make a huge difference. Exfoliate your back with a mild cleansing gel and exfoliating cloth three times a week and apply an anti-bacterial lotion to help keep your back clear.”

 I always apply sunscreen but I sweat a lot. Do I just sweat my sunscreen right off? If so, how can I stay protected besides wearing a hat?
“Apply your sunscreen prior to working out so it has time to absorb fully. No sunscreen can withhold intense sweating so it’s important to reapply often. You can also apply a mineral powder with SPF over your sunscreen for added protection. Most mineral powders tend to be water-resistant so they will hold up better to sweating and therefore keep you protected better. Since one of the major contributing factors to the aging process is the production of free radicals caused from exercise, it’s very important to take antioxidants to minimize the damage. One simple way to help suppress the free radical activity is to take Vitamin C (500 mg) thirty minutes prior to exercise. It takes about thirty minutes to dissolve in your system and activate, so while you are exercising you’re sure to have full Vitamin C protection for the cells in your body.”

E! News’ Catt Sadler Spills her Style, Fitness and Beauty Secrets

Written on May 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm , by

Catt Sadler brings us the latest entertainment news every day as a co-anchor on E! News, but it’s her chic style that’s garnering headlines this time. She’s teamed up with Scotch-Brite (you know, the home cleaning products’ company) to give you the chance to win $5,000 toward a new wardrobe and a personal style consultation with Sadler through their First Impressions Photo Contest. Here, the working mom of two shares some of her styling secrets, the best ways to make a good impression, as well as, her favorite workouts and beauty tricks.

So tell us about the contest.
It’s very cool. Essentially we’re encouraging people, fashionistas especially, to make their best first impression by uploading a photo of themselves to the Scotch Brite Facebook page with a couple lines below it as to why they are making the best first impression. The contest goes through May, and then in June, our judges will narrow the participants down to fifteen finalists. In mid-June, the public can go online and vote for their favorites until it’s narrowed down to three finalists. Then, I will pick the final winner, and they’ll get a $5,000 wardrobe makeover, which is pretty awesome, and an online style consultation with me. We’ll have an online chat situation where I can answer questions and give them tips or even look at their wardrobe and help them get rid of stuff.”

What’s your best advice for making a good first impression?
“Well, I have a couple of tips. Some of them are pretty traditional style advice like mixing highs and lows [prices]. I think everybody knows that’s a good way to go when you’re shopping. I don’t think you need to throw a lot of money into the really trendy things like floral blouses that are in. You can buy those for cheap, but then you’ve got those investment pieces like [points to her Chloé bag] this.  Yes, I did invest in this little puppy. But I will have this forever and if I have a little girl, I’ll pass it down. These are timeless pieces that certainly supplement any outfit nicely, so splurge on the pieces that are going to be around for a while. I do something called ‘last looks’ everyday before going on TV, which I think can be good advice for girls before they leave their house: smooth your flyalways or get the lipstick off your teeth. And that ties directly to the Scotch Brite Printed Lint Rollers ($4, staples.com) because you don’t want little fuzzies all over you. You have to do that ‘last look’ to make sure you’re crisp, chic, looking good before heading out the door. If I had to pick one other one it would have little to do with fashion and that’s just more about the energy and the spirit that you convey. I think that’s huge when you’re making a first impression. Whatever it is that you want to convey to whomever it is, your boss, or a hot guy at the bar, you want it to be the best representation of yourself.”

 What’s your style advice when it comes to working out—do you care about looking trendy at the gym or do you just throw on clothes and go?
“Well, I rarely work out in a gym because I’m a mom of two and working full-time and I travel quite a bit. I do workout in the hotel gyms if I’m on the road, but I don’t belong to a gym per se. But I still do care about how I look and that’s because I feel like, without question, I do a better workout if I feel like I look better. I am thoughtful about what I put on, less about color and more about fit.  Even in my house, I do the Tracy Anderson DVDs. She’s a friend of mine and I’ve been doing those DVDs for a long time. I have a wall mirror so, I may not be in the gym but I’m still looking at myself and the more I see change in my body and the better I look and the cuter I look in that pair of shorts, the longer I tend to workout. So, it does matter.”

You mentioned doing DVDs but do you have any other favorite workouts?
“You know, those methods are pretty strict in that you do it six days a week for an hour at a time, and I certainly do not do that. I’m like most people; I go in waves. I work out really hard for six weeks and then I don’t do anything for a month. You know, I just think it’s the way we all realistically are in our daily lives. I try to move no matter what. My kids and I, we go hiking or I ride bikes with them, but other than really doing those videos, I will mostly just run. That’s my thing. When it’s gorgeous in L.A., like why am I in my living room doing DVDS? Get out the door! I always thought running was challenging. I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than three miles in my life, I’ve never done a marathon or anything, but the better you get at it and the more fit you are, the longer you want to go. So I was actually just interviewing a bunch of Olympic athletes that are hopefuls for the Sochi Olympics and this cross-country skier was telling me you just need to go to the ‘pain cave.’ And I was like, ‘what’s the pain cave?’ It’s about this whole mental place you have to go. If you can get yourself 30 seconds, then that turns into another minute and then that’s three more minutes. So I think of this now and I go to the ‘pain cave’ and then when I’m running I’m like, ‘You can do it! Don’t stop!’”

What are some go-to healthy meals or snacks that you make for yourself and your kids?
“I’m not a cook; I’m not going to make that up. We’ve gotten really into seaweed and kale. That has become our replacement for chips. They actually like it and that’s awesome, and it’s actually easy for me to do. I just put raw kale on a baking sheet and throw some olive oil and some salt and pepper and put it in the oven and then it becomes crispy and they’ll eat it for days.”

What are some of your best beauty tricks that you picked up from being on television everyday?
“For starters, when it comes to hair, I think showing your face is always a really good thing to do. There was that period when it was really trendy to have your hair in a middle part and you’re all covered up. But I definitely don’t think that’s the way you want to go, especially when it comes to making a good first impression. I think people should show their face more. That helps. The other thing is, and it’s tricky these days with high-def television, but I think skin is really important. Of course they put a ton of makeup on me with being on TV and of course we all want to appear flawless with our foundation, but I think you want to look like you have skin.  You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a mask ever. The only other last trick, which applies to television and real life, and my obsession, is contouring. You don’t need the bone structure because it becomes your bone structure. I think it can make a night and day difference, but it’s about choosing the right product, whatever that is. Some makeup artists I work with use a dark stick foundation; I’m not as big a fan of that. I just like a dark bronzer, and the right brush, and just don’t overdue it because then you can look crazy leaving the house and that’s not the goal.”

15 Minutes With Celeb Chef + Clairol Natural Instincts Ambassador Giada De Laurentiis

Written on June 25, 2012 at 11:13 am , by

Our two favorite subjects— beauty and food!— collided when we sat down with celebrity chef and cookbook writer Giada De Laurentiis at a Manhattan hotel last week. Here’s what the new spokeswoman for Clairol Natural Instincts (and yes, she’s just as stunning, down-to-earth and sweet in person as she is on TV! Her shade? #12 Toasted Almond) had to say about…

Working with Clairol “Being a chef and a cook, a long time ago I was told that beauty deals don’t really come for people like myself. I always try to bring glamour and beauty and sensuality into the kitchen and into Italian food, so I thought it wouldn’t be that crazy of an idea, but it’s very competitive. I was so honored when they actually to a leap of faith and picked me. We have the same philosophy: I believe in a balanced lifestyle, and Natural Instincts makes you feel good about your hair. It makes it shiny, silky and smooth. And I’m a working mom, so I don’t have three hours to spend in a salon: This masks and blends in grays and brings out the golden hues in 10 to 15 minutes, which is what every woman wants.
The best thing about boxed color “I had never used their boxed color before, and I fell madly in love with the included conditioner. That conditioner rocks. I use it once a week on the last two to three inches of my hair, where it gets dry because of all the blow-drying. It gives that extra bounce, as if I just got a trim.”
Her biggest hair color mishap  “I lived in Paris when I was younger at cooking school and I was inspired by the Parisian women who have jet black hair and white, white skin. So, I decided to dye my hair jet black—a big, fat mistake. And it took me a long time to get that color out.”
The product that never leaves her bagCoverGirl LashBlast Mascara. I carry a little mascara, some sunscreen with a tint, a little bit of blush and just balm. I use that Rosebud Salve in Strawberry because my daughter is four and she’ll kiss my lips even more because she loves that flavor and it just smells good. That and I can just go with my regular life—to go to school, go to the grocery store, run errands, whatever.
The secret to her amazing hair “I get a blowout once a week and make it last the full week. I have curly, dry hair, and if I washed it more than that, it would break. And my blow-dry looks better as it sits— the second, third, fourth day. The dirtier it gets, the better! In the morning, I don’t brush my hair: I just flip it over, back up and go. I don’t pull out a curling iron or any of that—I don’t have the time nor the patience.
And skin (hint: It’s in your pantry) “I don’t go to bed with makeup on, and I exfoliate every single night with a mix of olive oil and baking soda. The olive oil gives moisture and baking soda takes out any other stuff on my skin. I don’t leave it on—I just scrub and rinse. It gives my face this wonderful glow, and I don’t have to wear as much makeup during the day.”
Five things always in her kitchen “Olive oil, different shapes of pasta made from different flours like brown rice, lentil, etc., jarred tomato sauce (disclosure: I sell my own pastas and tomato sauces at Target), frozen peas, jarred artichokes and frozen shrimp. You can whip up a meal with that.”
Advice for novice cooks “You don’t need to cook, you can just assemble. Let’s say you want to bring something to someone’s house: You can make a beautiful caprese salad that’s colorful, especially now in summertime. Take lots of different colored tomatoes, heirloom, vine-ripened, whatever, then slice with fresh mozzarella and layer with basil on a platter. Top it with a little extra virgin olive oil and some smoked salt, which enhances all of the flavors and tingles your tastebuds. And you’re done—you haven’t “cooked” a thing. Number two: Have a great knife. A sharp, really nice knife that feels good in your hand will help build your confidence in the kitchen.”
One food she’d never give up “Chocolate. When I was shooting Everyday Italian, I would keep paper cups of Ghirardelli chocolate chips in the freezer for a little chocolate fix in the afternoon. When they’re cold, they take longer to melt in your mouth, so a little bit goes a longer way. Right now, I love my iced Americanos with agave—that’s my treat.
Her hubby’s favorite dish “Penne with spicy sausage, mushrooms and peas. It’s a sauce-less pasta: I sauté them all together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. That’s it, my friends, that’s it! It can be very, very easy. Another one of my favorites is lemon spaghetti, which is just lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper, tossed with spaghetti. That’s a stapleyou can add any protein to it.”
How she stays so slim “I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. I taste a lot, but I don’t really eat full plates of food, ever. I do yoga four days a week, usually at 5:30AM before work. And I paddle board with my husband. It’s great core exercise and very Zen because you get away from land for a bit, which is quiet and peaceful.”
Staying fresh-faced on the go “When I’m shooting, it gets hot. So I use Evian water mist on my face constantly to rehydrate, rather than sticking on more and more powder. My skin just soaks it up. And I always wear sunscreen—day or night, rain or shine. When I paddle surf, I wear a full wetsuit and a hat. I look like the biggest loser on the planet, but I don’t care. My husband’s always like, ‘I can’t see you! Where are you? Where’s your face?’”
Her guilty pleasure “Lately it’s been croutons. I love making them. I’m talking good ones with cheese and lots of olive oil. Earlier this year, I’d carry little baggies of croutons to snack on when I got sick of almonds!”
She doesn’t mind splurging on “Travel—we just went to Rome. But, I’m not going to lie, I love shoes and jewelry. But a splurge doesn’t necessarily have to have an expensive price tag. It’s just taking a little extra time and doing something that makes you feel good about yourself.”

Spot On

Written on June 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm , by

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If anyone knows the truth about acne, it’s Katie Rodan, M.D., and Kathy Fields, M.D., the dermatologist founders of billion-dollar blemish brand Proactiv. To kick off June National Acne Awareness Month, we’re sharing some surprising acne facts from their book, The Doctors’ Secrets to a Lifetime of Clear Skin:

  • Acne is the #1 skin disease in the world—in the U.S., 85 percent of people have it sometime in their lives.
  • They might do a number on your waistline, but sweets like chocolate and soda, and greasy foods like French fries don’t cause acne.
  • It may seem like the sun dries up your pimples, but sun exposure actually makes acne worse over time: Your skin sheds the UV-damaged cells, which clog pores and can trigger breakouts.
  • The dark spots that appear on skin after a blemish are called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: Unlike acne scars, they’re not permanent but can take weeks to heal.
  • Don’t spot treat: The red pimple that erupts on your skin is actually the last stage of a blemish’s life. Always treat your whole face to attack acne at every stage (even when it’s not yet visible).
  • Keep products with the zit-fighting ingredient benzoyl peroxide away from clothes and fabrics; it’s oxidizing action will bleach them.
  • Avoid facial scrubs with ground fruit or nut bits, like apricot pits or walnut, when trying to deep-clean skin: Their sharp edges can make micro-tears in your skin, causing further inflammation and irritation.
  • Don’t wash your face more than twice a day: Stripping your skin of oil prompts your body to produce more, exacerbating acne and oiliness.