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Kitchen Beautician: Spruce Up Your Beauty Routine with Baking Soda

Written on February 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm , by

That little orange box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($3, drugstore.com) isn’t just for your favorite cookie recipe or absorbing funky smells in your fridge anymore. It’s actually a super-convenient (and inexpensive) way to give your beauty routine a boost. Here are some new ways to use it.

Exfoliating manicure & pedicure:
The next time you go to change your polish, try this: make a paste with three parts baking soda to one part water. Apply it to your hands and nails or feet and legs and gently rub in a circular motion to exfoliate and smooth. Rinse clean with warm water and paint away.

Hair detoxifier:
Nix product buildup in your hair by sprinkling in a quarter-size amount of baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly.

Natural deodorant:
Dust Arm & Hammer (the handy shaker version works best for this) under your arms or in your shoes as needed to feel fresh all day.  The baking soda neutralizes acids and bases to remove odors rather than just covering them up.

Soothing bath soak:
Ease tired muscles after a long day at the office or a tough workout by adding a ½ cup of baking soda to your bath—when combined with water, it’ll soften your skin and sooth mild irritation like a sunburn or bug bite.

Brightening mouthwash:
Make your pearly whites sparkle by adding one teaspoon of baking soda to a ½ glass of water and swish the solution around in your mouth (being careful not to swallow) and rinse.

 

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.”

Senior Editor Bethany Gumper’s DIY Nail Art!

Written on June 6, 2012 at 10:29 am , by

Bethany's beautiful two-toned manicure!

When Senior Editor Bethany Gumper came by our desk showing off her DIY nail art, we had to share: The dual-toned mint green and purple manicure is perfect for late spring/early summer, and looks intricate but is super-easy to do. She modified these simple instructions from Julie Kandalec, a celebrity manicurist in New York City in our May 2012 “Nail It!” feature:

  • Paint on two coats of a base color, like mint green, and let your nails dry.
  • Using an accent color, such as lilac, swipe two more coats over half of your nail.
  • Finish with a topcoat for shine and staying power.

Makeover Monday: Six Steps to a Salon Blowout

Written on November 1, 2010 at 9:24 am , by

master-class-0710-10-deThis past month I decided it was time for a change, and my mane was the target. I didn’t want to do anything drastic, so I took the advice of my stylist and traded in my flat iron for a blow dryer and round brush. My hair is now injected with bounce and volume—a look I would have never been able to achieve otherwise.

Here’s how to achieve your own perfect blowout:

1)   Always start with heat protectant! This is key for preventing heat damage and maintaining shine. Try one that repairs as it protects, like Matrix Biolage Thermal Active Repair Gloss, for double the benefit. To add volume, Pantene Celebrity Stylist Danilo also suggests using a spray gel, like the Pantene Fine Heat Protection & Shine Spray.

2)   Part damp hair into even sections and pin up with plastic clips. The smaller the section, the faster and more easily you’ll finish the blowdry.

3)   Starting with the bottom layers, grip the round brush in your right hand and place at the root of your first section, with hair falling on top of it. Choose a brush with boar bristles, which distribute hair’s natural oils and maximize shine. A wide ceramic barrel is ideal for adding volume and holding heat longer to shorten drying time.

4)   Place the blow dryer (on high) directly above the strands and slowly move the brush downward through the length of the hair, repeating until dry. When you reach the ends, twirl the brush around the hair for a couple of seconds to add dimension and give that “I just stepped out of a salon” appearance. Don’t keep the heat in one spot, Danilo warns: “This can bake your strands and cause stress on the hair, leaving it fried. Evenly distribute heat throughout the hair when blow drying.”

5)   Repeat step 4 until the entire head is complete and looking fabulous! Remember to move slowly and take your time. Practice really does make perfect, especially when attempting a blowout!

6)   Finish with a small amount of glossing serum, such as Organix Nourishing Milk Anti-Breakage Serum.

Follow these steps and you’ll be on the road to bouncy hair in no time! What are you best at-home blowout tricks?

-Nina Ramadan, beauty intern