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Musings Of The Decolletage

In beauty, skincare on August 5, 2020 at 10:52 am

“I think that each woman, whatever age, needs to recognize something good in her body.  Someone has beautiful legs, someone has beautiful hair, someone else has beautiful decolletage or a beautiful waist or beautiful hands.  Everyone has something great.”  Carine Roitfeld.

 

Many of us know the importance of taking care of our skin.  And for those of us who have a serious skin care routine in place, we usually don’t spare any expense to ensure our skin is radiant, smooth and blemish free.

With that being said, have you ever stopped to consider all of the places you actually apply said skincare?  I mean we apply our various beauty potions on our face and even have a cream or two for the delicate eye area but did you know that you should bring all of  your skincare down to your nipples?  Yes.  Your nipples.  You see, our face actually starts (or stops- however you choose to look at it) at our nipples and skincare should include the area between the bust area all the way up to your hairline.  According to some, the décolletage technically starts at the bottom of your earlobes right down to the areola.

For Mature Audiences Only

Conversations about décolletage can conjure many different emotions.  For some, it is seen as sexy and beautiful – something to be shown off and admired.  For others, it can be seen as something shameful or something to be covered.  Boys drool over it and girls imagine their best lives with it.  Whatever your thoughts are about it – whether it’s something to see or not see – that isn’t the point of this particular discussion.  The point is the decolletage area is skin that should be cared for.

Your décolletage is actually more delicate than the skin on your face.  It contains no follicles or sweat glands.  And  like your hands, your décolletage, which includes the neck and chest area, usually shows the first signs of aging.  Lifestyle habits whether good or not so good – impact what any of our delicate skin looks like as well.  Other factors that affect what our decolletage and the rest of our skin looks like are:

  • Aging.  What else is there to say?  It is the process of life and our bodies go through many changes as we age.  Fortunately, there are many products (and procedures) available to help us age gracefully instead of looking like we have crashed and burned.
  • UV Rays.  UV rays, in addition to the natural aging process, ultraviolet rays cause collagen and elastin to break down causing us to experience an increase in wrinkles and loss of firmness.  Long term exposure to UV rays – childhood through early adulthood  –  also helps to accelerate the aging process.
  • Diet.  Not being the food police here  – eat whatever you want and enjoy.  The fact still remains that what we put in our bodies will show up on the outside of our bodies and on our skin – whether good or not so good.
  • Gravity.  Like aging, gravity is a mutha.  It can really be a drag so it is important to re-evaluate your beauty and lifestyle routine as you progress in age.

So what do you need to do to ensure that your deocolletage gets the care and attention it deserves?  Treat this area the same way you would your face.  After all, we spend a lot of time and money on our faces.  We don’t want our décolletage to look 30 years older than the rest of us.

  • Cleanse.  Since this area is more delicate use a gentle cleanser.  A cleanser with brightening or treatment ingredients are also options if you have specific concerns about this particular area.  Rinse and pat dry.
  • Exfoliate.  Once or twice a week, use a gentle exfoliator or buffing cream to slough  off dead skin cells.  You can also choose to use a device such as a Clarisonic that has  the attachment for body or buffing gloves that will cleanse and smooth the area as well.
  • Treat/Firm.  Those same treatment/firming serums and oils you use for your face, bring them down to the neck and chest area.  Gently massage the product into your skin.
  • Moisturize.  Never forget this step which will help keep this area soft and supple.  Remember there are no sebaceous glands so this area can tend to be more dry.
  • Sunscreen.  Just like we use sunscreen for all of  the other areas of our bodies, it’s important to use sun protection in this area, especially when that area is exposed.  Remember that prolonged exposure to UV rays accelerates the aging process which leads to wrinkles.
  • SleepSleep has regenerative properties not only for our brains and physical body but also for our skin.  Lack of sleep ages the skin therefore making our skin more lackluster and vulnerable to aging.  And when you do sleep, try doing so on your back which can help prevent wrinkles and creasing on your face and chest area.  Sleep wrinkles really are a thing.
  • Posture.  Many of us find ourselves slumped over desks, laptops, and cell phones which compromises good posture.  Remember to sit and stand with shoulders back and our heads up like we are balancing a stack of books.  Walking should take on a similar fashion, as if there is a gentle wind in the small of our backs.  Sure it feels strange and uncomfortable initially but it will help you in so many ways in the long run.
  • Glow.  This is of the utmost importance, especially when wearing low cut to lower plunging necklines.  We love our bronzer and highlight on our faces – it’s equally important to not forget the decolletage.
  • Lift The Girls Up.  With a good  bra (or good underwear for that matter) you can conquer the world.  A proper fitting bra will  help with posture, make your clothes look better and help the girls to sit up nicely, reducing pressure off your back and possibly help the skin not to sag as much.

Products to consider adding to your décolletage skincare repertoire:

 

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6  Beauty Products Or Concepts I Am Investing In

In makeup on August 3, 2020 at 9:01 am
Image Courtesy of Skitterphoto from Pexels

 

As if any of us need any more makeup or skincare that isn’t just a refill.

Usually when there is a slew of new beauty products that are supposed to be the hottest trends of the season, I just roll my eyes.  I’ve seen and used a lot in my day on myself and on clients and my thought process is that some products are just not necessary or that I have something that works just as well or better. But every now and again a new product or concept makes it’s way onto the scene or a product from back in the day will have a bit of a resurgence and I have to take note.  Or make a purchase.  Whatever the case, below are 6 such products, concepts, or categories that I own or that I’m about to own:

Lip Oils.  While you shall never forget all of the wonderful things a bold red lip (matte) can do for you, there is definitely a movement toward shiny lips.  And not just a regular shine but a high shine which is a departure from the sometimes aggressive finish of our favorite matte lip stains.  Lip oils provide the smoothing and moisturizing benefits of a balm and the shine of a gloss without the extra stickiness. Options range from clear to sheer washes of color and can be found anywhere from your local drug store to your favorite department/beauty retailer.  Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss 

Clean And Sustainable Brands.  Sustainability, not only in fashion but in beauty is becoming the industry standard.  What we will continue to see now and hopefully in years to come are brands that are reformulating to become clean but who are also changing/upgrading their packaging to become sustainable.  These brands are also considering ways to give back to the environment and community and looking for ways to reduce packaging all together.  Also, in the past, clean/natural makeup and skincare was not associated with ingredients that were high performing but this is no longer the case.  Brands are now able to offer amazing products such sheer serum based foundations, lip oils/tints, setting sprays and balmy highlighters that are not only good for you but also make you look amazing. Tower 28, nolaskinsentials, ilia

Primer Oils/Serum.  Primers have come a long way from silicone finishes that just create a barrier on the skin prior to foundation application.  Primers have upgraded with a lineup of ingredients that boast skin loving ingredients in the form of oil.  These formulations can even be used as a part of your regular skincare routine.  Glossier Futuredew Oil Serum Hybrid 

Fluffy//Bushy Brows.   Brows will always be a personal thing and should ultimately be worn to compliment one’s features and personal style.  However, last year I saw bushy brows take center stage and still appears to be the move for many this season.  Not quite the highly constructed Instagram brow that many still wear but this brow is a bit more relaxed or free, if you will.  If you have more sparse brows, you can use a brow pencil or brow marker to achieve hair like strokes and if you have a fuller brow, you can use a brow gel (colored or clear) to fill or control the hairs. Benefit Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil, MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint, Anastaisa Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel

Glowing/Glass Skin.  We know that some of the best ways to achieve glowing skin is with a healthy lifestyle -getting plenty of rest, drinking water, healthy eating and minding your business.  We also know that a consistent skin care routine for your skin type is paramount to healthy, glowing skin.   If you want to level up on that glow, you can always your apply your favorite highlighter or illuminator.  However what I have seen gain more traction to add more of a glow to the skin are sprays and balms.  These sprays not only add glow but can be used to prime, set and refresh.  Balms aren’t necessarily iridescent shiny but can provide more of a natural glow.  Note:  If you find that you still need to use a powder to help control excessive shine, do so strategically in the hot spots such as the nose and forehead with the lightest application of powder in a pressing motion.   Pixi Glow Mist, Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Balm

Colored Mascara.  Although black mascara is a staple in many makeup arsenals, colored mascara is a wonderful alternative to the norm.  Whether you want a bold or subtle look colored mascara can be worn by itself for an alternative pop of color or in addition to a colorful eye look for maximum impact. Sephora Collection Volume On Mascara

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14 Products To Help You Get Rid Of Dark Spots

In beauty, skincare on July 31, 2020 at 10:12 am

I believe it is safe to say that anyone’s skin goal is to have clear, blemish free, glowing skin.  And while many of us may have a good skincare routine in place to support those goals, there are certain times in our lives where annoying discoloration rears its ugly head – better known as hyperpigmentation.

What exactly is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is the general term for the types of discoloration that show up on the skin and is caused (in simple terms) by the overproduction of or excess melanin production.  It can appear as pink or red spots/scarring in fair skin tones and as brown/black spots/scarring in deeper skin tones.  There are various causes (or results) of hyperpigmentation, the most common being melasma, sun exposure and post inflammatory.  Melasma is thought to be caused by (but not limited to) hormonal fluctuations, particularly from pregnancy or oral contraception use.  Sun exposure can cause discoloration from overexposure to tanning beds or lack of using a sunscreen.  Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is very common and can come from various skin trauma such as acne, eczema and other skin rashes.  Whatever the case, this type of persistent discoloration can cause a lot of frustration and your self confidence can suffer.

There are many solutions to treating hyperpigmentation.  One of many is in the doctor’s office with the use of lasers, peels, microdermabrasion or other procedures.  These can have various recovery times and result rates as well as the occasional higher price tag that may not fit in one’s budget.  Depending on the severity and depth of discoloration however, a trip to the doctor’s office may be the better option.

For cases that are mild to moderate,  there are many over the counter (OTC) solutions that can yield the results you may be looking for.  These solutions include serums, creams, toners, gels, peels and moisturizers.  When shopping for products, these are some key ingredients to look for:

  • Kojic Acid.  Derived from mushrooms.  Inhibits pigment production.
  • Arbutin.  Derived from bearberry.  It is a natural derivative of hydroquinone which is considered to be the gold standard in skin lightening.  Arbutin, aka alpha arbutin, is a pigment inhibitor and permits the slow release of actives, making it great for sensitive skin.
  • Glycolic Acid.  A well known AHA, glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and provides chemical exfoliation of the uppermost layers of dead skin cells which helps to fade discoloration.  Glycolic acid helps with smoother skin texture as well as helps to promote even skin tone and clarity as well as helps with signs of aging.
  • Lactic Acid.  An AHA derived from milk, lactic acid works in a way similar to glycolic acid.  It is thought to be more gentle and helps to exfoliate and brighten dark spots.
  • Retinol.  A derivative of vitamin A, retinol helps skin cells to regenerate more quickly, revealing smoother, brighter, more clear skin and addresses the signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles, collagen production, elasticity, dullness).  It is also an anti-inflammatory and can help clear skin and prevent acne.
  • Niacinamide.  A form of vitamin B3, niacinamide, which is easily absorbed into the skin, is also an anti-inflammatory.  It helps to unclog pores, reducing the blemishes which can eventually lead to dark spots.  Niacinamide also helps with oil production and helps to treat redness.
  • Vitamin C.  Derived from citrus fruit, vitamin C inhibits melanin production which can help keep new dark spots from occurring.  It is also a chemical exfoliant so it sloughs off dead skin cells.
  • Willowbark.  This ingredient can come from either the white or black willow bark tree.  It is a natural form of salicylic acid, a BHA that is used to treat acne and remove dead skin cells which leads to the eventual fading of dark spots.
  • Licorice Root.  Beyond the candy that you may have loved or hated as a child, licorice root hinders free radical production and excessive melanin production, both of which can lead to hyperpigmentation.
  • Hydroquinone.  Hydroquinone is a popular skin lightening agent found in many products that are created to address concerns of  discoloration.  It is a compound that works to block/hinder an enzyme in melanin production.

Before you head to the doctor’s office for a procedure, consider trying one of the following products first.  If you don’t see the results you are looking for then make an appointment at your doctor’s office:

  • Dr Murad Rapid Age Spot And Pigment Lightening Serum. $72.  Created with 2% hydroquinone (clinically proven to fade dark spots), glycolic (exfoliation) and a hexapeptide (skin brightening), this serum includes the ingredients to get you the results you are looking for.  It is intended to be applied all over but can also be  used as a spot treatment.
  • Ambi Fade Cream For Normal Skin $6.49  This cream also contains hydroquinone,  as well as alpha hydroxy acids and vitamin E to help even and hydrate the skin.
  • Sunday Riley Good Genes $85   Good Genes can be used either day or night.  It helps to plump fine lines and wrinkles, boosts radiance and smooths texture.  Good Genes also tackles uneven skin tone with lactic acid and licorice root extract.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector $22   The key ingredients of retinol and vitamin C create a gentle yet effective formula for getting rid of dark spots.
  • Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner $29 –    The high concentration of actives (glycolic and lactic acid as well as witch hazel water) allows you to swipe away dull skin, discoloration and even target fine lines and wrinkles.  Ingredients such as  chamomile helps to sooth the skin, making this toner gentle enough for daily use.
  • Cane + Austin Miracle +30% Glycolic Acid Peel Pad $88   These pre-medicated 30% glycolic acid pads allow you to swipe away dull skin, treat acne (including hormonal) and help target signs of aging.  Continual use can help with dark spots  and can be used daily – even on sensitive skin.
  • Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum $12  For just $12 this lightweight serum that can be used day and night contains tranexamic (specifically targets dark spots) and 4% niacinamide.  This serum also targets age spots and sun damage.
  • Dr Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum $92   This serum contains powerful ingredients to deliver office procedure level results.  Key ingredients of kojic, lactic and L-ascorbic acid as well as arbutin help to resurface the skin and not only targets post acne scarring and sun damage but also the signs of aging in just weeks.
  • Renee Rouleau Advanced Resurfacing Serum $86.50   This retinol cream is actually safe for sensitive skin and those who have not been able to tolerate other retinol  products.  Because it is a retinol, you will get the added benefit of targeting deeper signs of aging such as loss of collagen production and elasticity.
  • Beauty Counter Overnight Resurfacing Peel $63  Contains a mix of powerful AHA/BHA as well as arginine and essential fatty acids to help with smoother texture as well as brighter, more clear skin.
  • Slurp Niacid 50ml $42   Like other effective products, Slurp Niacid contains niacinamide and transexamic.  However, the added benefit is that this particular product also helps to raise indentations (pitting) that can be caused by severe acne.
  • PCA Skin Pigment Gel $64  The key ingredient of this gel is 2% hydroquinone and is effective on all skin types and all types of discoloration including hormonal and  sun damage
  • Clinique Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter $52.50    A brightening serum that helps with the discoloration of today with ingredients such as salicylic acid and glucosamine, but also helps to interrupt discoloration of the future with ingredients such as gyokuro and mulberry root.  Patented CL302 Equalizer Technology (damage eraser) penetrates up to 21 layers of  the skin.
  • Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution $54   This dark spot solution can be used as a spot treatment or all over the face (am and pm).  It contains 3 potent ingredients: Activated C (vitamin C) for clarity and even skin tone, white birch extract for hydration and nutrients and peony extract for prevention of oxidative damage.

Regardless of whatever skincare products you are using, be sure to use a sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF.

Do you struggle with  hyperpigmentation?  If so, what has been your go-to product to help clear up your skin?

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

9 Tips And Products For Your Color Treated Hair

In beauty, hair on June 22, 2020 at 6:38 am

There is nothing more exciting than adding hair color to an already amazing hair style. Whether it’s a single process, highlights, balayage or whatever other magic hair colorists are out here creating, hair color puts an extra pep in the step and more sway in those hips. It can take you from cute to devastatingly sexy and illuminate the complexion in the most angelic ways. You find yourself giving more eye contact in meetings and with that person you’ve been crushing on. You feel triumphant in so many ways. A true winner.

While getting your hair colored is amazing and somewhat life changing, the truth of the matter is that coloring your hair can have a downside if you don’t take the proper steps to ensure that your hair color remains as vibrant as the day you got it done and that your actual hair remains healthy.

Whether you DIY or have your hair colored professionally, aftercare is extremely important. This is where many people stumble and fall and one wrong move can put you on a path of many very bad hair days in the form of dryness, dullness, split ends and even hair loss. We already know that the daily in’s and out’s of hair styling can compromise the health of your hair (heat styling, UV damage, brushing, etc). Adding hair color to the mix only makes hair more vulnerable.

If you don’t have the resources of time and money or just don’t care enough to put in the daily effort for hair maintenance, do not color your hair. Coloring your hair adds another layer into your hair care routine that you may not have anticipated, especially if you are new to the hair color game.

Some things to remember when you are considering coloring your hair:

  • Healthy hair is the best foundation for great looking hair color. Not only can coloring your hair compromise hair health, dry damaged hair will not hold onto color as well or as long as healthy hair does and that is money wasted.
  • Consider a trim when you do color your hair (or get any other chemical process for that matter).
  • If you use styling tools, be sure to turn down the heat. This also includes not rinsing your hair in hot water as that can also ruin your hair color. Use cool or lukewarm water instead and be sure to use a heat protectant before using heat tools.
  • Always use conditioner – even if you don’t shampoo. It’s a good idea to use sulfate free shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair.  Also consider using shampoo and conditioner formulated for your specific hair color.  Doing so can help to color correct and support the tones in the hair.
  • Air dry your hair whenever you can.
  • Although this may not be ideal, consider washing your hair no more than 2-3 times a week. Also, don’t wash your hair the day after you get your hair colored – wait 72 hours.
  • Try using a pre-shampoo or an oil before shampooing to add a layer of protection to the hair before washing.
  • Do not sleep on wet hair which can cause damage or breakage.
  • Don’t let chlorine touch your hair.

Consider the following products to help maintain your hair color:

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

 

BLAH BLAH BLAH: How To Deal With A Conversation Hog

In etiquette, lifestyle on June 9, 2020 at 11:03 pm

Image Courtesy of Fauxels via Pexels

We’ve all  been there:  you’re on the phone with someone who drones on incessantly  with conversation, barely letting you get a word in edgewise.   Perhaps you’ve experienced this face to face – at work, over dinner at your favorite restaurant or in another social setting.

Wherever and whatever the case, the person doing all of the talking just won’t shut the f$%k up.  Like EVER.  Most of your attempts at contributing to the conversation are thwarted.  And every time you see this person coming down the hall or you see their name and number on the caller ID you roll your eyes because you know what’s about to happen.  As soon as you say  hello, they launch into a 100 mph conversation without ever checking to see if it’s really you on the phone, how your goldfish is doing, or if you are actually ok.  You feel trapped, plotting your escape just to be free from the never ending vortex of verbal diarrhea this person inflicts upon you.

You see, what we have here is a classic case of  the conversation hog.  A monopolizer of conversation.  Perhaps a conversation narcissist.

In many instances, the conversation hog may not even realize they are monopolizing the conversation.  They are usually oblivious for whatever  reason.  In an unintentional way, they are super focused on what they have to say, needing to sort out the contents of their mind and you, my friend, are their sounding board.  And it isn’t that what they have to say isn’t important but you would like the common courtesy extended to you to share in what is supposed to be a dialogue – not a monologue.  This conversational monopolization can also be a one off because the person is excited or concerned about something and really needs to talk which is definitely understandable.  In other cases, the conversation hog may actually be that self centered and not care about the people they are in conversation with.  If that is the case, you may want to consider limiting your conversation time with that person or cut that person off – especially if this occurs often.  Other characteristics of the conversation hog are:

  • People who take every single topic and turn it back to themselves.  For instance, you may share that you want to get a cat.  Instead of this person engaging you and asking questions about what kind of cat you want and if you have chosen a name,  they take over the topic and talk about how they also want a cat, how they are a cat whisperer and that they had cats growing up.  You never get to fully share your desire because the conversation hog rambles on and on about what they want in a cat.
  • People who rarely stop to listen.  You may have been granted an opportunity to actually speak (usually just an opportunity for the conversation hog to catch their breath) and you share some information like how your goldfish died only to not have this event in your life acknowledged or further engaged because  the conversation hog starts talking about all of their usually unrelated stuff.  To add insult to injury, they don’t even value you enough to remember that your goldfish died two weeks ago when you initially told them.
  • People who talk over you.  Yes – you start talking about something that is important to you and the conversation hog literally starts talking over you as if you weren’t mid-sentence.

So what, then, do you do when you cant seem to get a word in edgewise?

There are many things you can do, ranging from subtle to more direct which may give  a jolt of awareness to the conversation hog.  You never want to be mean or hurt someone’s feelings intentionally (or maybe you do) but there are instances where you will need to be a bit stern in your approach to get this particular person’s attention.  Below are several tips that you can use to help redirect the monologue to a more meaningful dialogue:

  • If it’s something they’ve told you for the millionth time you can actually say something like “Hey you’ve told me that several times before.”  Then use that opportunity to ask a question that will cause this person to think.  If it’s something they complain about often,  be bold but unconfrontational in asking them what  they are doing to change their situation or perspective.
  • Actively change the conversation.  Literally just change the subject and talk about what you want to talk about.
  • Turn up the volume on your verbal and non verbal expressions so as to get the attention of the rambler.  This might mean raising your voice to interrupt them. Maybe even perform a raucous clearing of the throat.  You might yawn (mouth covered of course), sigh loudly, raise your hand like you are in school or do the timeout sign to get the person’s attention.
  • Interrupt, perhaps with an “Excuse me, may I interject please?”
  • For your sanity, have a time limit, especially if you are on the phone.  If this conversation is in person, get up and leave the conversation, or maybe even introduce them to someone else.
  • If it’s someone you have a good relationship with, tell them how you feel.

How do you deal with those who hog the conversation? Leave your comment below.

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

 

 

How To Look Better In Your Next Video Call

In beauty, how to, makeup, skincare on May 18, 2020 at 9:25 pm

Image Courtesy of Cottonbro via Pexels

It’s no secret that video has become a valuable tool in our technologically advanced society, especially during these strange times.  From FaceTime and Skype to the ever increasing popularity and use of Zoom, video is a great way to stay connected.

Now, more than ever, video calls are the go to tool for many of the things we do, from work to virtual happy hours and parties.  With that being said, how we look on video is just as important as the information that is being exchanged.  It usually doesn’t matter when we communicate via phone call, text and email but obviously, in video, people see you.  In most cases, when it comes down to work and even things like virtual dating, looks matter.  Think about it – how would you present yourself to your current or potential boss, client or even a romantic prospect?  You wouldn’t show up in pajamas or a dusty t-shirt or a face mask for your zits.  You, instead, would put your best face forward.  Again, looks matter so it’s important to look your personal best.  Also since many of us are currently stuck inside, that’s all the more reason to put on that lipstick, hair or outfit you’ve been wanting to wear.  So go ahead, you can still slay through that screen with these simple tips/reminders:

Lighting.  When you take a selfie, you usually make sure you show up in the best light.  The same goes for when you are doing a video call.  Natural light is the better option as it most flattering.  The key when using natural light is positioning yourself at the correct angle.  To catch the best light, sit facing the window (or other light source for that matter).  If the sun is particularly bright you can close the blinds a little or put up a white curtain to help filter the light.  On cloudy days you can sit more directly in the light source because your features won’t be blown out.  Whatever the case, be sure to not sit with your back to your light source which will cause your figure to be shadowy.

You can always add a light source if necessary.  Ring lights are very popular and can be found on Amazon (or eBay).  I’ve been using the Make Up Light for several years because I like the ability to customize the fixtures and the fact that that it breaks down quickly, making it easier to carry and can fit mostly in a large tote bag.

You can always use a regular lamp if necessary.  Remember to position it in front of you (behind your computer or other video source).

Sound.  Be sure that your sound is working, without feedback/echo.  This is especially important if you are a presenter or leading the meeting.  Usually the sound on your chosen device is sufficient however if you need something that works better, there are microphone options on Amazon (or eBay).

Setting.  Where you take your virtual meeting (or event) is just as important as how you look.  Choose an area free of excessive distractions.  If possible, set up at a desk or table with ample lighting and a comfortable chair.  Make sure that whatever people see behind you is clean, neat, organized and visually appealing.  Add plants or artwork to add dimension to your space.  If you live with other people or other people will be present in your space, make sure they know when you will be participating in your meeting/event and that they are aware that they should keep noise to a minimum or non-existent.

Position.  Make sure your device (laptop, phone, tablet) is positioned at face/eye level.  and make sure you have good posture.  This will help you to not look distorted and again helps to present you in the best “light” possible.

Wardrobe.  Although, for the most part, you will only be seen from mid chest upwards, it’s still important that whatever people see looks nice.  Choose flattering colors that will complement your skin tone and contrast nicely with your background as well as ensure the right fit for your clothing.  Keep prints to a minimum and be sure that what you are wearing is not too revealing.  A blazer and camisole/t-shirt/blouse is a no fail combination, as well as just a blouse or nice sweater.  It all depends on your work environment, dress code and expectations.  Don’t forget accessories like a simple pair of earrings and/or necklace to complete the look.  However, be sure to avoid noisy jewelry as that can be a distraction.

Makeup.  Whether you know very little about makeup or don’t care for it, the fact  remains that a polished look makes for a good impression.  Again, looks matter.  And not in a “I look like a supermodel” but more of a way in which you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed and was dragged behind a dump truck.  You don’t have to do the most, just follow the basics of giving good face – “flawless” complexion, soft yet well defined brows, lash lift, lip tint/color, sculpting and definition.

  • Flawless Complexion.  Since makeup is never a substitute for good skin, start with a basic skincare routine for your skin type (if you don’t already have a 50 step process in place) – cleanse, tone, moisturize.  Once you have those basics in place,  a primer is your next step.  A primer will keep your makeup up on longer and can help your makeup look better on your skin.  Next apply a lightweight tinted moisturizer or foundation with a beauty blender or foundation brush.  If you need more coverage you can  definitely choose a medium/full coverage foundation.  Dark under eye circles/hyper-pigmentation (acne scars, etc) is a common concern for many so don’t forget a concealer.  Follow up with a setting powder to lock everything in place and to cut down on shine.
  • Brows.  I cannot stress the importance of having good brows.  Brows are the architecture of your face and can make or break your look.  If  you have full brows already, all you may need to do is use a brow gel to tame and shape them.  If you have brows that are more sparse, there are a multitude of products that you can use from brow powder to pencil to fill in/create the perfect brow.
  • Eyes.  You don’t have to do a full smoky eye.  In most cases, eye liner and mascara will suffice.  If you want to give a little more,  you can always choose a color slightly deeper than your complexion in your crease to give a little more depth and structure to the eye by applying/blending with a crease brush.  Finish off with 2-3 coats of your preferred mascara.  For eyeliner, choose an off black or black/brown to define the eye shape and use a smudge brush to soften the lines.  These two color choices will define without looking too dramatic or harsh.
  • Lips.  First off, exfoliation and moisture is so important – whether you choose to wear lip color or not.  Speaking of color, you don’t have to do full on color – a lip tint can suffice if you don’t want to do the most.  But for everyone else, go ahead and  put on that bold bright beautiful color to liven things up.  Mattes are good choice because in many cases, depending on formulation/brand, there is minimal transfer.
  • Sculpting with blush.  Add a little blush to add warmth to the complexion and  to sculpt and define those cheekbones.

Hair.  Brush it.  Comb it.  Shave it.  Cut it.  Do whatever you have to do to make sure it looks nice and presentable.  Styling products are your friend.  Add accessories if you need to like a headband or a nice hair clip.  Chances are you have many of these things in your arsenal.  You just need to use them.

 

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

My Most Wanted Nail Looks Of 2020

In Nails on May 11, 2020 at 3:36 pm

 

Like the many forms of beauty that we enjoy regularly such as great hair and makeup, nails are an awesome way to show off one’s personal style.  And now that we are approaching spring/summer, you may need inspiration for new nail looks to get you excited and help you take a detour from your regular nail looks.  Runway, social media and Pinterest feeds as well as real life have abundant ideas of nail looks to wear, whether you get your nails professionally done or you DIY.  Below are 7 of my favorite nail looks, many of which have been around but are taking center stage for this season:

Long Nails
.  And I mean super long and in a variety of shapes other than the traditional square and oval.  Regardless of how you feel about long nails, they are a thing. Regardless of your thoughts on practicality and functionality, the people who wear longer nail lengths are actually fully functional.  Longer nail lengths allow nail techs to flex their artistic skills with various designs, finishes and techniques thus creating wearable art.

French Manicure. This look will never go out of style as it is clean, classic and sophisticated. Often considered a more “professional” nail look,  french manicures are perfect for when you need a nail look that isn’t necessarily doing the most. French manicures are often associated with the 90’s – a square, airbrushed look however today’s french manicures have an updated spin with creatively designed tips and nail shapes as well as various finishes such as ombré, foiled and glitter.

Nail Decals.  Nail decals/nail transfer foils are still a thing and seem to be making a bit of a comeback. What’s great about nail decals is that for the fraction of the price your would pay at the nail salon (for nail art in particular), you can get very creative with awesome nail art decals to express your individuality.

Gradient Nails.  This can refer not only to gradient color design on each nail but also as in each nail being painted a different color, the latter being quite easy to achieve.  You can get your ROY G BIV on with different colors of the rainbow, or various shades of a color (think black, grey, and white).

Animal Print Nails.  Who said that you had to leave animal print to your clothing, shoes and sunglasses?  Now you can wear your favorite animal prints on your nails.  Think cow, leopard and tortoiseshell which can adorn your entire nail or just the tips (think French manicure) and you don’t have to take them off at the end of the day like you would with your accessories.

Milky Nails.  This nail trend started gaining more traction toward the end of 2019 and seems to be picking up steam for this season. Milky nails, which are a great alternative to the hardcore nail art and bold colors that we love, have a semi translucent finish which resembles skim milk but in the best way.  There are many ways to achieve the look:  with the help of a professional and of course at home.  The former can achieve the look with acrylic powder and gel polish.  The latter with regular polish like OPI Nail Lacquer in Alpine Snow or Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in Regret The Moon.

Press On Nails.  Press on nails have definitely become all the rage and I’m so here for it. A far cry from the Lee Press On Nails from yesteryear, today’s press on nails (and glue) are of a higher quality which help to provide longer wear.  Whether you go to the nail salon regularly or you are a DIY kind of person, the options are endless when it comes to press on’s. You can save a lot of time if you are a DIY’er and MAYBE some money as well as switch up your look on a more frequent basis with the various shapes, lengths, and designs press on nails offer.

 

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

Download These Apps To Boost Productivity And Efficiency

In lifestyle, productivity on May 8, 2020 at 11:05 pm
Image Courtesy of cottonbro from Pexels

 

Who would have ever thought that cell phones would become a tool that we can’t seem to live without?  Once reserved for certain people in society such as celebrities and government officials, it seems that everyone, including children, has a cell phone

In times past, the primary function of a cell phone was most likely to make and receive phone calls on what looked like a brick with an antenna.  As cell phone design and technology advanced, people were able to browse the internet and communication via text messages was made possible by using the alternate functions of the number keys.
Fast forward to today where our cell phones do so much more.  What once allowed for basic forms of communication, modern cellular devices allow us to do things like binge watch our favorite tv shows, read books, make movies and videos and of course take the perfect selfie. In addition to that is the fact that cell phones can literally function as personal assistants, helping with day to day activities and interests with the use of apps.   There is an app for any and everything you can think of, both free and paid, which can help make navigating your day and life easier.  With a quick download on your cell phone, you can do a multitude of things like manage your calendar, create a workout plan, hail a ride, get a therapy session and even meditate.  Below are 12 of my favorite apps that can possibly help you manage your day to day activity:

The Weather Channel.  Never get caught out there again without being equipped with the proper weather attire such as snow boots or an umbrella.  The Weather Channel app gives you up to the minute alerts and data regarding weather activity in your area. There are also features such as news, live radar maps, allergy alerts and additional benefits of getting up to 15 days of weather forecasts, sunset times and the best running times with the Go Run feature. Annual subscriptions available.

Evernote.  Keep all of your ideas, notes, photos and projects in one place with Evernote. Anything that is a text, sketch, photograph, screenshot or audio can be saved/uploaded to Evernote, thus making it a wonderful creative and archival space. You can use your phone’s camera to scan and digitize documents, business cards, and more. Everything that you put in Evernote is searchable and syncs across platforms so you can start on one device and finish on another (tablet, computer or phone) without compromising information.  You can also share your information with others. Annual and business subscriptions available.

Stop Breathe Think.  This meditation and mindfulness app is wonderful for simple guided meditation.  Stop Breathe Think has breathing exercises, soundscapes and also recommends meditation, yoga and acupressure videos.  You can also explore various topics such as stress management and guide journaling.   There are over 40 free and over 100 premium activities which allow you customize your experience.  Monthly and annual subscriptions available.

Hootsuite.  Hoot suite allows you to organize your social media life in one place.  It helps you save time by allowing you to schedule posts (pics, text, stories, etc) with an auto or customized schedule to various social platforms.  View and edit before posting as well as view all of your comments, likes, retweets and reposts.

Canva/Over. No graphic design experience or degree is necessary with these apps. Canva and Over enable you to create graphics for business cards, invites, forms and so much more. You can create from a templates or add graphics, captions and logos to a photo from your library. No computer is necessary because you can create on your phone then post directly to social media or other platform.  Monthly and annual subscriptions available.

Focus Watch.  If saying focused and productive on a particular task is an opportunity for you, Focus Watch can hel with task performance and  efficiency.  Focus watch analyzes your productivity and allows you to give yourself timed breaks.  It also works in the background so you can resume activity and get notified with an alarm at the end when your allotted time is up.

Water Reminder.  Who needs to drink more water?  Who continually forgets to drink more of said water?  Well there is an app for that too. Water reminder allows you to track hydration and let’s you know how much water your body needs.  It also sends you a reminder to drink up so you can achieve your goal.

Clue Period & Cycle Tracker.  Take the guesswork out of tracking your reproductive activity with Clue.  Clue allows you to track things like your period,  ovulation, basal body temperature, fertility and PMS systems. You can set Clue up to work for you by setting reminders, personalizing tracking options and even back up your information.  With continued use, Clue which becomes more intuitive to your cycle.

My Fitness Pal.  If you are focused on tracking your food intake and nutrition for fitness or other reasons, My Fitness Pal has you covered. It has the largest database of food to choose from whether it’s from your favorite restaurant, pre packaged or homemade, making it easy to track your food/caloric intake. Tracking this information is easy with the ability to scan barcodes.  You can get in depth information regarding micro/macronutrients and estimated calories burned during workouts as well as sync with your other favorite fitness apps for a seemless experience.  Unlock all features with a monthly subscription.

Sworkit Fitness & Workout.  Feel like you are pressed for time with a schedule filled to the brim of your existence but need to squeeze in a quick workout?  Try Sworkit, an at home app that helps you achieve your fitness goals, even in a pinch.  Sworkit allows you to customize a workout to meet your needs, whether all you have is 6 or 60 minutes.  You can choose from what you need – HIIT, yoga, cardio, as well as chat 1 on 1 with trainers and track your performance.

Blinkist.  Become more knowledgeable and insightful in about 15 minutes daily with Blinkist.   Choose from over 3000 bestselling nonfiction books, to broaden your thinking and sharpen your skills across multiple categories including personal development, health, nutrition, and culture.  Available in audio and text and across multiple devices (IOS and Android).  There is a free 7 day trial as well a free subscription.

Noonlight.  It goes without saying that there is a heightened level of concern around personal safety these days.  Anything can happen at any given time and place and the ability to alert emergency personnel with the touch of a button is important.  Noonlight is a safety platform and mobile app that triggers alerts to emergency assistance.  With advanced technology, moonlight gets help to your exact location when you release the button.   Setup is easy with four pieces of information and Noonlight integrates on all of your devices and there is no need for phone calls or technicians to visit you.

 

Skincare And Wellness Ingredient Trends Worth Knowing

In skincare on February 2, 2020 at 11:29 pm


Just when we thought we’ve gained a thorough understanding of all the ingredients in our favorite skincare, a new or alternative ingredient makes it’s way onto the scene.  These new/alternative ingredients, which show up in entirely new products or as new iterations of the products  we’ve been using might make you wonder if what you are currently using is “the one”.  But, if you are anything like me and other beauty enthusiasts and experts out there, you are definitely one to do some research, shopping and testing.  With piqued interest, we do whatever is necessary to get our hands, faces, lips and hair acquainted with these new products on the market.  Contained in these products are breakthrough ingredients that promise to be better than their predecessor and revolutionize how we do skincare and beauty.  Are these ingredients here to stay or will they eventually fade into oblivion?  Only time will tell.  Below are 8 ingredients/concepts that are making a mark in the skincare, beauty and wellness industries and taking up space on our vanities and bathroom sinks.  

Cica.  Around the later half of 2018 I started noticing products with the ingredient cica. Cica, also known as centella asiatica, is a well known herb in Asia and very popular in Chinese medicine. A more familiar name is tiger balm and is associated with the tigers who supposedly roll around in the herb to help regenerate their skin from battle wounds.  For humans, cica, which has antibacterial properties, is great for sensitized skin and aids in repairing the skin barrier.  It is also great for caring for the skin after procedures like chemical peels and laser treatments. Dr Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream

Polyhydroxy Acids aka PHA’s.  Just when we got a handle on understanding what AHA’s did for our skin, another acid makes it’s way into the spotlight. Unlike AHA’s which can cause irritation to the skin and make it more sensitive to the sun, PHA’s have larger molecules which don’t penetrate as quickly and deeply, causing less irritation thus making PHA’s a possibly better alternative for sensitive skin.  The end goal of a PHA is the same as AH  (chemical exfoliation for brighter, smoother skin) but less aggressive.  Ole Henriksen Phat Glow Facial

Retinols/Retinol Alternatives.  Although this ingredient is the holy grail of skincare ingredients, nothing raises eyebrows more than the word retinol.  As a vitamin A derivative, retinol is responsible for making skin cells act younger. Today’s versions of this old school ingredient originally prescribed for acne, now shows up in serums, moisturizer and various other treatments with buffers such as manuka honey to counteract the sometimes aggressive effects of retinol.  Now there  are retinol alternatives such as bakuchiol which promise to deliver similar line reducing, collagen producing results as traditional retinols but that are less irritating and invasive.  Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum

Overnight Eye Sleeping Masks.   We all know the importance of using eye creams for the delicate eye area EVERY SINGLE DAY AND NIGHT. There are many formulations to address various concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, brightening, puffiness and refreshing – you name it, there is a a potion for it.   Recently, I have seen an uptick in overnight eye sleeping masks and like overnight sleeping masks for the face, these particular masks provide the same benefits to the eye area while you sleep.  Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask

Liquid Exfoliators.  Back in the day, one of the skincare steps that was included in a solid skincare routine was the use of a physical exfoliator. These physical exfoliators helped to refine and brighten the texture of the skin and are still a product of choice for many.  The newer kid on the block, liquid exfoliators, which are acids that exfoliate (AHA, BHA, PHA) provide a form of chemical exfoliation without the abrasiveness and helps to unclog pores, brighten, smooth and get rid of dark spots. Please note if you are using retinols and liquid exfoliators ask part of your skincare routine, alternate your days between the two products until you build up tolerance and to prevent excess drying and irritation.  Nip + Fab Exfoliate Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow Daily 2%

CBD.  It’s no secret that many of today’s beauty products – from mascara, serums, body and intimate care – seem to be infused with CBD.  But what exactly is CBD and will you start tripping off of it?   Well, CBD, also known as a cannabinoid, comes from the canibus sativa plant and because it doesn’t contain THC, a known psychoaticive, you will not get high or start tripping.  So then why would you want a product that contains CBD?   CBD has antioxidants and can treat inflammation, anxiety and pain.  It can also help with skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.  Hora Skincare Super Serum + CBD

Adaptogens.  Although not a new concept as adaptogens have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayuvedic healing/medicine, the conversation around adaptogens has ramped up in recent years.  Adaptogens are a category of non-toxic plants (and some mushrooms) that help the body resist stressors.  We all know the long term effects that stress can have on the immune, neurological and physical aspects of our being and it is though that the use adaptogens in addition to a balanced diet and lifestyle can lead to better health.   Adaptogens can be found in various forms including teas, pre-mixed powders as well as pills and capsules and includes rhodiola, ashwagandha, reishi, maca root, turmeric and ginseng.  Moonjuice Super You Dietary Supplement

Sustainability.  So we know about the impact our lifestyle is having on the environment in the way of global warming. It’s not a new thing for brands to pay attention to the ingredients they are putting in the products we use on our bodies but more and more beauty companies and brands are putting more effort into recycled packaging – even down to the ink that is used in printing on the packaging. Companies even have goals on being completely sustainable within a particular timeframe. Wildcrafting is a term (as it relates to skincare ingredients) that I have been hearing more of recently and refers to the sustainable practice of harvesting a plant as it grows naturally in its environment.