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Must Have Shoe Essentials For Your Wardrobe.

In fashion, lifestyle, style on October 27, 2020 at 10:05 am
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Lets face it – nice shoes will make you extremely happy and very attractive. Shoes are a form of wearable art that turns heads and makes people stop, stare, ooohhh and aaahhh. Wearing nice shoes also makes you instantly cooler – better than everyone around you. Aside from the perfect wardrobe pieces such as perfectly fitting jeans and other accessories like bags and jewelry, the right shoes are just as important and will make or break an entire look.

Many people are shoe (and sneaker) collectors and a closet full of shoes is the stuff dreams are made of. It creates style superiority and style options. A trip to the mall or hours spent scrolling through your favorite websites can leave your heart racing at the sight of all the shoes that can be made available to you. And, even if you don’t currently have an outfit or an event to wear these shoes to, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to purchase the shoes anyway because again – options.

There are a few questions, however, to ask yourself when purchasing these cool, sexy, dope shoes:

  1. Are you really going to this pair of shoes? Do they fit your style?
  2. Are you buying these shoes because they are on sale or are you in a woeful state of mind? (no judgement here)
  3. How often will you wear these shoes?
  4. Do you even have the basic shoe essentials for your shoe collection?

What are shoe essentials? They are the types of shoes that are considered to be the foundation of your shoe wardrobe. No matter what you are wearing, what the occasion is or what time of the year it is, these shoes will enable you to create the right look for most occasions (interviews, dates, brunch, overall stuntin’). Essential shoes are purchased in basic colors (black, brown, gray), pop or alternative colors (oxblood) and in animal prints (an essential neutral). Shoe essentials take the stress and confusion out of getting dressed and looking nice.

Continue reading to discover the essential shoes you need to keep your look attractive and functional.  Get the basics then add on the fun shoes.

Pump – black and leopard print.

Schutz Caiolea Pump
Steve Madden Daisie – L Leopard

Ankle Bootie – peep/closed toe.

DSW Samara Bootie
Nordstrom KiKi Pointed Toe Bootie

Tall Boot – low to mid heel and/or stiletto.

ASOS DESIGN Collins Block Heel Knee Boots
Kenneth Cole Woman’s Riley High Heel Boots

Weather Boots – for rain and snow.

HUNTER Women’s Original Play Short Rain Boots

Casual Sneaker – Vans, Chucks, sock sneaker, etc.

Puma Cali Sport Wildcats Women’s Sneakers

Athletic/Running Sneaker – Nike, Allbirds, Adidas, etc.

Nike Free RN 5.0 By You

Casual Flat/Ballet slipper – for comfort and/or casual looks.

Coach Helena Loafer

Flat/low heeled sandal/mule/slide – perfect for warmer months.

Sam Edelman Yaro Block Heel Sandal
Charles David Sashay

Strappy/Heeled Sandal (mid/high heel/stiletto) – great for dressing up/formal ocassions.

Jewel Badgley Mischka Conroe Embellished T-Strap Pump

Platform Shoe/Sandal – Gives structure and balance to the figure when wearing wider/fuller silhouettes.

Jessica Simpson Palya Dress Sandal

Keep in mind that what is basic or essential for one person may be unnecessary for someone else.  You must evaluate your personal style needs and lifestyle to determine what fits in your wardrobe.

For ideas on wardrobe essentials, go here.

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

8 Popular Beauty Myths You Should Stop Believing

In beauty, hair, makeup, skincare on September 29, 2020 at 10:26 am

When it comes to things like beauty, everyone has an opinion, a trick, and a solution for every beauty need and desire. Whether it’s information that has been passed down from your grandmother, tips and tricks from your friend, or your favorite beauty guru, there are many beauty routines and regimens that we have committed to for years that keep us looking our best. Or so it seems. This is because there are many beauty schools of thought that may actually be a myth.

Now if you feel that what you are doing on a regular basis is working for you don’t change. However, it’s still good to examine our thought process and approach to many of the things that we accept as fact. Below are 8 very popular beauty concepts that we have accepted through the ages that are actually myths.

You Can Make Pores Smaller/Go Away. I totally hate to be the bearer of bad news but pores don’t get smaller or go away. EVER. Also, I really wish that skin care and makeup companies would stop lying to those of us who have enlarged pores with empty promises of their magic pore shrinking lotions and potions. Now, everyone has pores. Everyone. It’s just that some people, usually those with oily, acne prone skin, have larger, more visible pores. Furthermore, pore size is determined genetically. For pores that “look” larger, they can be stretched when clogged with dirt and sebum. This is where appropriate skincare plays a role. Daily cleansing, gentle exfoliation, as well as using a detoxifying mask and things like peel pads can help pores look more refined. As far as makeup is concerned, there are certain primers have blurring effects that can also make pores look more refined. But again, pores don’t get smaller or go away. EVER.

Skin Adapts to Skin Care Products So You Have To Switch To Something New. Skin, which is our largest organ, is ever changing and evolving. What your skin needed 3 months ago may not be what your skin needs today. Think about why you bought a particular item for your skin, maybe to help with a particular concern that you had. Do you have that concern now? Not necessarily because the major skin changes might have already taken place so the results won’t seem as dramatic although the product is working the same way it always has. If you want to switch up your skincare, that’s totally fine but just know you don’t have to switch to a new product because your skin is “used” to your current products.

Wearing Makeup Daily Is Bad For Your Skin. Granted there are some makeup formulations that can irritate your skin, causing inflammation and breakouts. But makeup isn’t inherently bad for your skin. Also, skin doesn’t need to breathe because skin is not made up of tiny lungs. Now clogged pores – that’s another issue. Pores are tiny openings in the skin that release oils and sweat – not oxygen. Be sure to cleanse your face thoroughly on a daily basis and use the proper skincare formulation for your skin type. If you feel like you want to take a break from wearing makeup, that is never a bad thing. Have at it.

You Can Repair Split Ends. This is simply not true. You can use products to help improve their appearance but you will ultimately have to clip your ends and be mindful of things like heat styling, having a hair care routine in place and using the proper products for your hair on a regular basis. Also hair doesn’t grow faster when you cut it. Hair growth comes from the root. Not the ends. Snip Snip.

Oily Skin Doesn’t Need Moisturizer. The oil in one’s skin is not a moisturizer, which is something ALL skin types need. When someone with oily skin does not wear a moisturizer, the skin actually overcompensates for a lack of moisture by over-producing sebum, thus making you more oily and shiny. And even with all of that extra oil, your skin is still dry. It is best to use an oil free or mattifying moisturizer to help with shine as well as moisture.

Dry Skin Causes Wrinkles. Dry skin does not cause wrinkles. Overexposure to UV rays and other elements (aging, poor diet, genetics, smoking/drinking, etc) as well as the breakdown of collagen contribute to wrinkles. Dry skin can accentuate wrinkles but is not the culprit of said wrinkles.

Cellulite Can Go Away. Well not really but sort of through – measures like surgery. Anyway, although fairly harmless, cellulite can be an annoying occurrence that appears on places such as thighs, belly and breasts. It is more common in women than in men and can become more prevalent in aging, pregnancy as well as weight gain. Even those who are fit or slender may actually have cellulite. Cellulite is caused by fat deposits pushing toward of the surface of the skin. The use of creams, depending on ingredients, can offer a temporary reduction in appearance of cellulite. There are some things you can do to improve the appearance of cellulite such as: hydrate, exercise/eat a healthy well balanced diet and possibly dry brushing. When you stay hydrated, you are helping to flush toxins and keep skin looking healthy. When you are dehydrated, skin can appear more dull and cellulite can appear more visible. Exercising can help build lean muscle and burn fat which can help cellulite appear less visible. Eating a well balanced diet with healthy fats and lean protein can help you maintain your personal healthy weight. Dry brushing is thought to help with lymphatic drainage as well as helps with the appearance of skin.

Black Skin Doesn’t Need Sunscreen. Melanin is wonderful and all but it doesn’t protect against the UV rays that lead to aging (UVA) and burning which can lead to skin cancer (UVB). Also – ALL. SKIN. BURNS. For example, if you put white bread, wheat bread and pumpernickel bread into the oven and leave it in too long, all of the bread will burn. You just won’t see the damage on the pumpernickel as well as you would the white bread. But all the bread is damaged. Same with skin. So please, EVERYONE, wear your sunscreen.

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

Try These 10 Ways To Breathe New Life Into Your Wardrobe

In fashion on September 29, 2020 at 7:53 am

Falling into a style rut is almost always inevitable – even if you are quite stylish. It’s easy to get bored with your clothes and to become uninspired. Your first thought might be to go shopping and while that is usually fun, sometimes that is not the answer. You might not have the time or budget to do an overhaul. You might not even like what’s online and in the stores. And chances are you might have a closet full of clothes that you haven’t worn in a while.

Many times when you get into a style rut, it’s not that you don’t have anything to wear. It might be that you need to re-imagine what you already have in your closet. Whether it is seeing your clothes styled in ways you haven’t thought of, examining your mindset around what is appropriate, or that you are missing wardrobe staples to complete your look, there are ways to make getting dressed exciting again. Continue reading to discover 10 ways to breathe new life into your wardrobe.

Change your mindset around what is considered casual and dressy. The rules around getting dressed as well as ideas around personal style have evolved. For instance, where sequins may have been reserved for special occasions like parties or galas, people now wear sequin shirts with jeans and sneakers and sequin bottoms with t shirts and denim jackets – during the day at that. Lace camis and bodysuits are no longer reserved for silk suits or undergarments. They are now worn with leggings, jeans, motorcycle jackets, oversized blazers and combat boots. The options are without limit.

Do you have a busy day of running errands? You don’t have to wear sweats and raggedy t-shirts to do so. Consider wearing a cute flowy dress and a pair of slides. If sweats are your preference, pair them with a tube top and sweater with a pair of sneakers or even combat boots. Everyday is an opportunity to get dressed and look cute.

When you go clothes shopping, think about how to maximize the wardrobe pieces that you purchase. Ask yourself questions such as how can you wear one piece of clothing 5 different ways (like a t-shirt) or how many different places/occasions you can wear a particular item.

Change your underwear. Of course change your underwear daily but in addition to that, purchase underwear that fits and that looks good under your clothes. In many instances, poorly fitting undergarments don’t help with posture and shaping/smoothing of the figure, thus making your clothes not look as good as they could.

Experiment with mixing patterns and textures. Many times it gets boring pairing solid colors with each other. Instead, try mixing patterns and textures. For instance, mix stripes and polka dots with the same color scheme or are complementary colors. Pair stripes with leopard print (which is neutral). Consider mixing various size prints and patterns like flowers in similar colors. Mix opposite (inverted) color schemes or mix your prints with neutral colored patterns.

Look at athletic wear differently. Those track pants and joggers can be worn with a nice blouse or cami and coordinating blazer/jacket. Add strappy sandals, a great purse and accessories.

Always wear accessories. Sometimes all an outfit needs is a few accessories to go from boring to exciting. Add bow ties, belts, hats, hoisery and scarves to your collection. When you get dressed, build your outfit around your shoes, a purse or even a belt.

Shop somewhere you usually don’t shop – even online. Different stores style various articles of clothing in different ways and can provide you with style inspiration in ways that you haven’t thought of. You don’t have to purchase anything to see how the items are being styled and to see what the suggested pieces are. Chances are you own similar pieces that can be use to create new looks. Create mood boards to get inspired. Pinterest, magazines, and other social media platforms have plenty of styles to inspire you.

Image Courtesy of Artem Beliaikin via Pexels

Organize your closet. When things are hung and shoved haphazardly in your closet, it doesn’t allow you to see what you actually have to wear. Seeing (or remembering) what you have can inspire you and help you to see your clothes differently. Hang like items together in similar colors, fabrics and lengths from left to right. Fold/roll items neatly in drawers/ storage bins. Find creative ways to display jewelry, purses, scarves and shoes.

Plan ahead. Sometimes when you have to rush to get dressed, it doesn’t give you enough time to put any thought into how you really want to look. Planning ahead will give you time to coordinate and level up your look.

Have you been in a style rut? What are some of the ways you have revived your wardrobe?

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

The Natural Deodorant Journey Continues..

In clean beauty, skincare on September 22, 2020 at 9:39 am

So once again I’m on a path to switching to natural deodorant. Around this time last year, I auditioned 3 natural deodorants over a span of several months that didn’t make the cut. My pits were sweaty. Pungent. Annoyed. To make matters worse, during this time, it seemed like everyone wanted a damned hug. Go away. Me and my armpits are going through something. Needless to say, I aborted my mission and went back to my usual aluminum filled choice that keeps my armpits dry and pleasantly fragrant.

I admire people who use natural deodorant. They’ve achieved a sort of relationship that I aspire to. It leaves me feeling like there has to be something out there that can work for me. But the thought of using a natural deodorant makes me leary. I roll my eyes as if thinking of a lover scorned. Or someone who insists on wearing cropped pants and kitten heels. Anyway – the natural deodorant that I’m trying this month is Drunk Elephant Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream. This deodorant comes enthusiastically recommended from a few of my cohorts. So I’ve tried it. But only inside the house. Because I’m still afraid of being betrayed by my deodorant. The real test is when I actually apply said deodorant and leave the house for the day. Which I haven’t done yet.

Sweet Pitti deodorant cream is part of Drunk Elephant’s hair and body care line which launched earlier this summer. It is contains mandelic acid, shea butter and arrowroot which will keep the skin under my arms soft, smooth and dry while fighting bacteria that leads to pungent pits. It is also formulated without baking soda, essential oils and aluminum – ingredients that can cause inflammation, irritation, discoloration and breakouts. Now I’m used to and prefer a solid so the cream is different for me. I was concerned that it would feel moist under my arms but the formula did dry down shortly after application. The scent is ok but for me deodorant doesn’t necessarily have to have a scent (although a powder fresh scent is always a delight). Retailing for $16, Sweet Pitti is not a bad price to pay for a healthier alternative to other deodorants on the market.

During my research on and in speaking with those who have made the switch to natural deodorants, there may be a period of time where you may have to reapply your deodorant throughout the day as your sweat glands release toxins that can lead to odor. I will try Sweet Pitti for the next month or so and give an update. Perhaps I should leave the house with it on. 🤔

Have you ever tried a natural deodorant and if so what brands have you used and how was your experience?

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

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

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.