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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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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.

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.

 

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.

Elevate Your Skincare Game With The Power Of Retinoids

In beauty, skincare on May 30, 2019 at 11:15 pm

Retinols, which are a form of retinoids, have long been the go to when it comes to skincare multi-tasking and anti-aging.  Considered to be the gold standard in skincare, retinoids are like your big sister who can do it all.  Retinoids have been around since the 70’s and were originally prescribed for acne concerns because they help to slough off dead skin and clear pores. Dermatologists and patients began to see that with regular use skin was more clear and smooth, with fewer pimples and less discoloration.  Skin looked better overall.

What Is A Retinoid And Where Does It Come From?
To first understand what a retinoid is and what it does, it is important to understand where retinoids come from.  Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A which occurs naturally in the body and can also be found in animal or plant sources.  Vitamin A is important because it is responsible for things like good vision and healthy bones as well as healthy cell turnover and collagen production.

The term retinoid is the category name or umbrella under which the terms retin-a and retinol fall under.  Retin-A (aka tretinoin) is available with a prescription.  Retinol, the more common form of retinoid, is known by more familiar terms such as retinol palmitate, retinol acetate and retinol linoleate.  These forms tend to be more gentle and are a perfect introduction into the world of retinoids.   Retinols don’t need a prescription and can be found over the counter – at your local drug store and in your favorite beauty stores.

How Do Retinoids Work And How Are They Different Than AHA’s And BHA’s? 

Retinoids, which work in the deeper layers of the skin, help to reduce the appearance of fine line, wrinkles, discoloration and enlarged pores.  They also help with cell renewal and collagen production.  The later two functions are important to note as they relate to anti-aging concerns.  When you reach the age of 30, cell renewal begins to slow down, occurring every 60 days or so as opposed to every 28-30 days when in your twenties.  Slower cell turnover leads to dull, lackluster, congested skin.   In addition, collagen production, which is responsible for giving our skin, bones and connective tissues the structure they need, also begins to decline as well when we age.  This reduction in collagen production is responsible for fine lines, deep wrinkles and sagging, less plump skin.  Retinoids work to increase skin thickness and elasticity in the deeper layers where wrinkles begin.  Retinols also curb the production of melanin (brown spots).

How Does One Incorporate Retinoids Into Their Skincare Routine?

Start slowly and follow the directions of the brand you choose.  Directions usually instruct to use every other evening or 1-2x weekly, eventually working your way up to every evening.  Always use a sunscreen and keep in mind that results can take anywhere from 3-6 months of regular use to really see results.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Retinol Use?  What Precautions Should One Take When First Using Retinol?

Possible drying, peeling, or redness.  However, the new generation of retinoids deliver the same results with less irritation because these formulations include ingredients skin-loving ingredients such as honey and jojoba to help soothe and calm irritation.   If you do experience any side effects, you can reduce dosage/usage but don’t stop completely because you won’t see the benefits.  Make sure you are using a moisturizer/oil to keep the skin hydrated and to counteract any possible irritation associated with retinol use.  Don’t use if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.

Differin Gel.  Once available only with a prescription, Differin gel is the first FDA approved retinoid gel approved for over the counter use for the treatment of acne.  Differin gel contains adapalene, a form of retinoid that treats/clears acne.  Available in a 30 day and 90 day supply and has an accompanying cleanser and moisturizer. The highest dose still requires a prescription (.3% adapalene)

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength 3% Retinoid Plus.  Perfect for normal, oily, combination and dry skin, this lightweight serum helps to get rid of the signs of aging.  A key ingredients include caffeine which helps with penetration and the buffering complex of symitive 1609 and symcalmin to calm irritation.

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex.   This vegan, gluten-free eye cream is microencapsulated, ensuring potency of the retinol as well as better absorption into the skin.  Niacinimide, vitamin C and peptides help to ensure hydration, reduction of dark circles and plumping of fine lines.

Darphin Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Concentrate.  Infused with nourishing botanicals, this retinol encourages cell turnover, moisturizes and is perfect for face and eye.  To preserve potency and protect from light damage, this retinol concentrate is housed in individual opaque capsules.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream.  This cream has the highest strength of retinol available without a prescription and works overnight to help reduce the signs of aging with pure RoC Retinol and an essential mineral complex.

Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster. This lightweight fluid is a slow release retinol that actually boosts the efficacy of your other skincare products such as serums and moisturizers.  It also helps to even skin tone and improve radiance.  Can also be used alone.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum.   This serum which is perfect for normal, dry, combination and oily skin contains a 6.5% blend of retinoid ingredients to fight the signs of aging as well as Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol and ginger to help balance and soothe the skin.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.  The key ingredients of Vitamin F, triple peptide blend and Retinol 1% work together to help target UV damage and other signs of aging while helping to firm and smooth the skin.

Are you a retinol user or is it something you have considered adding to your skin care routine but haven’t done so yet? Leave your comments below.

Don’t Forget These 7 Places When Applying Your Sunscreen

In beauty, lifestyle, skincare on August 13, 2018 at 11:00 am

Remember back in the day when wearing sunscreen on a regular basis wasn’t really part of your skin care routine?  No one concerned themselves with the dangers of bathing in the sun for hours, and slathered in baby oil at that.  And if you had a deeper complexion, you thought you were immune to the effects of sun damage because of the depth of your built in melanin.

Fast forward to today where people are more educated about the dangers of UVA and UVB rays.  There is now a lot more information available about the various forms of skin cancer, how they develop, as well as the steps you can take to protect you and your loved ones.  Startling statistics show that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States (1).  In addition, skin cancer in people of color is usually detected in later stages when it is more difficult to treat (2).  The key is understanding that absolutely no one is immune to this disease, which, in most cases, if detected early can be cured.

Now you may be thinking to yourself that because your makeup has SPF or because you don’t spend your days outside in the sun, that all is well.  Not so fast.  SPF in makeup is insufficient because it (SPF) should be reapplied every 2 hours and most people don’t even apply enough of said makeup to get enough protection in the first place. Furthermore, ultraviolet light penetrates windows and clothes so you still need a sunscreen.

With that said, although people are actually taking the time to apply sunscreen before leaving home, there are still sensitive areas of the body that are often overlooked and are some of the places people wouldn’t necessarily consider developing skin cancer:

Lips. Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30.  This targeted, nourishing formula is water resistant and perfect for the lip, eye and face area.

Ears/NoseAlgenist Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50.  This lightweight, oil free sunscreen is fast absorbing and contains anti-oxidants that help delay the aging process.  Sublime Defense does not leave a gray cast on deep skin tones.

Eyelids.  Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 34.  Gentle and non-irritating is the way to go when it comes to applying anything to the eye area.  Anything you apply in that area should also treat.  This sunscreen eye cream is fast absorbing, lightweight, hydrating and makes the eye area appear brighter.

Scalp.  Coola Organic Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30.  Even though your hair may be covering your scalp, both are at risk for sun damage.  Good for all hair types including tightly coiled, Coola Organic Scalp & Hair Mist keeps hair moisturized, manageable, protects color.  Contains monoi oil and panthenol and is vegan, cruelty free, and non-gmo.

Feet/HandsMD Solar Sciences 40 SPF Quick Dry Body Spray.  Oil free and water resistant, this sunscreen is great for those who live an active lifestyle and is safe enough to use on children 6 months and older.

The great thing about these sunscreens and many others is that they come in various forms like finishing sprays, primers and balms, making it easier to choose a formulation that fits your preference and lifestyle.  And remember, sunscreen (between 30 and 50 SPF) isn’t just for the bright sunny days of summer.  It is to be used every day of the year.

(1) https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/index.htm

(2) https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer

UVA rays are associated with aging the skin.

UVB rays are responsible for burning the skin which can lead to cancer.

Find out more about blue light skin aging (HEV) here.

The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 3. How Concentration Affects Fragrance Longevity

In beauty, fragrance, lifestyle on May 4, 2018 at 11:00 am


How many times have you applied your favorite fragrance before leaving the house only to have it fade away rather quickly?  You find yourself re-applying throughout the day but still don’t get the satisfaction of your fragrance lasting more than an hour.

You are not alone.  With the amount of money you spend on your fragrance, you would want it to stick around for a bit and radiate off of your smooth, silky skin.  You want to be excited about what you smell like and perhaps impress or excite those around you.  However, before you reach for that bottle to have yet another spritz, make sure you understand the composition of what you are spraying.  This will give you some insight regarding scent longevity.

Any time you shop for fragrance, you have the option of choosing from various formulations which include parfum, eau de parfum, and eau de toilette.  Every fragrance formulation is made up of varying concentrations of perfume oil which is the base of any fragrance and is what makes the actual smell.  This smell is usually unpleasant by itself and needs to be paired with or diluted by something else like alcohol (ethanol) and water to create various concentrations.  These concentrations are what gives fragrance their staying power.  There are many fragrance concentrations but here we will discuss the five most common:

  • Perfume (or parfum) is the most concentrated of all forms of fragrance.  Created with a perfume essence of 20-30% concentration, it is usually thicker and oilier and lasts the longest (up to 24 hours).  It is the most expensive and is usually sold in bottles with stoppers for the least amount of evaporation.  The best way to wear parfum is to dab in a few key areas such as behind the ears and/or the wrists so as not to overwhelm your nose or the nose of others.
  • Eau de Parfum (EDP) has less perfume essence (15-20%) and is diluted with alcohol and water.  It can last up to 8 hours and can come in a bottle or spray.  Although it is lighter than parfum, it can still be strong.  You can be a bit more liberal in your application, applying lightly during the day and and more for the evening.
  • Eau de toilette (EDT) is a perfume essence of 5-15% which is dissolved in an alcohol and water base.  It usually lasts up to 3 hours, and can be a better option for work, interviews and even first dates because it is lighter.
  • Eau de cologne which is usually reserved for masculine scents, only has 2-4% perfume oil concentration and lasts up to two hours.
  • Eau fraiche is the most diluted form of fragrance.  Almost like a body splash, eau fraiche has only up to 3% of fragrance oil and lasts up to an hour.

In addition to understanding scent concentration as it relates to longevity, there are some other things to consider when wearing and storing fragrance to make it last longer, such as:

  1. Spray your pulse points:  inner elbows, back of knees, ankles, back of ears, chest/decolletage, and inner wrist.  These places are warmer and will help emit the fragrance better.  When applying, be sure not to rub as that breaks down the fragrance.
  2. Use a combination of ancillary products.  These are the accompanying products such as shower gels, body lotions and powders in the same scent as your fragrance that you will layer to help that help to carry the scent and make it last longer.  These are usually purchased separately and can also be found in gift sets.
  3. Consider using a hair perfume or same fragrance in your hair.
  4. Moisturize your skin.  Fragrance evaporates more quickly on dry, flaky skin.  Try exfoliating first and following up with a rich body butter or oil (preferably light in fragrance or no fragrance at all if not using ancillary products) then layer your fragrance on top.
  5. Store your fragrance in a cool dark place.  Fragrance can go bad (discoloration and rancidity) so be sure to keep your fragrance in the original packaging, keep the top on and keep it away from heat and humidity.

The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 1. Understanding The Power Of Storytelling Through Your Fragrance

In beauty, fragrance on March 14, 2018 at 10:26 am

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” – Coco Chanel

Do you remember the first fragrance you ever wore?  How old were you?  Where did it come from?  How did it make you feel?

Fragrance is a form of self expression and can be considered the ultimate accessory.  It can “linger – in rooms, clothes, your fingertips” and has the ability to seduce, boost confidence and evoke memories.  Scent can connect a person to a specific moment in time, a geographical location or even a person.  If applied correctly, fragrance makes you smell incredible, leaving wonderful lasting impression.

Signature vs Fragrance Wardrobe

There are two schools of thought when it comes to purchasing and wearing a fragrance.  There are those who believe in having a signature scent they are known by.  Those who prefer a signature scent might find it advantageous to do so because they want to be known by a specific scent.  It might be that it holds sentimental value because it was presented as a gift from a loved one or was worn for a particular moment in time. It may be for no other reason than it is a favorite, a go-to, eliminating the need to find the “right” fragrance.

On the other hand, there are those who take great pleasure in building a fragrance wardrobe (or closet) with a collection of fragrances.  A fragrance wardrobe can be like a photo book of snapshots relating to various moments in one’s life.  They can be worn in the same way as accessories – like shoes and jewelry- to complement various looks, moods and occasions.  In addition, many take great pleasure in collecting fragrance bottles, which look beautiful on one’s vanity.  With their beautiful design, every bottle, as well as the actual fragrance is created with a perfumers inspiration.  Knowing a perfumer’s back story can lead to a deeper appreciation of a fragrance (in both instances).

Whatever your preference, fragrance is personal and, in that regard, there is no right or wrong way to select and wear a particular scent.

Tell A Story

Because it is the ultimate accessory,  fragrance can be worn in different ways.  It can be seasonal, worn during specific times of the year. For instance, lighter, clean, fresh fragrances are usually worn in the spring/summer as well as the earlier part of the day vs deeper, richer, more full bodied fragrances which are reserved for the fall/winter as well evening.

Other factors to consider when wearing a fragrance include details such as fabric/material of clothing, venue and mood.  What comes to mind when you think of soft, crushed red velvet, smooth to the touch or a romantic, candle lit evening at your favorite hideaway?  Perhaps Dior J’adore or Tom Ford Black Orchid.  What comes to mind when you think of a gentle breeze and white linen or silk on a bright, warm sunny day at a beach resort?  Perhaps Nest Citrine or Tory Burch Bel Azur.  Are you feeling bold, playful or confident?  When in close proximity to other people, will your scent be appreciated or a nuisance?  Whatever the case, however you choose to wear your fragrance will tell your unique story to others.

How To Approach Selecting A Fragrance

With hundreds of fragrances to choose from, how do you choose what smells good on you?  Like finding the perfect pair of jeans, hairstyle or skin care, choosing a fragrance is trial and error – a journey if you will.  And, just because a fragrance is new, popular or your favorite celebrity wears (or creates) a fragrance doesn’t mean it will smell good on you.  Here are a few fun facts and simple tips to help you understand fragrance and discover what you like.

  1. Ever wonder why the fragrance that smells amazing on your BFF smells like hot garbage on you?  It’s because body chemistry/pH level affects the way a fragrance develops and smells on a person and therefore does not smell the same on everyone.  Spray one fragrance on 5 different people and you will get 5 different smells – some good.  Others not so good.
  2. The juice (concentration of oils in a fragrance) smells different inside the bottle, the nozzle, what is actually sprayed in the air as well as what is sprayed on a fragrance strip.  Yes, you can form an initial impression or idea by spraying it in this manner but it is best to begin judging a fragrance based on the way it develops on your skin.  Fragrance evolves over a period of time and has a dry down period.  This dry down period can be anywhere between 30 minutes (top note) and an hour and a half (bottom note).  The bottom note is where you will get the lasting impression of a scent and is where you will be able to make an informed decision about how a particular fragrance smells on you.
  3. When starting your fragrance journey, stick to smelling three fragrances per visit.  Smelling more than that leads to olfactory fatigue where your sense of smell becomes overwhelmed and you have difficulty distinguishing between the fragrances you are smelling.
  4. No coffee beans please.  Those shopping for fragrance have been trained to ask for coffee beans to reset their nose.  Coffee is another strong scent that can actually affect the way you perceive fragrance.  Instead, sniff the inside of your elbow that doesn’t have fragrance so you reset your nose with your natural scent.
  5. Get a sample of the three fragrances you are considering.  Spray the sample on an area of your body that won’t be disturbed.  Check in every 20 minutes or so to see how it is developing on you.  Another way to test a fragrance is to put it on a few hours before you retire for the evening (after your bath or shower).  This way you will able to experience the evolution process of the fragrance, thus allowing you to make a more informed decision.
  6. Enlist the help a trusted source.  Sure the ultimate decision is yours to make but because your fragrance will be experienced by many, getting a second opinion can be a good thing.  You want don’t want to be THAT person wearing that stank a$$ scent by which people will harshly judge you.

 

Winter Skincare Tips

In beauty, skincare on February 24, 2018 at 7:16 am

Protect your skin from the harsh, cold, disrespectful weather with these helpful tips.

There is always something about the freezing cold winter weather that sends emotional and literal chills up one’s spine.  You know – the thought of walking from the house to the train station.  Walking your pet in the dark, cold early hours of the morning.  Warming up your car while scraping off thick, heavy, icy snow.  Add to that the fact that you have to spend the extra time layering on pounds of clothing so you don’t freeze to death and you’ve created a whole new way of living.  With all the adjustments you make to your wardrobe (and life in general) to survive the cold weather, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate the effectiveness of and make adjustments to your winter skincare routine.

We all know the cold winter months are particularly harsh on the skin.  There is less humidity in the air so between the cold air outdoors, dry heat from indoor/car heat and super hot showers which deplete moisture, skin can become more sensitive, dry, and flaky.  Your skin is also more likely to show fine lines and wrinkles when it usually doesn’t.  So, since your regular skincare routine wont suffice…

Consider Your Cleanser

This time of year, you may actually need to use a different cleanser to help break down makeup and dirt.  An oil cleanser such as Amore Pacific Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes or balm cleanser like Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm tends to be gentle yet highly effective on the skin.  Even more oily skin types can experience dryness and dehydration during the winter months and could benefit from a more gentle cleanser that lathers such as Fresh Soy Face Cleanser or Tatcha The Deep Cleanse.  If you are sensitive or extremely dry, consider a milk cleanser like Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk.

For the body, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash which includes soothing emollients and colloidal oatmeal can do wonders for dry itchy skin.  To seal in moisture, when drying off, be sure to pat your skin dry with your towel and follow up with a rich moisturizer like Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion with Almond Oil.

Amp Up Your Moisturizer

Adding oils to your moisturizer and using overnight sleeping masks can be the key to added moisture, keeping skin soft and supple during cold weather months.  While face oils alone may not hydrate, they are great for adding to moisturizers and foundations for an added boost in efficacy and skincare benefits.  The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil and Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil are great because they help restore the skin’s moisture barrier and give skin radiance and luminosity, both of which tend to fade away during the cold months.  Sleeping masks like Laneige Water Sleeping Mask work overnight to recharge and deeply hydrate the skin.  This is a great time for skincare products because they do the work while your skin is in repair mode.

During this time of year, you may also need to switch your eye cream.  It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye not only adds moisture to the under eye area but it also brightens and depuffs, helping the under eye area look smooth, making it a great prep for under eye concealer.  Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream helps to illuminate the under eye while delivering intense hydration.  If you need a quick boost, apply eye patches like Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches.  Used in addition to your eye cream, these patches will give additional vitality and boost of hydration to the under eye area.

Lips also suffer tremendously during this time of the year.  From eating and drinking (which can remove lip product you apply), to using products like matte liquid lip stains, lips will get dry and flaky.  Using products that are rich in emollient butters will help to repair and protect the lips.  Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm restores lips with shea butter and jojoba oil.  If you need a product that does deeper repair, Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is an overnight treatment that heals with vitamin C and antioxidants, leaving your lips nice and soft in the morning.

Remember not to neglect the skin on the rest of the body and pay particular attention to feet, knees and elbows with a moisturizer that will replenish oils and nutrients to the skin.  Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion with Almond Oil  not only relieves dry, itchy skin but also gives skin a glow.  Hands and cuticles also suffer because of activities like extra hand washing to help prevent winter sickness.  deborah lippman rich girl handcream (SPF 25) and Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream both contain avocado and shea butter to heal and replenish dry, cracked hands and cuticles.

Exfoliate

Gently exfoliating 1-2 times a week does wonders for the skin but don’t overdo it.  Over-exfoliation does more harm than good by disrupting the moister barrier, leaving it prone to irritation and even breakouts.  Other than that, by removing dead, flaky skin, all other skin products will absorb and work better.  For face, Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask Seaweed Radiance Facial is a two in one facial, great for all skin types, that smooths and restores radiance.  If you are a Clarisonic lover, although you can use it twice a day, consider using it only in the evening or every other day if you find that your skin feels drier and tighter after you have made other adjustments in your skin care routine.  For the rest of your body, SW Basics Cream Scrub, a moisturizer and gentle scrub in one, will make skin soft and smooth in one step.  And for those who are minimalists when it comes to ingredients, this one is for you as it is made in small batches with only four organic ingredients:  sugar, shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil.

Monitor your heat sources

Yes, you are cold to your core and yes, all you want to do is thaw out but putting your central heating and your bath/shower water on hell will make matters worse.  Home heaters, whether they are space heaters or central heating is dry air and will dehydrate your skin.  When heating your home, have the heat come up intermittently and consider getting a humidifier to add moisture into the air.  When showering or bathing, keep both activities short and the water tepid.

You Are What You Eat

Sounds so cliche but making sure you have balanced eating habits is always a good idea.  Things like added sugars, caffeine and other processed foods can exacerbate dry skin concerns.  Refined sugars lead to inflammation which robs skin of nutrients making it dry, flaky, irritated and can even aggravate acne problems.  You don’t have to vilify and completely stop consuming these foods however moderation is always a good practice.  Also, it goes without saying to increase your water intake.  In addition, make sure your eating plan includes foods that are nutrient dense as well as with fatty acids and have a higher water content.

When changing your skincare routine, remember that consistency is key.  You can always seek advice from a quality beauty professional and if serious concerns/issues arise with your skin, seek a health professional.

What are your favorite winter skincare tips?