Category Archives: Beauty

This Moisturizer Will Make Your Pores Look Filtered—and It’s on Sale

 

As a beauty editor, one of the things I’m asked about most is pore size. “How do I make mine look smaller?” ” Can you actually shrink them?” “What should I use for a poreless complexion?” All of these questions have become ingrained in my mind, thanks to the many times I’ve been asked. And for a while, I wasn’t too happy with the answers I would give, because when it comes down to it, pores can’t really be made any smaller. Still, there are products that can help them appear that way—and this is one of the best I’ve found.

The Dr. Brandt pores no more Mattifying Hydrator Pore Minimizing Gel (regularly $36; dermstore.com) is a great option for those seeking help with their pore size. But first, it’s important to note that the reason why pores may appear more pronounced is due to oily skin (they’re sebaceous glands) paired with trapped dead skin, which ultimately stretch pores. That being said, you should have a regular cleansing and exfoliating routine in place to help keep everything under control.

 

Next up should be a moisturizer, such as this one from Dr. Brandt, but oftentimes people with oilier skin types think that they should skip this crucial step—for a long time, that included me. Not moisturizing will actually prompt glands to produce even more oil to accommodate for the dryness, though. That’s why I added this lightweight, hydrating gel to my routine. It quenches my skin’s thirst and also keeps breakouts in check and dead skin buildup at bay, thanks to willow bark extract, a natural alternative to skin-clearing salicylic acid.

It may sound too good to be true, but this moisturizer actually packs an ingredient that manages to soak up excess oil while leaving water behind so skin isn’t stripped, just looking grease-free. In addition, there are light-diffusing powders in the formula that help blur imperfections and leave skin looking smooth and pore-free.

I like to use this formula in the morning before makeup. It helps me maintain a matte look all day, but not one that looks dull or lacks dimension like a lot of drying products and powder formulas can. I have combination skin with drier cheeks, but get shinier in the T-zone where my pores are bigger—and I still use this all over and feel that it’s all  I need, especially in the summer months. When the weather gets colder, I’ll probably just add in a heavier cream at night, but stick to this as my day moisturizer.

The best part? Dr. Brandt pores no more Mattifying Hydrator Pore Minimizing Gel is on sale today as part of Dermstore’s Annual Sale. Use the code “BIRTHDAY” at checkout to save 25%, which brings the price down to $27 (from $36).

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I’m Obsessed With These De-Puffing Eye Patches—and They’re on Sale

 

Anyone who stares at a screen all day knows that eye strain is real, but it’s hard to avoid in most office jobs—so what are you to do? I personally reach for eye patches when I’m seeking some relief, especially after a long night, or a flight when my puffy under eyes need some TLC.

My go-to: Talika Eye Therapy Patches (regularly $59 for 6 patches; dermstore.com). The easy-to-apply patches are packed with skin-loving ingredients like ceramides and plant oils, both of which are intensely hydrating for delicate under eye skin. That area is especially prone to dryness, and fine lines become more accentuated when skin is dry, which can lead to dreaded concealer crease. Bonus: The set is on sale during Dermstore’s Annual Sale, bringing the price down to $45.

 

To buy: $45 with code “BIRTHDAY”; dermstore.com

This particular set comes with a travel case, making it super easy to throw in my bag when I’m on-the-go. And because the patches are reusable up to three times—you can rinse them with water after each use—it makes storing them a breeze. When it’s time to apply, make sure skin is clean and then simply peel the backing off of one and apply it starting with the narrow side near the inner corner of your eye. Work your way outwards, pressing down the whole time so it stays in place, then repeat on the other side.

I like to leave the patches on while I do something else, because I honestly forget that they’re even there. After about 15 to 30 minutes, I’ll remove them and put them back in their case. The result: brighter, plump—not puffy—under eyes. My favorite time to use them in the morning while I apply the rest of my makeup; they act as a great primer, helping concealer go on seamlessly, and double as a shield to catch any fallout from my eye shadow and mascara.

All this has helped to make them a staple in celebrity makeup artists’ kits, such as Lydia Sellers (who works with Meghan Markle) and Jamie Greenberg (her clients include Kaley Cuoco and Tracee Ellis Ross).

I Replaced My Night Cream With Coconut Oil, And These Are My Results

 

Come on: After seeing this picture of Kate Hudson with the hashtag #coconutoilskin, why wouldn’t I try it?

As a cook, I’m already a huge fan of coconut oil. I sauté with it, put it in treats, add it to smoothie bowls, sometimes blend it into coffee. I also use it for minor burns in the kitchen; I find it not only soothes the pain, but also aids in healing. You’ll always find a big container of organic, extra-virgin coconut oil in my kitchen (like this one).

When I was in culinary school, there were enormous tubs of coconut oil in the kitchens, and invariably you’d get some on your hands when reaching in to get some for a recipe. All of us got in the habit of rubbing it into our hands, and it helped soothe the chapped skin we got from so much hand-washing and working with food and knives.

RELATED: How to Make a Latte With Coconut Oil

So I don’t know why it never occurred to me before to use it on my face, especially since I have incredibly dry skin that I abuse with lots of running outdoors. Plus, now that I’m in my mid-forties, well, let’s just say my skin can use all the moisture it can get. I am also always on the hunt for the most pure, natural beauty products that I can find.

With all that in mind, I thought, Duh! Why not give it a shot?

Here’s what I did: At night, after cleansing my face, I replaced my fancy night cream with pure coconut oil. I also gently rubbed it on my neck and chest, and then into my hands (and over my elbows). It didn’t take much, maybe about a nickel-sized dollop. Then, in the morning, I put more coconut oil on my face, neck and chest just after showering. About 30 minutes later, I applied sunscreen before putting on makeup.

I didn’t do anything different from my usual (bare-bones) beauty regimen, except for applying some oil just after showering, which only took a few seconds.

The result? Here’s my before (left) and after.

Photo: Beth Lipton

RELATED: 10 Surprising Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil

OK, so I still don’t look like Kate Hudson (bummer). But I really love the way the coconut oil feels on my face. It’s super-moisturizing and nourishing, and it soaks in nicely so my face feels soft, but not greased up. I like the smell of coconut; if you don’t you probably could mask it a bit with an essential oil like lavender. So I’m going to keep using it. I don’t know that I’ll stop buying night cream altogether; some nights I might mix it up and use a regular cream. But I’m officially buying a second tub of coconut oil so I can have one in the kitchen and another in the bathroom.

I may just try it on my hair next.

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5 Habits of Vegetarians You Should Steal

More and more of my clients consider themselves to be part-time vegetarians. While they may not want to give up meat altogether, they enjoy plenty of meatless meals or take part in ongoing movements, like Meatless Mondays. Today is another formal campaign focused on leaving meat off your plate: It’s the Great American Meat-Out, and getting on board can be a great opportunity to improve your health.

Even semi-vegetarians weigh less, and have lower risks of high blood pressure and diabetes. Plus, taking the focus off meat can be a simple way to boost your intake of plant-based foods you may not be eating enough of.

Here are five healthy veg-based habits you can adopt, even if you aren’t interested in embracing a total vegetarian lifestyle.

Make veggies the main attraction

When I ask most of my omnivore clients what they had for dinner last night, they typically reply with meat first (e.g. “I had chicken with…”). Veggies are often an afterthought. Obviously my vegetarian and vegan clients don’t eat meat, but I advise everyone—including omnivores—to think about veggies first and build the rest of their meals around them. It’s key, because eating more veggies is one of the most impactful dietary changes you can make, but about 75% of adults fall short of the minimum recommended three daily servings.

Fitting in just one additional portion per day can slash your risk of heart disease by as much as 11%, and making veggies the star of your plate can lead to a myriad of benefits (check out my post 5 Reasons to Eat More Vegetarian Meals). From today on, when choosing what’s for lunch or dinner, select your veggies to start, then add lean protein, good fat, and healthy starch to round out your meal. If you struggle to make veggies taste great, check out Health‘s story on 13 Veggies You Only Think You Don’t Like.

RELATED: 5 Veggies That Make Perfect Pasta Alternatives

Choose plant-based fats over animal fats

My hubby, who’s from Texas, grew up eating not just plenty of meat, but also meals made with other animal-based fats, like butter, and bacon grease, as well as lots of dairy based sauces. While he still eats these foods once in a while, he now prefers veggies sautéed in olive oil or dressed with EVOO and balsamic vinegar, as well as guacamole instead of sour cream, and sauces made from tahini (sesame seed paste) or nut butter—all staples for many vegetarians.

The switch has helped him lose weight, up his energy, and improve his health, and I see the same with many of my clients. Plant-based fats have been shown to reduce inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and diseases, including obesity, and even help boost weight control and whittle waistlines—even without cutting calories (check out my previous post 5 Amazing Powers of Avocado). Make the switch more often yourself and monitor how you feel, as well as how your jeans fit.

RELATED: 11 Fitness Foods to Help You Get in Shape Faster

Make “pulses” your protein

Pulses are my current obsession. Eating at least one serving a day is the cornerstone of my latest book Slim Down Now, and I truly believe that pulses are the most underrated superfoods on the planet. Pulses include beans, peas (e.g. chickpeas, black eyed peas), and lentils, and in numerous studies, eating more of them has been tied to weight loss, less belly fat, appetite suppression, a better overall nutrient intake, and a lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease. Vegetarians often opt for pulses as their protein source and there are plenty of delicious ways to enjoy them, including lentil or split pea soup, black bean tacos, and hummus.

Pea protein powder, also a pulse, is also becoming a hot plant-based protein. I love to whip it into smoothies, and use it as a protein-booster in oatmeal. In addition to providing protein, pulses are rich in filling, blood-sugar regulating fiber, as well as resistant starch, a unique kind of carb that’s been shown to naturally up your body’s fat-burning furnace. Pulses also pack antioxidant levels that rival berries, and they’re satisfying without making you feel sluggish. This Friday or any day, trade the meat in a meal for a serving of pulse, like cannellini beans, lentils, or oven-roasted chickpeas—they’ll fill you up while helping you slim down and stay healthy.

RELATED: 14 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources

Snack on plants

While there are “junk food vegetarians,” many veg-heads make whole, plant-based foods their focus, including at snack time. Great options anyone can reach for include raw veggies with hummus or guacamole, fresh fruit with nuts, seeds or nut/seed butter, or a smoothie made with a plant-based “milk” (like almond or coconut) with fruit, leafy greens, and a plant-derived protein powder, such as pea or hemp. Even choosing dark chocolate over milk chocolate ups your plant-based game and boosts your antioxidant intake!

RELATED: 5 Natural Appetite Suppressants That Really Work

Build plants into desserts

I love baking (check out this video for my 5 healthy baking swaps) and one of my favorite challenges is to find delicious ways to sneak more plants into my splurges. I’ve added puréed spinach to vegan brownies, and in Slim Down Now I incorporate pulses into several goodies, including whipping white beans into chocolate pudding, and using garbanzo bean flour to make pumpkin spice mini muffins. Nutritionists and chefs are incorporating produce into desserts in lots of interesting ways, from tomato sorbet and chocolate eggplant cake to mushroom meringue. Feeling creative? Give it a try, and share a pic of your healthied up goodies with us on Twitter or Facebook!

Meet Cynthia Sass at the Health Total Wellness Weekend at Canyon Ranch in May 2015. For details, go to Health.com/TotalWellness.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass. Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the New York Yankees MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Cynthia is a three time New York Times best selling author, and her brand new book is Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Drew Barrymore Just Shared Her Biggest Skincare Problem–and What She Does to Fix It

She says she hates looking like a “ghoul.” 

Drew Barrymore is known for her beauty expertise, but now, she’s sharing what helps her feel her best. The actress and owner of Flower Beauty posted a mirror selfie on Instagram to talk about one insecurity in particular.

“I have really dark circles,” she wrote. “That’s my problem. I don’t have lines as much as I look [like] the crypt keeper. I love laugh lines. Can’t wait for more. But dark circles are a problem, because it looks like instead of being impossibly happy throughout my life, I look more like a ghoul who came from the graveyard!”

Lucky for her (and us), Barrymore has found the solution to her under-eye dilemma.

“The key is to find a more pigmented eye cream,” she said. “Rarely, but certainly some times, clear has worked. But I often find white tinted and ones with a light pearl or pinky tone. I have a few faves I will share, but wanted to show a regular morning.”

The ‘gram is part of Barrymore’s “#beautyjunkieweek,” where she discusses her beauty routine, skincare information, and of course, the products that work best for her. We’re still waiting for Barrymore to unveil exactly what’s in her cosmetic bag for conquering dark circles, but she has shared a few of her go-tos already. Over the weekend, she promoted Juara’s Radiance Enzyme Scrub ($38; dermstore.com)–and mentioned their eye cream.

“Obsessed with this brand and they sent me a sample of this scrub when [I] asked for their insanely effective tea eye cream for dark circles,” she said. “To my surprise, my pores shrank to zip. Zero. Tight.”

Barrymore says she is not paid or encouraged to post about any particular product during #beautyjunkieweek; rather, she just wants her followers to know how they can take care of their skin.

This $8 Mascara Makes Everyone Think I Have Lash Extensions

Whenever I see someone with super long, thick, dark eyelashes, I assume that they have lash extensions. Though extensions are a foolproof way to get the lashes of your dreams without growth serums or falsies, they’re not exactly low maintenance.

Eliminating oil-based makeup removers, not rubbing your eyes, and not getting the lashes too wet or hot are just a few of the limitations that come with extensions. And that’s why I’ve settled on enhancing my lashes the old-school way: with mascara.

It turns out that the best lengthening mascara, one that rivals any set of extensions, is only $8 at your favorite drugstore. NYX’s Worth the Hype Mascara ($8; target.com) adds length and volume that’s equivalent to the results you’d get from the extensions. The formula is buildable, so you can customize how dramatic of a finish you get depending on how many coats you swipe on. Its fluffy brush has a tapered tip that makes it easier to reach every single lash—including those hard-to-reach small hairs at the inner corners of your eyes.

Before I tried NYX, my favorite mascara was $30. I was doubtful that any other tube would live up to my go-to formula, but I also like saving money. I gave NYX’s mascara a shot because of its under-$10 price tag.

I applied two coats to my upper lashes and was surprised at how defined, full, and (most importantly) long they looked. On the day I wore this mascara, New York was a rainy, slushy, wind tunnel. I looked in my bathroom mirror after commuting home and saw that my mascara wasn’t clumpy or smudgy. And the formula isn’t even waterproof.

Yeah, I’d say that NYX’s mascara is worth the hype.

Dermaplaning Is the Secret to Brighter, Smoother Skin

Even though I’m a huge proponent for everyone wearing as much makeup as they want to, I’m personally of the skin-first philosophy: That is, I prefer to painstakingly fret over my face, lathering all kinds of creams and serums in a quest for what I suppose to be the non-existent “flawless complexion,” so I don’t need to wear so much makeup.

Lately, I’d noticed my skin, now at the ripe age of 32-years-old, didn’t have that same Noxzema-girl luster as it did just a few years ago in my 20s. (Aging is a real thing, you guys.) And while I’ve enlisted a variety of anti-aging creams approved by top derms and experts alike, I wanted to find a way to get fresh-faced quickly. So when the aesthetician who turned me onto the skin-wonder phenomenon of microneedling let me know of her latest innovation, I had to learn more—and try the at-home treatment for myself. (FYI, here’s Everything You Need to Know About Microneedling.)

No pain. No pain. Beauty shouldn’t be painful. #realwomenradiantskin #Dermaflash

A post shared by DERMAFLASH (@dermaflash) on Aug 18, 2016 at 11:16am PDT

Dermaplaning, according to Kerry Benjamin, the founder of Stacked Skincare in Santa Monica, California, “gently removes dead skin cell build-up and fine facial hair for a brighter and smoother complexion, while also allowing products to fully soak into the skin, boosting the efficacy of the serums and creams.” In medical spas and aesthetic offices, the procedure can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 depending on where you live, but her at-home tool is literally a fraction of the cost, packaged with a trio of replacement blades, too.

Although the treatment has gotten a lot of buzz recently, it isn’t entirely groundbreaking. “Beauty bloggers have talked about at-home dermaplaning over the years, but they’ve used a cheap plastic tool intended to touch up your eyebrows.” Definitely do not try that at home, FYI.

“I also think a lot of women are getting over the stigma of ‘shaving their face‘ and realizing that dermaplaning is one of the best treatments to exfoliate the dead skin, and also remove peach fuzz, leaving your skin instantly glowing and dewy,” Benjamin said, to which I can’t disagree. I mean, at 32, I want skin as smooth as a baby’s butt. And no, I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I’ll try almost anything (at least once) to get the job done.

Plus, it works on all complexions (unlike laser hair removal, which is best for an extremely specific skin tone and hair type) and takes only five to ten minutes—perfect for those who want smoother, brighter skin but are also too busy (or lazy!) to devote tons of time to beauty treatments. In addition to the Stacked Skincare tool, I also stumbled on one of Sephora’s top-selling skin-care tools, the DermaFlash. Similar to the manual dermaplane, this electronically powered model is a souped-up version of the Stacked Skincare tool, except it comes with a set of six blades (you should use about one per week) in addition to an oil-removing cleanser to use beforehand, and a soothing, hydrating cream to apply after completing the at-home treatment. Great for all skin tones, notes Benjamin, the whole thing can be done in about 5 to 10 minutes, once a week.

All you do is pull skin taut with one hand, and using the other, make sweeping strokes from the hairline in towards the nose, being extra careful to not nick or cut yourself. (Just another reason to change the blade after every use. You need a fresh one every time for the safest, most hygienic experience.) You’ll want to avoid sensitive spots, like near your eyes or lips. (Or, you can just watch these videos from Stacked Skincare and DermaFlash, which feature the respective founders giving you the exact step-by-step how-to.)

An important note: If you’ve got bad acne, skip dermaplaning, as you won’t want to spread the bacteria across your face and possibly create more zits, says Benjamin. (Same goes for microneedling—skip if you have acne.) And if you suffer from a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, make sure to see a professional first.

Although I had to wait an extra week to dermaplane thanks to a lovely hormonal zit smack-dab-in-the-center of my cheek, the results were incredible. Yes, I did nick myself once or twice on the bonier parts of my face, like my jawline, but everything else was smooth sailing, literally. (But I am feeling hard for men who cut themselves shaving, TBH.) All the peach fuzz that’s been around for 32 years? Gone. And all the dead skin cells that have built up from a winter’s worth of NYC weather, environmental stressors, and life stress? Also gone.

The best part, though, was that my husband, who notices nothing—like a haircut, let’s say—commented that my face looked “radiant.” And while I would never use another person as the barometer of my own beauty, it did reinforce my belief that dermaplaning is the secret to bright, smooth skin you never knew about. Until now, that is.

This article originally appeared on Shape.com.

I Tried Meghan Markle’s Facial Massage and My Face Will Never Be the Same Again

The buccal massage sounds weird and invasive, but after getting one all I could think was, Where has this facial treatment been all my life?!

Getting ready for the royal wedding is no easy feat. There’s a lot of training to be done—in terms of etiquette and fitness—so a day of pampering was much needed. Since my Real Simple colleague and Road to the Royal Wedding costar, Liz Steelman, and I are committed to going to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding (somehow) and doing all the official preparations we keep reading about, we decided to look into royal-approved beauty treatments. It’s a tough task, but hey, somebody’s got to do it!

Liz got the $1,500 haircut that Kate Middleton is a fan of, so I decided to look into Meghan Markle’s favorite beauty routines. I was expecting to find the usual treatments, like a Swedish massage or a spa pedicure, but I should have known that a royal-to-be doesn’t book the same mundane treatments that regular people do. From my official research, I discovered that Meghan is a fan of something called a buccal massage (also called a buccal facial). The treatment involves a deep massage of your face—in fact, the esthetician will even massage the inside of your mouth (umm, that part made me think of scary visits to the dentist!).

While Meghan goes to London-based facialist Nichola Joss for her treatments, I went to Danna Omari, the founder of Noy Skincare in New York City, for my pampering session. “The buccal facial is a deep tissue massage where we lift and sculpt the face and improve its posture,” Omari told me. “It’s fitness for the facial muscles, which are very hard to train in any other way. ‪We are restoring the clear edges of the face as well as diminishing pouches under the eyes and sagging skin. We are essentially causing a micro trauma to the skin by the repetition of the movements, enhancing the blood flow to the surface of the skin, and nourishing the cells in order to jumpstart the production of collagen and elastin.” Sort of like a facelift without the plastic surgery—just an esthetician’s very strong hands. Granted, her mention of “micro trauma” was slightly alarming, but I thought, if Meghan does it, so shall I. For the sake of journalism.

Before my facial, I confessed two things to Omari: one, that I had never gotten a facial before; and two, I was terrified of her putting her hands inside my mouth. Omari was so kind and patient, and reassured me that it wouldn’t be as weird as I thought. “Not only will you look great, but clients feel great as well,” she told me. “It is a big stress reliever. We hold a lot of tension in our jaw. The buccal portion is so unique because we are able to access the inner muscles of the mouth, stretching, massaging, relaxing, and therefore strengthening the muscles.”

Before my facial, Omari thoroughly cleaned and exfoliated my face. My appearance was probably akin to what a snake looks like when it sheds its skin, but boy did I feel relaxed already. Then she started “cupping” my face, which involves a suction device that gently pulls your skin to “facilitate lymphatic drainage.” It sounds uncomfortable, but it was actually pretty soothing and my face felt warm (in a good way), which Omari attributed to improved circulation. Next, she massaged my face all over, which is a bit like getting a deep tissue massage on your back—there was a lot of pressure, but I didn’t feel too much pain. At this point I was so relaxed, I wanted to sleep forever. Finally, it was time for the big event: the buccal massage. Omari gently put her fingers inside my mouth and massaged my cheeks, lips, and jawline. To my surprise, it wasn’t as scary or uncomfortable as going to the dentist. In fact, if a dentist appointment was like this, I would go more than twice a year. To finish, she put a soothing oatmeal mask all over my face and wrapped it in gauze. I looked like a mummy, but a completely relaxed and blissed-out mummy.

RELATED: How to Recreate Meghan Markle’s Messy Bun

Afterwards, it did feel like the muscles on my face had been through a workout. They weren’t exactly sore, but I was more aware that they existed. When I (reluctantly) returned to the office, my coworkers said my skin was glowing and my cheeks looked lifted. I kept touching my face (with the back of my hand, don’t worry, Danna!) because it felt so smooth and soft.

I can see why Meghan’s a fan—the buccal massage is a natural way to lift and sculpt your face, plus it’s a totally relaxing and luxurious experience. Of course, just like working out, you have to keep at it to see big changes. “Results are cumulative so it’s important to continue regular weekly sessions until you achieve your desired goal and than continue with maintenance treatments,” Omari says. I would definitely do it again, but at $250 a treatment, I don’t quite have the royal budget to book a facial on the regular.

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