Q: Ever since I had my first child, sleep seems like a faraway memory. I have been hitting the coffee hard in the morning. I have noticed that now my teeth aren’t as white as they used to be, how can I make them whiter?
I know how you feel. My four-year-old actually said to me the other day, “Hey Mom why are your teeth yellow and mine are white?” Guess I have been indulging in a little too much red wine! The first step you want to take is to invest in whitening toothpaste. Many companies make them and they buff away stains as long as you are brushing for a minimum of two minutes twice a day. The American Dental Association recommends regular cleanings at your dentist’s office and flossing daily. To speed up the results you can also try a home bleaching kit like Crest’s WhiteStrips ($35). These safely whiten teeth in as little as two weeks for up to a year. For professional results, you should try an in-office procedure. BrightSmile is a one-hour whitening procedure done by a dentist and will last for years. It’s a bit of an investment, costing between $300-600, but a brighter smile will perk up your whole face and build confidence.
Q: I am so tired of my plain old body lotion, but I am on a budget. What are some inexpensive body products I can try?
The great thing about body products is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to feel like you are pampering yourself. Many luxurious creams that hydrate and soften the skin can be found right in the beauty aisle of your local grocery or drugstore. The hottest thing in body lotion right now is to use one with just a hint of self-tanner to even out skin tone. Jergens, Oil of Olay, Dove, and even Vaseline make great ones in the $5-8 price range. If you are really in an indulgent mood, you can try some chocolate, but don’t eat it – wear it! Cocoa scented body products are a fun way to get your chocolate fix and hydrate your skin at the same time. At The Body Shop, their mini Cocoa Butter Body Butter ($8) is an extra-rich cream for dry skin that has a scrumptious chocolate and vanilla scent. It’s a yummy departure from plain old body lotion!
Q: I was digging through my makeup drawer and noticed that some items are getting pretty old. I hate to throw anything away that I can still use, but how do I know when makeup goes bad?
How do you know when a product isn't good anymore? You wouldn't believe how old the products are that some of the women who come to me use. I'm talking about blush from the 1980s and 10-year-old lipstick! One of my customers even brought me a powder that was her mother's in the '70s! Beautiful vintage cosmetics as collectibles are one thing, but no one should use them on their face. Here are some general guidelines about shelf life for some products, but always keep common sense in mind. If it smells bad, separates, or changes color, kick it to the curb!
Foundation: There are two different types of foundation: water-based and oil-based. These will last for 12 months and 18 months, respectively, after they are opened. If you notice that it starts to smell sour or turn off-color before then, head out and buy a new one.
Concealer: Can be used for up to 12 months, but toss it if it starts to look caked when you apply it under the eye area.
Powder: Loose powder will last up to two years. Pressed powder usually lasts only about a year, because the oils in the sponge break it down if the sponge isn't cleaned regularly. It helps to keep that little plastic barrier that comes with the pressed powder between the powder and the sponge.
Eyeshadow: Can keep up to three years. If it starts to get crumbly, treat yourself to some new shadows.
Eyeliner: Will last up to three years, just be sure to sharpen them regularly. Twist-up liners sometimes tend to dry out after a while. If it's dry or tugs at your eye area when you apply it, then get rid of it.
Mascara: Will last up to four months. If you keep it any longer the mascara can dry out and flake. I know everyone talks about eye infections from old mascara, but I haven't heard of any cases of this. Don't share your mascara with someone who has conjunctivitis, but that's just common sense. Here is a great tip: do not pump the mascara wand because this gets more air into the tube, drying it out faster. The best way to get more mascara on the wand is to twirl it around the tube, scraping the sides without lifting the wand out. Then take it out and use one side of the wand for one eye and flip to the other for the other eye.
Lipstick: This one is up for some debate. Some experts say one to two years is as long as you want to keep it. I've heard some people say up to four years is O.K. The best way to judge is to smell it. If it smells rancid or different from how it originally smelled, pitch it. Isn't shopping for new lipstick fun?
Cleansers and Moisturizers: Good for up to one year. Try not to stick your fingers into the jar. Use a cotton swab so that you don't contaminate the product.
Nail Polish: Up to 12 months if you keep it standing upright. If it starts to separate and you get a yellowish layer, then it's time to say goodbye.
Brushes: Great quality brushes will last a lifetime, and they should because they can cost a fortune! Wash them with a gentle face soap and dry by laying them down so that water doesn't leak into the brush handle. You should wash your brushes every two weeks, or three if you have dry skin. Oilier skin causes more build up on the brushes, so they may need to be washed weekly.
Cleaning out your makeup case takes some discipline and a little time. It's a lot like cleaning out your closet and getting rid of old clothes. You wouldn't wear those neon-green leg warmers from the '80s hanging out in the back of your closet, right? Old makeup goes on about as smoothly as those outdated leg warmers do, so do yourself a favor and get cleaning!
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