Monday, September 26, 2011

Wrinkled Elbows - How to Fix them at any Age without Botox!

As if there isn't enough to think about when we age ... but one dead giveaway that we often forget to pay attention to, because we don't see it when we glance in a mirror ... wrinkled elbows!

Our elbows are one of the first places to show aging. The skin is thicker and darker there due to dry skin, constantly leaning our weight on them, and leaving them unprotected from the sun’s harmful rays. My photographer friend says that even children need retouching for discoloration in this area!You have to have a little extra skin around the elbow or you wouldn't be able to bend it, but wrinkly elbows do not mean you're old - seen in this photo snapped at the MTV Video Music Awards recently, of 30 year old celebutante, Kim Kardashian.
Photo credit HuffPost

I did a fitness shoot last week and made sure I was not giving my photographer extra work in photoshop fighting with my elbow wrinkles. How? By cheating every photo a bit with a slight bend in my elbow. A modeling rule in posing is “if it bends, bend it.”And the best place to apply that rule is for your elbow! Never lock up the joint here, or you will have wrinkly elbows AND an awkward, unflattering pose! 
photo credit HuffPost

From the front, Kim gets it right with the bent skinny arm on the hip trick! Often photographers soften celebrity photos, but obviously not always. 

Regardless, “you cannot walk into the room with photoshop” so here are some things to try for better results in your pictures and in real life:
  1. Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Exfoliate! ~ You want to make your skin glow again by removing all the piled up, dead, dry skin on your elbow that is making it discolored by using a scrub, loofah, or nubby washcloth in the shower.
  2. Lighten 
    • Try cutting a lemon in half and sinking your elbows into them for about 10-15 minutes to lighten the skin.
    • Fade dark spots by using an over the counter hydroquinone to treat hyperpigmentation.
    • When self tanning don't forget to moisturize your elbows first so that the color is not over- aborbed into the elbow
  3.  Elbow Grease 
    • Vaseline, olive oil, shea butter, anti-aging creams!
    • I use a product called AmLactin I  buy at Costco for $18, a steal compared to other stores. It contains an alpha hydroxy acid, a naturally occurring skin humectant to relieve stubborn dry, rough skin. (Works great for feet too)
  4. Sunscreen
    •  SPF 15 or higher every day or you will sabatoge all the effort above because the sun promotes darkening and drying.

Guess who these elbows belong to? Hint: People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive cover boy, Brad Pitt used to rub elbows with her. Proof positive that not even a star is not immune to the wrinkled elbow of age.

photo credit TMZ

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dry shampoo - a dirty little secret for healthier hair!

One of the biggest underground trends for your hair DO is the "no-poo" routine, as in ... no more traditional shampooing. 

Most of the time when I go for a modeling job the instructions are always to arrive with clean hair and face, but recently I was scolded for not having "dirty" hair because it is easier to manipulate into a fuller, wavy style.  I have to admit that the thought of going days without shampooing seems almost “un-hygenic" to me, but I decided to revisit this idea after a trip to my salon where I was called a "DAILYwasher" ... like it was a bad thing.

Thankfully, the newer brands of dry shampoo’s have made the difference in being able to break this habit!  A few years ago, I tried a dry shampoo spray from Bumble and Bumble that had a brown tint, and after using it my hands were brown, I had places on my face where the brown spray landed, not to mention  brown remnants on my pillow the next morning. I threw it out and never looked back, until now. Every hair company seems to have a dry shampoo out there these days and definitely some are better than others. I happen to love the ones by Ojon and Oscar Blandi, around $20, but I have heard that Batiste for about $7 is a comparable and terrific product. Plus you can try making your own from corn starch for pennies.  Check it out {Here

Etiquette among the NY elite, used to be to go to the beauty parlor every week or so for a wash and set. So the idea of waiting a little longer between shampooing is nothing new. Washing hair every day is actually a little counterintuitive because there is no better conditioner for the ends of your hair than your natural oils, and by washing daily you aren’t allowing the oils time to penetrate down and absorb into the cuticle of each hair, to make them shiny and soft, naturally. Some people believe over-washing can cause your scalp to go into greasy overdrive trying to produce more oil to compensate. Also, the little bit of product build-up in your hair can add more control and volume than if you wash it every day!

My list of why to wait a little longer between shampoos:

1. Healthier hair.
2. Longer lasting color.
3.  Volume. 
4. It's green!
5. Saves time.
6. Let's me be a little lazy!- Careful, don't skip showering. Put your hair in a ponytail and wrap in a turban, careful not to get it wet if you have a lot of product in your hair or your hair will turn into a gumball!

I have friends with gorgeous hair that swear by this concept and although the dry shampoos of the past had a bad rap, thanks to the newer products, I'm a believer! I recently worked with a 20 year old model who often gets booked because of her gorgeous long thick hair who told me she uses Suave dry shampoo ($3) on her freshly washed locks just for added volume! Another beautiful friend, who likes to skip shampooing daily, suggests using a shot with the blow dryer to add body and sleeping on a silk pillowcase to eliminate bedhead in the morning.

In Sydney, Australia, a radio station issued a 6 week challenge for its listeners to stop shampooing. Emily Rowles, a 21 year old accepted this experiment and shared her final diary entry at week 6, "Well, I thought by now I honestly would have secretly 'snuck a wash' however I'm still just 'watering' my hair and it has never looked (or felt!) better!" 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wardrobe Essentials - Must Have Staples for your Closet

Do you feel like you have nothing to wear even though your closet is full? I know how overwhelming it can be so I have some tips to help you navigate through the fashion glut this season.

First of all get rid of everything that makes you feel frumpy that is unflattering like big sweatshirts and saggy jeans. If it bunches or pulls or sags, toss it into a pile for donation or get it tailored. DO NOT set aside a section for skinny or fat clothes.

Also, make a list of what you need to complete a look for that shirt or pant you love but can’t find anything equally as great to pair it with in your closet. If you have a great base wardrobe, think accessories or accent colors - brights are huge this season.

My personal top 10:

1. LBD – a little black dress that makes you feel sexy. (This year it might be a little red dress instead)

2. Dark wash jeans. Most of us own 20 pairs of jeans but still struggle when choosing one to wear since some are too short, too tight, too long, or too small. Colored denim, skinny and flared are all in this season, but make sure you have a dark wash, boot-cut jean in your wardrobe that fits perfectly – it is universally flattering, goes with everything and will never go out of style.

3. Tall pair of  boots with a comfortable heel to wear with skirts and jeans in black or brown. If you're daring go thigh high!

4. Cardigans – belted, buttoned, opened, long or cropped, worn with a t-shirt, blouses, jeans, skirts and pants. 

5. Color blocking - Pick a hue that works on you and go head to toe. The easiest way to really color block is to pair a colored piece with a neutral, but your neutral isn't necessarily beige, it can be white, black, or brown. Or be bold and color block with another bold color ... or two.

6. Leather jacket. Duh.

7. Shapewear – makes your clothes fit better and makes you look thinner. Get the perfect bra and be  sure to adjust the bra straps up!

8. Statement jewelry - Add a cuff bracelet or bold necklace to make anything seem stylish. Or layer smaller bracelets on your wrists like arm candy.

9. VINTAGE - mixing old and new together is chic' - Look for lace pieces, pleated midi skirts, polka dots, yellows – bright or mustard, florals and dresses of all sorts that you can layer up. Vintage stores are a great place to get cool statement jewelry also.

10. NUDE pumps - they go with everything and give you a "legs for days" look. Check out my post about How To make your legs look Longer {HERE} And you should also have a pair of Black high heels for a girl’s night out ... the highest you can walk in. And by the way, we all need a girls night once in awhile to celebrate our fellow goddesses! 

If you're packing for a trip you might like to read How to Pack and Travel in Style like Model's do (HERE) After all, models are constantly on the go jetting off last minute for a shoot and experts at on the go fashion.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Things You Should Know by Now

There are a few things that we learn growing up. Some of us find out early that mom didn't always know best.  We must constantly navigate the waters and make decisions based on what we think is correct, most often using common sense. Remember that rules, especially when it comes to aging, were meant to be broken sometimes ... trust your gut, it never lies.  And according to Dave Barry

"Never, under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night."

1. A stripe of color on your cheeks is not “blush” and making a fish face to apply it under your cheekbones is the wrong place for it. The best way to put on blush on? Reverse the way you were taught. Instead you should start near your temples and blend toward the apple of your cheek, where your skin naturally flushes.

2. Gray hair will make you look older. If your job has been eliminated or you’re looking for a promotion this could hurt you.

3. If your face and neck are different colors, you will look like a bobble head. Make sure all of you blends! Brush a darker powder or bronzer under your chin and jaw. This will do two things: eliminate a double chin and even out your skin tone because the neck is often a lighter color than our face.

4. Listening to your mom tell you not to remove your facial hair because it will grow back thicker like a man’s, is a myth and just plain bad advice. For more about this read Chapter 3 in my book Face This, about how to get flawless looking skin for your close up.

5. Makeup comes with an expiration date and putting your finger into a product can introduce bacteria into it. Be sure to be paying attention to both.

6. Spot reduction is an urban legend. If you like your booty but want better abs, you cannot lose weight in only one area. Even doing tons of tummy and core exercises won't help much if there is a layer of fat on top over the muscle. Sorry, but fat gets lost at the same rate over your entire body and only genes or hormones can dictate otherwise.

7. The mirror doesn’t lie ... check yourself twice before leaving the house. If you have to ask, chances are it doesn’t look so good.

8. Putting scotch tape on your nose is not the same as a Biore strip to clean out your pores.

9. Wear sunscreen even when it’s not sunny out. Many dermatologists say you should wear nothing less than 30 SPF. Although you will get less UVB exposure in the non-summer months, UVA rays are year round and will cause wrinkles and stubborn brown spots on your skin.

10. You should not go to bed with your makeup on, not only will it cause break outs but you will be missing out on giving your skin a chance to renew while you sleep.

What bad beauty advice have you been given? I am sure there are a few laughs out there to share. Feel free to comment below!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lesson #1: Soft Lighting is a Girl's Best Friend!

Let's face it ... everyone looks better in the right light. The secret to looking Ahh-MAZING in your photographs is knowing and getting into the right lighting. One of the biggest challenges in learning how to take beautiful pictures is learning how to determine where to shoot your photo and from what direction.

Shooting in direct sunlight at 12 o'clock noon is the harshest lighting on any face, but especially as we age.  Bright, direct overhead sun is unforgiving as we get older casting defined shadows under eyes, illuminating fine lines in our skin and showing deep contrast in our faces. Remember too much sun is always too much sun for our skin, whether we are at the beach or taking a photograph directly underneath it.

Soft light has no direction to it and does not cast shadows. This is the kind of light you see in a cloudy day or in wide open shade. It is also the light we want to photograph ourselves in. How to tell if your light is hard or soft? One of the easiest techniques is to simply hold out a finger across your hand, slightly in front of you, to see if there is shadowing. If your shadow is dark then you have a hard lighting situation and should look for a softer shadow or no shadow at all to shoot in.

Here is a photo I took in my backyard this morning under cloudy skies. You can see that there is no shadowing under my finger and you cannot tell where the light is coming from. My lower hand is perfectly lit under the cloudy conditions which filters the sun naturally.
A few hours later when the sun came out I took the second photo in the same place. This time you can see how the sun overhead casts a dark shadow on my hand along with a shadow on my arm from the camera lens.

Soft light, moonlight, candlelight, sunlight, incandescent light, whatever your light, the quality and direction will make the difference between an OK photo and the one that you love. The characteristics of light are far reaching so get it right!

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." ~Edith Wharton