Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Jodell of Black Cat Plus is  hosting Fashion Flash. This terriffic plus size  site is living proof that style has no size.  I love  how Jodell  explains  how to  enjoy   top trends at any shape and age.  Jodell is also  a committed  activist against fat  shaming and discrimination and I am so proud to  know and work with her.

Fashion Flash beauty IconFashion Flash Beauty Icons

This week I got an invitation from HSN  to join their “Skinspiration” discussion that explored the beauty icons that ifluenced me.  I have so many that it  is  hard to pick just one. I love the style and highlights of Jennifer Aniston’s hair.  I admire  her casual All-American style during the day and  her ability to make a 360 degree turn  to switch  on serious  glamour on the Red Carpet. I admire Madonna  for her committment to exercise, sunscreen and a plant based diet. Unlike so  many pop icons,  I respect  her refusal to  damage her health and beauty with drugs  or alcohol.

Of course I love the  simple perfection of Audrey Hepburn   and Jackie Kennedy.  But I am also a huge  vintage fan and I  love the  style of the  movie goddesses in the Golden Age of Hollywood.  I  have my own collection of vintage clothes and I can dress like  an extra in a Joan Crawford movie from breakfast  through cocktails.

But in an era  of make-up and hair  where more  was  more, my favorite  beauty icon was Greta Garbo. The radiant simplicity of her skin and hair is as appropriate today and it was when she was the most famous  woman in the world. I also admire the style of the Duchess of Windsor, who, while  not a natural beauty, captured the heart of the King of England.  Through  a combination of style, charm and pure grit she became a lasting  icon that has endured for decades.

As it turned out both Greta Garbo and the Duchess of Windsor  both followed the same  health guru, the dashing  European nutritionist,  Dr Gayelord Hauser.  I discovered him  while I was  still in college and  he was  a huge influence for me to explore  health and beauty issues.  This week  I will write about his approach to nutrition and skin care  and share some of his most famous  home grown beauty recipes.



Skin Care From Shark Tank– How Cool is That?

RIght now I have two top  passions–  honest skin care and   watching Shark Tank every Friday night.  For those  who may  not yet  be addicted, Shark Tank is a competition where  aspiring entrepreneurs seek to partner with self-made  billionnaires like  Mark Cuban ( Yahoo, owner of Dallas Maverick’s)  Barbara Corcoran ( real estate magnate ) and  Daymond John ( brilliant founder of Fubu fashions).  I usually find  competition shows banal and  mean inspirited, but each week I am blown away by the originality and intelligence  of these uber successful moguls.

When I discovered that three  Shark Tank winners    were exhibiting  their products at Cosmoprof in Las Vegas it felt like the mothership was calling  me  home.  While there are literally  hundreds of new products  at  this  international beauty show, the  Shark Tank products were truely unique:

Skin Care on Shark Tank1.  Simple Sugars  is a line of scrubs  that are not  only natural, they actually work by exfoliting and moisturizing at the  same time.  I tried out the almond scrub on my hands  and 24 hours later  my skin was still astonishingly softer and smoother– even in dry  desert air. Now just 23,  Simple Sugars  founder Lani Lazzari  started making skin care prodcuts  to deal with  her own sensitive skin. After partnering with Mark Cuban, Simple Sugars is now  a multi-million dollar company.

Skin care from Shark Tank2. Hot Tot is a line of specialized  hair products  with gentle ingredients just for children.   It began  when Hot Tot founder, Megan Gage wanted to style the wisps  her infant son’s hair into a  tiny pee-wee peak.  Not only does it  work, the Hot Tot  formulations  are free of everything you don’t want to put on your baby including synthetic coloring, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde and irritating  sulfates.  I was so impressed that   Megan  used  her $20K investment from  Mark Cuban  to do the tests  necessary to label her products  hypoallergenic.  How remarkable is that!

Skin  Care products from Shark Tank3. KissTixx is a unique twist on lip balm.  I have to admit that I was surprised that Mark Cuban choose to partner with skin  and hair care products, but  KissTixx definately seems to be in his wheelhouse.   Developed by Dallas Robinson when he was still in college, KissTixx is a  lip balm combo that will revolutionize kissing.

Here’s how it works:  Each Kisstixx  is a pair of flavored lip balms eg chocolate and strawberry , one applied  on  each pair of lip…. and when they kiss, kapow! Sales have soared since appearing on Shark Tank. Mark Cuban invested $200,000 in KissTixx  and its now available in Walgreens, Bed Bath and Beyond  and K-mart.   In  true  Shark Tank style,  Dallas   has branched out producing special  order  lip balms.  His clients  include  sport teams, TV show and fashion brands.

Meeting  these three personal products entrepreneurs was a unique chance to see close-up  how to turn a great idea into a world class business.




Its Fashion Flash Monday!


Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Cindy of Prime Beauty is hosting Fashion Flash.Before I discovered Prime Beauty I had boxes of lipsticks,  foundations, bronzers,  and mascaras that failed to deliver  for me.  This site  changed my failure/success rate with new make-up choices.  Cindy does the heavy lifting, testing each one  and providing in-depth analysis of  fragrance, texture and color. The ads promise so  much that its easy to get drawn in. Prime Beauty gives  me  much better info to make good  beauty purchase decisions.

Fashion FLash Book Review: Cuisine SanteFashion Flash Book Review: Cuisine Sante by Christopher Buey

I recently reviewed  Afro Vegan by Bryant Terry which offered meat-free versions  of  African and  Carribean cuisine.  It beautifully captured the flavors  of the original cuisine but  with a fraction of the fat and calories.  I  wondered if there was  an equivalent  book that did the same for traditional french recipes.  When I had tried  myself to  simply to cut back on the butter,  cream, bacon and salt  on french cookbooks,  the meals  just didn’t taste French. When I found Cuisine Sante in a quirky  second hand book store  in  upstate New York,  I was inspired to try again.

The book genuinely drills down into the subject.  It  starts with clear, well illustrated  photos  for techniques like filleting a fish, boning a chicken and prepping  vegetables  in traditional  french style.  It  offers recipes  for  stocks with full flavor yet  lower sodium levels by compensating with additional seasoings like ginger and mushrooms.   For creamy dishes, Cuisine Sante substitues Greek yogurt for heavy cream and  exchanges  olive oil for butter in braised  dishes.  I love  carot soup  but it usually is packed with butter and  cream.    I love a  true rich quiche but  the  fat and  calorie   count is truely scary. I’ve tried making a low fat version but  they were watery and bland.   The  Cuisine Sante version  cuts calories by “sauteing”  the onions in a mixture of wine and thyme until lightly carmelized and mixing a bit of  cream with skin milk for the custard.  The result?  Even better than the original.

I  wish that  Cuisine Sante  provided nutritional breakdown of their recipes. Cuisine Sante does not consider their recipes diet food, but  healthier versions  of beloved french meals, but I really like to know what I am eating.  Some of the recipes are time  consuming and others are technically challenging.  But   there are  many  simple  yet hearty   dishes like glazed  pork loin,  ratatouille, “creamy” carrot soup which allow me to both eat  French and wear French.



If sunscreens are so good, why do they make my skin breakout?

Question and Answer logoQuestion:  Sunscreens are always the last  step of your  treatment plans.  I hear what you are saying, but sunscreens  make  my skin breakout– and I’m 34!  And if I spend  time in the sun, my  skin  actually clears up and looks geat.   Could I be allergic  to sunscreens?

Answer:  I hear you too!.  For years  I found that sunscreens didn’t  so much  prevent  a sunburn as they triggered  more breakouts.  Turned out that many sunscreens  contain ingredients that provoke acne.  Most contain oils, waxes,  and polymers that clog pores.  Others have chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone and homosalate that are irritants– and over  age 30 acne is often provoked by inflammation rather than excess oils.  To get the benefits of a sunscreen without  problems,  look  for oil free  physical sunscreens  formulated with zinc oxide or titanium oxide.  Mineal based  powdered sunscreens  like Brush -On Block by Susan Posnick  provide great touch up durng the day.

I am also  feeling  your pain  about the beauty benefits  of a tan.  Its absoutely true  that in the short  run,  the sun can  decrease oiliness, heal breakouts and even hide discolorations and blur fine lines.   However  in the long run, the sun  rapidly accelerates skin aging.  In fact up to age 60, over 80% of skin aging is due to exposure to  the UV rays of the sun.  Unprotected sun exposure also   dramatically  increases risk of basel cell  skin cancer, squamous cell  skin  cancer and even melanoma.  I find  it sobering that melanoma is the leading cause of cancer deaths in  young women.

A Safer Tan without Sunscreen

Doctors used to believe that a base tan would protect the skin from further sun damage.  We now  know this is so not true.  There is no safe level of unprotected  sun exposure and a  sunscreen should be worn year round.  To satisfy my craving for  tan, I  get a spray tan that lasts about a week.  It  looks  so wonderful with a white dress or bathing suit that I  strip down and get a full body spray once or twice a year.   It costs   between $50- 70 a session  and is  certainly less expensive than  skin cancer surgery.

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

This  week,Fashion-Flash-logo Positive Aging Expert  Barbara Hannah Grufferman is hosting Fashion Flash. In her blog Best of Everything After 50 and on her regular Today Show appearances, Barbara  has  a positive view of life that  is virtually contagious. While  we  certainly can’t  stop getting older  we can control  how  we approach  the  life and times after 50.   Online  there  can  be an overflow of  naysaying and negativity in blogs  about aging, but   Barbara  will  empower  you to  make each  day of  your life the best day of your life.  She interviews experts  on fashion, fitness and health to  pull out the best ideas and latest information.  And don’t miss  her entertaining and informative  video series with AARP!

Fashion Flash ReviewFashion Flash Review:  Dr Ellen Marmur in Self magazine

New York dermatologist  Dr Ellen Marmur has been  an unfailing friend and supporter of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog since it started four years ago.   Despite a packed waiting room, four children, a full research program, and  a regular guest  slot on Dr Oz, Dr Ellen  is never too busy  to answer our  questions and demonstrate new  tools and techniques.

Now you can read about another side of Dr Marmur in the August issue of Self magazine.  In addition  to being  a world class dermatologist,  Dr Marmur  is passionate about hiking.   Reading what  hiking  means to  her and how it makes her feel reminded me of the  importance of having  an activity in your life that  makes you feel calm and excited at the same time.

Most of  our time is spent getting to a specfic goal eg   meeting  a work deadline,  doing the laundry or  toilet training a two year old.  But  there are these activities in our lives where the process  is  as important as the conclusion and you feel  happy and engaged in every step of the process.  For example, my friend Kelly loves to knit.  From finding the pattern,  choosing the wool and selecting the right  needles, Kelly’s face  just glows  when she works on  a   knitting project.  Kelly runs a small  scientific  publishing company  and it can be hard to find time to knit during the week.  But every year she sets  time aside to go to knitters  camp  to learn and share with other crafters.

Cooking is my happy place.  I love each step of the process from planning the meal, shopping for ingredients, prepping the vegetables  and seasonings  and listening the  the sounds and smells that tell me a dish is coming along as planned.   Having an activity  where time  passes effortlessly and the process is  as pleasurable  as the final result, is  the ultimate  stress reducer. Having  this type of  interest is  so important to  a healthy  mind and body.  What is your “happy place”  and how do you make time to include it into your life?

Fashion FLash supports SCTAHCombining a Hobby with  Compassion

This summer Dr Marmur  combined  her love of hiking with her committment to skin cancer prevention.  She and her team climbed Mount Kilimanjaro  to raise money for  the American Academy of Dermatology  skin cancer campaign. You   can  go to Marmur Medical to donate to support  this important program.

A Guy’s Guide to Anti- Aging Skin Care.

Anti-Aging menIt should be no big surprise that  men’s skin  ages differently than a woman’s.  Their stronger muscles ( yes even in the face) develops deeper wrinkles.  Men have more sun damage on the face and neck  and develop more non-melanoma skin cancers.  Men’s skin tends to be thicker oiler and then there is that beard to take into account.

Tretinoin ( eg Retin-A cream) along with a sunscreen is the foundation  of an anti-aging skin care for women and it works equally well for men.  According to  New York City dermatologist Dr Gary Goldenberg, Retin A can be used on the  cheecks, chin, nose and forehead to deal  with sun damage and stimulate collagen. Both Botox and fillers  are also in his anti-aging skin care tool kit, although the guidelines differ.  Dr Goldenberg points out that because of the nature of the muscles a  man’s face  may require up to 3X the amount of Botox to get adequate  relaxation to erase fine lines.  However it is important to leave some lines and wrinkles in a man’s face.   If you overdo improvements, a  man”s face will look unatural and feminine.

The deep furrows in a  man’s face seem to spring up overnight after age 40 also respond well to fillers.  Runners tend to get a drawn appearance with deep lines due to both extensive sun damage and fat loss.  But like Botox it is important to have a light hand to leave “character lines” that project a manly charm.  ( Don’t you wish that lines are wrinkles viewed in the same way for women?)  Fillers can also be used to rebuild a strong  jaw lin to inhance that masculine profile.

Anti-Aging Laser for Men

The milder lasers like IPL, Clear and Brilliant and Forever Beautiful ( my fav) don’t seem to offer the same benefits for men.  Dr Goldenberg recommends the Fraxel Duel  laser and feels that just two sessions can erase up to 10 years.  After a Fraxel treatent, the skin will be red and a bit swollen for 2-3 days and flake for 1-2 weeks.   Man can gently shave two days after  a Fraxel session using a conditioning shaving cream.  This means avoiding products with glycolic acid, menthol and alcohol.  When the skin feels comfortable ( about two weeks) unwanted lies and wrinkles can be touched up with Botox and fillers.  To  maintain these benefits, a sunscreen should be used each and every  day.

In today’s difficult job market, men can turn to anti-aging tools to keep them professionally competitive.  A few expression and character lines add gravitas but under eye bags, jowls, and frown lines  can  undermine an executives ability to lead.  Appropriate ( and subtle) enhancements can make  a tough economic environment a little easier to navigate.


Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoI am so thrilled that Pam of Over 50, Feeling 40 is  hosting Fashion Flash for the first time.   I  have been a fan of this wonderful site long before Pam joined Fashion Flash.  She is a former radio show host, journalist and  reaches journalism in Texas.   Pam  has both a great fashion sense and a wonderful positive attitude toward life  after 50- its positively contagious!

Pam  offers a high/low fashion mix combining  Goodwill treasures  with beautiful finds  from major brands and retailers.  And best of all  her fashion choices  show  how good 50+ can really look both at work and at play.  No  4 inch stilettos, no $2000 bags, just  affordable well cut pants, jackets and tops that flatter our changing bodies.I’ve found that Pam helps me ‘shop’ in my own closet, creating   wonderful new outfits  from what I already  have on hand.   If you are already  a fan of Over 50 , Feeling 40, you know what I am talking about.  If  this site is new to you, it will be a new treat.

Fashion Flash Book Review:  Secrets of the Spas by Catherine Bardey

Fashion Flash Book Review- Secrets of the SpaThere  is no shortage of  books about spas and spa treatments, but this one is a keeper.  It offers more than 70  cleansers, masks, moisturizers and  herbal baths that use less than five  affordable ingredients.  They are  super easy to  make   and deliver  genuinely helpful benefits.   For example  a sea salt and and a apricot kernal oil body  scrub is a fabulous all natural exfoliator that is as good for you as it is  for the planet.  I love exfoliating grains for skin and body care, but recent studies have shown that these  granules  remain forever in the environment.  Sea  salt does its job and then dissolves easily in water.  No contaminating  residue!

A  seaweed and aloe vera  mask clarifies  all skin types and the  thyme and fennel  skin cleanser is so   gentle and effective that  alone, its  worth  buying the book.

Other favs include  green tea and cucumber mask,  oatmeal and almond scrub and honey and almond oil mask for super dry skin.  In addition to these recipes,  the book offers  a guide to  the benefits  and precautions of both essential  and carrier oils and a list of  necessary tools– eg bowls, wisk and a spice grinder.   This short  book also   offers a glossary of spa terms  such as  vichy shower, tincture  and peloids.  At the end of the book is a resource guide  for key ingredients.   The author is a former  stylist for Elle and J. Cree and her  passion for beauty comes  through in every  well- designed page.

Rubies- The Gem that Shares Its Beauty

ruby heartRubies, the deep red birthstone of July is the rarest  and  most valuable of  all gemstones.  Since prehistoric times rubies have been mined in Thailand and Burma.  Ancient Indian beliefs held that if a  man offered rubies to the gods, he would become  king or emperor in his next  life ( the actual  upgrade in next life depended on the quality of the rubies he offered to the gods)

The clear, rich, red tones of the ruby are very flattering for all colorings, except ruddy skin tones and red hair.  Rubies warm up pale and yellow skin tones and enhance most shades of blonde, gray, black and brown hair.  They are usually set in gold and work beautifully  with polished daytime and after five clothing.

The fashion impact of rubies have been limited by their scarcity  and price. Carat for carat  a ruby can cost  three times more than a diamond.  The most desireable rubies are deeply hued  like the color of blood– hence the term “blood ruby”.  Genuine rubies can range from  the priceless deep red  to  dainy  pale pink.  Gem experts  may argue over the difference between a pink sapphire and a pink ruby but  both are true gemstones.    Synthetic rubies developed around the turn of the century can offer the color and sparkle, if not the romance of the genuine stone.To maximize their beauty and minimize their cost, rubies can be added to a simple pearl necklace for double the impact.  If you are  in the market for a ruby, keep in mind that  most rubies today have been chemically enhanced to deepen color and glow.  Be sure to ask about enhancement   before you pull out a credit card. To maximize their beauty and minimize their cost,  rubies can be added to a simple pearl necklace for double the impact.

The Romance of Rubies

Rubies  have been used  for centuries in crowns and swords, but they are also a favorite love gift. The Duke of Windsor gave  his wife Wallis a ruby and diamond necklace for her 40th birthday that contained  more than 120 priceless Burma rubies.  The birthday  necklace matched two bracelets, a pair of ruby and diamond errings and   hair ornaments that  the price had given her since they had met.  The jewels were so elaborate and so extraordinary that  columnists described the Duchess as ” dripping in rubies”.

Rubies For the Rest of Us

Real, enhanced or frankly fake, rubies  add a glowing polish.  A pair of  diamond and ruby earrings  brightens a black chiffon  dress   while  a diamond and ruby bracelet  paired with a black velvet dress is a practically  perfect holiday choice.   If you are  meeting a client or  making a pitch, a ruby and gold ring takes  a navy blue pants  suit to a whole new level.

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week  is the first time that  Mary Lou and Carrie  of Second Lives Club is hosting Fashion Flash.  I love the premise of this site– that   our second fifty  years  could  be even better than the first  fifty.  Second Lives Club often profiles amazing women who have made  dramatic and successful  changes in  their lives.  Its  so empowering to read about  women who changed directions  after 50  to find new fulfillment. In addition Second Lives Club  has great features on fashions, books and travel. Subscribe to this site for intelligent  and entertaining information you won’t find on any where else.

Fashion Flash Book ReviewFashion Flash Book Review:  The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I usually review non-fiction lifestyle books that  deal with fashion, beauty health and food, but The Signature of All Things is so extraordinary, so original that I had to share  it.  This novel deals with   the life and times of a unique heroine that spans   18th century  England, the  American revolution , the civil war and  the dawn of modern science with Darwin’s theory of evolution.   The central  character Alma, a brilliant self taught botonist  is  one of the most interesting women characters in literature.

In the 19th century the  exploration  and  cataloging  of the world’s  plants and animals captured attention much the way we  focus on tech today.   Arguments  about the details and links in the plant world  held   the imagaination much the way we view a new app or  changes in Facebook.  The ability to  draw  flowers and leaves  was  accorded the same  awe and admiration that we  today regard the ability to code.

Using the national passion for natural science as a background, Gilbert writes a novel that is both  original yet accessible.  She makes  me care about all the characters, even when they are  cruel, ignorant or weak.  Just when  I think  I see the direction of the story , Gilbert  changes direction– and it takes  the narrative to another level.  Her  simple direct  tone  allows her to  address complex ideas and subjects with singular clarity.   If you  read one book this sunny summer,  make it The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. Its worth every  minute of your time.

How Do I Deal with Dark Spots After Acne?

Question and answer logoActive acne is distressing at any age and acne scars can remain for years.  I’ve received numerous questions on different types of scars  and now superstar dermatologist  Dr Gary Goldenberg of Mount Sinai Medical Center has provided great solutions.  Today I am starting with the most common acne scars– those red or brown spots.

Question:  I’m 27 and finally got my acne under control, but now I have dark red spots on my cheeks and chin.  How can I get rid of them? And does the redness mean that acne scars will come back?

Answer:  Those dark red spots are called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH.  They are the sign of a persistant inflammation that is  located deep in the dermis.  The body has to reabsorb  this damaged tissue– a process that takes 6-12 months.  Because they are formed  in the lower layers of the skin, exfoliating  scrubs and superficial peels will not really help.  Retin A  can speed up the process somewhat but for quicker, permanent results, Dr Goldenberg uses  the Fraxel duel laser.  He can set the depth of the laser to reach the dark spots without damaging the other tissue.

Dr Goldenberg starts by numbing the skin with lidocaine gel.  One hour  after  lidocaine application, the skin is so numb the proceedure is virtually  painless. Right after the   one hour Fraxel treatment, the skin will look and feel like a sunburn– red with  some swelling. This usually last 2-3 days and an ice pack can relieve the buring sensation.  Dr Goldenberg also  recommends  putting your moisturizer in the refrigerator so that  when its applied, it literally cools and  hydrates the skin. After the redness subsides, peeling  will start and last for about 2 weeks.  After the abnormal  skin has peeled off, you will start seeing fresh , spot-free skin.

Acne Scars in  Women of Color

In darker skin tones, PIH can look dark brown and black rather than pink or red.  Over the counter skin lighteners with Koic Acid ( eg Clinique Even Better) can slowly lighten them.  These very dark areas can also be zapped with the Fraxel duel laser.  However the heat of the laser may trigger more inflammation and pigmentation.  To prevent problems, Dr Goldenberg pre-treats skin of color with hydroquinone to  slow down pigment  forming cells before firing up the Fraxel laser. Acne  can seem like the gift that keeps on giving.  In addition to PIH, acne  can leave saucer shaped depressions, enlarged pores and even   lumpy raised areas.  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  There are tools and treatments for all of them.