Friday, April 25, 2014

Health Tip: Protect your gums by not using hard toothbrushes

This is a combination beauty and health tip, but recently I've been experiencing some gum pain, and my (much older) doctor told me that one of her greatest regrets is that for over 40 years she used a very hard-bristle toothbrush and essentially put undue pressure on her gums every time she brushed her teeth. This later led to receding gum lines. Scary stuff, and just goes to show that you shouldn't ever blindly listen to dentists' recommendations! Her recommendation is to go with soft bristle brushes, and to use the sensitive setting on electric toothbrushes to avoid destroying the gums.

I wanted to expand that a little further by touching upon my own experience with a deep-cleaning, which was both unnecessary and in retrospect far more damaging than beneficial. My dentist scared me with the idea of things growing under my gum line, so I proceeded to go forth with a deep cleaning. That certainly led to receding gum lines, especially in my rightmost front tooth. The gum line, especially behind the tooth, is noticeably deeper now, and occasionally causes discomfort.

Please note that as a disclosure I am not a dental expert, and I'm sure some people have benefited from deep-cleaning procedures. But if I could go back, I wish someone would have shared this with me and let me understand the full risks, especially as I'm young and honestly it's done more harm than good.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Beauty Tip: Avoiding wrinkles from ill-fitting sunglasses and rubbing your eyes

There's two beauty mistakes I've recently discovered myself to be guilty of, and it's time to change those ASAP. The first is wearing sunglasses that don't fit on my nose and consequently end up being supporting by my cheeks. Turns out this can lead to wrinkles (which makes sense because of the downward pressure by said sunglasses). It's a pity, because my Tiffany's prescription sunglasses (top pair in picture above) are very much of this sort, which means I've literally been doing harm for years (yikes!)

I have a very low nose and relatively high cheekbones, so it's difficult to avoid, but after much searching I think I finally found a pair that fit without nudging against my face (from Urban Outfitters, the pair below). I unfortunately don't find them as flattering on, but for $24 they'll do well as a substitute in the meantime.

Of course, please note that despite the risk of cheek-resting, you should definitely keep wearing those sunglasses, because they still shield your eyes from UV damage and help you avoid constant squinting (which can lead to other wrinkles).

The second rule is to stop rubbing those eyes! Lately I've found myself doing that almost constantly through the day. Much of it is out of paranoia that there's stuff in my eye and other times it's to itch them. This has to stop. It's not only unhygenic, but the tugging of the skin as you rub is exactly the recipe for wrinkles.

Hope this was informative and helps some of you to make a change like me earlier rather than later!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rimmel: Show Off Lip Laquers

These were quite the hit online a few months ago, and I admit to getting suckered in to the hype. My verdict? Definitely not the best lip glosses I've ever tried given the thick, hard-to-spread formulation, but at least the color payoff is solid.

Left to right: Aurora, Celestial, Luna
My main problem with the product is the formulation. It is ridiculously thick and difficult to smooth onto the lips. When you first apply it with the wand, the product just sits in a sticky clump. I have yet to figure out how you can spread it out with the wand, because it quickly turns into a big mess that leaves way too much pigment on your lips (seriously, you'll look like a clown if you don't sheer this out, especially with Luna).

Colors when blended out - Aurora, Celestial, Luna
Instead what I do is rub it with my fingers or with a clean wand to spread it out. The image above is after I rubbed over the initial color spots with my fingers. Still far too pigmented for my liking, and generally it takes quite a bit of work to even it out. What's worse is if you're not careful, the color will easily smear outside of your lips. This is NOT a blindly-apply type of gloss - you better be glued to the mirror when you're putting this on, or risk splotchy, bright orange lips (a lesson I learned the hard way).

The wand is designed with a hole on one side, I guess to drop off more color. I have no idea who in the world would want that much on one application - that's just asking for colored teeth and messy smears in random places. What I end up doing is dabbing a single spot in the center of my bottom lip, then blending out with my finger to the rest of my lip. Good news is this will last forever.

The three colors I purchased are Aurora, a nice, reddish pink, Celestial, a baby-doll pink, and Luna, which becomes a lovely nude once sheered out. This product is not a stain, so even though it'll be quite pigmented when you first put it on, I find the color quickly goes away upon eating / drinking. The smell and taste is a bit tangy and sweet, which I personally quite like.

I got these for half off the retail price, so about $2.80 each from Walgreens during their 50% off Rimmel sale. I wouldn't recommend paying anymore than that, because I think there's far better formulations out there. Unless you like the look of super sticky, scary-bright lips, I'd recommend staying away from this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Healthy Eating: My Typical Breakfast

I realize that almost everyone has been with the healthy-eating fad lately, but I really do think it's something worthwhile for both long-term health and beauty. Along with trying to expand my diet to include more fruits and veggies, I've been trying to train myself to eat a more healthful breakfast.

Personally, I don't think you should overeat in the mornings. A few of the nutritionists I follow, including Kimberly Snyder, recommend going easy on your digestive system at the start of the day with something light. Listen to your body and don't eat a ton if you're not feeling hungry.

On busy class days, oatmeal is my default because of its easiness and warmth (especially in the cooler months). The verdict is still out on whether grains, including oatmeal, are good or bad, but there's really nothing that beats the convenience in the morning.

I usually prefer my oatmeal plain, generally without any toppings and sweeteners. To be honest, I've always found sweetened oatmeal to be rather sickly. Recently though, I've been experimenting with adding chia seeds on top. Chia seeds have a slightly nutty flavor and add a nice crunch. Plus, they will expand when exposed to water either externally or in your stomach. This helps to make you feel fuller post-consumption.

I'm not sure if this chia craze is truly worth it, as these seeds are fairly pricy. However, I'm willing to give them a shot and so far I've been enjoying them.

Some people do smoothies in the morning, and someday I'll try to find a way to do that instead. But for now I'm enjoying my daily breakfast.

Victoria's Secret Body Mists

I went a little overboard during the buy 3 for $25 special at VS, and picked up three of their body mists, in Pure Seduction Bloom, Lemon Escape, and Mango Temptation. To be honest I've never used VS body mists before, but I was hooked after smelling the Pure Seduction Bloom. As you might be able to tell, I'm a big fan of sweet, fruity scents.

Pure Seduction Bloom

This is the one that instigated the whole purchase. From an aesthetics standpoint, I love the design of the bottle with the golden flower as well as the corally shade of the liquid inside. So gorgeous. It's a very sweet, blend of floral and fruity scent. Perfect for spring/summer. My only problem with it is that the lasting power is very weak - I can't smell it more than a couple hours after I spray.

Lemon Escape

Confession - I returned this after the first use. This was sweet to the point of almost sickening. Pro is it lasted absolute hours. It smells like coconut lemon candy cake, and literally the whole morning after I sprayed it I thought someone was cooking sweets. It's ok, but for me it was too distracting.

Mango Temptation

This one lasts longer than the Pure Seduction, and has a very nice mango scent that isn't too sweet. It's probably my most go-to scent of the ones I picked up, because it lasts long enough to matter and the mango is quite pleasant.

Citrus Dream

I ended up exchanging the Lemon for this, which is a much more tangy, citrusy scent. The lasting power is probably the worst of them all though. It's about what it sounds like - citrus with floral notes, not too sweet despite the description.

Note that VS has done $5 fragrance mist specials (as they did after I picked these up sadly), so keep your eyes peeled and wait for a good deal. I personally am not sure I'd repurchase, because the scents really don't last long enough to make it a good investment. But they are pleasant and fairly affordable, and supposedly contain aloe / other skin ingredients although I usually just spray it on my clothes.