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Monthly Archives : October 2014

Sun or Snow Vacation & Packing the Proper Skin Care

winter vacation skin care packing

With winter vacation plans getting underway, we thought we’d pull this fabulous blog by Yasmine Djerradine, out of the archives. Expert advice on how to make sure we take care of ourselves and have exactly what we need on vacation is always welcomed – especially in the product department. Hoping that you will find this as helpful as we do.

The Travel Beauty Team

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Winter is upon us, which for many means traveling. Whether you are off to the slopes of St. Moritz or the sands of St. Barths, packing proper skin care is essential!

Going to the Beach?

Be sure to have a sunscreen for face and body that will protect your skin from the sun – one that is easy to reapply after a dip in the ocean. Everyone is unique and reacts to the elements differently. Sun tends to accelerate the skin’s aging process. Bring B. Kamins Laboratories Sun Defense SPF 30 for face, neck and décolleté. It not only protects you from the harmful rays of the sun, but also guards against premature wrinkles that can result from sun exposure.

For Body

Pack Institut Esthederm Adaptasun Sea and Tropics Body Lotion SPF 20. Adaptasun ensures safe prolonged sun exposure in severe conditions, including the intense tropical sun. It allows a deep, intense natural tan to develop without any harmful UV damage. Adaptasun is formulated with UV in-Cellium Technology to protect the skin from the inside by strengthening its self-defense systems. This hi-tech sunscreen is also extremely moisturizing, and can be used as your primary body moisturizer during your trip, making it a multi-tasking skin care product ideal for traveling light.

Let’s Not Forget…

If you can’t make it to the spa before your trip, here is a great tip:

pack Bliss Poetic Waxing Strips for Body! They are superb for use on legs and other bits that might be in need of a fleecing. The wax is spa-quality and can be quickly warmed by rubbing in between your hands. These strips are very convenient and easy to use on the go – even in your hotel room.

Going Skiing?

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that you are safe from the sun’s harmful rays. In addition to the sun, strong winds and bitter cold can also attack skin, breaking down its defenses and leading to further damage. I recommend applying a hearty anti-aging serum, like B. Kamins Laboratories Nia-Stem Serum Kx. This unique formulation includes:

  • Niacin
  • Plant stem cells
  • The exclusive Bio-Maple® Compound

This unique combination minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and age spots. It detoxifies skin cells to reveal bright, even-toned and younger-looking skin. Follow the serum with a great moisturizing facial sunscreen, like B. Kamins Laboratories Sun Defense SPF 30. This is a perfect duo to protect your face as you as plow down the mountain.

For Lips

Whether you’ll be seeing sand or snow, be sure to pack B. Kamins Laboratories SPF 20 Lip Balm as well. In extreme cold, wind or sun, lips are usually the first place to suffer. Just a few minutes of exposure to extreme weather can lead to days of chapped, cracked lips. Reapply your lip balm frequently to keep your lips comfortable and protected all day and night.

Bon Voyage!

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Makeup Tips for Women 40 and Over

mb york makeup tips for women over 40

A few quick makeup changes can make a huge difference in how (old) you (look) are perceived…not to mention how you feel. One of my favorite stories illustrating this point is when my Aunt Patty stopped by my spa for a quick makeup touch up; she was in her late forties at the time. Later that day, she called to tell me that when she left the spa, she was whistled at and even had a stranger approach her and ask her if she was a famous newscaster! Talk about a confidence booster…no new outfit can do that for you! In fact, some of the best compliments I get are from the husbands of my clients. Time and time again I’ve been told that the men in my clients’ lives LOVE the light touch that I use; many husbands even tell their wives to buy everything I applied!

My motivation to keep doing what I do year after year is the satisfaction I feel after each client’s significant transformation – especially in such a short amount of time. As we get older, it becomes even more important to know what the right makeup can do for you…as well as what the wrong makeup can do to hurt you. My techniques are very fast and natural. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Tip One: Keep Up With The Times

A lot of women get stuck in a time warp, wearing the same makeup for years. I have one client that has been addicted to a bright orange lipstick forever; she’s worn it for several decades. I can’t drive past her house without imagining big orange lips on the front door, nor can anyone that knows her picture her without that bright orange kisser. Her friends routinely beg me to change it and suggest other colors. Throughout the years, I have spent time with her, showing shades that are far more flattering, but once out the door, she goes back to her security blanket orange color. Then there is the 60-something accountant that is still stuck in the 1960s with her pencil thin brow shape, powder blue eyeshadow and candy pink lips. She picked these colors about 45 years ago and has stuck with them ever since. We all know someone like this…or perhaps you’re realizing you ARE someone like this. Repent now…you’ll be glad you did.

Many women, like the ones above, are holding on to a lipstick color that’s all wrong for them. It is too dark, too matte, too brown…and men in particular hate it! It looks harsh and dull and accentuates lip lines and signs of aging. This is the issue that most women face: their makeup is actually making them look older. Without the right primers, moisturizers and great skin underneath, most concealers, powders and foundations get stuck in the fine lines and wrinkles and actually accentuate the imperfections. There’s also the problem of finding the right foundation color. Most women who sit in my chair are using formulas that are too yellow, which tend to make the skin look sallow, and lacking youthfulness. But they bought it years ago and just stuck with it. Women also tend to either not use enough make up (blush, etc.) because they are unsure of how to apply it, or they use too much…and usually use the wrong tools to apply it. As women get older, it is best to keep it natural…and be willing to try something new!

Tip Two: Don’t Try To Be TOO Trendy!

When you read about “trends” in makeup, I believe it is meant for teenage girls and that’s about it. “Bold eyes with nude lips” or “bright blush and glossy lips” are trends made to sell make up, not bring out your very best. There are certainly times, like New Years Eve or a black tie event, when you may want to do a bolder lip or heavier eyeliner, but what I am tackling is the mess of everyday makeup that women do. Most of us aren’t trying to look like a Victoria’s Secret model to go to the office. And even if you are going on a hot date, there is nothing that screams “desperate” like a heavy handed makeup application. I will say it again: men in particular hate harsh make up.

The problem with department stores and the traditional way that makeup is sold is that most colors out there shouldn’t be available to, or worn by, anyone. I am always looking at the choices of lipstick, powder, blush, shadows, etc. and can usually find ONE color that I think would be flattering on most women. The rest SHOULD NOT BE WORN BY ANYONE – I call them CLOWN MAKE UP. Unfortunately, many of us buy our makeup at a department store, which is a recipe for disaster.

Tip Three: Do Department Store Beauty At Your Own Risk!

If you succumb to the “department store makeover”, you are now at the mercy of the salesperson that is doing your application: his or her training and expertise, not to mention taste in makeup. Also, they are limited to selling the brand they work for, and as I stated, most of these should not be worn on anyone. They also may not have a lot of experience, so at best it will be a hit or miss with the colors they choose and application technique they use. I can almost guarantee that the application will be very complicated, as well as hugely expensive if you buy all the products that they use on you. I know because these are the horror stories I’m told time and time again. Let’s assume that you got lucky and actually like the look of the salesperson’s application, so you splurged and bought all the products. When you got home, though, and tried to recreate the look yourself,  you could not achieve the same results. There is always something missing. This is why it is always best to keep it simple, not too trendy but also not the same rigid application year in and year out.

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For quick and simple eye makeup application and a flawless undereye area checkout M.B. York’s Paint By Numbers Kit and her Beauty Ammo Kit.

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Travel Beauty Travel Diaries: Boca Raton, Florida

travel diary boca raton beach florida

Looking for a quick beach getaway that feels like a tropical vacation? My husband and I flew down to Boca Raton recently to attend the wedding of close friends. I have lived in New York City for 38 years and have never been to Boca Raton. What more, I had not visited Florida in at least 8 years, so I honestly did not know what to expect. I have to say, the bride and groom chose a beautiful spot. The wedding itself took place at The Boca Beach Club, which is part of the Boca Raton Resort & Club. It is a unique venue and is broken up into two locations, the beach club, on the beach and the resort located on the Intercoastal. I was actually able to relax somewhat (which is a rare occurrence for an entrepreneur).

Where to Stay

For those that long to be on the water, The Beach Club is for you. There is a beautiful white sand beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean’s clear blue water. It almost felt like being in the Caribbean. The beach goes on for miles, so if you like taking long walks on the beach, this is perfect for you. I recommend getting it in early in the morning before it gets hot. Note to self – make sure to take sunscreen (You can’t go wrong with Institut Esthederm, Sun Bum, or Neova) and after sun care. (I love Cosmetics 27 Huile 27 for face and decollete – very soothing and moisturizing and Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion for body). There are two pools at the club with breathtaking views of the ocean. Pool and beach side dining is also available, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center.

If you prefer more of an elegant, old-world experience, the Boca Raton Resort is the place for you. Situated on the Intercoastal, it is just steps away from the award winning full-service Waldorf Astoria Spa, two 18 hole championship golf courses, sparkling swimming pools, and a world-class tennis facility. The grounds are truly majestic; I was floored by the entire setting. The newly renovated Cloister building was built in 1926 and features Spanish-Mediterranean architecture. The rehearsal dinner, the night before the wedding, took place in the courtyard along side the spa. The setting looked like a royal courtyard in a Moroccan palace.

It’s All About The Trees

I could not get over the grounds that surround the Cloister building. It is an exotic arboretum. The walkway on the exterior of the hotel is adorned by 2 rows of majestic Royal Palm Trees. There are also many old unusual trees that look like they are not of this world. There is a Kapok Tree, or Ceiba Pentandra, planted 85 years ago, which is indigenous to tropical rainforests. It can grow to a height of 150 feet with roots that are 12 feet tall and sprout out with large horney spines. Next, we found a Banyan Tree, or Ficus Benghalensis, from India. It has a large tree top and tall aerial roots which become secondary roots. I had never seen anything like either of these and there are a handful scattered throughout the property.

travel-beauty-beach-club-resort

Where to Eat

I am not typically a junk food eater. I think the sea air probably got the best of me, but as we were exploring the huge corridors of the resort we happened upon Serendipity. I had no idea that there was more than one! The only one I am acquainted with is the original on East 60th Street in New York City, that I have been going to since I was 6. Well I marched right it and I ordered a 9 pound brownie sundae with coffee ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. In case you were wondering what a 9 pound sundae looked like, this thing was ginormous. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to zip my skinny jeans again! Naturally, I went back the following day. This Serendipity was a throwback to 50s diners, with orange banquets, white and pink French bistro chairs and a proper sip and soda bar.

Dinner was at Morimoto ala acclaimed sushi master, Masaharu Morimoto. (its literally steps from Serendipity – just in case you are interested) Morimoto is contained within a narrow sleek sushi bar. The food is dynamite; don’t forget to have a little sake…but just a little! You’ll need to be up bright and early for your walk on the beach.

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How To Grow Longer, Healthier Hair

hair repair treatments

I attended Salon International in London this weekend, and a predominant question I received from women was “why won’t my hair grow?” This wasn’t entirely surprising as long locks are highly coveted, but the lack of knowledge regarding what might be causing lackluster lock growth was quite eye opening! If you are one of the many women who have this question, it’s important to realise that your hair is, in fact, growing, even if it seems to be staying the same length. What is also happening is that it’s either falling out or breaking before it reaches the point you want it to.

Firstly, how long your hair is able to grow is largely down to the genetic card you were dealt. On average, hair can sustain growth for 4 years, although in some it can be as much as 7. As hair grows on average half an inch a month, this means that most people’s hair growth cycle allows for hair to reach around 24 inches in length, which is actually pretty long! While there’s nothing you can do to change your pre-determined growth cycle, there are definitely things that can disrupt it – and therefore various methods of optimising the potential of your tresses.

Diet

Hair is non-essential tissue so it’s given last dibs on the nutrients you intake. Cut out any food group and your follicles basically throw in the towel on supporting growth. Diets lacking iron, protein, Vitamin B12 and complex carbohydrates are most commonly to blame, so check that you are in-taking enough of these. Also, make sure that if there is a big gap between meals to snack on a healthy carbohydrate, such as fresh fruit. Energy levels to your follicles drop 4 hours after eating, so they often need a boost!

Breakage

Hair that is overly processed and lacks moisture will break – and breakage equals loss of length. Depending on the level of damage, this breakage could occur anywhere from a few inches from your scalp to just past your shoulders. In this instance, you need to restore elasticity to your locks to help it reach the desired length. Use a pre-shampoo conditioner, such as Philip Kingsley Elasticizer twice weekly, and a protective conditioning spray, such as Daily Damage Defence, every day. Also, try to keep the use of straighteners to a minimum and ask your colourist to be especially careful not to overlap previous applications.

Hormones

Conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can shorten the duration of your hair growth cycle, as well as increased hair loss, and hair not seeming to grow. Other symptoms can include acne, oily skin, increased facial hair, weight gain and tiredness. Get a yearly medical to check your hormone levels – there are very effective prescription medications to manage imbalances. Similarly, some birth control pills can have this effect if your follicles are sensitive to certain hormones. If you notice your hair is falling out or thinning at the ends 6-12 weeks after starting the pill, talk to your doctor. As a general rule, Yasmin and Dianette are the most ‘hair friendly’ out of all the pills – and are sometimes even used to treat hair thinning.

Scalp

A healthy scalp optimises healthy hair growth! If you notice your scalp is itchy or flaky, use products that will promptly nip it in the bud and revitalise your scalp environment. I suggest our Take Comfort Jet Set, which contains a soothing scalp toner, a highly effective shampoo and a moisture balancing conditioner.

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What Is A Colonic…And Do You Really Need One?

summer hair and scalp care for summer

Perhaps you’ve noticed, detox is the buzzword du jour. Everyone is juicing, cleansing and cupping their way to a totally toxin-free body. I ain’t mad at them – it’s a worthwhile pursuit. But no matter how detox-dedicated you are, you may draw the line at colonics. Perhaps you think about colonics in the way I did: sounds interesting, intriguing even, but nothing I could ever go through with it. Colonics just seem too:

A) mortifying

B) degrading

C) the absolute physical manifestation of a TMI

When it comes to detoxing, though, colonics are the gold standard. If you’ve always been colonic-curious but have yet to climb up on the table, read on.

Do I Really Need A Colonic?

This is the question I grappled with…the question that kept me “off the table” for years. But the information on the myriad benefits of colonics, and the rationale behind their purported necessity, is overwhelming. For instance, our bodies fully empty our colons once, very soon after birth, and then never again. That one complete colon cleansing happens after just nine months in utero, before we’ve had a single Dorito. Imagine what can accumulate over a lifetime of even the most careful consumption!

It is this toxic accumulation that can cause and/or contribute to a number of health problems: Acne, allergies, anxiety, bloating, candida (yeast), constipation, depression, fatigue, headaches, hormonal imbalances, insomnia, irritability, poor posture and weight issues. This list, by the way, is far from exhaustive.

After my first pregnancy, I considered getting a colonic (or three) before my next pregnancy. Then pregnancy number two happened sooner than expected, so that plan fell through. The plan remained in the back of my mind, though, as something I’d like to do…someday.

Someday came recently, when I went through two rounds of antibiotics (thank you, wisdom teeth extraction), which is as many times as I had been on antibiotics in my life up to that point. After that ordeal, I really wanted – felt I needed – to reboot my system. It was this feeling that had me finally book a colonic appointment.

How It Actually Goes

The therapist I saw, Gina Mikan, uses the Wood gravity method. A colonic irrigation with the Wood gravity method is an “internal bath” (probably my favorite euphemism ever) that helps cleanse the colon of gas, mucus and accumulated fecal matter. There is no discomfort (really!) and no internal pressure, just a gentle flow of water in and out of the colon, expertly controlled by the therapist. Gina explained, step-by-step, what was going on so I felt as at ease as possible, given the circumstances.

The colonic appointment is one hour. You wear an ankle-length exam gown, naked from the waist down. During the colonic you lie on a massage table below the temperature-controlled holding tank – this is why it’s called the “gravity” method. Water flow, which is always under the direct control of the practitioner, flows into the colon via a small tube and out through a wider evacuation tube, carrying with it waste from the body. As the water flows out, the practitioner (and/or you) gently massages the abdomen and acupressure points to help the body release as much waste as possible. You can actually see this expelled waste through a clear section of the outflow tubing. I know – sounds vile – but if you’re going to get a colonic, it is rewarding to see the results in real time! After the colonic, you spend some time in the bathroom before you go on your way.

How You Feel After

I felt very tired, especially that evening. I was asleep by about 9 pm…and what a great night’s sleep it was! I did feel…lighter, too. I felt good! Since I felt so good, and since I didn’t die of embarrassment (initially I thought I’d only be able to go through with it but once), I decided to see Gina for another session a few days later. It’s beneficial to cluster your first few treatments close together – one sole colonic ain’t gonna do much. You need a series to reap the real benefits, though the exact number of treatments will vary from person to person. Once the colon is clean, it is then recommended to have a regular colonics (Every month, at the change of seasons, etc.)  to maintain bowel (and overall) health.

Did I Lose Weight?

Sorry, I don’t weigh myself so I can’t really tell you. But if I had to guess I’d say yes, as my whole abdomen was flatter; trimmer. I was surprised to notice how much more pronounced my waistline was. And it wasn’t only the bottom of my stomach that flattened out, but the top as well, around my ribcage! After two kids, any degree of abdominal flattening is, of course, warmly welcome.

I’ve done 3 colonics so far. Will I do it again? Absolutely. It wasn’t the horrifying, mortifying, I could never face that person again type experience I thought it would be. This is in large part a function of Gina’s consummate professionalism and gentle manner. She made the entire experience as unawkward and educational as such a thing could possibly be. I cannot recommend her highly enough!

A lot of what I feel is hard to articulate – it is an overall feeling of wellness. I wake easier in the morning. Food feels more satisfying; when I eat, I feel more in tune with what and how much I actually need to eat. My insides are just…happier. As nearly three quarters of the immune system resides in the digestive tract, I am curious to see how my cleaner colon helps me through cold and flu season.

Intrigued? Colonics Q & A for Beginners

I asked Gina some “colonics for beginners” questions, below. To find out more or book an appointment with Gina, visit her site here.

Q: What are some examples of good times to start a series of colonics? I know anytime is good, but in particular?

A: People start a series for countless reasons, some of the most common being for constipation, IBS, during a seasonal cleanse, to compliment lifestyle changes (healthier diet and exercise), for maintenance, illness, inflammation, psoriasis, eczema and candida. Personally, I have done multiple colonics when healing my bladder infections – antibiotic-free – in conjunction with diet, herbs and lifestyle choices. When starting a series, I emphasize that it takes a lifetime to get to where we are with our health, so there is no quick fix. We don’t go to the gym and expect to lose 50 pounds on one visit, or run a marathon on our first day, so it is important to have reasonable expectations when beginning the journey.

Q: What are some surprise benefits of colonics – conditions you’ve seen improve from colon hydrotherapy?

A: In combination with dietary and lifestyle changes, I have seen the skin heal significantly – whether it be from psoriasis, acne or eczema. The clients glow!

Q: Anything else you want to share about colonics, and/or your practice?

A: I learn a lot from my clients, and everyone has a unique journey. What I’ve gathered is that, although there are fundamental “no-brainers” that are important to everyone’s health (i.e. whole food diet, exercise, adequate rest), we all have different histories and different needs. I enjoy supporting clients to solve their own health puzzle, drawing from all the resources available (allopathic medicine, ayurveda, chinese medicine, living foods lifestyle, etc.) to create their personalized regimen.

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