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8 Sleeping Strategies to Get A Great Night’s Sleep

travel beauty blog 8 sleeping strategies

There is No Substitute for Sleep

You can’t scroll through your Twitter feed these days without reading an article extolling the scientifically-proven esthetic benefits of a good night’s sleep. We get it! Not even our most beloved creams and serums can recreate what eight solid hours does for our faces. I resent these articles, because like Firefly pose and the perfect cat eye, easily falling asleep is a challenge for me. I also go to bed each night next to a husband who falls asleep so immediately upon getting in bed, I swear he’s hiding an anesthesiologist in the closet. While my husband is snoring up a storm, the wheels in my brain feel like they’re vying for first place in the Tour de France. I feel compelled to ponder the meaning of life, my kids’ educational trajectory and how to get that ink stain out of my favorite Phillip Lim bag. Oy. This is nothing new, either. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.

Sleep Strategies

Since “accepting the things I cannot change” has never been my forte, I have accumulated several sleep strategies that I think beat counting sheep any day of the week. In the name of looking and feeling beautiful, I share them here with you now. Whether you are battling a temporary bout of insomnia, or are regularly reading at 2 AM, I hope these tactics help deliver you to La La Land.

Commit to a Bedtime Beauty Routine

We’ve all done it – fallen asleep with our makeup on. I have only ever done this out of sheer exhaustion – feeling like I couldn’t possibly stand at the sink for those extra two minutes and wash my face. But what gets me into bed quicker actually ends up keeping me awake longer. Washing my face at night is a matter of integrity for me, so when I don’t do it, I lie there thinking I should have and worrying that I’ll end up in the morning with a huge zit.

Also, when I don’t wash my face, I don’t use any of my fabulous creams and serums that I know make me wake up all dewy and glowing. So an essential step to a good night’s sleep is going to bed with a clean face. For emergency situations, I keep cleansing wipes on my nightstand so I can still do a quick clean, no matter what. After my face is clean, I apply my skin care with a delicate and relaxing touch. I especially like to take a moment to massage my oft-tense temples. Face clean and conscience clear, I find it much easier to fall asleep.

Dim All the Lights

Donna knew what she was singing about! I dim the lights all over the house at least 1 hour before bed. I started doing this once I had kids, as a way to signal to them that it’s wind down time. I’ve found that it works wonders for me as well. My husband and I actually start talking more quietly once we dim the lights! And who needs hundreds of watts to put on PJs anyway?

After 9 PM, I put all dimmers at half-mast so my brain starts to slow down. If you’re reading in bed (I always am), grab a small book light or dim the screen on your tablet to a pale glow.

Permanent Midnight

Once you’re ready to fall asleep, you need total darkness in the bedroom. Physiologically, this helps your body produce melatonin, which then makes us drowsy. I have blackout shades on my bedroom windows. I’ll admit – Elle Decor worthy they are not. BUT, they go right next to the window pane, so they’re easily hidden by a more stylish window treatment.

Next, move any electronics with little charging lights OUT of the bedroom. That orange light on your MacBook may seem like an insignificant speck during the day, but in an otherwise dark room, it can give off quite a stimulating glow. Move anything giving off even a little light to another room while you’re sleeping.

Upadate: I have found the most amazing product that is basically like blackout shades for your eyeballs. This Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask puts me in the deepest, most restorative sleep I can ever remember experiencing. This is a must-have for any insomniac, party animal and/or anyone that stares at screens for most of the day. (That pretty much covers everyone, right?)

Stay tuned for Part II on Thursday…

Claire McCormack Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

Sunless Self-Tanning Tips from Travel Beauty

travel beauty tips for best self tanning at home

How to Get Your Best Self Tan At Home

Ned Stark warned us that winter is coming…could someone please summon his ghost to find out when, exactly, winter is LEAVING?!?! When you wake up one morning to discover that spring is upon us, will you look like a white walker? Start self-tanning now so you can sport a skirt on the first spring day. Here’s a foolproof plan to get you from ghostly to glowing likety-split.

Keep All Your Supplies In The Shower

We are talking scrub, body oil, body lotion and self-tanner. Apply it in the shower. The result: minimal mess, easy clean up and let’s be honest, you need to be as naked as your name day when slathering on self-tanner.

Don’t Hate…Exfoliate!

I use a body scrub twice a week year round. If you don’t regularly scrub your bod, this is the best time to start! Do it at the beginning of your shower, when skin is damp but not saturated – this helps the scrub to work optimally. If skin isn’t wet enough, the scrub won’t spread across your skin as easily (and can hurt!). If skin is too wet, the granules in the scrub will dissolve before they can really do their best work.

After Your Shower

Remove any excess water from your skin. No need to completely dry off – skin can still be damp. Use a body cream or oil (I use an oil for this) to gently cover knees, elbows, hands (especially in between fingers and palms), ankles and feet. The idea is to cover the places where self-tanner tends to collect, causing not-so-cute concentrated dark spots.

Alright Stop…Tanner Time!

The Travel Beauty Team is devoted to Institut Esthederm Sun Sheen Self-tanner because it is truly foolproof: never streaky and always natural-looking. If you have pale skin (as I do), you may want to ease yourself into self-tanning season by mixing your tanner with a body cream – at least for the first few applications. This allows for a subtler effect that you can build gradually. The new BB and CC creams for body are tailor-made for this task! They have a hint of hue and are designed to perfect skin tone and mask blemishes. They soften the self-tanner just enough to give a light, flawless application, while also providing the moisture your winter-ravaged skin is still craving.

Cover Everything

The tops of your toes, sides of your feet and every part of your skin leading up to your underarm – and don’t forget the backs of your legs. So many parts of the body can be exposed that you may not think of. Better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t Get Caught Tan-handed!

If you covered your hands well with oil or cream, you shouldn’t end up with deep-fried looking fingers. Still, it is important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after applying self-tanner. Make sure to clean in between fingers and on the inside of wrists- two spots that are easy to overlook, and therefore easy to look over-tanned. You can even give your hands a quick exfoliation with your scrub if you think they need it.

Make sure product has fully dried before getting dressed so you don’t rub any tanner off on your clothes.

Follow these steps and you’ll be ready to show some skin as soon as The Winds of Winter stop blowing.

By Claire McCormack Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

Expert Spring Hair Care Tools & Tips

travel beauty expert hair care for spring

Put the Spring Back in Your Hair

If you find your locks slightly ravaged after the winter months, you are not alone! My hair definitely needs some revamping after being subjected to numerous assaults by wind, snow, central heating, processed comfort foods and hurried morning high-heat drying. And let’s not forget the rather too many and too large glasses of warming wine- a common scalp offender. Here are my top tips for restoring bounce to your hair this spring.

Trim Time!

After this winter, chances are your hair is in need of a good trim. Split-ends, brittle fringes and lacklustre roots are never in vogue – and perhaps you’ve taken less trips to your hairdresser than usual in the colder weather? Again, I am guilty of this too. Trimming your hair will make it look thicker throughout the lengths and also prevent any damage from spreading further up your hair shaft. You don’t have to chop loads off – just an inch or so to even it out and freshen it up. If you’re looking to grow your hair longer throughout the spring and into summer, help keep your ends healthy with a weekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment. I sleep with Philip Kingsley Elasticizer in my hair at least once a week. Originally formulated for Audrey Hepburn, it really helps to restore hydration, shine and strength.

Vitamin D Delight

It’s extremely common for your body’s Vitamin D levels to drop during the winter and this can really take a toll on hair health – not to mention your skin and general energy level. 80-90% of your Vitamin D intake needs to be synthesised from sunlight. You may want to visit your doctor to run blood tests to check your levels – and while he/she is at it, suggest running a full blood profile to look at your iron, ferritin (stored iron) and Vitamins B6 and B12, too. The best Vitamin D rich foods are oily fish, egg yolks, avocado and liver, but sitting in the sun is really your best option! Which brings me to my next point…

White Hats On

The sun can be both beneficial and detrimental to our wellbeing. While it provides us with much needed Vitamin D, it can also lead to very destructive free radical damage. Luckily, you still obtain Vitamin D benefits from the sun while wearing sun protection. The same logic applies to your hair, which, just like your skin, can burn and become damaged. I always carry a tube of Philip Kingsley Swimcap, which was originally formulated for the U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swim Team, with me in warm weather. It not only guards hair against the sun, but also chlorinated and salt water and gives your hair a super-moisturizing treatment at the same time. Alternately, bring your wide-brimmed white summer hats out of hibernation.

Dietary Dos

If you, like me, have found yourself reaching for convenient foods during the winter, spring is a great time to make a change. Fast and processed foods have very little nutritional benefit, as additives and preservatives degrade the vitamins and minerals within them. Plan a weekly trip to your local farmers market to take advantage of the new fresh foods coming into season. Artichokes, for instance, are high in antioxidants, potassium, folate, Vitamins C and K, and fibre. Fresh spinach is another hair booster, containing good amounts of iron as well as Vitamin C, which helps your body absorb the iron.

Go Dry

It’s all too easy to reach for an extra glass of red wine, or a warming spirit during the winter. Now that spring is in full bloom, make a concerted effort to cut your alcohol consumption and revitalise your body. A tipple here and there is fine, but drinking too much alcohol tends to dehydrate your scalp and flare-up itching and flaking. It can also deplete your body of electrolytes and vitamins. Either find a signature non-alcoholic cocktail (my favourite is lemon juice, elderflower, fresh mint, sugar syrup and soda water), or make your order a spritzer and keep it to one or two!

Philip Kinglsey Hair Care Elasticizer: A How-To Guide For All Hair Types

how to use Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

We have been raving about Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer for months. It has not only won numerous awards, but also is the go-to hair hero for celebrities, stylists, beauty editors and The Travel Beauty Team! Elasticizer was developed in the 70s by Philip Kingsley for iconic actress Audrey Hepburn. Audrey sought Philip’s help as her hair had taken a beating due to years of on-set over-processing. Audrey’s condition prompted Philip to formulate Elasticizer, which recently celebrated its 40th birthday.

Intensive Moisturizing Hair Treatment

This pre-shampoo, intensive moisturizing treatment is magic! It delivers elasticity, bounce and shine to all hair types.

Elasticizer has been a life saver for the highlight-loving Travel Beauty Team. We wanted to share a quick how-to guide, as we have received many questions about how to apply Elasticizer at home. (Though if you can get to Philip’s Trichological Clinic in New York City or London- definitely do!)

Step-by-Step How-To-Guide

  • Lightly dampen hair with hands
  • Apply Elasticizer in sections, smoothing on the top of your hair and then working it into hair in sections with your whole hand
    • Fine & medium textured hair apply sparingly through mid lengths and ends – two to three times a month
    • Coarse, wavy, curly or frizzy hair use more generously through entire hair length – once or twice a week
  • Leave in for 10-20 minutes…or longer
    • We have gone to the gym and played golf with Elasticizer on- just put hair in a bun after you apply the product and be on your way
    • It’s safe to leave Elasticizer in all day or sleep with it overnight under a shower cap
  • Rinse well and follow with appropriate shampoo, conditioner and scalp toner

When to Use on Processed Hair

  • Fine & medium textured hair – use once a week
  • Coarse, wavy, curly or frizzy hair – use twice a week
  • Wait a day or two after your color or processing treatment before applying this product

Experiment with Elasticizer

Can also be used to style hair – this is something we learned through experimentation! It gives great frizz-free definition to curls & can be used to achieve a piecey ends look on an edgy bob.

Have a kid with curly-ques? A little Elasticizer makes a great leave-in conditioner and detangler.

Have YOU conducted a successful Elasticizer experiment? Do tell, please! We would love to share your tip with the Travel Beauty community.

Travel Beauty Welcomes a New Slew of Green Beauty Products

environmentally friendly green beauty products

As spring is upon us, your imagination is no doubt flooded with visions of unfurling flowers, chirping birds, and yes, a more diverse array of wardrobe options. But spring is also the perfect time to focus on the ways in which the natural world has us in mind.

One example? Environmentally friendly [green] beauty products! And we’re here to tell you that we’ve got ‘em!

Looking to Turn Over a New “Green” Leaf this Spring?

Quite often, Mother Nature knows best, and we invite you to apply this philosophy to your beauty or grooming regimen. Because environmentally friendly beauty products aren’t all created equal, allow us to give you a primer on a couple of the best green brands available.

Natural Cosmetic Products from Luxury Beauty Brand Cosmetics 27

Spring is the season of renewal. Enter Cosmetics 27’s diverse line of luxe, natural skin care products, with the power to soften, moisturize and regenerate skin while also combating the effects of aging. Cosmetics 27 has a number of gender-neutral, multi-purpose, green products sure to get the job done even for those with sensitive skin. Our selection of Cosmetics 27 products includes:

RGB Cosmetics: A Leader in Natural Nail Polishes

Once temperatures begin to rise, the gloves come off and the sandals come out! You may realize it’s time to pay some serious attention to the situation at the ends of your fingers and toes. If you’ve never looked into natural nail polishes before, you’re in for a treat. RGB Cosmetics creates colors that are exceptionally easy on the eye, but also easy on the nose, nails and environment.

Since RGB natural nail polishes don’t contain camphor, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin or DBP (dibutyl phthalate), their nail colors are odorless and safer to use than conventional brands, especially for expecting moms and young children. At Travel Beauty, we carry a spring bouquet of glamorous and green RGB nail colors including Coral, Toast, Peacock, and Violet. Plus, we’ve got RGB’s acetone and acetate-free Nail Color Remover Pads. Perfect for when you’re ready to switch up your look!

Environmentally friendly beauty products are always in season, and always available at Travel Beauty. Make sure to check out Ursa Major’s selection of organic products for men.