Hair and Beauty

Men ask questions, Women are silent

Since posting the last blog, what, 72 hours ago, on the tightening effects of Preparation H to the face, I’ve had 4 men reach out to me via Instagram or my blog. Two bikers (as in, motorcycles), a radio executive and an author. Each one basically wrote: “You’re going to go out and buy this stuff?” And generally, my response has been: “Are you kidding? I’m going to take a bath in it.”

The women, on the other hand, have remained silent. As I’m hanging upside down like a bat this morning in sweaty yoga, I’m contemplating why it is that women haven’t made a peep. My conclusion? The women are driving down to the store and getting a few tubes, shaking their heads the whole way, wondering why in the world my mother didn’t raise me to have a bit more shame.

“Better her than me,” is what I imagine to be the common thought. My husband agrees.

“Can you see Nicole Kidman or Reese Witherspoon texting on Instagram the joys of a fanny ointment?” (Truth be told, I had to change a word or two of his quote for obvious reasons).

Yes, I know. Of all the important things to share with the universe, I’m covering this, but as my sister says: “This is life changing! People should know!”

I promise to go back and give more plugs for giveaways, new releases and exercise tips, trying to stick with the five-paragraph rule that seems to be the Holy Grail for bloggers, but it’s hard. My blog is like my invisible friend, the person who’s always there, nodding, agreeing with me, endlessly interested in whatever I write, like any true friend.

And a true friend cares about fannies and faces.


The Best Face Ever: A Farmer’s wife tells all

There I am, sitting in one of five barns on the property of a couple who live between a hill and the gully near the lake, when I comment on her age.

“Okay, Robin. You’ve never told me how old you are.” She smiles coyly.

“How old do you think I am?”

“63,” interjects my 12 year told daughter.

“Yeah, about that,” I chime in.

Robin gives us a modest grin. “I’m 74.”

We both exclaim and when enough time has passed that I think it won’t be rude, I ask how she has gotten to her seventh decade with so few wrinkles, for in truth, she has a few around her lip lines, but zero on her cheek, other than a moderate smile line between her mouth and cheek.

Preparation H,” she replies with a straight face. My mouth drops. My eyes widen.

“You are kidding.”

“Nope,” she says without a hint of embarrassment. “I was told forty years ago to use it and I have.”

Mystified, I later ask my husband about it and he nods his head, in a “of course,” kind of way. Apparently, certain ingredients exist within the Prep H that tightens the skin. Seriously.

As any woman determined to look younger for as long as humanly possible, I hit the Internet. Sagging skin and Preparation H I query. Sure enough, up comes an article on Livestrong about tricks to tightening sagging neck skin (always a lovely visual). If you are like me, and hate clicking on all the various links: here’s the skinny, directly from Livestrong.

“Because Preparation H contains Phenylephrine HCl 0.25 percent, a vasoconstrictor drug that causes blood vessels to constrict, it is also a popular remedy for swollen eyes and puffy skin, according to the Preparation H website. However, there are no clinical studies to prove alternative uses for Preparation H. When applied to affected areas, Preparation H forces excess water out of the skin, creating a smooth and lean appearance.”

The article gives four steps to skin greatness.
Step 1: Determine whether Preparation H gives you an allergic reaction, swelling or rash. Apply a small amount to an inconspicuous part of your skin such as the inside of your elbow or behind your knee and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wait at least 24 hours to see if an allergic reaction, swelling or rash appears.
Step 2: Apply Preparation H to smaller areas with your finger or apply with a brush or washcloth to larger areas you wish to appear tighter or more toned.
Step 3: Wait 10-15 minutes and rinse your skin. Reapply Preparation H if you did not achieve the results you want. Rinse thoroughly.
Step 4: Apply lotion to the area you treated with Preparation H to prevent dryness and scaling.
Now, on this last step (and I’ll admit I’ve not yet tried this on my own skin, but when I do, I will show you the results), I use Aquafore about every other night. I have dry skin anyway, but a friend of mine (a plastic surgeon who has worked on half the women in Seattle), said that Aquafore is the go-to product for post-surgical operations. It heals, it hydrates, and it is essentially the miracle skin product. I started using it on my skin, directly after washing it at night, and walla. My skin does look infinitely better…fewer lines, plumper skin etc.
So there you have it. Forget the lift, the tucks and the retinol. Hop right down to the store and buy a tube, ignoring the clerk’s look of sympathetic interest. That’s what I intend to do. What I haven’t yet figured out is what I’m going to say to the person who comments on my face (assuming this works). I can imagine it now:
“Sarah, you look younger. What’s happened? Facelift? Trip to Europe?”
“Oh, nothing like that,” I’ll reply. “I mistook my face for my fanny and this is what happened.”

New skin overnight

When one finds a solution that is transformative to the skin- especially the face- one is obligated by the moral compass of the universe to share. As it’s Saturday night, the loneliest night of the week (name the movie) Little did I know this is a well-known fact among 2 groups in my circle that to this point, haven’t seen fit to share: movie studio make-up people and plastic surgeons.

Auqafor. One word that is the nearest thing to a miracle cure for less than $10 US in jug and less than $5 in a tube. I also now have small vials that I carry in my purse.

give your skin some love

give your skin some love

Plastic surgeons swear by this after any treatments involving lasers, as do estheticians who use it for healing of many types of skin damage. At the movie studio, the lead makeup artists give it as take-home ointments for celebs who have dry or damaged skin.

Me? I discovered it for my face after using it for two years on my feet. During an appointment for a pedicure, when the pedicurist politely suggested I apply a thick coating on my heels, slip on socks and let it sit for several hours. I did it, and was thrilled to see the thick lines start to mend and the small cracks go nearly invisible. I took it one step further, and started applying it before workouts, and then at night-leaving it on all night long. The result is my forty-something feet look like my 10-year old daughters, for which I, and my husband are very grateful.

Now, for the face. After moving to a high-desert area known as Coeur d’Alene, I have struggled with this back and forth dry, mostly dry, very dry then cracking phenomenon. It’s not pretty. It’s been depressing. My particular areas of affliction is the area on crease areas on either side of my lips. I’ve been told this skin is particularly thin and sensitive.

I found this to be true. I’d be going along with my normal routine and then wake up one day with my left side completely dry and cracking. This would last for two to four days, ensuring any type of make-up impossible- including the moistest of foundations. After months of trying everything (more moisturizer, then less) I said screw it- I’m going to apply Aquafor to my face even if I clog my pores (which hasn’t happened since high school).

As an aside, one of the eternal no-no’s youthful teens are told is to never, EVER, put Vaseline-like ointment on the face, because it will clog the pores spawning a strawberry patch worth of red bumps. Perhaps. But as an adult, I can tell you, I am well beyond the zit-growing stage and into the ‘let’s preserve my youthful appearance stage.’

Back to the Aquafor. When I woke the following morning, the skin was still rough, but the red and the dry were reduced by 50%. That day, I put on yet another coat of the stuff, applied my foundation and it stayed without peeling, flaking or cracking (bonus!). That night and the following morning, I did the same thing. What happened was this: the dry skin started sloughing offe- and it was easily removed with my finger. I then used my soft luffa pad (made for the face) and it just washed off. Then—perfect skin!

It’s a miracle, seriously. After this little experiment, I thought- huh. What if I applied it to me entire face–another no-no. For three days, I put it everywhere except my eyelids, because I don’t want stickiness. I even put it on my jaw and neck. The proof was when I went to my 20-year young hairdresser who isn’t known for holding her tongue. First she said I lost weight (which I had, thank you very much) but then she commented on my skin. She’d noticed the dry skin previously (but had not said a word) and proclaimed my skin looks five years younger. Rog agrees.

So there it is. You can get it almost anywhere- Walgreens, RiteAid, you name it. But I will say once again, the Vaseline doesn’t have the same effect- because I tried. For some reason, known only to the chemists in white coats, Aquafor is the bomb. Needless to say, I have a case in my garage, because if the zombie apocalypse breaks out, I’m going to go down with great skin.




Perfect eyebrow secret

When it comes to eyebrows, ask yourself, do you want to have eyebrows like Eva Mendez without paying someone a few hundred bucks every few months? Do you want to get rid of the thin-looking patches in the brow that resemble an oceanic deadzone? If so, then you need the Ssecret I learned from my professional make-up artists friends, who use this on movie sets and for commercials.
JUST FOR MEN mustache and beard dye. At sub- $8.00 and 5 minutes, the results make me cry from joy, and weep for the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent for 20 years getting my fine, blond eyelashes and eyebrows dyed. (let’s see, $15-30 every 6 wks for 20 yrs??) stop…i’m crying again.
I was reminded of this yesterday, when I woke up with no eyebrows! Well, there were present, just barely visible. So I descended into my husbands man-cave bathroom, got out his Just for Men beard and mustache dye, and wallah, 4 minutes later, perfect eyebrows.
Here’s why it works (from the Just for Men site)
Why should I use Just For Men instead of women’s hair color?
Women’s products change the color of every hair on your head – whether it is gray or not – providing a less natural look. They also come in a variety of fashion colors, which are not appropriate for men who don’t want obvious color changes. Further, Just For Men only takes about 5 minutes to apply versus 30 to 45 minutes. And finally, it’s safer and non-damaging since it’s 100% ammonia-free, unlike most women’s color brands. Bottom line: Just For Men was developed by men for men to match men’s specific needs.

Proof that not only do women look less natural, but we pay MORE!!

5-steps to perfect eyebrows

  1. Once you have your color (soft brown is my fav), mix abt a pinky fingernail size dollops of both the color and the neutralizer together.
  2. Using either an eyebrow brush, or the little brush inside, apply on the eyebrow.
  3. If you want thicker brows (which generally make people look younger) brush onto the fine hairs.
  4. Leave on for 3-4 minutes. Less than 3 doesn’t make a visible difference, and more than 5 is super dark.
  5. Remove first with tissue, starting from the inside of the eye outward. Then wash off with water. Don’t scrub the heck out of it either. You want some color to stay on!
If you have some errant hairs, DON’T PLUCK!!! Over time, this kills the ability for the hair folicle to produce more hair. Instead, take a cuticle scissors (the small, fine scissors) and cut at the base of the hair folicle. Then you retain the ability to have hair, which is an important consideration as we age (and no eyebrow deadzones).

Rapid Hair Loss

It started when our daughter Porsche was six. Her golden locks started falling out in quarter size clumps, what the doctors called alopecia, or hair loss. “Normal,” we were told, for girls starting around six years old. When the quarters turned to dollar-size swaths by the time she was seven, the doctors said it was “severe,” but still “normal.” Let me tell you this: nothing is normal about four inch strips of hair falling out. As Porsche reached her eighth birthday she was mostly bald, and with only some strands of hair left. Just before Christmas, we had the task of taking her to a wig store specializing in children, mostly those suffering from rare forms of cancer.

Porsche at 3

Porsche at 3

To shorten the reading time, suffice it to say that the dermatologists all said hair loss. The actual “hair doctors”- or those that typically do graphs, transplants and the like, said this was not normal. In fact, we became indebt to Dr. Robert Nebalski, one of the most successful hair specialists in the Northwest, for his work in tracking down and identifying the underlying cause of the loss was first connected to girls between 7-13. For years he’d been studying this in concert with another doctor in Italy. At the same time, a friend from church happened to stop by and mentioned that her neighbor’s daughter suffered from a similar condition and it had been linked to her well.

The well. This wasn’t the problem, for wells have been around for a millennium. It was the toxins–and specifically–the metals in the water. Those metals- and think of everything that’s in the ground. When I mentioned this to Dr. Nebalski, we had her metals checked and found her levels were off the charts. So high in fact, that she should have suffered brain damage. (At the time we were on a different well system).

Now, if you, or your daughter (or son, or wife) have had rapid hair loss that can’t be explained, look to the water. That’s the first take-away. Second, forget what the department of health says is actually ‘healthy.’ That’s general. Every person has a different chemical make-up, and some are more sensitive (e.g. susceptible) to metals than others.Progression over 3 years

The second take-away is that testing the water itself (for metals) is very expensive- as in, $35 per item, and for our full testing it was sub $400. It was a good thing to do, but as were preparing to drill our own well it was sort of after the fact.

I’m jumping ahead here and doing so on purpose, because if you are reading this page, you are probably desperately seeking a solution just like we were. What we learned was this:

  1. you can decrease the metals in your body (which actually reside mostly in your head, thus causing hair thinning and loss)
  2. the solution is Zeolite capsules by Omica. This brand in particular-no other. its basically ash that attracts and absorbs the metals. the body excretes it through bowel movements (pooping). Note: you must drink a lot of water
  3. keep the follicles open through topical steroids (and injections as necessary…more on the next topic

The last element of this is that we’d already been planning on drilling our own well, which we had started, and it was completed in several months. We immediately switched over (me as the guinea pig) and lo, my hair started to come in even thicker than it already is (and those who know me can attest to the thickness of my hair). I was on our own well for a solid month before Porsche started using it, and it’s now been two years+ of normalcy.

Bat wings and chin hair – how to lose ’em

When I was eight, I had to spend the night in the same room as my great-grandmother. The attic bedroom was so small, the two twin beds nearly touched. As we prepared for bed, I turned in time to catch my g-grandmother in her slip, her arms above her head, and what looked like flaps of clothe hanging down past her chest. Years later, after she’d passed away, my mom disputed my recollection of g-grammy, until I told her what I’d seen.
“Those were batwings,” mom said, noting she wasn’t talking about the kind purchased at a wings joint. Thus begat a phrase that heretofore, had been blessedly absent from my life. It was then and there I determined never, ever, in this world or the next, to have the thin, translucent, sagging skin hanging dow

I only like the kind of wings attached to a plane

I only like the kind of wings attached to a plane

n from the twelve inches from elbow to shoulder. Note that most require some type of arm movement. Since I use weights throughout, the side benefit is nice, lean arms w/no sag. Thankfully, the fitness world offers a pluthera of solutions to bat wings, including videos showing the best exercises for bat wings.

Mom thinks the whole saggy-skin thing has more to do with our Swedish skin than a lack of collagen. So it is with another favorite subject: chin hair.
G-Grandma, bless her heart, could have been a Viking she had so much hair. In fact, I probably could have French-braided the grey strands.  That preceded yet another promise—I would never, ever let myself get so lax that I had chin hair.
So it was that Rog came up to me, his thumb and forefinger going for my chin, I lift up my chin, ready for a great, romantic plant on the lips. Instead, he closes his fingers around something I can’t see, gives a pull, I scream, and out comes a hair nearly an 1/2 inch long. (I hope you’re laughing. You should be laughing. I was mortified).
“Wait! There’s more!”
Before he can make a second pluck, I run to the bathroom, get the tweezers and go to town. I’d heard women grow hair underneath the chin with the onset of menopause, but I actually started getting it in my mid-thirties. Oh, so sexy.
“Stop eating the pasta!” he yells from downstairs. The old wives tale about pasta and hair growth. Ever wonder why Italians are so hairy? Pasta. Something about the process stimulates hair growth-or so it goes. Me? I’ve gave the stuff up.
Guess what else I learned? Some medications cause facial hair growth–things like estrogen and pain relief medication that have steroids do it as well. Then their is hirsuitism, that happens when a woman has high levels of testosterone, which also results in facial hair. Then hypertrichosis is when a woman doesn’t have anything to do with hormones but is caused by other conditions, like anorexia. Last but not least, birth control bills, Dilantin and Minoxidil, the latter used by women to prevent thinning of the hair, get the side benefit gaining hair in unwanted places.
The good news is that both batwings and chin hair can be managed; one through exercise, the other through plucking. Lots of options exist for chin-hair, from laser to ointments. I found this creepy before and after photo of laser hair removal. I’m cheap, and tweezing is easy. It’s just a little hard to see, when it’s under my chin, and I have to use a mirror. Honestly, Rog is a lot better at seeing that stuff, although it’s beyond mortifying to have him look. In fact, it’s as bad as having to look on his back for, you now, “owies.” Go with my motto: my arms must be smaller than my husband’s, and my chin needs to have less hair.

Two months already

My readers know that when I go dark (e.g don’t blog), life is brutal. Ironically, good things can actually serve like lights in the midst of a blackout; little points on the horizon that reminds me life exists outside my own microcosm of a universe. So since the Illustrious She and my cousin Nance have both now given me swift kicks in my be-hind, I’ll write a few notes on the last 60 days.

In 2 months:

1. I’ve had a relationship enema. I’ll blog at some point about the true-isms of finding renewed peace, energy, love and sex with your spouse/partner, but anyone in a relationship knows that those things don’t come without massive emotional constipation, tears, fury and the ultimate decision made famous by The Clash, Should I Stay or Should I Go. Children of the 80’s know that to stay means trouble to go means double. Tip. If you wake up and state 5 great things about your life, family, your partner, the day goes a little better, the sun seems a little brighter, and then a day passes, then its a week, then its a month. Then it’s a way of being. Do clouds come? Oh yeah. Thunderstorms? of course. But the lightening hurts a little less (or doesn’t make a direct hit).

2. Physical pain brings enlightenment. Why is it that God chooses to divert my angst and simultaneously humble me through physical travails? The day after I returned from Mexico last wk w/the family, I crushed the bones in my left hand. Who does this happen to? (me) Why? (clearly, I need it). Last wk I read in the Times a journalist who espoused that God doesn’t love the wealthy more and yet doesn’t love those who suffer any less. We are responsible for our own success, happiness and injuries. Ok. Then I’m an idiot for pulling out weeds in our pond, stepping on a rock, slipping and in an attempt not to get freezing water inside my chest-high waders, I thrusted my hand forward, thereby hitting another set of rocks and cracking my hand. I’m all about self-love now. Good thing I’m right handed.

3. Family vacations are great for kids and tiring for parents. 6 wks ago went to Puerto Vallarta with Rog. It was relaxing, got lots of time at the gym, and went to clubs/shows every night. I slept in. It was glorious. I thought-my kids will love this. For spring break, we went back down. It wasn’t relaxing. I spent zero time at the gym, but we hit shows every night (my kids are like that). It wasn’t relaxing. What it was however, was family-unit building, wherein the girls played, swam, made crafts, waterslided-their-hearts-out, and ate food from 10-10, all amongst mostly Mexican nationals, which had a side effect of improving their Spanish. The nt before we returned, daughter #2 got an earache, thus I was up all night, holding, comforting and administering Menthal (a natural earache healer I got at the local Pharmacia), fervently praying she’d be well enough to go on the plane. I came home needing a vacation.


Chambers in Poland. to be releaed May 2015

4. Authoring is no longer a hobby. Two days ago I approved the cover for Chambers in Poland. The book comes out next month. This is four countries now, and while I’m happy about it, honestly, I still feel like a complete loser. The largest publishers in 3 foreign countries have taken on this book, but no major US publisher (they are apparently still pissed that I gave the film rights away thereby cutting them out of the deal). I’m like David Haselhoff without the chest hair. I’m really big in countries where I don’t speak the language. In the interim, 2 books in my adult fiction line are almost done, and I’m constantly battling with Rog who is convinced I’m having mental affairs with the men I write about (some who I kill off, others who are completely hot. I can hear my mother-in-law laughing about the truth of this). Finally, in exasperation, I retort “Right, and I’m the lead girl in all my books, like just a schizophrenic-Sybil-like person. Gah!” (Us intelligent author-types can say that).

5. Billionaires like my food. I’ve been telling a particular person “No” to a project for some time. Said person flies west to call on me (sounds very 1800’s does it not?) brings spouse to my home, gives us amazing host/hostess gifts (exotic food and jewelry). I make food my family will eat and not offend my guests sensibilities (which I’ll detail in another blog, along with the recipes) and in the end, after 4 hours, I still say no. We all ended friends (they particularly liked my crab cakes and chocolate mousse). Said billionaire came back later and said-“I’m not interested in anyone else. I’ll wait for your schedule.” In my ever eloquent way, I said to myself, Holy crap. And this is why this person has billions. Perseverance. Patience, and the ability to wear others down.

Beyond these uber-level highlights:


comes in either capsule or liquid form. use 2x a day on an empty stomach. unreal results in 30 days but can see results in 2 wks

1. I’ve proven that the Omica brand Super Zlite Zeriolite capsules really do improve hair quality and thickness (it has ash, which strips the body of metals, which in turn increase hair and nail growth).

2. I desperately miss my chocolate ice cream. I want it. I can’t have it. I think about it all the time. Fondly. I daydream about it. Yes. I’m that pathetic.

3. I truly enjoy my readers from Russia (who, might I add, have great taste in watches and sportscars?) Who cares if the president is off his rocker? So is ours.

4. I’ve discovered Mulco Swiss watches. (My readers know that watches to me are like crack. I can’t get enough. And as my husband points out, crack is a lot cheaper, but at least this way, I have my teeth).

chumlee for president

my favorite episode in recent months is where Chumlee makes a coin. mighty fine looking president

5. I fear for Comedy Central.Can they lose any more good hosts (actually, are any left?) and finally, What. In. The. World. has happened to my favorite people of Pawn Stars? The shows success has made what was great complete crap, esp Rick. He’s now stilted and boring. Make Chumlee and Big Hoss the leads, please. And BTW. the last time I was in Vegas, I saw “the Old Man” driving a stinking Bentley! Show up to the actual store and learn that he and Rick are never actually there. Just come in on “show times.” Ugh. I hate it when something goes from pure to completely manufactured.

6. Bowing to publisher-pressure, I’m now on Instagram under my own name, sarahjgerdes. I haven’t really figured it all out- as in, what’s interesting and what’s not. My publishers want me to revert everything back to my blog, and I’m not interested in posting what I ate for breakfast. I’ll probably offend as many people as I entertain, but then, that’s me. (I do have to say I like following Ducatistas and Porsche and airplanes. very cool images and satisfies my penchant for  machines and speed). I do have to say I wish I knew the last names of people I’ve met. I’d follow them and keep tabs but alas, I’m so caught up in the person I don’t get it. sigh.

7. Vancouver BC was fun, esp given that we found a new place to stay for the hockey tournaments. It spurned me into becoming a travel reviewer, because the place we stayed at got such bad reviews, I had to dispute it. Thus, now you can find me in Trip Advisor under Sarah G. (I know. You can’t get quite enough of me, but this is solely reviews of places, nothing more).

Why Some Men Look 10 years Younger

Bleary-eyed, I wander down to my husband’s man-cave, the room plastered in wall-to-wall slate, a bathroom that he’s adopted as his own personal spa. I’m on a teeth-whitening mission to find his gargle, that in 60 seconds, promised to make me gleam like the hood of a white Bentley. As I’m rooting around in his square, wicker basket, the repository for all things Man, I come upon a little, orange tube. It’s girly. It’s definitely not mine. I had a moment akin to the B-movies where the girl finds a strange earring in the bed.

It’s a Men Expert from Loreal, an under-the-eye cream for reducing puffiness. I’m impressed. I’m chagrined. I give Rog grief about his puffy eyes, the result of late-night X-boxing with hi
s on-line crew. I should get better abt keeping my mouth shut. It’s not like he’s been scratching around like an ally-cat in the late of night. Like a cat, I get a curiosity of the other items hidden in his magnificent pile of man-junk.

I find not one, but 7 hair gel foams. This is funny to me. I have 1 type of shampoo and conditioner, one type of hair gel, 1 type of straightening cream–just 1 of the necessities. I know what works, I stick w/it, and since it’s spendy, I use every last drop, eeking out the final morsel of goo. Even then, I roll, push, stop and prod the very essence of ointment before I get my butt out the door to buy more. Rog, who cherishes each strand of delicate, fine hair on his head, has a….problem.

Thrilled that I can out him to the world, I load up the gel in my arms and start trapsing up the stairs, quiet as the mouse the night before Christmas (before our cat ate it). He comes around the corner…”Don’t make fun of me on your blog,” he pleads, his eyes puffy. This is pre-Men Expert I see.

“The world needs to know your secrets,” I contend. After all, he makes the most of his hair, literally doubling the thickness by his goopy concoctions. The miracle of his process is his hair doesn’t look gooy at all. It’s looks eternally wet, dry or normal, depending on the external conditions.

He cocks his head one side, says “stay there,” and returns with another bottle of goop. “This is the really good one, and puts another one on top of my load. “Do you use all these?” I ask. He nods, and wanders to his man cave for his morning relief.

World, this is is secret stash
1. Beadhead for Men, Pure Texture Molding Paste
2. got2b glued styling spiking gel
3. Spiker water resistant styling gel by Joice, in 2 sizes, large and travel
4. Beadhead Cocky Thickening paste for fuller looking hair (funny, Amazon doesn’t show this. hmmm)
5. Paul Mitchel firm style dry wax
6. Paul Mitchel flexible style Re-Works texture cream (the one he says is tops)

Last but not least, I found a tongue scraper that he swears by (ok, not really swears, but appreciates. I don’t care what he uses after a night of Doritos, pizza and who knows what, as long it kills all that’s growing on a part of his body that I must encounter). A bottle of Burberry cologne was hidden at the bottom of the box. I put it right on top. He must smell good when he walks out the door with that perfectly coiffed hair. His little secret safe with me…and you…and you….and you….

May sunshine in the form of 3 new beauty finds

Between doing the hair and make-up for a People Mag photo shoot and working on the set of a sci-fi action film, Melanie dragged me to Sephora for the latest.

“You have to have these new colors–and OH! the best new eyeliner and eyemakeup has just come out.” I roll my eyes. This coming from a woman who has an entire basement the size of my garage, stacked with make-up. What could possibly ever be new, interesting or necessary?

“You just trust me. Have I ever been wrong?” Nope. I bite my tongue and we go find three things that sure enough, I liked, but didn’t love, until later. I then went back in, and ordered on-line because she was right, after all.

From Jesse James to better things, like makeup!

Find #1. Kat Von D’s Tatoo eyeliner. Melanie’s reason to buy. “There is no other liquid eyeliner on the market that dries this fast (in less than 2 seconds) and lasts until you take it of. Not one!”
 (Melanie has hundreds, literally). She whipped out the eyeliner, slapped it on her wrist then after 2 seconds, tried to rub it off. It was going no-where. No smudge. No rub. Get this. I did, and I love it.

I simply love this. I can’t believe how
many looks I can get from this great box.
Bonus? It’s travel proof!

Find #2. Too Faced: Naked Eye Soft and Sexy. Also at Sephora. Mel liked it because “it’s nearly impossible to make yourself look bad. Even an idiot can put this on and look great.” Normal, blunt make-up artist that she is.

But it’s true. I’m that idiot, and I couldn’t put it on wrong. Here’s the tip– a number of pallets exist for different skin tones etc. Pick the one right for you. No matter what, I almost always feel more comfortable wearing less than more (much to my husband’s dismay), but to thy self be true.

Find #3. Jergen’s self-tanning lotion. Remember I wrote the blog earlier this year on the latest and greatest in self-tanners? Jergen’s didn’t make the list, not because it didn’t work, but because the noxious odor was too strong. Great news. They changed the formula. I gave it another shot (I am a sucker for Jergens, it was what my long-dead grandmother used to use) and now my husband can’t stop smelling me. It’s like I’m an-essence-of-bbq dog bone around a dog. For $8 bucks US, you can’t go wrong. (Dior may have prettier packaging, but this works better).

Flawless skin in 5 minutes

Who doesn’t want to have women glare and men stare at your face now and then, for reasons other than a zit or blemish. After a session with Melanie’s airbrush, I experienced the shock and awe of others who peered close for second glance. Was it my makeup or my skin?

What’s so great about an airbrush
The airbrush is the key to high-definition. It fills in, smooths out, evens out, and lifts up the skin color and tone. It’s the reason why certain stars are still on television and movies (before airbrushing, certain stars included terms in their contracts requiring the producers to go back and retouch the skin in order to make it appear smooth). Make-up from an airbrush also lasts several days–though it’s not recommended for oily skin. It doesn’t come off, wear off or change colors throughout the day.

Complete set of brush, makeup, cleaner and container

In short, airbrushing is a miracle. The best part? It can be had for less than you pay for a nice dinner and a couple of drinks. So read on and start saving up.

Airbrush 101
First off, I’m not talking about ‘re-touching,’ the common phrase for doctoring a photo of a celeb who wants wrinkles removed, and is done by using software on a computer.  I’m talking about using an actual, physical airbrush that applies make-up to the phase.

Let’s cut right to the myths. The long-held truths that I held dear right up until the time when I sat down in Melanie’s chair and watched her whip out a small metal object, about the size of a potato peeler.

I balked and she talked. Specifically, about the myths of airbrushes and airbrushing. Top of my list included:  a) expensive, b) time consuming, c) painful and d) only for the young and vain.

In a matter of minutes, I learned the following.
1. expense is relative. Over the counter make-up is $20-$200, depending on what is purchased over and over again throughout the year, and over the course of a lifetime. The quality is less than a high-definition airbrush. The one-time expense of an airbrush can range from $100-$300. The liquid make-up, made for all types of skin colors, lasts months. Complete sets can be had for less than $200.

2. time consuming. It took Melanie less than 1 minute to apply the makeup via airbrush (and this was for foundation and blush). My first time was 15, including cleaning the tip at the end. Now it’s less than 5 minutes, cleaning included. That’s actually less time than it took me to apply foundation, powder and blush.

3. painful. Nope. Not at all. However, one of my mistakes was holding the tip 3 inches away. This felt prickly and completely destroyed the point of an airbrush. Melanie showed me how to keep it 6 inches away (about a hand length for non-Americans), so it goes on perfectly.

4. only for the young and vain. Let’s face it. The young don’t need an airbrush, unless the skin is splotchy. It’s the not-so-young (over 18?) that need the stuff.

For make-up, I use what the professionals use (by professionals, I mean every single professional make-up artist on commercials and movies) use the Temptu airbrush make-up. They don’t necessarily use the applicator, since the pro’s have industrial metal versions. But the consumer version is solid and easy to handle. After starting with the Temtpu kit, I graduated and got a $300 pro version (the kind used by the movie professionals), but stick with the Temptu makeup.

Here are a few tutorials. The first on applying the make-up. Lots of videos about on youtube.

Applications and Tips

Two types of foundations…the daily and the ‘tanner.’ I have a lighter, liquid base I use for most occasions. When I want a bit of a tan, I mix two colors together so I don’t look like I forgot to wash.

Tip: the foundation must be shaken first. Do this, then pour several drops in to the top of the airbrush make-up holder. If mixing, combine both then place your finger over the end of the airbrush, while turning the airbrush on. This blends the liquid for an even color.

Blush Tips
I found that using the pressed powder after applying the airbrush make-up (as told to do by the pros), will sometimes wipe off the application, so go very lightly. Every time I applied blush it would come off. I then purchased the blush, and have been thrilled. It takes a minute to clean out the airbrush (using the airbrush oil), a few drops of the blush liquid and 2 swipes on the cheek and walla!

Haven’t you ever wondered how Jennifer Aniston sports the perfect tan year-round? Airbrushing. But say NO to the spa version for $100 (Unless you need your back done. Then you may need to call upon an expert). For your legs, arms, neck and face–the parts that are typically visible when you go out on a date, you are your own best make-up professional (I can see a Russian woman whipping out an airbrush as I type this).

The key here is not to go too dark. Take a bit of the make-up and put it on your leg/arm/neck before you start airbrushing. You need to have a nice transition. Also, you can make yourself a bit darker by applying additional layers, but don’t over do it. The whole point of using an airbrush is it doesn’t look like you are wearing makeup at all!

Number One Tip:
Apply in natural sun. The most common mistake (which I made) was to apply the make-up in our master bathroom that has very limited natural light. The result is that I overapplied in some areas but under in others.

Number Two Tip:
Get your face waxed first, or keep the hair on your face very, very short. Airbrushing and the powder (if you use it), will enhance the look of the facial hair moreso than traditional foundation. This is because foundation is rather heavy and usually oily, thus pushing down the hair to a flat position. The airbrush is light and airy. If you are resemble a hair bigfoot, it’s going to show.

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