Friday, December 16, 2005

Beauty Q & A: Quick solutions for wedding day emergencies.

Beauty problems have no respect for even the best-laid wedding plans. In case you run into a snag or two before you get to say "I do," don't panic. Makeup artist Laura Mercier, for Laura Mercier Classique and Edward Tricomi, for Warren Tricomi Salon in New York City give advice on some wedding day makeup 911 calls:
Here are a few quick solutions for wedding day emergencies.

Q. Help! It's my wedding day and I just woke up with an ugly blemish!

Let nature take care of the blemish -- it's just your job to cover it up. Makeup artist Laura Mercier, for Laura Mercier Classique, advises brides to try a very thick, non-oily, waterproof concealer. Choose something that's highly pigmented and saturated in powder. Put a dab on your hand first to warm up the product, apply some with a lip brush, then precisely patch it into the area with your finger. Finally, set the concealer with a dusting of translucent powder.

Q. I stayed too long at last night's party and now I have puffy eyes. What's best?

Brace yourself -- Mercier recommends this foolproof plan: Fill a sink with lots of ice and cold water. Splash the icy water onto your face at least 20 to 25 times. Goodbye, puffiness!

Q. I have a hard time maintaining a matte makeup look. How can I avoid "shine?"

Just because it's your wedding day, don't saturate your skin with makeup, warns Mercier. Lightly apply an oil-free foundation because it will tend to "grease" less. When done, fix the foundation with colorless, translucent powder that won't add pigment to your own skin tone. Constantly touch up with powder during the day. For more of a glow (not shine), choose a powder that contains a bit of shimmer.

Q. What an emotional day! I can't worry about my mascara running. What to do?

Obviously, a waterproof or water-resistant formula (it's less drying, says Mercier) is a good idea on your wedding day. The right technique? Apply it thickly at the roots to really enhance eyes and only lightly at the tips-which will also help with smearing if you do shed some tears.

Q. My lipstick is already fading away! How can I get it to last all day?

Try this simple trick, says Mercier: Line and fill lips with a pencil, then apply your lipstick. Next, hold one ply of tissue over your lips and dust them with face powder. Apply more lipstick for a fixed matte look. And, if you're going with some gloss, apply it ONLY in the center of your lips.

Q. The humidity went sky high and my hair is going frizzy. How can I fix it fast?

Stay calm, advises Tricomi, (who, of course, recommends having a trial run one month before the wedding to avoid most surprises). To get hair smooth again, simply apply an anti-humectant grooming product. Conversely, if rain or humidity causes your locks to droop, try a volumizer spray at the roots for an emergency lift.

Q. I just tore a freshly manicured fingernail! What now?

Since there's no telling when a nail will tear or break, the pros who make SallyHansen nail products recommend having a repair kit at home. Their "No More Cracks" kit quickly fixes a tear. Simply cover the area with nail bonding glue, top that with bonding powder and buff with the emery sponge. Also, be prepared to patch up the color with your nail enamel, if necessary.

Healthy Bride: Putting Your Best Face Forward

With the plethora of beauty products flooding the market, how can you possibly make the right pick? Top pro Morise Cabasso, president of Mario Badescu Skin Care, in New York City, offers some points-and counterpoints.

Old vs. New trends
Seaweed is not just still popular but getting more so. It's rich in iodine, calcium, zinc and all those natural minerals from the sea, as well as vitamins A, B, C, D, E and even K. When it first came out, it was used as a body wrap, but now they're using it for a face mask as well. We've started to use oxygenating facials, which pump oxygen and maybe 80 to 90 minerals into the skin. This tones and tightens the skin, and with time could also soften wrinkles.

Glycolic vs. Alpha-hydroxy acids
The alpha-hydroxy acids come from an acidic fruit such as lemons or grapefruit. The glycolic acids are made from sugarcane. Both are used for helping banish wrinkles. But the glycolic acids, which are probably the biggest thing in beauty nowadays and are also used for problem skin, are stronger and should be recommended by an expert.

Masks vs. Facials
Masks are part of a facial and, as their name suggests, cover the entire face. There are different types of masks: masks for sensitive skin, masks for oily skin, masks for blackheads, whiteheads, acne. Some peel, some exfoliate (remove the top layer of dry, scaly, dead skin cells). You should have a facial every four to six weeks, if you have normal skin; every six to eight weeks, if you have sensitive skin. If you get one before your wedding, go 10 to 14 days ahead of time to make sure that no redness remains.

Toners vs. Astringents
Both are cleansers, but toners should have no alcohol and are used for more sensitive skin. Astringents may contain a small amount of alcohol, and are designed for oily skin or combination dry/oily skin.

Sensitive vs. Sun-sensitive
Sensitive skin is usually found in very fair-haired people. The skin sunburns easily, gets dry and chapped in winter, reddens quickly and reacts to products that contain alcohol. Sun-sensitive skin is something totally different. Some drugs, such as Retin-A, cause skin to become sun-sensitive, meaning it burns more easily when exposed to the sun's rays, and, if you're using these medications, you should take extra precautions when you go outside.

Moisturizers vs. Moisturizers
Admittedly, there seem to be "hundreds" on the market, and it's hard to make up your mind. When picking a moisturizer, you have to consider a number of factors: What type of skin do you have-is it dry? Is it oily? Do you wear a ton of makeup or just a bit? If your skin clogs easily, you should use a moisturizer with little or no oil. You also have to consider what time of the year it is. Is it winter? Are you in a cold, dry climate? A cold, wet climate? A hot, dry climate? In the summer, you can have a moisturizer with more water (up to 75 percent). If you're going into the sun, get a moisturizer with SPF [sun protection factor]. There's a difference between a day and a night moisturizer, too. One for day might be lighter. One for night might have more oils.

Scrubs vs. Washes
A scrub exfoliates, gently buffing away the dry, dead cells on the surface of the skin. A wash cleans the skin. And, speaking of cleaning, one of the biggest mistakes a woman can make is to go to bed with any makeup on. That doesn't make her wake up in the morning looking beautiful. That makes her wake up with bad skin!

Healthy Bride: 6 month Shape Up

Want to whittle off a couple of inches before your wedding? Here's how to tone up-and trim down the areas that give the most trouble, according to John Hanrahan, Los Angeles professional trainer and a co-founder of the La Palestra Center for Preventive Medicine in New York City.

Those trouble spots

For optimum results, start working out at least 24 weeks before your wedding, put in three sessions in four six-week cycles, and precede any exercise session with some warm--up walking--starting with 20 minutes the first few weeks and increasing to 30-40 minutes by the last cycle. Even if you get a late start, however, you've got nothing-or should we say, everything-to lose!

For the waist

Lying on the floor flat on your back, with your bent at a 45-degree angle, feet flat, interlace your fingers behind your head, and lift your shoulder blades off the floor as high as you can go. Exhale as you rise, inhale as you lower yourself back to the floor. For the first six weeks, do 3 sets of 15 reps; the second, do 3 sets of 20 reps; and for the third, up to 4 sets of 20; for the last, 120 crunches any way you can get them over with! (2 sets of 60 reps, or 4 sets of 30 or 5 sets of 24, etc.)

For upper arms

Standing about 3 feet away from your kitchen countertop (or washer or dryer), holding arms a shoulder's length apart, and keeping your body straight, bend at the elbows and bring your cheeks to the countertop, then push away back to a standing position. (If you can do this easily, then try the classic push-up off the floor instead.) For the first 6 weeks, do 3 sets, 12-15 repetitions; 6-12 weeks, 4 sets; 12-18 weeks, 5 sets; 18-24 weeks, 6 sets.

For hips, thighs and derriere

Starting from the standing position with your feet a shoulder's length apart, take a step about 2 feet forward on one foot, bending both legs at the knees, and dropping as close to the ground as possible without touching it. Then bring leg back to original position, and repeat the same lunging movement with the other leg. For the first 6 weeks, alternate 6 times with each leg for 3 sets; for the second, up to 8 times for 4 sets; for the third, up to 10 times for 5 sets; then, for the last set, up to 20 times, for 6 sets.

Healthy Bride: Save Your Skin

You're planning a wedding. Your wedding. It's the biggest event of your life, your family is making astounding demands, your caterer just retired and that guy you're marrying wants to wear jeans with his tux jacket. This is a whole new kind of stress and it can really show in your skin. Take steps to control it-at least it can't talk back.

The Problem
Your normally sane skin has gone schizo: A painful pimple appears one day, and an itchy, red rash the next.

Hormones go haywire in times of stress, sending sebaceous (oil-producing) glands into overdrive, explains dermatologist Debra Jaliman. Stress can also aggravate sensitive skin and conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

The Solution
If your skin's OILY, keep pores unplugged with a glycolic wash (to try: M.D. Formulations Facial Cleanser). Spot-treat pimples with products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid (like H2O Plus Acne Spot Treatment). Topical antibiotic creams may be prescribed for more serious acne; an anti-inflammatory pill or cortisone injection can take down a cyst in 48 hours.

SUPER-SENSITIVE TYPES should seek out cleansers labeled noncomedogenic and fragrance-free. Two options: Lancôme Pur Douceur Gentle Cleansing Foam and Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash.

If DRY SKIN starts to flake out, cleanse skin less often, ease up on skin- sloughers (AHAs, Retin-A, etc.) and moisturize more often. (To try: Oil of Olay Sensitive Skin Beauty Fluid.)

Healthy Bride: Sleep Tight

If you're in the middle of planning a wedding, you probably know what stress is-on some level. One way to alleviate it is by getting enough sleep. Sounds like a dream? Well, here's how to do it.

Skimping on sleep affects everything from energy level and moods to memory and motor coordination, according to psychologist James Maas. And there's a reason it's called beauty sleep: As the body battles fatigue, blood is diverted to the major organs-draining the face of color and accentuating under eye circles. Hormone levels rise, too, when sleep patterns are tampered with and can result in breakouts or excessively dry skin. All in all, not an attractive look.

Maas suggests establishing a regular, uninterrupted sleep schedule at least three weeks before the event and sneaking in extra sleep whenever possible. Plus:

Eat lightly at night-and limit caffeine and alcohol-to get the best rest. A good rule of thumb: no caffeine within six hours of bedtime, no heavy meals within four and no alcohol within three.

Get plenty of exercise, preferably in the late afternoon or at noontime. (P.M. workouts can leave you too revved up to fall asleep.)

Ease into zzz's with a warm bath, a glass of milk or a cup valerian-root tea (find this calming herbal brew at the health-food store).

Support your sleep habit with daily "power naps." Limit them to 15 or 30 minutes, or you'll slip into the delta, or deep sleep stage, and awake feeling groggy.

Healthy Bride: Go for the Glow!

To get your skin in the best condition ever, begin a healthy bathing regime now. Here are some pointers from Manhattan skin care expert Simone France about how to get the most out of tub time.

1. Before soaking in the tub, apply liquid oil moisturizer to soften and lubricate skin. Then clean and scrub your body, as usual.

2. Always towel-dry to avoid dehydrating.

3. If you have a skin problem, it's better to soak in a tub than shower. This way you have time to treat whatever is wrong at leisure.

4. Begin a daily program that includes mild exfoliation as soon as possible. This means sloughing off the top layer of dead, dry cells.

5. Never mistake creaming for cleaning. The best cleansing agent is quite simply soap. If you want to offset its drying effects, make sure you apply some kind of moisturizer.

6. Always wash with a cloth or sponge. Never lather with just the hands alone. Remember, it's the rubbing that does the scrubbing, not the soap.

7. The scalier and rougher your skin, the heavier and more textured the cleaning product you should use.

8. Treat back, chest and shoulders in the same way as you do skin elsewhere on the body. You can use the same masques, tightening, scrubbing, etc., says Simone with a chuckle, "but you need long arms!"

Healthy Bride: Facing Facts About Skin (Part 3)

If you've got the glow, great. But for most, beauty may actually be skin-deep! Michael I. Jacobs, M.D., a Manhattan specialist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Cornell Medical School-New York Hospital, tells why.

Q. I have two huge scars on my face left over from when I had chicken pox as a kid. I'd like to do something about them in time for my wedding. Can this be corrected with chemical peels?

Chemical peels, like glycolic acid peels, are better for fighting off aging. There are three ways a chicken pox scar can be handled. One would be to have it excised-a tiny excision-then sutured by a plastic surgeon. The second would be to inject it with collagen if the scar is not very big. The third would be to use a carbon dioxide laser. This is a new technique to smooth out a lot of scarring. There is also Retin-A if you have more superficial scars, but lasers really are the new thing in the area.

Q. I have huge pores, which I'm afraid are going to show up in my wedding pictures. Have you got any pointers?

You should use a topical antibiotic in an alcohol base, which slowly shrinks the pores. This is something that has to be prescribed. Stay away from moisturizers that tend to clog the pores. And don't use toners and astringents instead of soap cleaners because they can't remove bacteria as well.

Q. Is there a way to "wash out" blackheads? I was always told not to pick at my face or I'd get permanent scars.

That's true. The best way to deal with blackheads is with a topical antibiotic or Retin-A, both of which have to be prescribed by a doctor. Oral antibiotics can be given for more severe cases and for acute breakouts that you want to get over quickly. But I don't recommend them on a long-term basis because they can cause yeast infections and other side effects.

Q. I'm the proverbial jittery bride, who will probably be up the whole night before our wedding. What can I do about circles under my eyes?

Makeup! There's nothing else.

Q. Is that how you get the bride's radiant glow? By using makeup? Or does it come from lots of moisturizers? Or is it all really a myth?

I'm not sure about the famous "glow" but it may not have anything to do with skin at all. It may have to do with happiness…

Healthy Bride: Facing Facts About Skin (Part 2)

More educated info about the skin issues that concern brides most. The answers come from specialist Michael I. Jacobs, M.D., who heads up his own private practice in Manhattan and is clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Cornell Medical School-New York Hospital.

Q. You won't believe it, but I'm 22 and I still get acne. My teen brother told me about this powerful drug called Accutane, which will control it over a six- month period. Unfortunately, I hear it has toxic side effects, and you have to continually monitor the level of blood fats with blood tests. They're also not sure about the long-range effects. Is anything worth that kind of risk?

Accutane is an excellent medication for very severe acne among patients who have failed oral and topical therapy. The problem arises with pregnant women, because the drug is related to vitamin A, and as such can cause birth defects.

Q. Clearly, a lot of us would like to avoid all these powerful medications, but wonder if homeopathic remedies such as vitamin E and vitamin C really work. What do you think ?

Used topically, vitamin C is said to reverse sun damage and help collagen, but whether it can really penetrate into those areas is still controversial. With vitamin E, I know some plastic surgeons are using it topically to speed up healing, but the final verdict isn't in yet.

Q. I heard it's never too early to start the war on wrinkles. At what age do you recommend using those alpha-hydroxy acids we keep hearing about?

The best way to protect yourself against wrinkles is to stay out of the sun, use SPF 30 sunblock and avoid smoking. You also have to get adequate sleep and have a healthy diet: Follow the major food groups-I like the fish and chicken-and make sure you're eating enough fruits and vegetables. After age 50, alpha- hydroxy acids can help get rid of those very fine lines. But they don't prevent wrinkles, and you have to be careful with the preparations if you go out in the sunlight because they can make the skin more sensitive.

Q. Speaking of sensitive skin, is the only answer to this problem to use hypoallergenic cosmetics?

Not necessarily. Hypoallergenic drugs eliminate fragrance, but they don't always eliminate other ingredients that can cause reactions. If you have sensitive skin, and you're trying a new product, you should patch-test it on the inner arm or back for two to three days before using it on the face. If you see redness or irritation, you should try something else.

Q. What about zinc? Can't it be used instead of cortisone to treat blemishes and breakouts?

Zinc has been used in shampoos for a long time to help combat dandruff, and companies are now experimenting with stronger solutions to help psoriasis, but it's still at the preliminary stage. Oral zinc is said to help acne, but, to my knowledge, it has not shown benefits to warrant its replacing more conventional acne treatments.

Healthy Bride: Facing Facts About Skin (Part 1)

What's behind that famous radiant glow of today's brides? Surprisingly enough, sometimes beauty may actually be skin-deep! A top specialist, Michael I. Jacobs, M.D., who not only heads up his own private practice in Manhattan but is clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Cornell Medical School-New York Hospital, tells why.

Q. I suppose the thing we all worry about most is that our skin is going to break out the moment we have to walk down the aisle. I actually know a bride who got a zit on the tip of her nose on her wedding day. Is there anything you can do to prevent the, well, unthinkable from actually happening?

Yes, if you can get yourself to a dermatologist on time. You can treat small cysts or inflamed acne with injections of diluted cortisone. They improve within 24 to 48 hours.

Q. I have the kind of skin that gets burned if I walk down the block on a sunny day. But, wouldn't you know it, my fiancé wants to go to St. Thomas for our honeymoon! What should I do?

Everybody, not just fair-skinned people, should always wear lotion with SPF (which stands for Sun Protection Factor) l5 when they're out in the sun. This blocks over 90 percent of the dangerous ultraviolet light. Or they can wear SPF 30, which blocks 95 percent. It should be applied at least one to two hours before you go out in the sun and reapplied several times a day. You also should try to avoid sunbathing altogether between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest, and the ultraviolet rays, their most dangerous.

Q. My fiancé picked a skiing lodge for our honeymoon, but I hear it can be just as bad for your skin as the beach. Is that true?

Yes. In higher altitudes, the ultraviolet rays are as strong as they are at the beach, and you should use a moisturizing sunblock with the same kind of SPF protection.

Q. What about birth control pills? I hear they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

No. That tan pigment they create has nothing to do with photosensitivity. You're talking about something called melasma that's caused on the forehead and cheeks, and above the lip. It can be treated with a topical bleach like Melanex (available only by prescription). There's also a new topical acne cream, Azelex, that might be beneficial in reducing the pigmentation. And you have to stay out of the sun and use a high SPF sunscreen because the condition is exacerbated by the sun.

Q. To me, skin never feels clean unless you've washed it with soap. But is it true you should never use it on your face because it's much too harsh?

I think everybody should wash with soap and water. You could use a moisturizing soap, such as Dove, or Cetaphil lotion, if you have super-dry skin or eczema. Cleanliness is especially important, in fact, with eczema because bacteria can colonize the skin. But you shouldn't soak in a tub-just take a quick, lukewarm shower with a moisturizing soap.

Bridal Beauty: Glamour, Classic, Romantic

Part 1: Glamour

You've made sure that every last detail of your wedding reflects your personality-so why settle for standard-issue bridal makeup? Whether you're being married at a daylight brunch or an evening soiree, choose a look that says you. When we thought about individual styles, four basic types came to mind. Keep on tuning in for classic, romantic and trendy makeup profiles. First up, we're focusing on glamour.

For the day

Glamour girls, you know who you are. Though you love to pull out all the stops-particularly when you're primping-be careful. For daytime especially, less is definitely more. New York City makeup artist Lea Siegel explains: "Natural light is unforgiving, and if you're even slightly heavy-handed, the results can look exaggerated or, worse, theatrical." So stick to a few sheer products and a super soft touch. But this doesn't mean skimping on glamour. To get just the right dose, try a glossy red mouth, pale shimmery eyes and barely blushed cheeks. Black mascara polishes the look.

Into the night

Here's your opportunity to go to town. The soft light of evening is tailor-made for drama and intensity galore. "All you need for full-blown evening glamour is charcoal eyeshadow, bold red lipstick, bright pink blush-but just a hint!-and black mascara," says Siegel. Skip the lip and eye liners: "They can complicate a look unnecessarily." But use a lip brush for precise lipstick application.

Part 2: Classic

You've made sure that every last detail of your wedding reflects your personality-so why settle for standard-issue bridal makeup? Whether you're being married at a daylight brunch or an evening soiree, choose a look that says you.
When we thought about individual styles, four basic types came to mind. Keep on tuning in for romantic and trendy makeup profiles. Click on the glamour link at the end of this story. This time we focus on classics.

For the day

Refinement is your middle name. In makeup-as in life-you like anything clean, understated and balanced. The key to your daytime face? Minimum product, maximum polish. And because you wouldn't think of using anything but a timeless palette, brown-based neutrals are your best bets. New York City makeup artist Lea Siegel recommends honeyed lip gloss, deep apricot blush and a golden sheen on the eyes.

Into the night

To step up the sophistication of the daytime look for night, "you don't need much," says Siegel. "Just a darker lip color and a second shade of eyeshadow." The perfect combo is a coppery lipstick (applied with a brush for precision), a thin sweep of gold across the lid, and a smudged line of charcoal shadow across the lashes. The blush should stay understated and neutral; the mascara, basic black.

Part 3: Romantics

You've made sure that every last detail of your wedding reflects your personality-so why settle for standard-issue bridal makeup? Whether you're being married at a daylight brunch or an evening soiree, choose a look that says you. When we thought about individual styles, four basic types came to mind. Keep on tuning in for the trendy makeup profile. Click on the glamour and classic links at the end of this story. This time we focus on romantics.

For the day

Okay, so maybe that childhood fantasy of being a prima ballerina didn't quite pan out, but you're no less graceful or feminine for it. On your wedding day, only the softest, dreamiest makeup will do. Your perfect palette? Pink, i.e. pretty in pink. Start with a sweep of soft rose eye shimmer, but go easy: "Too much pink on your lids can make you look like you've been crying," warns New York City makeup artist Lea Siegel. Next, brush on glossy pink lipstick and a subtle rosy blush. Add brown mascara-a softer look than black-and you're set.

Into the night

At night, your makeup should have punch, but you still want to look delicate and pretty. The solution? Stay within the same basic color family as for day, but turn it up a few notches-into the purple range. Use an icy grape shadow to line your lashes (upper and lower if you want), then add a dusting of lilac shimmer to your lids. "Harsh lines will detract from the look's softness," says Siegel, "so smudge everything well." Add brown mascara and rosy blush. Finish with a rich raspberry lipstick.

In the Mood: Reception

Music Played Right
No matter what kind of reception you have, you'll want some kind of music, to both set the mood and entertain your guests-a nice classical quartet to sweeten your afternoon tea, say, or a seven-piece Latin band to spice up your late-night party.

The problem is, there's a little too much to choose from. You can have swing, Latin, klezmer, rock, blues, country, classical, jazz...or any combination. Or you can hire a DJ, and have the entire catalog of recorded music available to entertain your guests. Your starting point: think about what kind of music really fits your style.

Scouting for bands takes some ingenuity-unless you're the brazen type who spends her Saturdays crashing weddings (and we don't recommend that). Check out local showcases where bands play to attract wedding bookings and other business. Ask your friends if they've seen any bands that might fit the bill. Your other vendors can probably give you the names of bands and DJs they enjoyed working with. (Of course, if you've hired a wedding consultant, her rolodex will be jammed with musicians of every stripe.) Call music agencies from the phone book to arrange meetings with prospective bands, or hit up the local college's music department to find a few talented beginners.

When you meet, give them the third degree (nicely, of course). Take note as to whether the band leader or DJ has a personality you can deal with for four hours. If you want someone low-key who doesn't talk through the songs, skip the zany guy who annoys you with his hyperactivity during your initial meeting with him.

Lay out your needs and wishes to determine if the prospective entertainment can meet them. A ten-piece orchestra will drown out an intimate party for 50, but will work great for your 300-guest event. (Usually, a six-piece band is recommended for events with guest lists of more than 100.) Your band or DJ should be familiar with your locale. If they aren't, find out if the site will provide everything they need. You don't want your band blowing a fuse or the singer toppling off a too-small platform. Let your band leader or DJ know about any decorations that might affect the acoustics, such as draped fabric, so he can plan accordingly.

Now, the fun part: the play list. Get a good variety of music-you might have fun with an all Bee-Gee play list; your guests may not. The band or DJ should tell you what songs they use to get everyone hopping, as well as learn or find any special music you want. Also, make a list of songs you don't want to hear, the ones that grate on you, remind you of your psycho ex or have been played at entirely too many weddings.

Right before the wedding, reconfirm the location and times. Let them also know if they should take requests and whom they should listen to regarding volume changes and overtime. That will ensure you end the party without a single false note.

Here are the current top ten first-dance songs, according to Sight and Sound Video Production & DJ Entertainment in Las Vegas

  • She's All I Ever Had/Ricky Martin
  • Angel/Sarah McLachlan
  • Amazed/Lonestar
  • Breathe/Faith Hill
  • I Knew I Loved You/Savage Garden
  • God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You/'N Sync
  • All I Have To Give/Backstreet Boys
  • As Long As You Love Me/Backstreet Boys
  • I'll Never Break Your Heart/Backstreet Boys
  • You're Still the One/Shania Twain