Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Ever-Annoying Eye Area

For many women, their eyes are one of their favorite features. They are expressive, and the windows to your soul. So it annoys the crap out of you when you get the bags, the spots, the redness, and the myriad other imperfections that plague the ocular surroundings. Fortunately, cosmetic companies have picked up on our issues and have made some products that will really help us out. The ones I talk about will all be available at Sephora, unless otherwise noted. Below are some of the more common complaints.

1. Puffiness. The puffiness can occur under the eye, over the eye, in spots around the eye, but regardless of where it is, it's generally unattractive and requires the same tactics to get rid of it. I'll say again, and we've mentioned it numerous times, drinking water is an ally here. It freshens your skin, including the skin around your eyes, so get your eight a day so you don't retain water. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's true. Now, to make the puff go away, cooling produts are often a good way to go. A soothing eye mask, such as the one at left by Bliss spas, are a good weekly treatment, and include a popular ingredient for banishing circles - cucumber. One tip for making the treatment even more effective - stick it in the fridge for a few minutes.

2. Darkness. Those circles are hideous, and my first suggestion is to always get your beauty sleep, but once you have them, there is no amount of sleep that will get rid of them. You'll have to turn to the miracles of nature and science to rid yourself of them. Seaweed is a popular product to get rid of the darkness around the eyes, but really it's Vitamin K that's doing the dirty work. Any product that has Vitamin K (and I don't mean the drug) will assist in brightening the dark spots, such as the one at left, by Peter Thomas Roth. That one is horribly expensive, though, so the one below it, by L'Occitane, is a much cheaper version. Additionally, your makeup is a great way to hide the darkness, but your regular concealer probably won't suffice. Think back to art class and use a concealer that is the opposite color of your bags - and for most of us, that's yellow. A yellow-based concealer is a good bet, and remember that it's meant to sit on top of the skin, not get absorbed into it. As for keeping it fresh all day, an eye primer like this one might be helpful in that situation. Put it on under your foundation and you will probably have better results.

3. Redness. This is often a result of stress, or not getting enough sleep. Again, get your forty winks, but in this situation you might actually get rid of the redness with some good sleep. Partying too hard is another culprit of eye woes. All that staying out late, smoky bars and alcohol is terrible for your skin. Make it a once-a-week thing and not more, except in special occasions. In the interim, you'll need a product that will hide the redness, and again we'll think back to art class. The opposite color of red is green, so a green-based concealer is the way to go here. Smashbox is the company that puts out the product at left, and they don't just have green. You can get a rainbow of colors at Sephora based on what you're trying to hide, so give the Sephora website a look if you have other discolorations.

4. Wrinkles. There are a ton of anti-wrinkle products out there, so I won't go into the details too much other than to just experiment and find one that works with you. The one at left, by Korres, is not only a wrinkle-reducer and concelear, but also has an SPF of 6, to add a little extra protection. However there is much that women do before the wrinkles occur to help bring them about. One thing girls do is pull on their eyelids to apply eyeliner evenly. Don't do it! The more you pull your skin, the more wrinkly it will get. Also, when you apply eye makeup, try to always do so from the inside out. Pushing on that skin will crease it, as well - that includes aggressive eye-makeup removing tactics. Be gentle! The skin around the eyes is among the most sensitive and fragile, so it's important to take extra good care of it from the start, and it will look good for a long time to come.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The New Wave in Hair

Pink Princess writes: "I've got long, wavy hair and I wanna cut it off a little... could you help me?"

There is a world of hairstyles out there, and giving long hair a bit of a trim is definitely a plus. I would add, though, that long hair seems to be the in thing this season, so don't cut off too much. As for a good style to go with, there are some suggestions that you might be interested in trying. As much as I think Katie Holmes' head is anywhere but her shoulders, the hair on top of it is gorgeous. I remember her straight hair days from the Creek, and it was so boring - perfect for her character. Now that she's a grownup and a mommy-to-be, this wavy, natural style is fantastic. The curls give her hair movement, and although I'm sure it does take some work, it doesn't look like it's an incredibly high-maintenance haircut. One way to achieve this would be with velcro rollers, the use of which we discussed in a previous article. If your hair is already wavy, you probably won't need much else except I must advocate for a shine serum. Her hair looks gorgeous and luminescent, and a finishing spray that promotes shine is a great way to achieve that. Eufora, which is available in salons, makes a fantastic one, and I personally use it and think it works great. It is expensive, however, so if you want a cheaper option, John Frieda's line makes finishing cremes that will make your hair shiny and silky. The better part is, they're tailor made for your hair color, be it natural or otherwise.

If you're ready to handle a more high-maintenance style, the one sported by Lisa Kudrow (pictured here as the sadly departed Valerie Cherish). The bangs are great if you have a wide forehead, but if you're going to do that, beforewarned. You may end up breaking out more under your bangs, and the Perfect Length will be an elusive lover. When you first get them cut, they'll be perfect, but in a few weeks (if even that long) they will be in your eyes, pissing you off. Whatever you do, however, I must demand that you never attempt to cut your own bangs. Never. I don't care how annoying they are. Run in to your stylist for a quick trim, or have someone who's good at it do it for you, but for pete's sake, don't cut them yourself. The other problem with bangs is you have to go through a long, awkward period of growing them out once you decide you're sick of them. In that period, however, you can do the swept aside look, as Lisa has done, so it's bangs, but not completely bangs. There are also always clips and barettes and jeweled bobby pins in the interim.

As an alternative, you could always do a Felicity and make your waves into tighter ringlets. Keri Russell, was an absolute idiot to cut her hair - it suited her very well, and it was her trademark. I'll admit, the short version is cute, but it certainly doesn't hold a candle to the romantic, flowing curls. You can get these ringlets with a thin curling iron, and they will probably turn out neater that way, but if you're cool with a ton of messy curls, which is certainly in fashion as well, thin velcro rollers can also do the trick. A good mousse as your blowout product will give your curls a volume boost, and a spritz of hair spray will keep them in line. Additionally, John Frieda makes a line of Frizz-Ease products that keep frizzy hair at bay. A second plug for the line, but worth the mention. My curly-haired friend insists this line does the trick for her every time. I also love the idea of a cute hair clip in that pile of curls - it just accentuates the romance. In any regard, you have a lot of options, so go out and try a new one today!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Las F Say Relax

There are a lot of stressors in the world today - work, school, war, pollution, family, holidays. If you let the pressure build and give yourself no release valve you might end up going berserk in your local McDonald's because they ran out of apple pies. Women and men alike need to take some "me time" to clearn the mind, rest the body and achieve a state of harmony. Sleep doesn't count, so we suggest a few of the following.

A relaxing bath is a fantastic way to chill out, but they take a lot of preparation to be perfect. I'd say it's well worth the time and attention - after all, how much time and attention do you pay others? You deserve the same treatment. Gather your supplies for a great bath before you even start to get undressed. Light scented candles in calming aromatherapy scents such as lavender and vanilla. A few small, well-placed plants will add to the beauty of your surroundings. Light a few different scents and make your own chill-out smell, and fix the lighting so it's not blinding. Find bath salts that will soothe your achy muscles or bubbles, if that's your taste. Put on some soft music that suits your taste - Tony Bennett, Norah Jones or some classical piano are a few good choices. Finally, pour yourself a glass of wine - some people don't care for alcohol, but many will agree that this really adds to the relaxation. Put your hair up (this bath is not for cleanliness - you can shower off afterwards) and draw a bath at a comfortable temperature, keeping in mind that the water will get cooler as time passes, so you might want to start out warmer than usual. Now that you're prepared, your bath will begin. Savor and enjoy every moment, and don't rush any part of it. Go to your happy place and emerge later, renewed.

Outside of the bath, there are a few products out there that provide some calm to the everyday. One way to really calm the nerves is with a self-heating mask, such as the product sold by Biore. Not only will it relax you as it warms your skin, but it will also give you a good deep cleaning. Warning: this product might not be good for those with sensitive skin. While you're standing at the sink applying your mask, slip on a pair of these warm booties from Greenfeet. Pop them in the microwave for a minute and they're all toasty. Especially nice on those cold winter nights, and they're scented of lavender, so your feet will feel phenomenal. After all, this is a great place for stress to build up. Put on a comfy terrycloth robe, lay your head back and watch old reruns of your favorite sitcom. Sometimes a good laugh is the best way to get rid of the stress.

So, let's say you're at work, and you're ready to have a miniature meltdown. What you need to do is take a moment for yourself on the job to chill out. If you're the sort that doesn't like to take breaks, just bite the bullet and do so. It's worth taking ten minutes out of your day to make sure you're not a psycho on the phone with clients or you don't flip out at your boss. Take a break, step far away from your desk, and clear your head. Next, pick up your office voodoo doll, available at Barnes and Noble, and go to work! I couldn't find a picture of this particular product, but this is the same idea as their Itty Bitty Buddha (left). It's one of those tiny boxes, usually stationed near the register, and they have all types of fun games and toys. The office voodoo doll is priceless - at the very least, it will give you a good laugh. Once you've done that for about ten minutes, head back to your desk, refreshed. I guarantee you'll feel better immediately.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Look who the 1960's dragged in...

None other than J-Lo!

I have to admit she looks good in these pictures. She's in good shape and I've always felt she was a great example of true femininity with that great booty of hers. But that is where my liking of J Lo ends. She can't sing, she can't act.

Has this woman done anything lately? I mean, so she has albums out and she's married to Marc Antony the Living Skeleton, Yadda yadda yadda. But really. When I look at her, all I see is a woman desperate for attention. It reminds me of someone else that has been trying to wrench the public spotlight onto her self recently...what's her name? Mariah Carey.

Mariah Carey is the new J Lo.

I mainly posted these pictures as yet another example of Hollywood style gone awry. Whatever happened to that Old Hollywood Glamour? After viewing J-Lo's white lips, the need for lipstick on all women everywhere must become tediously self-evident.

Unless, perhaps, you're a hollywood stylist...

Pictures courtesy of this lot.

A Few Items

Time to go through the mail bag and answer a few opinion polls of the readers at large.

Q: "What is Las F's stance on this resurgance of Cowboy boots?" -C.Rooney
A: I don't care for the cowboy boots, personally. They seem more like a costume piece than a serious part of your wardrobe. There are certain circumstances where I've seen them done well, especially in the context of the newly-huge prairie look. In the summer they look somewhat cute with a rutched blouse and knee-length skirt, but it's not my favorite look. One suggestion to pulling them off better is to go for a cowboy-inspired boot, like the ones at left, rather than full-on poopkickers. My chief complaint with the footwear is they look like clown shoes on a woman's proportionally tiny feet.

Q: "Could you review arm warmers?" -Anonymous
A: I feel the same way about these as I do about leg warmers. If the weather is cold enough for arm warmers, just put on a long-sleeved shirt. They're pretty ridiculous.

Q: "Okay, now how do you feel about boleros?" -Melissa
A: I consider these to be even worse than the shrug. Whereas modest women might wear the shrug to cover the arm, the bolero doesn't even do that. It seems to serve no purpose. Fashion should have a function as well as looking good, unless looking good is its own purpose. Some items do carry this quality, like a pashmina, but a bolero doesn't even look good.

Q: "I would like to know your opinion of these." -Belinda Taylor
A: Wow, that's...absurd. Definitely not for frequent use, and then what's the point of buying $51 tights if you're only going to wear them once? The product description says it all - "These are for those...who like to grab all the attention." These would be perfect for someone like Paris Hilton, whose career is based solely on the fact that people pay attention to her. She has no particular talent, it's just the fact that we watch her every move. As normal people, however, we want to garner attention because we look fantastic, not because we look ridiculous. I'd give this a solid no, and suggest something that doesn't add girth to the thigh, I might add. You'd better be a twig if you're going to wear them.

Hope that clears those items up. I also want to add that we at Las F are horrible with deadlines. If you have a big event coming up and you want advice, you should probably give us at least a week, if not more, to answer back. Sometimes we're super fast, sometimes we're the opposite. To ensure you can be ready in time, tell us as soon as you know your dilemma.