Can Your Favorite Beauty Products Stop Working?

Every woman has had the experience: A tried-and-true beauty routine that once left your hair beautiful and shiny and your skin its radiant best suddenly seems to have stopped working. Is it time to move on to a new set of products? Here, advice from the experts.

Should You Change Your Shampoo and Conditioner?
When your once bouncy, gleaming hair starts looking flat and dull, you may wonder if it has “gotten used to” your favorite shampoo or conditioner. There are two things to keep in mind. No. 1: As hair expert John Gray, author of The World of Hair Colour and lead consultant for P&G Beauty, says, “High-quality hair products are rigorously tested to ensure that their performance does not deteriorate.” No. 2: Hair is technically dead, so it can’t develop a tolerance to a product.

That doesn’t mean that you’re imagining the changes in your hair. Residue from styling products is one common reason why hair may look and feel drab. To give your hair a clean slate, try a one-time wash with a clarifying shampoo. These shampoos contain ingredients -- such as enzymes and citric acids -- that bind to product deposits and whisk them away.

Seasonal changes can also make it seem like your shampoo and conditioner aren’t doing their job. In fact, these products are delivering consistent results, but it’s your hair itself that behaves differently in the high humidity of summer than it does during dry winter conditions. While you always want to choose a shampoo and conditioner that’s right for your hair type and texture, if you use a volumizng shampoo and conditioner in the summer, you may find that richer and more hydrating versions of those products work better in winter.

Coloring, highlighting, relaxing and perming all affect the fundamental properties of your hair, says Gray. If you’ve had one of these chemical processes, you may need to add deep-conditioning treatments, including masks, to keep your hair in tip-top shape. Ask your stylist for advice on how frequently to use these at-home hair care treatments.

Do You Need to Swap Your Skin Care Products?
If the feeling that your skin care regimen isn’t working any more is a familiar one, then the fault may lie with your own expectations. “Using skin care products is a lot like dieting,” says Tom Woodhouse, head esthetician at Sally Hersberger’s Face Place, a skin care clinic in New York City. “Often, you’ll see a lot of improvement over the first three months, and then when you’ve achieved the maximum benefit from the products, your skin goes into more of a maintenance mode. What you’re missing is the excitement or novelty of those early results.”

Then again, our skin is dynamic, changing in some way almost every day, says Ellen Marmur, dermatologist and author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin. Rather than thinking of yourself as having one static skin type, Marmur says it’s more effective to learn to read your skin and be flexible in the types of products you use. While you may have a general tendency toward dry skin or oily skin, irritation or acne, it’s important to adjust your regimen to the type of skin you’re having today. If, for example, your skin is looking greasy and starting to break out, you may want to switch temporarily to a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, which will help unclog pores.

The active ingredients that keep our skin looking its best, like peptides or retinol, work year-round. But just as cotton feels cool against your skin in July and cashmere is cozy in December, different formulations feel -- and look -- better as the weather changes. Consider rotating your skin care regimen to include oil-free or gel-based products in summer and richer creams and lotions in the winter.


Simple Ways to Touch up Hair and Makeup

When it comes to touching up your hair and makeup at work, scrubbing your face clean and starting from scratch is not an option. So we asked some of Hollywood’s top makeup artists and hairstylists for makeup tips on how to make the transition from sedate to dramatic while using the least amount of products.

The Best Touchups Begin at Home
By doing barely there makeup in the morning, you cut the risk of creasing and caking later in the day. So start with a tinted moisturizer or a sheer foundation, followed by a primer-and-mascara duo (which should deliver a long-lasting coat that doesn’t need a second one) and a neutral, rosy lipstick. “Pack the items you’ll need for the evening: a dark lipstick if you’re planning on a strong mouth, eyeliner and smoky eye shadow if you plan on strong eyes instead, translucent powder to absorb shine and an eyebrow pencil with a spooly brush on one end,” says Tonya Crooks, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist who grooms the brows of Megan Fox.

Refresh Your Complexion
Whether you’re coming in from a long lunch or heading out the door for the evening, the linchpin of the touchup is clean, healthy-looking skin, says Crooks. Job No. 1 is to cancel out imperfections: Blot out breakthrough shine with oil-absorbing rice-paper tissues. If your skin is dry, spray your face with rosewater and redistribute your existing foundation with a clean makeup sponge. Cover blemishes or dark circles with a creamy light-reflecting concealer, rub a little cream blush onto the apples of your cheeks and set everything with a light dusting of translucent pressed powder (or the talc-covered side of the rice-paper tissues).

Eyeliner for Evening
The quickest way to define your eyes at night is with eyeliner, says Eugenia Weston, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist. “Use a gel liner because it goes on creamily and gives you some playtime, unlike liquid eyeliner that dries so fast it demands precision,” she says. “Using a fine eyeliner brush, draw the line gradually thicker as it approaches the outer edge of the lid, and add a small cat-eye wing if you like.

“Fill in your brows with an eye pencil and brush them upward with the spooly end. And if you’re going for a strong eye, which I think you should because dim restaurant lighting calls for it, stroke on eye shadow in deep plummy brown, eggplant or espresso. If you must have more mascara, wet your fingers slightly to moisten your lashes and soften the old coat. Let dry, and then apply a new one, separating lashes with a tiny metal comb.”

Hair Care in a Hurry
“If your locks are droopy or oily, spray the roots with a dry shampoo and brush out thoroughly,” says stylist Lia Dominguez of the Tom Brophy salon in Beverly Hills. (Dry shampoo will add volume and traction for styling.) Using a rat-tail comb, tease the top for a little height and secure your hair into a French twist with four bobby pins.

High Style
“After work, give your hair a good brushing and gather it up into a high Barbie ponytail, which can look fun and youthful,” says Christopher Dove, creative director of The Doves salon in Santa Monica, Calif. “It also gives a nice sleek curve to the back of your head.” Final touchup tip: Ditch the plain brown or black elastic band for a slightly wider fabric-covered one in a color that coordinates with your blouse, dress, shoes or purse.

Simple Steps for Healthy Skin and Hair

You don’t need a meteorologist to tell you that this winter has created a beauty SOS! Record snowstorms and punishing winds, combined with dry indoor heating, are leaving your hair static-y and dull, and your skin rough, dry and peeling.

What kept your tresses lustrous in summer and your skin dewy in July doesn’t work in February and March. Here’s how to tweak your beauty regimen so you can achieve healthy skin and healthy hair during the frosty season.


1. Hydrate every time you shampoo.
Switch to moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, and skip at least one day between shampoos so you don’t deplete your scalp of the natural oils it’s able to retain. To fight flat tresses, apply conditioner only from mid-shaft to your ends. Your roots are just a few weeks old and still getting nourished form your scalp’s sebum, so keep them lifted by skipping the added weight of conditioner.

2. Protect against heat damage.
Parched locks are especially vulnerable to the damage caused by hot styling tools. Letting your hair air-dry in the winter is unrealistic, and walking out in near-zero temperatures with a wet head will cause your strands to freeze and lead to damaged hair.

Instead, partially dry your hair by blotting it with a microfiber towel. Then, apply a heat-protecting hair care product before firing up the hair-blower. Or, eliminate blow-drying by shampooing at bedtime, suggests Natasha Sunshine, owner-stylist of the Byu-ti Hair Therapy Salon. In the morning, style your hair with a flat iron or curling iron. Use the lowest heat seating that will still allow you to achieve the styling results you want, and keep the hot tool moving to avoid scorching your strands.

3. Warm up your hair color.
Hair color that worked beautifully against summer’s bronzed skin can look ashy with winter’s paler complexion. Add warmth to your palette by taking blond hair from beige to golden, brunette tresses to chestnut, or chocolate-brown and red hair to copper or auburn.


1. Modify your skin care routine.
Your summer skin challenge is most likely controlling oil, while during winter, it’s combating dryness. Replace your exfoliating or sudsing cleanser with a milder, non-sudsing one. Ease up on your use of retinoids; switch to a less-concentrated formula or use them only every other night. Moisturize twice a day, in the morning and at night. Consider switching from a light formula, such as a gel-based moisturizer, to a slightly thicker one. Or, boost the potency of the year-round moisturizer you love by layering a serum underneath.

2. Choose the right soaps and moisturizers.
Long, hot showers or baths can feel great on a bone-chilling day, but they’re extremely drying. “The intense heat actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which leads to a loss of moisture and dehydrates the skin,” says Naomi Donnelley, a dermatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “Keep showers and baths short and lukewarm.” Use a soap-free body wash instead of a harsh antibacterial soap. Apply a body moisturizer while still slightly damp for smooth skin. “In general, lotions don’t cut it in winter,” says Donnelley. “Choose a cream, or if your skin is very dry, a petroleum-based product. Some ingredients to look for include ceramides, dimethicone, urea, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, petrolatum and lanolin.”

3. Invest in a humidifier.
If you experience itching or flaking, consider a home humidifier. The extra moisture it pumps into the air not only soothes chapped lips and hands and relieves all-over dry skin, but also helps nourish midwinter’s straw-like damaged hair. Just be sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

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Makeup Bag Makeover

With all the great products on the market, it’s easy to amass quite a beauty stash. When they’re kept too long, however, cosmetics can go from enhancing your clear complexion to compromising it with funky colors and smells -- plus they can spread bacteria.

“Over time, preservatives stop working efficiently and it’s possible for staph, fungus and yeast to contaminate makeup that’s been stored past its prime,” says New York City-based dermatologist Francesca Fusco. So resolve to keep your get-glam arsenal well-edited and up-to-date this year.

First thing’s first. These are the key items to have in your makeup bag, says Global Creative Design Director Pat McGrath of Procter & Gamble: foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer or blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, “bold” and “safety” lip colors, and mascara. Now use this cheat sheet to figure out when to toss different beauty products. Begin the countdown when you first open the product.

Foundation: Six Months to 18 Months

If you live in a hot, humid climate, liquid or cream foundation can break down in as little as six months. “Pitch foundation if there is separation or if the liquid starts to get grainy or extra-thick,” says celebrity makeup artist Sue Devitt. Stored in a cool place (not under the lights of your medicine cabinet), liquid foundation can stay fresh for as long as a year.

Powder-formula foundations will last an additional six months, as long as you wash the sponge applicator weekly.

Tip: Sniff your foundation when you buy it. “If the smell changes at all, toss it,” advises celebrity makeup artist Joanna Schlip, who has worked with Sandra Bullock and Sarah Jessica Parker. “It’s not worth holding on to the product and risking a breakout.”

Concealer: Six Months to One Year

Powder and stick concealers last a year, but liquid formulas should be replaced in half that time. Again, watch for shifts in color, consistency or scent.

Pressed Face Powder: Up to Two Years

Moisture or oil from your face can transfer back to the compact as you perfect your complexion, so prolong the life of face powder by cleaning your brush weekly with shampoo or a mild detergent, or replacing sponge or puff applicators when they become soiled from use. While pressed powders can last as long as two years, they should be discarded if a hard film forms on the surface of the powder before then, says Schlip.

Blush/Bronzer: Six Months to Two Years
A powder bronzer or blush will impart pure, true color for up to two years. Consider liquid blush or bronzer to be expired after 12 months. Cream blushes or bronzer often come in a pot or compact that you swipe with your fingers, so be alert to texture changes as soon as six months and discard after a year.

Powder Eye Shadow: Up to Two Years

Like face powder, these can be kept through two birthdays. Just be sure to practice clean-tool maintenance, says Fusco, so you don’t pick up bacteria from the moist eye area and transfer it back to the shadow pot or compact.

Liquid Eyeliner: Three Months to One Year
If your liner is drying out and you can no longer achieve a flirty Bardot cat-eye, you may need to say farewell at the three-month mark. However, liner can safely be used for a full year. “You’ll know it’s still good if it applies smoothly,” Schlip says.

Eye Pencils: One to Two Years
Luckily, your cache of colorful pencils can stick around a while. Most have a wax base, and bacteria can’t grow on wax, notes Devitt. Tip: Sharpen once a week to keep pencils fresh.

Mascara: Three to Six Months
As soon as the smell is off or the wand is nearly dry when you pull it out, it’s time for the heave-ho. “Mascara is the most likely culprit for breeding bacteria,” says Fusco, “because it’s stroked so close to the mucus membrane under the base of the lashes.”

Lipstick: Up to Two Years
Those bold reds and deep berries you save for glamour nights will safely last through a couple of New Year’s Eves or Valentine’s Days, since lipsticks generally contain wax in their base.

Lip Gloss: One Year
Although, with frequent reapplication, you’ll likely go through your favorite shades way before then!

Get Lightweight, Shiny Hair Today

What is the most requested hairstyle this season? Underdone hair that’s swingy, shiny and effortlessly stylish. “The mood for autumn/winter is definitely focussed on natural, healthy-looking hair,” says Ken Picton of Ken Picton Salon in Cardiff. The look can be somewhat contrived by the cut, he says. “Model Freja Beha Erichsen has the perfect autumn look with her soft layers that enhance movement without spoiling the structure of the hair.”

Unless you’re one of the lucky few born with thick, gleaming, beautifully wavy hair a la Cheryl Cole or Kelly Brook, getting celeb-worthy locks takes a bit of effort and some savvy grooming.

Colour Me Beautiful
Say goodbye to raccoon-style stripes, two-tone hair and hyper-real crazy colour; this season is all about natural shades that are rich, warm and healthy-looking. If you’re blonde, go for warm shades with subtle ash blonde splices. Brunettes will look fab with chocolate tones spiced up with a hint of autumnal red -- but only a hint! If you’re looking for the latest in hip hair colour, Toni & Guy’s interlacing technique is a new-season hit. The colourist plaits your hair then paints, freehand, a gleaming colour that is a shade or two lighter than your actual hair colour, which adds depth and movement to your style.

Texture Talk
Shiny hair is always in, but if you’ve been heavy-handed on the tongs or straighteners, you may have caused damage and lost your gleam. Thankfully, there are loads of great shine sprays on the market, all of which add gloss to dull locks. Some products even offer heat protection. Shine-enhancing shampoos and conditioners will help, too.  

Product Placement
“It’s important to create the effect of effortless tresses,” says Darren Bain, HOB Salons’ Creative Team member and 2009 London Hairdresser of the Year. “Whether you’re going for the dishevelled knot or ponytail, or a relaxed mid-length shoulder skimmer with raw texture, it’s vital to be minimal with products and styling to ensure a natural-looking hold.”

Use a small amount of lightweight mousse, evenly distributed through the hair, for hold and bounce. Let hair dry naturally or gently use your fingers with a diffused heat for a natural look. For boho waves, use a large-barrelled curling wand on the mid-lengths or hot rollers. “Products are imperative for giving a more rustic, raw finish,” says Bain.

Start From the Inside Out
Remember, a healthy body equals healthy hair. Here are our top tips:

1. Strike a balance: “The root, or hair follicle, is the incubator of hair growth and is nourished by our blood supply,” says celebrity hairdresser and author of Shiny Happy Hair, Andrew Barton. Your hair, like your body, needs good food and exercise to grow and stay healthy. Eat foods rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, such as citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables (beta-carotene is essential for hair health: go for green, orange and yellow veg), eggs, lentils (a good source of biotin, which helps promote hair growth) and coconut.

2. Eat good fats: “Yes, there is such a thing as good fat -- and it’s what keeps your skin and hair looking healthy. Omega oils are bursting with essential fatty acids, which are great hair boosters. A diet rich in oily fish is a great way to get protein and omega-3 and 6.

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