Category Archives: holiday

I'm Gonna Wash That Milk Right Into My Skin

LOccitane Shower CreamL’Occitane Shower Cream in my favorite eye-opening fragrance, Verbena is a delicate, low-foaming, lightly scented liquid wash that softens your skin and gently cleanses your hair. Containing shea milk with its smoothing and protecting properties, and regenerating wheat proteins, this creamy mix helps preserve the natural balance of both skin and hair without stripping or drying. Great for apres sun skin and hair care. $9 for 2.5 oz. Perfect for your summer travel kit.

Longing for Spring? How to get a sun-kissed look without the sun

With the latest blast of winter weather, many of us are yearning for a hint of Spring sun. If you’re one of us, check out this video which will show you — in about a minute and a half — exactly how to get that lovely sunkissed look, minus the sun (and the UV damage). Your friends, family and colleagues will swear you snuck away to the beach!

Applying Makeup Foundation for a Bronzed Look — powered by

Kelli LaBar is a NC make-up artist and esthetician. Check out her Bronzed Makeup video series here on expert village.

DIY Skin Care: Save Money and Actually Improve Your Skin

For years, we’ve been DIY’ing…our bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. Italian plaster and wood flooring from Home Depot, designer fixtures from Tuesday Morning, luxury cabinets from Lowe’s, Talavera tile from a local importer (may be specific to Santa Fe–but I doubt it). We’re willing to spend more time to save money.

I ask you: why don’t we practice this same frugal practicality when it comes to our skin care? We’ve just handed over our precious beauty to so-called experts. Seriously, do we really trust those famous, celebrity-endorsed “dermatologists” to formulate our most beloved skin care products? Apparently, we do–or least we have for the last decade or so. Not only do we trust them to treat our skin–gasp, our dear faces–but we pay them plenty to do it. I mean, what is up with $500 serum and $1000 skin cream? And the best part? It seem there’s always one more to buy: the next generation, the newest active ingredient…it’s like we’re addicts, and we are hooked, Folks.

What’s more, those crazy expensive face concoctions don’t do anything terribly special for your skin…and they sure as hell don’t contain any magic ingredients.

Really. Is this the best we can do? I don’t think so. Did you know that you can purchase the same stuff the experts do…and mix it up yourself? Usually for less than $50?

The trick with DIY skin care: 1. start slowly using small amounts of the ‘active’ ingredients, 2. don’t fall into the trap of thinking “a little is good, so a whole lot more is better.” (you wouldn’t add more latex to your wall paint, would you? okay, maybe not the best example, but you get the point) 3. follow the instructions. Period.

There are plenty of sites that offer simple bases and actives that you can mix into them. But the best DIY skin care sellers offer good instructions and lots of resources–and many of them have terrific forums or message boards where ‘recipes’ are posted and clients share what works (for their skin type or condition) and what doesn’t.

From lovely base creams and gels to nutrient-rich, anti-oxidant, anti-aging, acne-fighting active ingredients–the exact same ones found in minute quantities in those $1000 creams–DIY skin care providers offer it all.

I’ve been mixing my own skin care for a little over one year. When I started, I made the mistake that all newbie DIY’ers make (I’m a little hard-headed–and, oh yes, I know EVERYTHING. Don’t you?), and mixed EVERY active I could–mass quantities, no less–into one ‘fix-all’ recipe. I got away with this…for a little while. Then, I ended up with a nasty case of contact dermatitis. Ooops. Well, I learned my lesson (and fixed my problem with many of the same ingredients I’d overdosed on).

Henceforth, I mix my ‘magic’ concoctions with restrained diligence. My wallet (and my hubbie) are thankful for DIY skin care. And my skin has never looked better nor younger. Plus, I can adjust the mix to suit whatever my skin needs (this comes as you become more advanced as a DIY’er–please do not attempt to self-diagnose your skin problems).

Here are a few of my favorite DIY skin care proffers…

  • Bulk Actives ( – Affordable selection of the very fine ingredients, in-depth knowledge base, top-notch service, inexpensive shipping
  • Somerset Cosmetics ( – easy-to-navigate, great recipes, skin care and makeup. The Resources section is a must read for any DIY’er.
  • Platinum Skincare ( – Exceptional glycolics, sun screens and skin-healing concoctions. Plus, they offer children-specific skin care products. Platinum is a little less about ‘do it yourself’ and more focused on treating skin conditions.
  • The Personal Formulator ( – Nice selection, downloadable catalog, backed by a reputable cosmetics lab.

Tips for skin care DIY’ers:

  1. Don’t be afraid to experiment
  2. Take great care in writing your mixtures and recipes
  3. Read all instructions (yes, I’m repeating this for those readers who, like me, may feel they know what’s best–trust me, you don’t when it comes to mixing stuff with active ingredients–at least not for awhile)
  4. And for goodness sakes, have fun!

P.S. These little homemade gems make really great gifts…and you can completely customize them for the recipient. Think about it: Mom gets the special ‘anti-aging’ cream, Sis gets the anti-oxidant serum, and Dad gets the ‘all-in-one’ cleanser/toner/moisturizer/protectant

P.P.S. Look for Elle magazine’s upcoming feature on DIY skin care.

Firm Up for Bikini Season…or Just for Fun

All right, Ladies. How many of you can honestly say you’re ready for beach weather? Do you have a beach bod? My guess is that you may need a little help. Luckily, I have that little bit of help, and I’m going to share my little secret helper.

Flirty Little Secret, a revolutionary new firming cream from Booty Parlour, contains a wheat protein which acts as the firming agent, a collagen booster to create the appearance of smooth skin and Bio-Bustyle, a targeted enhancer to firm and tone the bust.

Does it really work? Well, I’ve been putting it to the test for the past three weeks, and I can honestly (and quite happily) say that yes, it does! Listen, I’m thirty-something, work indoors–primarily behind a desk, could lose about 10 pounds. And Flirty Little Secret has me excited about wearing shorts…and even my bathing suit.The texture is nice and dense, but not greasy. It smells lightly of apricots…nice, but not overwhelming, so it won’t overpower your favorite fragrance. It also contains a touch of shimmer, so while you’re on your way to toned, tight sexiness, you have a little extra help in the way of light-reflecting particles.

Another secret about Flirty Little Secret? It contains a special ingredient to make you irresistible to the opposite sex…pheromones. While making your skin look tighter and more toned, Flirty Little Secret will make sure that all the boys will take notice of your curves. Unleash your inner man magnet and pick up your own Flirty Little Secret.

Oh yes, don’t forget Mom! Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and what Mom wouldn’t like to share our Flirty Little Secret? 6 oz. $32

Booty Parlor

Champagne Wishes, and Lemonade Dreamzzzzzzz

Spring is officially upon us (although if you live anywhere in the U.S., you might be wondering…), and it’s time to spruce up that wintery hair.

Sudzz FX comes to the rescue with Lemonade Dreamzz, a lucious, lemony souffle made for all hair types, lengths and conditions. Dreamzz is a great shaping and texturizing cream. Great for all types of hair including fine hair, you can use it for blow drying volume into the style, as a leave in fixative for both straight and curly hair. Plus, it holds shape of your brush when blow drying.

For you stylists out there, Lemonade Dreamzz makes a great cutting lotion when mixed with Zenyth Frizz Eliminator, giving hair shape and body in the cutting process. It leaves curl soft and sleek if using diffuser. It can be used for dressing long hair into up-do styles.

And it’s also great for finishing details. Lemonade Dreamzz adds shine, body, and volume. $15.95 for 2oz.

Burning for Luxury, Purity, Health

Via Candles are hand crafted by artisans in Connecticut from natural soy wax, natural unbleached hemp, high quality fragrance, and they do not include any synthetic colorants. This keeps impurities to a minimum and your environment as clean as possible.

What does this mean? Well, if you’re a friend of Al‘s, then this is THE candle for you. If, however, you do not consider yourself a tree-hugging, Prius-driving (or bicycle-peddling) guardian of Mother Earth, it simply means that…this is THE candle for you.

Via Candles are not only made from 100% natural soy wax, which burns cooler and minus the carcinogenic soot (unlike paraffin), they are also scented with the finest aroma-therapeutic fragrances. The wicks used in these luxurious candles is cotton-wrapped hemp, so again, they’re very healthy and burn naturally, without chemicals.

If the healthy benefits don’t entice you to try a Via Candle, well, the beautiful clear glass container and clean, relaxation-inducing scents, like Lemongrass Sage (my favorite), Jasmine Citrus and good ‘ol Vanilla surely will.

Currently Via Candles are only available in upscale boutiques and spas, so hunt, Dear Painters, and seek and find one of these wonderful, healthy, pure candles from Via. Bring one home. They’re certainly worth the effort…and so are you. To Life!

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