Monday, February 24, 2014

Beauty Wonkette's CliffsNotes Guide to Acid 101

Acids can be the most important part of your skin-care routine. That is, as long as you know your ferulic from your salicylic. Indeed, all acids are not created equal, which is why it's worth it to learn the real deal on each one and, in turn, avoid unnecessary reactions (not to mention, never shell out big bucks for a product that's totally wrong for your skin type ever again).  After consulting with several of Beauty Wonkette's favorite dermatologists, we present a reasonable approximation of which acids will brighten us up, zap our acne, and generally leave our mugs as smooth as a baby's butt. Read on and bring this along as a cheat sheet the next time you go skin-care shopping.

Salicylic Acid 
Salicylic acid also goes by the name beta hydroxy acid.  It is a keratolytic agent (meaning that it removes the top layer of skin when pores are clogged). BW's derm recommends the ingredient for oily skin, but reports that it can also be used on drier or sensitive skin, as long as it is combined with hydrating ingredients, such as those found in Aveeno's Clear Complexion line. A warning: Pregnant women shouldn't use products that contain salicylic acid, as salicylates have been linked to birth defects.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acid
Alpha-hydroxyl acids are a group of acids named based on their chemical appearance. In this grouping: lactic acid (which is derived from milk), glycolic acid (derived from sugar cane), citric acid (from citrus fruits), and tartric acid (from grapes). AHAs have multiple good effects on the skin: they are primarily used as chemical exfoliants, but they have also shown to promote collagen synthesis and reduce hyperpigmentation.

AHAs can be beneficial for almost any skin type. If you have sensitive skin, start with a mild daily lotion to test its effects (BW's derm likes the NeoStrata line, which was the first of its kind to make AHAs user-friendly).

Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is the ingredient that you want to turn to when your skin becomes drier than the Sahara (probably right around this time of the year), as the molecule can hold up to 1,000 time its weight in water. This ingredient actually has the ability to pull moisture from the air down through the stratum corneum (or outermost layer of the skin) so that skin stays supple.

Hyaluronic acid is obviously a great pick in moisturizers, but look out for it in treatment products as well — the addition of hyaluronic to a typically irritating ingredient like retinol can ease the burn.

Ferulic & Alpha Lipoic Acids
These two ingredients are antioxidants — meaning that they reduce the amount of free radicals wreaking havoc on your skin (a result of your bod dealing with environmental stressors such as sun damage and pollution). Plus, these puppies aid in collagen production so your skin will be plump and protected.

Go Bang Yourself!

No this is not a post about masturbation!  It is about bangs - do it yourself bangs to be more precise.

    Shortly after Beauty Wonkette's last haircut, she regretted not having asked for bangs.  We've all been there at one time or bang or not to bang.  It is a quandry you can belabor for ages!  But then, once you decide to indeed bang, if you are anything like Beauty Wonkette, you want to do it right that minute!  So, what to do?  Do you head back to see your stylist?  If your stylist is anything like mine, you can forget the whole RIGHT NOW thing.  What to do?  Bang yourself!  It's easy.  Follow BW's instructions and we promise you will not end up looking like your sibling attacked you with arts & crafts scissors (and, yes, BW's brother did just that when she was 9).

Here it is.  Beauty Wonkette's go-to guide for fixing up some face fringe in five quick steps.

1. Get your hair completely straight. Blow your hair out, add a flat iron, do what you have to do, but do NOT cut your hair when it's wet. Hair shrinks when soaked, so you can't accurately judge how much length you'll have when it dries. Give yourself the cutest blowout in history before you start — you'll be working with the most ideal canvas.

2. Section off the part of your hair that will become bangs. Go as thick or thin as you want. I would suggest not cutting more hair than can comfortably fit between your index and middle fingers. You can always go back and cut more, but make sure it's a manageable section to start.

3. Prepare to cut. Pull the section forward, then close the hair between your index and middle fingers where you want your bangs to hit your forehead. Pull it taut — but not too tight — to predict how your soon-to-be bangs will fall naturally.

4. Snip, snip. Holding the cuticle scissors vertically, make tiny cuts upward into the hair that's hanging out of your fingers. Boom. That's how you create fringe. Snip about a centimeter or so lower than you think you should; You can always go back and shorten if you've left too much length. Take your time. I like to work from the middle out so I can make sure the sides are even. If you want blunt bangs, just cut straight across still leaving that extra centimeter and pacing yourself.

5. Check your work. Release your finger-hold and tousle what's left. Cute? Not so much? Go back and repeat the process if you want to shorten or add more layers. Then, walk away before you cut too much. You're done.

If you just need to trim your bangs, follow the exact same process. Done and done. You saved yourself a trip to the salon and you can move on with your life!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Beauty Wonkette investigates whether lip balm helps OR makes lips more chapped....

In this winter of our discontent, where every inch of skin moisture counts, Beauty Wonkette comes head-to-head with the age-old beauty dilemma: Does applying lip balm actually make our lips drier with every swipe?

Soooo, wanting to get the truth about the hydrating abilities of lip balm, Beauty Wonkette talked to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York-based dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

It turns out, the formulation of some lip balms and treatments can cause your lips to feel drier, even with religious application. For example, formulations that contain salicylic acid, which is often included to slough off dead skin cells from the lips, might not be the best idea. “Ingredients like salicylic acid can exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the lips, but can also cause skin irritation, leading to inflammation and dryness,”says Zeichner.

Other potential irritants include camphor, phenol, and menthol, which are included in some formulas to soothe on contact. While that may sound like a good thing, Zeichner points out that, “Yes, they soothe immediately, but in the long term may be irritating to the lips.”

Many times, lip treatment formulas that contain these exfoliating and soothing ingredients are paired with emollient ingredients that can go to work softening the skin after exfoliation (salicylic acid) or immediate soothing (camphor, phenol, and menthol) has taken place. However, these ultra-moisturizing ingredients may not be enough to trump those that irritate. “Applying ingredients that are irritating can interfere with moisturizing, no matter how good the moisturizer is,” says Zeichner says.

Meanwhile, common ingredients like cetyl alcohol may sound counterproductive, but Zeichner says not so. “Even though this ingredient has the word alcohol in it, it actually is a fatty alcohol that helps hydrate the skin,” he says. That's totally not confusing at all. So, how do we keep our lips smooth and hydrated?

“The lips are able to repair themselves and maintain hydration, but sometimes, especially during the winter, they need a little extra help. Try to avoid lip licking, which can irritate the lips and ultimately dry out lips more in the end,” says Zeichner. “The best tip is to use a lip formulation with hydrating ingredients like petrolatum, but without the irritating ones.”

And so, with that my beauties, Beauty Wonkette will be picking lip treatments without possible irritants and laying off the LL Cool J impersonations. Oh yeah....BW will also try to keep her tongue IN her mouth :D

LASHES & LIPS! BEAUTY WONKETTE hits the drugstore :D

Beauty Wonkette has many secret shames, but the love of cheap, drugstore beauty products is definitely NOT one of them. Last month, on a business trip to Europe, the airline lost my entire, carefully packed suitcase for four days (which especially sucked since BW was only there for 5 days ..... grrrrr).  Besides, sometimes you just want something amazing that costs less than a double espresso.  AND sometimes you just want to try out a wild color without necessarily committing to it. Beauty Wonkette dutifully tested hoards of the newest drugstore lip and lash products — and some winners emerged. From two-dollar Popsicle lips to a mascara guard that protects against smudgy upper eyes, Beauty Wonkette's favs?  Read on my lovelies....

Revlon's ColorBurst Matte Balm is Beauty Wonkette's new favorite drugstore lip product. I went to an event the other night where this fell out of my overpacked bag, and a bunch of beauty editors all proudly flourished the very same product. The color goes on like silk, the payoff is bright and full, and it is so long-lasting that it takes several swipes, makeup remover, and real scrubbing to remove all trace of the product. It also has a slight minty taste, which is refreshing. BW wants to collect all the colors and carry them on a chain, like in ye olde days of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers.

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara Beauty Wonkette is usually skeptical about gimmicky-looking mascara brushes. (since my lashes aren't traveling into outer space; how much technology do they actually need?) Though this odd-looking brush looks nothing like a monarch butterfly, the comb really does work to lengthen and separate your lashes. The brush is inflexible, with short and long bristles throughout, but works like a hard-backed comb to give volume and definition. The trick is to roll your hand so that your entire lash gets the full brunt of the short and long bristles. AND Beauty Wonkette likes the case.
Maybelline Color Elixir Lately, Beauty Wonkette has had a strict no-lip-gloss policy (don't ask). But these new glosses from Maybelline are more like two-thirds lipstick, one-third lip gloss, with the color payoff of a lipstick and the moisture and shine of a gloss. It's the right amount of shine to make your lips extra defined and full without making them look cheesy. The wand is also petal-shaped so that you can use it to trace along your lip line. It's non-sticky and has a pleasant, clean-laundry scent.
Flower Beauty's Lip Butters were Beauty Wonkette's favorites.  They are like dupes of Fresh's cult-favorite lip treatments. It's a tad less rich than Fresh's version, but the color glides onto the lips to deliver a clean, slightly sheer, rosy look. All the colors are named after flowers, so they also make for a nice mini-horticulture lesson. The only drawback is that you have to go to Walmart (skeery greeter land) to get them.

Covergirl Bombshell This mascara is one of the most durable mascaras Beauty Wonkette has tried. Yes, we know waterproof formulas usually are, but this was so long-lasting that BW woke up with a few smudges under my eyes even after washing with an oil-based cleanser. But it also really got to the root and base of BW's lashes, and made them look super-thick. The trick is the two-step formula, with step one being a polymer-base,d volume-enhancing base coat. Step two is the topcoat. Even if you don't end up liking the topcoat, Beauty Wonkette still suggests using the base coat and then applying your favorite mascara of the moment over it. BTW, it's best suited for people that may have long lashes already, but want more volume.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Right now there is little question - the eyes - that is the EYEBROWS - have it

Beauty Wonkette couldn't help but notice that EVERY SINGLE BEAUTY AND FASHION rag known to humankind has been running non-stop pieces on EYEBROWS.  Well, as such, because BW is always looking for ways to ease your way to purrrfection, we bring you:


Thin, unruly, patchy, stick straight. Chances are, you’ve faced at least one of these classic brow problems—probably multiple times. Consider this your go-to guide for the arch of triumph, courtesy of expert Sania Vucetaj, founder of Sania’s Brow Bar in New York.

PROBLEM: You have no arch.
No arch
SOLUTION: Honor what your mama gave you.
Instead of immediately plucking like a madwoman, use the natural space between your brow and eyelid to determine the shape your brow should take. “If there isn’t much space, remove hair to open up the eyes,” says Vucetaj. “If you have a lot of space, keep the hair fuller to avoid the ‘surprised’ look.” Remember to pull hairs individually in the direction of growth for best results.

PRO TIP: To prevent ingrown hairs and maintain precision, Vucetaj says to avoid threading (which yanks bunches of hair out in all directions) and stick to tweezing and trimming.

PROBLEM: Your brows have a mind of their own.
Mind of their own
SOLUTION: Draw and snip them into submission.
Using a brow pencil that contrasts with your hair color (a dark pencil for light hair, for example, and a light one for dark hair), draw your desired brow shape onto your existing brows. Next, carefully tweeze around the shape you’ve created and brush the brows upward. Trim a few hairs at a time along the upper brow edge until you reach the desired shape.

PRO TIP: To draw even more attention to your now-perfect arches, finish with a multitasking pencil

PROBLEM: Your brows are too short, patchy, or overplucked.
Short, patchy, overplucked
SOLUTION: Pencil them in.
You were going for Megan Fox, but you ended up with a big ol’ faux pas. Don’t panic: Use the stenciling trick above to outline the shape you wanted, then use a pencil that matches your hair color  to fill it in. Be careful not to press too hard, or you might pull some hairs out. Brows looking sparse? A brow powder can tackle gaps.

Ohhhhhhh honey :D

Honey, that celebrated natural sweetener, has long been one of Beauty Wonkette's favorite condiments (errr is honey a "condiment?"). While the amber nectar does wonders drizzled into a steaming cup of tea or added to a stir fry sauce (seriously—yummm), we love it even more for its sweet effects on our skin. Cleopatra is said to have taken milk and honey baths to keep her complexion supple, and now science has given us a wealth of reasons to follow suit. Behold, the many skincare uses of this precious nectar.


Honey is a natural humectant, meaning the sugar-rich substance attracts and traps moisture in the skin. Loaded with nourishing vitamins and amino acids, it cranks up skin’s elasticity and soothes irritation (and can do the same for parched hair—keeping strands both hydrated and lustrous). Manuka honey in particular can be found in treatments for eczema and other dry skin woes. Did you know that you can apply honey directly to your skin as a hydrating mask?


Honey’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties are well documented, making honey a legitimate treatment for burns and other persistent skin wounds. Not to get all Grey’s Anatomy on you, but when an open wound comes into contact with honey, the nectar releases an enzyme that can effectively fend off infections and allow the sore to fully heal. Not only does it function as an antiseptic, but the golden goo creates a breathable, skin-like veil over cuts, acting as a kind of natural BAND-AID. (Only problem is, you can’t wear it under pantyhose.)

Skin Savior

With its high concentration of antioxidants (think: vitamins E and C), honey works as a natural after sun gel, soothing sunburn à la aloe vera while helping skin regenerate healthy new cells. And while we’re not saying to go ahead and reach for that bear-shaped bottle instead of your daily SPF, it never hurts to have this health-giving food working overtime to repair UV damage and help your skin recover. So the next time you experience sunbather’s remorse, ease your woes (and conscience) by slathering on some of Pooh’s favorite semi-solid.

Escape to beautiful Buenos Aires (in a bottle.....hehe)

It was a long time ago that Beauty Wonkette  fell in love with Buenos Aires. Indeed, it was BW's first grown up visit to South America and she couldn’t have been happier: the food, the late nights, the endless Malbec— Beauty Wonkette quickly realized that BA is a very special place. She goes back whenever possible, BUT since BW can’t go back as often as she would like (you wouldn’t believe the price of a plane ticket!), she is always looking for ways to bring a little Argentine flair to her life. That’s why AYRES, a brand inspired by BA, immediately caught her attention. Created by native Argentinian Alejandro Rasic, the entire line is an ode to the city—from the packaging, to the fragrances, to the name (in traditional Spanish, the name of the city was spelled “Buenos Ayres”).
Even though Beauty Wonkette was probably predetermined to like the products, we have to say that the quality really won us over. For one, Rasic infuses all of his products with 100% pure oils, which means that the scents are both lovely and long-lasting. BW is particularly hooked on the Midnight Tango Body Butter, which smells like the most amazing combination of sweet vanilla and orange blossom. The hydration, too, can’t be beat. We’ve been using this body butter after getting out of the shower in the mornings, and noticed that  skin stays moisturized for hours thanks to the formula's natural plant emollients and shea nut butter. So until you can find that cheap flight, look to AYRES’ sweet-smelling products as your passport to that South American paradise.
for $28 you can GIFT YOURSELF!