Beauty Treatments: DIY or See an Expert?

Find out when it’s worth it to take skin care and makeup into your own hands, and when you’d be better off consulting a pro.

by: Grace Gold

Hair Color

Most professional colorists warn against box color because so much can go wrong: Shade selection can be tricky; applying color evenly can be a challenge to a newbie; and damage is a real risk for anyone inexperienced in using the formulas.

The trick is to know which color jobs are easy to attempt at home. If you’re looking to stay within a shade or two of your roots, following the directions on a box should give you great results. The same holds true if you’re touching up gray roots or applying a sheer or clear glaze. Even ombré can be handled in your bathroom, thanks to a new kit from L’Oréal — Féria Wild Ombre ($12.99).

If you’re going for a bold look or experimenting with a blonde or red that’s several shades away from your natural color, that’s best left to the pros. “Your home isn’t the place for a dramatic color change,” explains Jet Rhys, a San Diego stylist and salon owner. “Blondes can turn brassy in a New York second, and reds can look as bright as a stoplight.”

Highlights are also best achieved with expert help, since natural-looking results are dependent on staggered placement that is nearly impossible to manage with your own hands.

9 Ways Your Hair is Aging You

msn_living  good_housekeeping


Want to look younger? It may be time for a new hairstyle. Try these tips to turn your damaged, old hairstyle into a fresh, new look.

By Melanie Rud

1. Lose some length…
Über-long hair is a tough look for over-40 women. “I call it the ‘1661’ — a woman’s long hair makes her look 16 from the back, but from the front you see she is actually nearing retirement age,” says Pantene celebrity hairstylist Danilo. A universally flattering length: to the collarbone. “A cut that grazes the collar and has face-framing layers also draws attention away from an aging neck,” says Jet Rhys, a San Diego stylist.

2. …But don’t overdo it
How short is too short? There’s no rule, but keep in mind that the end point of your cut emphasizes the facial feature next to it, says Rhys. So if you’re concerned about a sagging jawline, don’t ask for a chin-length bob. And remember that a short ‘do isn’t an excuse to hang up your blow dryer. “Too many women think a short cut is a free pass to forgo styling, but when hair has no polish, it can look matronly,” she says. Cropped styles are modern and youthful when they’re smooth and sleek; if those qualities don’t come naturally to your hair, use a frizz-fighter, like ColorProof HeatProof Anti-Frizz Blow Dry Crème ($28, salons), before styling.


3. Embrace change
“If you have the same ‘do you had 10 years ago, it’s time for a new look,” says Nick Arrojo, owner of Arrojo Studio, NYC. “You’re not wearing the same clothes — why have the same hair?” If you’re leery of drastic change, take baby steps. “Something as simple as moving your part can update your look,” says Rhys.

4. Try new ingredients
High-tech ones aren’t limited to face lotions: A slew of anti-agers, like niacinamide and caffeine, are debuting in hair products. They offer cosmetic benefits, like smoothness, shine, and a generally more youthful appearance, says Jeni Thomas, Ph.D., of Proctor & Gamble R & D: “The hair cuticle is similar to the top layer of skin, so it makes sense that these ingredients will have beneficial effects on hair and skin.” Try L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Power Moisture Shampoo ($5, drugstores), with sodium hyaluronate, a common moisture-attracting skin-care ingredient.

5. Redo your hue
Whether you hit the salon or take the DIY route, subtle tweaks to your color can make a huge difference. “A woman’s complexion lightens and becomes more translucent as she ages, so what looked great when she was 25 may not look so good when she’s 50,” explains Arrojo. Think about the hair you had as a child, suggests Brad Johns, color director at the Salon & Spa at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York. “Go back to that color family, whether it was blond, brunette, or red. Anything monotone looks severe and aging, so add highlights and multiple tones throughout.” When in doubt, err on the lighter side — dark hues create too harsh a contrast with paling skin.


6. Get fringe benefits
Bangs can camouflage forehead lines (the “Bangtox” effect), but not all do it equally well. “A blunt bang that hangs straight across the forehead isn’t for everyone. It can emphasize aging features and more mature skin,” says Sarah Potempa, stylist for Aussie Haircare. “Opt for a side-swept fringe with layers that blend into the rest of your hair; it’ll make your features look soft and youthful.” Be sure that bangs are in proportion to your cut; they work best on shoulder-length styles (any shorter, and your fringe may not stand out from the rest of your hair).

7. Gray gracefully
Before ditching the dye, determine if gray will be flattering. “When a brunette turns gray, it looks silvery and pretty. But blonds tend to go white, which can make them look pale,” says Johns. Wait until hair is at least 75% gray before growing it out: “Otherwise, it will look like you forgot to color it.” Then, use smoothing stylers. “Gray hair is wiry and frizzy. Smooth strands make the color look vibrant,” says Rhys. We like:Clairol Professional Smooth Leave-In Balm ($9, Sally Beauty).

8. Upgrade your products
“As your hair texture changes with age, you need a different formula,” explains Potempa. “Strands get drier and coarser, so switch to moisturizing products and avoid anything stripping, like clarifying shampoos.” Plus, there are new ingredients and technology in stylers, so it’s worth experimenting. Try shine enhancers, a newer category of products with reflective ingredients that add luster and smooth the cuticle. Apply on dry tresses as a final styling step. Try Joico Super Shine Glossing Polish ($16, for salons), with microcrystals.


9. Fake fuller locks
Whoever said “Thin is in” was not talking about hair. Create volume with the right cut and styling MO. “Thin hair should be mid-neck length or shorter and have layers throughout,” says Rhys. Style with a root booster, like Nexxus Hydra-Light Weightless Moisture Root Lift Mist ($12, drugstores), then hold the top sections of your hair straight up as you blow-dry. Color is another route to lush locks: “Highlights and lowlights add dimension, making hair look thicker, and coloring also temporarily plumps the cuticle.”

Survive Allergy Season and Look Great


by Grace Gold

Send Allergens Down the Drain

Irritating allergens like pollen can settle on your hair and skin, causing your symptoms to flare. Showering before bed will rinse the irritants away and prevent them from coating your pillow.

If you wash your hair daily, switch to a gentle shampoo. “Try a moisturizing line, like Malibu Wellness Hair Care Products, that’s free of parabens, sulfates, gluten, and other additives that can irritate or dry out your scalp when shampooing frequently,” says Jet Rhys, a stylist and salon owner in San Diego.

Select the Right Hairstyling Products

“When allergies are in full bloom,” advises Rhys, “try to avoid using wet styling products like gels, waxes, and pomades, because they attract dust and allergens like a magnet.” Instead, opt for products like a dry shampoo to add volume and movement, or a dry texturizing spray to shape strands. Your hairstyle can also help minimize allergy symptoms: Braiding your hair or winding it up in a bun reduces the surface area that can attract allergens.