Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beauty rules

There is a lot to take in when it comes to the world of beauty.

But there is even more coming out of your wallet.

The fountain of youth does not come cheap.

Each week there is a new product, a new 'must have', a new 'instant classic' coming on to the market and navigating the beauty counters can be a little like the Argonauts journey through the Sirens territory.

But beauty does not have to be expensive.

Everyone has products which work for them and if it ain't broke, then don't fix it, but there are times when the flesh is willing, but the wallet is weak.

And for that, you need to remember these time tested commandments to staying soft, supple and wrinkle free.

Sure, the snazzy packaging is seductive and there is a little bit of a rush which comes with slathering your skin in something that looks and smells so luxurious, but that doesn't always translate into giving you the best results.

People with sensitive skin should shy away from the heavily fragranced products which often populate these lines – you wouldn't spray perfume on your face, so why are you rubbing it in with your cleanser?

Cetaphil is still one of the most gentle and best cleansers around – and best of all it is under $10.

It doesn't look or smell particularly fantastic, but dermatologists have recommended it for years.

Don't be afraid to ask for a sample. When someone has taken the time to give you a run down on the product, smear it on you and tell you how great it is going to be for you there is pressure to reward them with a sale. This is their job.

If you think you might like the product, ask for a sample and try it out over a couple of days at home before committing to a sale. It gives you a chance to make sure the product suits your skin and will do what you want it to before you hand over hard earned money for something which will just sit in your cupboard gathering dust because it gave you a rash.

Naomi Campbell swears by Palmer's Cocoa Butter – and you can pick it up for a tidy $6 or so.

Sorbolene cream can be used to weigh down fly-away hair, moisturise your skin or even as a cleanser in the shower – and can be bought for under $5.

Several make-up artists and beauty editors still claim that Maybelline's Great Lash mascara is the best mascara they have ever used – and it's still only around $20.

Dry hands? Slather them in Vaseline just before bed, cover them in socks and head for the land of nod. The same can be done for feet and in a pinch, Vaseline can be used under the eyes when there is nothing left in the eye cream jar.

Toothpaste can be used to dry out pimples – dab a little on before going to bed. A crushed aspirin can also work wonders on blemishes and can also help remove the redness associated with them.

Dry Shampoo is great for in-between washes and can be found for about $8 – take it to the gym for a quick fix.

Brown sugar mixed with olive oil can be used as a body exfoliator in the shower.

Beat a couple of egg whites, add some honey, a squirt of lemon juice and if you are feeling adventurous some oats and voila! instant face mask.

Powered milk makes a great skin softener in the bath – just pour a cup or two in and sit back and channel Cleopatra.

Vinegar can be used to dry out spots on your back – just put in a spray bottle, add a little bit of water and blast those blemishes. Not for the face though – that is a little too harsh.

Baking Soda is one of the most effective exfoliators around. Add about a teaspoon to your cleanser (or even Cetaphil) and rub.

Do you need a toner? Do all your beauty steps need to be from the same brand? Do you really have oily skin? Or is it combination? Or is it only oily because you are using the wrong products and your skin is trying to compensate?

It does pay to have your skin assessed by a professional. If you don't or can't afford to buy their products, they can at least point you in the right direction.

Drink water. As much as you can handle.

Wear sunscreen. And don't forget your neck. There is no point in having a youthful face when the thing holding it up is spotty and wrinkled. In fact anywhere your skin is exposed, cover it in sunscreen. But make sure it is broad spectrum and protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Chow down on some vitamin C – it is very good for your skin and also great at healing.

Eat well. Your skin will thank you.

If you're taking your magical pots and powders with you on a trip, keep it in its packaging to prevent breakage.

And sleep. There is no use in looking fabulous if your eyes are hanging out of your head.

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