June 2004
"Self-Tanning Made Simple"

August 2003
"Top Wrinkle Zappers"

November 2002
"Break Bad Beauty Habits"

February 1999

COOKING LIGHT November 1998
"Day Spa 101: A Beginner's Guide"

beauty clips — page 1

go to beauty clips
page 2

SHAPE – June 2004
Self-Tanning Made Simple

Expert tips on how to avoid the most common mistakes —and get a natural-looking faux glow

see other clips from this magazine

download this article

If you’ve ever used a self-tanner, chances are you’ve experienced a horror story involving streaking or orange palms. While easy to use once you’ve got the hang of it, these summer must-haves are simple to misapply if you haven’t mastered the right technique. The reason? All self-tanners contain a chemical called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which temporarily stains (within about an hour) the uppermost layer of your skin, called the stratum corneum. So if you don’t apply the product right in the first place, it’s hard to stop the process once it starts. This is why we asked experts for tips on how to get a healthy, goof-proof glow:

Problem No. 1: Streaks
Uneven coverage creates alternating stripes of too-dark and too-pale skin.
The cause This is probably the most common self-tanning snafu, says Regina Viotto, spa director of the Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City. “You’re supposed to moisturize and exfoliate well before using a self-tanner, but most people don’t do that until right before they apply the product,” she says. The result: an uneven surface that creates an uneven tan.
How to avoid it Prepare your skin by exfoliating in the shower every morning – for a few days before applying the self-tanner. (Try Banana Boat’s VitaSkin Pre-Sunless Skin Smoother Exfoliating Scrub, $5; at drugstores.) Use a moisturizer liberally on the days before you self-tan, but not immediately beforehand (it will interfere with the self-tanner’s absorption). Shaving also exfoliates, so it’s OK to do that a day ahead of time, too. And after you tan, wait at least a day before de-fuzzing again; doing so sooner will shorten the life of your tan. The same goes for waxing, says Viotto: Give yourself at least a day or two before – and after – your self-tanning application.
When applying the tanner, work slowly and rub the product in completely. If you’re prone to streaks, Viotto recommends using a lotion (instead of a quick-drying foam or gel), which will give you more time to smooth out uneven areas. Tanners with built-in tints also work to minimize the risk of streaks; try Clinique’s Face Quick Bronze Tinted Self-Tanner or Body Quick Bronze Self-Tanner ($15.50 each; or L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion ($9; at drugstores).
Expert correction tips If you’ve got stripes but are still on the pale side, touch up with Estee Lauder Go Tan Sunless Towelettes ($27.50 for ten towelettes;, handy, prepackaged wipes that contain a single application’s worth of self-tanner. Or try evening out the area with a tinted moisturizer or bronzer, like Calgon Ahh… Spa! Instant Bronzer, a multivitamin-loaded lotion with just a hint of tint ($7; at drugstores). If your streaks are to dark to cover, Viotto recommends lightening them by wiping the area with a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice, which should help blend them in with the rest of your skin.

TIP: You still need sun protection after self-tanning, as most of these products don't contain any sunscreen.

Problem No. 2: Blotchy spots
Superdark ankles, elbows and knuckles announce to the world that you’ve faked your just-back-from-vacation look.
The cause Like other lotions, self-tanners are absorbed more by drier skin. Once there, the product reacts with the top layer of skin, which is thicker in these areas (and any place that’s not exfoliated well).
How to avoid it In the days before you tan, be sure to exfoliate and use a rich moisturizer diligently. When you’re applying the tanner, you’ll get the most natural look if you dilute the product with an equal amount of moisturizer before putting it on your feet, ankles, elbows and knees. (While you’re at it, dilute the tanner you’re applying to the inside of your arms and the underside of your chin, as well.)
Expert correction tips If you still wind up with dark blotches, hop into the shower after the tanner has finished developing and scrub the dark spots
gentlywith a loofah. Then slather on a moisturizer and repeat the shower-and-scrub process in 24 hours, Viotto says. You can also try St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self-Tan Remover, which reducesbut won’t eliminatethe blotches.

Problem No. 3: The wrong shade
Your “tan” is too orange, yellow or brown to be believable.
The cause As with hair color, self-tanner results depend as much on your natural coloring as they do on the product’s formulation. What that means: No two people will get the same “tan” from any one product.
How to avoid it Experiment to find the perfect shade (and the right amount of product necessary) for you. Unless your natural skin tone is very dark, you should start off with a product that has a lower concentration of DHA (meaning one that’s labeled “fair” or “medium” instead of “dark” or “deep”), and give yourself two or three applications, spread out over a few days. Or try Neutrogena’s new Build-a-Tan ($10; at drugstores), a self-tanner that allows you to gradually build up your color – no matter what your skin tone – over the course of several applications.
Expert correction tips If you’re already looking a little off-color, gently scrub the tanned areas in the shower – or go for a swim in the pool (the chlorine will accelerate the fading process), suggests Sandy Tsao, M.D., clinical director of the Dermatology and Laser Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Problem No. 4: No change at all
After the requisite pre-tan scrubbing and careful application, you’re essentially the same color as you were before.
The cause You may have used a product that was past its prime, Viotto says. Most have a shelf life of about two years, which includes the time the product sat in the store. Or perhaps you inadvertently sabotaged your efforts by forcing the tanner to compete with other skin products (like moisturizer) or water (if you applied it while your skin was damp). To work properly, DHA must bond with the skin cells, meaning it won’t work at all if your skin is wet (or sweaty or already coated in another product).
How to avoid it Replace your self-tanner every year. Always apply it to skin that’s free of lotions and makeup – and wait a few minutes after toweling off from your shower to make sure you’re completely dry. Also, choose self-tanners that are labeled for your skin tone, like Coppertone Endless Summer Sunless Tanning Foam in Light/Medium ($12; at drugstores) for fair skins and Avon Sun Self-Tanning Lotion in Medium/Dark ($10; for darker complexions.
Expert correction tip To make your tan more intense, apply another coat of self-tanner an hour after your first application, suggests Viotto. Try Decleor’s Auto-Bronzant Self-Tanning Hydrating Emulsion SPF 4 ($27;, which looks natural
not too dark, not too lighton almost every skin tone.

Problem No. 5: Orange palms
Dark hands are a dead giveaway that your glow came from a bottle (and not the beach).
The cause Self-tanner isn’t discriminating; wherever it’s applied (and allowed to remain), it will produce color.
How to avoid it Wash your hands several times while applying the self-tanner (and don’t forget to soap between your fingers and around your nails), Tsao says. Or try an easy-to-use spray-on product, such as Clarins Self Tanning Instant Spray ($11; or One Touch Instant Self Tanning Spray ($11; at Sally Beauty Supply stores), which requires only minimal handling. Another option: Wear disposable latex gloves or use a foam applicator, such as the Au Courant Sponge on a Stick Body Applicators ($1.50;
After you’ve applied the product to your whole body (and washed your hands a final time), put a dab of tanner onto the backs of your hands and gently rub them together to blend it in, so that your hands will match the rest of your body.
Expert correction tip Head straight for the self-tanner remover (see correction tips for Problem No. 2, “Blotchy Spots,” above).

For a professional glow…
Want a little assistance with your sun-free tanning? You’ve got a few options, all of which will produce a tan that lasts roughly a week -- about as long as the one you’ll get from at-home self-tanners:
Salon self-tanning application Visit a spa or salon for a professional application of self-tanning lotion (which typically follows a gentle exfoliation treatment). For $75 - $125, you can expect an even, realistic-looking “tan” that’s as dramatic or as subtle as you’d like. For virtually streak-free color, choose a salon that uses the Flawless Sunless Tan System; it utilizes a special light that illuminates an ingredient in the self-tanner, helping the technician avoid mistakes (
Airbrush tanning Many spas and salons offer “airbrush” tanning, which typically costs $75 - $100. A technician uses a hand-held sprayer to apply self-tanner in a very fine mist. For locations near you, go to
Spray-tan booths If you’d rather do your tanning alone (or want to save money), try a spray-tan booth, in which you’re misted with self-tanner delivered via a set of jets – for about $25. Follow the instructions (they’re easy) and be sure to apply the provided barrier cream to areas that shouldn't get color, such as the soles of your feet, cover your hair with the disposable shower cap, and be sure to close your eyes. For salons near you, check out Hollywood Tans ( or Mystic Tan (
NOTE: While both types of spray tanning are considered safe, you should avoid inhaling the mist, which can linger in the air for several seconds after being dispensed; you should also shut your eyes and mouth tightly during spraying. Many people cover their faces wit their hands , which also helps them avoid inhaling the tanner. “Self-tanners all contain the chemical DHA, and any chemical that’s inhaled is a potential lung irritant,” says Sandy Tsao, clinical director of the Dermatology and Laser Canter at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Your best bet is to cover your nose and mouth
or hold your breathwhile the mist is being sprayed and for several seconds afterward,” she says.


August 2003

Top Wrinkle Zappers

A complete guide to the most effective ways to smoothe out lines and stay looking young

SHAPE -- Wrinkle Remedies

go to the top of this page

download this article

They say that age brings wisdom, and nobody’s arguing with that. But when it comes to the less attractive signs of growing older, most of us would like the chance to negotiate.

Happily, science is making this possible. Skin-care companies have lined up an assortment of age-assaulting ingredients that can restore skin’s youthful texture, reduce existing lines and even help prevent the onslaught of new ones. Likewise, dermatologists offer an array of in-office procedures that give even more dramatic results – and often can be combined with one or two other treatments in a single appointment. “These treatments are gentle, but they’re more effective than ever before,” says Arielle Kauvar, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine. Here, the top ways to counteract the signs of aging:

If you’ve got fine lines and/or uneven pigmentation
Anti-aging solutions
Peptides. These amino-acid compounds seem to help promote the growth of collagen- and elastin-stimulating fibroblasts – the skin’s support structures that keep it smooth and youthful-looking. “Peptides are known for their role in wound healing, but they’re being recognized for their ability to improve the appearance of photodamaged skin,” explains Alexa Kimball, M.D., assistant professor and director of clinical dermatology trials at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. Most of today’s peptide products are also rich in antioxidants and topical nutrients like vitamins C and E, green tea and pomegranate. At-home best bets. Olay Regenerist serum and lotions ($19 each; at drugstores), Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Pump Perfect Moisture Cream SPF 30 ($55; at department stores), Chanel Precision Age Delay Rejuvenation Serum ($60;, Juva Peptide Eye Lift Cream ($65; and Secrets de Sothys Intense Lip Care ($56;

Wrinkle-relaxing lotions. With all the excitement surrounding injectables as wrinkle smoothers, there was bound to be a crop of topical creams for the needlephobes among us, all claiming to deliver similar results. At-home best bets. Enter ingredients like manganese gluconate, a mineral that helps relax fibroblasts at the cellular level and a component of Lancome’s newest skin cream, Resolution D-Contraxol ($68; Extensive manufacturer-sponsored testing showed that D-Contraxol helps smooth out fine lines caused by smiling, frowning and other facial movements. Another product that works in a similar way: DDF Wrinkle Relax ($75;

Injectables fill in lines and make skin look smoother—a process that's
a lot like spackling.

Retinol and retinoids. Prescription-strength retinoid (or vitamin-A-based) creams remain top smoothers in the anti-aging arsenal – and now advanced formulations help prevent the red, flaky face that was the most common side effect. The newest: Tazarotene (Avage), which also helps reduce mottled pigmentation. The downside is that these can increase sun sensitivity, so make sure to wear sunscreen daily when using them. At-home best bets. Try diluted over-the-counter retinols or retinoids, which might take longer to produce results but are more gentle. Find them in Peter Thomas Roth Max Retinol Wrinkle Repair ($85;, L’Oreal Plenitude Line Eraser SPF 15 ($15.79; at drugstores), Roc Retinol Actif Pur ($17; at drugstores) and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cream, which also contains pore-clearing salicylic acid ($13; at drugstores).

Microdermabrasion. You used to have to go into a dermatologist’s office to get the full effects of this treatment–where dead skin cells are removed by tiny silicon or aluminum-oxide crystals, which are blown against the skin and then sucked up with a small vacuum. But there’s a new generation of at-home alternatives that delivers similar results (smoother, more even-toned skin) within about four weeks (and without the sand-blasting). At home best bets: Prescriptives three-part Dermapolish System ( helps improve skin’s clarity; the system costs $125 and contains eight treatments – a bargain compared to the $1,200 price tag for six in-office treatments).

Lasers and non-laser lights. New lasers with brand names like Smoothbeam and Cool Glide Vantage stimulate collagen production, explains Kauvar, who has studied the benefits of lasers for years. Toning with intense pulsed light (also known as IPL or photorejuvenation) and radio-frequency waves (Thermacool) also can eradicate irregular pigmentation and broken capillaries as well as help tighten the skin. The cost $500 to $600 each for laser/non laser-light treatments; you’ll need about five treatments, administered once a month. Treatments with radio-frequency waves cost up to $3,000; typically, just one 25-minute treatment is required.

If you’ve got deeper wrinkles
Anti-aging solutions
For furrowed brows and crow’s feet: Botox/Myobloc/Dysport
Last spring’s approval of Botox for cosmetic use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pushed the demand fort his muscle-paralyzing substance – it’s purified botulinium toxin – to the top of doctors’ request lists around the country. Two new versions, Myobloc and Dysport, are currently under FDA review. All work by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that create certain expression lines, thus smoothing wrinkles. They do have a downside, however. If injected improperly, botulinium can cause paralysis of the wrong muscles, leading to drooping eyelids or other problems
thus making it imperative to have the procedure performed by a qualified doctor (consult or for board-certified doctors in your area). The cost: Treatments typically cost $400 per facial region treated.

For filling in deep lines: Collagen, fat and hyaluronic acid.
Bovine collagen (Zyderm and Zyplast) has been around for years and is still an effective filler, but typically requires two allergy tests, two weeks apart, before being administered. Now there’s the FDA-approved CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast, which contain human collagen (and thus can be injected without any preliminary allergy tests). All forms of collagen are eventually absorbed by the body, meaning no collagen treatments lasts longer than about six months.

Artecoll (Artefill) is another up-and-coming option; it’s a permanent soft-tissue filler that’s a combination of bovine collagen and polymer beads, which actually help stimulate the body to produce more of its own collagen. Observers expect to see FDA approval for Artefill by summer’s end. The downside of Artefill treatments is that they’re not easily reversible—and may cause the formation of lumps beneath the skin after injection. The cost: $500 to $600 per session.

Fat – which a doctor “harvests” from your own body – is another wrinkle-filler. “Fat is effective for filling in lines and making the skin look smoother,” Kauvar explains. Using your body’s own cells as a filler avoids all allergy concerns, but it does have one drawback: You’ve got to have it withdrawn from your abdominal area, thighs or butt, through a mini-liposuction procedure, before you can have it injected into your wrinkles, a process that takes about an hour. Self-donated fat can be stored for up to a year, so you can go back for several refills sans the full procedure. You may look a little puffy afterward and may experience bruising near the injection site.

A new fat-transfer method, called FAMI (Fat Autograft Muscle Injection), involves injecting fat deeper into the skin, below the fat layer and into the muscle. The benefits include longer-lasting results (several years as opposed to six to 24 months for a traditional fat-transfer procedure). The cost: $1,000 to $2,500 for fat transfer; FAMI treatments can cost about $2,500 each.

Used in both synthetic and natural forms (it’s a component of connective tissue), hyaluronic acid an effective filler for deeper lines (like those that form around the mouth) that are not suitable for botulinium treatment; it also works well to plump up the lips. Hyaluronic acid goes by the names Restylane and Perlane (which are synthetic versions that don’t require allergy tests before being administered) and Hylaform (which is hyaluronic acid that’s extracted from rooster combs). Restylane and Perlane have been used successfully in Europe for years and have been shown to produce longer-lasting results than collagen (up to a year). Unfortunately, FDA approval isn’t expected until the end of the year. The cost: $500 to $1,200 per visit.

What’s on the horizon
These new anti-aging techniques are still being researched, but experts hope they’ll be available within the next several years.
Injectable line fillers. Noteworthy up-and-comers include Radiance, a gel comprising microscopic spheres of calcium hydroxyapatite (a constituent of human bone). Currently being used in Europe and South America, it’s still in the testing stages in the United States. It offers the promise of a longer-lasting solution for deep lines, particularly those around the mouth.
Cutaneous growth factors. Researchers are experimenting with these natural protein substances (typically extracted from skin cells) that can facilitate the healing of burns and other wounds. These growth factors act as chemical messengers between cells, essentially turning on and off cellular activities. Richard Fitzpatrick, M.D., a dermatologic surgeon in San Diego, has used cutaneous growth factors , administered via a topical cream, to treat sun-damaged skin. After three months, study participants had fewer wrinkles, smoother skin and dramatically increased collagen levels that lasted for months afterward.
Gene therapy. Chicago researchers are studying DNA to identify specific genes that change with age. As reported in a recent issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the experts predict that we'll one day have treatments that can target these genes, helping to slow the aging process (or just complement existing anti-aging procedures).


November 2002

Break Bad Beauty Habits

Easy tips to reform eight problems that can wreak havoc on your looks

go to the top of this page

download this article

Sometimes, you can get away with less-than-perfect habits. Maybe you like to eat peanut butter straight from the jar, bail out of exercise class before the final stretch or skip your run on dreary days. Other times, though, bad habits — like the ones listed below — will be written all over your face (and hair and nails). Here’s our advice on cleaning up your act.

Bad Habit: Cradling the phone against your face
Visible Evidence: Jawline acne (and a crick in your neck).
Over time, any telephone receiver will develop a layer of oil and grime, so repeatedly pressing it to your face can trigger breakouts. Neck cricks are never pleasant, either.
The Cure: Consciously hold the phone away from your skin; if you multitask while you talk, invest in a headset or speakerphone (available from for $20-$320). Also, stash rubbing alcohol at your desk and clean the receiver several times a week.

Bad Habit: Overdosing on exfoliants
Visible Evidence: An abraded, inflamed and otherwise irritated complexion.
Because they remove dull, dead cells on the skin’s surface, exfoliating scrubs and chemical exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids (including retinol, Retin-A and Renova) can leave skin smooth and glowing. But too-frequent sloughing can leave your face looking (and feeling) sand-blasted.
The Cure: Unless a dermatologist is supervising your routine, limit yourself to one exfoliator—or exfoliating procedure—at a time. Pick gentle products, like Jacqua Girls Cherry Facial Scrub ($18; or Pond’s Clear Solutions Deep Pore Scrub ($7; at drug stores), and if you’re using prescription strength Retin-A (or Renova), don’t use any other sloughers at all for the first few months, advises Mary P. Lupo, M.D., a dermatologist in New Orleans.

Bad Habit: Sleeping in your makeup (or skipping a post-workout wash)
Visible Evidence: Clogged pores, breakouts, mangles eyelashes and irritated eyes.
Wearing even minimal makeup overnight makes for a dull complexion come morning, says Lupo. “Your skin needs that time to turn over new cells, but if your pores are blocked, that can’t happen,” she says. In addition, eye makeup can creep into your eyes overnight, triggering irritation, and sleeping in mascara can lead to broken and missing eyelashes. And leaving sweat on your skin is an open invitation to pimples, Lupo says. “Sweat is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.”
The Cure: Luckily, even the most time-pressed or sleep-deprived can get fresh-faced fast with Noxema H2Foam Cleansing Cloths ($6) or Dove Daily Hydrating Cleansing Cloths ($7). At the very least, you can remove mascara, liner and shadow with one swipe with Revlon ColorStay Makeup Remover Pads ($5). All are available at drugstores.

Bad Habit: Chewing Your Nails
Visible Evidence: Infected nails, ragged cuticles, chipped teeth.
Nervously nibbling on your nails and the surrounding skin is a definite no-no. “It damages the nail plate and sets you up for infection,” says Lupo. (Not to mention the bad impression that chewed-up fingers make.) Nail-biters also can damage their teeth, adds Steven Chu, D.M.D., director of the advanced aesthetic program at New York University College of Dentistry. “When you bite your nails, you twist and tear, and that can chip enamel.”
The Cure: Get regular manicures or coat your nails yourself in a pretty polish (you’re less likely to gnaw on well-groomed nails). Two of our favorites this season: Cover Girl NailSlicks Nail Polish in Winelighting ($2.50; at drug stores) and Rimmel Sugababe Lasting Finish Nails in the sheer burgundy Lollipop ($2; at Wal-Mart stores). Whether you use colored polish or not, try a nasty-tasting topcoat, such as Dashing Diva Don’t Bite polish ($7; 866-665-3482) or Orly No Bite ($5;

Bad Habit: Playing with your hair
Visible Evidence: Greasy, damaged locks, plus possible bald spots.
Like nail biting, twisting and tugging at your hair is a nervous, stress-induced habit (it can even become a compulsive disorder, called trichotillomania). Frequent hair pulling can cause thinning hair, particularly if you pull very often or too hard. “I’ve seen women with patches where the hair is all broken—or even totally gone,” says hairstylist Coco Santiago of the Bumble & bumble salon in New York City.
The Cure: Being aware of what you’re doing (and its effects) is probably the best preventive approach. And keeping hair in a ponytail holder, headband or clip can also help you overcome the urge (and the habit).

Bad Habit: Forgetting to floss
Visible Evidence: Bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
Odor-causing plaque develops between teeth literally overnight. Miss more than a few weeks of flossing and you’re courting cavities as well as red, bleeding gums. “Gum disease,” warns Chu, “can create black spaces between your teeth that look like poppy seeds—and require surgery to correct.” In fact, he says, a colony of disease-causing gingivitis bacteria takes just a few weeks to establish itself.
The Cure: Brush twice a day with products like Reach Squeeze Toothbrush ($4) and Listerine Essential Care Toothpaste ($4), and floss every night. Try Oral-B SATIN-floss dental floss ($3), which doesn’t snag between teeth. All products available at drugstores.

Bad Habit: A daily skin-care regimen that stops at your neck
Visible Evidence: A décolletage that’s old before its time.
The skin on a woman’s chest can give away her age (and skin-care habits) almost as quickly as her face does, Lupo says. That’s because skin on the neck and chest tends to be thinner than other areas on the body and often gets more sun exposure (without the SPF application that faces typically enjoy).
The Cure: Give the area below your jaw the same combination of exfoliating, moisturizing and pampering that you give your face. Try Almay Kinetin De-Aging Neck and Chest Treatment ($18; at drugstores). Or for the ultimate indulgence, try Prada Reviving Balm/Eyes and Neck ($95; 888-262-1395).

Bad Habit: Using makeup that’s past its prime—and touching cosmetics in containers with your fingers
Visible Evidence: Breakouts, skin infections and eye irritation.
All makeup contains preservatives that prevent bacterial growth, but eventually these ingredients break down. And adding bacteria to a package (by inserting your fingers) only speeds the process. “If you use your finger to get at the product,” says Lupo, “you’re contaminating it every time you use it. If you have acne, you’re continually putting that bacteria back into the bottle.”
The Cure: Toss anything if its color, texture and/or scent changes. Replace mascara every three to six months; foundation, at least once a year. Touch products in containers as little as possible: Use a cotton swab or disposable applicator on powder shadow or blush; pour a small amount of liquid makeup into your palm. And use new makeup sponges with each application of foundation.

The Bad Habits Hall of Shame
Any discussion of bad beauty habits would be incomplete without mention of the cardinal sins: smoking and sitting in the sun. “I can spot a sun worshiper a mile away,” says Jeffrey Dover, M.D., an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. “I can tell by the wrinkling and texture of her skin — even when she doesn’t have a tan.” Smokers also stand out, Dover says. “If you smoke, you have puckering wrinkles around your mouth and squinting wrinkles around your eyes — lines that you only get from sucking on cigarettes.
“I have patients who literally look twice their age because of smoking and sun exposure,” he adds. “Either one is bad, but combined, the results are truly awful. It’s one plus one equaling three.”
The cures for these habits? Talk with your doctor about smoking-cessation methods, and get out of the sun. Use sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30, every day. Try Neutrogena Healthy Defense Oil-Free Sunblock 30 for face ($9), Neutrogena Sensitive Skin UVA/UVB Block SPF 30 for body ($9; both at drugstores) or DDF Sport Proof Sunscreen SPF 30 ($22; all over.



SHAPE October 2001
Natural Skin Remedies: What Works

Whatever's troubling your skin, Mother Nature’s got the answer. Here are the latest, most effective straight-from-the-earth ingredients

go to the top of this page

download this article

Somewhere between the chemist in the lab coat and the earth mother in her caftan stands your average American woman—in her robe, at the bathroom sink, dabbing on the face cream. “Today's consumers are very results-oriented,” says David Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mt. Kisco, New York. “We all like the idea of using natural things, but the bottom line is that we buy the products that perform the best.”

The good news is that many common beauty gripes can be cured with natural substances. In fact, studies around the world continue to prove the benefits of many time-honored treatments. And new cosmetic formulas blend several naturals together, often combining high-tech ingredients along with ancient stuff, meaning they can deliver the best of both worlds. To get results—whether you need a soothing remedy for red, irritated skin or an effective anti-wrinkle fighter—try these newest naturals to hit the market.

Comfort dry, irritated skin with comfrey.
Comfrey, a small perennial plant, is known for its ability to mend nearly everything, from sunburn to sprains. Credit its high concentration of mucilage (a slightly slippery natural substance that soothes and softens skin.)
The classic approach: Salves made from comfrey can help soothe burns and scrapes and may even speed the healing of bruises. Try Burt's Bees Doctor Burt's Comfrey Ointment ($4;
A fresh idea: Comfrey's good for your face, too—namely, at replenishing moisture and reducing inflammation without adding lots of oil. Try Kiehl's Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner ($19.50; 800-KIEHLS-1) or Basis So Refreshing Facial Cleansing Cloths ($5.50, at drugstores), both made with comfrey.

Got wrinkles? Get grapeseed extract.
A University of California, Davis, study published in The Lancet found that polyphenols (antioxidants found in grapes) may be up to 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E in fighting wrinkle-causing free radicals.
The classic approach: Pick up a facial formula that makes use of grapeseed's anti-aging prowess. One we love: Caudalie C40 Grape-Seed Cream ($43;
A fresh idea: Go multifunction with products that add grapeseed to other essentials. Lancôme Vinefit combines antioxidants with a broad-spectrum SPF 15 ($37.50;, and Elizabeth Arden Good Morning Skin Serum ($29.50; helps keep skin smooth.

Give sun-damaged skin a drink of tea.
Tea has centuries of traditional use—and several new studies—to back it up its reputation as a skin saver. Research in the United States and Asia has shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects when green tea is used as a beverage as well as a skin treatment. And when combined with a sunscreen, it may even protect against skin cancer. There's also white tea, recently introduced in Origins A Perfect World White Tea Skin Guardian ($30; The manufacturer's research shows that antioxidants in white tea may be as potent as, if not more potent than, those in green tea when it comes to repairing and protecting environmentally damaged skin.
The classic approach: Long before the scientists got involved, green tea was used topically as an astringent (tea contains astringent tannins, which reduce puffiness). If you don't feel like brewing your own, try Yvegeny Facial Toner ($40;
A fresh idea: Put your makeup to work in the battle against free radicals with Almay Wake-Up Call Energizing Makeup ($10.95; at drugstores), which combines green tea and several other antioxidants.

Calm irritated skin with lavender.
Legendary in the world of herbals, lavender soothes inflamed skin as well as a strung-out psyche.
The classic approach: Get calm, inside and out, with preparations made with a good dose of lavender; The Aveda Hydrating Lotion ($11; for your face and The Healing Garden's Lavendertheraphy Silken Serenity Body Lotion ($6.25; 800-400-1114) for the rest of you.
A fresh idea: Ever get a pimple that doesn't need the bomb-it-and-all-the-skin-around-it approach of typical acne remedies? A bit of pure lavender essential oil will relieve the redness and swelling without leaving you parched, as will lavender-loaded Sonya Dakar Drying Potion ($25, 877-72-SONYA).

Brighten your skinand your smile—with neem.
This herb is the darling of Ayurvedic skin care and comes from a tree that's considered sacred in India, thanks to its skin-regenerative properties. It's also good for your mouth – clinical studies have proven that it's effective against plaque. Look for Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste with Neem ($7;
The classic approach: Put neem to work on your face with Sundari Neem Night Cream ($70, or Better Botanicals Refining Facial Mask ($17.50;
A fresh idea: Be the first on your block to adopt a centuries-old Ayurvedic practice: the morning oil massage. Mix equal parts neem and sesame oils, and rub the mixture into your skin, head to toe. Look for Neemaura Wildcrafted Neem Oil ($10.95;

Defeat dryness with olive oil.
Olive oil is a very rich emollient, meaning it helps to hydrate both skin and hair. It also has demonstrated protective benefits; one recent study in The Journal of Dermatological Science found that applying olive oil to skin both before and after sun exposure helped decrease damage from the ultraviolet light.
The classic approach: Treat skin to an olive oil-based moisturizer, updated for your modern skin (read: not heavy, oily or smelling like pesto). Try Cali Oliva Giorno $17; 888-883-2254) or The Body Shop Olive Oil Dry Body Mist ($18.50; 800-263-9746).
A fresh idea: Give dry hair the super-hydrating olive-oil treatment with L'Occitane Extra Gentle Shampoo With Olive Oil ($12; 888-623-2880) and Mario Russo Super-hydrating Conditioner ($17.50; 617-424-6676).

A recent study showed that tea tree oil helps heal pimples as well as
benzoyl peroxide does.

Soak yourself in seaweed.
Although seaweed and other forms of algae have been used in beauty routines since the time of the ancient Minoans, experts still debate how, exactly, they work. But everyone agrees that algae leaves skin soft and smooth, thanks to something called carrageenan (which is the same substance that makes it slimy).
The classic remedy: Soak in an algae infusion, like Estee Lauder Sea Plunge Calming Soak ($30;
A fresh idea: Treat your face to an uplifting algae experience with Zia Seaweed Lift Serum ($35; 800-334-7546).

Try tea tree oil on pimples (and paper cuts).
A genuine wonder from Down Under, tea tree oil is derived from a perennial shrub and has a well-earned (and well-documented) reputation as an effective antibacterial and anti-fungal.
The classic approach: Tea tree oil shows up in a variety of skin preparations, although it's best known as an anti-acne agent. Treat blemishes and oily skin with The Body Shop line of Tea Tree Oil products (all about $10;
A fresh approach: Used by itself, tea tree oil is downright amazing at helping heal and prevent infection in small-yet-painful injuries like hangnails and paper cuts. Try Aura Cacia Tea Tree Oil ($8, 800-786-1388).

All-Time Favorites
Aloe is hydrating and soothing to skin, and makes a great addition to facial moisturizers. One to try: Olay Age-Defying Renewal Cream ($10; at drugstores).
Citrus fruits contain citric acid, a mild exfoliant and bleaching agent that can help fade freckles. Get it in Clarins One-Step Facial Cleanser with Orange Extract ($25,
Milk hydrates and exfoliates, thanks to its lactic acid. It also contains fat, which adds to the skin's own moisture-protective barrier. Try Almay Milk Plus Nourishing Facial Cream SPF 15 ($10.95, at drugstores).
Oatmeal is the classic itchy-skin remedy. Add a packet of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Bath to your tub; $7.22; at drugstores).
Rose, like aloe, is soothing and calming. Look for it in Benefit Rosewater Toner ($15,
Witch Hazel is an effective astringent that also calms skin irritations, from bug bites to sunburn. Try Neal's Yard Remedies Witch Hazel ($21; 888-697-8721).

go to the top of this page


browse the clips

about me

contact info