Thursday, March 4, 2010

Travel Beauty!!

Happy Almost Spring Break/Weekend everyone!

I don't know about you, but I am just aching (literally) to get some respite from school and work!! Instead of packing for my trip down to the good ol' south, I thought I might share with you all some of the travel beauty tips I have discovered. Airplane travel can cause a little bit of havoc with hair, skin, and makeup, so here are some things you can do to combat that!!

Night before your flight
The two things I focus on the night before a trip are my skin and my hair. Because my hair tends to get weird combination of greasy and dry/brittle on flights, I like to make sure I keep it healthy by doing an oil treatment or a hair masque the night before. The reason I do this is to keep it soft and smooth and just add a little extra moisture to it so it won't get so distressed on the plane. Now I know that usually the night before a flight, I'm busy packing (because I procrastinated of course) and trying to get everything together, so I've included a few easy remedies that you can use if you find yourself in the same predicament:

1. Aveda's Beautifying Composition- You will see me talk about this product a lot on this blog, but that is because I truly feel it's a beauty wonder. This works best if you have shorter hair, because the product doesn't come out in huge quantities. If you have short hair, shake out or let about a dime or nickel size drop form in your hand. Work this through your hair and let it sit there for 10 to 15 minutes before getting in the shower. If you really want to boost the effects, wrap saran wrap and then a warm towel around your head (this technique works for all masques and treatments). If you have longer hair but still want to use this product, don't put it on the crown of your head, and use about a quarter size.

2. Olive Oil Treatment- Personal anecdote: When I studied abroad in Greece last semester, we took a trip down to the island of Crete where we went to an olive oil factory. We watched an hour long video of all the uses of olive oil, and although I'm not sure I needed to know that Greek men use olive oil in place of viagra, I did learn how moisturizing and good for you it is- both on the inside and outside. If you want a hot oil treatment, you can heat up some olive oil in the microwave, but not to the point where it's scalding (it will go on your head after all) and you can work this through your hair and then brush or comb out your hair. Then follow the same procedure as mentioned above (rinse off in the shower).

If you really don't have the time or extra product, just use extra conditioner in the shower and let it sit in your hair. Any of these will help protect your hair while traveling!

For your skin: It's not the first time you've heard me say it, and I will say it again, EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE, EXFOLIATE. The reason why this is so important is that it will remove all the dead, dry skin cells. The cabin air on airplanes will dry your skin out, which is often why you'll notice your makeup looks cakey and crumbly or your skin just doesn't feel right after a flight. Exfoliating the night and morning before will remove that layer so that you can properly moisturize and keep your skin looking dewey and gorgeous for your travels!

Use a facial buffer with your favorite cleanser to get the job done! This one from The Body Shop is great and can be purchased online or in stores!

Although I try to support companies who don't practice or promote animal testing, I know that the higher quality brands are more expensive and as college students, we often have to keep our budgets in mind. When I'm running a little low on my beauty budget, I turn to Neutrogena for effective products that won't break the bank!

The Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Scrub has a nice texture that removes makeup and exfoliates gently with rounded beads. It also lends a great cooling sensation so you really feel like your skin is clean. I just wish they wouldn't test on animals so I would feel comfortable using more of their products!

Morning of your flight: After cleansing and exfoliating again, use liquid concealer (if necessary) to give more coverage to certain areas that you might need, and then use tinted moisturizer. Tinted moisturizer is the best travel makeup because it is a 3 in one product: sun protection, moisture, and color so it evens out your skin tone. It is also easy to reapply with clean fingers, brush, or sponge and will hydrate your skin on your flight. Feel free to add some liquid blush to brighten up that complexion. When applying makeup, it is best to stick with the same consistency of products i.e. liquid foundation = liquid blush, powder foundation = powder blush or bronzer, etc

I usually try and just keep my flight makeup simple; a little eyeliner and some colored mascara (blue or plum generally). Colored mascara is great when you don't wear eye shadow because it adds a slight bit of color, and when the light hits your lashes, it will bring out the color in your eyes! Blue is great for every eye color, and purple works wonderfully for ladies with green or hazel eyes!

Don't forget the chapstick or lipgloss in your quart size bag! It's very old school, but I love Strawberry or Pink Lemonade Lip Smackers gloss on flights. It's moisturizing, inexpensive, and lends that glossy shine with that nostalgic flavor!

In flight: Remember that dry cabin air I was mentioning? One great way to combat this is to take a travel size bottle full of your favorite facial toner and spritz it on your visage during the flight. It will hydrate your skin just enough without ruining your makeup and keeping it looking it fresh! Also, keep a travel sized hand lotion with you and use it on your hands and cuticles! I don't know about you, but I try to avoid airplane bathrooms at all costs (total germophobe here!), and I always keep hand sanitizer with me at my seat, along with gum or mints. By the way, if you are looking for a fun spring break gum, try Orbit's new Sangria mostly tastes like strawberries but that and the mojito flavor is enough to transport me to a mental beach vacation!

After the flight: Can you guess? It starts with an E and ends with xfoliate and moisturize that night!! You may even want to opt for a facial masque that evening, as it will really help clean out your pores and will really refresh your skin.

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, and safe spring break...unless you are still in school in which case hang in there, your spring break will be right around the corner!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is my love of beauty shallow?

Hang in there Mawrtyrs- only a few more days of midterms and then spring break!! It's stressful times like this when I miss certain places. Here are two places that mean a great deal to me and serve as a great "mental escape"...

This is a beach near Paia, Maui. The day I took this was one of my favorite days ever, a great tropical fruit breakfast, a hike to a waterfall, organic pizza at a little hippy joint, and a trip to this wonderful apothecary.

Beach in Wailea, Maui

The view from Mystra aka "the top of the world" (in my mind)...this is in the Peloponnese in Greece. That was a particularly special moment in my life when I finally came to peace with a lot of things. It sounds so cheesy, but true.

Although I don't have too many posts as this blog is still in its developing stage, I think I got ahead of myself and didn't fully explain why I am so passionate about beauty. So I thought there is no time like the present to give you all a little insight into why it means so much to me...

Any woman will tell you that she has probably struggled with self-esteem issues, either as a young child, teenager, young adult, or even later on in life as well. I was not immune to this, especially in high school (like all teenage girls). At one point during my senior year in high school, after spending the past few years being unhappy with myself, I decided to make a lot of changes in my life, namely I picked tennis back up (one of the great loves of my life) and tried to take more pride in my appearance. Now this topic alone is somewhat problematic to some people. To be concerned with "the outside" seems shallow and superficial, and images of girls spending hours in front of the mirror just to conform to some kind of stereotypical male fantasy seems to be masking an even greater internal self-confidence problem. While I believe there is a problem when women try to become someone else's idea of beautiful, or change their appearance in order to please someone else, I do not think there is any shame in taking pride in the way that one looks. Don't we all have those days when we throw on a little blush or mascara and someone compliments how nice we look and then we gain a little bit of self-confidence out of that? For those people who struggle with severe self-esteem problems, these little compliments can really mean the world to them...I know, I've been there.

I want to make it clear that I'm not endorsing the idea that everyone go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of makeup and beauty products so they can have a full face of maquillage every morning. But what I am saying is that if it gives you confidence, if it makes you feel good on days when you need a little pick me up, why the hell wouldn't you do it? Do I believe that self-confidence is solely derived on the love of your "outside"? Absolutely not! I don't think that makeup and beauty products should be a way for women to change their appearance, but to enhance those features that make them feel good about themselves. If it gives you confidence, if it makes you feel good, if it makes you feel beautiful (because you are!), why not give it a shot?

I could go on incessantly about how societal pressures have caused women to feel less than beautiful and how the beauty industry has "caused" problems such as eating disorders, low self-esteem, etc, but I am proposing we change the way we view it. Instead of viewing this industry as a means of oppression, why not view it as a means of liberation? Why not take it and make it something positive? Why not use it as a way to express our individuality? There is much more to the beauty industry than makeup, and I believe that ownership of yourself and your appearance can leave you with great benefits!

If it makes me shallow to put on a little foundation and eyeliner in the morning, to straighten my hair and use that mascara because it makes ME feel be it. But I believe that anything you do FOR YOURSELF to make YOU feel good is not only acceptable, but a necessity! Life is too short to be unhappy. I don't want to convey the idea that makeup is the means to self-confidence, nor do you lack self-confidence if you don't wear makeup or use a lot of products, but I am saying that from my own experience, this was one small way by which I could boost my confidence and be a little happier with myself.

Dear reader, you are beautiful! I hope that each of you can feel this on a daily basis.

"La beauté n’est pas crée, elle existe." or "Beauty is not created, it exists" -Emily Dickinson