[By Tamara Hall]
I’ve always associated the word “addict” with the image of an inebriated, glue-sniffing hippie laying on the subway bench. So it was somewhat of a surprise when my colleagues labeled me “beauty addict”.
After some reflection (and six margaritas), I’ve come to terms with the moniker. I guess in some ways, I do fit the bill. After all, I have been known to forego my lunch hour to queue up for the latest shade of MAC lip gloss. On my first trip to London, instead of visiting the Buckingham Palace or other equally notable sights, my priority was to get a bottle of Joloves perfume by Jo Malone. I have to admit that more than half of the items in my fridge are not edible but are meant to be applied to the skin of my face, neck, hands, arms, underarms… you name it, I’ve got a cream for every conceivable body part.
But doesn’t that make me somewhat of a beauty expert? I am sure that with addiction comes expertise, or so I fervently hope. Through the years of applying, massaging, lathering, rubbing and slathering on a mind-boggling array of beauty products, I have come across some hits and misses, uncovered some truths and myths. In the pursuit of the Holy Grail called Beauty, here are some beauty wisdom I’ve accumulated…
TRUTH #1: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Ever heard of the saying: when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys? That’s exactly what happens when it comes to beauty products and treatments. I simply do not understand why someone would splurge on a LV handbag then try to stinge on something they are going to be rubbing into their skin or injecting into their faces. Quality ingredients will cost more; suffice to say, if you are paying $5 for a tube of cream, don’t expect miracles. If you are naïve to believe that a $50 Botox jab will do the trick, then be prepared for the consequences of bootleg Botox administered by unlicensed practitioners.
Pro advice: “Be careful about what you inject into your faces, there are many different types of botulinum toxin and fillers on the market, not all of them are made to have the same efficacy, duration of action and safety profile” advises Dr. Toby Hui, aesthetic doctor of The Sloane Clinic.
TRUTH #2: YOU CAN OVERDO A GOOD THING
As with all good things, there is a time to draw the line and say ‘enough’. When you simply love a product, control your enthusiasm and limit your applications to once or twice a day as indicated. Sometimes, overuse of a good thing can lead to unwanted side effects such as skin irritation or flaking. When it comes to aesthetic treatments, who doesn’t want to look younger? But when the treatments have delivered what they can, don’t get greedy. Some of the most awful ‘pillow faces’ you see walking around are the result of over zealous administration of facial fillers by inexperienced practitioners pandering to the unrealistic demands of the greedy.
Pro advice: “Injection of dermal fillers is as much a science as it is an art. The technique of injection is perhaps as important if not more important as the type of filler itself. If you choose a qualified doctor with vast experience in this area, you will usually be in safe hands” advises Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic.
TRUTH #3: SOMETIMES, THE SOLUTION IS HANDS OFF
We have all experienced the time when our skin is red, blotchy or even pimply, and we have already applied a dozen different creams to take the red and swelling out of the skin but with no avail. Now is the time to step back and hands off. Our skin needs some breathing space, at these times, another cream or another zap of the laser isn’t what you need, neither is another gentle prod with the fingers. Hands off and give your skin a rest, use just water to cleanse your face, pat dry, and then go do something else to distract yourself. The culprit to most skin irritations are mostly self-inflicted— from overuse of cosmetics, over application of skincare and over-touching of the skin.
Pro advice: “Remember that overuse of any topical skincare may lead to more tears than smiles. If you need quick resolution of a zit, seek a qualified practitioner’s help. They can inject cortisone jabs that will help reduce the swelling pronto, but you should never, never try to squeeze or manhandle your own face” advises Janet Zigler, a qualified beauty therapist in Florida.
TRUTH #4: DIET COUNTS, LIKE IT OR NOT
How I wish I could live on junk food and apply broccoli cream to my face… if only. Like it or not, what we put in our body will be reflected in our complexions. Having a healthy diet is not just about keeping your calories in check but about selecting the most nutritious foodstuffs to ingest. One wise adage goes: eat 50 different types of food daily. If you vary your diet and try as many different types of fruits, vegetables and meat, you will most likely end up with a well-balanced diet. There are pitfalls to avoid in your diet, most notably processed foods and liquid calories, both of these add empty calories to your body and cause free radical damage in your system which may lead to accelerated aging.
Pro advice: “Antioxidants from raw, fresh vegetables are your best bet at staying young and healthy. Start your day with a tall glass of fresh vegetable juice. My top choices for a refreshing blend are carrots, celery, kale and beetroot. If you like a citrusy touch, throw in some berries or a twist of lemon” advises Norma Keller, a nutritionist from San Francisco.