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Fashion Flash logoThis week Barbara of  The Best of Everything After 50 is hosting Fashion Flash.  She is now the Bone Health Ambassador  of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and she is getting us out there to exercise, one  set of bones at a time.  She is supportive and encouraging as she  drives home    her message that exercise is essential to good health.  Check out her site not  just for great exercise tips, but for information and advice that will motivate you.

Does This Make My  Assets Look Fat?

I tried them all.  I bought  Dummies guides to finance, subscribed to  the Wall Street Journal  and watched Jim Cramer nightly — and still nothing.  I hear the words, I’m pretty sure they are english and yet when I try to process the concepts into action…nothing.

Last month I sat in on a session on finance at the  She Did  It conference  sponsored by book cover of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat?Better After 50.  The speaker, Susan Hirshman is  a personal  finance expert and author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat? ( St Martin’s Press).  Finally,  things started to make sense.  Ms Hirshman takes an unusual approach to explaining finance, creating parallels between dieting and investing.  After establishing the basics of sound financial planning, she breaks down the risks and benefits of different types of financial products.  From hedge funds to annuities to  mutual funds, Hirshman  helps you understand the pros and cons and  to pick the best personal options.

I laughed and winced at her profiles of different investment  personalities and I think I saw myself  in at least three of them–  Headline Hannah, Indecisive  Iris and a pinch of Anchored Annie.   Her five “D” chapter ( eg death, divorce, disability) is sobering but essential  and her chapter on estate planning should be required reading for anyone over 40. While   Does this Make My Assets Look Fat?  is not a beauty book, but  a healthy financial balance sheet is one of the most flattering accessories a women can  have.

Fashion Flash logoI’m so delighted to be  hosting Fashion Flash this week.  Our Glam Squad of bloggers have  outdone themselves with posts that range from exercises to improve your golf score , how to lower your skin cancer risk   and a   game plan for  wearing  the uber popular, eye searing  NEON  colors over forty.

* Cindy of Prime Beauty points out that aging doesn’t only show on our faces, our hair is feeling the years too.   She profiles Nexxus Youth Renewal Hair Care  line that helps fight eight visible signs of aging

* May is  Skin Cancer Awareness Month  and Kari of Fab Over 40  interviews  Dr Piasecki of the Skin Cancer Center on the best ways  to protect your skin from cancer causing UV rays.  Read this timely and important  post at http://www.faboverforty.com/skincare/skin-cancer-center-the-doctor-will-now-see-you/

* Its bold, its electric but can a mature woman wear it?  Find out what style expert Deborah Boland has to say about how to wea those bright green, pink or orange  neon colors at Fabulous After 40.

* Looking for warm weather fashion inspiration?   Jackie from Aging Backwards shares her shopping experience at  Coldwater Creek Store.

* Jane Seymour is upbeat and unstoppable.  Check out our one-on-one interview with her at Fab Over Fifty

* Barbara at Best of Everything After Fifty is fuming mad and  wants to know when the media will get the message that women don’t have to be  thin, young, and perfectly gorgeous  to be beautiful, powerful and strong!

*   Menopausal?  Confused about management options?  72% of women have not received any treatment of menopausal symptoms.  Staness of Menopause Makeover  tells you how to find reliable information online.

Jodell of Black Cat  Plus  doesn’t understand   how its acceptable for a major retailer not  to carry plus size clothing when plus size  men and women make up almost  70% of the market.

* Mirabai of Moving Free with Mirabai  shares  easy and fun “prehab” exercises to get  yourself ready for the golf season.

Get ready for summer with our Glam Squad  line-up of great posts.  As Helena Rubinstein famously once  said ” There are no  unattractive women, only lazy ones”

FrecklesIts back on shelves!  Tri-luma, the turbo powered skin lightener is now available after a more than an 18 month disappearance.  There was no FDA recall or explanation from the company.  Nothing.   I discovered that compounding pharmacies could make it up for individual prescriptions, but that option  was just not widely  available.  Then,  without fanfare  or explanation,  Tri-luma  was back– and I’m delighted. 

 How Tri-luma Works

This prescription- only skin lightener  contains three active ingredients:

1.  Tretinoin ( aka Retin A) is famous for its ability to speed up cell growth and exfoliate darkened areas.

2. Hydroquinone which prevents melanin production and is considered one of the most effective  weapons in the  anti- hyperpigmentation tool  kit

3.  Mild corticosteroid to keep  things calm.  Both Retin A and  hydroquinone can be irritating.  Enter  a  mild steroid.  It allows the skin brighteners to do their job  while keeping the skin calm and comfortable

While Tri-luma can be used over the entire face, I needed it mainly  to lighten my dark under eye shadows.   Plain Retin A  is too irritating to be used on delicate under eye areas but mixed with a steroid it can  address  skin darkness without causing more  problems.

Tri-luma was one of the first anti-aging tools I used and I loved the way it lightened  my long standing  dark shadows.  However while plain RetinA can be used continuously for years, most  doctors recommend using  Tri-luma  only for three montha at a time.   The treatment period  should be followed by a three month  Tri-luma holiday and then the  product can be used again for another three months.  To keep it fresh and effective, pharmacists recommend keeping it in the refrigerator.

There is a whole buffet  of skin lighteners including kojic acid, arbutin and soy extract, but Tri-luma  is often the product of choice.   It represents the new thinking about  medical treatment.  Rather than a single  solution to a problem , researchers are looking at different targets  for treatment.  In the case of  hyperpigmentation,  some skin lighteners like retin A a can help the skin shed darkened skin cells while  while ingredients like hydroquinone  can break up existing  melanin.  Combining them in one product can be much more effective than used spearately.  Since Kojic acid seems to prevent melanin production, I would love to see a  product  that combines all four ingredients.  There are so many me-too  products, it would wonderful to see a formulation that uses all of the science  we  now have about treatmenting dark patches and spots.

Fashion Flash logoThis week  Deb of Fabulous After 40 is hosting Fashion Flash.   There is certainly no shortage of fashion experts out there, but IMO   Fabulous After 40 has the best insight into   over 40  style.  It looks at  new trends and then adapts them to the bodies and lifestyles of  real women .  Its not just that our bodies are changing, but our lives as well.  So  much of the stuff you see in stores is for  for clubbing, sports and dating.  When you are are trying to  figure out what to wear to your son’s college graduation or  your daughter’s wedding, the options are slim.   Fabulous After  Forty is my roadmap to style and style choices,  and I always check it out before going shopping.

 I have spent most of my professional life as a health and beauty writer.  I loved gathering  accurate information and sharing it in a timely  helpful lifestyle book.  But over the last  few years, publishing  became less and less interested in this type of book unless the author had a celebrity platform. I was asked to ghost some of these books and the process was not Magic of Facial Exercise book coverpleasant.  I decided to start publishing  my own lifestyle e-books and   this week I am so delighted to announce the publication of the  first e-book from Chase Communications– The Magic of Facial Exercise by Cynthia Rowland. Its available on Kindle Select and on May 7-9  you can download it  for free at http://www.amazon.com/The-Magic-Facial-Exercise-ebook/dp/B00C33WJ7E/.

The Magic of Facial Exercise is an introduction to the power of isometric training to reshape the face.  Rather than just a book of exercises, it is an in-depth guide to the science of  facial aging.  The Magic of Facial Exercise looks at what is behind sings of  aging  such as crows feet and  double chin and explains exactly which muscle groups  need some TLC.  

Cynthia Rowland is a widely redognized fitness and beauty expert.  Creator of the Facial Magic System  she has been on  the Today Show, The View, The Rachel Ray Show as well as on QVC and HSN.  More than 1,00,000 men and women in more than 40 countries are fans of the Facial Magic System.

I am working with terrific experts  on several new e-book  projects including  a  beauty guide for blondes, an amazingly effective diet based on science rather than science fiction and  the first  book on anti-aging smile makeovers.  Producing  beautiful professional e-books turned out to be a lot harder than it looked, but I’m having the time of my life. If you have an ideas for books you would like to see or an idea for a book you would like to do,  I’d love to hear from you.

older and younger womenWhen I started  No-Nonsense Beauty Blog I expected  that most of the people who would be  would  be like me and over 40– way over 40.  I was  pretty surprised  when site analytics  showed that over 30%  of  No-Nonsense visitors were in their 20’s and 50% were under 40.  In fact   the majority of comments and questions  were sent in from smart resourceful  thirtysomething women. Its human  nature to  avoid issues  until they on top of us, but these bright young women are asking all the right questions  years before they  actually have to face them in the mirror. 

Different Answers for Different  Aging

Like everything else  in the body, skin changes naturally over time and its not surprising that anti-aging skin care differs over time.  Under  age 30 our skin is rich in estrogen and natural hydration.  The challenge is not to mess it up.   To prevent aging, women often use overly rich cleansers and night creams which  can provoke the reappearance  of teenage style acne.   Called acne cosmetica, its the trigger in over half of   adult acne problems.  Not only  are breakouts   just not necessary, acne scars  tend to become lines and wrinkles as  we get older.

Rather than drowning still  youthful skin in   heavy anti-aging products ,  good skin care starts with gentle  but through cleansing,  and regular exfolitation with microdermabrasion brush.  At night  use an oil free   glycolic acid or lactic acid lotion.  These ingredients  are like a baby step Retin A.  They shed dead dry skin, hydrate the surface and encourage  collagen and elastin growth. 

Its during the day that  thirtysomethings can take major  steps  to prevent aging. Up to age 60,  between 80-90% of skin aging is due to UV damage– but  using  effective sun protection  will short circuit environmental aging. 

After age 40, the good times and bad leave their mark on your  face. Sun filled vacation days  reappear years later as dark patches, red spots  and crows feet around the eyes. Work and family stress show-up as deepening  lines on  the  forehead  and along the sides of the mouth and chin. That’s the bad news.  The good news?  All of the signs of living can be reversed. But before buying a buffet of creams and serums with  a boatload of anti-aging claims, think about what you skin actually needs.    Before you  swipe your credit card at a store  or make an appointment at a doctor, identify what your skin issues.  Brown spots  and splotches?   IPL, Clear and Brilliant  and Fraxel lasers are different ytpes of lasers that quickly zap discolorations.  Lines around the eyes?  Botox will erase them in moments. Dull pale skin color and fine lines? Retin A will deal with both by reving up  circulation and  boosting   healthy collagen.  And when you’ve done with all the heavy lifting repairs, be sure to protect your investment  with a 30-50SPF sunscreen  to prevent new  UV damage.

Fashion Flash logoThis week Jackie of Aging Backwards is hosting Fashion Flash.  Jackie is one of the best beauty journalists I have ever met.  We can go to the same conference and she will find great  new products and  experts, that never  made  it on my radar.  In fact Jackie introduced  me to two of  my new favorite skin care products– Brush on Sunblock and microfiber  cleansing cloths.  She  also spots trends  months before the rest of us and if you want to read it first, be sure to check out Aging Backwards.

Free Make-up Master Class

Last week I went to a work-shop by master make-up artist Francisco Valera, hosted by Marmur Medical in New York City.  You’ve seen his work in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Marie Claire and Elle and his clients include  Christy Turlington, Kate Moss,Giselle and Sandra Bullock. 

Francisco ( just first name, like Cher or Madonna) used techniques  that I’ve never seen before.  He started by applying a dab of Eight Hour Cream from Elizabeth Arden to the lips.  Fransisco and modelAlthough he  does the lips last, he wanted  to give  the cream time to hydrate the often  dry skin on the lips.   I was fascinated as he used three different shades of the same  cream foundation to cover redness, add light and create definition.

For a daytime  look, he brushed  champagne beige eye shadow on the lids.  Then he mixed the same eight hour cream with a cherry red Chanel lipstick to  produce a translucent yet intense lip color.  To switch to  a party look, Francicso created a delicate smoky eye and “took down”  lip color to a softer neutral beige.  Watching Francisco work, I could see why Christy, Kate and Sandra look so good.

Marmur Medical will be holding a second make-up master class on May 9 2013.  From 5:30-7:00, Francisco  will share the secrets of supermodel beauty and you will go home  with both great knowledge and a great goody bag. To reserve a  seat,  RSVP to Marie.Lum@marmurmedical.com. I’ll be going back  for another session and I hope to see you there.

Fashion Flash logoThis week Geri of Fab Over 50 is hosting  Fashion Flash.  There are literally  hundreds of blogs  online for women  but few  have  the informative and  interesting posts  that appear daily on Fab Over 50.   There are a platoon of experts that offer   cutting edge advice on a wide range of subjects including   cosmetic surgery women’s health, family dynamics and sexuality.  You can send in a question, any question and Fab Over 50  will get you an answer.  Cool.

The Green Beauty Guide

April is Environmental Awareness Month  and the perfect time to  take a look at  The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel.  I get many questions and  comments about  chemicals in skin and hair  products and  The Green Beauty Guide is filled with useful information on natural beauty care.

The book begins with  extensive background info on potential   hazards and toxins in commercial products such as DEA in shampoos and    petrochemicals in baby cleansers.   Gabriel also points out that some so-called green and/or green beauty products  can inadvertently contain toxins used in the manufacture of the products.   Scary stuff but  the  book just does not just raise problems, it offers solutions.

The Ten Commandments of Green Beauty

The author  raises  a lot of issues and offers  some pretty dense science, but  then puts her approach into an easy to understand  format with  ten green beauty rules.  These include a list of ingredients to avoid   ( eg caoal tar, phenols, phthalates, formaldehyde  and synthetic fragrances), avoiding celebrity endorsements and advice,  tossing  out products  when they pass their ” use before date”, and don’t overspend on skin and hair care.

I was esepcially impressed with her dozens of home recipes that used  organic yet inexpensive and readily available ingredients.  For example I I LOVED her green tea and lavandar cleansing powder that also  contained  vitamin C and a crushed aspirin tablet.  The green tea  provides world class antioxidants, the dried  lavendar is anti-inflammatory and the aspirin  contains salicylic acid which is  a super safe and effective exfoliator.  Brilliant.

Q&A logoQuestion:   How much SPF do I need to use  in the summer?  My favorite  foundation has  a 15SPF which I know is pretty low.  If I  also use a moisturizer with a 15SPF  will  that bring my protection to a 30 SPF?

Answer:  You’re righ,t a 15 SPF  is pretty low, but adding  another product with a 15 SPF will not give you a 30SPF.  Its not fair but the math on sunscren products  are not cumulative.  Your final SPF  will only be the  highest SPF you are using.  In this case, the final SPF  will still be 15.  If you use a moisturizer with a 30SPF  you final SPF will  be able  to face  the sun with a  very respectable 30 SPF.

Please  keep in mind that  the SPF numbers  are just an indication of how long you can stay in the sun without burning.   A 30 SPF means that you can stay in the sun  for 30 minutes without sundamage.  However these calculations were done in the laboratory and  made on the assumption that   at least  two teaspoons of sunblock  is  used on the face and  1-2 tablespoons are used on the body. I decided to put these  standards to the test and the results were both funny and troubling.  Clearly  few if anyone actually  use  the prescribed amount of sunblock  and   we often fail to reapply  during the day.  This means that   the SPF which we  have to  face the sun is much lower than  we think.  For that reason I recommend using at least an SF30 and in the summer aim for a 50 SPF.  During the day I dust on a mineral sunscreen powder like Brush On Block by Susan Posnick.  I can apply it over foundation  to  boost  sun protection.

One final thought.  If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, psoriasis you might find  chemical sunscreens too irritating.   Look for broad spectrum physical sunscreens that get their  sun block powers from minerals like  zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

layer cakeI just spent   four days at three different   beauty conferences.   There were probably over 100 vendors with  lines of at least twenty products each.  So  many products, only one small face.   At many of the counters,   I was urged to use  4-5 products at a time, each one promising   different benefits.  

But the skin is not like a layer cake with each new layer adding  more and better flavors.   The reason  that  the body is covered with skin is to protect the internal structures  like the  heart, muscles and  brain.  It is designed  to keep stuff out, including  dirt, bacteria, mold, insects and toxic chemicals.  Indeed  when the integrity of the skin is broken from a cut or burn, we all know its important to clean the wound  and cover it to prevent infection.  Its very difficult for most ingredients  to pass thru the upper layers of the skin and  arrive at the growing, lower  levels.  Applying  any product, be it  a  lotion, serum or moisturizer, makes it  much much more difficult for the next product  to  pass through the skin layers to get to the area where is can actuallydeliver results.   

So What’s Girl Have  To Do to Look Good?   

Different ingredients offer different benefits. For example  antioxidants  protect  skin  structures from UV damage while hyaluronic acid  is an uber moisturizer that draws and hold  water in the skin.  To get  as  many benefits as possible you have two options:

1. Combination  products

Rather than using a serum with antioxidants, a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and a sunscreen with zinc oxide,  look for a product that contains all three.  Mixing the molecules  together in one  product  gives all ingredients equal access to your skin.  Even better, it’s  a great  way of stretching your  beauty budget.

2.   Alternate Skin Care

I’m often asked how  to use Retin A, a moisturizer, a sunblock, and an antioxidant serum.    Short answer, not all at the same time.   For example, at night you can use Retin A and a moisturizer on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturday and Sunday.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights  use the antioxidant serum topped by the moisturizer, and skip the Retin A.  This alterrnative application will allow  even sensitive skin to use a  full strength Retin A .  In the morning use a moisturizer with sunscreen under  your make-up.   To make things even easier  you can use  a BB or CC  cream which offers a  combination of hydration,   antiaging ingredients, sun protection  AND foundation.  You can get  the benefits of four products at the price of a  single  item.  Cool.

Fashion Flash logoThis week Mirabai  of Moving Free with Mirabai is hosting Fashion Flash. The spring weather is making  me want to get out and move again and I’m inspired by Mirabai’s exercise DVD’s shot  on the beach or in the mountains of Colorado.  She makes it look so  easy  and fun that  I actually went out and bought a new pair of running shoes. 

The Cheap Date Guide to Style  

Like most of us, I started my fashion journey  around age 13 when I was allowed for the first time to go shopping with a friend, rather than Mom.  And for most of these years, I wanted not so much to stand  out as  to  be appropriate.  I’ve pretty much achieved my goal and now  feel confident that I will be neither  over or underdressed for  all occasions.  I look  fine,  but not especially  interesting.  I’ve been wanting to crank up my style a bit, but not so much  that   Seth Cohen of Advanceed Style would  pick me out of a crowd.  When I found a copy of   The Cheap Date Guide to Style  by Kira Jolliffe  and Bay Garnett, I felt I found  a source of fashion tips to CHEAP DATEtake me where I wanted to go.

The authors are the founders of a uber hip UK  mag called Cheap Date.  The book  is done in a magazine style   of call-outs, photos  and boxes that  make you smile and nod– “oh that’s how its done”.  Cheap Date  gets its fashion inspiration from  a diverse  group of icons including Kate Moss, CHanel, Zac Posen, Jeanne Moreau  and Keith Richards.I love the lists in Cheap Date  and I think my favorite is the list of five dresses every woman should own:

* relaxed jersey

*flowery vintage

*classic black

*wrap around

* djellaba

With sandels in summer and boots plus an over coat in winter, you’re ready for anything.

Other super easy tips for adding a bit of style include scrunching up  your sleeves, adding a monogram somewhere, and tipping on a beret .   Adding a pair of Ray Bans  pulls it all together. Now this is fashion advice I can actually follow.

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