By Arden Edelcup (aka: The Beauty Babe)
“EVEN I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford” — Cindy Crawford
Remember way back when … those of us who were raised in the ’70s and ’80s … “Fun in the Sun” involved a huge bottle of Mom’s baby oil and a groovy album cover wrapped in aluminum foil to ensure a maximum tan. We baked like cookies and checked obsessively every few hours to make sure that our pasty white skin was transforming into a deep bronze (let’s not forget a few aggressive squirts in our hair of Sun-In to make our sexy transformation complete). Well, those were the Dark Ages (yes, pun intended) before the scientific breakthroughs in both anti-aging and more importantly, skin cancer research.
As Maya Angelou famously said: “I did what I did then, because that is all I knew. I do what I do now because I know better.”
THIS Beauty Babe is baffled and dismayed at how many of us are STILL “Closet Sun Worshippers”.
I have even applied peer pressure tactics to dissuade these sun devotees by asking the rhetorical question: “Do you really want to be known as the woman who looks like a piece of burnt bacon?” We all know those gals who are perpetually freakishly dark and their skin looks well … overcooked. Yes girls, you know who you are too. I am here to set you straight with some no bull, Dr Phil “tell it like it is” summer skin-care commandments:
1 Thou shalt not bake in the sun. I hate to sound like a nagging mom who chases you around with a tube of zinc oxide, but 90% of premature aging is from the sun. With skin cancer on a rampant rise, you must dump the sun like a charming boyfriend who is cheating behind your back. While you bask in its cozy warmth and admire your bronzed legs, remember it is actually destroying your youthful collagen and creating mottled sun spots. No, they aren’t cute freckles anymore. They are damaged skin cells and can actually develop into something more serious. To make your “break-up” a bit less painful, I will promise to offer you skin-saving options.
2 Thou shalt understand how to read a sunscreen bottle. You don’t need a Ph.D in Chemistry to descipher the long list of intimidating words on a sunscreen bottle. It is actually super simple. There are 2 types of sunscreens: physical and chemical. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are physical and they block out the sun. Every other ingredient on a bottle is a chemical, which allows the skin to absorb the sun and then dissipate it. Needless to say, dermatologists favor the sunscreens with titanium and zinc oxide because they offer the maximum blockage and ward off both UVA and UVB rays. However, most people don’t use enough of ANY type of sunscreen which causes the most problems.
Here are the guidelines: Use a full tablespoon of sunscreen on your face, ears, and neck. Then fill up a full shot glass and spread it over your body. Always reapply every two hours. Unlike the thick white goop lifeguards use, the new physical sunscreens are micro-ionized and much thinner. While most still have a slight whitish glow, a few are wisely tinted and offer hardcore blockage from the sun. My favorite is Elta MD SPF 41 oil-free tinted sunblock. It has a high concentration of zinc oxide but is tinted like make-up. La-Roche Posay SPF 50 Mineral Sunblock is super lightweight and melts like butter into your skin. Another little known factoid, SPF measures only the burning rays (UVB) NOT the UVA (aging rays) so look for a bottle that says broad spectrum, which protects for both. SPF 15 gives you just 93.5% protection from UVB rays, SPF 30 gives you 97% protection and SPF 45 gives you 98% protection. Most docs agree that anything over SPF 30 offers nominal increases in protection. To protect yourself from those nasty UVA ( aging) rays that cause collagen destruction and melanoma, please use a physical sunscreen (I know I’m harping) or at least a chemical one that has avobenzone on the ingredient list.
The Skin Cancer Federation has recently endorsed Colorescience Mineral Powder Sunscreen because it is in a self-dispensing powder brush and is water-resistant. It comes in various shades and can be tossed in your purse for effortless application and is safe even for babies.
Fun Sunscreen Fact: Dark chocolate is bursting with flavonols and anti-oxidants that offer strong resistance to the sun. If you needed another reason to indulge your sweet tooth, this little-known fact is my gift to you.
3. Thou shalt make a new best friend named “Self-Tanner”. Let me just convince the skeptics who have had self-tanning disasters, that you need to give these “new and improved” guys a second chance. If you follow these few painless steps, you will never suffer from a zebra-striped leg again. First exfoliate (NOT with a salt scrub that can dehydrate the skin and make the tanner go on unevenly) then moisturize where you want your tan. Now apply the self-tanner wearing disposable gloves. Lastly, generously slather on more moisturizer again to ensure an even application. I promise a glowing natural-looking tan body that will dazzle for 4-5 days. Daily application of body oil extends the tan for an extra few days. If you have a special event, use your self-tanner a day before so you can fix a spot that you missed. If you are nervous, try the streak-proof, odorless Tan Towels that come pre-saturated in self tanner. They do not smell and they are ridiculously easy to use.
Self-Tanner Fun Fact: Self- tanners are made from DHA, a colorless sugar that interacts with the dead cells located in the stratum corneum of the epidermis. As the sugar interacts with the dead skin cells, a color change occurs. This change usually lasts until the dead cells begin to get sloughed off.
In case of a self-tanning disaster you can expediate this process by exfoliating with baking soda and rubbing lemon juice or Windex to remove the offensive color. Yes, I did say Windex.
4. Thou Shalt Treat Your Feet with the Utmost Respect. While we keep our faithful, overworked feet covered and smothered in socks and boots throughout the winter months, the summer is their time to come out and play. Whether you are wearing your comfy flip-flops or are rockin’ hot 3″ wedges, remember to have toezies that are sporting the hot new polish colors. This summer literally anything goes with toes but this Beauty Babe loves the on-going fashion trend of bright, bold statement colors like OPI Eurso Euro (cobalt blue) and Essie Go Ginza (lavender). For those of you suffering from nasty cracked heels, this sexy bedtime trick should be a quick fix. Slather your feet with Aquaphor ointment, slap on old socks, and I promise baby soft results in the morning. And for those with irritating blisters that erupt from shoving your bare feet into a new flat or loafer, “Save My Feet Blister Elixer” will be the best $20 bucks you will spend this summer. It is a magical lotion that melts into your feet and banishes painful blisters from your life. I defy any shoe to win the blister battle with this quirky potion. Funky Foot Fact: The sweat glands on the feet can produce up to a half pint of stinky fluid a day in hot conditions. Use your underarm anti-perspirant spray on those tootsies too. You will have the most fragrant feet at your next block party.
5. Thou Shall Not Go to Battle with your Hair. I have always been seduced by a shiny bottle with any of the following magical words: smoothing serum, anti-frizz creme, volumizing mousse or straightening lotion. When a new breakthrough haircare product arrives at my store with these sweet promises, I arm my customers with these products to ” fight ” your frizz, “beat down” that curl into submission or “force” that limp hair to inflate. Sadly, the summer humidity always wins against even the most meticulously flat-ironed coif. But this summer, I am encouraging every gal to wave a white flag of surrender to this yearly summer battle . Let’s join forces with our hair instead of fighting it all summer long. Make peace with your summer locks with the following arsenal of hair tricks:
– Sea-salt sprays can effortlessly enhance your natural waves into beachy smelling tousled hair that will release your inner Baywatch Babe.
– Pony tail holders or baseball hat. A must when you are running errands in the oppressive summer sun. Almost everyone looks youthful in a neat ponytail. For a sportier look, a baseball hat protects your hair for the sun and can be a cute look too.
– Hair Shine serum. These shine serums smell delicious and can be tossed in a purse to smooth flyaways all day long. They also double as body oils to give your legs and arms a soft sheen.
Here comes the sun! Repeat these warm-weather beauty commandments and you’ll protect your face and body while looking your sexy, sun-kissed best.
Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: Arden Edelcup is a Mom of three “Indiana Hoosiers” and owner, with her hubby Earl Edelcup, of Ross’s in Highland Park, Illinois. Check out her website: www.rosscosmetic.com.
**TOTALLY LOVE THIS: If you mention “GIRLilla Warfare” when you walk into Ross’s (if you happen to be in the Chicago suburbs) — you will receive a 20% discount off any item mentioned in this article.