The Christmas season usually involves some family celebrations with relatives we may not have seen in a while, dinner dates with dear friends, and parties with work associates. While we all usually want to look our best at these social functions…I’ve found as I get older that enhancing our God-given attributes, along with a happy smile, is the best way to be truly beautiful!
“Beauty might bring happiness…..but happiness always brings beauty! Tribute Journal
According to an article published by the Organization of Health Guidance For Better Health, a woman’s true beauty is an abstract term that is hard to define, and is usually a matter of opinion and very much in the eye of the beholder. But I think you’ll agree, that being genuine in our efforts to be who we really are while working to improve imperfections and flaws, not only in how we look, but in how we behave, ensures that our authentic beauty will ultimately shine through!
A Tale: “Becoming The Best Version Of Ourselves!”
Once upon a time, there was a girl with freckles sprinkled across her nose and coarse, wavy hair during an era when creamy skin and silky, smooth hair were the accepted standard for defining true beauty. Fortunately for this young gal, she had parents who were exceptional in their ability to help her gain a healthy balance in her view of achieving beauty in all its many aspects, helping her to focus her efforts on continually working to become the best version of herself…inside and out.
As this girl got older…I also realized that surrounding myself with genuine friends and good style mentors, (often these people are one in the same) was perhaps one of my best beauty tricks!
The Best Beauty Tricks!
When time seems to be our most precious commodity…can we really afford to take the time to do the things that help us put our best foot forward, so to speak? Well, as luck would have it, a few years ago, when I was in desperate need of a new hair stylist, I crossed paths with the ever talented, beauty magician extraordinaire, Rachel Wheeler, from Lox Studio Salon, and she helped me realize, once and for all, that the resounding answer to this question is, “YES!” Adopting a simple routine to help us look good and feel better about ourselves and exude more confidence in a world that is sometimes happy to beat us down a bit, is always worthwhile.
For this holiday post, I asked Rachel, a natural beauty in her own right, to offer a few tricks of her trade, including some beauty products she recommends that will help inspire us to be more dedicated to a personal care routine.
Rachel practices what she preaches and accentuates her beautiful eyes and bright smile, not to mention her gorgeous hair, with just a light application of some of her favorite beauty products. She is truly is a credit to her profession!
• Hair Care and Color:
Almost as important as our clothing fashion, our hair style seems to be just as vital when trying to convey our true selves; when we have a good hair day…all seems right with the world! Fundamental to good hair care is a good trim (and for me a lot of texturizing to help my thick, unruly hair style easier) and finding products that are formulated to care for specific hair types is integral! Rachel told me that if styling products didn’t exist, then she would insist on always having Lanza Trauma Treatment Conditioner in her hair care arsenal.
“This conditioner will whip your hair back into shape if you haven’t washed it in a few days; you can use it as a regular conditioner after shampooing, or as a leave-in conditioner if your hair is in need of some extra TLC! It smells great too…and who isn’t a sucker for a good smelling hair product!”Rachel says Kenra Blow Dry Spray deserves a special hair care product reward! This spray conditions, detangles and protects your hair from heat exposure. It seems to have unique memory powers as well, that help keep hair looking good all day. Shake the bottle well and spray generously on towel dried hair then brush with a wet brush to help spread the product down the hair shaft.
(via Rachel Wheeler)
While you may not want to make any drastic changes to your current hair style during the holidays, a fancy up-do for a special event could be fun; and if your stylist is as creative as Rachel…you’re sure to feel festive and beautiful!
When it comes to color…Rachel told me when she first started doing my hair, that unless you are going out on a limb and doing some exotic hair color, (which is definitely the trend now) her recommendation to clients is to color hair a shade or two lighter or darker than their natural eyebrow color. As women age, she suggests going a little lighter than their natural hair color, adding some warm highlights to help brighten skin tones. Rachel also let me know that I only needed to do a full color treatment on my hair about every 3 months or so, touching up the root growth in between. Following this regimen is more gentle on your hair and dries it out less, but as mentioned above, conditioning your hair regularly after any treatment is always key to keeping it healthy.
(via Rachel Wheeler)
“Healthy hair is literally your crowning glory!” Andreas Stavrou Hairstylist
(*One quick word about drug store box color kits…did you know that your hair stylist’s are educated to be master mad scientists of sorts, in that they have extensive training on how certain chemicals react with your specific hair type and how to blend a variety of professional products to create a perfect mixture that is specific for your unique hair color? Rachel advises that if you plan on never having your hair colored professionally that you’re probably fine using box color, but if you do want to have your hair done at a salon, then it’s best to stay away from over-the-counter products, because there are so many unknown chemicals added to them that make it extremely difficult and expensive to lift this kind of color from your hair before a professional one can be applied. Over time, these products can also leave your hair dry, damaged and dull.)
• Beautiful Skin:
If I ever did stumble upon the fountain of youth…discovering the secrets of maintaining youthful skin (minus the break-outs!?!) would be my number one priority! We put high expectation on skin care products, so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to learn that many of Rachel’s favorite skin care and make-up picks are inexpensive brands, with some coming from her favorite local drug stores! (A girl after my own heart!)
While Rachel doesn’t usually go for multi-level marketing products, she says the Norwex Microfiber Wash Cloth is a good one, especially since many of the make-up removal towelettes on the market, no matter how gentle they claim to be, can be irritating to your eyes. Rachel rinses her cloth in hot water to wash her face and remove make-up too. According to the company, the cloths are naturally made and contain antimicrobial silver that when moistened activates a self-purifying process that stops bacteria, mold and fungi from forming.
Rachel recommends Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream to moisturize skin in the morning before applying make-up and again in the evening as a night cream. Although it’s often considered a splurge item, a 4 oz. jar is under $50 at Nordstrom’s, but you only apply a thin coat, so this seems like a good buy. Rachel says it also serves as a great foundation primer too. I just like that it isn’t greasy.
I chuckled when I saw Aquaphor Healing Ointment on Rachel’s skin care list, little did she know that it’s sort of a trade secret among nurses who use it on newborn babies and other patients who have dry, rashy skin. It also provides intensive treatment for chappy lips and skin during the cold, winter months.
• Best Brows and Lashes:
Care and maintenance of eyebrows and lashes has definitely taken a more prominent spot in most women’s daily care routine. Besides being an amazing hair stylist, Rachel does lash extensions in her salon, and while I’ve never had mine done, I can vouch for the fact that her work just adds to the natural beauty of each client–a sure sign of an insightful artisan!
Although she used to have her brows waxed, Rachel decided she prefers to have control of the shape and care of her brows, so she uses the Touch’N Brow razors by Sally Hansen. Rachel says these also work great for getting rid of unwanted facial peach fuzz. You might need to have your stylist help you learn how to use these. You can see a YouTube demo here. Once your brows are trimmed and shaped, Rachel likes using the Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil to fill them in.
If there is any one product that women seem to feel the most passionate about, it is finding the perfect mascara that gives volume and lengthens their eyelashes. Some days a few coats of mascara and some lip gloss is all the make-up I wear. As already mentioned, Rachel does eyelash extensions, but she told me that she’s not a huge advocate for having them for everyday life; if you have a big event or vacation coming up, then go for it, otherwise, just find some great products that accentuate your natural lashes. Rachel has found that using RevitaLash to help lengthen and strengthen your own eyelashes is well worth the investment, and her very favorite go-to mascara brand for long, think lashes is Cover Girl Lash Blast…I love it too. Other top mascara contenders that get my vote are Loreal Voluminous, Clinique High Impact, and the classic Maybelline Great Lash.
• When Outer Beauty Meets Inner Beauty:
I don’t think we should ever apologize or feel guilty for wanting to take care of ourselves. I once heard it said that we should try and see our physical attributes the same way we would those of a child or beloved friend–with appreciation and acceptance, not criticism. I hope we can all better understand that everyone is unique and we each have something to bring to the world; when we can walk out the door and feel beautiful and confident, I believe we will be less superficial and tap into our best beauty…the kind that is ignited in our hearts where we are thoughtful in our words, kind in our thoughts, and considerate in our actions.
I hope everyone has a beautiful holiday season!
I’d love to know of any fun beauty tips or tricks you use that you’d be willing to share with us here.