3 Gorgeous Hair Products I Swear By

Written by: on Thursday, February 16th, 2012
girl in exercise clothes

Use the right products for your hair—and you will get results.

I’m not a “hair” person: I like easy hairstyles that don’t require a lot of effort—and can be easily pulled back when I’m working out. And I generally don’t like using products; if I do, I typically don’t rave about them. But I have to say I LOVE these products (I’ve just started using them over the past couple of months and my hair hasn’t looked better)—why I wanted to share them.

BlowPro Blow Up Root Lift Concentrate

Just spray on wet hair, then blow dry.

Blow Pro Blow Up Root Lift Concentrate: Packed with vitamins and protein from almonds and milk (and free of sulfates, parabens, and artificial fillers), this good-for-you spray adds volume. Plus, it makes your home blowout look smooth and silky (and I swear it makes my blowout last too, although no where on the packaging does it claim this!). $21; beautybar.com.



It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Hair Product

Love to swim? Then you'll love how this product protects your hair.


It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product: I spray this on before I put on my swim cap to do my laps in the pool. It helps protect my color and leaves my hair silky soft afterward (not dry and rough as my hair was before I started using this). Plus, it helps detangle my four-year-old’s long, wavy strands! $11.95; stylebell.com.



Kim Vo Brilliant Luster Hair Glaze

You'll get salon-worthy shine with this home hair product.


Kim Vo Hair Brilliant Luster Glaze: If you’ve ever had a clear glaze (also called a gloss) put on your hair at a salon to give it shine, you’ll love this at-home botanical-based version for a lot less. It gives hair radiance and helps enhance your color. A must-try! But, for best results, follow the directions as to how to apply and how long to leave on. $24; kimvo.com.

5 Healthy Skin Secrets of a Celebrity Dermatologist

Written by: on Monday, January 30th, 2012
Dermatologist Debra Jaliman

With youthful skin like this, you'd never know that Debra Jaliman has a 20-year-old daughter!

So many women I’ve spoken with are overwhelmed by skin care: which products to use, what to do about the little lines here and there, how to treat a certain condition, and more. Typically you’d have to book an appointment with a dermatologist to get answers to all your questions (or chance it with Internet answers). But not so anymore.

Celebrity dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., has written a book (out March 13; preorder for $15.34 from barnesandnoble.com) that demystifies everything about skincare. Called Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, the book features seven-seven rules about skin care. Sounds like a lot, right? That’s exactly what I thought when I picked up this book. BUT, the way Jaliman writes (each rule is short, sweet and super easy for everyone to understand), I actually enjoyed reading every single rule—and page. A few of her secrets that resonated with me (I’ve dog-eared the pages on these):

1) Don’t waste money on expensive cleansers. Spend it on moisturizers, sunscreens, and anti-aging products instead. Otherwise, “you’re just washing money down the drain,” says Jaliman. This is one rule that I myself follow—and was happy to see it in Jaliman’s book: I buy drugstore cleansers (despite trying to be persuaded otherwise by department/specialty store salespeople). My favorite cleanser is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash because it keeps adult breakouts at bay. (I also use Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover to take off mascaras, shadow, and liner.) Then I splurge on serums: one for day (I love SkinAuthority’s Wrinkle Reversing Serum,

Wrinkle Reversing Serum from SkinAuthority

My favorite serum for day—in an airtight pump container.

which absorbs quickly and makes my skin healthy and radiant; $125, skinauthority.com) and one for night (I’m addicted to Skinceuticals Phloretin CF antioxidant serum; $162, skinceuticals.com); both are pricey, but are worth the smooth-skin results you get. Just use sparingly so you don’t go through the containers too quickly.

2) Buy physical sunscreens that are white, not clear. Despite all my years of working in health and beauty, I had never heard this advice before. According to Jaliman, the whitish part of the sunscreen is what “makes these products safe to use. They appear white because the particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide [the protective ingredients] are too big for the skin to absorb”.  Jaliman goes on to say that “particle size matters…and this is one area where big truly is better”. But “when [the sunscreen] comes out clear from the tube, the manufacturer has used nanoparticles that are many times smaller. And scientists are growing increasingly concerned about nanoparticles and their possible effects. Recent studies have shown that people whose sunscreens contain zinc nanoparticles have increased levels of zinc in their blood.” Hmm…a bit disturbing, but good advice that I’ll be putting into practice ASAP. One sunscreen I do love—and feel comfortable using on me and my kids: Soléo Organics All-Natural Sunscreen ($19.96; amazon.com).

3) Take it nice and slow.“I always tell my patients to approach skin treatment the way they would approach exercise. Nobody should run a marathon the first day out on the track: by the same token, you should gradually build up a tolerance to any skin treatment.” I just love this analogy. People expect miracles when it comes to skin care (just as they do with weight loss or exercise regimens)— but slow and

Skin Rules Book

The new beauty bible: every woman should read it!

steady wins the race when it comes to keeping your skin healthy.

4) Good things come in tubes and pumps. Anything else, says Jaliman, “deteriorates quickly when exposed to air and sunlight, which happens every time a jar is opened”. If you want to use a product in a jar, use a cotton swab (or the little spatula that sometimes comes with it) instead of your fingers to get the product out. “Every time you stick your finger into a jar, you are introducing bacteria into it,” she explains.

5) Take biotin for cracked, brittle nails. “Far more effective than those ‘nail-strengthening’ polishes is a daily dose of biotin (vitamin B-7),” says Jaliman. “Most recent studies recommend 2.5 milligrams a day.” I’ve started taking biotin after reading this! But Jaliman also adds:

Avoid the UV heating lamps used in salons to speed drying of nail polishes “because those UV rays age your hands”.

Stay away from nail gels; “more and more salons are offering them, but there are increasing reports of serious side effects, including neurological damage (they’re so hard to get off that nails can be damaged in

woman with smooth skin smiling outdoors

You'll look more youthful with this advice from dermatologist Debra Jaliman.

the process),” explains Jaliman.

Ban nail extensions. “People don’t realize that the space between the fake nail and the real nail is the ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow,” says Jaliman, who adds: “Sooner or later, people who use nail extensions are going to get an infection…If you like long nails, take biotin and grow your own instead.”

Just a few of the helpful tips she includes…

What I also love about this book: despite the fact that Jaliman has her own line of great products, she never mentions them once in this book and actually goes out of her way to recommend other products—drugstore brands and pricier options—to go along with each rule. So you know exactly what to buy to get results. In my mind, this gives her even more credibility as a smart, objective dermatologist.

I’m not one for casually reading skin-care books, but this one is a keeper: it’s the new “bible” of skin-care for every woman. I highly recommend reading this…and putting Jaliman’s advice into practice. Your skin will thank you for it! (And just so you know, I’m not even a patient of Jaliman’s…I just love the book!)

An easy way to keep up your summer glow this fall!

Written by: on Thursday, September 29th, 2011
Alpha Beta Glow Pads

Contains anti-aging ingredients too!

This past summer, I swam my almost daily laps in an outdoor pool. The result: a pretty nice golden glow (complete with freckles I haven’t seen in years!). And, yes, yes, while I know tanning is actually a response of the skin to sun damage, I must admit, I have enjoyed the bronze-y no-makeup look!

To keep it up, I’ve been using these AMAZING wipes from Dr. Dennis Gross (Alpha Beta Glow Pads)—a top dermatologist in New York City and creator of a top-notch skincare line—every other morning. They exfoliate while adding a bit of faux color. Just wash your hands after swiping over your face and neck to prevent your palms from getting “tan”! ($32 for a little more than a month’s supply; dgskincare.com)


The best darn sunscreen invention!

Written by: on Friday, July 15th, 2011
Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen

I tried this sunscreen for the first time today...and love it!

I have struggled with applying—and reapplying—sunscreen every time I (or one of my young kids) gets out of the pool. Typically you have to dry off, then slather (or spray). And heaven forbid you’re the slightest bit wet; other sunscreens just bead up—but not Neutrogena’s new Wet Skin Sunscreen: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE DRY! Just brilliant!

I tried it today at the pool (I got burned on my back yesterday from swimming laps…ugh, which led me to the drugstore to find a new product, hence this discovery): I sprayed it right on after I did my laps and got back in the pool to play with my kids. My kids loved not having to get dried off for a re-application too! Needless to say, I went to CVS and bought the four bottles remaining on the shelf (I don’t want to run out of THIS stuff this summer). It cost me $14 a bottle…but is worth every penny!

It would also be perfect for a very quick spray on after the swim leg of a triathlon…you don’t have to waste precious time drying off: just spray—and get on your bike! (It also says it works on sweat too, but I haven’t tried it yet.)

* And no, I was not paid to endorse this product or given any free products to try! Just a believer!


I am NOT Superwoman: Hear me Roar!

Written by: on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
woman at peace; woman taking time to relax; taking time to smell the roses

Imagine having the time to just lie in nature and deep breathe. Sound indulgent, a waste of time? Maybe it's time to re-assess your life...

We live in a society where doing more, being more, having more is lauded … I lived that life for a long time—and did it at such a frenzy and a pace that I never had time to take a step back and look at whether being Superwoman to everyone and everything did anything for ME? The answer it did not.

While I did everything everyone ever asked of me (I never said no. I put out a magazine every month, oversaw the web site, went to lunches, outside talks, did volunteer efforts…ran from morning to night)—with much ohs and ahs “you do so much!”—inside I was slowly dying. I never did anything for myself, had no hobbies, never had time to pursue things I was interested in learning about, and never had much time for my family.

In a nutshell, I was so caught up in the myth of being a Superwoman that I never stopped to think what living that myth—day in and day out—was for doing for my soul.

Sure, I loved the work I did…but the pace at which so many of us work today is unparalleled. Work defines our life, who we are, our value in life. It sucks up our identity during the week (and now, the way jobs are, on the weekends and during every vacation).

So in taking a step back, I’ve realized I can no longer be Superwoman. And I don’t want to be. I want to work, but I want to have time to do other things important to living a fulfilled and happy life. (As that old cliche goes: no one ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had worked more!) And I’m proud that I’ve finally made this life-changing discovery. It only took me 41 years…

If you are starting to feel the way I did, here are a few things you can do:

1) Re-assess your work life. Can you shut down your computer at the same time every night—no excuses—or are you the type of person (as I was) who would continue to do more and more, leaving after only you completed everyone’s requests? You may find that you can easily achieve more work-life balance by putting limits on your time. “I leave at 6 every night”. Sure some people may think that you’re not motivated, but in truth, it’s those people who are probably most miserable in life. And do you really care what they think?

2)  Cut off e-mail at a certain time every day. And do not check it beyond that point. We live in a 24/7 society where if a boss e-mails you at 10, you’re expected to respond. Sure, you might think: I have to, if I want to get ahead. But ask yourself: is getting ahead at the expense of you really worth it? There’s that old cliche: if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile. And this is truth with setting (or not setting) hard-and-fast limits at work.

3) Do the things you want to do now. Do not put them off. If you want to train for a triathlon, start a plan today. If you want to take a photography course, sign up for a class. Doing more things in your life that you want to do will take the emphasis off work—so you’ll start to live a happier, more fulfilled life.

4) If you’re not happy in your job, look for another one. Finding a new one that offers you more work-life balance may not happen overnight, but moving toward that goal will give you more energy and make you feel more fulfilled.

And remember: you will ever never regret having more time for you…

Why we should never stop going to “school”

Written by: on Friday, March 18th, 2011
school, adult learning, going back to school

Learning new stuff every day keeps us on our toes...and keeps us engaged in life.

I really, really thought that when I finished my Masters degree in journalism, that I was done with school: I was finished—for good! I had no desire to go back and wanted to be paid for my work from now on. (Many long hard years at school with no money can sometimes do that to you…)

And I pretty much followed that philosophy for 14 years until just recently when I left Shape as the editor in chief. I finally had time—and so I signed up for digital classes at NYU. And it’s now that I’m realizing why putting off the idea of “school” was a big mistake…

I’m in one class all about web design—and many times I’m completely lost and often can’t finish my homework because I can’t figure out what the heck I did wrong in the html coding to screw everything up! (For someone who has worked hard to master my knowledge and career, this is a bit of a humbling experience.) I’m in another class all about social media…and there’s so much information that my brain is on overload and I feel like I can’t absorb it all!

But I’m LOVING every minute of it. Why? Because I’m forcing my brain to look at things differently…outside my comfort zone. And it’s really invigorating. As I said to someone recently: we should never stop trying new things or taking classes— be it a community class about finances, an intro to wine class, an intro to yoga class or a class about web design. It keeps us fresh, keeps our mind engaged, and keeps us meeting new interesting people—outside our daily lives.

Many friends I’ve talked to recently have said: “Oh, I’d love to go back to school.” So my answer to anyone who says that is this: start small; sign up for one class (even if it’s a one-night class) and then go from there. You don’t need to be in a program at a university. Just doing something outside the daily grind will keep you continually excited about—and engaged—in life.  Now, back to my homework…