Makeup That Gives Back (and Gives You a Gorgeous Glow!)

Written by: on Friday, September 13th, 2013
Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Compact

Comes with a bronzer, two natural cheek colors, and two highlighters.

Ever since I left my position as a full-time editor in chief, I go sans makeup…most days. When I have a meeting or I’m headed out for the evening, I apply makeup. But I’ve been looking for everyday products that are easy to apply (read: take very little time in the morning—since I don’t have much time with three young kids heading off to school) and give great results as the no-makeup look is getting a bit, well, dull.

Then I found this Laura Mercier product at my local Bluemercury—and I fell in love. What first caught my eye: 100% of the profits from the sale of this $48 product go to ovarian cancer research. (September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month…a time to celebrate the strong women who are fighting this disease and help—in any small way possible—in the fight against a disease that 22,000 new women are diagnosed with each year.)

And what’s more: this Bonne Mine Healthy Glow for Face & Cheeks compact truly works. It’s super lightweight—and goes on sheer (layer it for more color). Makeup artist Laura Mercier says it results in “skin [that] has a natural ‘no-makeup’ glow that looks soft and sun-kissed”…very true! Plus, it includes super-helpful, step-by-step how-to-wear-it instructions.

My recommendation: this is the best $48 in makeup you’ll ever spend. And the fact that your money is going toward such an important cause makes your purchase all that more worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

Love this Organic Green Tea!

Written by: on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
OrganicGreenTea

Drink at least three cups of this a day, and you may (say some studies) raise your metabolic rate.

It’s hard to find good, loose organic green tea. Or at least that’s what I thought until I found Mountain Rose Herbs organic Green Sencha Tea ($15.50 for 4 ounces); I brew this tea in the morning and then ice it—so I can drink it throughout the day. I don’t put anything in it (I’m a purist!), but some may not like sencha’s “astringent” (as it’s called) taste.

As an FYI: Sencha tea is a tea that’s grown in full sun—as compared with Matcha tea, which is grown in shade. Some experts say that, because it’s grown in the sun, sencha tea has more catechins (or EGCG, a type of antioxidant) than matcha or teas grown in the shade. It’s these antioxidants that are so critical to our health. Studies have shown that EGCG has anti-fungal (against things like yeast infections), anti-viral (against hepatitis B, herpes, and adenovirus—a common virus that causes respiratory infections), and anti-bacterial properties.

Green&WhiteTeaCapsules

One capsule (recommended dose) contains the equivalent of 24 cups of green tea and 6 cups of white tea.

Pretty amazing stuff.

Now, this kind of tea does contain caffeine, so if you’re trying to steer clear of caffeine, then you can take the Green & White Tea Max from Pastore Formulations (recommended to me by Jeffrey Morrison, M.D., one of the top integrative medicine doctors in New York City); $48.99 for 60 capsules. The capsules have no caffeine.

The Healthier Water Bottle—Everyone Should be Using

Written by: on Friday, August 9th, 2013
Glass Water Bottle with Straw

I've been searching for a glass water bottle with a straw—and found this!

 

If you’re using a plastic water bottle, as I was until now, you should probably think about switching to glass. There are just way too many studies about the harmful effects of plastic (e.g. the proven neurotoxin BPA or bisphenol A) that make me wonder: will scientists find another harmful chemical 10 years from now in even BPA-free bottles? (And meanwhile, we’ll all have been exposed to it for 10 years….) Plus, I was always worried about leaving my plastic water bottle out in the sun or in a hot car (heat is what causes leaching of BPA from plastic into water and/or food).

So I switched to glass after discovering these water bottles at Whole Foods…and I couldn’t be happier. These bottles (available in 22-ounce and 16-ounce sizes) are easy to clean, leave no aftertaste (as stainless steel bottles can), and come with this cool, easy-to-grip, protective BPA- and BPS (bisphenol-S)- (as well as phthalate-) free silicone shield (available in a variety of colors from lifefactory.com; from $22.99).

And they easily fit in car cup holders and the cup holder of an elliptical. And even better: LifeFactory sells similar 9-ounce toddler cups ($16.99). Of course, I had to buy one for my 21-month-old too. Bye bye plastic sippy cups!

 

Glass Toddler Sippy Cups

A great non-plastic option for young kids!

One last note: did you know that BPA (which has been banned in most countries except the United States) is found on every single cash register and ATM receipt you get? It’s a chemical used in the thermal imaging on receipts…so every time you handle one, BPA is rubbing off onto your hands.

What to do: don’t handle receipts (don’t take a receipt if you can get one e-mailed to you—or have thecashier put it in your bag) and never use Purell to cleanse your hands after handling a receipt; researchers have found that the alcohol in alcohol-based hand sanitizers causes the BPA to be absorbed into the skin faster. Soap and water (as soon as possible after handling) works best…And remember, it’s every little thing that you can change in your lifestyle every day that reduces your toxic load—and that may keep you healthier longer. Be well!

 

A more natural ear plug

Written by: on Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Quies Boules Wax Ear Plugs

Made from pure wax...nothing more!

I wear ear plugs every single night (thanks to a guy who snores—loudly!). But it wasn’t until just recently—and by happenstance—that I discovered the foam ear plugs I have been wearing daily for almost 15 years contain…get this…formaldehyde. (Formaldehyde has been declared a known carcinogen by the state of California.) And even more disturbing: NO WHERE on the label do these foam ear plugs—found in any drugstore or on line—say they contain this substance. (It’s used as a preservative in the foam.) And most foam (mattresses, pillows, etc) contain this potentially cancer-causing substance as well, so buyer beware.

So I searched around and found these natural French Boules pure wax ear plugs from Quies ($6.62 for 8; earplugstore.com). All they contain is biodegradable, hypoallergenic wax, which is obviously a natural component of the ear canal. The feeling takes some getting used to—but it’s worth it!

 

 

GREAT New Antioxidant Smoothie Mix-In (Even Kids Love)!

Written by: on Friday, May 17th, 2013
Berry Smoothie

Start your smoothie with organic berries (fresh or frozen)—and you're already getting a lot of antioxidants!

I am a HUGE fan of antioxidants. It’s the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth, in my opinion. Why? First, a very brief, but important, science lesson:

After we breathe in oxygen, it travels from our lungs to every cell in our body, helping to turn food into energy. But oxygen can also have negative effects. Body cells are stable when their molecules have a full set of electrons. When oxygen enters the picture, though, they can lose an electron, becoming unstable or oxidized—the same chemical reaction that causes metal to rust.

Stick with me here, the science lesson is almost over (but this is really important to understand, because free radicals are what trigger premature aging—of the body and the skin).

Losing an electron converts that cell’s molecule to an unstable, and damaging, atom known as a free radical. Free radicals can be formed in the body because of sun exposure; smoking (or exposure to secondhand smoke); car exhaust and factory pollution; exposure to allergens; exposure to pesticides (why organic is best) and chemicals (like home cleaning products); and even eating highly-processed foods. Exercise—while amazing for your body and mind—can also create free radicals in the body.

What to do? Well, that’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants are nature’s defense against free radicals; they donate missing electrons to free radicals and return them to a normal state.

That’s why I ingest as many antioxidant-rich foods as I can: organic berries; green tea; fresh herbs like oregano and cinnamon; dark

Healthy Smoothie Mix-Ins

Williams Sonoma also makes an Omega-3 Smoothie Mixer (with chia and flax seeds, and cranberries).

chocolate; almonds; beans; and brightly colored veggies like spinach, broccoli, and red/orange peppers. (I also slather antioxidant products on my skin—day and night.)

But I also look to other sources of antioxidants—and found this great Antioxidant Smoothie Mixer from, of all places, my local Williams-Sonoma (it’s also available online at williams-sonoma.com). It’s a brick-red powder that’s certified organic, vegan (and dairy free), and gluten free—and it’s made from crushed goji berries, pomegranate açai, blueberries, and camu-camu (all amazing sources of antioxidants).

Just mix it in with juice and fresh or frozen berries and some crushed ice (I added a frozen banana instead of ice). And you’ve got a powerhouse drink—for breakfast or a snack anytime. The only downside: it’s $24.95, but you only need one or two tablespoons per smoothie—so the bag should last you a couple of weeks, depending on how often you smoothie! (And if you buy three: one of these Antioxidant Mixers, the Omega-3 Mixer, and their Protein Mixer, you only have to pay $49.95—so definitely a better deal than just buying one.) If you’re into keeping your body as healthy as possible, this is definitely worth a try!

Bonus: my kids LOVE it. In fact, my 18-month old is having his second cupful as I type! But be forewarned: this is one smoothie that stains!

 

The Healthy Deodorant I Swear By

Written by: on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
LaVanila The Healthy Deodorant in Fresh Vanilla Lemon

A good natural deodorant—that smells great and works!

I simply cannot bring myself to use deodorants with aluminum (this cannot be good to apply near underarm lymph nodes and in areas where women shave and wax, exposing open skin to it) and other unhealthy stuff. Enter LaVanila’s The Healthy Deodorant. It comes in amazing scents (my new favorite: Fresh Vanilla Lemon) with soothing essential oils, antioxidants, and no harsh chemicals. ($18 for 2 ounces, which lasts a long time; lavanila.com). In warm weather, I apply before going to bed and several times during the day for added protection.

If you’re interested in other natural deodorant options, click here to read this great review of the most effective, aluminum-free natural deodorants on reviews.com.

These Skincare Products Work! Chance to Win!

Written by: on Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Replere skin-care products created by Dr. Debbie Palmer

I use these products religiously!

Sure, you already know to slather on sunscreen to protect your skin from aging UVA rays and burning UVB rays (and if you don’t, you need to start today!). But what you may not know is that you also need antioxidants to protect your skin. UV rays create something called free radicals in the body (and the skin) that can trigger premature aging—and may even contribute to cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals. We get antioxidants through fruits and vegetables (and even our vitamins), but applying directly to the skin can help, too.

And that’s why I love these Replere skin-care products (replere.com) created by a mom and dermatologist, Dr. Debbie Palmer. They contain some of the highest amounts of antioxidants in skin-care products—and I trust them because I trust Dr. Palmer. I’ve noticed that my skin has never looked better so far this summer: it’s clear, radiant, and looks healthy.

Don’t expect any fluffy, sweet-smelling creams with these products; they’re meant to be medicinal and repair your skin. They’re brown in color and a bit tacky in feel, but they absorb quickly and get the job done.

And I slather them on my eight-year-old son’s skin at night; he’s gotten a little too much sun lately being outdoors all day (even with sunscreen on), so I feel confident when I put these products on his skin before he goes to sleep. (They’re paraben-, fragrance-, and dye-free.)

Replere Deep Clean & Clarify Face Wash created by Dr. Debbie Palmer

You can win this foaming face wash if you vote now!

If you’re willing to take a shot at these products, go to this link by tomorrow (Friday, June 29)  http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/app.html/params.file.|sprouts|sprouts,html and vote for the Replere Deep Clean & Clarify face wash (it’s a super exfoliating face wash); the first 5 people to do this and e-mail me to valerie@valerielatona.com will win the face wash (be sure to send me your address). Dr. Palmer is trying to have her products featured on QVC and I want to help her spread the word about these amazing products!

Tired of clumpy mascaras that run? Try this…

Written by: on Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
Givency Phenomen'Eyes Mascara

Truly, one of the best (if not THE best) mascara around!

Sometimes, all you need is a little eye cream, tinted face moisturizer, and a bit of mascara to look fresh (no need for a full face of makeup!). That’s my philosophy. And I have to say, when it comes to mascaras, I’ve become a bit of a snob: I hate mascaras that run with a blink of the eye or that make your lashes all clumped together (I’m missing quite a few lashes after years of trying to comb out these clumps). So when I discovered Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes Mascara (available in waterproof—perfect for sporty types—and regular), I was hooked.

It has a “weird” round brush that is like no other—and that’s the reason it’s so amazing. I can’t explain why, but using this brush gives your lashes length and color, particularly in the hard-to-reach corners, with zero clumps. I recently ran out and tried a different brand mascara with the long, straight wand—and, after a few weeks of using it, had to click on to sephora.com to buy my Givenchy.

When using it, be sure to gently apply to lashes or the ball brush will hit your upper lash lid, leaving a big black or brown smudge.

The only downsides are the price: $29.50 and that fact that the ingredients are anything but natural (I have to admit, I’m disappointed by the quality of the natural mascaras on the market today), but I’m telling you this one is worth it—and it lasts for months. (Available in both black and brown.) Try it; you’ll love it!

(And under full disclosure [so important with any reviews you read on the Web], know that I was not given any free products to write this review—or asked to do it by anyone. I just wanted to share one of my beauty faves!)

 

The towel every exerciser needs!

Written by: on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
"I am worth it" workout towel

A great quote, always worth remembering!

How fabulous is this towel? Just when your motivation is waning to hit the gym — or do another 15 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical — just one look at this quote will reinvigorate you! (100% cotton; available for $10.95 from inperspire.com). Just one of the things I’m loving today…

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!)