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Q. I have really bad dark circles and have tried every eye cream to get rid of them. I use a heavy Mac concealer to hide them but still not satisfied. Do you recommend anything that can get rid of them or brighten them? I want the under eye area to glow like all the models on the magazines. Do you have any recommendations?

th.bmpA. In a perfect world we’d all get enough sleep and always look fresh and rested. Of course that almost never happens, so we did some research for you.

First, the basics- make sure you stay well hydrated, get as much rest as you can (but not TOO much!), and reduce salt intake… after all, bags are really just fluid retention around the eye area that causes swelling, which in turn crates shadows and “darkness”. In most cases the dark circles are blood vessels that can be seen through the skin, and nothing short of laser procedures to break up the pigmentation are going to get rid of them.

You can MASK them with concealer, and also with products made to reduce puffiness caused by lack of sleep, illness, or allergies— all of which cause the eye area to swell which in turn draw attention to the dark areas. For these, you don’t need anti-aging eye creams loaded with wrinkle reducers… a simple, lightweight cream or gel with caffeine (caffeine constricts blood vessels, making them appear less prominent) should do the trick. We really like rollerballs, like the Garnier Nutritioniste Anti Puff Eye Roller. The bonus of the roller ball  is that it gently massages the area, breaking up the pocket of collected fluid and alleviating the darkness.

To conceal, we swear by Lancomes Effacernes. Highly pigmented, thin and buildable so it never cakes, and best of all- WATERPROOF. A bit pricey for some at almost $30 a tube, but you use so little to get great coverage that a tube seriously lasts a year or more. If you need something heavier, check out this post we did last week on SmartCover. It seriously covers EVERYTHING.

(On a side note, anemia can also cause darkness under the eye, so if you’re feeling tired all of the time— it may not be lack of sleep. It might be worth it to have a check up and ask the doctor to check your iron levels.)

Hope that helped!
Q. I love all the fun funky bright nail colors for spring, but I work in a very conservative law office and having green or blue nails really isn’t an option.  I tried this once with a gorgeous deep blue Chanel polish, and caught endless grief over it.  Is there a nail color you recommend that is both on-trend and yet office appropriate?

A. Yes! The hottest trend in nail color for Spring is gray-beige, or “greige”. Greige polish is a mushroom/gray/taupe hybrid that ranges in intensity from deeper putty shades to sheer hues, making it easy to wear for any occasion. 

Chanel’s new Particuliere ($23) nail polish has adorned the nails of Hollywood’s trendiest stars, such as Eva Mendes, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Sandra Bullock, who wore it to the Golden Globes. O.P.I.’s Over The Taupe is also a great option, but perhaps our favorite (and probably more office appropriate), is Revlon’s new Gray Suede, which falls on the lighter side of the spectrum. Described as the “perfect gray nude”, beauty lovers and editors alike are crazy for the shade. It isn’t available until next month, but Teen Vogue Editor Eva Chen recently twitpic’d a sneak peek, and it’s totally worth the wait!

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Q: How can I pop a huge pimple under the skin? I was hoping you could give me some clues as to what you look out for. Please help me!

A: Any pimple, blemish or “zit” shouldn’t be picked and prodded. This can cause bacteria in the skin to burst under the skin and spread the problem. When you do experience large, and sometimes painful blemishes, it is best to let nature run its course. If you do see some white pus at the surface, you may do as follows:

  • Apply a warm compress over the area 8-12 minutes to help encourage the pus to the surface.
  • When you have done this, use two cotton swabs (our favorites are Q-tips brand) to gently lift the fluid out. Do your best to place the tip of each swab “under” the pimple. The pus should come out easily without force.

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  • If you begin to see blood or clear fluid, it’s time to stop. You may see more redness around the area. Apply a cold compress to reduce this.
  • Apply an acne clearing product such as Neutrogena On-the-Spot Treatment ($5.99, drugstore.com) to help treat the blemish as it heals. Cleanse your face daily with a salicylic wash and exfoliate 1-2 times per week to keep breakouts at bay.

 

Best wishes!

Question: I love your website, and so thought you might be able to help me with this beauty dilema. I use Stila’s Blush Pans ($18, sephora.com) and love them. But I am down to the end of a pan and the circle of powder cracked. So my question is, how can I save and use these last bits? It is too much to want to throw out, but it is now in tiny pieces so very awkward to use.

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Answer: It can be frustrating when your compact or pans of makeup break. Thankfully, there is a way to salvage the last of any pressed makeup, icluding blush. Purchase a container for loose powder, like the one pictured (Powder Jar with Sifter, $4, sephora.com) at your local beauty supply. Remove the sifter lid and put the broken bits of blush into the jar. Crush any larger particles so it all becomes a loose powder. Replace the sifter lid, and now you can use your blush in a loose form— that will still travel well— until it runs out. Hope this helps!

Question: For the past few months, every time I am about to get a blemish I take the proper steps to prevent it and, instead of fading, it leaves a purple spot on my face. The lower half of my face is covered in what looks like acne scarring but isn’t. They eventually fade but this takes at least five months. Do you have any suggestions as how to aid the healing process?

Answer: There is nothing worse than having to be reminded of the blemishes that have happened in life, especially when they are on your face. Since your spots seem to fade during treatment, we suggest that in addition to your treatment you wear sunscreen everyday. It is so important to protect your skin, especially when you’re using products that contain ingredients that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Also know that the sun contributes to making the spots stay around longer since it does produce melanin in the skin. 

For good measure, here are some product suggestions for getting your skin to a flawless state:

 

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Alpha Hydrox Nourishing Cleanser contains Glycolic Acid and micro beads to help slough off dead skin cells and will also keep your skin blemish-free. $8.49, drugstore.com

 

 

 

 

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Bliss Peeling Groovy works to even out skin tone, but is much gentler than traditional fading gels. It’s moisturizing as well, so using this with any acne treatments you already use won’t contribute to drying out your skin. $65, blissworld.com

 

 

 

 

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DDF Protect and Correct Moisturizer SPF 15 contains a potent micro-radiance complex that diminishes the look of discoloration. Since it also contains SPF 15, it will protect your skin from UVA/UVB damage and future hyperpigmentation. $60, sephora.com

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