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Shop Your Bathroom PDF Print E-mail

Tired of the cosmetics in your makeup bag? 

Before heading to the drugstore or department store, check your makeup drawer and look for loved, but forgotten items.

You can do the same for shampoo and conditioners.  When you find that you're not getting the same results from your favorite hair products, swap them out for something else you already have on hand.

The Black Hole of Anti-Aging Products PDF Print E-mail

By Suzanne Haze

In France, as a rite of passage, a mother takes her daughter to an esthetician when she reaches a certain age. The esthetician will teach the young girl how to properly care for and maintain her skin. As the girl matures, she will continue seeing an esthetician on a regular basis, ensuring that her skin is kept as healthy as possible.
In the U.S., skin care is not the coveted ritual that it is in European countries. Makeup is indulged and revered. The unfortunate side effect of this American phenomenon is that improperly cared for skin ages more quickly. Too young, American women go from not caring about their skin to obsessing about it as they frantically throw money at anti-aging remedies. 
Allure Magazine recently posted a common sense guide to skin care titled The 10 Commandments of Anti-Aging.  What I like best about the article is that there's just one product type they recommend.  The rest of the tips cost nothing at all. 
Photo from Allure.com

You Can Afford Yoga Classes, Massages and Other Wellness Therapies PDF Print E-mail
By Todra Payne
Alternative health and wellness therapies are often viewed the same as organic food - reserved for those with higher amounts of expendable cash. But in all honesty, I’ll tell you, I’ve never had a “money to burn” lifestyle, but I’ve almost always found ways to include wellness therapies (a massage, an acupuncture treatment) into my budget. As someone who values my health and my looks, I am determined to set my priorities. Physical health, mental relaxation and spiritual renewal are non-negotiables in my life. Because I’m not rolling in cash, I’ve had to be, let’s say, “creative” in how I incorporate these. But with a little extra work, I’ve always been able to keep balanced and healthy. Here are a few tips to help you do the same.
Do an Internet search of various wellness therapies. I’ve looked into everything from Reiki  to colonics to understand how each is designed to assist the body, mind and spirit. I also seek out videos on YouTube to learn what to expect from a session/class. If I’m seeking calmness and relaxation, a gentle aromatherapy massage will help me unwind from the week’s stress. If my mind feels muddled and unfocused, a Kundalini yoga session is in order. Understanding what you need is the first step to finding it.
Look for local practitioners who are offering discounts.
Obviously, the Internet is a great place to start your search for a Reflexologist or Meditation Coach, but don’t rule out other great sources, like your city’s free newspapers, health food stores and community boards. In my city, there are four free community newspapers that list cultural events, neighborhood happenings and small business offers. Many times these papers list special deals from alternative health practitioners, like a first session free code. Or a discount if you sign up for a certain number of sessions. Health food stores often have their own newspapers or email newsletter that feature sales from local natural health experts. I’ve even taken free wellness workshops at my local health food store. These give you the opportunity to try something first hand before making a larger financial commitment.
Call community centers, public libraries and massage schools to inquire about wellness programs/discounted sessions. Where I live (and in many cities), community centers offer acupuncture and yoga sessions priced on a sliding scale based on your income. In most cases, it’s on a trust system, too. There aren’t mounds of paperwork and embarrassing questions to answer about your household income. I’ve been able to say, “I can afford $12 for this class,” and that’s been good enough. Massage schools often offer one hour massages from $5-$25 (depending on the city and how fancy the school is) by senior level students who need to put in hours towards graduation. Don’t forget to tip. If you go this route, pop by the school first to look at the set up. Some schools have private massage rooms, while others put 15 massage tables to a room and work with males and females in one communal setting. It’s important to find a place that fits your comfort level.
Call fancy wellness studios and ask the owners about deals/discounts
This may not work with small, single person practices (say at a chiropractor’s office), but at studios where there are multiple classes or wellness sessions, it’s not farfetched. Down the street from my home, a very posh yoga center offers “pay what you can” classes taught by their newer yoga teachers. A regular class at this studio cost somewhere around $25 each. You can take a class with a new instructor for $5. Not bad. Even if a business doesn’t have a discount system in place, they will often offer a “first class for free” courtesy, especially if they’re offering something exotic or new to your area.
Sign up for online discount programs like Groupon and Living Social.
These programs can be wonderful for sampling all sorts of wellness programs. Recently I bought 20 pilates or yoga classes at a very nice local gym for $50, thanks to Living Social. These classes would normally cost $15 each. That’s a savings of $250. Not bad. I recently saw a colonics center offer a $35 session through Living Social. Colonics at full price run $75 - $150.
Check With Your Health Insurance Provider
It’s becoming more common for health insurance providers to offer a limited number of alternative health sessions under their regular policies. Some plans allow for pregnancy massages, others for chiropractor visits. The cost may be completely covered or require a small co-pay. So, read the fine print on your insurance policy. You never know.
The most important (and difficult) part of any health program is starting. But without worrying about price, you can have more confidence that it’s not out of your range. Give wellness therapies a try. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do.
If there’s someone you know who’d love to try a yoga session, or find a meditation coach, heres a great gift you can give to get them started.
Todra Payne is a green beauty and wellness educator and professional speaker. She’s also the founder of Healthy Beauty Social and Healthy Beauty Project. Look for her beauty articles in Kiwi Magazine.
Skin Care, Then Makeup PDF Print E-mail
By Alison Gary
Americans are known around the globe for having a disposable culture. We buy, and if we don’t like it, we throw it away. Fabulous shoes that kill our feet, a super cute top on sale that fades and pills after one washing. Toss ‘em, donate ‘em and start anew. The problem is we cannot throw away our skin.
In countries like France, girls are taught from a very young age by their mothers the importance of proper skin care and the benefit of regular facials.  They understand that makeup trends come and go, but healthy skin will never be out of style.  How many times have we looked at a photo of a fabulous French woman like Catherine Deneuve and wonder how she can look so amazing?
How many times have you gone to bed without washing your face?  Just a few minutes of properly cleansing and moisturizing your face each evening will take years off your skin.  How about self-medicating your skin woes?  Do you buy dermabrasion products from the drug store, acne treatments from the television, skin lightening products from your local Avon lady to end up with the same or worse skin?  You can be sure that Ms. Deneuve washes her face every night and consults professionals on how to care for her skin.
Before puberty, our faces were washed along with our bodies and we never had a problem with it.  Then oil and acne and rosacea and dry patches began.  We used alcohol-based astringents that were advertised during our favorite sitcom and harsh cleansers that showed fresh-faced beauties using them in the pages of Seventeen.  We weren’t taught that these industrial-strength products were actually exacerbating the problem.  Adulthood came, and soon we were looking for products to stop or reverse aging, recreate the dewy glow of our youth and make our skin be a little less difficult.  We sought help in the aisles of Target and Sephora and at the shiny cosmetic counters of our favorite department store.  Imagine the skin we could have if we only understood it better.
We often feel that we don’t have the money to spend on a facial or the time to visit a dermatologist if we don’t have a specific problem or condition.  The funny thing is we end up spending the same amount or more on products to cover up the issues with our skin.  Get to know and understand your skin and its needs with a medical professional and learn what you can do to repair damage and prevent future issues.  Instead of buying yet another product to transform your face, invest in a facial at a reputable spa or time with a dermatologist you trust.  A certified professional will teach you more about your skin than you have learned in all your years standing in front of the medicine cabinet examining pores and popping blackheads.
Our skin is the one accessory we always wear, and the first accessory that people notice yet we often give it the worst care.   You should be babying your skin far more than your car, your manicure or your home décor.  Styles change, cars break down and manicures always chip, but your skin is with you forever.  The next time you desire a new miracle product, think about your skin history and consider consulting a professional.  In the long run it will be a worthy investment toward the one thing we cannot throw away.

Alison Gary is 30-something who believes style knows no age, dress size or budget. She is the author of http://womanwardrobeneeds.blogspot.com/ and you can see her personal style at http://whatsmywardrobetoday.blogspot.com.


It's Not a Bargain If... PDF Print E-mail
by Todra Payne
Nothing’s more fun than receiving a gift. Department stores and beauty brands know this, so they do a great job of luring shoppers in with their seasonal gift-with-purchase campaigns. We’ve all receivved a free lipstick or a fragrance sample because we purchased something else at a beauty counter. And sometimes, we’ve made purchases just to receive the gift. After all, something for nothing is the ultimate bargain. Or is it? Sometimes the answer is no. Here are five ways to tell it’s not a bargain.

You have to buy something you’ll never use to get the free gift.  
You really want that fantastic free cosmetic bag that’s being offered at beauty counter X. But you have to purchase the new $65 celebrity fragrance that smells like a cross between roses and exhaust fumes to get it. No matter how cute the bag is, pass on this offer. I guarantee you the cosmetic bag is worth about $5 retail. Just head to the accessories aisle and grab a cute makeup bag. You saved yourself $60.

You have to spend beyond your budget to get the free gift.  
You came to the mall with a set amount to spend. But that gift-with-purchase requires you spend $30 more. Breaking the bank (or putting additional purchases - and interest - on your credit card) to get a free lipstick or eye shadow just isn’t worth it, especially if you don’t pay off your credit cards every month. That “free” product could cost you quite a bit in interest if you’re not careful.  

The free gift is the wrong shade for your skin tone.  
Seeing a beauty bag stuffed with the season’s hottest colors as a free gift is enough to get any girl’s pulse racing. What do I need to buy to get that? you think, with your hand on your credit card. But stop for a moment. Will the sales associate let you sample the colors in the gift? If only one of the eye shadows looks great on you, the gift is pretty much worthless. Make sure everything in the gift is going to make you look your best.  

The free gift is too trendy/young/glittery.
Every season beauty brands come out with their “must have” shades. But most times they’re catering to the youngest common denominator. That bubblegum pink lip gloss Selena Gomez wore on the red carpet may not be the best choice for anyone over 30. Don’t be lured to the counter by something that isn’t right for your age or lifestyle.

The nearest mall offering the free gift is twenty miles away.  
With the cost of gas these days, this should be a no-brainer. If you’re not already going to the mall for several purchases, don’t make a trip just to get a free lipstick. You could buy a lipstick at a local store for the same amount or less than you’d spend on the gas.

Todra Payne is a green beauty expert and the founder of HealthyBeautyProject.com. .

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