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Histories Mysteries: a beauty perspective

29 Dec

Why hasn’t the History Channel come out with a documentary on the development of the cosmetic industry?  Clearly someone’s interested in this stuff if it’s a 14 billion dollar industry.  Yup. FOURTEEN BILLION.

Cosmetics have been used since Ancient History, and because one of my life goals is to be on Cash Cab (which is kind of like Jeopardy, but in a cab), I thought I’d investigate the industry a little bit.

In Ancient Times…

women would add rouge to their faces by grinding minerals into a powdered form and applying them to their face. They used things like slate as a mirror (vanity has a name… and it is: cave-woman?). They also used various minerals to adorn their eyes (think Cleopatra), and add pigment to their hair (ahhhh! greys!).

Word Origins

aesthëtikos – (should be an e with a bar over it… wordpress doesn’t have that character) The origin of aesthetic is Greek, and means perceptible to the senses.

sanitas per aquas – Latin phrase which the word spa may be an acronym for.  The term spa was first adopted

in 1326 in Belgium.

American Evolutions

1910:  Canadian-born Florence Nightingale Graham (related to the pioneer of Nursing?) takes on

the pseudonym Elizabeth Grady and opens her first salon, named The Red Door.

1937: Studies show 50% teenager girls argue with parents over wearing red lipstick (ohhhh the times have changed! I think I argued with my mother about blue hair). 

1946: Estée Lauder starts her first company with a jar of skin cream.  And the revolutionary marketing phrase

“Free Gift With Purchase”

came to be a favorite phrase in every woman’s vocabulary.

1968: Skin care is introduced in the department store.

1970:  Oil of Olay becomes a household name.  (Please stop buying this product.  It’s expensive and doesn’t work! (Refer to Step 2: Spend wisely.)

In Times of Depression…

Red Lipstick sales have always skyrocketed during tough times in American history.  In 1929, during the Great Depression, women were buying lipstick to make the day a little brighter.  This occurred again at the start of World War II.  Recently, sales surged again post- 9/11.  This theory of sales is referred to as the “lipstick index.”  Pretty interesting!

2002:  Botox is FDA approved.  Probably the best thing to ever happen to women besides red lipstick.

You’ll Never Guess What I Tattoo’ed

17 Dec

My Eyeliner!

A Post About Permanent Make-up

My friend Sally (a gorgeous Moroccan woman) was telling me she really wanted her eyeliner tattoo’d.  Waking up looking the same as when I go to bed is my lazy life dream!  And before you respond that we’re nuts… Let’s look at the facts.  Do you agree:

– You spend about $100 a year on eyeliner.

– Perfect eyeliner requires a Masters in Art.

– Waking up next to someone with black raccoon eyes… shameful (on multiple levels!)

– Getting ready takes a really long, annoying time (Have you ever noticed? A Woman’s “I’ll be ready in FIVE minutes” & a man’s “I’ll be home in FIVE minutes” are exactly the same?)

– Tattoo’s are AWESOME.  (I have 3 extremely tasteful works of art. O.k., 2 are extremely tasteful and 1 is a tramp stamp that I got when I was 18, but I still love it!  And it’s over 10 years old… so HA mom and dad!)

The Research:

I research EVERYTHING before I do it.  And I do it from a medical perspective.  As a Registered Nurse, I have a lot more general knowledge about health and the human body than the average beauty writer.  Here is some interesting information I came across on my background search.

Permanent makeup: (noun) aka micropigmentation, is a
cosmetic technique in which an organic pigment is
embedded into the dermis in a fashion to resemble
make-up.  Common areas are lips, eyeliner, and
eyebrows.  It can also be used to disguise scars and
spots in the skin. FUN FACT:  You can use it to restore
or enhance the breast's aureola after breast
augmentation or reduction (I think this is funny!  Who knew!).


Dates back to the 20th century, with George Burchett describing it as fashionable in the 1930’s.  I was surprised that there was no information on tattoo’ing from any early cultures.  I figured surely the ancient Egyptians used needles and eyeliner!

Regulations:  In most areas it falls under the cognizance of the Department of Health, State Boards of Cosmetology are often the oversight agency.  In some areas, a cosmetology or esthetics license is required, while in others, these people are prohibited and only a nurse or doctor can perform these procedures.  Some states forbid it completely.  Fortunately, if Mass were to ever abolish permanent make-up, NH is only an hours ride away!

My Experience

It’s official.  I realized I’m insane!  I’m glad I didn’t REALLY think about it before I did it… because Permanent make-up is anxiety provoking!  I highly recommend taking a xanex or something before a procedure like this!

I would also like to note that I told my mother I was doing this and she didn’t even bat an eyelash.

Sally and I went to a cosmetic artist that came with stellar recommendations.  As we entered into her basement shop (just kidding!) … I was so excited walking in the door!

I went first, laying on the cosmetic bed.  We talked about tattoos while I lay with Emla Cream on my eyes.  The artist explained the whole procedure to me as I numbed.  We discussed what kind of style I wanted and what color would be best with my eyes.  I decided I just wanted my lash lines done in black ink.  I don’t like trendy things… I like a classic look.  Trends come in and out of style, and I didn’t want anything permanent on my face that might go out of style!

After a half hour with the numbing cream on my eyes, we started the procedure.  Lidocaine with epinephrine was injected into my eyelid to numb the pain and keep the bleeding to a minimum (I don’t think it bled at all actually).  I’m sure you’re all wondering:  Did it hurt?  No… It really didn’t.  It felt weird!  There was a buzzing and a vibrating and the knowledge that there was a needle… really close to my eye.  Anxiety!  Actually I think I was totally fine until we got to the lower lashes… When I needed to open my eye while the tattoo was being applied.  It was nuts!!!  I realized at this point that I am absolutely insane!  And I love it.

It took about two hours total.  By the end it was starting to hurt a little and I had enough.  Many people do tattoos in sessions because of swelling.  I had some ice on my eyes for a few minutes while the ink was cleaned off and the lidocaine wore off so I could open my eyes again.  Vaseline was put on the tattoo (I forget why).

I finally got to look in the mirror.  More anxiety!

It looks amazing and I love it!

I have a lot of friends with tattoos, I’d like to shout out to my friend Angel right here, who has a sleeve from some Gothic Artist.  Surprisingly, my friends with tattoos, ESPECIALLY Angel, were telling me not to do this.  Even Angel loves it though!

Follow-up and Post-care

I will need to go back in 3 weeks and have the line neatened and the rest finished.

For 4 days:

  • No make-up
  • Rinse the eye twice a day with saline
  • Apply Vaseline to the lash line
  • Ice, Ice, Ice!
*Note:  My eyes are really swollen in the pictures.  I didn’t Ice, Ice, Ice enough.
**Note 2:  I could not fill my eyelash extensions before the procedure.  That is why they look RIDICULOUS. 

Lovely Lashes!

31 Oct

Eyes are the window to the soul, and lashes are the curtains, brows are the valances (sometimes I take analogies too far).  This blog is about how to get the best lashes for your windows ;).

Mascara cost $7-$20

I read a long long time ago in Seventeen Magazine that even if you’re going to be an au natural girl, you should still wear mascara.  It makes a huge difference!  My favorite mascara is Maybelline Great Lash.  The pink tube with the green top.  It doesn’t clump and is about $7.  Other than that, I have no opinion on mascara.  Any suggestions?

Strip Lashes cost $5-$20

I am not going to lie… I love strip lashes!  I have mastered the art of applying the lash.  the secret is to put the glue on the back of your hand (very small amount like the size of a pea) and dip the lash strip in it lightly.  Less glue the better.  Apply lashes to lids as close to the natural lash line as possible.  I’ve found it’s hard to get the ends to keep the glue (might just be because I have HUGE eyes) so I take a bobby pin, unfold it, and dip that in the glue and get the ends of the lashes.  Then apply mascara to blend the fake lashes with your real lashes.  The downside to fake lashes, they pull out the real ones when you take them off.  Not for everyday use!  If you’re going out for a big party, i.e. New Year’s or Halloween, check out the lashes at Sally’s Beauty Supply store.  They have a pair called “starry eyes” they look AMAZING on and are $5.  More expensive event lashes can be found at Sephora.

Lash Growing Mascara cost $50-$120

Lisa, the owner of one of my spa locations, swears by Rapid-Lash.  I have seen a difference in her lashes, and her product retails for $50, as for spending $120 for RevitaLash, I’d rather spend it on Latisse!  …I have a preference for more medical grade products though!  I think these products are good if you would like just a little natural looking extra growth.  Remember it’s personal perception!

Latisse $80-$120

Latisse is a pharmaceutical product and requires a prescription.  I have used this product and I love it.  It takes 8-12 weeks of applying the product to the lash line every night and 16 weeks to see the full effect of the product.  It’s a commitment, and the wands wind up everywhere, but I think it’s the best way to lengthen lashes with a natural look.  Will it turn the color of your eyes?  It’s unlikely.  The product was originally used to treat increased intraoccular pressure, where it was instilled directly into the eye.  To grow your lashes, it is put on the base of the lash, not into the eye.  If you put it in your eye you’re doing it wrong 🙂  **trick of the trade** turn the cap upsidedown and use one drop of Latisse and one brush–this will double the usage of your Latisse! **trick number 2** if you have areas of your eyebrows that won’t grow, you can use Latisse there as well.  I have a lot of patients who have last hair in their brows from cancer treatments, and have had great results with Latisse.

Eyelash Extensions $250-$350 plus $50-$75 for a fill

I personally was just turned back on to these.  Although I love artificial products, I like a natural look, and I was unaware until recently that you could achieve this with extensions.  It took about an hour and a half.  First she taped the bottom lashes to isolate the top ones.  I had to keep my eyes closed the whole time (because surgical glue in the eye leads to a trip to Mass Eye and Ear!).  I couldn’t talk (a very difficult task for me!) because it would loosen the tape.  During the procedure she also did lash dipping (different from lash tinting) to darken my blonder lashes.  I would recommend doing this treatment before the holidays.  You’re suppose to try to keep the lashes dry.  Let’s see if I can keep up with the maintenance!

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