Blog Posts by Allure Daily Beauty Reporter

  • Is a Squirt of Hand Sanitizer as Good as Washing Your Hands?

    by Alexandra Owens


    CN Digital StudioCN Digital Studio Last week in gross-out news, a study from Michigan State University's School of Hospitality and Business found that only 5 percent of people wash their hands enough to kill germs after using the bathroom (and 10 percent skipped the hygienic step completely). I think Carl Borchgrevink, an associate professor behind the experiment, summed it up best: "Horrifying." But one detail of the report had me feeling a little sheepish: 33 percent of hand washers didn't use soap. Before my editor banishes me to an annex somewhere, let me clarify that I don't use plain water, either--I prefer hand sanitizer. It just smells so reassuringly antibacterial. So I asked Fran Wallach, an associate professor of medicine and infectious disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, if I was doing my civic duty.

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    Turns out I needed the hygiene lesson after all. "It's best to manually wash your hands with soap and water

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  • How to Treat Mosquito Bites

    by Catherine Devine


    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBeach bonfires, sidewalk cafés, lawn concerts: Our favorite warm-weather activities are all fun and games until we wake up the next morning covered with mosquito bites. The worst part? We're not supposed to scratch them, no matter how irritating the itch. "With sun exposure, the mark of a scratched mosquito bite can last up to three months," says dermatologist Erin Gilbert.

    See more: Top 21 Drugstore Beauty Bargains

    Red welts all over my legs until September? No, thanks. When I was little, my mom would slather a baking-soda-and-water paste over my skin to relieve the itch, and while it worked, it was messy. Gilbert has an easier fix: Rub an ice cube over the mark for one minute, then let it rest for another 60 seconds, alternating both for a total of ten minutes. "You don't want to keep the ice on for too long, since it can cause histamine release," which is what causes the swelling, she says. If you're looking for something over-the-counter, try one percent

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  • Bringing a Whole New Meaning to Locks of Love: Auctioning Off Celebrity Hair

    by Alexandra Owens


    Usually when I read about celebrity hair, it's referring to what's still attached to the star's head. But in advance of the upcoming auction for Mick Jagger's locks at Bonhams in London, CNN profiled Louis Mushro, a professional collector who has gathered and sold the hair of people like Marilyn Monroe, Mother Teresa, and Abraham Lincoln. Apparently it's a healthy business--Mushro recently sold several one-sixteenth-inch strands of Lincoln's hair for around $1,200 each. But I have to say, I've never understood the appeal of this particular relic, whether you want to own a piece of a celebrity the way Mushro apparently does or keep a part of a loved one close to you.

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    I recently paid a visit to the Mozart museum in Salzburg (supernerd!) and was thoroughly weirded out that along with his childhood violin, the curators decided to exhibit multiple locks of the prodigy's hair. There was nothing particularly educational or inspiring about

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  • Amy Adams's Beauty Secrets

    by Elizabeth Siegel


    photo by Norman Jean Royphoto by Norman Jean Roy The July issue of Allure is on newsstands now, and our cover girl, Amy Adams, knows a thing or two about beauty. She told her favorite products, the coolest beauty trick she's picked up on set, and her secret to the perfect shave to writer Judith Newman.

    Adams is a fan of La Mer (who isn't?): "I have extremely dry skin, and La Mer has fixed some bad problems."

    See more: Find the Best Haircut for your Face Shape

    Her favorite fragrance is a clean-smelling floral: "I'm wearing Eau de Lacoste. I've been working with them [she is a spokesperson for the fragrance], and I actually really love it."

    Her biggest hair mistake: "A perm in the eighth grade. I wanted to look like Kelly McGillis. I was never going to be in 'Take My Breath Away' with Tom Cruise."

    See more: The 12 Best Eye Creams

    The best beauty trick she's learned on set: "Deb Lippmann soaks individual cotton balls in nail-polish remover and sets them on your nails. And it just pulls all the red off

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  • How to Spot Fake Breasts (Because We Know You've Wondered)

    by Catherine Q. O'Neill



    CN Digital StudioCN Digital Studio No, you'll probably never be called to testify about the contents of that bikini top. But sometimes, and especially on the beach in the summer, you just can't help but wonder: are they or aren't they? Los Angeles plastic surgeon Steven Teitelbaum schools us in spotting fake breasts:

    Borderline: Unless they're sitting in one hell of a push-up bra, natural breasts don't have a defined, 360-degree border around the edges. When looking at the right breast, it should only have a border from about four o'clock to eight o'clock.

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    Gap: Oversized implants can create a wide, bony gap between breasts. "Many surgeons mistakenly put in bigger implants to mask the gap and makes it look worse," Teitelbaum explains.

    Fall Line: When a woman lies on her back, her natural breasts fall slightly to either side. Very large implants, on the other hand, stick up straight.

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    Side Line: When viewed from the

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  • Split Ends? Your Shower May Be to Blame

    by Ramona Emerson


    photo by David Stesnerphoto by David StesnerIs hard water hurting your hair? Yes, says a new study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. When researchers from Procter & Gamble looked at 300 people in nine countries, they found that washing hair with water that contains traces of copper can lead to a case of the meh's.

    See more: 10 Easy Summer-Hair Ideas

    Even if there's only a small amount of copper in your water--from pipes or even a water heater--it can cause damage, because it builds up in the follicle over time. "The copper comes in from the tap water, and the hair acts like a sponge," lead investigator Jennifer Marsh told the Telegraph. Once inside the hair shaft, the copper acts as a catalyst, speeding up the formation of reactive molecules that weaken the hair and making it less able to stand up to regular wear and tear like blow-drying and even brushing. This effect is especially pronounced in color-treated hair, the study found.

    See more: Top 21 Drugstore Beauty Bargains

    Here's

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  • Michael Kors's Mother Keeps Her Sweaters in the Freezer!

    by Lexi Novak


    Michael Kors by Thomas IannacconeMichael Kors by Thomas Iannaccone Thought that would get your attention! It's true--Michael Kors grew up in a household where some delicate clothing was kept in cold storage. "We had a freezer full of angora sweaters," the designer says. "My mother said it was so they wouldn't shed. It works. Mother knows best." That's just one of the gems Kors shared last week at a preview of his pre-fall 2013 collection, held at his Madison Avenue store for members of the Couture Council of the Museum at FIT.

    See more: 10 Easy Summer-Hair Ideas

    Kors will receive the Council's Artistry of Fashion Award in September to honor his lasting contribution to the industry. Standouts in his Pink-Lady-meets-Park-Avenue presentation were a hot pink mink stole, a slinky bustier dress, and a silk printed coat. Despite the fitted silhouettes and unapologetic abundance of fur and leather, all of the pieces seemed genuinely wearable on the street, not just the runway. As Kors said, "I'm just as thrilled to dress Gwyneth when she picks

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  • 8 Tricks for Surviving Weekend Sunburn

    by Catherine Devine


    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesIt's what makes breezy sundresses and long days at the beach possible, but it's also the stuff of dry, itchy, lobster red nightmares. When it comes to protecting ourselves from the sun, most of us have stepped up our game. And yet accidents happen, so here's how to deal with them.

    1. Pop two ibuprofen to dull pain and reduce swelling, says dermatologist Fredric Brandt.

    2. Cover burned areas with a cold-milk compress. Yes, milk: It contains hydrating proteins, vitamins, and fats. Dunk a washcloth in cold whole milk and apply to skin for 20 minutes, says dermatologist Diane Berson.

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    3. When you're ready to shower, keep the water cool, and gently dab your skin dry.

    4. Slather on a one-percent hydrocortisone cream.

    5. Here's the hardest part: Don't scratch, pick, or peel your skin, says dermatologist Jeffrey Dover. Let flakes shed naturally, and keep applying ceramide-rich moisturizer, such as Curél Itch Defense Lotion for Dry, Itchy

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  • 3 Muddy Products to Try, Inspired by Governor's Ball Festival

    by Jenna Rosenstein


    Gov Ball photo by Sophia PanychGov Ball photo by Sophia PanychAs I stood knee-deep in muck at last weekend's Governor's Ball Music Festival (thanks, tropical storm Andrea!), I had a lemons-to-lemonade moment: Could I possibly turn this mud bath into an impromptu, skin-brightening spa experience? Alas, no (Randall's Island mud wasn't exactly cosmetics-grade that day). But it did make me rethink mud--and its rocky, mineral-rich cousin, clay--and inspire a search for the latest, greatest earthy treatments. Here, 3 of the coolest--and not a traditional mask in the bunch:

    See more: The 12 Best Eye Creams

    1. Pond's Luminous Clean Wet Cleansing Towelettes. These facial wipes contain soft white kaolin clay (a mineral formed from soils in hot, tropical climates), which gently draws out impurities from your pores. They make my face feel tingly, like it's covered in wet pop rocks for a minute, but leave skin squeaky clean and soft.

    2. Ahava Dermud Intensive Foot Cream. Last time I was ankle-deep in mud, I was standing in a field watching

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  • 10 Father's Day Gifts to Give This Year

    by Stephanie Saltzman




    Tired, last-resort Father's Day gift clichés exist for a reason: A lot of men are tough to shop for. So here are ten grooming gift ideas that raise the Father's Day ante--because a man can only own so many ties, golf balls, and "World's Greatest Dad!" mugs.



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    Summer's Most-Wanted Beauty Products



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