Blog Posts by Allure Daily Beauty Reporter

  • Are You Gaga for Beauty Marks?

    By Sarah Wexler, Allure magazine

    Lady Gaga may be a strange choice for a mentor on American Idol this week (Go, Durbin!), but the faux beauty mark she wore on the show last night was even stranger. Instead of penciling on a standard dot the size of a pencil eraser, hers was the size of a silver dollar, making it look more like a giant polka dot. It makes sense why she'd want a beauty mark: some of the most gorgeous women in history-Marilyn Monroe, Cindy Crawford-have had them. (My best friend has one on her cheek that makes her look just like Natalie Portman or a younger Geena Davis).

    And Gaga certainly isn't alone in wanting a beauty mark badly enough to fake it: the faux-mark tradition actually dates back to the days of Marie Antoinette and, more recently, Dita Von Teese and Madonna have worn them. There's even a company called Hottie Dots that makes beauty mark stickers-though they remind me of the red zit stick-ons you had to wear as a penalty in the game Girl Talk.

    Real beauty

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  • What Beauty Lies Do You Tell Yourself?

    By Elizabeth Angell, Allure magazine

    With a few notable exceptions (most of whom work here as beauty editors) most of my friends fancy themselves low-maintenance. They claim that they're too busy for elaborate makeup routines. They told their wedding-day makeup artist that they wanted a "natural look." They assure me that they would never consider plastic surgery. But here's the thing: I think most of them are much higher maintenance than they want to admit to me-or even to themselves.

    Related: How to Age Like a Supermodel

    One friend recently told me that while she thinks of herself as having good skin and would never think of shopping for foundation, she won't leave the house without tinted moisturizer. Another friend told me that she almost never wears makeup. She was, at the time, sporting a pretty expert (if subtle) smokey eye, which I pointed out to her. And yet another friend recently told me "I always think I have good enough eyebrows that I can groom them myself with just a

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  • Behold the 46-Year-Old Bathing Suit Body

    By Sarah Wexler, Allure magazine

    Just in time for swimsuit season, Vogue Italia featured a gorgeous, lithe cover model in a bikini. The big surprise: she's 46! The model is Kristen McMenamy, who also wore a swimsuit on the Chanel runway this week (above).

    Related: Lauren Conrad: Her Allure Photo Shoot


    Check out how incredibly awesome she looked in a super-skimpy bikini here. Even more awesome is what McMenamy as a major runway force signifies: that though runway-stompers tend to be fresh-faced 16-year-olds, perhaps the fashion world is making room for models with two or three times their experience. It's enough to make you cheer. Yay for inclusiveness! Hooray for beauty at every age!

    But then that excitement gets tempered by the fact that somehow McMenamy still LOOKS like a 16-year-old (okay, at least like a 26-year-old).

    Related: How to Age Like a Supermodel

    Her stomach is perfectly taut, and she doesn't show a single wrinkle, age spot, dimple, or sag. So is it really celebrating

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  • Implants: There's an App for That

    By Sarah Wexler, Allure magazine

    We've written before about iPhone apps that let you see yourself with lipo or a nose job. Now there's a new one to add to the DIY cosmetic surgery makeover apps: one for breast implants called iAugment. It's free and was created by a plastic surgeon, but the disclosure is weak at best. "Images are simulations only; results of actual surgery will vary," which may be the understatement of the century, since so much of implant size ultimately has to do with the size and shape of your natural breasts and your frame.

    Related: How to Age Like a Supermodel


    So the app is not even a mildly helpful tool in actually deciding on breast enlargement surgery-still, it's a fun parlor game that I had to try out for myself. The site suggests using a photo where you're in a bra or bathing suit for best results. Considering that I'm a journalist and this is the internet, however, that wasn't gonna happen, so here's my before and after in a shirt. Once you upload a

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  • Bristol Palin's New Face: What Do You Think?

    By Kate Sullivan, Allure magazine

    Not only does Bristol Palin have a new reality show (it will follow her around Los Angeles), she has a new face. "It's not plastic surgery," Sarah Palin's 20-year-old daughter told Us Weekly, saying that it was a correction "necessary for medical reasons...so my jaw and teeth could properly realign...I don't obsess over my face."

    Even so, Palin's stated reason for liking the results was all cosmetic: "[I] don't have as much of a chubby little baby face," she declared.

    When it comes to plastic surgery- to each their own. But the timing of this supposedly nonelective surgery does seem a little coincidental. It reminds us of a girl we knew in high school who had two surgeries for a "deviated septum" before going off to college.

    What do you think of Palin's new look? And do you think she owes anyone an explanation for her surgeries in the first place?

    More from Allure:

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  • Advice That's Fit for a Man—but Strong Enough for a Woman

    By Elizabeth Angell, Allure magazine

    As the editor of Allure's Insiders' Guide section, I am obsessed with finding useful tips to pass along to our readers. So when I got my hands on the new book Man Up: 367 Classic Skills For the Modern Guy (Artisan), and I was intrigued. Though most of the book is devoted to skills that, as a woman, I've already mastered (such "should I sculpt my body hair?" and "can I wear pink?") I thought I'd pass along some truly useful unisex advice for the modern workplace:

    Who's who.
    Ever had to make introductions in a large group of people and weren't sure where to start? "Esteemed, elderly, and female people (in that order) have the honor of being mentioned first, though the male, younger, or less significant person is the one actually being introduced."

    Keep your cool.
    People are full of advice on how to ask for a raise, but almost no one tells you how to handle a screw up. O'Donnell has these thoughts on how to handle an angry boss:. "Don't allow the

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  • How to Take the Pain Out of Waxing

    By Elizabeth Angell, Allure magazine

    Perhaps the worst thing about coming out of winter hibernation is the realization that a '70s-era embrace of body hair is not, in fact, sweeping the nation. That's not to say, though, that there is no way to make the delicate reacquaintance with your waxer more bearable. Here, tricks that actually help take the sting out of waxing:

    1. Time it right.
    Make your appointment for the midpoint of your cycle, right around the time you're ovulating. "Hormonal shifts, extra blood flow-almost everyone feels more discomfort right before, during, and after her period," says Jodi Shays, owner of Queen Bee Salon & Spa in Los Angeles.

    2. Don't be a baby.
    Experienced waxers will testify that there's a psychological component to managing the pain. "People who have been waxing for a while know it's not that big a deal," says Shays. "But I've seen girls come in with their friends for the first time, and they're all screaming, 'Oooh, this will hurt!' And guess what?

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  • Why Blushing Might Be Good for You

    By Elizabeth Angell, Allure magazine

    I am a terrible liar, but not because I have any serious objection to telling the occasional fib. (I'm not talking about criminal misdirection here, just the relatively innocent white lies that keep us from hurting people's feelings or having to account for an extra-long lunch hour.) I can't lie because it embarrasses me, which makes me blush immediately.

    Of course it's not just lying that makes me turn red: I can't laugh off a clumsy stumble and if I say something wrong to someone I'm trying to impress, you can probably feel the heat radiating off my flushed cheeks.

    I even blush when I see characters on television humiliate themselves. (This makes watching most reality TV a harrowing experience. Nonetheless, I persevere.) I've always hated this about myself, but it turns out that my instantaneously pink cheeks may actually be doing me a service.

    A recent study published in the journal Emotion found that people who turn red after making a mistake

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  • Another Ombré Beauty Trend We Love: Nails!

    By Victoria Land, Allure magazine

    I'm sure you've already picked up that the ladies in the Allure office are having a major love affair with the ombré hair trend. Well, our ombré obsession has spread-to our fingertips. We have Lauren Conrad (our May cover star) to thank for the idea. L.C. recently professed her love of a gradual of fade in her polish, and LA's hipster set has also been spotted wearing the trend.

    So what exactly are ombré nails? It's a manicure using five different polishes of the same tone, that graduate from light to dark. Paint the darkest color on your little pinky and finish with the lightest on your thumbnail. Just make sure you pick colors that truly show a graceful progression from one shade to the next, so your ombré manicure looks intentional (not like you were just sampling polishes at Sephora).

    I've got an appointment for my ombré manicure, using the five polishes below!

    Motives by Lauren Ridinger Nail Enamel in Her Majesty; Zoya Professional Lacquer in

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  • Do You Agree with Maxim's Sexy List?

    By Sarah Wexler, Allure magazine

    I certainly don't! This week, Maxim magazine released its list of the "world's 100 hottest women." Their top pick is a Victoria's Secret model (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, one category that both men and women both seem to find sexy. But the rest of the list completely illustrates the difference between how men and women think about sexy.

    For example, I think Sofia Vergara and Christina Hendricks are some of the hottest women alive-certainly top five material-yet they came in at numbers 29 and 56, respectively. And somehow Jennifer Lopez, who's looking better than ever before on this season of American Idol and was recently named People's Most Beautiful Woman, didn't even make the list; neither did Blake Lively, Kate Hudson, or Julia Roberts.

    Considering the list is supposed to be the hottest women in the world, where are the mentions for international beauties like Freida Pinto, Salma Hayek, Penelopé Cruz, and stunning Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai?

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