Blog Posts by Beyond the Beauty Pages, SELF Magazine

  • Your Burning Sunscreen Q's Answered!

    Julie Schott, SELF magazine

    Ok, ok, I've been talking a lot about sun protection recently. But it's brought on a whole slew of new sunscreen questions! I asked Dr. Jennifer MacGregor of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City to answer three crucial ones. Read her enlightening answers and you'll be that much closer to a perfectly skin-safe summer!

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    How do I know if my sunscreen is expired?
    Some sunscreens have an expiration date printed on the bottle (it's usually microscopic, so scan the bottle closely!). Some don't. And--to make things more complicated--different formulas last longer than others. Chemical sunscreens become less active over time, while physical blockers (like zinc and titanium) stay stable for up to three years, says Dr. MacGregor. If you can't find the expiration date, stay on the safe side: "Toss the sunscreen after one year," advises Dr. MacGregor.

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    I've heard spray

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  • Get Beachy Hair (No Ocean Required)

    Photo: Courtesy of bumbleandbumble.comPhoto: Courtesy of bumbleandbumble.comJulie Schott, SELF magazine

    I think we can all agree that when it comes to summer hair, there's nothing sexier than sea-sprayed, windswept waves from a day spent at the beach. The obvious problem? Most of us don't get to escape to the sea whenever we want!

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    Problem number two: Whenever I try to recreate the look using a curling iron, my hair ends up looking more "Toddlers in Tiaras" than sexy surfer girl. I had practically given up and resigned authentic beach hair to weekend breaks and vacations until Bumble and Bumble stylist Allen Wood showed me his secret. (Hint: It involves a bunch of salt-based spray and a unique curling iron technique.) Here's how it's done:

    1. Spray a saltwater solution (any will do, but Wood likes Bb. Surf Spray) on wet hair. Shake your head a few times, then let your hair air dry.

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    2. Next, add more texture. Grab a 1- to 2-inch section of hair, spritz it with the surf spray,

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  • Sunscreen for Your Scalp

    Julie Schott, SELF magazine

    Beauty confession: I'm a complete maniac when it comes to protecting my face, chest and hands from the sun, especially during the summer months. I reapply SPF every few hours, and yet other areas--namely my scalp--are left completely neglected. Last week, I learned the hard way that scalps are susceptible to sunburn too. Three days in the strong Hamptons sun left me with an angry red stripe right down the middle of my head where I part my hair that will surely yield some dandruff-esque flakes over the next few days.

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    Needless to say, I won't be making this mistake again anytime soon. I read recently that you can mix SPF with water in a spray bottle and spritz it on your part line for scalp protection, but it turns out this isn't the most effective method of sunburn prevention.

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    "Diluting sunscreen and spritzing it on the part line may provide some level of protection, but

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  • Self-Tanner: Which is the Best?

    Photo: Courtesy of sephora.comPhoto: Courtesy of sephora.comJulie Schott, SELF magazine

    When it comes to getting a believable sun-kissed tan from a bottle, there's a lot of room for error. From dark streaks to oompa loompa tones, the defining traits of a self-tanning job gone wrong are glaringly obvious.

    The best formulas combine quick, easy application and a natural glow with long-lasting results. So how do we separate the terrible tan formulas from the truly authentic-looking ones? It's time for a self-tan test-off! I took one for the team and tried four leading self-tanners, applying each one to a different limb. The final result? An ombre body - I'm serious! -- and a clear favorite.

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    Dior Bronze Auto Bronzant Self-Tanning Cream

    Designed to impart a gradual, natural-looking tan, this caramel-colored gel smoothes on easily and melts into the skin within seconds, leaving behind none of the telltale smell associated with most self-tanners. After just one application, I'm left with a

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  • Will Antiperspirant Keep My Sweaty Palms Dry?

    Julie Schott, SELF magazine

    Can we talk about something sort of gross for a second? Excessive summer sweat! I don't know about you, but when temps rise, I start to notice wet patches in places I don't usually perspire, like my chest, back and palms -- even the backs of my knees feel damp sometimes. Short of carrying around a change of clothes (as a sweaty ex of mine used to do), I've tried everything under the sun (ha) to prevent embarrassing sweaty spots. So what's the solution?

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    I asked two top New York City dermatologists--Dr. Eric Schweiger and Dr. Jennifer MacGregor--to weigh in on excess sweat and staying dry this summer. Here are their top tips:

    Evaluate your ingredients.
    Check the label for aluminum-based compounds such as aluminum chloride, which help to shrink the sweat glands temporarily. Your best bet? "Use an extra-strength aluminum chloride-based antiperspirant such as Certain-Dri," says Dr. MacGregor.

    Related: 20

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  • What to Look for in a Sunscreen

    Kate Sandoval, SELF magazine

    Mists, powders, lotions and sprays - I've tried nearly every form of sun protection out there, which I always thought qualified me as a total sunscreen pro. Not so! Chemist and owner of C.O. Bigelow Ian Ginsberg filled me in on strict new sunscreen regulations put in place by the FDA. (The big changes: no more "waterproof" claims, nothing higher than SPF 50+.) Because of this, in the next six months or so (the deadline keeps getting extended) a few of the products I've come to know and trust - I'm looking at you SPF wipes --may disappear from shelves.

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    While I set out to discover a new fave sunscreen, I asked leading New York City dermatologist Dr. Jennifer MacGregor to identify the key components of an effective sunscreen so I can choose smartly. Here's what she said to look for:

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    SPF.
    A measure of UVB protection, SPF relates to protection from sunburn. SPF 30

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  • Sunless Tanner Secrets

    Shannon R., SELF magazine

    Being a sunscreen superstar doesn't mean you have to be a pasty ghost. Sunless tanners give you a bronzy glow without the dangers of UV exposure!

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    Self tanners use an ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone or DHA. The DHA reacts with the amino acids and proteins on the top layer of your skin, resulting in a brownish color that develops in about an hour.

    DHA is obtained from either sugar beets or sugar cane. Prior to the late 1980s, the quality was sketchy at best. Luckily for us, ingredient suppliers have greatly improved the refining process, which means less carrot orange, and much more natural bronze.

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    The amount of color you get from DHA is directly dependent on how much you put on the skin. Apply way too much and you become the Great Pumpkin. Put on a thin layer and you get a highly desired light brown glow. Your foolproof option: Gradual tanning lotion, which

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  • Sunscreen Can Ruin Your Manicure

    Shannon R., SELF magazine

    Sunscreens: Great at protecting your skin from the sun, not so great at keeping your mani in tip top shape. They can actually soften or even dissolve acrylic nails and nail polish! Let's see why this happens and what you can do to protect both your manicure and your skin.

    Sunscreen ingredients can be tough to dissolve. So tough, in fact, that some of the ingredients used to dissolve sunscreen are also in acetone free nail polish removers!

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    The result: The ingredient in sunscreen could actually start removing your nail polish. This problem is likely to get worse as high SPF, broad spectrum sunscreens become increasingly popular.

    Not all sunscreens and polishes have this problem. Here's how to figure out if they will:

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    Smear a little of your favorite nail polish on a piece of glass (you can use an empty nail polish bottle or even an old compact mirror) and let dry completely.

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  • SPF Under Moisturizer: Yay or Nay?

    Shannon R., SELF magazine

    Moisturizer...makeup...sunscreen...serums...there are so many products to put on your face that it can be really confusing to figure out what should go on top of what. The general rule is to apply them from thinnest to thickest. The exception: sunscreen.

    - If you use a product containing physical sunscreen ingredients (like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), then order doesn't matter. They'll work just the same whether you apply them first or last or in the middle.

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    - If you use a product with chemical sunscreen ingredients (like oxycinnamate), then apply your sunscreen first. That's because some lotions can inhibit the way sunscreens spread on the skin and actually impact the SPF rating. Basically, if you apply chemical sunscreens after your moisturizer, you may not be getting the protection you need.

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    - Wait a few minutes before putting anything on top of your sunscreen.

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  • True or False: Hair Grows Faster in the Summer

    Shannon R., SELF magazine

    Do you swear that your hair needs a few more trims during the summer? Maybe you need to shave a bit more? I'll admit, I used to think that this was a beauty myth, but I've seen some research that's changed my mind. I love when science proves me wrong! Here's a look at why you actually might need a few extra haircuts (and razors!) in the warm summer months.

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    A study out of the University of Bradford in the UK measured guys beards and leg hair throughout the year and found that the growth rate was lowest in January and February and then rose steadily till it peaked in July. Even though the study was done on men, it would make sense to see a similar trend among women. Add to that the results of a study done in Chile, which found that your hair also sheds less in the summer. So not only does it grow a bit faster, but more stays on your head!

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    Bottom Line

    While I think more research

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