• Bikini season is almost here and with it comes those not so-pleasant waxing sessions. To make sure you get waxed, not whacked, bring this checklist with you to the salon.


    1. The technicians' licenses for waxing are on display. (If not, check with your state's office of licenses.)

    2. The facility is clean and well-lighted and has hot and cold running water and bathroom facilities.

    3. After each client, the tables and bed are cleaned.

    4. Technicians wear disposable gloves and change them after each client.

    5. Waxing sticks are not used on more than one person. If more than one area of skin is being waxed, it's changed for each area. (Don't let them use the one from your face on your bikini area and vice versa. Yes, I know, Yuck!)


    6. Instruments like scissors and tweezers are disinfected between clients.

    7. Avoid the type of wax warmed and applied to skin by a roller device. (Rollers are

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  • Beauty Counter is breaking for warmer pastures again this weekend, heading to Puerto Rico for a girls' weekend in the guise of a bachelorette party. There will be no inappropriate headwear or unexpected cameos from curiously oiled-down "policemen," but there will be plenty of beach time. Slipping into a bathing suit for the first time this season is inevitable, which prompts a host of questions-to start with, one-piece or two? If the latter, should we opt for high-waisted bottoms, or something a little skimpier and tan line-friendly? The bigger quandary on my traveling companions' minds seems to be how to go about choosing the best depilatory method to ensure silky smooth, hairless skin that's ready for sun exposure. To properly appease them-and those of you who are likely struggling with similar issues this time of year-we've consulted Shobha Tummala, founder and CEO of Shobha, where Manhattanites-in-the-know flock for all of their threading, sugaring, and waxing needs. Here,

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  • The Best Bathing Suits Under $40

    Bathing suit season is upon us and it's always fun to pick up a new bikini or one-piece each year. But who wants to spend a fortune for something you're only going to wear for one summer? Check out these fantastic swimsuits-each under $40!

    Fun and Flirty

    You'll be the sweetest looking girl on the beach in this adorable green and white bikini from Victoria's Secret. It's accented with a red ring at center and the top can be converted into a strapless style in a cinch! The best part? It's only $39 for both pieces!


    Retro Glam

    Channel your inner retro diva in this sexy one-piece from Target's Merona collection. The true red shade will flatter any complexion and the classic shape will accent your bust while camouflaging any tummy issues. All that for $35? Count us in!


    Sweet and Sassy

    All eyes will be on you as you strut down the sand in this pool blue bikini from American Eagle. The sweet ruffles will

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  • How to bronze without overdoing it

    I'm half Italian so I'm an olive skin lass. It's great in the summertime because I tan super quickly and get all goldeny. Please don't yell at me about skin cancer ... I do wear SPF.

    However, in the winter I'm just this sallow, yellowy looking person. I try to mask it with rosy, ski bunny cheeks which gets me through the super cold months.

    The spring is when I really go crazy. The warm weather and sun tricks me into thinking I should be tan. So, I use these bronzers to trick my skin into appearing tan.

    Here are my winners:

    For my face:

    Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Bronzer ($13.95) by Physicians Formula

    Sensitive skin girl here. I use Physician's Formula religious for all my makeup needs ... it's all eco-friendly. For my base I use the Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer ($9.95), which has a built in SPF 15.

    Over top of that, I finish off with the Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Bronzer ($13.95). It has two shades that you swirl

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  • Shop this entire look for just $97.74!

    It's time to start shopping for the perfect swim look you'll wear all summer, but since even the hottest swim styles come and go, and even the most covetable sunglasses may not hold up all season, it's important to scout out affordable pieces that can be replaced after they've had their time in the sun.

    We challenged ourselves to put together an entire beach look for less than $100-and we did it! Not a single item costs more than $25! Read on to discover which pieces we selected for a neutral look that's totally amped up with fun accessories!

    Sweet Southern Fedora, $10.80, Forever21
    Working your way from the top down, choose a beachy-keen fedora/floppy hat hybrid, like this one. You'll enjoy shade for your face and an instant fly-away disguise all in one flirty piece of headgear. A solid black ribbon ensures this topper will chic-ify all of your suits!


    Thick Plastic Frame Sunglasses, $4.99, Urban Outfitters

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  • How to Prevent Your Skin From Peeling After a Sunburn

    Redness, pain and peeling skin are unmistakable signs that you have spent too much time in the sun. Peeling after a sunburn is the body's attempt to rid itself of sun-damaged cells and protect you from premature aging and skin cancer, according to the University of Heidelberg. Unfortunately, peeling skin is also itchy and unsightly. While peeling cannot always be avoided, you can reduce the likelihood that your skin will peel by taking proper care of it immediately after sun exposure.

    Step 1
    Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Drugs such as Ibuprofen reduce sunburn pain and inflammation and decrease the risk of peeling. The Mayo Clinic states that anti-inflammatory drugs are most effective when taken very soon after sun exposure.

    Step 2
    Take a cold bath or shower to cool your skin down. Do not wash your sunburned skin with harsh soaps and avoid rubbing your skin dry after bathing, as these may increase the likelihood of peeling.

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  • A plateau is a lovely thing when you get to it after hiking all day. It's not, when describing your fitness efforts!

    Plateauing means that despite dragging your body to the gym every day, it's gone into slacker mode. Your weight won't budge, your muscles go on hiatus. Bikini season is only three months away. This is no time for your workout to conk out.

    Enter The Hollywood Trainer, Jeanette Jenkins, with jumper cables. "People get into an exercise rut," says Jenkins, whose students have included Queen Latifah and Christina Applegate. "You can go to the gym for 30 minutes and burn 300 calories. Or go and burn 600. You can literally double the amount."

    Here, she shows six ways to do that--techniques she perfected for her new super fat-blaster DVD, "Bikini Boot Camp." "In my other DVDs, even I dilly dallied-I put down the weights, took a little breather. But on this one, there's not a moment to think about resting. It's boom, boom, boom, next, next, next. We maximized the calorie burn

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  • We know. It's 4 o'clock. And you really, like really want a snack. You know you should have an apple, but let's just say...that's not gonna happen. Snack-time is often how diets are blown, weight is gained, and we all get bummed out.

    But help is on the way! On behalf of unhealthy snackers everywhere, I caught up with the Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos, two New York City registered dietitians (yep, they're twins-identical) and authors of The Secret to Skinny and Fire Up Your Metabolism. They took me to a Manhattan grocery store and ruffled through bags and boxes of salty crunchies to suss out the best and just the very worst munchies around.


    PRETZELS (Snyders's of Hanover). Good choice, right? It's true they only have 120 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving (24 snaps), but they're soaring in salt (390 mg of sodium). "Pretzels are a real downfall for people," says Lyssie, "My clients think they're healthy and eat a whole

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  • Hey, we've been waiting for you. Thanks for checking out Bikini 101-Shine's new summer shape-up Shangri-la.

    Don't let the name deter you. So, your style isn't exactly Kardashian kilowatt. Whether you live to rock the bare minimum, or prefer the more demure-say, a sturdy black one-piece-"bikini" is less a fashion statement than a state of mind.

    We're talking about fun, a free spirit, flaunting your fabulosity-that feeling of knowing you're hot enough to cause global warming. Granted,most of us need a bit of help here. Which is why the top trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, beauty experts, and fashionistas are all showing up to make sure you look extremely fine all the way through beach season. Where to start?

    STEP ONE: Accept where you are. If you hate your body, don't deny it. But try to recognize that you've done the best you can so far, and there's every reason you can do better in the future. Like a country, if you're at war with yourself, you're in a much weaker position

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  • Want a bronze look this summer without the harmful effects of tanning beds and outdoor UV rays? Then a spray-tan is the way to go. But before you head to a salon, it's important to know what to expect (and avoid!)

    We got all the facts - pros, cons, tips, and embarrassing confessions - from one spray-tan artist who's seen it all. Here's what she's learned.

    Spray-Tan vs. Tanning Booth
    Unlike tanning booths, which offer some degree of anonymity, there's no room for modesty here. Everything's done by hand, so I have to be all up in people's business.
    Embarrassment Is Better Than Risking Your Life: Read A Death by Suntan at Age 26

    Grin and Bare It

    Since I see clients when they're most vulnerable (in a paper thong and under bright lights with all their wobbly bits showing), I'm as much a shrink as a spray tanner.

    Women love to know how they stack up: "Do I have more cellulite than every one else? Am I hairier than the average chick?" Sometimes, the degree of self-loathing saddens me. I

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