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When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t believe my eyes. A trail of red blotches was streaking across my upper chest and neck, and rapidly ascending up the side of my face. I was one of those people who could try anything on my face and, since I worked in the skin care industry, I often did. What I had applied to my face the night before, however, was what I had been using for weeks with no ill effects.

What I was experiencing was the aftermath of emotional stress. My perfectly well-behaved skin was suffering from a cascade of stressful events. In that now long since passed three-month period, I experienced three of what are widely considered to be the “Top 10 Stressors.” I was barely holding it together and my face decided that I should let the world in on my emotional turmoil.

Later that week, after the problem was more or less under control, I spoke with my uncle, who is a physician, about what had occurred. He did a simple test on the inside of my forearm by running his thumbnail from my elbow to my wrist with moderate pressure. Even before he had reached my wrist an angry red welt began to appear. He explained that this simple diagnostic test indicated that my elevated level of stress had sent my immune system into overdrive and that my entire body, but most obviously my skin, was on red-alert for anything and everything.

As a skin care educator, when I talk about this phenomenon I call it “The Barney Fife Syndrome.” Just like the hyper-vigilant deputy, our immune system can become far too responsive for our own good. We can blame this little “cherry” on top of our stressful sundae on our relatively primitive internal mechanisms that still deal with stress the same way our woolly-mammoth-fighting-ancestors did. This was a handy mechanism at a time when the appearance of one’s complexion was a comparatively low priority to being eaten by a wild boar; because it allowed our lower body and critical organs the internal support they needed to “run or rumble.”

Vasu Nargundkar, who writes about wellness topics from an Ayurvedic* perspective, explains it this way: “The 'fight-or-flight' mechanism is the body's built-in way of responding to stress. In times of 'fight-or-flight,' the flow of blood (and nutrients) is directed to the areas of the body considered vital for responding to the stress and withdrawn from areas considered non-essential, such as the skin. So is the flow of oxygen, making it difficult for the skin to 'breathe.' When 'fight-or-flight' situations become frequent, the skin is consistently starved of both blood and oxygen, making it dull and lifeless, less supple, less hydrated and more prone to clogged pores and breakouts.” To that list I would also add hypersensitivity.

With this internal system functioning largely beyond our control, the result of our high-stress existence can often be seen on our faces. According to Dr. Wilma Bergfeld in her book A Woman Doctor’s Guide to Skin Care, there are “a multitude of skin disorders that are triggered or worsened by stress.” This is no surprise to those who work in the skin care industry. Our treatment rooms have become havens for our multi-tasking clients and our services often provide the only form of real relaxation these busy individuals may indulge in. But, in addition to sending our clients home with a topical treatment for their occasional breakouts, perhaps the best remedy would be a regimen of deep relaxation.

Relaxation may not only be the most obvious offering of the spa environment, it may be the most profoundly therapeutic. The benefits of deep relaxation are supported by numerous studies and these positive physiological responses enhance the more subtle functions of the skin by improving circulation, penetration, oxygenation, and the mechanisms of healing. Some of the documented effects that directly relate to the health of our skin include:

  • Decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol**
  • Boosting of immune function
  • Increase in serotonin levels in the brain
  • Increase in peripheral blood flow
  • Decrease in the skin’s inflammatory response
  • Lessening of the skin’s resistance to electrical impulses

While a trip to the spa may help you take a short cut to a state of relaxation, it should be said that, just like daily skin care, it is your daily practice of deep relaxation that will have the most profound benefits. It is important to note however, that not all relaxing moments are created equal. As calming and relaxing as certain activities (such as reading a book or walking though the park) may seem, they do not elicit the same physiological response that is engaged by developing a formal habit or method of relaxation.

I have even suggested that my super-stressed clients consult someone in their area who specializes in stress management techniques. My best local resource for stress reduction is Jimi Merk who has a studio for his clients in the Mainstrass in Covington called Shine Your Light. Jimi developed his daily practices to foster his own healing process and now he provides personalized assistance or class instruction to help others in developing a relaxation or meditation practice of their own. If you are not quite ready for a one-on-one session, there are also hundreds of books on relaxation techniques such as meditation and guided imagery, just bear in mind that a bit of experimentation may be required to find the one that is a perfect fit for you.

While the path to tranquility may vary, those who have made relaxation techniques a part of their daily lives all agree on one thing; that, in additional to all of the health benefits, the short amount of time that they set aside each day for deep relaxation is made up many times over by their increased productivity, ability to focus and the sense of having more control over their state of mind. These people would also agree with the Tibetan saying: “If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate.”

* Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient system of health care that is native to the Indian subcontinent. The word "Ayurveda" is a compound of the word āyus meaning "life" or "life principle", and the word veda, which refers to a system of "knowledge". Thus "Ayurveda" roughly translates as the "knowledge of life". Ayurveda is concerned with measures to protect "ayus", which includes healthy living along with therapeutic measures that relate to physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony.
** The so-called "stress hormone", cortisol, is released in the body during times of stress along with other hormones associated with the “flight or fight” response. But, while other hormone levels quickly return to normal, cortisol levels can remain elevated over a longer time period. In fact, they can remain persistently elevated in the body when a person is subjected to chronic stress. Numerous studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area. Whether or not your stress levels will result in high cortisol levels and weight gain is not readily predictable. The amount of cortisol secreted in response to stress can vary among individuals, with some persons being innately more "reactive" to stressful events. But it may be worth noting that studies have indicated that women who tended to react to stress with high levels of cortisol secretion also tended to eat more when under stress than women who secreted less cortisol.

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Michelle Landon, BeautiControl Spa Consultant

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We all know there’s nothing our favorite canines love better than a satisfying roll in the most disgusting substance they can sniff out during their daily walk. But you’re the one who’s stuck to clean up the mess. And nothing ruins a good manicure like a scrub-poo-out-of-fur doggie bath.

It’s time to enlist professional help. Make your beloved pet look like a million bucks (and save precious time and effort on your part) by partaking in the services provided by these local pet grooming spots.

Pampered Pooch Spa

A mobile pet spa catering to Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the Pampered Pooch Spa is great for the chic woman on the run. A certified groomer in a pet spa van can take care of your pet right in front of your home, which allows your pets never to leave the comfort of their driveway. Owners can schedule a variety of services for their pets, including a spa bath tailored to their individual coat and skin needs and choices between a mini and full groom. Curious as to how this works? Visit the Web site for a virtual tour of a mobile van for a dog’s eye view of every angle. A visit can be made to your home Tuesday through Saturday from 8 6 p.m. or Sunday and Monday by appointment. Visit the Web site for price information or call (859) 816-3825.

A Doggie's Day Spa

Owner Angela Davenport is not only an active member of the National Dog Groomers Association of America, she is also a graduate of The Dayton Academy of Dog Grooming and certified by the Ohio Academy of Pet Styling. In short, your pet will be in good hands at the A Doggie's Day Spa. Located on Crookshank Road, A Doggie's Day Spa also offers training, day care and overnight boarding for your furry friends. Pricing varies according to breed, coat, condition, size and the dog’s temperament. Cat grooming is also available on a case-by-case basis. Testimonials and scrapbooks of happy customers are featured on the Web site. For more information or to make an appointment, call (513) 451-7999.

The Pet Spot

Featuring almost two acres outside and 32,000 feet inside, The Pet Spot has a full menu available of everything needed to pamper your pet. Treatments range from a “pawdicure,” which includes a nail trim, pad trim and foot massage for $15 to “the works” including four hours of playtime, an hour massage, “pawdicure,” ear cleaning, ear massage, full groom, fluff dry and a stuffed toy, all for $110, your pooch will be sure to thank you for the star treatment. The Pet Spot, calling itself “Cincinnati’s luxury pet care resort,” also offers boarding, training and daycare for Fido. Located in Norwood on the Norwood Lateral, visit the Web site for a virtual tour of the facility. Call (513) 351-7768 for more information or to make an appointment.

Melody Manor Grooming Salon

Owner Kitty Pritchard has been in the pet grooming business for the last 35 years, but still has no problem remembering the name of every pet who gets beautified at her salon. Melody Manor provides a rejuvenating grooming experience for dogs AND cats, with services including nail trimmings, drained glands, skin and coat conditioning, massage styling and a variety of cuts: Basic, Show, puppy and cuts invented by the owner, such as the "lion cut." Located one mile from downtown Cincinnati on Monmouth Street in Newport, Ky., the salon is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (859) 441-7561 or visit the Web site for more information.

Photo: © iStock International Inc.

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Okay, summer is over princess frosty locks.


Tone down your bleach blonde over-highlighted tresses with lowlights, which help create a vibrant hair color, brings out your skin tone and complements all those winter shades you'll be wearing for the coming months.

Rosina Luca, stylist and marketing manager at Avalon Salon and Aesthetic Day Spa in Hyde Park, says many of her clients come in for lowlights this time of year. According to Luca, a "lowlight" color can range from a dark blonde to a red, brown or black.

In general, she says, going a little darker in winter is best. Darker lights are better for skin that is often paler in winter and won't drain the color from the face.

Lowlights can also act as a slow transition into a dark color, versus a drastic change like Victoria Beckham's platinum-to-chocolate forklift upgrade.

You can get creative with the lowlighting technique, as well. Luca says Avalon uses a product called Wella Color, which has a "Colors of the World" technique guide. "It provides different techniques for different cuts," she says. "It really enhances the end result."

As for the time you need to invest in such a treatment, it really depends on how much hair you have to process, color and the health of your hair. "We know that not everyone gets out of here in a cookie-cutter time frame, because we're well trained to go through all the steps and processes to make that color vibrant and dynamic," says Luca, "not muddy, pink or ashy."

The price also varies depending on how much experience your stylist has and how many processes are required for your treatment. But, Luca says, upon consultation, your treatment will start at $85.


Visit Luca or one of the other expert stylists at Avalon for more information about lowlights. Avalon is also an aesthetic day spa, which means you can visit their in-house physician about their many medical treatments offered at Avalon. In fact, they're having a special "open house" to learn about Radiesse, a dermal filler, on Nov. 30. Call 513.533.1700 to find out more.

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Without a doubt, one of the coolest parts of my job, as a spa industry educator, is the opportunity I get each year to attend the International Spa Association (ISPA) conference.

The ISPA trade show floor is a virtual candy store for any beauty industry enthusiast, offering the latest and greatest goodies from the world of skin and body care, spa amenities and even fitness. These incredible products eventually make their way into spas and fitness centers all over the globe.

In fact, some of these treats and treasures may already be on the shelves or on their way to local spas, but I wanted to give our Cincy Chic readers an advance preview of some of the most interesting and innovative products that were featured at this incredible event. Sure, ISPA always has the incredible assortment of beautiful bath products, aromatic candles, plush robes and ultra-performing skin care, but what was interesting is that, when I focused on the newest and most unusual products, I found myself looking at things that tap into what is referred to as the mind/body connection, and by doing so, address the larger issues of well-being.

While the majority of spa products you may be familiar with focus on making our faces and bodies look better, many of the newest offerings have been created to have an impact on how we feel. An example of this trend is suggested in the pitch: “Refresh—Restore—Revitalize with 95 percent enriched oxygen” from the manufacturers of a product called Oxygen+. The company’s canned oxygen is a response to a growing number of resorts that have segments of their programming and treatments dedicated to revving you up instead of lulling you into a light coma. Rather than having fatigued guests swilling caffeinated energy drinks, Oxygen+ delivers a gentle blast of pure oxygen, and for those who like a little aromatherapy with their inhalations, the scents of peppermint and grapefruit (my personal favorite) are also available. Products range from $18 to $48 and are available online and locally at Phyllis at the Madison.

Another feel-good fix comes courtesy of Sprayology. Their innovative line of all natural homeopathic and vitamin oral sprays was launched a few years ago and quickly became a favorite of the health and beauty magazine editors. The Sprayology experts I spoke with point out that their FDA-approved formulas are able to impart their benefits almost instantaneously via sublingual (under your tongue) application. This is a clear advantage for anyone who hates to choke down bulky pills or those who have nutrient absorption issues (such as individuals who have undergone gastric bypass). While Sprayology formulas are pricier than their pill, capsule and liquid counterparts, I have found that the spray concept wins out over my habit of traveling with supplements that end up migrating to the bottom of my carry-on instead of migrating to the lower portion of my digestive tract.

Another interesting product for the body comes from Power Plate. This ultra high tech device, which looks like a cross between a Segway scooter and a medical weight scale, promotes the use of vibration in conjunction with traditional workout methods. The creators offer some compelling science that indicates that exercises done on the Power Plate can substantially exceed the results of simple floor or resistance equipment exercise with respect to muscular tone and strength, reduction of cellulite and increase in bone density. At a price point of $4500 your only chance to try one may be if you can convince your local gym owner to bring one in. Tell him or her that Madonna swears by it.

For a positive state of being, that comes from looking good and feeling good about yourself, check out ZENsei clothing. Their new collections of spa/resort/yoga wear are as affirmative as they are aesthetically pleasing. Created by author and all-around creative guy Daniel Levin (a fellow I am lucky to call a friend of mine), ZENsei puts a special spin on spa wear by printing or stitching affirmative messages on the inside and/or the outside of each piece of clothing. The designs were inspired by the theories presented in the book: The Healing Message of Water by Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto. His studies showed that the molecular structure of water actually changes when exposed to positive words such as: happiness. As someone who has regularly been stopped at the gym by people who want to know where I got my cool ZENsei outfit, I can say that, even if the inner messages don’t bring you joy, the compliments you get on your groovy togs will.

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When my husband and I first started living together, I would go to bed with my makeup on (something you should never do) just so he wouldn’t see me without it. I guess I wanted him to believe that I had perfect skin, naturally long lashes and glossy lips all of the time.


This routine got very tiring, so finally I let him see the real me with no makeup and with glasses. He did call me a bookworm because of my glasses, but he didn’t say anything about my lack of makeup. Honestly, I don’t think he even noticed, and to this day, he thinks I look the best in the morning before I put any makeup on.

Regardless of whether your significant other notices the makeup you wear or not, you still like it. So, finding a happy medium in which you’re feeling good about your makeup, but still little enough applied that your man still hasn’t a clue, is key.

There are ways of putting on makeup so that he won’t realize that you are wearing it at all. He will just believe that you are naturally perfect all of the time. The first tip I recommend is wearing foundation that matches you skin tone. There is no better give-away that a woman is wearing makeup than seeing a line of demarcation at the jaw. I love the mineral powder foundations because it is almost impossible to have a visible line with these foundations. Another tip, when looking for a foundation that he won’t notice, is to check its fragrance. If the foundation has a very strong menthol smell or other type of smell, a man will notice that you are wearing it if he gets close to you. So look for a foundation that is non-fragrance.

The next hint that I can give is to wear natural colors when it comes to your eyes, cheeks and lips. If you have on the right colors, even if you put on too much, he won’t notice. When it comes to the eyes, choose cream, beige, brown or gray tones and make sure that they are not too glittery. He will notice if you have glitter all over your face. Also stick with a pencil or powder eyeliner; they blend better and look more natural than a liquid liner. For mascara, I would wear a brown or brown-black instead of black; it definitely looks more natural. For your cheeks, pick a pink-brown color or a coral color. You want to look like you have a natural glow. If your blush makes you look like you have just run a marathon, it is probably not the right shade for you. Tone it down a bit. For lips, I would line with a neutral color that matches your natural lip color, and then use a gloss that is clear or a gloss that matches your natural lip color.

If you follow the rule that "less is more" when it comes to makeup, then you will always look fresh-faced and naturally beautiful. Don’t be afraid to let your natural beauty shine through. Remember that your man loves you for you and not how you wear your makeup. If you feel good about the way you look, then he will feel good about the way you look. It is all about self-confidence. Men love a confident woman and they will notice confidence before they will notice how your makeup looks.

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Lifestyle Design Center
Models: Amy Storer, Chris Saunders

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Have you ever walked past someone on the street and know they must be successful by the way that they look? Many of us think that we must make a lot of money to look successful, but that is not necessarily the case.

I had the opportunity to ask two very successful business women, J.J. Campbell and Sindy Rodriguez, their secrets to dressing for success. If anyone would know fashion and beauty, it would be these two women; they are the co-owners of Cloud 9 Salon that will be opening Nov. 27 in Florence, KY.

Beauty that says success requires that you look “put together” at all times when you are working. This includes everything from your hair and makeup to your clothing.

“I try to keep my outfit looking good by wearing crisp or ironed outfits. You don’t have to have expensive clothes if you just keep them ironed,” Rodriguez says.

Rodriguez also likes to accessorize her outfits with jewelry and she never forgets to have her hair and makeup done. If you do this, she says, “everything will go together from head to toe and when you walk in the room, the first impression will be a good one!”

J.J. Campbell gives this advice: “I would dress for success everyday, even if you don’t feel like it in the morning; it is the little things that matter and make us positive.” Sometimes waking up and feeling like a success just isn’t something that seems possible in the morning, but if you make an effort to get up and get yourself ready, it can make all the difference. Your attitude has a lot do with how you feel about yourself. If you take a little “me” time in the morning, not only will you feel good about yourself, but others will feel good about you too.

Rodriguez and Campbell agree that it is not a certain look that makes a person exude success when you see them. You don’t have to have one sport one particular hairstyle or dress a certain way to look like a success.

For hair, Rodriguez says to “just keep it trimmed and keep your color touched up. This helps the look and presence of your hair; if your hair looks good, you feel good!” Taking care of your hair is the most important element in having “good hair days” everyday. Everyone can agree there is no better feeling than having a “good hair day” and no worse feeling than having a “bad” one.

Beauty that says success is not something that is hard to do. It really all boils down to how you feel about yourself. If you love the way you look, and you make an effort to take care of yourself from the inside out, you will feel successful.

Campbell expresses it best when she said: “taking care of yourself and your appearance will bring out so much inner confidence — and with confidence, comes success.”

Location: Gateway Quarter, downtown at 12th & Vine
Model: Kim Pham

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Keeping your feet pretty can be about more than looking great in those new peep toe pumps, it can also affect your health.

Soft, smooth and well-maintained feet can protect you from all sorts of issues from fungal infections to ingrown toenails. But putting twinkle back into your toes can be a little trickier than it may seem.

According to, the official Web site of The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, there are more than a few steps to keeping your feet and toenails healthy and happy.

First of all, the toenails should be clipped to the natural rounded shape of the toe. They should also not be shorter than the toe and filed to keep the nail itself healthy. To avoid ingrown toenails and other nail issues, they should be clipped after a shower or bath when they are soft.

The foot itself also requires some special care. To keep the skin from cracking or growing abnormal calluses and bunions, you should scrub your feet with a pumice stone while in the shower or during a bath. Afterwards and whenever there is noticeable dry skin on the feet, you should apply heavy lotion or petroleum jelly to the top and bottom of each foot and cover them with a sock overnight. But beware! If you apply too much lotion between the toes and fail to clean it off properly, the wetness can result in fungal or bacterial infections.

Or, if that all seems a little much for your rookie self to handle, you could pamper yourself and your feet for between $30 and $85 (plus at 20 percent tip) at one of Cincinnati’s salons.

“People should have a professional clean and trim their feet and toes just for general health reasons,” says Marilyn Spatola, a nail technician and nurse at Avalon Salon and Aesthetic Day Spa in Hyde Park. “It’s is also good because if there are any real serious problems, we can help pin-point them and let you know if you need to see a doctor about it,” Spatola says.

A typical pedicure at any of Cincinnati’s salons includes a foot soak and a foot and leg rub (sometimes with an exfoliate scrub). After that, the nail technician will trim and clean up the toenails, topping it all off with a polish color or design of your choice.

According to Kelly Rousf, a nail technician at The Woodhouse Day Spa in Montgomery, the most popular fall colors this year are the deep reds and purples.

Although pedicures are great for medical and hygienic reasons, they are also about self-esteem. “Getting a pedicure is almost like losing weight or getting your hair done,” says The Woodhouse Day Spa manager Chris Mann. “You just feel good about yourself afterward.”

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Model: Rosina Luca, stylist and marketing manager at Avalon Salon and Aesthetic Day Spa in Hyde Park

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No pain, no gain.

The old sports adage has seen its fair share of beauty applications with plucking and waxing. But after Cincy Chic Editor and Publisher Amy Storer checked out Avalon Salon and Aesthetic Day Spa's Permanent Laser Hair Removal, she says those days might be out the door.

"I've done electrolysis before, and that's a very painful, time-consuming process," she says. "I literally spent two hours each week for a year getting it done and then I'd have to ice my face afterwards. The laser hair treatment was quick and simple. I was just a little red – like a sunburn – for an hour afterwards, but it didn't hurt to the touch."

Permanent Laser Hair Removal is different from electrolysis in that the hair follicle is destroyed with heat and energy instead of inserting an electrical probe into the individual follicles.

"In terms of effectiveness, they are equally effective," says Dr. Navkaran Singh, a Board Certified Physician and Senior Medical Director at Avalon Salon and Aesthetic Day Spa in Hyde Park. The advantage of Laser Hair Removal is that it is both less painful and involves much less of a time commitment. For example, the upper lip takes about 30 seconds to treat, versus one hour with electrolysis.

And the upper lip is just a start. You can have hair removed from any part of the body with the exception of the eyebrow because of shaping difficulties. To remove hair from the entire face (excluding the eyebrows, of course) it takes about 15 minutes, as does bikini line hair removal. However, a Brazilian laser treatment takes a little longer at 30 minutes.

"I could even see people getting something like this done on their lunch break. [It] didn't take any time to do and you couldn't tell I did it afterwards," Storer says. "Much different than my experience with electrolysis."

The treatments are sold in time blocks and "we try to get as many things treated in that 15 minutes as possible," Singh says.

Although the procedure is as equally effective as electrolysis, it does require that you go five or six times in all, each appointment about four to six weeks apart. Singh adds that about two to three weeks after the first procedure, hair will start to grow back, but far finer that its former self.

One advantage to electrolysis, outside its lower price tag, is that it destroys blonde hair, which is difficult to treat with a laser. The best candidates for Permanent Laser Hair Removal are people (not just women) with light skin and dark hair. Keep in mind that if you're taking medications that result in skin sensitivity (i.e., Tetracycline), the procedure might not be for you.

But even for the perfect candidate, there can be some risks involved, including skin discoloration and light burning. However, post-treatment, your skin will be smoother, more even – and of course – hairless!

Like any medical procedure, there are a few things you'll need to do (and not do) for the treatment. During the two weeks before the appointment, patients should not get prolonged sun-exposure or use a self-tanner. They should also not pluck or wax for four to six weeks before the procedure (don't worry, you can shave). After the procedure, patients should also stay out of the sun and, if the underarms are treated, they should also go deodorant free for a while — makeup is fine.

But once all is says and done, the result is more beautiful, touchable skin.

"People really like that (the skin) is smoother," Singh says. "It's just soft again in that area."

The pricing for Permanent Laser Hair Removal starts with a $45 charge for a 15-minute physician consultation (which applies to the first treatment). A patch test is $45 and a 15-minute treatment session is $175. Additional 15-minute sessions are $125. Avalon also offers multiple treatment packages.

But the cost and commitment are worth the results.

"It's now three weeks after my procedure and it's just now coming back, but it's coming in really fine, so I can see a dramatic difference just after that one treatment," Storer says.

Learn more about this and other medical aesthetic procedures such as dermal fillers and laser skin rejuvenation at a free session held at Avalon Salon Nov. 8 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

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Does your Halloween makeup expertise consist of rubbing red circles on your best bud’s clown face (that turn out lopsided despite your best efforts)?

That’s why Cincy Chic is here to add more “boo” into your boo-tiful Halloween makeup this year. Chicsters like us don’t have to rely on those dime a dozen prepackaged makeup kits sold every October — for one, we’re not 5-years-old, and now that we’re grown, covering our face with makeup looking like melted crayons doesn’t hold the allure it once did.

Instead, we have some frightfully appropriate (yet grown up) makeup ideas so you’ll be unspookably chic when the night ‘o fright rolls around.

One way to jazz up your Halloween makeup is using false eyelashes. Even if you’re blessed with naturally long lashes, All Hallow’s Eve is the one night of the year you’re allowed to go a little crazy with your look, so bust out those falsies! False eyelashes come in all sizes and colors, so really the end effect is up to you! There are lashes covered in shimmer for the fairy look, made of red or green foil for a mod look and lashes constructed to look like spider lashes. The best part? They’re also friendly to the chicster on a budget — running from three to five bucks a pop make them gorgeous AND affordable.

If you’re more crafty in your talents, take Halloween as an opportunity to cultivate your inner Martha Stewart and decorate a mask. Masks are great because the very thought of them makes us think of Mardi Gras and intrigue — allowing you to hide your true identity for one night, which as we know, is the point of Halloween (candy excepted, of course). Head down to your local craft store and buy cartloads of fun decorations like glass stones, colored feathers, foam bats or anything that catches your fancy and goes with the theme of your costume. Make it even more fun by throwing a pre-Halloween decorating party for yourself and your friends so you can don personalized masks of mystery Oct. 31!

A third way to get your makeup as noticed as your costume is to say “buh bye” to those traditional Halloween makeup tips and “hello!” to fabulous and yes, Halloween-appropriate products you can find in any drugstore. You may be thinking, “What I have in my makeup bag will not work with my costume.” And you’re probably right. But plenty of brands make eye-popping colors perfect for Halloween, but not necessarily something you’d want to wear to the office.

For instance, L’Oreal makes H.I.P. (High Intensity Pigments) in a rainbow of colors from the brightest teal to the sultriest wine. They have the impact of MAC cosmetics without the drain on your wallet. A small amount goes a long way with these eye shadows because of their concentrated pigments. Let your imagination run wild. Going to the masked ball as a mermaid? Pick up the Teal loose eye shadow and swirl it over your eyes. A flapper more your thing? Pick up H.I.P.’s Visionary; a gold shadow so yellow it looks like it’s made of 24 karats!

L’Oreal has your eyes covered, and Revlon’s taking care of your lips, regardless of costume. For girly costumes like fairies, princesses or angels, Revlon’s Sugar products are your answer. Sugar is a frosted crystal top coat of pearly powder tinted with color you can layer over your lipstick or gloss. It comes in a variety of colors, including Snowflake, Sprinkled Pink, Pixie Plum and PeriTwinkle. For you lovely ladies out there showing your dark side this Halloween, Revlon makes Midnight Swirl gloss, which is a twist of deep glossy color mixed with black pearl shine. These glosses, which come in shades of red, wine and taupe, are literally swirled with a black pearly gloss resulting in a look fit for a witch, devil woman or seductress.

Now that you’ve covered your lips in sugar and your eyes in beautiful colors, it’s time for the rest of your face! Ornament yourself with rhinestones and glitter (depending on your costume, of course). Paste a semicircle of rhinestones around your eye, sprinkle some sparkle on your cheeks and go! Another option for scarier costumes is using black glitter or a stencil. Halloween stores carry stencils of Halloween-appropriate shapes such as bats, ghosts and gothic crosses. Use them to paint funky shapes wherever your skin shows!

Whatever your choice of makeup, remember to have fun — play with different colors, rhinestone patterns and lash lengths to achieve your perfect Halloween look. Have a spooky time!

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If you are one of those people who doesn’t really come to life until that first morning cup of coffee hits your palette, you are not alone; but consider for a moment that your skin just might respond to the same wake-up call.

Just this past February, the extract from the coffee berry was recognized as viable antioxidant for skin care at The American Academy of Dermatology's annual meeting. Its benefits are being launched in a skin cream, and a small collection of other support products, called Revale Skin, which are now being offered in dermatologists’ and plastic surgeons’ offices and ranges in price from between $40 to $100.

The active ingredient, derived from the fruit of the coffee plant, is being touted as the next big thing in the thriving cosmetics industry due to its powerful antioxidant properties. I have written about antioxidants and their critical role in skin care before, but here’s a quick refresher:

Antioxidants: Ingredients that work to neutralize the activity of free radicals, the unstable molecules that are triggered by UV rays, environmental stressors or other factors such as the body’s own on-going oxidative processes. They are often referred to as ‘free radical scavengers’ because they prevent or limit the amount of destruction a free-radical can unleash. While the vitamins A, C and E are considered the most proven and potent antioxidants, there are many others that are proving their worth in the field of skin care.

101507BEAUTY.jpg The trademarked CoffeeBerry™ extract makes use of the specific category of antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols are a large family of natural compounds derived from plant sources. They are, essentially, a plant’s protective system against oxidative stress, but fortunately, we too can benefit from their botanical arsenal against a number of common stressors.

The polyphenol antioxidants contained within the coffee berry are thought to be three times greater than that of green tea, a leading antioxidant in skin-care products. When applied to the skin, these extracts indicate the ability to prevent the types of cellular damage that lead to the signs of aging. To support this claim the manufacturer of Revale points to a test carried out on women aged 35 to 60 in an independent laboratory over three weeks which proved the extract to be beneficial on wrinkles, dry skin and discoloration. Another endorsement came from Allure Magazine which stated: “The texture and tone of the skin treated with CoffeeBerry extract showed 46 percent improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, 64 percent in overall skin smoothness, and 79 percent in skin hydration.”

While coffee beans have been used in the cosmetics field for a number of years, for their lipolytic (fat-burning) properties, the utilization of the berry from the coffee plant is new. It seems that the fruit that surrounds the “bean” rapidly perishes, which is why only the bitter seed has been commercially exploited in the past. All this good news about the coffee berry may have you wondering if your morning brew retains some of the same benefits. The answer is … probably not. As it turns out, the benefit is in the berry — not in the bean, and most of what might be lingering on the inner seed is destroyed by heat in the roasting process.

So, while much of the research, with some of these exotic antioxidants and their potential role in skin care, is still on-going. their future in cosmetics seems promising. And, with the coffee berry’s antioxidant payload rivaling that of blueberries, the coffee berry extract may be well on its way up the list of “must have antioxidants” for skin care.

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Model: Chevonne Chenault