Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Trend: Blushing Beauties

So long, bronzer. Hello, blush. From the runways to the red carpet, flushed faces are back in style. Here, see how your favorite celebs have embraced the return of rosy cheeks.

Amber Heard
At a private dinner in LA, The Rum Diary actress matches her contoured blush to her fire-red lip shade. We like that she balances the pops of color with soft, dewy skin.

Mandy Moore
This singer-turned-actress uses peach blush on her lower cheeks to draw attention to the center of her face. Women with longer or square-shaped mugs can employ this application technique to emphasize their lips or eyes, instead of strong jawlines.

Elizabeth Banks
The 30 Rock actress channels her inner-pin-up with retro waves and dusty rose blush. We like how she extended the color line out to her temples to highlight the angles of her face.

Jennifer Love Hewitt
Hewitt adds a touch of sweetness to her plunging neckline by dusting the tops of her cheeks with a peachy-pink powder blush. Based on the precise placement, you can tell that she smiled when applying cheek color so as to line up her blush brush with the natural contours of her face.

Kate Bosworth
Women with pronounced cheekbones (like Bosworth), take note: If you concentrate color at the outer edges of your cheeks, you'll create a slimming effect for the rest of your face.

Keira Knightley
Calling all goth girls. To score a sophisticated, somber look like Knightley, dust blush pigments along the cheekbone areas directly under you eyes. The slightly atypical placement is hauntingly haute.

Krysten Ritter
The easiest way to wear neon blush hues? In moderation and not on the apples of your cheeks. (That would be way too David Bowie!) That's why we love how Ritter boasted a hint of electric cheek shading along the sides of her smile at this movie event.

Lady Gaga
Leave it to Lady Gaga to eschew rosy hues in favor of an opaque gray. While in London, the singer matches her cement-shaded blush to her silver locks. Real ladies looking to rock more exaggerated styles, like this one, can experiment with loose color pigments.

Christina Milian
When attending a party in LA, this songbird opts for a lavender blush to balance out to the yellow undertones of her skin. We also love how the hue looks with her pink-and-purple dress.

Nicole Richie
In true boho spirit, Richie uses safari tones to add dimension to her petite features. We like how she blends her almost-brown blush away from the center of her ears to highlight her cheekbones.

Scarlett Johansson
This bombshell scores 'tangerine dreams' status, thanks to coral blush and matching lip gloss. We like how the then-red-headed actress applied powder to the apples of her cheeks to emphasize the shape of her face.

Sophie Monk
This Aussie actress imports the bronzed beauty of Down Under with a kiss of color on each cheek. The easiest DIY approach to recreating this look at home? Apply cream-based blush to the pointiest part of each cheekbone, and blend thoroughly.

Zooey Deschanel
Quirky-cute Deschanel scores a girlie glow at a movie premiere by keeping her cheek color pastel, pretty, and matte. Mimic this look on the run by pinching your cheeks slightly—or brushing a mineral blush over the apples of your cheeks.

Via Real Beauty

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Naked Truth: 4 Celebrities Go Nude for Allure

Before all her hit songs, Hilson worked behind the scenes as a successful songwriter. Stepping out of the background was not as effortless as Hilson, 28, now makes it look. "The transition to being in front of the camera was very, very difficult," she says. "Everyone has their idea of what you should look like. 'You need to get into the gym.' 'You need to wear less clothes.' 'Wear dresses and skirts.' 'Put a weave in.' 'Cut your hair.' 'Color your hair.' There are so many ways that others tug at you." To Hilson, posing naked stripped her back down to her real self. "We do a lot of things to seek validation: I have to get more expensive handbags or fake lashes or fake boobs. This shoot was about dropping all that."

On Moynahan's mind in this picture: "Mostly whether things were getting squashed in the wrong way," she says. The 40-year-old Blue Bloods actress was confident about some things. "You know you're going to have good lighting and positioning to help your body out." In the real world, though, Moynahan says, "I never roam around in bikinis, and I am only naked in the privacy of my own home. In this electronic age, it's not safe to be naked anywhere else, even in locker rooms." But her hesitation isn't due to a lack of confidence. "I've been in the business a long time, so it didn't really faze me. I was completely comfortable."

Tisdale brought her mother to her nude shoot. "I've always wanted to be sure my parents approve of what I do," she says. "Even with my tattoos, my mom went with me. The 'believe' tattoo is because my mom always told me to believe." The High School Musical and Hellcats actress does six workouts a week, rotating a boot-camp class, cardio, strength training, and Spinning, but disrobing was actually much less about showing off her hard-earned shape than it was about growing up. "I'm 25, almost 26, but people think of me as much younger because I look young," she says. "Being in this shoot was me saying, 'I'm not just the young girl everybody thinks I am. I'm actually a woman.'"

Via Allure

Age Redefined

16 Ways to De-stress

Brow furrowed? Pulse galloping? Barely able to breathe? It's time to relax. We've gathered easy strategies to keep tension from taking over.

Forget swaying pocket watches and deep trances. "Hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention," says David Spiegel, the director of Stanford School of Medicine's Center on Stress and Health. If done properly, hypnosis can clear your mind, lower your heart rate, and decrease muscle tension. Close your eyes and picture a movie screen with something stressful, like rush-hour traffic, on the left side. Now, visualize a solution playing out on the right, like discovering a new route with no traffic. Eventually, you'll feel a moment of intense absorption, he explains, like when you're so caught up in a good movie that you forget where you are. Try doing this for five minutes, three or four times a day.

Although it may be tempting to rehash the details of how your sister's boyfriend snubbed you, letting go of negative feelings really does lower stress. "When our minds keep rehearsing troubling interactions, the body's calming system becomes impaired," says Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, a psychologist at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. A cursory hug won't do, though. You have to sincerely replace your anger toward the wrongdoer with an attempt to understand the reasons behind his actions. "Forgiveness helps you see more of the truth, not less. When we are upset, our vision is limited in scope," says Witvliet.

Just looking out your window can have a relaxing effect. In a study led by Peter Kahn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle, participants in an office were shown one of three views: a natural setting, a digital display of the same scene, and no view. When stress levels were artificially increased, those looking at the real natural scene returned to their normal heart rate more quickly. Those who looked at the digital display did no better than those looking at a blank wall, suggesting the brain is not easily fooled. "We do best mentally and physically when we're connected to nature," says Kahn.

"Without question, stress is mitigated by nature," says Mehmet C. Oz, coauthor of You: Stress Less (Simon & Schuster). Scientists at Harvard University delivered flowers to one group of women and gave candles to a second group. Within a week, the first group felt less anxious and depressed, perhaps because humans are comforted by vegetation—a means of survival in caveman days. Oz suggests keeping a plant on your desk and cut flowers at the dinner table.

A kiss (or two) a day can keep the stress away. You'll feel less isolated, which is a common source of anxiety. According to Laura Berman, a professor of obstetrics-gynecology and psychiatry at Northwestern University, women in particular respond to locking lips by releasing endorphins. She recommends at least one ten-second kiss a day—deep and emotional, but not necessarily sexually arousing. "Just enjoy the physical connection," she says.

You don't need to slip into bed to get the benefits of a good rest. Kate Hanley, author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide: 77 Simple Strategies for Serenity (Skirt!), suggests a simple exercise you can do at your desk that is just as refreshing as a nap:
• Keeping both feet on the floor, stack your forearms on the edge of the table.
• Scoot back in your chair so your spine is extended.
• Rest your forehead on your arms for a minute or two.

This opens the neck and shoulders, where physical tension commonly builds up, and creates space in your rib cage for deep breathing. Visualize your next task going well, or simply focus on your heartbeat. Either way, this exercise gives you a break.

Working out is a great way to take a bite out of tension—but think twice before you sign up for a boot camp. "When you are mentally tired, intense exercise adds to the stress you are feeling," says Samuele M. Marcora, a physiologist at the University of Kent in England. After a draining day, he suggests a moderate-intensity workout, like walking or light running. "It won't improve your fitness level, but it is good for the mood."

Yoga is a proven stress buster, but not all poses give the same relief. Inverted stances, such as back bends and headstands, may have a greater effect on your mood and anxiety, say researchers. The part of the nervous system that relaxes the body and mind may be stimulated when the spine is bent, explains Chris Streeter, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.

"Stress can be triggered when our bodies don't know what time it is," says Julie Holland, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. "Exposing your retina to sunlight resets your circadian rhythm so your brain is on a schedule." Take a walk outside without sunglasses for 20 minutes a day, three times a week. Phototherapy lamps and vitamin-D supplements also help.

If you're still crying your contacts out on your 100th viewing of Blue Valentine, try watching it a 101st time with a new outlook: A recent study suggests that thinking positively while watching a sad movie may help you cope with setbacks in the real world. Women who had experienced stress were shown sad scenes from movies such I Am Sam and Fatal Attraction and asked to come up with happy endings and good advice for the characters. Test subjects who were best at this showed fewer signs of depression than women who watched the movies passively, says Allison S. Troy, a researcher at the University of Denver. Solving other people's problems is always easier, she says. Practicing as you make your way through your Netflix queue may sharpen your skills.

Itchy eyes and a runny nose aren't the only plagues of allergy season: Stress may rise with the pollen count. Alvaro Guzman, a psychiatrist at the National Center for the Treatment of Phobias, Anxiety and Depression in Washington, D.C., says research shows that patients with seasonal allergies often report stress, mood dips, and depression when symptoms flare. "When we have an allergic reaction, chemicals are produced in our blood that can aggravate mood changes," he says. If you notice your stress levels peaking when the weather is changing, Guzman suggests getting tested for allergies.

Saying what you really think about the boss over a couple of martinis has its advantages. After observing groups in various workplaces, Yehuda Baruch, a professor of management at Rouen Business School in France, found that people swear as a coping mechanism to release stress. When upset with a difficult customer, one test subject pretended to carry on a conversation as if the client were still on the phone, but with profanity to describe exactly how she felt. In the real world, Baruch warns to use common sense. "Stay professional and never swear in front of someone who would be offended."

You're sitting on the couch watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reruns—just like last weekend. And instead of becoming absorbed, part of your brain stays focused on the looming deadlines that have been nagging at you at work. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a professor of psychology at Yale University and the author of Women Who Think Too Much (Henry Holt), says, "Overthinking without being able to resolve anything draws us deeper into a feeling of being overwhelmed." A pastime that requires you to pay attention or engage with other people—like tackling a new recipe, taking a foreign-language class, or playing tennis—lets you escape from your own spinning head and break the cycle.

Admiring a photo of a model or a movie star just as you would a work of art could relieve tension. Half a group of people who viewed photos of females wearing makeup said they were less stressed afterward, according to a study at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. The other half did not report the same benefit, but they didn't feel any worse, says Patrick Pössel, a professor of psychology who conducted the study.

Battling stress can be as simple as ordering fish at a restaurant. On The Truth About Food, a program on the Discovery Health Channel, researchers measured hormone levels in London cabdrivers, who have highly stressful jobs. When put on a diet of four portions a week of oily fish like mackerel, a source of omega-3 fatty acids, the drivers produced less of the stress hormone cortisol and more of DHEA, a hormone the body cranks out to combat stress. "When the body sees omega-3 fatty acids, it feels calm," says Oz. Walnuts, flaxseeds, and tofu are other excellent sources.

The hours your boyfriend and his slacker buddies spend hooked up to an Xbox may have an actual benefit. According to researchers at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, playing nonviolent video games can decrease stress and improve your mood. "Getting absorbed in games provides a distraction and relaxes the nervous system," explains Carmen Russoniello, a professor at the university. Skip World of Warcraft, even if you love walloping trolls, and choose something like Peggle instead. "The challenge should be difficult enough, but not an added pressure," says Russoniello.

Via Allure

The 13 Hottest New Fragrances

This rich floral is as wearable as one of DVF's signature wrap dresses. Tropical frangipani gives it that I've-just-been-on-holiday feeling, while earthy violet and patchouli imbue it with a city-girl vibe.

Iris root, which gives this No. 19 reboot its powdery essence, gets a fresh boost thanks to green galbanum and heady jasmine. No. 19 Poudré has the same follow-me quality as the original, named for Coco Chanel's birthday, August 19.

If you love citrus, this might become your new favorite scent. Zesty orange blossom and intoxicating neroli transport you to warmer climes—and the elegant purple-capped bottle doesn't look like a vacation tchotchke.

Of the fragrance's name, Vogue's Andre Leon Talley declared on Twitter, "That's my new mantra. It's brilliant." This intense floral—a blend of jasmine, rose, and orchid—never overpowers thanks to grounding notes like cedar and sandalwood.

From the flashy bottle to the equally dramatic scent inside, this fragrance is not for those in search of something subtle. Spicy leather, patchouli, and dashes of citrus and jasmine turn simply wearing fragrance into an event.

The black dahlia has no discernible smell, as it's the invention of Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci; the imaginary flower is meant to be more evocative than olfactory. Powdery, with a touch of Tonka bean and wood, Dahlia Noir is sexy and inviting, with serious staying power.

Hewing closely to the brand's minimal but luxurious aesthetic, this is one beautifully bottled scent. The leathery floral is somewhat dirty, which gives it a primal quality. But fresh jasmine and citrusy bergamot notes keep it ladylike and modern.

The designer's namesake perfume strikes the same tone as his dresses always have: feminine, but not frivolous. Orange blossom, jasmine, patchouli, and cedar, inspired by Saab's native Lebanon, make this scent creamy and warm, but it somehow manages to retain a lovely lightness.

You can always say this of Burberry: They keep finding creative ways to remind us of their iconic trench coat. In the case of Body, a powdery floral, the scent is meant to evoke "the feeling you get when you wear the trench." With Body's sensual, enveloping quality, that's not entirely far-fetched.

If it's spice you're after, look no further than Jasmin Rouge. This is no entry-level scent: Ford threw in the whole spice cabinet—ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon—then laced this fragrance with vanilla for sweetness and amber for depth. The result? The extra-sweaty sexiness that has become Ford's stock-in-trade with, well, everything.

The tenth launch in the Hermessence collection, this unisex sandalwood scent is spicy-sweet and earthy, thanks to an additional note of rare Indonesian massoïa wood, which has a vaguely coconut-y smell. If you like the idea of smelling like milky black tea from, say, the chicest teahouse on the planet, this will do the trick.

Part of Chanel's Les Exclusifs fragrance collection, Jersey has a masculine edge that comes courtesy of its star ingredient: lavender. Long used in men's colognes, lavender is fresh and calming. Add in a little sweetness (vanilla) and heft (musk), and you've got a scent that's as weighty as the fabric for which it's named.

Have you ever loved a home fragrance so much that you wanted to spray it all over yourself? This minty, musky-rose creation, which comes with a lovely atomizer, is meant to perform double-duty.

Via Allure

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Botox

It's the most popular cosmetic treatment in the United States, but Botox continues to inspire fear and confusion in certain cautious corners. (And, OK, millions of dollars' worth of admiration.) Is it right for you? That depends on your taste, pocketbook, and tolerance for needles.

Absolutely. Botox (and competitors like Dysport and Xeomin, which will be widely available next January) are highly purified toxins that can temporarily erase or reduce horizontal forehead lines, vertical frown lines, and crow's-feet. "The injections slow muscles that contract hundreds of times a day, eventually etching lines in the skin," says New York City plastic surgeon Michael Kane, author of The Botox Book (St. Martin's Press). Botox can also lift the corners of the mouth that sag with age, smooth out the "pin cushion" look in some chins, soften smoker's lines around the mouth, and soften vertical neck cords.

It will not affect the nerves that cause sensation, or make you feel numb. When it is used correctly, it can lift the brow to give an appealing and sincere look. "But if too much is injected in the danger zone—the horizontal lines in the forehead—you can look Spocked, as in Spock from Star Trek," says Jean Carruthers, a Vancouver eye surgeon who, with her husband, Alastair, coauthored the first paper on the cosmetic benefits of Botox in 1989. That's why it's important to be treated by an experienced doctor who can judge the size of your muscles and how much Botox you will need.

Like most injections, Botox can be slightly painful, especially between the eyebrows. Some doctors offer topical anesthesia ten minutes before the procedure or ice the area to numb it.

Every drug has side effects, and Botox is no exception. Luckily, they tend to be minor and short-lived, according to Kane. In one to five percent of cases, there can be mild droopiness of the eyelid or eyebrow, which usually goes away within two weeks, and some patients experience slight bruising.

Prices vary widely. The average is $400 per treatment, but experienced doctors tend to charge more. The toxins come dehydrated and must be reconstituted, so some doctors reportedly over-dilute, or simply don't use enough. "The quality of the result always depends on who is on the other end of the needle," says Kane.

You don't need it before you have wrinkles to hide. Other than that, a patient can have Botox safely whenever they are bothered by their wrinkles. There is no issue with long term use: "I've had patients who have used it repeatedly for over 20 years without bad effects," says Kane.

It varies from patient to patient, but good results usually last three and a half to four months.

You can visit manufacturers' websites—,, and—to find providers in your area. And ask friends—the ones who admit to using it. For the best treatment, seek out doctors in academic settings or those who have written about it. "This is where you have to use all your antennae," says Carruthers.

Yes and no. A good result will leave you looking fresher, more cheerful, and perhaps younger. Telltale signs of Botox that has been badly done are a smooth and shiny forehead, or a forehead and crow's-feet that don't move when you laugh or cry.

Not much. Results begin to show in a couple of days and develop gradually over the course of two weeks. "I tell anyone preparing for a big event to have shots two weeks ahead of time," says Kane. Some observers believe Dysport sets in faster than Botox, but that has not been proven in a study. Patients taking medications that contain aspirin or NSAIDs can develop pinpoint blue bruising. Patients can wear makeup immediately but should avoid heavy workouts for 24 hours, says Carruthers.

Via Allure
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