Saturday, May 24, 2014

What To Buy Now for Summer

straw hat
Straw hats add protection while being relatively cool.
 Before it gets any sunnier or any hotter, there are four items you need to make sure that you have ready to go for summer - especially if you are over 40.  These are not just fashion accessories; they will make your life simpler, make you look better, and protect you from the harsh elements of summer.
A HAT:  I know. You hate hats. But a hat will not only protect your hair from sun damage as well as your tender scalp, it will also shade your face and reduce the sun exposure your facial skin receives.  Although many people wear sunscreen, some still get a rash from being directly exposed to very hot, very bright sunshine (alas, I am one of them!). 
Canvas hats are great: they can be rolled up and stuffed in a suitcase, but they can also get a bit hot.  Your best bet for running around town is a closely woven straw hat.
straw hat
SUNGLASSES: Your eyes need to be protected just as much as your skin does.  Too much sun exposure can lead to cataracts.  Be sure to buy sunglasses that fit you without sliding off when you sweat and those that flatter your face shape.  Below, Coach, Fendi, and Prada sunglasses are great, but if you are like me and constantly misplacing them, the cheap ones are okay. Just make sure that they meet the following standards:
  • UV 400 protection. (These block light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which means that your eyes are shielded from even the tiniest UV rays.)  (fr
  • Lenses block 99% or 100% of UVB and UVA rays
  • Lenses meet ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements. (This refers to standards set by the American National tandards Institute.)
  • om WEBMD)


A GOOD BEACH TOTE:  Forego the cheap bags that barely outlast the summer unless you know that it's going straight into the drink the first time you get into a boat, kayak, or canoe.  A good bag can be used when running errands around town and still look chic. You can still be colorful; just avoid kitschy (always avoid kitschy!). 
The bags below range from $9.99 to over $370.
coach tote bag
Coach Tote Bag with Colorful Stripes
beach tote bag
Large Striped Beach Tote from WalMart
Longchamps tote bag
Longchamps Travel and Tote Bag in Colorful Stripes
A TUNIC COVER-UP: Don't go inside the snack bar in your bathing suit.  Get a tunic that can double as a run about town top over pants or shorts and a cover-up over a bathing suit.  The tunics below are modest, cover up drooping upper arms and your lower bottom when worn over a suit, and look airy and summery over a pair of leggings or shorts. These three tunics are from Soft Surroundings, but they can be found at most department stores, and specialty stores such as Anthropologie. (I love Anthropologie's Striped Swing Tunic, not pictured here).
tunic cover-up

tunic cover-uptunic cover-up

Thursday, May 22, 2014

More of My Favorite Products

If you've ever read this blog before, you know that for most of my adult life (from about ages 30 something to 58) Aveeno lotion is the only lotion and/or beauty product that I used on my face with its ultra sensitive skin.  While I don't use it exclusively anymore, I will still use it at night when I have any kind of skin rash or problem, or sometimes over a stronger retinol that I may be wary of using.
However, I still do use Aveeno lotion all over my body.  It is hands down one of the best moisturizers that I have ever used, and with a chronic dry skin condition known as icthyosis, that is saying something.  For summer, I use the Aveeno lotion with a sunscreen all over my body.  Cures dry skin and protects it from sun damage. It also seems to "plump" my skin; my skin seems thicker after application.  After using for about 30 years, I have to say it is still a winner!
By now, everyone surely knows about Essie!  If not, here is some good news for your nails, especially for those of us over 40.  Essie nail polishes go on smoothly and last.  They have one of the best choices of light colors that look good on over 50 hands.  The light pink (see below) flatters older skin, a good thing since our hands are one of the first places to show age.  My favorite range from white (looks so clean and fresh, especially in the summer) to a medium dusky pink.  Sugar Daddy and Mademoiselle are almost cult favorites: pale pinks that look good on everyone.  Some of my favorites: Fun in the Gondola, Eternal Optimist, Fiji, Mademoiselle, Sugar Daddy, Ballet Slippers, and Vanity Fairest.
Essie's best invention: No Chips Ahead.  This marvelous topcoat dries quickly and really makes your manicure long-lasting.  I've had a paint job last for a week!  Really!  I love this stuff and will never be without it.  To me it seems to work best with Essie polishes although I've used it with other brands as well.

Donna Cluny Gardner

Monday, May 19, 2014

Two Products I Swear By!

Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara: It Works!
I love finding new products that work!  Two that I've found lately are making my life much happier. Disclaimer:  I am not advertising nor do I receive any renumeration in any form from these two companies or any other having to do with these products.
First, finally a mascara that I can love using everyday.  Through the years, my lashes have grown thin owing to my using extensions for years and years (those things are very, very hard on your lashes and everyone ends up losing some permanently), then using strip false eyelashes everyday for at least 10 years.  Many people swear by products that help lashes grow that you put on at night before bed, but I was always forgetting to put those on.  Coming to my rescue: Revlon's Grow Luscious Plumping mascara.  It has the ingredients that help your lashes grow, but in a mascara that actually looks good.  And since this is mascara, I don't forget to put it on.  I'm wearing it everyday as part of my regular makeup routine.  It's a good mascara that thickens lashes when you apply it, and over time actually helps your lashes grow.  It has minimal flaking, a big plus for me!  And of course, since it's a drugstore mascara, it's relatively cheap, about $7.99 per tube.  I use a tube about every 6 weeks or so.  It will last longer for people who don't use mascara as heavily as I do.
estee lauder foundation
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Lifting Makeup SPF 15

Second, a product that will cost you more, but if you measure the effectiveness of a product by how it makes your skin feel and how many compliments you get,  is definitely worth the money.  I am known to be an Estee Lauder fan and have used their foundations, especially Fresh Air makeup base, since the 1970's. While I still think that the oil-free Fresh Air makeup is one of the best ever, ever made, it lacks a sunscreen.   On Saturday, I turned 63 years old.  I need a foundation with a sunscreen, even in the winter months, and even though I use a cream with an SPF of 15 every day. I splurged and bought Estee Lauder's Re-Nutriv Intensive Lifting cream foundation in the Fresca shade.  I though that it was a bit shiny, so I also got the Re-Nutriv finishing powder.  I didn't really need to though since the subtle glow/shine is what I get so many compliments on.  Does it really "lift" (I could use the lift)? I'm sure it doesn't, but for the finish it gives my skin and the comments I've received, it is definitely worth the $75.00 price tag for the jar. A plus, a great range of shades for all skin colors.
Below: my face with only a bit of lipstick, eyeliner, and my foundation.  No blush, basically a blank canvas.  Doesn't my skin look great!?