DIY Beauty

Some are saying that Manuka honey and bee venom are the new Botox. The Royals are mad about it.Writer Francine du Plessix Gray, daughter and stepdaughter of the famous Russian émigrés Tatiana and Alexander Lieberman, once pointed out that we have “all luxed-up” when it comes to beauty. I got a warm feeling reading about her glamorous mother’s summer ritual of painting her toes with Revlon Red (a favourite of mine today) and putting highlights in her naturally-blond hair with peroxide-saturated cotton balls. The glam Ms. du Plessix Gray doesn’t think we look any better today, with all of our salon pampering, than her do-it-yourself mother. She was, after all the wife of the creative director of Vogue magazine, and therefore very chic. She also presided over the most elegant hat salon in Manhattan.
 
I agree there is a lot to be said for DIY beauty. You save tons of time and money and you will look fabulous. So give it a whirl. Do your own nails and let them dry when you read. It takes only minutes to do a really good job. If you really don’t have a clue how to do it, go to YouTube and type: How to do a home manicure. At least remove chipped polish at home between salon manis – it looks so slovenly.
 
There are fabulous products to help even an amateur get great results. L’Oreal, Sally Hansen, and Revlon have new polish strips, stencils and polish pens to help you get professional results at home. There are even new gel home manicure kits. I now do my own gel manicure at home and find it so restful! I just put on a movie and do it.
 
If you have a standing weekly appointment at a salon, darlings, go for you! As a beauty editor, I have access to brilliant professionals. (We have the best recommendations in our archives, so just Google DolceDolce.com facial to find a fabulous salon near you, or email us.). But I still can’t get enough of home masques. When I work alone in my office, I often take the opportunity to masque!
 
Caring for your skin makes a huge difference in how you look and feel. A good home treatment can be better than what you may find at many poorly-run, pricy salons.
 
If you have acne or suffer breakouts, a masque containing sulfur can work wonders, especially if you feel a breakout coming on. Clay masques are fabulous for oily skin.
I suffered from acne for years and often foiled a breakout with an overnight spot application of a sulfur masque. Two to try: Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask and Mario Badescu Drying Mask. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is still my favourite drugstore clay masque.
 
For dry, dull skin try a masque of plain honey from your cupboard. Just take 1 tsp. and apply it to a clean moist face. If you want a real spa treatment, add a few drops of pure essential oil of lavender, rose, or jasmine to the honey. This is a great masque to apply before or in a bath or shower as it is a little sticky. It leaves your face soft and glowing. It is one of my favourite at home treatments and I do it often. I learned this from Toronto’s amazing cosmetic acupuncturist and facialist, Fang Wang.
 
The latest in anti-aging treatments is bee venom. Products containing honey and bee pollen and even bee venom are not new. But after the world found out that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, uses a line of bee venom creams, they took off like a Maserati. Heaven’s Bee Venom Mask is reputed to be what’s behind Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall’s renewed look. Gwyneth Paltrow also has declared herself a fan of what some are calling “nature’s Botox.”
 
According to Wikipedia, bee venom is made up of a combination of powerful peptides. And while the effect will not duplicate the instant lift of Botox, Dr. Jeannette Graf told Allure.com, “melittin, the active compound in bee venom, does have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can boost the immune system. Since the venom is anaphylactic, it temporarily relaxes the facial muscles, breaking down cell membranes and improving circulation – all of which can theoretically contribute to a tighter complexion.” But she isn’t ready to call it the new Botox yet and urges caution.
 
There are different bee venom masques on the market ranging in price from $35 to hundreds of dollars. The main ingredient in all of them seems to be Manuka honey and bee venom combined with natural botanicals, such as lavender oil, and rich natural emollients, such as Shea butter and other popular natural oils. I ordered a large jar of Organic Manuka Honey and Bee Venom Active. It cost much less than any masque. I will mix the honey with lavender oil and pure vegetable glycerin to make a masque. I will even add some to my shampoo. Do not even consider trying this if you are allergic to bee stings or honey. And even if you are not, do a small patch test on your inner arm before slathering it on.
 
Or, try my other favourite at home beauty treat a collagen mask from Korea. These paper masques are full of moisturizing essence. They leave skin fresh and renewed. Collagen Essence Full Face Masks are available online. I buy mine at my local farmer’s market which has an Asian pharmacy. They cost about one dollar each. I am addicted. I really like the brand MJ Care. These paper masques are perfect for travel too, as they are flat, light, and cause no issues with TSA.
 
Twice a week, deep conditions your hair. Do it while you masque, empty the dishwasher, or sort the laundry. You can buy single-use professional conditioning treatments just like they use at the salon. Specialized treatments only cost a dollar to five dollars each from the beauty supply store or online. Most salons charge anywhere from $10 to $40 dollars to comb the same stuff into your wet hair, which is fine, but your hair will look better if you do it yourself weekly. Just pick one for your hair “issue”. Or use a hair mask. We love!  Hydra Cure Intense Moisture Hair Masque by Pureology and Repechage Hair Spa Sea Weed Mask Intensive Conditioning Formula Restores Shine.
 
There are lots to choose from, so you may see the one your salon uses. Feel free to experiment. Almost every star stylist I have interviewed has told me that regular deep conditioning is one of the best things you can do for your hair. It is so easy, yet stylists tell l me that very few of their clients do it.
 
If you don't wash your hair at home but instead go for a weekly blow out, get a treatment that is applied to dry hair. Put it in an hour or two before your weekly salon rendezvous. Rene Furterer – Complexe 5 Regenerating Extract with stimulating essential oils encourages hair growth and is one of my favourite. Just comb it through dry hair. It smells divine and encourages hair growth and shine.
 
Finally, learn to meditate and make time for regular exercise. If meditation has eluded you as it did I for many years try
Both meditation and exercise have been proven to reduce stress and help people feel happier and more creative. That, my darlings, may be the ultimate beauty treatment.
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