Image and Lifestyle

Fashion, Style, and Professional Impression in Hong Kong

The Brazilian Blow-out

 

Hello Friends,

A quick post about the frizz-fighting Brazilian blow-out hair treatment.  Although it’s been around for a few years, many salons have only mastered the treatment within the past one year. Essentially, this is a semi-permanent chemical treatment requiring approximately 2-3 hrs in the salon for the full process.  The treatment eliminates frizz, curl, and puffiness – particularly in humid environments and lasts several months until the chemical gradually washes out.  This differs from the classic Japanese/Asian hair-straightening process which aggressively changes the physical structure of your hair.  My  understanding is there are 2 different types – go for the one which allows you to wash your hair immediately… the other one requires a 3 day wait.

About one week ago I tried the Brazilian treatment.  While my hair is smoother, straighter, and shinier than before, it now lacks body and falls flat after a few hours due to the fine nature of my fair hair.  On the plus side, it is easy to style, requires less time to dry, and looks more polished.  Overall, I do not recommend the Brazilian unless it is during the most humid months and/or you have thicker, more unmanageable hair… otherwise, leave well enough alone and learn to love those odd-ball face framing frizzles.

As a side note, it is necessary to use special shampoo and conditioner products after the BB treatment; examples below.

 

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Pretty Woman …Walkin’ Down the Street…

Consider how much the way you walk affects your personal image.  There is something stunning about someone who moves with purpose.

I’m a BIG believer in walking like you’re going somewhere.  When someone moseys along, shuffles his/her feet, or lingers in high-traffic areas it makes me think they really just aren’t going anywhere… literally and figuratively.  If you walk with purpose, posture, and a touch of pride (not too much), you’ll project a better self-image… and you’ll get places faster.  Put a confident man or woman in jeans and a white t-shirt next to a well-dressed timid person and I believe confidence will win out over fashion every day of the week.  It’s very attractive.

Filed under: Beauty, Image advice

Look and feel your best in 2011

Resolve to look and feel your best in 2011 with positive changes in your lifestyle, habits, and appearance.  See the below for my take on building a healthier and more attractive body.


1.  Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound).  It’s easy to say “I want to lose weight in 2011″ but you need to consider the details.  For example, “I want to lose 4 pounds each month for 5 months so I will be 20 pounds slimmer by June 1st.  I will reduce my caloric intake by 500/day by cutting refined foods (alcohol, candy, white bread) and begin walking at least 20 minutes per day.”  S.M.A.R.T goals will help you achieve.

2.  People in great shape look and feel better.  Would you pay USD$5,000 right now for the body of your dreams?  Of course you would!  Ok, so use that money and purchase a gym membership, personal training, new workout gear/clothes, a kayak, hiking boots, etc.  Commit to your decision to look and feel better.

3. Book an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss products for your age and skin-type.  Maybe you want a few injections or fillers, scars/pigmentation/veins removed, or just need to drink more water and sleep better.  A dermatologist will tell you the truth and hook you up with the products and creams to suit you best.

4.  Find a wonderful salon/spa.  I rave about the Mandarin Oriental Salon (HK) because they are specialists with hair, face, feet, nails, etc.  Invest in a relationship with a wonderful stylist and technician and trust them on beauty and grooming advice.  Look after yourself.

5.  If possible, only buy fresh food.  It’s that simple.  Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, dairy, nuts, eggs, tofu, whole grain breads… and even chocolates.  Consider buying chocolates from See’s Candies which expire relatively quickly vs. packaged chocolate that lasts 6-12+ months on the shelf.   Always go fresh and try to avoid needing to open a wrapper to consume your food.

6.  Take care of your wardrobe.  If it has a stain, a hole, reminds you of a bad experience, hasn’t been worn for 2 years, or you just don’t like it – it’s out.  Don’t rationalize or feel guilty for getting rid of it.  Use a dry-cleaning service to ensure your clothes look their best, purchase lint-rollers for home/work/car, take your shoes to the cobbler seasonally for care and upkeep, use jewelry cleaner regularly, and buy quality hangers so your garments hang properly.  www.imageandlifestyle.com for my personal shopping and style services.

7.  Smile and de-stress.  Take a holiday, get more sleep, book spa appointments, watch a movie with a glass of wine… do whatever it takes to chill out.  Make your happiness, goals, and health a top priority for the new year.

Filed under: Beauty, Dressing Style Tips, Exercise, Facial, Fitness - Motivation, Grooming, Hair, Health, Healthy Eating, Hong Kong, Losing Weight, Manage stress, Skin care, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Psstt! Let’s Talk…

Hello there ladies,

This week signals the flow of champagne rivers as holiday parties get into full swing, and that means lots of dresses, heels, manicures, blow-outs, and… SPANX.  If you’ve just raised an eye-brow of confusion, don’t worry.  Many women still are not familiar with the contouring under garments which help smooth and slim your bits and bumps into mounds of perfection.  Forget about looking super skinny or trying to squeeze into a tight dress, the purpose of control under garments is to create a smooth line beneath your clothes and improve your confidence on a big night out.  Several brands make control undergarments:

Wolford is sexy + function+ premium.  Sold in Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, and Prince’s Building boutique shop

Spanx is all function + not so attractive.  Sold in Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, and internet delivery

Marks and Spencer undergarments are functional + well-priced + less comfortable

Victoria’s Secret, H&M, La Perla, and many other brands offer body suits in sexy patterns which also help keep everything in check.  My advice: try to exercise 5x/week, eat well, drink lots of water, get your beauty rest, buy a fabulous wardrobe, and then wear Spanx from time to time on those evenings you need to wear a slinky white silk dress to the holiday party.  The point is, unless you’re hitting the gym to perfectly tone your tush… a bit of under garment magic will work wonders on your special occasions and Christmas parties.  Have fun this weekend!  x

Filed under: Beauty, Dressing Style Tips, Fall Fashion 2010, Hong Kong, Image advice, Shopping Advice, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

Necessary Evil of Beauty: Nutrition & Supplements (5)

Being healthy and well-nourished is the most beautiful look I can imagine… and there is no shortcut to a healthy diet.  Being thin does not equate to beauty.  I see tons of skinny women who just look awful.  True health is visible by a person’s smell, posture and bone/muscle shape, complexion, hair and nails, body weight – not to mention the cognitive abilities, longevity, quality of life, etc.  I think carbohydrate free diets are terrible on the system and your body, though I’m not an expert.  I have, however completed an advanced certificate in nutrition and know a diet composed 50-60% carbohydrates, 20-30% healthy fats, and 20-30% lean protein is the way to go… and that the quantity of what you eat is critical.  No matter how balanced your diet, if you overeat, you’ll gain weight.  To help keep your weight in check, aim for making 50% of your breakfast fruit and at least 40% of your lunches and dinners vegetables.  Fill in the rest with whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats and you’ll be feeling and looking beautiful.

Once you get used to limiting your intake of processed foods, you might not love the taste of excess salt, sugar, and saturated fat.  But, we are animals after all and sometimes nothing tastes better than some good ol’ butter, steak, cream, or fried chicken.  So live by the 80/20 rule to keep your internal health and outward beauty in check:  80% of the time you eat like an angel while 20% of the time you enjoy food as a normal person with friends and family without over-thinking.  Case in point – Thanksgiving and other such holidays.  It’s just one day – so eat what you love.  Then, for the next 4 days eat sensibly and take an extra walk each day.

In addition to a balanced and varied diet, supplements will keep you looking 42 when you’re 50.  It is a good habit to start early in life to maximize the benefits.  While supplements are wonderful little things, I hate taking them, finding a place to put those bulky bottles, and the aftertaste.  Necessary evil, right?  My personal daily intake includes the following: calcium with vitamin D, essential fatty acids [EFA] for omega 3-6-9, a powerful multi-antioxidant, high quality multi-vitamin, flax seed sprinkled on my breakfast oatmeal, occasional psyllium husk, probiotics, and the odd fitness supplements I also take such as CLA, BCAA, and electrolytes – if I’m exercising in the heat.  See your doctor or consult the staff at GNC about the supplement options available.

Eating well will keep you looking and feeling your best.

Filed under: Beauty, Health, Healthy Eating, Skin care, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Necessary Evils of Beauty: Hair Care (4)

I admire the beauty of a healthy head of hair… often found on girls too young to be influenced to change themselves yet.  I still remember my mother’s sad look when I changed my locks from their natural strawberry blonde to blonde.   The blonde was fresh and fun… a bit more cosmopolitan, but lacked the youthful shine and health from the natural state.  Regular salon conditioning, gentle brushing, and nice products restored luster and health to my hair and it is nearly all back to my natural red.  I hope other women will treasure their locks as their most valued accessory, as it is the only one to be worn every day.  The time, cost, and patience are necessary evils to ensuring a gorgeous and healthy mane.

Women generally struggle with their hair.  The color, texture, shape, frizz, curl, dryness, hair loss, etc.  I’ll say this up front – the best thing I ever did for my hair was read “The Hair Bible” by Philip Kingsley, a world-renowned trichologist who has worked with celebrities for decades.  http://www.philipkingsley.com/ I talked with him not too long ago about my own hair issues… the man knows his stuff.  The most important points I took away from our conversation and his book:

  • Use his Elasticizer product regularly – a before shampoo treatment
  • Do not use the incorrect shampoo and conditioner for your hair type
  • Do not brush your hair unless absolutely necessary
  • Never brush wet hair – use a particular type of wide-tooth comb
  • Nourish your hair with conditioning treatments and scalp treatments on a regular basis
  • Your diet strongly affects your hair
  • Avoid tying your hair back into elastic bands whenever possible to prevent a receding hair line and breakage

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Necessary Evils of Beauty: Drink Tons of Water (3)

Hello and welcome to the third entry in a week-long series of posts about often over-looked beauty ‘secrets’.  Drinking water should have been the topic on day #1 … and it’s not really a secret, but it is a habit which will significantly affect your body and mind in terms of functionality, beauty, health, skin care, digestion, circulation, body weight, etc.  It’s dramatically important.  I view large water consumption as a necessary evil because most people cannot stand drinking water – the taste, texture, temperature, etc… but we absolutely need water to survive (and look beautiful of course!).

How many glasses of water did you consume this morning when you woke up?  How many glasses of water did you drink last night at dinner?  Begin your day tomorrow by drinking a large glass of water as soon as you get vertical, and then drink another glass at breakfast.  Buy two extra-large bottles of water each day (or refill for eco-friendliness) and make an effort to drink one before 2pm and the other before bed.  As a challenge with a wonderful reward,see how you feel and how youthful and soft your skin is after drinking only water for two weeks; cutting out all caffeine, alcohol, juice, milk, soda, and tea.  If that is too tough, just cut out caffeine, alcohol, processed juices, and soda for two weeks and consume only decaf tea/coffee, milk, fresh juices and water.  You’ll feel fantastic once the raging caffeine-withdrawal induced headache finally subsides on day four.  🙂

We are supposed to drink water, and it has worked well for our species… so keep it up and try to consume fruits and vegetables with high water content as well.

 

 

Filed under: Beauty, Health, Healthy Eating, Image advice, Losing Weight, Skin care, , , , , , ,

Necessary Evils of Beauty: Proper Exfoliation (2)

Hello and welcome to the second post in the ‘necessary evils of beauty’ – a 7-day series to discuss a few over-looked, yet influential beauty habits.  Today’s topic deals with a common complaint of many women (and men): dry, bumpy, pinkish skin often found on the backs of the upper arm, tush, thighs, etc.  The answer is proper exfoliation, a process of either mechanical (scrubs) or chemical (peels) dead skin removal which facilitates moisture absorption, provides a youthful and radiant appearance, and smooths the texture of body and facial skin.
It’s surprising how few women exfoliate their curves for soft, supple skin.   We, as a gender, spend an exorbitant sum of money on high heels, Spanx, lip gloss, hi-lights, and fancy panties… yet neglect to dedicate just 1-2 minutes every other day to keep our body and facial skin smooth and healthy.  Removing the dead cells will allow the young and healthy skin to glow… and your expensive facial serum will be much more beneficial when it is absorbed directly into your healthy cells instead of sitting on the old skin.  Well-groomed women know this is a critically important process to include in their shower and skin care regime.  Plus, smooth and healthy skin is so much sexier than anything else you could possibly wear!  😉

What You Should Know About Facial Exfoliation:
  • Be extra careful with the delicate skin of your face.
  • It’s easy to overexfoliate. Talk to a good esthetician about the product and frequency that is best for your skin. Your should be especially cautious if you have sensitive or aging skin.
  • Be careful not to overdo microdermabrasion. It can make thin, aging skin even thinner if you get too many treatments too quickly.
  • Don’t overexfoliate, especially in summer or in very sunny climates. You’re making it easier for your skin to be damaged by the sun.
  • Never use body scrubs on the face. They’re too rough.
  • Be very careful with peels. Don’t get one peel and then go somewhere else to ask for another. You can remove too much of your protective layer and end up exposing the living dermis. Again, be careful about going out in the sun afterwards, or doing it in summer.
  • Never wax if you’ve had a peel recently. It might expose raw, living skin, which will have to scab over to heal.

    What You Should Know About Body Exfoliation:

  • You can use a body scrub once or twice a week with no problem.
  • Body brushing every morning is a gentle way to exfoliate — and wake up!

(Above tips from http://www.about.com)

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Necessary Evils of Beauty: Facial Threading (1)

Hello Friends – I will write a blog each day for the next week about the necessary evils of beauty.  I’m referring to the habits of women (and men perhaps) who truly know how to maintain their looks, and have the time and money to do so.  I’ll start with facial threading….

I was just 16 when I told my best friend that her make-up powder was getting caught in her heavy facial hair.  Whoops!  She was sweet enough to forgive my trademark brutal honesty, but as far as I know, never actually removed her cheeky fuzz.  I suffer from the same problem, as do many women.  Although I’m very fair and blond, fine fuzz loves to grow on my cheeks, chin, lip, eye brows, etc.  We are animals, after all and this is completely normal.  However, there is no excuse for a well-groomed woman to be hairy.  Sorry, but facts are facts.

I endure a painful process each month to have my entire face threaded, which leaves it completely smooth for even make-up application and an overall more flattering appearance.  In contrast with waxing, threading looks very natural and does not leave patches of baldness on your brow and lip area.  Although slightly more expensive and time-consuming than waxing, it is more gentle and eliminates the chance for skin removal, burns, and scaring.  Threading is an ancient skill not available in all salons, and a talented therapist will help provide the fastest and pain-free experience.  Book an appointment with Betty Leung at the Mandarin HK, show up sans make-up, and just know you’ll be a bit red afterwards.  ‘Tis the price of beauty my dears.  If you cannot bear the thought of threading, take care to prevent heavy powder build-up on your whiskers and know that direct sunlight is not your best look.  😉

Filed under: Beauty, Facial, Grooming, Hair, Hong Kong, Image advice, , , , , , , , ,

Simply the Best in Hong Kong: The Mandarin Oriental


 

People often want to know where to go for hair, skin, and all things grooming.  I believe the top service, talent, and style for men and women in Hong Kong is available at the Mandarin Oriental in Central.

The salon on the 24th floor offers an unparalleled understanding of service for men and women for hair care, facials, waxing/threading, eye-lash & eye-brow tinting, manicures, pedicures, etc.  The Mandarin Barber on the 2nd floor is a world-class gentleman’s retreat for  the finest grooming services in the city and is the place to go.

I’ve been a loyal ‘fan’ for years with regular hair appointments to see Ronald, who continues to exceed my expectations on taste, color, cut, and style.  My beauty Yoda is Betty – she offers immaculate facials, threading, and tinting services along with advice about what you are [not] doing correctly.  She tells it like it is… sweetly.  Ling is my go-to for a picture-perfect pedicure to remove corns, calluses, and ultimately, the best foot care available.  Calvin Lim is the best make-up artist in Hong Kong, available through the Mandarin salon by private appointment – an absolute must for a special occasion or important function.

As a bonus, the famed Cake Shop on the Mezzanine floor has a tea set with knock-your-socks-off rose-petal jam and a variety of pastries and breads for an indulgent treat.  I highly recommend the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.   http://www.mandarinoriental.com/about_mo/media/press_kits/hong_kong/spa_beauty.aspx

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