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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She’s Got Legs

Even though it’s winter and your legs can hide behind opaque tights for a bit longer, it’s time to start thinking about your Spring wardrobe and fitness routine for the best pins around town.

  • Without a doubt, resistance workouts with weights will help tone and sculpt your legs.  The best exercises for great gams include squats, lunges, and dead-lifts.  However, without cardio to burn the fat on the surface, your tone will never show.  Running, jumping-rope, swimming, elliptical training, etc are all great fat-burners… just keep moving and get a good sweat going.
  • Aside from exercise, the right shoes will help create the illusion of longer and leaner legs with nude-toned high-heels (see pic above).  I recently added the two below Jimmy Choo darlings to my arsenal of shoes for Spring.  These will be perfect with shorts, dresses, and skirts for creating a clean line of color from hip to toe.

  • Know your hem-line.  Avoid letting your hem end at the widest part of your leg.  This means if you have heavier legs, don’t rock very short skirts and dresses… opt for knee-length or slightly above-the-knee and wear high-heels in a neutral shade such as nude, light silver, or light gold tone.  Below-the-knee hems are hard to pull-off without looking overly matronly.
  • Lotions and potions will help as well.  Before going out, put a lotion with a subtle shimmer on your legs to help reflect the light and add tone.
  • Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.  Smooth thighs, knees, and bum are definitely always in style.  Aim toexfoliate in the shower 2x/week and follow with a body oil or lotion immediately after to moisturize and keep your skin youthful.
  • Pedicures.  I have a different opinion on pedicures from most women (I think).  I care much more about the softness and health of the skin on my feet than the color of the nails, although you cannot go wrong with a feminine pink.  Your feet need to be healthy and looked after.  I find that getting a quickie pedicure is pretty much all about the nail polish rather than the foot care, so go to a nicer salon or buy sanders and scrubbers to keep your tootsies looking great for those peep-toe shoes.
  • Shaving, waxing, etc all go without saying…. smooth and silky is the way to go.

Filed under: Dressing Style Tips, Exercise, Fitness - Motivation, Grooming, Image advice, Legs, Losing Weight, Skin care, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Filed under: Beauty, Grooming, Hair, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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)

Filed under: Beauty, Facial, Grooming, Image advice, Skin care, , , , , , , , , ,

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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