Solutions for Oily Hair

If you are a busy mom, not shampooing your hair every day can be a huge time-saver. Unfortunately, though, if you have an oily scalp and hair, you probably don’t have that luxury; for your hair -- and you -- to look and feel beautiful, you probably need to wash away the oils daily.

What’s worse, even when you do shampoo every morning, excess oil can build up throughout the day, leaving hair limp and greasy-looking by evening. “Strands can literally drown in their own oil, and your hair goes flat really fast,” explains Edward Tricomi, co-owner of Warren Tricomi salon in New York City.

What Causes Excess Oil
It may not seem like it, but in most cases, an oily scalp is as normal as having oily skin or brown eyes. Sebaceous glands inside hair follicles produce what’s called sebum, an oily, waxy substance. Sebum is then released onto the scalp, in a similar way to the pores on your face releasing oil onto your skin. No one knows why, but your glands simply produce excessive sebum, which migrates more into your hair and gives it that greasy look and feel, says Dr. Heidi Waldorf, a dermatologist and associate clinical director of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Although you can’t permanently change your scalp’s composition or your hair type, there are a few things you can do to help control oil and get hair that looks fresh and healthy:

1. Consider your hormones.
Hormonal fluctuations can increase sebum production. So, during your menstrual cycle, your scalp can feel greasier. Birth control pills may help normalize the hormones and balance the oil, says Waldorf. Talk to your doctor if this is an option for you.

2. Switch shampoos.
Waldorf suggests using a shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione or salicylic acid, which are found in some dandruff shampoos. These ingredients may help keep the oil on your scalp in check, she says.

3. Lather, wait, rinse, repeat.

Don’t rinse out your shampoo right away. Instead, lightly massage it into your scalp and wait at least 30 seconds before rinsing. This gives the suds more time to break down excess oil. Then lather up again if needed to clear away additional residue. This way, you are sure to start the day with an ultra-clean scalp and hair. 

4. Give your roots a boost.
The key to infusing oily hair with more volume is to style right after you towel dry, when there is no or little sebum on hair. Try these tricks:

  • Use a volumizing spray or hair spray. Apply to damp hair and aim your application only at the root area.
  • Blow-dry hair upside down. This helps train hair to stand up at the roots from the get-go. Use the high heat button to dry, then right before you finish, blast roots with the cold setting to get fullness and lift that lasts.
  • Tease roots with a comb. Hold up a section of your hair, place a fine-tooth comb into strands at your roots, and comb up and down with short, quick strokes. Afterward, spritz each section with hair spray. Then stash the comb in your purse for quick touch-ups throughout the day.

5. Try hair powder.
Also called dry shampoo, this powder-based product absorbs oil and can keep hair from falling flat. (In a pinch, you can use baby powder, but sprinkle it sparingly to avoid giving strands a whitish hue.) You can use hair powder when you don’t have time to shampoo or during the day if oil starts to build up. You might also apply it immediately after washing and styling hair as a preventive measure, to keep oil at bay, suggests Tricomi.

To apply, part your hair in different spots and lightly sprinkle it on your scalp. (Always use less than you think you need; too much could clump.) Massage in the powder, then gently run your fingers through the hair at your scalp.

6. Cut hair short.
“Long hair can weigh itself down,” says Tricomi. “A shorter, layered cut will give you more lift at the roots, and hair won’t look as greasy.” You may even consider a gamine pixie cut (think Halle Berry). It’s the ultimate wash-and-go style.

Whatever haircut you decide on, talk to your stylist about how it will work best for your face shape, hair type and personality.

Easy Ways to Look Younger

Is your mirror showing you someone who looks older than she feels? Of course exercising and eating right will keep you looking and feeling younger over the long haul, but there are also easy changes you can make right now to look younger. Try these beauty tips and tricks to take the years off in a flash!

STYLE

Wearing the right clothes is key to a younger appearance, says N.J.-based celebrity style expert Dawn Del Russo, author of 101 Glam Girl Ways to an Ultra Chic Lifestyle.

“Some of us go for what we think is comfortable without realizing those things can age us," Del Russo says. She suggests getting rid of these age-adding wardrobe items:

·         Anything too baggy or too tight

·         Single-color matching tops and bottoms (Complementary colors create a younger appearance.)

·         High-waisted jeans (Look for a low-rise or hip-high fit instead.)

·         High-necked tops or shirts buttoned all the way to the collar (Consider V-neck or scoop-neck styles instead.)

·         Light-wash denim (Darker washes are more flattering.)

·         Square-toed shoes and chunky sandals, except for espadrilles (“I know a lot of women don’t like to hear this, but wearing a ‘comfort-style’ shoe can show your age,” says DelRusso.)

HAIR

Beware of going to extremes with your hair when you’re trying to look younger. Boston-based hair specialist Nancy V. Brown warns against trying drastic styles such as an ultra-brassy hair color or an Anne Hathaway-short cut.

“Sometimes people can take a trend and go too far with it, and it ends up aging them,” says Brown, a hair restoration specialist who runs the NV My Hair Salon and Academy in Boston. She also suggests these beauty tips and tricks:

·         Stay away from short, round styles.

·         Go for longer, angled bangs rather than a severe straight-across cut.

·         Say no to mullets! Wear a single-length style rather than growing your hair longer in the back.

·         Try soft or untidy updos rather than tight buns or ponytails.

·         Use highlights to camouflage gray growth.

MAKEUP

Celebrity makeup artist Luis Casco points out that when it comes to cosmetics, a little goes a long way. “Too much of anything will age you,” he says. He offers these tips:

·         Give yourself an instant “lift” by shaping and filling in your eyebrows properly, and then applying a highlight just above and under the brow.

·         Opt for softer, well-blended eye and lip colors rather than dramatic shades, which can age your face.

·         Use moisturizer and sunscreen every day!

SKIN

Reducing wrinkles and sagging skin is a challenge, though not impossible, says Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, a board-certified dermatologist based in Miami and author of 6 Weeks to Sensational Skin. Here are her tips:

·         Look for products that contain natural skin humectants normally found at the skin surface, like lactate, calcium pantothenate and urea.

·         Avoid plumping products containing irritants like pepper and cinnamon, which can inflame and even darken skin.

·         Topical dermal fillers can soften or plump wrinkles temporarily; talk to your dermatologist before using these products. (Dr. Ciraldo has her own line available through her website, drloretta.com.)

·         Injectable skin fillers like Botox or Dysport can give longer-lasting results than topical creams and serums, but they’re not for everyone. If you’re considering this option, consult a licensed, board-certified physician who has had training in the proper use of these products. Ask the doctor about her experience with injectable fillers and the potential risks.

Quick Tips for Beautiful Hair

Whether you’re rushing out the door for an afternoon outside or you’re running from meeting to meeting, hairstyling is often low on the priority list. But even if you don’t have time for a full blowout, you can still look great and have beautiful hair.

Every woman should have a few quick hair tips in her arsenal, says Kristan Serafino, a celebrity hairstylist who’s worked on the tresses of Naomi Watts and Elizabeth Berkley. “Put away your styling tools and embrace your hair’s natural texture with confidence,” she says. Check out these tips for how to bypass your blow-dryer and get beautiful hair fast.

Air-dry Hair in Style
As long as the temperature’s warm enough, air-drying hair is quick and can make you look beautiful. Take these steps to create a pretty, beach-inspired look in a flash:

For straight hair:

  • Part damp hair down the middle and divide into four sections (two on each side). Braid each section and let them air-dry. To speed things up in the a.m., you can shampoo at night and sleep in the braids.
  • Once it’s dry, undo the braids and tousle your hair with your fingers. A tip to combat frizz is to rub a small amount of shine serum between your palms and rake through your hair.

For curly or wavy hair:

  • Apply curl cream to hair, coating from roots to tips. Next, twist pieces of hair around your index finger, leaving them coiled as you slide out your finger.
  • Resist touching your hair again until it’s completely dry, says Serafino. Rustling strands can lift the cuticle (your hair’s outer barrier), which can invite frizz-causing humidity.
  • Once your hair is dry, gently massage your scalp with your fingers to tousle and get lift at the roots.

Embrace Headbands
Hair accessories, especially headbands, take seconds to put in and give instant style. “They keep hair off your face on hot days, and by pulling hair back and taut around your face, it looks smoother and more polished,” says Serafino.

In lieu of a traditional headband, you can also try a scarf knotted at the nape of your neck. (You can even braid three skinny ribbons or scarves together.) Wear the scarf an inch or two back from your hairline. If it shifts around, crisscross two bobby pins over the scarf in an X just behind each ear to secure.

Make Over Your Ponytail
Ponytails are the ultimate go-to when you’re in a rush and need a quick hairstyle, but if you rely on them day after day, it’s easy to get stuck in a style rut. Instead of your usual ponytail, try a more polished version by incorporating a pretty scarf: Pull hair straight back into ponytail. Then, wrap a scarf around the rubber band, knotting underneath the ponytail and letting the ends hang loose. If your hair and scarf are long enough, braid them together by dividing your ponytail into three sections, adding the scarf to two of the sections and braiding as usual.

Get creative with tips like these, and styling your hair quickly and beautifully will be easier than you think!

How to Style Hair Without Heat

You may never be fully dressed without a smile -- and the same goes for great hair. Beautiful tresses are a powerful thing for women, and many of us turn to blow-dryers, straighteners and curling irons every day as the path to a polished look.

However, these hot styling tools can damage healthy hair if they’re used too often. Break out of your heat haze, find your new go-to ‘do (no matter your hair type) and commence a little mane damage control to keep your lovely strands, well…lovely! Here’s how to style hair without heat.

Hair Solutions: Braids, Buns, “Born” (a.k.a. Natural)
Always look to the three B’s: Braids. Buns. Born (and by “born,” we mean natural):

  • Braids: The braid is the new black, figuratively speaking. This ever-versatile style lends a certain boho-chicness to an ensemble, plus it requires little to no effort (and especially no heat!) and can be worn in a variety of ways. Try a messy side braid for a casual look, a crown of plaits for an über-romantic vibe, or a partial side-swept version to tame unruly bangs.
  • Buns: Be it a low chignon or a high topknot, buns are the instant-chic answer to the persistent “what to do with my hair” question. This style beautifully transitions from office to happy hour, is flattering for every hair type, and, to top it off, works best with locks that have a little texture on them (read: not freshly washed or styled). Try gently teasing a high ponytail before twisting your hair up and bobby-pinning it for a fuller look that is special-event worthy without doing any damage.
  • Born: Many women have a bad habit of wanting what they don’t have, especially when it comes to hair. Instead of using heat tools to force your hair to do what it doesn’t do naturally, embrace what Mother Nature gave you -- with a little help from styling products.

“Air-drying, especially if your texture is curly or wavy, is a great way to style without heat,” says Luca Blandi, senior stylist at the Oscar Blandi salon in Manhattan. “A little extra conditioner after a shampoo will make it beautiful.”

Vaso Spirou, owner of Salon Vaso in Miami Beach, Fl., and her team at the salon agree: “Depending on the event -- work or play -- a simple styling product to add wave and movement is all you need for beautiful hair without the heat.”

Undo the Damage
How much heat is too much? Spirou recommends turning to heat styling tools no more than once a week. “Especially in sunny climates, you really want to limit your use to keep your hair healthy. Use an at-home deep conditioning treatment to recharge your strands and bring them back to health.” To get the most out of a conditioning hair mask, cover your strands with the mask, then cover with a shower cap and let your body heat do the work while you do chores for half an hour.

You can also make the styles you achieve with heated tools last longer between washes, says Blandi. Sprinkle your roots with a dry shampoo to keep your hair looking fresh. And, of course, never underestimate the power of a trim. Since your tips show the most wear-and-tear, snipping them off every few months will keep your tresses fresh and healthy.

Use Heat Wisely
When you do use curling irons and straighteners, “look for tools with ionic capabilities and titanium plates, which are less damaging,” says Spirou. Good tools should also have temperature-control options so you can keep the heat on the lowest setting. Lastly, don’t forget to reach for hair prep before heating things up. “A heat-protecting treatment or spray before styling will shield your hair and make it less vulnerable to damage,” says Blandi.

Update Your Workout Wear!

Heading for the gym? Great! Doing it in a baggy T-shirt and two-year-old shoes? Not so much. Wearing the right exercise gear isn’t just a matter of looking fashionable; it helps you work out comfortably and safely. Here’s how to tell when you need to update your workout wear, and what to look for when you do:

Sports bra
If it’s been a year or more since you bought the bra you’re wearing, you’ve had it too long. Ditto if the elastic is loose, if you’ve gained or lost weight or if you feel any pain in your shoulders or chest when you work out. When you try on a new sports bra, check the fit: The band should lie flat against your ribcage covering your breasts completely and the straps shouldn’t dig into your shoulders.

The type of bra you buy depends on what kinds of exercise you do. For running or aerobics, a compression bra that minimizes movement is best; for walking or biking, look for a soft pullover bra. Go for a moisture-wicking polyester fabric rather than a cotton variety, which holds in sweat. And when you try on a bra, run in place or do some jumping jacks to make sure it’s supportive enough.

Athletic shoes
Even though your sneakers may still look nice on the outside, hours of pounding the pavement or treadmill take their toll. The result: reduced support to your joints and greater risk of injuries. Experts recommend replacing sports shoes about every 300 to 400 miles, or when they show signs of wear (such as bending too easily in the middle). 

When it’s time to buy new shoes, your best bet is to go to a specialty store where you can get your foot measured by an expert. Athletic shoes should actually be a little larger than your regular shoes to allow for swelling. Bring your old shoes, as well as the socks you’ll be wearing and any orthotics or inserts. Look for a pair that feels comfortable from the start; you shouldn’t need to break them in. If you do more walking than running, you want a shoe that bends at the ball of the foot. If you run, talk to the store professional about options such as gel heels and cushioned insoles that increase comfort and reduce injuries.

Tops
Pulling an old T-shirt from the drawer may be easy enough, but it’s not the smartest move. Cotton tees hold in moisture, leaving you feeling wet and clammy after a workout; plus a baggy shirt can get caught in gym equipment. Instead, invest in a workout shirt or tank in a synthetic fabric like COOLMAX.

Bottoms
The type you choose depends on the activity; long, loose pants can get tangled in the pedals or spokes of a bike, while gym shorts may make you feel self-conscious in yoga class. For high-impact activity, go for close-fitting capris or shorts in a moisture-wicking material; for less strenuous workouts, choose looser, stretchy long bottoms. It’s time to shop for new pants if the elastic loses its grip or if you’ve gained or lost weight.