First Blush

Beauty & Health, First Blush

Five Steps to Fabulous Summer Feet

By Kim Putens Spring hits and we immediately toss off our boots and pull out our flip-flops.  Undoubtedly we do this out of relief that warm air has arrived and because our feet need a break from winter’s confining shoes.  But, most of the time, we really do not take note of the condition of our neglected winter feet.  For many of us, it simply means a trip to the local spa for a pedicure followed by weekly or bi-weekly visits to keep them looking good.  For me, the idea of a $60 pedicure makes me cringe.  Multiply that by several trips a month … I have better things to spend my money on.   It really is not that hard to take care of your feet and keep them looking fabulous – all at a fraction of the cost. Uncover and Observe.  Slip off your shoes and take note of the condition of your feet from the winter.  I mean really take a look at them.  I most notice my feet while doing Yoga.  For some reason, this is when I get up close and personal with my feet and take notice of their condition.  I notice all the calluses that have built up, the rough skin on my heels, and the un-groomed toenails Peel Back the Layers.  Now it is time to get rid of the rough build up from winter.  Invest in a good foot file.  Most foot files dull out over time; most notably pumice stones wear out very quickly.  While you might have to spend a little more money for a really good one, it should last forever if taken care of properly.  The best are those made of crushed diamonds.  Sounds decadent, but if you think about it, diamonds do not wear out and they…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Fragrance: What to Wear and How to Wear It

By Kim Putens The smell of spring is in the air. With the smell of spring brings about the desire to try a new fragrance. Switching to a new fragrance in the warmer months is like shedding our heavy winter clothes. I’ve even heard of fragrance referred to as woman’s clothing.  And, the type of fragrance notes chosen are referred to anything from a spring dress to a fur coat. Since we are all ready to put our fur coats away after this historic winter, allow me to guide you toward your “spring dress” and teach you how best to wear it. What to Wear Warmer months call for lighter fragrance notes – floral, citrus, and clean are most common. Floral is by far the most popular fragrance category. It becomes even more popular when the temperatures rise. Consider floral notes such as gardenia, orange blossom, lily, rose and peony. These are most often found in fragrances. In fact, Casablanca lily is the most popular fragrance note sought out by customers. Citrus Notes – Orange is too fruity, grapefruit too ordinary.  But, bergamot, bitter orange, and mandarin are just right. For a greener smell, look for fragrances that pair citrus notes with green leafy notes. Some examples of common combinations are verbena, lemon and cedar or lemon, basil and oak. Because citrus notes tend to evaporate quickly, pairing them with woody notes will make them last longer. Ozonic (or clean) Notes – When sniffed, these fragrances are reminiscent of the seashore or fresh water.  Most often people will refer to them as clean and fresh. The scent will remind them of a breeze coming off the ocean or the way we expect a summer breeze to smell. When mixed with floral notes, these ozonic fragrances gain more depth, last longer…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

It’s Time to Go Green

By Genevieve LeFranc After frigid winter temperatures, bulky wool sweaters, and the occasional snowfall, Spring can’t come soon enough. Temperatures are fluctuating and warmer weather is right around the corner, along with the arrival of bright, happy colors to incorporate into your dressing and grooming regime. From neons on the runway to bold prints and patterns, it’s time to ditch your neutrals and trusty makeup standbys for a punched up, colorful new look. Emerald is a very harmonious hue on the cosmetic color wheel, and is therefore a universal color for all makeup lovers. The exotic hue dramatizes all eye colors—enhancing green eyes, compatible with blue eyes, emphasizing green undertones in hazel eyes, and richly intensifying brown eyes to make them appear deeper. Surprisingly enough, Emerald also works great as a cosmetic color trend because it complements peach, pink, ruby, and even deep eggplant purple, so your lipstick and blush options are just as versatile. And how chic is an unexpected little pop of green on your nails for Spring? This deep, rich jewel tone is incredibly versatile because—believe it or not—it looks wonderful on nearly every complexion and is the perfect transition shade to take you into Spring. Many see this as a trendy hue and shy away from its boldness, but fear not! If you are hesitant, make this beautiful, saturated color a subtle accent instead of an in-your-face statement. If you’re bored with your look, take a walk on the wild side and add a sultry flair to eyes, nails, and even your beauty tools. For an updated, modern look that will add a healthy dose of color to your makeup regime, try these glittering Emerald-inspired products. Sephora’s 3-In-1 Sharpener This sleek, colorful sharpener is a must-have not only for its vibrant emerald color, but for its…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Y – O – U – N – G!

By Kim Putens You haven’t found the fountain of youth yet, but you’re afraid to go under the knife. You sit in wonder of how to keep your skin looking young, particularly during these harsh winter days.    Many people ask me how I keep my skin looking young. They want to know my beauty tricks and if they involve botox. There is no doubt that in your mid-40’s it’s much harder to fight the signs of aging than at 21. But, I will avail you of the routine that helps me keep my skin looking Y-O-U-N-G and, no, it does not involve botox. I’m too afraid of the needles. Y – Yoga. I can’t live without yoga in my life. It helps relieve the daily stresses associated with running a business, keeping up with my two children and maintaining a busy household.  Research has shown that stress not only impacts your body, but your skin too. As your mom always told you – if you keep making those faces, your face may stay that way. Well, there is something to be said for that. Your frowns and furrows leave their mark when you make them often enough. O – Oxygen. Recent studies have shown that as the skin ages, there is a reduction in oxygen in the skin.  Luckily, there are ways to get oxygen back into the skin. I am an exfoliating queen. I always have been. I use a scrub on most days to help unclog my pores and reveal softer skin. By opening up your pores, you’re allowing more oxygen to get into the skin. Depending how clogged your pores are, a deep exfoliation or exfoliating mask will help to slough off dead skin cells and unclog surface pores.  If you’re skin has been neglected or has…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

It’s Time for Some DIY & TLC

by Genevieve LeFranc It’s Time for Some DIY & TLC It’s January and more than a few of us are feeling completely spent from the holidays. Literally. After weeks of shopping and stacks of bills piling up, January is a time for thrifty resourcefulness. Smart beauty means never paying too much. Knowing a few DIY – Do It Yourself – beauty remedies can really help you save money. This month it’s about taking a break from all the holiday madness—the overindulging with rich food and alcohol, and the staying up and out way too late—things that wreak havoc with our skin and hair. With dry, flaky skin and flat, static-stricken locks, it’s time for a little DIY at-home, self-pampering using inexpensive, common items you have around the house. After a season filled with honey-glazed ham, Christmas cookies, and approximately two thousand peppermint lattes, the fridge is probably the last place you want to turn to. However, there are more than a few excellent beauty ingredients hiding in your kitchen. Avocado acts as a great moisturizer and skin softener due to its high, unsaturated fat content. Mash the pulp into a paste for a quick and easy hydrating facial treatment. You can also combine plain yogurt and oatmeal to make a hydrating mask. Yogurt is especially good for dry, sensitive skin. Leave this concoction on for about 10 minutes for a wonderful skin softener. Legs can be a ghastly sight after suffocating under jeans and tights all winter long, so show your gams a little TLC – Tender Loving Care – by sloughing off the dry, excess skin. Add oatmeal or sea salt to your favorite body wash or gel for a really effective exfoliator. Or for an invigorating citrus scrub, dip half of a lemon, pulp side, into common table…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Get “Glammed” Up for the Holidays!!

By Kim Putens   Get “Glammed” Up for the Holidays!! You’ve trimmed the tree, hung the stockings, decorated the house, and bought the gifts, but what about you? With invitations to holiday parties abound, make sure you sparkle for every occasion.  Consider these trendy make up looks for any possible holiday festivity that may come your way.   The Office Party Your normally conservative office look is still the best course of action even though it is a “holiday” party. Keep your makeup light, but fresh. Freshen and awaken your look with a dab of concealer to the corner and outer edges of the eye. Dab on a sheer lip gloss. And, to lend some festive sparkle, add a dab of shimmer to the apples of the cheek and to the corner of the eye. So as not to compete with the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, be sure not to overdue the shimmer. Be light, be strategic and be discreet.   Drinks with the Girls Think girly fun, think pink, think glossy, and think fresh.  Glossy, sheer lips with a dab of dazzle are best. Pink tones on the eyes and cheeks make for a fresh and flirty look appropriate for an exclusively girls only fete. To ensure a fresh and dewy look, choose cream based products for the cheeks and eyes. Finish the look with a light coat of black mascara on your upper and lower lashes.   Cocktail Party Take subtle to new heights with heavier eyeliner and metallic tones. Try heavy eyeliner over subtle eye base colors for a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” look. Layer generous eyeliner along the lash line on the top eyelid only, choosing from rich tones such as navy blue, black or chocolate brown. To pull off this look correctly, be sure…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Food for the Skin

By Kim Putens Food for the Skin As we approach the holidays, food becomes more than a necessity to nourish our bodies.  It is a reason to bring families together, a reminder of fond memories, and the focus of many traditions that we didn’t get to celebrate last year in the midst of the pandemic. We don’t typically think of food as an important ingredient in our skin care products.   In fact, many items from our holiday table are showing up in many skin care products.  In the spirit of the holidays, one ingredient worthy of special attention is Pumpkin.  This enzyme is an alternative to alpha hydroxy acids as an exfoliant/peel ingredient for the skin.  A fruit acid, pumpkin has many properties – as an exfoliation accelerator, a powerful anti-oxidant and a mild retonic acid substitute. As an exfoliant pumpkin gently breaks down the outer layers of the skin, leaving it looking fresher and feeling softer by sloughing off dead skin. As a powerful antioxidant, it combats oxidative and free radical damage. The beta carotene properties of pumpkin work to naturally repair skin damage. What also makes pumpkin so desirable in skin care products is that it does not contain fragrance chemicals that are often irritating to the skin. Since food ingredients are proliferating skin care products, let’s explore some of the other common ingredients penetrating our products, their usages and beneficial properties. Basil – contains anti-inflammatory properties and protects the vascular system.  In doing so, it calms inflammation and diminishes dark circles. Blueberries – another darling of the antioxidant world, blueberries also have an important vaso-constricting impact.  They help diminish redness and, because of its gentle qualities, it is safe for the rosacea-prone to use. Chamomile – found in many forms, the principal components of the essential oil…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Fall Is Here And New Beauty Trends Abound

Fall Is Here And New Beauty Trends Abound By Genevieve LeFranc Unlike previous seasons where the beauty trends were a mixed bag of ethereal and fresh to bold and colorful, the fall beauty regimen is definitive and distinct and anything but a mixed bag.  While there are many options for how to fashion your face this fall, there is a definitive trend of colors – berry, rich, charcoal and flush.   The looks are bold, but beautiful and quite frankly, a fresh take on recent trends.   You’ll find throwbacks from the 80’s and new twists on the classics.   The basis for makeup regimens is foundation and this fall’s look is moving away from the matte finish.  Semi-matte (with a hint of glow) is the foundation of choice.  The point is no longer just to cover up flaws, but to allow one’s inner glow to shine through.  All you need to do is lighten up – simply brush on light layers of foundation and avoid, at all cost, the temptation to cover up.  All that covering leads to layers of cake that only emphasize flaws.  Step a step back, peel away the layers, and allow your unique features to shine through.   Monochromatic looks are this seasons answer to a quick, fresh look.  Pair your cheek color with the same for lips and eyes.  Delight in the fact that the colors are light and airy with emphasis on peachy and pink tones with a hint of shimmer.  If you can’t find the exceptional balance between the perfect color and a hint of shimmer, opt for layers.  Simply take a peach or pink blush and layer a shimmery bronzer over it.  Voila!  Another note about the cheeks this Fall.  For those of you blessed with high cheekbones, don’t hide them … make…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

The Eyes Have it – Fine Lines…Dark Circles…Puffiness!

By Kim Putens The Eyes Have it – Fine Lines…Dark Circles…Puffiness! “How can I get rid of the fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness around my eyes?” The eye area is the most delicate and where the first signs of aging begin to creep up on us.   Most often, it is the area that is most neglected until we see that first wrinkle.   The most important thing to realize is that prevention is the best defense against the inevitable aging process.   Choosing to use an eye cream at an early age is the best defense against those fine lines creeping in before we’re ready.  There are also a few other remedies to weaken the defenses of those fine lines and to address other eye concerns. Aging – When we begin to age, the eye area is the first to show those signs.  That is why it is the most important area to take care of.   Taking care of our eyes is quite simple – moisturizer.  Keeping the eye area moisturized is key to maintaining its elasticity and keeping the crows feet and wrinkles away.   Choosing an appropriate moisturizer is important.  Too light of a moisturizer won’t be effective and too heavy of a moisturizer will just make your make-up a runny mess.  To determine the right weight of a moisturizer, look for a moisturizer that absorbs into the skin just enough to still provide relief and still be a little slick.  Furthermore, the right moisturizer must not be too intense.   The eye area is the most delicate skin on our face and requires that we take great care to ensure it is treated accordingly.  A moisturizer designed specifically for the eye area is the best choice.  Choosing any facial moisturizer isn’t appropriate because they often contain too many active ingredients…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Beauty Essentials for Summertime Traveling

By Genevieve LeFranc Beauty Essentials for Summertime Traveling With the most restrictive days of the pandemic behind us and countries opening up to travel, it’s time to plan a trip. Everyone loves the idea of exploring an exotic or foreign land so now that summer’s in full swing, it’s time to plan your vacation. However, traveling is stressful and can cramp your style, especially when it comes to your beauty routine. Looking good while traveling is a major challenge whether you’re jet setting halfway around the globe, catching a train for a spontaneous weekend getaway, or flying for a business trip. Let’s face it: filling plastic mini bottles with your favorite products feels too much like preparing for summer camp, and the faulty, cheap lids inevitably spill their contents all over your digital camera or silk blouse. Instead, opt for a pared down assortment of basic travel must-haves that will keep you looking your best no matter where you’re going or how far. The key to looking radiant at all times is moisturizing. When you are forced to subject your skin to the dehydrating effects of cabin pressure and stale airplane air, your complexion ends up looking dull, tired, and sallow. Perk up with my all-time favorite travel weapon: Caudalie Grape Water spray. This light, refreshing mist is a grape seed based water toner enriched with mineral salts that works for all skin types—even the most sensitive—and acts as an instant pick-me-up no matter how tired, jetlagged, or queasy you feel from your travels. It is 100% plant-based water extracted directly from grapes and boasts unbelievable moisturizing properties. I use this product for anything and everything when I travel and you’ll find yourself reaching for it constantly, too. Use it to refresh suffocated airline skin; sooth a sunburn; and as…

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