Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Great Whitening Experiment 2005

Ok, so this? Is my natural smile. It's not very toothy, which is super great. Because while taking these pictures, I noticed that my two front teeth are oddly jagged and ugly. Why did I notice this now more acutely than I ever have before? Because I took fancy high-res pictures of them with my beloved Canon Elph. (I spared you the pics where the tooth thing is most obvious. Actually, I spared me.)

I will try not to obsess over my teeth and pledge to fix them when I have spare dough for cosmetic dentistry. In the meantime...

These are my before pictures! Considering how much coffee I drink, and blueberries (every day!), and red wine (not quite every day, but hey--it's good for the heart), I don't think my pearlies are too unpearly. But still, they better get a lot damn whiter. Why? Because I'm testing out what's supposed to be the miraculous Crest Whitestrips Premium.

I'm 1 day into the 7 day trial, so hang tight. Although if anyone has tips on how to remove these puppies from your teeth in an elegant manner, I would appreciate the heads up. Right now, when I remove them, it's a drooly, gloppy mess. But why am I ruining all the suspense? You'll hear about it very soon.

And I remain your,

Jagged Toothed Real Girl


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Prime Time

An aside that relates in no way to today’s special product:

Britney Spears made me open my window and light a scented candle. No, I don’t mean that her hubby Kevin visited my apartment. What I mean is that I received in the mail an unsolicted sample of her new scent, Curious.

While I wouldn’t say that Curious killed the cat (who is thankfully curled up peacefully as I type), I will describe to you what Curious smells like. You know when you’re in a crowded elevator and one annoying woman has put on so much of her favorite scent that the whole place smells suffocatingly of perfume? And not of a specific scent, like rose or sandalwood or musk…but just that generic, unmistakable plain old perfume smell that you find in no way appealing?

There. You no longer have to be Curious. And you definitely don’t have to buy it. (To which you respond: Duh.)

Now on to more fantabulous matters. You know what makes Real Girl mad? When high-priced cosmetics companies make you think you need products that you really, really just don’t need. Neck cream, for instance. In theory, yes, your neck should receive special attention so it doesn’t look wrinkly in old age. But your face cream will do just fine. Don’t sell me some $28 moisturizer that I don’t need, Makeup Counter Lady! Because I am so on to you….

The above pretty much sums up the way I’ve always felt about foundation primer. Foundation is supposed to hide your facial flaws. Now I’ve got to use something to hide those flaws before I use the product to hide the flaws? Humminawha?

Real Readers? Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer has changed my mind.

But Real Girl, you may ask. What does foundation primer do? What you’re getting here is a filler—generally silicone based—that will soak into fine lines, crevices, really anything that will collect foundation. As a result, your foundation will be applied over a flawless (well, relatively) surface, making your skin look damn near perfect. I know. I tried it.

Real Girl Confession Number…God, I’ve lost count. Full disclosure here: I’m not a huge foundation user. And when I do use foundation, I use the beginner’s kind—the almost sheer, incredibly light Prescriptives Traceless Skin Responsive Tint (the foundation for gals who don’t use foundation). This Prescriptives option is so subtle that many of my flaws shine through even with it on. However—and this is what has sold me on the Smashbox primer—with a thin coat of Smashbox Photo Finish covering my skin before application, my foundation makes my skin tone look more even and my skin itself more flawless than I ever expected. If you're a regular foundation user, and you want to get more out of your favorite foundation, this might be your perfect product.

But wait! There’s more! The Smashbox Photo Finish also has a nice cocktail of antioxidants, including Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and grape seed extract, two of the very best. So even if you don’t wear foundation every day, you can still benefit from this product! (However, if you’re only looking for an antioxidant serum, Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate will give you similar antioxidants in the same serum format at half the price. I’ve been using it now for months and I’m quite lost without it.)

So! If you’re not quite thrilled with the way foundation sits on the surface of your skin, Smashbox Photo Finish Primer will definitely improve that. I, for one, know that I will wear foundation more often now just so I can see my face look so delightfully smooth and even-colored.

And fine, Makeup Counter Lady. You can sell me this product without me snapping at you that I DON’T NEED IT. But really. Show me some neck cream and I'm telling you to sit on it.

But what about your experiences with foundation primers? Or maybe your foundation’s so good you don’t need a primer? Have you got questions for La Real Girl?

You know she loves ya,

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Quest For Perfect Hair...

Firstly, I’m sure I’m not the only one to congratulate Amalah on her adorable new bundle of Awwwww. May he experience nothing but love, happiness, and great skin care.

Today, Real Girl ventures into territory previously unknown to her. Territory marked by such road signs as Coarse. Thick. And…bear with me…Perm.

(All this while I grieve over the demise of my favorite TV hottie, Agent Vaughn of Alias, played by Michael Vartan.)

(Doesn’t Real Girl Vartan have a certain ring to it?)

And…moving on.

To Eliza. Hi Eliza! Eliza writes:

Hey Real Girl...

I've got a beauty product question, sort of. I'm just hoping you can help me.

My guy has the strangest hair I've ever seen. It's coarse, curly, kinda dry, very unruly. And it gets even worse in the winter. Can you recommend a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner he ought to be using? I've tried convincing him to shampoo the roots and condition the roots, but when you're only working with a couple inches of hair, it's hard to differentiate the roots and ends...

I really feel like I should be able to help him on my own, but my hair is the utter opposite of his and this is really beyond my realm of known products.

If it's beyond your realm as well, or the scope of your site, I totally understand.

Thanks for any help you can give, though!

After receiving this email, I stroked my Real chin and quickly sent Eliza a convenient link to Real Girl’s famous olive oil conditioning post (and by “famous,” I mean “something you may have read six months ago and then promptly forgotten.”) Such a great treatment for guys! It’s neither pink nor scented, and I dare you to find one flower on the packaging.

Eliza responded (making Real Girl giggle out loud): I'll see what I can do about convincing him to put olive oil and a plastic bag on his head... but I'd love more suggestions. Maybe something that won't make him laugh in my face?

So….after much research on the all-encompassing Internet, I am now able to provide a convenient list of products that are well-suited for hair that is both coarse and thick. Important note! These products tend toward build-up, so once in a while (every two weeks? When you notice build-up? I leave it up to you), mix a nickel-sized scoop of baking soda in with your shampoo. That should clean hair all nice and squeaky-like. (Yet another tip from Real Girl’s beloved hair stylist, who’ll be making her own guest-star RGB appearance momentarily.)

Here you go! Softness. Moisture. Silkening. Word making-upping.

Frizz Ease Smooth Start, Defrizzing Shampoo: This should promote shinier, smoother hair.
Joico Triage Moisture-Balancing Shampoo: An excellent moisturizer, especially for coarse and thick hair. (One of your best bets, I think.)
Matrix Shampoo: A good conditioning shampoo for curly hair, and even for straight hair.
Zero Frizz Smoothing Shampoo: Again, a good conditioning shampoo for either straight or curly hair.

Beauty Without Cruelty Revitalize Leave-In Conditioner: For dry, coarse, unmanageable hair, it’s hard to beat a leave-in conditioner, and this is a great one for thick hair. (It’s got essential oils.)
Thermasilk Moisturizing Infusing Conditioner, Dry Hair: A pretty basic conditioner, but best for somewhat thick and coarse hair.
Zero Frizz Daily Conditioner: Softens? Check. Defrizzes? Check. Makes more manageable? Check.
Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Hair Treatment with Nettles and Rosemary : A moisturizing hair masque, again with essential oils, best for truly thick hair.
Kiehl’s Lecithin & Coconut Enriched Hair Masque with Panthenol: I actually sampled this recently, and Oh. My. God. The scent is to die for. Coconuty, like a day at the beach. It worked well on my finer hair, giving me lovely softness, and I imagine its essential oils (notice a theme here?) would work nicely on thicker hair too (its own description specifies dry, coarse hair). It's best to leave it on for an hour before washing, so set aside some time there.

Let us know how it works out, Eliza! And let’s hope our gifted readers have other fab suggestions for you too!

Question #2 comes from Angela. Hi Angela!

Real Girl,

Okay, I've got a question for you that you may or may not have any answer to! I know that you have absolutely gorgeous curly locks, but there are some of us out here with fine limp strands in an eternal search for volume and waves! A few weeks ago I saw a little segment on E! about a new perming process--it's supposed to give you that lovely Jennifer Aniston loose wave look rather than the scary poodle look of the 80's. I did some research and found out that it's called a texturizing perm.

Honestly, I'm not even sure if it's available all over the country yet or just in the salon they featured on the show, but have you heard anything about this? Is it too good to be true or is it possible that the search could be at an end! Thanks, and love your site!


Well, I’m happy to say that even in sixth grade, when all the “cool” girls were getting perms (of course, we called them “body waves” then), I managed to avoid getting eaten by chemically-treated curlers. But what’s this about a non-pubey perm? A perm that promises the kind of hair we all aspire to? I fully admit it: I covet Jennifer Aniston’s hair. Or at least her talented team of hair experts.

Stumped by all things permy, I immediately contacted my Angel in the Darkness, Julie, also known as my cooler-than-everyone-else hair stylist. (Take that, Jennifer Aniston.) Julie told me she’s never used the texturizing perm, and so I shouldn’t quote her. So I will paraphrase.

Julie’s got the texturizing perm by a company called ISO at her salon and went through a training session a while ago, so she’s got a few details for us. It’s a semi-permanent perm, so it’ll only last about 6 weeks (an estimate). As for the curl, the interesting thing is that it depends on what you use to wrap the hair rather than the product itself. Smaller curlers, tighter curls (do we advise this? Um, no). Big-ass curlers, bigger waves. In fact, you don’t even need to use curlers at all. You can use anything. As evidenced by this gem from Julie that, I’m sorry, I’ve just got to quote: “Actually I remember the strange man teaching us the class saying that you can perm with TAMPONS!! Not that I would, 'cause that just seems really odd, especially coming from a man.” So, basically, you’re looking at a temporary treatment that allows you to customize your wave. Hopefully without any help from feminine hygiene products.

Bedeee bedeee bedeee…that’s all folks!! From me, at least. Now it’s time to hear from you!

And I remain your,
Real Girl