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, April 26, 2006

Do You Believe In Magiff?

Becuff I do!!!

Ladies, I am so excited about this new product I'm here to recommend. (Wait for applause and wondrous audience expressions.) And let me tell you, I recommend it whole-heartedly. I have so far, in the 3 weeks of use, found nothing to take my love away from this beauty.

But first, let's see if you're with me. Do you like to do your own nails? And do you find, say, that there's always some bump or irregularity in there that you don't see when you go to the salon? This be the product for you. Do you love the feel of your nails after they've been manicured, and they're all slick and smooth? This be the product for you. Do you like the look of clear polish, but you just don't have the time and energy to do more than file them suckers once in a while? Then this product DEFINITELY be all about you.

Let me introduce you to (picture my best infomercially voice): The Magiff Professional Nail Care Kit. Girlfriend, if I were Oprah, this would be on the very top of my basket of favorite things. Also, I'd be a billionaire.

I would have never found this product had it not been for the outlet mall in Florida. (Did you hear that? OUTLET MALL. Real Girl would like her ashes spread there, please, when she dies.) There was this little kiosk, with this eager woman, and she was just suddenly grabbing my nail and...buffing it. And...buffing it. And...then...Oh my God! It was literally like I had on clear nail polish. After a total of about 30 seconds of buffing per nail. That's right, just five minutes a day.

Alright. Now I'm scaring my own damn self. This is what happens when you watch America's Next Top Model and fall deeper in love with Joanie and especially Danielle, who just might be the best reality star to ever hit television. Ever. And maybe even just the planet period. And then, of course, you have a glass of wine to celebrate. To celebrate your evening of fun TV. Because that's what wine is for. And anyway...

So, there's this kit. And it has this great curved nail file, a sweet, peachy-smelling bottle of cuticle oil (yay!), and also? The Best. Buffer. Ever. In fact, it is not one buffer, but three. In one. Start with the purple side, rubbing horizontally side to side for about ten seconds. Move, then, to the white side, rubbing over the nail in a circular motion for, again, about ten seconds. And then? Introduce yourself to the gray side. The Mall Lady said it was made of "silk fibers" or some such nonsense. But homey could be made of seagull poop and I'd still buff my nails with it daily. Side to side, for 15 secondsish. And then, you'll see the glimmer. The shine. The glow. The first two steps you only need to do every two weeks, and the gray-side step can be done as often as desired. Shine need never leave your nails.

What's more? (And again, here I'll naturally lapse into Scary Infomercial Voice.) If, say, you left the buffer at home, but OH NO, your nail just lost its shine? They give you a travel size buffer with all three sides hanging out there in your purse.

I have been rubbing my fingers over my slick smooth shiny nails ever since I got this product. I can't get over how it feels like I'm wearing nail polish. And when you actually do put on nail polish? There aren't those bumps and ridges and whatever else ruins that home manicure and makes you curse and stomp your foot.

Mall Lady swears this buffer isn't wearing down your nails when you use it. But still, you know me. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm waiting for the negative. Because there's ALWAYS a negative side, right? I mean, when in Real Girl Beauty has there not been any negatives?



Well, then, take a look at the before (left) and after (right):
(Remembering, of course, that I got so engrossed in laughing at Top Model that I neglected to tend to my cuticles or hangnails in any way...)

Ain't that cool?
(It's a picture of me "in the buff." Get it? Ha!)

But if anyone's heard anything bad about this product, please share! Or if you feel like dishing about anything naily, go right on ahead! Or if you just want to say howdy, anything at all, you know I'm always your...

Real Girl

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Rake Me Over The Kohl's

Happy Spring!! Ah, the lovely breezes. The longer days. The hot, warming sun! As y’all know really, really friggin’ well, I have a passion for skin care. And it’s not just—"protect your skin against the sun, take good care of yourself, blah blah blah." Ok, sure it’s that. But it’s also just the sheer onslaught of companies trying to sell you gagillions of products. I mean, with gorgeous, sparkly, yummy makeups, we’re usually not spending that much loot—and it’s usually a lot more straightforward whether the product works or doesn’t. With skincare, you both a) are often paying a lot more, and b) possibly won’t know whether the product “works” for decades! Tough, indeed.

But Real Girl likes a challenge.

So for all you sparkly yummy makeup goodie lovers out there (holla! I’m with ya!), hang tight. Because this here is a field in which I do feel I’m needed—as someone who’s not motivated or impeded by ad revenue, I enjoy being able to tell you guys like it is.

And here’s what it is.

It’s time for me to whine.




I would have never, ever found this brand if it weren’t for Real Mom’s dermatologist. She’s a consultant for Kohl’s beauty line and is therefore partly responsible for creating this line I’m dying to try more of. And CAN’T. Because WHERE ARE YOU KOHL’S? I smell a sample-begging call coming soon, my friends.

In the meantime, I’ll tell you about the one Kohl’s beauty product I’ve tried: Kohl’s All Calm Gentle Sunscreen SPF 25. First of all, this product has loads of my favorite sunscreen ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Also? Antioxidants Vitamins E and B. But what’s more? The line is created for people with sensitive skin. Let me tell you—we can all benefit from that. Whenever you find a product for sensitive skin that has decent anti-irritants in it, your face will be happier. Do I have sensitive skin? Nah, not really. But your skin can be irritated by the littlest things, and often without you even knowing it—and that can cause damage. So any ingredients to combat wear and tear are always a good, good thing.

Finally, the fact that we’re working with SPF 25 here instead of SPF 15 is excellent. There’s nothing wrong with SPF 15—if that’s what you prefer, you can get away with it. Maybe. Because if you’re not using a tablespoon’s worth on your whole face? You ain’t getting the full SPF 15. I have tried using a tablespoon of sunscreen. What happened? I was in white-face. No, really. The white-face minstrel show tried to recruit me. So…um…I’m not convinced that a tablespoon of sunscreen is realistic. My solution? Up the SPF. I’m pretty sure I’m not getting my full SPF 25 with this product, but I’m probably getting SPF 15 with the generous amount I use.

But enough about ingredients, right? Let’s talk experience. Love!! The product is lightly tinted, which diminishes the white tinge of zinc oxide/titanium dioxide slightly. Also, there’s quite a pleasant scent here—a tinge of coconut, a whiff of something not too beachy yet still rather tropical. The finish isn’t matte, but it’s not as shiny as more moisturizing sunscreens can be. Although this isn’t a moisturizer, my combination skin is completely satisfied by this product in the moisture department. If yours is on the dry side? You may need something moist-ier.

Has this sunscreen made me break out? No! Am I surprised about that, given the high amount of sunscreen, which can possibly clog pores? Yes! Am I thrilled nonetheless? What do you think!?

If your skin is truly, unbelievably sensitive, this product may not be the best for you. Unfortunately, it didn’t work well with Real Mom’s rosacea. Perhaps the slight scent irritated her, or more likely the higher concentration of sunscreen ingredients.

But overall, I give this Kohl’s product a huge thumbs-up!

Now…get your ass on over to NYC, okay Kohl’s??

(Real Girl’s next sunscreen challenge? Find a tinted moisturizer that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Because the darker skinned gals might not be able to take that slight white tinge...Any suggestions, Real Girlettes??!!)

So, which ones of you out there have this magnificent thing called Kohl’s? Any other obscure lines I should be trying? Anything to share at all?

Love ya!
Real Girl

Thursday, April 06, 2006

America's Next Top Celebrity Sighting


I totally just shared an elevator with Tyra Banks!

Why she was in my office building, I don't know. But I went downstairs for a late morning snack, only to arrive back at the elevator bank in back of a very tall, chatty black woman. My train of thought: Wow, that girl's tall. And she's still wearing heels! Those aren't the cutest heels, though. The slingback strap's hanging down and her toes are way over the edge there. And what's with the cheap looking rhinestones? Hey, her hair looks kinda Tyraish from the back, except with maybe less volume up on top there. Oh wait. Hang on. THAT'S TYRA! Ooh, look at her with her tallness and her shiny nose. Still, she seems nice. She's talking with that guy she's with and all excited. She's saying 'Oh, I know him! He's always talking to my Mom.' (Does Tyra ever utter a sentence without mentioning her Mom? I think she was probably talking about a celebrity the way she was so animated. Kind of like the way I am now!)

Tyra was wearing a long leather coat, so I couldn't see much of her, but I gotta say. I like me some Tyra.


Monday, April 03, 2006

What You Need For Summer, Part 1: Antioxidants

Oh, precious antioxidants. Sweet, sweet antioxidants. You take care of my free radicals, halting their ugly progression toward skin damage and wrinkles. For this, you get Real Girl’s Medal Of Anti-Wrinkleosity. It’s like cosmetics knighthood. From now on, we dub thee Sir Antioxidants.

It’s time to get the most out of our skin protection. The sun is coming, and it’s UVAing and UVBing the heck out of us. Don’t be scared. Be prepared. (Eat your heart out, Boy Scouts.)

When it comes to antioxidants, you need high concentrations. One thing you can do is look to see where the active ingredients fall in the ingredients list. If it’s too far down the line? Be skeptical. Another plus when it comes to purchasing an antioxidant-rich product is to trust the brand.

Quite a while ago, I reviewed Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate. At the time, I was impressed by the ingredients and the price, but not so much by the texture. My friends? I have revised my opinion. For almost a year now, this product has been a staple in my routine, and I continue to use it nightly. The texture isn’t far from Smashbox Foundation Primer. I just had to get used to the silicones.

I continue to be impressed by Paula’s Choice’s antioxidant products, and her two new ones are now nestled happily in my medicine cabinet, where I use them every morning. Do you need to use both? No! But we’re getting there…

For those with oily or combination skin (like La Real Girl!), here’s a fab, antioxidant-packed product for you: Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Mattifying Concentrate. (Could you guess that this is a brand that goes for informational rather than flowery product names? Couldja?). Vitamin E, Vitamin C, green tea, white tea, grape seed extract, and more. It’s like a veritable list of the greatest antioxidants. I’m quite in love with this greaseless product and use it every single day! Because of its ingredients and its price (even with shipping, it’s cheaper than any other brand I’ve found with comparable ingredients), this product just gets an A+ in my book for taking care of your skin—and your piece of mind.

But Real Girl, you say. I’ve got dry skin! Even in summer! Dry, moistureless skin aching for quenching, delicious Sir Antioxidants. What to do!? Ahhh, feel not left out, my parched petunias. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate is here to save your skin. With similar nourishing antioxidants, this greasier serum moistens the skin it touches, soaking into the skin and leaving it spongy to the touch. I use this product around my eyes before my concealer, and when it soaks in, I’m left with a slightly dewy, but not oily, healthy eye-area.

Are these glamorous products? Nah. No girly packaging, no scents or pretty coloring to speak of (which actually makes the product less irritating to your skin), no bells or whistles. But if you love quality ingredients at optimal concentrations for a great dollar value (and if you do, then we are on the same page, my dearies), then these serums are great choices to fight sun damage.

Use morning only or morning and night, before sunscreen, but after any exfoliating or acne products.

Any questions? Any other products to recommend? Any concerns about the sun? I’m definitely taking all your sunscreen questions and requests into account for the future!

I’m here to serve—and to keep us all looking and feeling our best.

(By the way, to all who helped me during Ultimate Blogger? You are SUPER GREAT! Although I didn’t win, I totally should have. Because my answers—and here’s a wee sample if you scroll down--were just the bestity best, hands down!)

Love and love and love,
Real Girl

P.S. If you don't love your Paula's Choice products for some reason, she's great about returns. Don't hesitate to send them back for a refund! (Though not of shipping costs.)