The Gilded Aesthetic

The Gilded Aesthetic : August 2010

The Gilded Aesthetic

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plump Those Lashes!

I'm constantly fussing with myself, plucking and primping, exfoliating and moisturizing, and trying to find other little ways to improve my appearance. Lately, I've been fixated on my lashes.

What I've been doing on a nightly basis is using an old, clean mascara wand to coat my lashes with a mixture of grape seed oil and vaseline. It's strange to me how ideas about things like vaseline come into existence. I've found sites where hundreds of hundreds of people have left comments saying that vaseline improved their lashes, yet you'll always find some "expert" trying to tear the idea down. Duh! If people experience something from doing it, then there's obviously something to the idea! It's the same with apple cider vinegar or body wraps. There are women who find permanent weight and inch loss from using body wraps. People who eat pasta and chips every day incorporate some ACV into their diets, lose weight consistently with NO other changes to their habits, and there are STILL morons saying, "It doesn't work. Just eat right and work out. There aren't any shortcuts!"

Well, I'm here to tell you that there are shortcuts! To most anything! But I digress... I can get really worked up. I'm just sick of people slamming alternative health and beauty methods.

Back to my eyelashes. I coat them with the aforementioned ingredients, plus I dab a bit of Rapid Lash on them every now and then. I'm wary of using this product because A) it has made my eye area red and puffy, and B) there are people who have experienced thinning lashes after months of using it. But to address that, there are also many users who love the product and say that losing lashes, especially once they've become so thick and numerous, is a natural process of regrowth and that the lashes come back and continue to grow.

Other people tout coconut, olive, and castor oil as being conducive to beautiful, fat lashes. I say, they're all probably good for lash growth.

The biggest thing, I believe, with growing your lashes is consistency. Baby them every day. Imagine them growing. See how lush and dark and BEGUILING they are. SEE IT, DAMN IT!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beauty Bibles

I love ridiculous beauty how-to books. I've got several Adrien Arpel books (not so ridiculous, as the woman's ancient at this point and is so lovely that she must be sleeping in formaldehyde), an early 20th century guide to body care (which yields very little applicable advice beyond an "eye bath," a practice where you pour a softening oil into a glass and hold it over each eye for 10 to 20 minutes), and "The Beautiful People's Diet Book" by Luciana Pignatelli. Luciana was the cat's meow in the 60's and 70's. She killed herself in 2008 after the Madoff scandal left her finances in ruins, claiming she couldn't be "both old and poor." Full of wit and juicy secrets, my favorite chapter of TBPDB deals with fat farms disguised as spas. God, what I wouldn't give to go stay at a compound where they rub me down with oil and feed me broiled chicken. Not that I like broiled chicken, but I might actually lose these last 20 pounds if I had someone to boss me around!

She has another book, "The Beautiful People's Beauty Book," that I'm dying to get a hold of, but I simply can't put another thing on my card right now. If it's anything like the diet guide, it's full of delightful morsels.

One tidbit floating around the internet I've found concerns homosexual Parisians in the 70's. Luciana claims that a popular beauty ritual for them was to whip egg whites and olive oil, apply it to the face, and sit back while it tightens the pores.

She put a lot of stock in what gay men have to say about self-care, as should we all, and went so far as to claim that every woman over the age of 30 must have a gay man in her life. Personally, I'd love to have one long before then, but I'll certainly not turn him down should he take some time to get here!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beautiful Skin is Easy

It doesn't matter if you're pale or tan, freckled or smooth, 25 or 50, beautiful skin is easy to achieve and maintain. I'm not an esthetician, but I know a thing or two about self-care.

I've got good skin. I'll say it. I'm fortunate to have it, but I also devote an inordinate amount of time to pampering and protecting it. When I was in my teens, I had acne. Not horrible acne, but I definitely suffered. And when I was about 19, I had a horrible, nasty outbreak on my chin that lasted for MONTHS. I still don't know what caused it, but I think it was a combination of birth control, stress, and not taking care of myself. Now I have a pimple or two, but they are definitely manageable and don't dominate my face.

It's always fascinated me how different people's bodies are from one another. We're all human beings, we're made of flesh and bone, blood and fat, et cetera. Yet some people can eat as much cake, cookies, and cokes as they want and stay thin, while others are forced to eat rabbit food to maintain. Some people have a negative reaction to certain vitamins, others need the same supplements to thrive. It's the same way with skin care products.

I've always preferred a bar of soap to cleanse my face. There's something about the slippery feel of a fat cake of soap, and the voluminous suds, that sends me. I love to lather up two, three, even four times. Two of my favorites are the Dove Beauty Bar and Cetaphil Facial Bar. It's inexpensive, sweet-smelling, good for sensitive skin, and doesn't leave a residue. The second, which I'm currently using, is Cetaphil. It has a slightly more "chemical" feel to it, but it's still a good bar of soap.

I tried using cream or gel cleansers for a long time. They never seemed to really clean my face, nor did they keep blemishes at bay. Yet there are people who would never dream of using anything but these types of cleansers. Others like cold cream or cleansing pads. What works for you might not work for me, even if we have similar skin types, and vice versa. It's interesting how different people can be.

My advice, should you choose to accept it, is rudimentary. Good skin begins with the mind. You need to believe you have good skin. You need to accept that beautiful, clear skin is a part of your identity, what people see when they look at you. Next, you keep rituals which support that belief. Your rituals are the things you do every day to take care of your beautiful skin.

* Cleanse twice a day, once in the morning and then at night. Experiment with different cleansers to see what works for you. Bar soaps, creams, gels, cleansing pads, and even the Oil Cleansing Method are all methods to explore.

* Exfoliate once a day with a gentle exfoliant. I've mentioned my favorite, a mixture of olive oil and sugar, but as long as the grains aren't too large, any one you purchase should suffice. Be very gentle as you rub your face in a circular motion. Concentrate on your nose and chin.

* Moisturize. I'm a huge fan of oils, like olive and grapeseed, but these are not always realistic when beginning your day. I use Dove Beauty Fluid as a moisturizer. It's not my favorite, as I've yet to find a moisturizer I'm in love with, but it does the job and smells nice. You should explore a lot of different moisturizers to find the one that makes you feel good. In my opinion, the best moisturizer should make your skin feel plump, soft, and dewey. At night, you could try the oils that I mentioned. Women in the Mediterranean swear by olive oil for beautiful skin, and I think they may be onto something. I love grapeseed, as it has vitamin e and is touted as being the fountain of youth by some health nuts.

* I think rose water is an excellent way to beautify your skin. It's refreshing, smells lovely, and makes you look like you just stepped out of a Roman bath!

* Once or twice a week, you must use a good mask. Shop around depending on your skin type. If you have dry skin, naturally you would like a hydrating mask. Elizabeth Arden has a nice one. For those with acne or on a budget, the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask is a nice addition to your rituals. For the truly committed beauty queens, there is the Aztec Clay Mask. This is not for the faint of heart, but it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. It's comprised of nothing but mud clay and when mixed with apple cider vinegar (I've told you how marvelous this is for the skin) or water, it will take care of your skin for years. It will not feel good while it's on, but it pulls impurities out of your skin. When used consistently, it eradicates acne and keeps your skin healthy and flawless. Remember to keep it on until it's completely dry, which could take an hour or so, and do not put anything on your face for about an hour afterwards. Your face will pulsate while it's drying, and that can be uncomfortable, but it's worth it. Expect serious redness after you remove this miracle. The Aztec mask is so inexpensive and lasts forever. It's easily found on the internet, but most health stores should carry it.

* A nice practice is to give your face a steam bath every so often. Boil water on a stove, add some chamomile tea and other nice-smelling things, and hang a towel over your head while you let the scented steam open your pores for ten minutes. Follow with a spray of rose water to further clean your pores.

* It's not realistic for most of us to get a luxurious facial whenever we want at the BEST spa in town, but consider visiting your local beauty schools. For example, there is a decent beauty school in my area that offers hour-long facials for a mere $20 dollars. The students are always overseen by a professional while they perform their work, and you can't beat the price.

* Exercise. There's no way to get around it: exercise is beneficial to your skin.

* Supplements are a great way to make sure your skin gets everything it needs. You needn't drop a load either, as quality supplements are available inexpensively at Here are the ones I've found that provide exceptional support to skin.

Grape Seed
Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Omega 3
Vitamin C
A juice complex of some kind (including things like noni, mangosteen, pomegranate)

* You know the drill. As much fresh, clean (no tap) water a day as you can manage without overdosing. Too much can be unhealthy, but your body will tell you when that limit has been reached.

* Ginger and Green tea are good skin beautifiers.

* Try my beauty tonic. Combine hot water with a tablespoon of honey and lemon juice, with some apple cider vinegar thrown in. Be careful, as those last two are highly acidic. You don't want to destroy your beautiful teeth.

To Beauty!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beauty Secrets for August

Time to divulge some of my favorite beauty secrets and hopefully learn some from you all!

* NEVER spend money on a body scrub. You can make one of as good quality with ingredients from your own kitchen. A favorite is to mix olive oil and sugar, either white or brown. You want the consistency to be almost like a paste. Sugar is an excellent exfoliant and the oil leaves your skin silky and soft.

* Grape Seed oil is an exceptional moisturizer. I like to use it every night. It absorbs well and leaves you with a plump, bright complexion. GSO is packed with Vitamin E, so I suspect it's amazing for stretch marks and other scars. You can find GSO relatively cheap at any health store or even online.

* I love to have some rich color on my lips, but I dislike how bright and garish lipstick can look on me. What I do is layer the color on my lips double time, then blot it off with a tissue until it's nothing more than a vibrant stain. A little vaseline on top will make your lips juicy, as well as hydrate and preserve the color.

* Are you out of your favorite true red lipstick? Never fear! Take the reddest stick you do have and apply it, then take out some black eyeshadow. Make a few small dots of the shadow on your lower lip, then either rub your lips together or otherwise smear to distribute the black. This will darken your lips to the desired shade.

* Are you feeling a cold coming on? I sure was this past weekend! My mom made me a fabulous concoction and I believe it contributed to my recovery. Boil water and add some apple cider vinegar, pepper, honey, and salt. Put into a container and shake whenever you're ready for a drink. Remember to dilute the mixture into some water, as the vinegar can be harmful to your tooth enamel. An added bonus to this cold remedy is that the apple cider vinegar fights acne and gives you a lovely glow, as well as boosts your metabolism. The pepper adds an extra metabolism kick. Honey is also a skin beautifier. Might as well pretty ourselves while we're sick, eh?

* Glucosamine is an excellent supplement for those losing weight or worried about the sagginess that comes with age. Take it daily to help fight loose skin and stretch marks.

* Vaseline, olive oil, and castor oil are all excellent lash conditioners and may even contribute to their growth. Coat your lashes with any of these before bed.

* Slice open a grape and rub over your wrinkles.

* Rosewater is a new favorite of mine. It smells heavenly. I have a little bottle I keep in the fridge. It acts as a marvelous toner and wakes your complexion up. You'll glow!