Experts Share Their Tried-and-True Tips
By Kristine Hartvigsen
“She’s so comfortable in her own skin.”
It’s one of the highest secondhand compliments anyone can receive. It suggests that the recipient is naturally beautiful and confident, uninhibited, at ease. How do people achieve this ideal? Well, it’s complicated, but ultimately it starts with the skin.
“Your skin is like an elephant. It never forgets,” said Morgan Queen, spa manager at Skin Studio Medical Spa in Columbia. “If you are young, take care of it now.” Even if you are not young, it’s never too late to begin taking good care of your skin.
The sun can do immense damage to unprotected skin, even on cloudy days. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 80 percent of ultraviolet rays can pass through clouds. Queen and her staff agree that the first line of defense is sunscreen of 30 to 40 SPF or higher.
“We recommend that any person with any skin type use sunscreen,” said Camryn Snell, receptionist at the Skin Studio. “We carry a great sunscreen called Tizo, which is SPF 40. If you are doing anything in the sun, you need to reapply at least every two hours. … Ask for help from trusted professionals who aren’t just selling products but educating you as well.”
The Skin Studio offers an array of skin care and nonsurgical wellness treatments to help clients feel their absolute best.
“Everything starts with skin,” Queen said. “We generally recommend chemical peels, which are good for all skin types and keep rosacea at bay.”
Other Skin Studio services include body contouring such as cryosculpting, for those trying to lose especially stubborn fat, and body wrapping, which can whittle away up to 14 inches. The spa also offers facials, injectables, lash and brow treatments, waxing, and laser hair removal. And women aren’t the only clientele for whom these services are popular.
“We have quite a lot of men,” Queen said. “They come in for facials. They do all of it.”
Queen noted that everybody is different, and Skin Studio offers complimentary consultations to identify the best strategies for every client’s needs.
“Our goal is to enhance your beauty to where you don’t feel like you need makeup,” she added. “First and foremost, take care of your skin. That is our mantra here.”
Few things are as frustrating as a bad hair day, and Columbia’s intense humidity during the summer months sends many style-conscious citizens scrambling for anti-frizz products. Hair salons carefully select the products they offer in their shops. Just as pharmaceutical representatives visit doctor’s offices with the latest medical solutions, hair product representatives call on salons with the latest product innovations to help ensure they have the most up-to-date, proven strategies to keep everyone’s locks lovely in the South.
“Hairspray is a big seller, and anti-frizz products in Columbia are huge. You can’t keep them on the shelf,” said Joye Fowler, owner of Salon 561 in West Columbia. “Volumizing products are big as well. We have wonderful sales reps that come to the salon.” During Covid, national hair shows were discontinued. “We try to attend hair shows about twice a year in New York or Atlanta. So really, our sales reps are our lifeline.”
A 2018 InStyle survey found that frizz was the number one hair complaint for 63% of American women, and hairspray is the overwhelming best-selling hair product among those surveyed. Next to controlling their unruly locks in humid weather, many clients at Salon 561 focus on getting their hair just the right shade of color that will make them feel fabulous. The same InStyle survey found 81% of women described feeling most confident when their hair looks its best.
At Salon 561, the primary goal is to create a shade that looks like you were born with it.
“Natural-looking color is our number one request. Multidimensional color is important because it’s more natural looking than monochromatic color,” Fowler said. Coloring one’s hair is not a decision to rush into. Maintaining quality color, especially shades of red, is a major commitment. “My average client spends about $150 every four weeks to maintain color,” Fowler said. American women, on average, spend between $950 and $1,500 per year on their hair.
About 10% of women who color their hair select some shade of red. It’s one of the hardest hair colors to keep looking fresh and natural.
“We sell a lot of color camouflage spray to help preserve hair color between appointments,” Fowler said. “It’s call Style Edit.”
Because over-washing can strip synthetic color, depending on the type of hair people have, daily washing may be too much. People with really oily hair can shampoo more often but should concentrate shampoo application only on the scalp and not the ends. Fowler says it also is essential to select hair products that are color safe and sulfate free. As cleansers, sulfates can be excessively harsh and aggravate sensitive skin, including triggering rosacea in those who are prone to it.
Another top-selling hair product is dry shampoo, which can be sprayed on the roots to absorb oil in between washings and prevent hair from looking weighed down. It also can be an effective tool for preserving color by reducing the number of times full washing is needed.
Popular Beauty Hacks
Some women (and men) are super low maintenance and always in a hurry. They also might be on a tight budget. No worries. Here are a few fast-and-cheap hacks using everyday household items that are a perfect fit for no-fuss lifestyles.
Coconut Oil All-in-One: Relatively inexpensive, coconut oil is great for many uses. Multiple sources claim it’s a natural moisturizer when applied to skin. It seals in moisture and prevents water loss, reduces inflammation, and improves elasticity. Coconut oil also is an effective anti-frizz agent and dry-hair soother when massaged into hair from root to tip, left in for 15 minutes, and shampooed out as normal. It also can be applied post drying very lightly to calm fly-aways. But wait! There’s more. People who color their hair may help preserve the color by applying coconut oil just to the ends. Coconut oil is a fantastic makeup remover, and it can even be combined with baking soda to brush and whiten teeth.
Razor Blade or Shaver: It’s officially called dermaplaning, and actress Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first to shave her face regularly to exfoliate and remove the peach fuzz on her skin. She found that this technique removed dead cells and helped open pores so that skin products and makeup could be applied to more effectiveness and give the skin a glow. It requires a sharp blade and a careful, gentle touch. Most women who use dermaplaning do it every four or five weeks. Spa and salon closures during the pandemic prompted online orders of DIY dermaplaning products to skyrocket. If one has sensitive skin or is prone to rashes or acne, however, it is best to consult a professional. Another trick Taylor is known to have employed is taking a quick, steamy bath after applying her makeup to set her face and promote a dewy complexion.
Another easy way to exfoliate the face at home is using a complexion brush to apply whatever product normally used to wash the face in small circles all over the face before rinsing. A very soft bristled baby brush also will do the trick.
Ice Water to Set the Nail Polish: For those who polish their own nails at home, a quick hack is to immerse freshly polished nails in an ice water bath for a few minutes. The cold water reportedly sets the polish and also helps nails dry more quickly. Another nail hack is to apply Vaseline around the edges of the nails to prevent polish from bleeding or smudging onto the skin during application. After the polish is dry, simply wash your hands and/or feet, and the Vaseline will wash off along with any residual polish.
Coffee Filters: People who have oily or combination skin often need blotting sheets to calm unwanted shine, especially around the forehead, nose, and chin. Those who are on a tight budget can use a common household item that’s usually in the cupboard. Coffee filters make great blotting sheets, and an average filter can be cut into about eight sections, enabling the creation of 50 blotting sheets for just about five cents. They’re also perfect for blotting lipstick.
Baby Powder: Some makeup artists will lightly dust eyelashes with baby powder or translucent powder between coats of mascara to lengthen and volumize lashes. They also sometimes will use a hair dryer to heat up an eyelash curler, which makes lashes curl more easily. Blotting with powder between lipstick applications is said to make it wear longer. They also may heat up pencil eyeliner with a match or lighter to soften the liner so it goes on more smoothly. When you see the consistency change and become a little creamy, let it cool before applying.
One last hack. If you’re in a hurry to get out the door and notice that your collar is wrinkled, carefully use a flatiron to quickly smooth out the collar and avoid the ironing board.