Were you the first in your crowd to drive a hybrid? To get an iPhone 7? To start drinking a green juice a day?
If so, you are cutting-edge cool. But does your trend awareness extend to beauty? For example, are you up to speed on terms such as "cowash" and "K-beauty"? If not, here is my glossary of words or phrases designed to reboot your fashion vocabulary.
Coconut oil: An iron-rich ingredient in soaps and shampoos that supposedly has the power to replenish natural skin oils (making dry shins and cleavage look supple again) and calm frizzy hair (making our locks look healthier and glossier).
"Oil pulling" — swishing coconut oil in the mouth for several minutes — is said to be the latest teeth-whitening trend among models and celebrities. Me, I'll stick to more traditional uses of the ingredient, in bar soaps and body lotions such as Jergens Coconut Oil Infused Moisturizer or Dove Purely Pampering Coconut Milk Beauty Bar.
Cowash and no poo: Interchangeable labels for no-lather, one-step conditioning hair cleansers. The milky or serumlike texture removes impurities — and avoids styling-product buildup — without creating any suds and without stripping your hair of its natural oils.
The process differs markedly from the old dual shampoo and conditioner, so don't mistake this 2-in-1 for those. Dry, weak, curly or naturally textured hair are all good candidates for a test run with a product like Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner, L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverCrème 6-in-1 Cleansing Balm or Head & Shoulders Moisture Care Dandruff Co-Wash.
K-beauty: A category of skin care and makeup, short for "Korean beauty," that recently hit the mainstream beauty market, spawning all sorts of innovations — which, of course, require a subglossary of their own:
- Cushion compact: A sponge pad presaturated with a liquid tint — and, often, SPF protection — that can be used in place of traditional foundation.
- Double-cleansing regimen: A two-step procedure that uses oil first to remove makeup and sunscreen, followed by a foam, gel or cream cleaner.
- Essence: A skin softener that preps for moisturizer the way we once used toner.
- Sheet mask: A presaturated paper or microfiber facial mask, designed to be used once and discarded.
Microblading: A new procedure for women eager to compensate for overplucked, sparse or barely-there eyebrows; its effects are said to last one to two years. Using tiny, handheld needles — not a tattoo gun — a technician deposits pigment beneath the top layer of your skin in thin, hairlike strokes. The result is fuller, more extended brows. Although they cost anywhere from $700 to $1,200, they look authentic. (And there's no question you'll save time fussing with pencils, powders and creams.)
Intrigued? That's fine — but make sure you do your homework first: Seek a board of health-licensed technician with a certificate from the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals. Cosmetic dermatologists (who do fillers, Botox or lasers) are often good sources for recommendations.
Probiotic skin care: A beauty treatment in which topical products containing healthy intestinal bacteria are used, in a bid to calm inflammation, hormonal breakouts, redness, rosacea and blotchiness.
No, there's nothing sexy about the notion that your gut affects your face, but it does explain the recent craze for fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut. And it makes it easier to understand why probiotics have been added of late to everything from yogurt to chewable supplements. Devotees cite products such as Elizabeth Arden Superstart Skin Renewal Booster, Tula Revitalizing Eye Cream and Aurelia Probiotic Revitalize & Glow Serum.
3-free to 8-free: terms for nontoxic nail polishes that have removed the stated number of ingredients because they are potentially harmful or environmentally unfriendly. First to be dropped were formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene; these were the original "3-free." Certain brands then started to inflate the number by eliminating even more elements, such as camphor, xylene and formaldehyde resin. Well-known so-called "ethical brands" include FYI Polishes by Essie, OPI and Sally Hansen (3-free); Chanel and Dior (5-free); Deborah Lippmann (7-free); and Smith & Cult and Butter London (8-free).
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love after 50, as well as AARP's new Beauty & Style special edition for tablets.
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