Taking Youth For Granted – Part 1

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There’s a saying I used to hear quite frequently when I was a teenager, which was, “Youth is wasted on the young.” What’s funny is that I can’t remember who used to say it, but I heard it enough times that it seeded in my brain as part of my belief system as I got older. The feeling of being invincible, and the illusion that time is limitless, can fool youngsters into thinking that all the opportunities which they are flooded with will always be there. They may be too busy having fun and partying to build a foundation for the future. Though I had enough common sense to keep myself out of trouble most of the time when I was younger, I had moments when I would do something foolish or rash, and in those moments, I would jeopardize my own chances of success. However, despite the times I stumbled, I was able to accomplish more than the average young adult, so perhaps youth wasn’t completely wasted on someone like me.

I have come across some very disciplined young adults who were able to explore and develop their talents without trudging into the muck of ambivalence and laziness. They were obviously encouraged by parents and educators to formulate dreams and pursue related goals. These impressive overachievers definitely didn’t waste their youth, but have transformed their vibrant energy, passion, and creativity into lofty achievements. They also have shown a tendency to create a real impact on others through their ingenuity, their compassion, and their drive, and by doing so, have become leaders who will leave a true legacy.

There’s an odd and delicate balance which young people are challenged to figure out. Though they are encouraged to grab life by the horns and go for it, they are also expected to have the sense to pace themselves and stick to the straight and narrow course during a time when distractions and temptations abound. It’s no mystery why some twenty-somethings may find themselves in a situation in which they have to repair their finances, become centered, and undo all the damage which playing or partying too much can create. I know I wouldn’t want to be a youngster again, and I certainly wouldn’t want to experience my youth in this day and age.

The best advice I can give to someone who is young is to BUILD FOR THE FUTURE. Sure, it can be fun to party on the weekends and hobnob with the movers and shakers in the social media world, but make sure you are working towards goals which enable you to grow as a person, which ensure financial stability for the future, and which give you a platform on which you can impact the world. Make sure that you are doing things that your parents can be proud of, and which your future children won’t be embarrassed by. Everything you do has some sort of impact, even if that impact is only on yourself.

Contouring

kim kardashian Before-And-AfterInstagrammers who are into the concept of applying face makeup in a manner similar to warpaint, then blending it in like mad to create a “flawless, airbrushed finish” have been littering the site with countless images of the process. It is now commonplace to see a “before” image juxtaposed with a “during” image in which the subject is covered in a pattern created with highlighter, foundation, and contour shade, and the “after” image. Major makeup lines have launched contour and highlight kits in answer to this makeup trend. Now Kim Kardashian wannabes can use these kits to create an overly “done” look which can transform a person’s face, often to the point of making the person unrecognizable.

While I understand that contouring and highlighting can do wonders for uneven skin tone, uneven texture, dark eye circles, wide noses and indistinct jawlines, I have a couple of problems with the current trend. First off, I see no reason to go through so much contouring and transforming for a daily look. Photo shoots and special events, yes. Going to the grocery store, uh, no. The second issue I have with the contouring trend is that suddenly, every woman thinks she is a makeup artist. Though makeup companies have taken the fuss out of purchasing everything a la carte, using one of the contouring kits requires some skill, especially if a woman wants to do corrective makeup. I have seen women who are relatively clueless about BLENDING. Another thing I have seen is women who pick the wrong foundation shade, which makes the contouring and highlighter look garish. Even men have jumped in on the contouring frenzy (admittedly, most of them are makeup artists), and have developed a regular habit of posting contouring videos featuring themselves as the models.

before-and-after-contouring Mona Lisa

I don’t have a problem with people wanting to improve their personal appearance so that they can look their best, but I honestly think that the makeup frenzy which has become so popular is getting out of hand. Slap a bunch of contour onto a face to create angles which aren’t there, use brow stencils to draw in brow shapes, apply false lashes, draw in a false lip line to create the illusion of fuller lips, and voila! You no longer have to look like yourself, especially if you have jumped on the injectable filler bandwagon and don’t know when to stop filling your cheeks or lips. Allow your natural features and your true beauty to show a little.

Don’t Sleep In Your Makeup!

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There are enough women out there who are in the habit of sleeping with their makeup on that I thought this would be a great topic to tackle in my blog. The three most common reasons why women sleep in their makeup are 1) they don’t want their bedmates to know what they really look like (listen, if you’re that concerned, the object of your love/lust is probably too shallow to be a good catch anyway), 2) they are too lazy to take a few minutes to remove their makeup, or 3) they are too drunk to perform a makeup removal ritual. I am not going to say that I have never fallen asleep with my makeup on, but it is exceedingly rare. I am so fastidious about removing makeup that I do a thorough face cleansing immediately after photo shoots and events, because I can’t stand the feeling of full makeup on my face. I honestly don’t know how many women wear full makeup every single day, and I especially cannot understand how some of them will sleep in those layers of gunk!

I cringe every time I hear a woman say that she frequently sleeps in her makeup, because I immediately think about how her skin is unable to breathe and heal because of all the pollutants, germs and oils which bake into it while she sleeps. Makeup is like a mask, and when it sits on top of the skin at night when you are sleeping, it prevents the cells in the skin from performing their restorative processes. Harmful chemicals from the environment cause free radical formation which goes unchecked when the skin is not cleansed, so the result is dull, prematurely aged skin.

Another reason why sleeping in makeup is unhealthy is that it clogs pores. As if that wasn’t enough, all that caked-on makeup serves as a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. I can always tell when women sleep in their makeup, because their skin has a congested, dull appearance, and acne breakouts are common. Even on the nights when a woman who habitually sleeps in her makeup decides to cleanse her skin, she is re-exposing herself to the bacteria, pollution, and oils which were left on the pillowcase along with the makeup from the evenings when she was too lazy to remove her makeup. In addition, sleeping with full makeup is a sure way to stain pillowcases.

I have actually heard women say that as long as they remove their face makeup, there shouldn’t be any hygienic issues with leaving eye makeup wrong. They couldn’t be more wrong. Eye shadows commonly have highly irritating substances like bismuth in them, and leaving them in contact with the delicate skin of the eyelids can invite eyelid inflammation, aka blepharitis, which is NOT fun at all. In addition, mascara, eye shadow and eyeliner can transfer onto the pillow, then get into your eyes, causing corneal irritation or infection.

Another reason why sleeping in eye makeup is a bad idea is that most mascara formulas dry out the eyelashes, and when left on for prolonged periods of time, can cause them to become extremely brittle. Lashes are more prone to breakage when they are dry. Also, for those of you who dare to sleep in false eyelashes at night, be aware that lash adhesives also tend to be very drying and irritating to the lash line, and can even inhibit lash growth if kept on the lash margin for too long.

Though the best way to cleanse your skin at night is to use a gentle yet thorough cleanser and a motorized brush (Clarisonic makes great brushes, but there are decent drugstore brands too), you should at the very least use a makeup remover towelette. If you are truly lazy, keep the towelettes by your bed so that you can easily grab them and wipe your face and eyes before hitting dreamland.

Why I Hate Foundation

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First off, I want to apologize in advance to every woman who wears foundation or BB cream on a daily basis. I definitely don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, especially to women who experience a big boost in self-confidence when they cover birthmarks, scars, or other blemishes with makeup. However, I honestly don’t like foundation at all. I dislike it so much that I never wear it in my regular daily life. Here are the only instances in which I will wear BB cream or foundation:

1. Photo shoots
2. Public appearances
3. Auditions
4. Video or TV shoots
5. Formal affairs

I can’t stand the feel of anything cakey or heavy on my skin, and that is why I only use translucent powder on my skin on a daily basis. I know that I am very fortunate to have good skin, with no unsightly breakouts or other blemishes (though the freckles on my cheeks have always driven me nuts ever since I had them as a young child), so I can get away with avoiding foundation. Could my skin look smoother if I used foundation? Yes. But it is not worth the feeling of discomfort I get from having my skin suffocated with a liquid or cream cover. I don’t want to have to worry that part of my face might look different if a dog licks my face, or if I sweat profusely and wipe my face.

One of the most prominent memories I have of poorly applied foundation which solidified my aversion to the stuff occurred when I was in high school. One of my classmates had such a love affair with makeup, especially foundation, that she would cake it on every day before coming to school. Her foundation was so thick that it looked like she had applied it with a palette knife, yet the effect was nothing close to an exquisite oil painting, but more like a tribute to Bozo the Clown. If she scratched her cheek to calm an itch, her nails would leave deep gouges in her foundation.

To me, foundation looks like a mask, and to an extent, it is a mask. Though it creates a flawless finish (particularly if it is full coverage), it still covers up the skin’s natural beauty. I realize that a flawless finish is important on-camera, but in regular daily life, it seems a shame to suffocate the skin. Since I truly think that skin is beautiful, it bothers me that the majority of women in developed countries find it necessary to cover it up. The luminous quality of unadorned skin is lost when it is covered by even the lightest of foundation. I guess I just don’t want to look “done” in my day to day life.

I want my skin to breathe. I don’t want to have to worry about my foundation melting off my face, or about leaving makeup marks on my ivory sheets from an incomplete makeup removal. My mom always told me that eventually, I would have to start wearing foundation daily, but at this point, I have made it half a century without having to do so.

I Don’t Wear Foundation

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This selfie was taken last week with no filters of any kind.

I absolutely detest the feeling of foundation. Even the lightest formula makes my skin feel like it is being suffocated. The same goes for tinted moisturizers, which to me look just as much like a mask as foundations do. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the lovely airbrush effect which foundations can create for the complexion, but in my day to day life, I want my skin to breathe without being weighed down by an extra layer of liquid (yes, I do know about powder foundations, and I don’t like those either). My daily skin makeup routine consists of me using a touch of concealer on two little red areas near the bridge of my nose and then applying some loose translucent power all over my skin to keep my skin from looking shiny. A recent chemical peel which I did made me love my skin even more, because it removed the majority of sun damage I had accumulated over the last couple of years. The results were so dramatic that I had to switch to a lighter concealer after using one particular shade for over ten years.

My mom used to tell me that once I got to a certain age, maybe 30, that I would be forced to wear foundation because I would have blotchy, uneven skin tones. Well, I just turned 49 a couple of weeks ago, and the photo you see here was taken last week. So much for what my mom surmised about the appearance of my skin in later years!

I will wear foundation for photo shoots, video and film shoots, and for fitness and bodybuilding events, but literally the FIRST thing I do when I get home from an event is to wash all my makeup off! I have noticed that I have the kind of face that shows makeup well, and that the smallest amount of makeup can impart a very finished look on me, which always surprises me. Thing is, I don’t want to look made up all the time. I like the natural look of clean skin and just a touch of color on the lips and cheeks.

If you are a woman who would love to go without foundation, but haven’t been blessed by the good skin gods, you might want to consider treatments which can help with the texture and tone of your skin. Chemical peels can rejuvenate and tighten the skin, while removing accumulated sun damage and hormonal brown spots, often with rather dramatic results. My favorite peel is the Perfect Derma Peel (http://www.theperfectdermapeel.com/) which contains Glutathione, Kojic Acid, TCA, Retinoic Acid, Phenol, Salicylic Acid, and Vitamin C. For those of you in the Los Angeles area who are interested in getting this peel, please refer to my medical website: http://www.drstaceynaito.com/#!chemical-peels/comt