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Category:  how to

The Dirty (and Clean) on Dry Shampoos

By | how to | No Comments

I have an oily scalp – blame it on genetics, my skin is oily too (at least I won’t be getting wrinkles anytime soon) – thus, I’m forced to wash my hair every day or every other. And as any great colorist or stylist will tell you, the worst thing you can do to your hair (besides jumping into a vat of chlorine – or using a flat iron or curling iron every single day) is shampoo it on a daily basis. Why? Because your hair needs to nurture its natural oils and because shampooing leads to stripping the hair (especially bad for us “faux colored” folks).

So, what’s a girl to do when her hair is secreting enough oil to fill the tank of an SUV (yes, I’m obviously exaggerating!)… DRY SHAMPOO!

Dry Shampoo is the most genius product since the invention of hand lotion!
What dry shampoo does: Cleans hair without the use of water, absorbs excess oils, makes the hair smell puuurty, adds volume!

Who should use it: Everyone can use dry shampoo!
While it’s great for people with oily scalps, it’s also great for people who:
a) don’t feel like getting their head all wet and lathered
b) don’t have time, say, after the gym before returning to the office
c) don’t want to wash their hair in between weekly or bi-weekly salon styling/ blowout visits (but hair is looking and smelling a bit dirty)
d) want to add volume to their roots (like for a special event, night out on the town, date with that certain someone).

I literally live for my dry shampoo – and I stock up big time! Those bottles go quickly in the house of Sarah Howard… but since my love affair with dry shampoo, I don’t have to wash my hair as much, giving it time to breathe and helping my color to last longer. Not to mention, everyone knows that day-old hair looks a thousand times better!

**Beauty Banter Tip**
If you run out of your dry shampoo – or don’t feel like shelling out the cash for a bottle, you can always use BABY POWDER! All you do is pour baby powder onto the palm of your hands, pat them together to ensure that excess powder doesn’t pollute your mane, and rub your hands into the roots and scalp (motion as if you were lathering your head with shampoo!). Yes, this even works on darker-colored hair – but make sure that you don’t use too much or you’ll end up looking like you’re going grey. AND, be sure to rub the powder into the scalp fully and completely, allowing it to effectively soak up excess oils (thus you won’t be left with specks of white that could be misinterpreted as dandruff!). An added bonus: your hair will smell like the bum of a baby – clean, refreshed and free of oil and ciggies (if you smoke – which you shouldn’t! But sadly, I do)! It’s a win-win.

Tons of companies are jumping on the dry shampoo wagon – while some are in spray cans, others come in pour-out nozzles. And even others come colored – made specifically for blondes, brunettes and redheads!

Check back tomorrow for Beauty Banter’s Dry Shampoo Picks and Pans!


By | celebrity looks, hair, how to | 7 Comments

In a recent magazine interview, Nicole Richie gushed about her favorite stylist tip: How to make curls with a flat iron.

Nicole sporting the do glammed up…

…And more casual.

My interest was immediately piqued. I raced over to The Andy Lecompte Salon where I asked my hair stylist guru, Jen Atkin, to explain (and do it on my mane, of course!).

Now, I’m sharing my new found knowledge with all of you!

Jen calls this look hippy chic, like what you see on Nicole Richie or Blake Lively (cool with me – I dig both of their styles). The curls are much more natural and effortless looking, not so volumized and oversized (or even tight and bouncy).

First, you’ll need a flat iron – 1 inch works the best. Jen suggest the Chi by Global Beauty. It’s ceramic so it doesn’t snag or severely damage the hair.

Next, split hair in half from the nape of your neck and separate into sections.

Grab big, long vertical chunks and, with the flat iron, start half-way down the shaft of your hair and curl the hair AROUND the iron and BACK away from your neck (Not to Self: this look does not, and is not meant to, create volume – so don’t even attempt curling from the roots!).

Continue with the rest of the sections.

It’s literally THAT easy – and it only took about 7 minutes to do my entire head (and I have long, thick hair!).

So, when pinched for time – or if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a new do – perform the flat iron curl on your mane!

Let us know how it goes!!!

How To Maintain Hair Color… Tips From A Pro

By | how to | 4 Comments

George Papanikolas of the Andy Lecompte Salon, and our new favorite baliage colorist (that’s George on the left!), dishes **exclusively** for Beauty Banter on how to keep colored hair lasting longer (so that you’re not spending so much time (and money) in the salon)!

Here are George’s tips, tricks and product suggestions:

– WAIT 2 DAYS to wash your hair so that the color can set in.

– Use shampoo specific for color-treated hair. George’s Pick: Joico’s re:nu Age Defying Shampoo and Conditioner. “I love this shampoo because it gently cleanses the hair, while restoring softness
and manageability. Strengthens hair, leaving it significantly more resistant to breakage. Prolongs the longevity and vibrancy of color-treated hair,” says George.
Remember, the more you wash your hair, the quicker it oxidizes (turns orange, red and brassy… NASTY!) So, try using a dry shampoo in between washes to clean hair without the harsh effects of a real shampoo, absorb excess oil and add volume (check back tomorrow for Dry Shampoo tips and benefits!).

– Avoid volumizing shampoos and conditioners as they tend to strip the color because of the ingredients that allow them to give you added volume (they are meant to be more clarifying, thus they are a very heavy, deep clean).

– Keep color hair healthy by using weekly treatments. ” I recommend Joico’s K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor. It leaves the hair shiny, strong and in a healthy, manageable state. The results are immediate. There is a difference in strength, texture and appearance,” explains George. “I follow this with Joico’s K-Pak Intense Hydrator which replenishes moisture and lipids to overly dry, damaged hair, rendering it manageable, soft, shiny and hydrated.”

– People who get a single process (straight up hair color) can use color depositing shampoos (the ones that add color – a NO NO for highlighted hair!). Use every other time you shampoo or dilute it with your normal everyday shampoo because too much of it can turn ends purple.

– If you must be in the sun, wear a hat!!! And try to stay out of the pool. If you are an avid swimmer, you may need a colored gloss in between a full head of color to freshen it up and give hair that nice shine and lustre.

– If you’re receiving a single process (full color – no highlights), you should return to the salon every 4 to 6 weeks (or when your roots have grown a half-an-inch).
For highlights and baliage, maintenance it’s every 10 to 12 weeks.

– And, lastly, just as a FYI – red color fades the fastest, blonde stays the longest (although you’ll need to touch-up roots more often, especially if you have naturally dark hair and roots).

Thanks to George for all of his fabulous, A-list hair-care secrets!!!

5 Unconventional Uses for Vaseline

By | how to | 24 Comments

Vaseline is a beauty staple. Every makeup kit (and every bathroom) should have a jar/ tube/ tube of Vaseline (a.k.a. petroleum jelly). It comes in all shapes and sizes and sells for anywhere from $2.00 (for the tub to the left) to about $8.00 (depending on size).

Obviously, conventional use of Vaseline is to cure chapped lips… and we love it for its ability to moisturize and soothe a dry pout. But Vaseline is SO MUCH MORE then merely an effective lip balm.

Here’s 5 other amazing uses for Vaseline:

1 – If you’re an avid reader of this blog then you’ll know that we also use Vaseline as a non-irritating and soothing eye makeup remover. A little dollop on a shut eye, a quick wipe with a cotton pad, and even the most irritating mascara comes right off (without ripping the lashes off too!).

2 – Every night before bed, I rub a pea-size amount of Vaseline on my eye brows. It’s the perfect emollient to help moisturize and course brows AND it also molds them into place without the harsh effects of hair spray or gel. My brows have a tendency to grow down and thus I use Vaseline to train them to grow up! I’ve been doing this for years… and it works!

3 – Vaseline is also great for shaving sensitive and “intimate” areas. I don’t like to use it on my entire leg (as it gets a tad greasy) but for the bikini area and underarms, it’s pretty phenomenal. Coat the area with a light layer (make sure not to use too much as it will plug up your razor) of Vaseline – DON’T USE WATER – and shave. It’s as easy as that. The shaved area is so soft, SO smooth and totally moisturized! It’s a genius shave.

4 – One of my favorite things about Vaseline is that it is an incredible base for lip glosses, cream shadows and highlighters. This trick is like being a chemist, but it’s so much fun. To create your own, personalized colors (or to use the excess of last seasons colors), mix Vaseline and any other lip stick or eye shadow in a bowl (you can use both shadow and lip stick). For a lippy, use more Vaseline. For a cream shadow and/ or highlighter, mix a little bit of Vaseline with your favorite shimmery shadow. And then apply to eyes, brow bone and cheek bone for a glowing, luminous look!
**extra beauty secret** if you’re feeling (and looking) a little tired, you can use a very thin layer of Vaseline on the brow bone and the cheek bone (by itself, sans color) to make your eyes appear hydrated. They’ll literally “pop” without the need for a cat nap or some heavy duty concealer. I do this during the day if I’m in my car going from meeting to meeting. By the end of the afternoon, I’m exhausted and my eyes show the signs of fatigue. But with a little extra glow from the Vaseline, I automatically look rejuvenated!

5 – Vaseline is the greatest hand and feet moisturizer EVER! I use it when my paws and claws are extremely chapped. Coat your hands and feet with a decent amount of Vaseline, then apply socks and mittens (or you can do sock for the hands as well) to both the feet and hands and let them hibernate for 10 -15 minutes (enough time for the petroleum jelly to soak into the skin). The socks trap the moisture and combine it with heat to allow for full penetration (not sexual, you dirty minds!). The result – freshly hydrated and smooth hands and feet! It’s like your very own at-home paraffin treatment!

Do YOU have an unconventional use for Vaseline? Let us know! Share it in the comment box below!

On-Set Beauty Tips!

By | how to | 11 Comments

On Friday, I shot a little scene for my friend’s pilot, “Grean Teem” (yes, it’s meant to be misspelled).

I played one of two girls who spends the night in a “green” bus (I’ll leave the rest of the plot to your wild imaginations…).

Acting is always incredibly exciting and fulfilling, but there’s tons of downtime before and during shooting. I, of course, tend to find refuge in the hair and makeup trailer. With all of those amazing products, what beauty whore wouldn’t love herself some cosmetic therapy?!

The hair and makeup artist working on this shoot was the lovely and talented, Cheryl Calo. She gave me big, flowing, “bed head” curls and smokey eyes (we were going for a sexy, “just-rolled-out-of-bed” look).

Cheryl Calo and Sarah Howard

Here are some of my favorite products that were used:

Mac Strobe Cream ($29.50) on the corners of the eyes – Calo says the cream, “makes the eyes pop like a filter.” Eyes become brighter and more youthful (I immediately noticed a difference).

Prescriptives Beyond Long Mascara in Black ($19.50)- Lengthens without globbing (I’ve long been a fan of Prescriptives mascaras… their wands are brilliant!).

Mark Eye Shadow in Wings ($4.00)- It’s a gold shimmer that Calo applied on the inner corner of the eye and under the bottom lashes. She loves the Mark shadows because “they are affordable and long-lasting.”

Shu Uemura Blush in Red 14 ($21.00)- It’s a watermelon pink hue. Calo applied the blush with a fan brush (MAC’s 184($22.50)) because, “it is highly pigmented. The fan picks up a bit of color and disperses it evenly on the apples of the cheeks. It naturally blends instead of blobbing.” I never understood the importance of a fan brush, until now. It really does make a major difference in application… everyone should own this brush! Regarding the blush, Calo adds, “this color warms up everything.” This is my new Summer blush… I love it!

Amazing Cosmetics Concealer ($40.00)- “They’re mineral, which means, better for your skin. A little goes a long way. Coverage is like camouflage. Perfect for bags under your eyes or covering tattoos,” explains Calo. I am OBSESSED with this concealer… it’s full coverage, without being cakey. And it lasts all day long!

Sarah Howard and Allison Jacobs (primped and prodded)

As for my hair, Calo used a curling iron to define my already wavy hair. She then rolled the curls up toward my scalp, secured them with a pin (so that the curl wouldn’t “drop”… hence, why I look like Princess Leia in the picture below), and sprayed massive amounts of hair spray for added curl and hold.

Sarah Howard, Allison Jacobs, and Courtney Wagner (on-set downtime)

Right before shooting, she took out the pins, teased the crown of my head, and sprayed some more. The look: full-bodied curls!

Thanks to Cheryl for introducing me to some great new products…


By | how to, skin | 18 Comments

We’ve all heard about the plethora of products that offer the promise of a flawless face.  Some of them work, most of them don’t.  A lot of it is trial and error… figuring out what regimine is right for YOUR skin.

But there are some standard practices that really do help to give you a healthy complexion.
Here are my favorite ten to remember, cherish, and use!
1 – Vitamins are vital!  Fish Oil has been proven to help in the maintenance of healthy skin and hair.  I love the Pharmax Fish Oil with Essential Oil of Orange – it’s a liquid but it doesn’t leave any fishy after taste. It works to give you a glowing complexion from the inside, out.  
2 – Don’t overwash… and don’t overdry!  Too much washing or drying out of the face only leads to your oil glands actually producing more oil to compensate.  Wash twice a day, at the most! And make sure to use a gentle, non-irritating cleanser that is anti-bacterial – to eradicate bacterias that fill your pores.  Cetaphil’s antibacterial gentle cleansing bar is a great choice (and an inexpensive one!)
3 – Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock!!! Even if you love a nice tan, you MUST use sunblock EVERY DAY!!! The number one cause of wrinkles is sun exposure!!!  And your sunblock should fight against UVA and UVB rays (click HERE for some great sunblock options!)
4 – Change your pillowcases every third night!  It seems arduous but the truth is, dirt, bacteria and oils from your hair seep into the pillowcases thus seeping into your skin while you sleep. It’s vital to allow your face a clean, fresh fabric from which to relax and unwind.
5 – Wash your hands before going to bed!  Again, clean hands help to keep unwanted dirt and bacterias AWAY from your face.  You should really wash your hands consistently throughout the day but also before bed time.  You know how they say germs are transferred from your hands to your mouth… thus, spreading virus’ and infection?  Well, the same is true with hands to face… spreading dirt and bacteria!
6 – Eye cream must be made a part of your daily regime!  Even if you have oily skin, it’s imperative that you hydrate your eyes.  The skin around your eyes is a lot more tender and delicate, thus it needs special care.  Eye cream should be dabbed – not rubbed – from the outer corner, inwards… twice a day! Click HERE for some fantastic eye cream choices!
7 – Don’t pick!!! This is the hardest rule for me to follow, so I’m gonna add an addendum –  If you must pick (like when that white head has taken over your entire chin…), steam your face first.  And please, I beg you, wrap your fingers in toilet paper so that you don’t transfer the dirt and bacteria from your fingers to your face/ pimple.  Also, make sure to only press lightly… when you try and force the puss out, you’re actually spreading it around and infecting it!
8 – Drink as much water as you can possibly handle!!! This seems like common knowledge, but the truth is, we don’t drink as much water as we should.  Water flushes out all the yuckiness inside of our bodies and it promotes health, bottom line!  If you find that you’re not a water-lover, try adding a flavor to your water.  I suggest Crystal Light on the go packs… they come in 10 flavors, they’re low in calories and they can be added to ANY size water bottle as easily as ripping the packet open and pouring it into the bottle!
9 – Even if you’re oily, you MUST moisturize!  A common misperception is that oily skin doesn’t need extra hydration…. NOT TRUE!  All skin needs hydration because hydrating your skin actually balances out the oiliness.  Obviously, if you have oily or acne-prone skin, you should choose an oil-free, fragrance-free moisturizer.  Something that is light and non greasy.  There are thousands of moisturizers on the market… try them ALL until you find the one that suits your specific skin.  But don’t skip this step!!!
10 – NEVER rub, ALWAYS pat!  This is true when applying creams and medicines, and when drying your face after washing.  Rubbing your skin stretches it, causing lines and wrinkles.  It also “rubs” the bacterias everywhere, infecting not only the problem areas, but the entire face. However, patting your skin – be it with a moisturizer or a wash cloth – is gentle and non abrasive to your face.  It also allows the face to truly soak up the moisturizer, medicine, and/or face wash so that you experience the full effects of said products!  When you rub, you rub off a majority of the benefits of these products as well!!!
Have a great skin tip?  We want to know it! Leave us a comment in the box below!

Fellow Beauty Whore Banter…

By | how to | 4 Comments

Thanks to Michelle for emailing in this great TIP:

“Here’s a little tip I thought might be useful to your blog (which, I read almost as religiously as I buy make up- A LOT)……but anyhoo…


Well, at least for me anyway.

I get my eyebrows waxed every three weeks and in between I pluck (which is the norm, I guess).

I kept getting dry skin on my browline and it is awfully hard to pluck when there is this flaky mess coming off.

I use a dab of vitamin E serum before I pluck and say bye bye to dry flaky eyebrows!!!!!!!!


We love a great beauty secret! Tell us yours by leaving a comment in the comment box below!

Summer Tips

By | how to | 7 Comments

I just love a good beauty tip…

Like rubbing crushed garlic cloves on a popped pimple.

And now, thanks to Physician’s Formula, celebrity make-up artist, Joanna Schlip (who paints the famous faces of stars like Eva Longoria, Scarlett Johansson, Ellen Pompeo and Hilary Duff), we have some fabulous Summer beauty tips!

***To keep her A-List clients sweat-free, Joanna came up with a clever trick that is ideal for all women in the thick of summer: Schlip applies a clear, solid antiperspirant before applying makeup. Focus on applying it to areas like the upper lip, forehead and hairline to fend of sweat and maintain a matte appearance throughout the day so makeup doesn’t slip off.

***Aside from imparting a natural look and offering an ultra-gentle formula for breakout-prone or sensitive skin, Physician’s Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Foundation is sweat-resistant making it the ideal choice for your summer foundation. Silicones help to form a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, so it becomes resistant to sweat allowing makeup to stay put all day long.

***Blotting papers are a must for dabbing away sweat and oil over the course of the day, but what’s a girl to do when there is no blotting paper in sight? Use one of those handy paper toilet seat covers of course. Schlip tears a piece of a toilet seat cover off and blots her way to a perfect matte finish.

***Rather than apply lip gloss/stick in the extreme heat that will just melt off, use a stain or even better, lick your lips and then apply cherry Jello – simply dip fingers into the powder packet of cherry jell-o and apply to moist lips for long lasting, sweat proof stain.

What are your beauty tips? Tell us by leaving a comment in the comment box!

Leaving on a Jet Plane…

By | how to | 5 Comments

Tonight I am returning to California (Los Angeles) after a three month jaunt on the East Coast (New York City). I’m a pretty low-maintenance flyer – give me a seat next to a window, my own TV and a Klonopin and I’m good. If I allow my mind to wander to those frightening places, I do think about the fact that I am breathing recycled air for five in a half hours – this can’t be good for the immune system or the skin….
So this is how I ready myself pre-flight:
I ALWAYS carry hand lotion in my bag. Current Choice: C. O. Bigelow Dr. Hiosous Quince Hand Lotion – non-greasy and effective. I don’t need to apply a million times – once does the trick!
I ALWAYS bring my own liter-size bottle of Evian water.
I ALWAYS take (I prefer the lemon-lime flavor) an hour before the flight is slated to depart.
I ALWAYS use an astringent, face moisturizer and eye cream before I leave my house. Current Choices: Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion; Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Creme Anti-Oxidant Formula SPF 15; Shiseido Benefiance Revitalizing Eye Cream – sooooo moisturizing it’s like candy for your eyes… yummy!
I ALWAYS carry my Labello Cherry Lip Balm – it moisturizes without any goo or shine and adds a dab of red color to your pout (just because your traveling doesn’t mean that you have to look insipid!)
And a great tip from my hair fanatic friend, Jenny Cohen, slather your nose with Neosporin – I know, it sounds a little suspect, but it actually aids in fighting off infections from the dry, reprocessed airplane air.
And lastly, I ALWAYS bring my oversized Dolce & Gabbana Sunglasses to ward off wandering eyes (and to shield my own eyes from those nasty fluorescent lights!)
So farewell for now – see you back on the West Coast….
What’s your pre-travel beauty regimen? email us!

About Beauty Banter
Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.