03 .21 .14

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miami

I’m headed to Florida for a few days to see my family and defrost my kids.

I actually grew up in Miami. But to be honest, I never liked the weather. I always felt like a creature out of my natural habitat with my big frizzy hair and pale skin. Don’t get me wrong, I like warm weather, I just like a more arid heat. It must be genetic or something. Because my people are from very cold places. Humidity makes all my five senses cringe. It puts me in a bad mood and my hair in a spiral.

Not this time.

This time I’m glossed and ready. Here’s my defense, head to toe.

Hair
I got a gloss and a blowout the day before my trip. Anyone can get a gloss, a subtle color gloss or a clear one. A gloss adds major shine and really clamps down the cuticle, which is key for blocking moisture.

Before my blowout, my stylist used this anti-frizz Kerastase spray I’ve heard great things about.

Body
I went in for a full-body St. Tropez self-tanning treatment the day before I left. I swear the layer of color gives me an added boost of sun protection under my SPF. Plus, I am less apt to scare people at the pool.

Face
I intend to use Bare Mineral makeup exclusively because I find it “sweats” well. Plus, it absorbs oil. Win-win since I tend to be both sweaty and oily in humidity.

At the end of the day, if all my defenses fail in the dampening powers of the weather, I’ll have my new favorite hat from Lola.

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naked

Whenever I have an evening event that might invite more dramatic makeup, I do two things to up my game: apply false lashes and use a foundation with more coverage than my favorite BB cream or more natural looking go-to Bare Minerals liquid or gel.

It’s usually my Tom Ford Traceless Foundation stick.

So last week when I had an actual gala to attend, I panicked when I discovered that my beloved Tom Ford was old and dry. And probably full of germs or microbes or whatever skeevy thing happens to makeup that’s been hanging around too long.

And then, in one of those rare moments when the world actually makes sense, I found myself in a Soul Cycle class (outside my usual schedule and location—totally in an effort to de-bloat for the defining dress I’d be wearing) taught by one of my favorite instructors, who also happens to be a fierce makeup artist.

When I asked Daniel after class what his favorite foundation for fuller coverage was, he did not hesitate. He even knew what color I’d wear—and we both knew Sephora was around the corner so giddiness ensued.

What struck me most about this Urban Decay Naked Skin liquid foundation is not it’s totally unreal texture, it’s truly buildable coverage or the fact that it’s loaded with peptides and antioxidants, among other stellar skin enhancers. What’s so striking about this truly weightless magic liquid is the light it lends to the skin. It  provides coverage but it also brightens with it’s unique light diffusing spheres. (Read: blurred lines. invisible pores.)

Actual luminosity.

LOVE. IT.

Love it more because it’s formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, GMOs or triclosan.

 

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socozy

Twenty years ago, Cozy Friedman pioneered the first children’s hair salon in New York City. Part play space, part toy store, Cozy Cuts for Kids is a institution—a rite of passage for a first haircut, a destination for boys and girls to get regularly coiffed while watching their favorite movie. For little ones, there are toy cars, planes and butterflies to sit in, Elmo videos and bubbles— turning a haircut into happy hour. For bigger kids, there are kid-sized salon chairs, countless videos to choose from and a wall of dazzling hair accessories that makes girls swoon. A saunter through the toy aisles might make a haircut cost a little bit more, but believe me, it’s all worth it. And the whole experience is topped off with lollipops and balloons. A visit to Cozy’s is so fun, they do birthday parties.

There is no higher expert on kids’ hair than Cozy Friedman. Last year, she launched SoCozy haircare for kids because she realized there was a huge gap between baby hair care and adult products. And it’s so true. That’s why I was still using “baby” shampoo and conditioner on my seven year-old. As with her brilliant salon idea, Cozy answered another obvious need in the world of kids hair. And if, like me, you’ve ever had to detangle a little girl’s hair while she screams, or attempted to calm down a boy’s morning bed head before school, you, too, realize that the world of kids hair is not to be taken lightly.

Kids Hair Really Is Different

”They” say that a person’s hair texture changes every 7 years and I’m a believer that it’s true. However, baby hair is different than toddler hair which is different from older kid’s hair. It’s not a particular age though that the texture changes. I see kids in my salons that need a haircut at 5 months, whereas some kids don’t need a haircut before turning 4. Every child is different.

That’s Why SoCozy Hair Care Has “No-Nasties”

Definitely, which is the reason why it’s so important to choose products that are specially formulated for kids. Watch out for harmful ingredients. With a little effort, it’s possible to find substitutions that deliver professional results so we’ve made that commitment.  We have a non-negotiable No Nasties policy for our formulas and we’ve even taken that a step further to include no gluten, nuts or wheat.

On Getting Kids To Wash Their Own Hair

The hardest part of getting children into washing their own hair is making it not feel like a chore. Make it a fun activity and be prepared for mishaps. Shampoo will inevitably drip down into their face so keep a wash cloth handy before it drips too much and be sure to use tear-free formulations. In my salons and with my own kids, I’ve noticed that if kids love the fragrance they will actually want to wash their hair.

Different Hair Types, Different Wash Schedules

Out of control frizz: Wash every three to four days to let natural oils build to combat the frizz. Using a hydrating conditioner after you wash keeps hair moisturized and frizz free. Our SoCozy Super Hydrating Conditioner gets the job done in a snap.

Flat flyaways: Wash hair very two to three days and use a quality shampoo and conditioner such as the SoCozy Cinch 2-in-1 or 3-in-1. You want to make sure you don’t weigh hair down with heavy conditioners in an effort to manage the flyaways.

Lice: No one likes to talk about it but lice happens. Many parents don’t realize they can take preventative steps to avoid the pesky critters. Don’t wash your kid’s hair every day. A buildup of natural oils make it harder for lice to attach to the hair shaft. Another tip is to use tea tree oil-based products like SoCozy Boo! Lice Prevention Shampoo and Spray. Use shampoo every other day, and use spray regularly on hair, pillowcases, hoods and hats.

The Key to Tear-Free Tangles

Use a wide-tooth comb and not a brush. For long hair is really important to section hair with clips and spray a detangler while combing. Our Cinch Detangler + Leave-In Conditioner was created specifically with knots and bedhead in mind.

The Right Brush Helps, Too

I just created a brush for SoCozy (launching soon) that has soft padding and coated bristles that’s really gentle and amazing for getting out tangles- which is what it’s all about for kids! Knots and tangles are a big issue so I created the perfect brush with coated bristles and soft padding to make process fast and tear-free – which is what it’s all about with kids.


Boys Have Hair Issues, Too

It’s bedhead. We’ve all seen little boys with crazy bedhead in the morning but it’s an easy problem to solve and it doesn’t take much time at all. For wavy or curly hair I recommend a leave-in conditioner. Just a couple spritzes will calm crazy hair and help re-establish the curl. For fine or straight hair, a light styling cream is all you need to put hair in its place and give a natural hold.

Happy curls = Happy Girls

Of course just like most women girls with curly hair wish it were straight. The trick is learning how to manage the curls without creating frizz. I suggest parents take the time to understand curly hair and teach their daughter how to embrace her curls, rather than trying to disguise them by blowing hair straight. I have really curly hair, and when I was growing up, no one ever told me that you’re not supposed to brush curly hair, because it turns into a giant “frizzball.” Take the time to learn what works and what doesn’t work for your child, everyone will be happy!

Why Kids Look Pretty Normal These Days

Hair trends are pretty traditional at the moment. For girls it’s the fishtail braid and for boys the perfect gentleman’s part. Both are simple and take very little time to do! We have lots of how-to videos that give parents an arsenal of quick and easy hair styles.

Want to learn how to give your daughter a Mermaid Flip Tail or give your son a “Gentleman’s Part?” Check out Cozy’s great how-to video’s and her book, Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls Hair that’s a complete reference guide for everything from fancy up do’s to everyday favorites.


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eyelashes

I had never even considered getting eyelash extensions. My natural lashes are not too shabby, actually. Especially with great mascara. But one day, I met my beautiful friend A. for lunch and she was all eyes: fluttery, feminine and fabulous. I had to have them. So, in the name of journalism and beauty research for mothers everywhere, I went to JJ Eyelashes in midtown Manhattan to get my fringe on.

The process for the initial set took a little under an hour. Clients lie down on a comfy little bed, and are given blankets and a complimentary ten minute foot massage (heaven). Eyes are gently taped closed while JJ’s exclusively trained aestheticians apply silk and mink lashes with surgical glue and meticulous hands, one by one. I think I actually fell asleep. When I sat up and opened my eyes, I was stunned at the result: natural, long and lush with not even one eyelash out place. I was instantly obsessed.

For over four months, I went back every week or two for a “refill,” which took about 40 minutes. Same bed, same foot massage and same gorgeous result every time. I don’t know how they do it. These women are artists.

The Lowdown: JJ Eyelashes offers ten different lengths of lashes with two different curls and thickness. There are three levels of lash sets, each set more dramatic as the number of lashes per eye goes up. I stuck with the most natural set, the Ruby, at 80 lashes per eye. I chose a round shape, also the most natural, with a mix of thick and thinner lashes. What I love about JJ Eyelashes is that they truly customize each eyelash set to each client.

The Pros: Eyelash extensions saved me time! No mascara necessary (or allowed). This saved me time in the morning as well as when I washed my face at night. I looked more awake and bright eyed with less makeup. I felt prettier.

The Cons: Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! Some weeks my lashes lasted longer than others. I think it depended upon how my own eyelashes grew, how much I exercised/sweat and how careful I was when showering and rubbing my eyes. In general, the lashes have very good staying power but are susceptible to lifestyle. They must be handled with care.

I knew I would be taking a break from the lashes over the summer because I wouldn’t be in town to keep them up. The big question—and I think the big deterrent for many women to starting the lash process at all—is how much do the natural lashes suffer? I heard all the scary stories of women being left with hardly any lashes and I was pretty panicky when I went in for the removal. But I’m happy to report that my own lashes are well intact. They might be a little less full but there’s certainly not a devastating loss. I think the reality is that you get so used to the look of the extensions that your own lashes seem anemic by comparison and it takes some time to adjust to having a mere mortal’s flutter.

I definitely plan to resume my extensions in the fall.

Perk: If you’re in New York City, JJ Eyelashes is offering a 20% off an initial set to BeautyMama readers.

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loreal

I can’t not take a quick swagger through the cosmetics aisle whenever I go to the drugstore. (This time, it was my local Duane Reade and I was on a run for swim diapers.)

I don’t know how I have missed this eyeliner in the past, what with it’s alluring chubbiness, conical shape and the word “smoldering” in its name. I mean, if I had to describe my soul-mate in eyeliner form, smoldering would definitely be attribute numero uno. My spiritual eye pencil match would also be deeply pigmented and smooth to apply, with the ability to smudge. And if it came with its own custom sharpener to maintain its perfect point and contoured shape that enables its stellar application, I think I might see stars.

And I did. For less than $9 at the drugstore.

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book

The other day my two year old went into the coat closet, took out a floral raincoat and proceeded to have a full-body struggle to get it on. She didn’t know I was peeking at her through the door. I watched her scan her coats—from a navy lightweight down jacket, through colorful vests, to the thick padded polka dot number with a furry hood that would have been the appropriate choice for the arctic weather.

She came running to me, arms up in the air with a giant grin on her face—clearly so proud of not only her self-dressing accomplishment, but of her particular choice of coat.

If I hadn’t just finished reading Tovah Klein’s eye-opening book How Toddler’s Thrive:What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success, after praising her for getting it on, I would have gently explained that the raincoat wasn’t the right jacket for the day and helped her change.

But I let her wear the raincoat.

I just layered a warm vest over it. I didn’t worry about being judged as a mother for improperly dressing her toddler in NYC in the heart of winter. I didn’t worry that my daughter looked a little kooky and mismatched. Why? Because I had just validated my toddler in a very big way. And she felt great about herself. She showed her jacket to her teachers in class and she kept it on, with pride, all day.

Helping our children feel good about themselves is the foundation for their success in so many ways. We use the word confidence so freely—we want our kids to feel “confident.”  But what does real confidence look like?

Hint: it has nothing to do with looks.

In her book,Tovah Klein gets to the heart of confidence building—and it starts early. Before the age of two. Backed by science and 25 years as the director of the Barnard Center for Toddler Development, Klein, an associate professor of psychology (and a developmental advisor for Sesame Street) gives an eye-opening look into the world from your child’s perspective and how you can harness that vantage point to be a better parent and build lasting self-esteem.

I was thrilled to be able to talk to Tovah about these issues so close to the heart of BeautyMama’s mission. I gained some invaluable tools on how to help my girls feel good about themselves—in a lasting, core way. And that makes me feel good.

 

Who is that toddler in the mirror?

Children first develop a sense of self around 15-18 months. This is usually when they start saying “no” a lot. They start demanding no diaper change. They start realizing, ‘Hey, I’m my own person’ but it’s not fully formed. By 2-3, they have a stronger sense that they’re a person separate from Mom and Dad and that they have their own ideas.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry If Your Two-Year Old Wants to Wear the Same Blue Shirt Everyday

When kids start realizing they have their own ideas, it can come off as controlling. They’re realizing they can want something different than what you want. I’m my own person and I only want blue pants today. It’s not linked with a social consciousness at this point, they’re really figuring out who am I and what do I want? That initial who am I comes with separation and is supported by the parents—“You want blue pants today? Cool. Because I value you for you.”  I can always tell the children who dress themselves because it makes them feel good, as in, “I picked this. This is me.”

By giving them confidence in their decision making and desires, we are instilling in them a sense that they’re O.K….so that on a not so great day when they’re melting down and you’re not having a great parenting day, you can say, “That was a rough day. Mommy yelled and you were so upset…and I still love you.” That’s where they get a sense that they’re going to be alright in the world. So the clothing choice— it’s not a focus on their looks, it’s really about something else.

Why You Should Practice Roaring Like a Lion In Front Of the Mirror With Your Toddler

Our whole center, where we have toddler classes has mirrors (because it’s a one-way observation mirror) and the children practice faces and emotions for fun all the time…they’re really trying it on in terms of learning their emotions. The feedback they get is, all of that is me. That happy, sad, or ferocious face— you can be all these things and that’s who you are.. There’s a lot of practicing and mimicry.  Thats the first step of getting to know “me.”

Don’t Panic If Your Son Wants To Wear Nail Polish

One of my children went through a period where he would put makeup on with me in the morning. Most people think it’s a girl thing, but he didn’t know that. He would want nail polish and his favorite color was, still is, blue, so he had blue nail polish. (Until he got all the messages from other people that boys don’t wear nail polish.) Kids like to live in the adult world. Little girls really like to put on makeup because that’s what the adults of their sex do. I think if you battle children, and you say no, no, no, you can’t wear nail polish, and they’re looking around and seeing people wearing nail polish, they wonder why it’s being banned. It becomes even more interesting. They imitate us. They’ll paint their nails with magic markers, girls and boys. Kids are practicing to be grownups all the time—when they try to sweep with a broom or carry a briefcase and “go to work.” If you see it all in this context, it’s not such a negative thing.

‘Pretty’ is only part of it

We all want for our children to grow up confident in who they are, and who they are is a complex being—there’s what they think about, their range of emotions, their desires—and physical appearance is a part that. We live in a very physically orientated world, right or wrong. I’m not saying it’s right for sure. What we can really do is help our children feel good no matter who they are, what they feel, or what they look like. And you do that by loving them in all their complexity.  Looks are just a part of it. When we tell our children all of the things we love them for—I love you because you’re funny, I love you because you cry sometimes, I love you because you love to do math, when you put your favorite dress on—you’re saying these are all parts of you and I love all of them.

Why Loving Kids When They’re Bad Is Good

Children are “bad” sometimes, and their biggest fear is being “found out.” What if you find out that I really hated you today when I was so angry when I had to be quiet….would you still love me? What I see and what concerns me—is children being ashamed of what they’re feeling. For example, even something as simple as “You don’t need to cry when I take you to school,” really says to the child, it’s not okay that you feel that way. Kids are so fragile and undeveloped at this age, they have so many feelings…and you want them to feel ok no matter what they feel. To understand, I can’t necessarily hit you…but I can feel like I want to—I can own that feeling and have it. Their emotional life is so fragile at this age…. we need to respect that they’re really very little and need us to accept their full range of behaviors and feelings. Giving them the base that says, I get that you’re good sometimes, I get that you’re bad sometimes, you’re happy sometimes, you’re sad sometimes—and I love you for all of it is really where there base comes from. Helping them feel like, Hey, I’m okay in the world.

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

When parents are approaching a child telling them how beautiful and pretty they are– and then how un-pretty they are when they’re wearing outfits they don’t like or when they didn’t take a bath, they get very clear messages that in order to be loved or accepted, they need to be beautiful. I think it’s different when it comes from the child—when they’re putting on dress up clothes and ask “Am I beautiful in this?” and the parent smiles and says “sure you are.” If beauty is emphasized in your house as being important, or there’s a lot of focus on clothing, it’s going to be picked up by children.

What To Say When Your Daughter Hates Her Hair

It’s probably because she feels different. For example, ringlet curls are touched and commented upon. When a child gets undo attention for something that’s different or highly noticeable, even if it’s positive, they can get very self conscious. All of my children happen to have blue eyes and very long lashes. One day one of my sons said to me, “I don’t like my eyes.” It wasn’t that he really didn’t like his eyes. He didn’t like the attention. You might say, “Not everyone has curly hair and so I can see that you don’t want that attention, but some people think curly hair is beautiful.” You can also let her know that you think her hair is beautiful.

Let Them Eat Cake

Food, diet, being thin…we tend to over talk these things out of our own anxieties. For example, if you were a fat kid and now you have a chubby three year old and you’re worried that they’re going to be a fat teenager, you may be putting messages out there… as opposed to just serving some good foods, knowing that kids go through phases where they sometimes eat more, sometimes eat less. Sometimes they’re heavier, sometimes they’re not. Kids don’t naturally know thin is in and fat is out. The issue of body size and weight—if very young children are conscious of it, it’s coming from the home and what they hear or see around them, such as ads. If there’s a lot of talk about food, a lot of talk about dieting, being fat, that’s going to make children very conscious of it in a way they would not be if it wasn’t being talked about.

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones—But Billboards Can’t Hurt Me

The main thing is in these early years is that parents can have a really positive influence on their children and you do that by truly for loving them for who they are and not trying to make them be something else. If you have that kid who only wants to play with trains all day long and you keep telling other people you’re frustrated that he only wants to do the same thing all the time, that’s what the child hears and he starts to feel bad for having this desire. We’re kind of in a hyper-anxiety parenting world right now—but if we can relax a little bit and really let children know they’re being loved for who they are, they’re going to have a firm base and they will need that base to get through the peer pressure and billboard pressures that come throughout their life. If what they’re getting at home—what they’re seeing, what they’re feeling— is really counter to the billboards and outside messaging, if they feel like, I’m accepted at home for who I am, that is what counts. It can’t take away the influence of billboards, but it will greatly minimize the influence.

Tovah Klein’s book may be purchased here on Amazon.

I’m also giving away copies of How Toddlers Thrive on my Facebook page.

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