Sunday, November 29, 2020
Nov. 29, 2020

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Vancouver expert helps us take DIY beauty care head-on

Products, tips can help all genders with skin care during pandemic

7 Photos
Salon manager Alex James demonstrates an Epicuren green tea and seaweed smoothing mask at Glam Beauty Bar in downtown Vancouver. James and other spa staff normally wear masks while in the salon.
Salon manager Alex James demonstrates an Epicuren green tea and seaweed smoothing mask at Glam Beauty Bar in downtown Vancouver. James and other spa staff normally wear masks while in the salon. (Photos by Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Washington’s coronavirus pandemic safety measures mean beauty professionals can no longer remove hair from your upper lip, tan your face or provide a facial. To some this isn’t a big deal. Who cares what’s going on under a face mask? But this news may cause alarm for those who fear facial hair, remain addicted to selfies or are planning a virtual wedding.

Don’t panic. Meghan Hamilton, owner of Glam Beauty Bar in downtown Vancouver, has some advice for home facial care. Hamilton brought Glam to downtown Vancouver five years ago and is committed to making us all look “Real Housewives” reunion-ready.

First, let’s dispel an insidious myth about facial hair. Many women believe that if they shave hair off their face it will grow back darker and thicker. If I shave my upper lip will I wake up the next morning with a Burt Reynolds mustache? No, it turns out hair doesn’t work that way.

“If shaved hair grew back darker and thicker,” Hamilton said, “men would shave their heads as soon as they started balding.”

For facial hair removal, Hamilton recommends using a dermaplane or a razor. Add a gel or soap to your skin so the razor or dermaplane glides easily over the face. Work in a downward motion and hold the skin taut. Waxing your upper lip at home is possible but tricky; Hamilton advises against it because this treatment requires a fast hand and the robotlike ability to apply scorching hot wax to your own face. If you do wax at home, use a post-waxing serum afterward to heal the skin, she said.

Tanning is much easier than shaving or waxing. There are many great self-tanners and bronzers on the market, Hamilton said. She advises home tanners to start slow by mixing some of the product with a moisturizer. For the rest of the body, Hamilton likes Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs. She uses it on the entire body (except the face). It stays for a day or two and looks best if buffed out with a thick, fluffy brush, she said.

Home skin care is the easiest project for the glam-challenged. It’s important to wash, moisturize and exfoliate the face, Hamilton said. Fortunately, all these things simply require an easy application of the right product. Always wash skin before bed with a facial cleanser and not bar soap to take off all your makeup, said Hamilton. A face mask with calming ingredients like green tea and seaweed contains antioxidants that fight the free radicals in the air. Moisturize every night; cells turn over at night and it’s a very active time for the skin, she said. According to Hamilton, exfoliating is the No. 1 anti-aging treatment that can be done at home by applying masks or peels. Many of Hamilton’s clients under-exfoliate, leaving layers of dead skin on the face and making it difficult to apply skin care products and makeup. An exfoliating scrub helps to shed these layers of dead skin.

Another fun home project is playing with makeup.

“Playing with makeup is safe because it washes off,” Hamilton said.

Learning to blend is a good project for beginners and gives the face a professional look, Hamilton said. Contouring is another good at-home project. This technique varies from the very structured makeup worn by Kim Kardashian to more free-flowing methods.

Those with mature skin should shift away from shimmer and glitter and use matte products on the face, Hamilton said. She also recommends avoiding harsh lip color because as we age our lips shrink and have more creases that capture those dark colors. A glossy lip close to your natural color makes the lips look fuller. A color-correcting cream gives lighter coverage than a heavy foundation and looks better on aged skin, she said.

Hamilton also has a variety of face-mask-friendly makeup tips. She recommends not putting any makeup on under the area your mask covers to avoid smudging and mask-ne (under-mask acne). If you do wear makeup under your mask, keep it simple — a bit of foundation set with translucent powder and a setting spray to keep it in place. A good matte lipstick will stay in place for hours under a mask.

As masks have become required in public spaces, the focus has moved to the eyes. A bit of concealer applied to the area between the eyes and nose brings out the eyes. Adding color and definition to the eyebrows can change the look of the entire face. Using a brow pencil is the easiest way to add makeup to brows.

“It’s hard to mess up with a pencil,” said Alex James, Glam Beauty’s salon manager. Hamilton says to start at the tail of the brow and crisply feather the brows to the front edge closest to your eye.

Don’t forget to wash your makeup brushes every week in ¹/3 cup olive oil mixed with 2/3 cup of anti-bacterial dish soap. For fast brush washing, Hamilton uses Cinema Secrets, a cleanser that quickly cleans brushes and gets them to dry right away.

For men, this is the perfect time for some discrete pampering. Even if men are put off by the girly interior of a salon, their skin requires similar care.

“A lot of women come in and say their men steal their products,” Hamilton said.

Men’s skin is the same as women’s skin, but they suffer more problems related to shaving, like skin irritation and ingrown hair. Hamilton recommends a coarse exfoliant or a benzoyl peroxide treatment for the irritated area.

To help all genders find the right home skin care treatment, Glam is launching a consultation and home-care package.

“We’re estheticians so we like to use 45 products at a time, but that’s not practical for people at home,” Hamilton said.

Customers can come in for a 45-minute skin consultation and go home with a kit that includes several products and detailed instructions.

There are some things, however, that you should never try at home, Hamilton said.

“Leave your eyebrows alone,” she said.

Shaping eyebrows is tricky; after too much tweezing or waxing you could end up brow bald. Hamilton also cautions against waxing your face for the first time at home or radically changing your hair color. Also, don’t try to wax your own bikini area.

“You need someone else who isn’t physically or emotionally attached to the situation,” she said.

In these trying times, doing something fun and frivolous can be a pleasant change and bring a moment of brightness into your life.

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together,” as the late, great Elizabeth Taylor once said.

Hamilton, our local glam queen, firmly believes that making yourself look good makes you feel good.

“In a time we can’t control everything,” she said, “we can control our eyebrows.”