This summer, having the right products on hand is the key to a successful trip to the beach. It goes without saying (but you know I'll say it anyway), that the proper sunscreen for face, hair and lips comes first and foremost. Here are more great essentials to have on hand.

beach-bag-essentials

Gretta Monahan, host of Tim Gunn’s A Style Guide, raves about No Frizz by Living Proof (keeps your hair frizz free all day long), Dr. Denese Advanced Firming Facial Pads (cleans/exfoliates with one small pad), Frederic Fekkai Au Natural Dry Shampoo (freshens greasy hair), and Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint SPF 20 (protects while giving skin a natural glow). Mascara is the only form of make-up that goes on my face at the beach. I love Prescriptives Here To Stay waterproof mascara. And if you aren't one to sun bathe, you can still sport a faux glow with Xen-Tan. Don't forget to take along a great beach towel to keep you dry, like this one from Paul Smith. Carry everything in style with this floral straw beach bag from J.Crew. Caring for hair over the summer is critical to its health. If you missed the Hair Care for Swimmers article, be sure to check it out.
You've heard that a whiter smile can make you look 10 years younger. And when you look better, you feel better. It's amazing what dazzling teeth can do for your ego. No wonder teeth whitening has become one of the most sought after dental procedures. With all of the do-it-yourself teeth whitening products on the market, it's never been easier to get that beautiful smile.

Ask your dentist what results you should expect from an at home system, such as Crest Whitestrips, Rembrant Whitening Kit, GoSmile Whitening System and Aquafresh White Trays. Your dentist will help you make the best possible choice. My personal favorite (and I've tried them all) is Crest Whitestrips Premium. They are super easy to use and provide great results.

By now, everyone is surely using a whitening toothpaste. SmartMouth has a new formula that I am eager to try. There are also whitening mouthwashes (natural ones, too), whitening gum and daily smile touch ups. For fresh breath, try something different, such as green tea mints or a breath freshening lip gloss that combines the right color with mint flavor.

You could also consider light activated teeth whitening, such as BriteSmile or Zoom, but at a hefty price. If you have a few teeth that won't whiten past a certain point, unfortunately you will have to add veneers to ensure all of your teeth are the same color.

Proper dental care leads to a beautiful smile. Always consult your dentist with any questions you may have.
Thanks to Shannon Nelson of Pierce Mattie Public Relations, here are the Top 10 Beauty Ingredient Trends for 2009.

In previous years, the beauty industry transitioned into the importance of being all natural with products ranging from skin care to spa treatments to hair care to cosmetics. In 2009, the focus will no longer just being about who is green or all natural, but about specific ingredients and their benefits. Pierce Mattie is known for forecasting trends in the beauty industry, so without missing a beat, the Beauty PR firm names the top 10 ingredients that consumers will hear more about in 2009.

Argan Oil
: This incredible skin care miracle, known for being one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin E with 80% essential fatty acids, has been a beauty secret of Moroccan women for centuries. It can be dually used on skin and in hair for its high level of antioxidants and ability to replenish hair and skin’s natural moisture.

Acai
: Sometimes referred to as “The Fountain of Youth,” this Brazilian berry contains antioxidants, amino acids, essential omegas, fibers and protein that positions itself as a formidable fighter in anti-aging products. Acai can be found across the board in skin care, cosmetics and hair care products.

Goji Berries
: This nutrient-rich berry, well known as Wolfberries in the Himalayas, has often been called a “super food” due to its abilities to fight free radicals and boost the immune system. While there are no inherent benefits of Goji in fragrance, that hasn’t stopped perfumers from including this sweet yet tart scent into their perfumes.

Baobab
: Rich in riboflavin, niacin and vitamins C, A, D and E, baobab has incredible anti-aging properties although you won’t just find it in creams and moisturizers, but also in exfoliating scrubs and hair care.

Acerola
: Ingredients high in Vitamin C, like acerola, are being used more often due to their ability to even out skin tone and brighten complexion. Skin care brands will be using acerola more to target those who have issues with skin redness and inflammation.

Blueberry
: Chock full of amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, blueberries are another super food that will be used to fight aging in beauty products. Also known as a “super fruit,” blueberries have long been known for its ability to revitalize the skin; it was just a matter of time before beauty brands began to incorporate it more into their skin care products.

Probiotics
: Last year Pierce Mattie PR termed probiotics a “buzzword” among beauty brands, but now those brands are delivering more than just buzz with this sister category to Cosmeceuticals and Nutraceuticals. Probiotic skin care will be branded as another “clinical-like” line of products, which beauty consumers tend to lean towards as science-based.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3
: This Cosmeceutical that is found more often in anti-aging products now to fight fine lines and wrinkles will be even more prevalent in 2009. Products that contain Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3 will be branded as a temporary alternative to cosmetic procedures.

Myrrh
: With the increasing popularity of Ayurveda in the Unites States, this ancient ingredient is also resurging in perfumes and skin care products. The rich royal resin with the slight vanilla fragrance so popular in incense also stimulates circulation and has lifting effects.

Turmeric: A highly regarded ingredient in India, Turmeric is widely known for its medicinal properties. Turmeric will be found in acne-related creams and lotions, as it is an antiseptic and can aid in preventing and removing blemishes. It will also be found in hair removal products as well as in the formulation of sunscreen in more natural products as well.
There are some fantastic lip exfoliators out there, many of which I have tested and reviewed. However, if you are in the mood to create your own, it's fast and easy! Here is what you will need:

Lemon Lip Scrub
  • Teaspoon of olive oil
  • Teaspoon of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of white granulated sugar
  • Splash of lemon juice
Brown Sugar Lip Scrub
You can simply substitute the white granulated sugar above with brown sugar and eliminate the lemon juice, or mix:
  • Teaspoon of lip balm (whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
For both lip exfoliators, mix into a paste and sweep it back and forth on your lips with your finger. Voilà!
I have such brow envy it's not even funny. Christie hears me talk about it often, as she has awesome brows. She can do practically anything with them, too. When thin, sleek and arched is in - she's there. When thick and serious is in - she's there. Because she can. And I am jealous. See, I don't have much to work with. In fact, my eyebrows are translucent and you would never even know they were there unless I dyed them. On top of having barely there brows, they are low hanging. With lengthening mascara, my lashes touch my eyebrows. Trust me, I am not bragging. In fact, well over a year ago I was told by two spa professionals (shout out to you "N" -- my favorite spa ever!) that I should consider a brow lift. A brow lift at my age, preposterous!

I have my mom to thank for my eyebrows. Of course, you would never know that by looking at her now (wink, wink - love you mom!). I had to dredge up old pictures just to confirm I was not adopted (remember those days, mom?). Low and behold, I am not adopted and these are in fact the eyebrows I was born with. So ... what to do?

Here's what I know. I know you should never over pluck your eyebrows. Thinner eyebrows age you. As I am so lacking in this department, I am pretty sure I would do just about anything for some brows (think Fear Factor). Eyebrows are such a distinguishing feature on a woman’s face. I catch myself staring at eyebrows on every woman I know. I do ... just watch where my eyes go next time we're having a little face-to-face chat. However, I have learned to make the most of what I have. I avoid waxing, as my skin is so sensitive. Even a week without my retinoid, waxing still rips my skin to shreds. After studying the “how to” of brow grooming, plucking became an easy thing for me to do. About a year ago, I decided to simplify my life by dying my eyebrows (brilliant move!). It’s one less thing to worry about in the morning. It takes 5 minutes and it’s so low maintenance ... touch ups every 3-4 weeks, that's it. I do not pencil in the thin areas, though I probably should. Since I have become dye happy, I have dyed my mother-in-law's eyebrows as well as my sister's ... pretty good job, if I do say so myself.

For those of you who love pencils, I like Shu Uemura's eyebrow pencil. It's soft and easy to use and has a brush at the opposite end. I like Guerlain's colors a lot. Bare Escentuals has a great brow powder that's a snap to use. I find that powders are more realistic looking than pencils. What I really want to try is Anastasia's Brow Fix. It's a colorless brow gel that's supposed to keep your brows in place.

If you decide to dye, just remember to steer clear of anyone in the house until you're done. My son walked in on me and the "slimy caterpillars" on my face frightened him. Of course I laughed!