Forget the 12 days of Christmas, what do we do 1 week Before... Look your Holiday Best: Part 3 of Our Holiday Hottie Countdown...
"Twas the week before Christmas and all through the malls,
there was scurrying and shopping for last minute toys...
But what we forgot, oh dear, is it true? We’ve let ourselves go! What are we to do?
We’ve binged all month long on cookies and tarts and our skin needs a boost from the dull winter blahs.
With only 7 Days left till Festivity Time, can we boost up our beauty and look good, just in time?"
It’s the last part in our Holiday Hottie Countdown! If you thought you couldn’t improve your SKIN and FIGURE in just one week, here are some valuable last-minute tips to look good by Christmas...
What to Do 1 Week before Christmas
Improve your SKIN with only 1 week to go:
Turn down the Hot
"A long, hot bath or shower might seem tempting when you've been out in the cold," says dermatologist Dr. Green. But, the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. "If you like warmer showers—and who doesn't?—keep them to no more than 10 minutes, and not more than once a day,” he suggests. Boiling hot baths are also a no-no because they do the same thing. Use warm water instead. And before you scream at me for taking away your heated baths, just know that a lukewarm bath can actually be helpful, especially if you sprinkle in a bit of oatmeal or baking soda, which can help relieve itchy, dry winter skin.
It’s all about the PJ’s
Did you know that some fabrics can actually irritate the skin? And since we spend a third of our lives sleeping, what we wear to bed can make a big difference. So before you start slathering on the products, think about changing your pj’s and your sheets. The softer your sheets and sleepwear, the better, but you don’t need to invest in silk. "Tightly woven natural fabrics like cotton or cotton flannel are best for patients with sensitive skin or eczema," explains dermatologist Dr. Zeichner. “Avoid blends of cotton and synthetic fibers, because they can be irritating.”
Bye-Bye Brown Spots
Unsightly brown spots on the face and hands can age you beyond your years. Often due to sun damage, acne or aging, brown spots, also called hyperpigmentation, are a common skin problem especially beginning in middle age. But did you know that even pregnancy or certain medications can cause skin discoloration? Sad, but true. To combat this problem, if it's in your budget, at the beginning of the week, book a session of microdermabrasion. This non-invasive treatment uses a very fine spray of crystals to remove the dull, damaged surface layers of the skin. It can make brown spots less noticeable and it will clear out any dull patches of skin to reveal a glowing complexion. Or book a laser treatment, which zaps away unwanted clusters of brown pigment. Note: Scabs do form as part of this treatment. But, don’t panic. They will fall off within a few days.
Smooth Deep Lines
You have a few days before Christmas to get a more youthful or ‘rested’ appearance (we laugh at the word ‘rested’ because when people say you look tired, that’s usually a more polite way of saying ‘you look old’). Well, if you look ‘tired’, aka you want a few lines erased, one of the quickest ways to reduce wrinkles and fine lines is to get Botox (around $500). It prevents wrinkles by reducing muscle movements that causes crow's feet and forehead creases. The smoothing effect takes a few days to achieve, but the great news is that it can last for up to 4 months!
Our Tip? Want to smooth out fine lines without resorting to Botox? Try a facial peel! At Élan, we have several varieties: Our Ultra Peel is specially formulated to treat dehydrated, maturing skin, but it is also appropriate for many skin types, conditions and sensitivities. It will help treat smoker's skin, pigment disorders, sun damaged skin and acne. Our PCA peels have an advanced hydrating treatment that will produce a tightening and brightening effect. The retinol (vitamin A) content also increases cell turnover to keep skin looking fresh!
Day Before Christmas...PANIC TIME!
What can you do to have GREAT skin in only 1 Day?
Keep your Hands where we can see Them!
Ah, Murphy’s Law. You have to love it. Of course, you would develop a great red pimple on the end of your nose the day BEFORE the main event! Want to avoid looking like Rudolph at your Christmas party? If you have a pimple or a breakout, please resist the urge to squeeze or pick at it! Squeezing and picking pimples will only delay the healing process. Instead, use an acne spot treatment that contains either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Use it each night after cleansing and moisturizing by placing a small amount onto each zit. Keep doing so, every night, until the pimple is gone. For large cystic pimples, use a spot treatment at night with an aspirin mask: Mix 5-8 aspirin tablets with a few drops of water until it’s dissolved into a paste. Dab the paste onto the pimples, and while you sleep, they should reduce in size.
Don’t go all Red in the Face
If you have facial redness or patches, here’s a step-by-step guide that will reduce it in one day! In the morning, wash with a mild, soap-free cleanser, then, pat dry to avoid inflaming the skin. Spot treat ruddy areas with a soothing 1% OTC hydrocortisone cream or a calming cream. Then, throughout the day, skip certain foods that tend to cause flare-ups, such as hot beverages, alcohol, and anything spicy. They release a chemical called histamine that can turn the skin red. One hour before your event: Apply a washcloth to your face that has been soaked in cold water. Hold it there for at least 10 minutes. The cool compress constricts blood vessels and will reduce redness. Follow this with a lotion that boasts a greenish tint, because "green cancels out redness because it's on the opposite end of the color spectrum," says Elizabeth Briden, MD, an adjunct associate and clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota.
Don’t Forget the Body!
Improve your FIGURE with only 1 week to go:
Accelerate Your Cardio
If you’ve already followed our advice and you’ve established a solid workout routine this past month, you should make sure that you up your cardio to 30 minutes a day. If you haven’t even started, this should definitely be your goal, especially with only a week to go. But, a week CAN make a difference! After all, burning calories is the key and any workout that gets your heart rate pumping will burn calories. Pick a cardio routine that engages multiple muscles simultaneously, says Wendy Larkin, personal-training manager at Crunch's Polk Street gym, in San Francisco. Options to consider: spinning, cardio kickboxing, and boot-camp workouts are all great! Half an hour of each burns 200 to 300 calories while toning up your arms, legs, and core, so everything appears sleeker and tighter.
Our Tip? You'll burn even more calories per session if your workout incorporates interval training: alternating short bursts of intense cardio with slower activity. Experts might not know why, but this strategy is proven to work. Or, do what the celebs do before a red carpet event: Begin and end each workout session with cardio. Celebrity trainer, Harley Pasternak, recommends doing five minutes at the beginning and end of each workout, but in the week before a big event, he says, bump it up to 15 minutes.
Keep it Quenched
Your thirst that is...Proper hydration has numerous health and beauty benefits. You've probably heard that sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger and it often is. If you find yourself going for a not so healthy holiday treat, try drinking water first. Drink a glass and see if those cravings persist. Half the time, you’d be surprised. Water will do the trick. It can also help keep your skin from feeling dry, tight and flaky during the cold winter months. If you loathe the taste of pure H2O, try a flavored water. They often contain essential nutrients such as vitamin A, C and E, which help support and maintain healthy skin. And at zero calories, it will also keep your holiday hottie train from being derailed.
Drink Coffee Before You Sweat
Yes, we know. After that last piece of advice, you’re probably wondering why we would ever recommend drinking coffee BEFORE you hit the gym. But, mind you, to get the best effect, it should be consumed only 1 hour before your scheduled workout. This is the one exception to the stick-to-water-only rule. Just as a coffee perks you up at the office, a pre-exercise cup of Java can invigorate your workout. It will make your routine more productive and “you'll burn more calories without realizing you're pushing yourself harder,” explains Dr. Jana Klauer, M.D., author of The Park Avenue Nutritionist's Plan. Take your cup with a splash of skim milk, for a total of 11 calories, or better yet, take it black, and enjoy that 5 calorie pick-me-up!
Sweat it Out Some More...
No, we’re not talking about exercise again. This is a more laid-back approach to weight loss, but one that is proven to work. Try a few visits to the local sauna and sweat out the calories, especially if it has Infrared radiation. This kind of heat warms the skin directly, similar to heat from the sun, but without warming the surrounding air. The radiant heat is safe, healthy and penetrates more than 1.5 inches into the body! Why is this helpful? Because the skin is the largest organ in the body and regularly sweating in an infrared sauna can help decrease your toxic load. This, in turn, will result in better health and vitality. And a growing body of evidence suggests the accumulation of toxins in the body is responsible for fatigue, disease AND weight gain. Plus, one infrared sauna session can burn up to 300 calories! So, hit the sauna twice a week for glowing skin, less body fat, reduced cellulite and better hormonal balance.
Let your Body do the Walking
Now, you may think that jogging or running is the fastest track to a hot body. Granted, jogging will get you from A to B a lot quicker than walking, but if fitness is your goal, walking at a brisk pace is a better use of your workout time. "During a fast walk, your muscles are working harder to keep you on the ground and still push you forward. So, compared to a slow jog—say, 10-minute miles—you're using more muscle and burning more calories," says fitness instructor Therese Iknoian, author of Walking Fast and Fitness Walking. While jogging does follow a more natural body movement, speed walking is more physically demanding because it requires you to move in an awkward way. If you do this enough, you'll also get shapely calves and a tight little posterior, because these muscles are more engaged during a power walk than during a jog, says Iknoian.
Day Before Christmas...PANIC TIME!
What can you do to have a GREAT figure in only 1 Day?
The Skinny on how to look Skinny in Hours
These slenderizing effects may not be permanent, but they'll help you look hotter in that Holiday dress with just hours to spare! Three main ways to trim that tum fast: Do Squats and Sit-Ups before you get party-ready. Bodybuilders use this technique before competitions because it adds definition to their muscles. Do each exercise in three sets of 12 to tighten your abs, butt, and legs temporarily. Pop an Anti-gas Pill. Tablets can be found in any drugstore and there are many varieties to choose from. We recommend taking chewable tablets to relieve any bloating that may be enlarging your abdomen. It will also break up any gas bubbles stuck in your digestive track, leaving you with a flatter, smoother tummy. Lastly, it’s the old advice your Momma gave you: Stand Up Straight. Keep your spine rigid and your shoulders back, while sucking in your tummy toward your spine, and you will appear to have a much slimmer and more streamlined silhouette.
Our Tip? If you’re just not seeing results fast enough, we have our little ways around the system...Book an Inch Loss Body Wrap and lose inches off your waist. Follow that with a Body Shaping treatment and you won’t need to worry about fitting into that slinky red number you bought ages ago!
Eat 5 Times a Day
In his 5 Factor Diet, celebrity trainer, Harley Pasternak (who has made the likes of Halle Berry, Megan Fox, and Natalie Portman sweat) reveals how he gets celebrities red-carpet ready. He recommends eating five times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks), while incorporating five foods into each meal and snack: A low fat protein (chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, or egg whites); a healthy carb (such as whole grains); fiber (from fruits or vegetables); a healthy fat (like olive oil or canola oil); and a sugar-free beverage (water or sparkling water). Eating every 3 or 4 hours will keep your metabolism revving and by spreading your calories throughout the day, you won’t get too hungry at any one point. Keep in mind, though: the more frequently you eat, the lower in calories your snack should be. Good choices would be fruits, veggies, a few almonds or some yummy hummus which can serve as a dip.
Our tip? Remember ladies, there are a few cheats to get you on the road to Holiday Hotness. We usually recommend adopting a healthy diet and of course exercise is always helpful. But for those of you who just want to look hot this Holiday season? You don’t have to adopt a whole new lifestyle! Book one of our special Beauty Boost Packages! There are many to choose from: Book a ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Prince Charming’ Package, if you or your honey need a little royal TLC. Or, show up at your family feast and REALLY impress your mother-in-law with our ‘Impress the In-law’ packages! We also have gift certificates available. But, hurry! These deals are so good they only come once a year!
Well, that’s the end of the Holiday Hottie Countdown!
We’ve covered all the bases, counting down the Holidays with our 3- Part Beauty Series. We started a Month Before Christmas to 2 weeks before, and now, can you believe it, it’s only 1 week till the Big Jingle! Feel free to read the Parts you missed for even MORE helpful hints and beauty advice!
Now, go forth and look gorgeous, you Holiday Hotties! :)
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from your friends at Élan Beauty!
Sources: (Images, from Top to Bottom: KWANHYEN PARK via Flickr, Robert McDonald via Flickr, mahmoud99725 via Flickr, Alan Cleaver via Flickr, Kurt Rietzler via Flickr, David Woo via Flickr, beautiful-dissaster via Flickr, Jennifer via Flickr)
- Winter Skin-Care Secrets By Jessica Padykula; Canadian Living Online; url: http://www.canadianliving.com/style/beauty/10_fall_and_winter_skin_care_secrets.php
- 10 Winter Skin Care Tips By Susan Davis for webmd.com; url: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/ten-winter-skin-care-tips
- Get Great Skin—On Your Schedule: Use our pro tips to get younger looking skin in a day, week, or month By Stephanie Huzar; prevention.com; url: http://www.prevention.com/beauty/beauty/get-great-skin-one-day-one-week-one-month
- Causes of Dark Spots: Conditions and Medications that Cause Dark Spots on the Skin By Heather Brannon, MD; About.com- Health: url: http://dermatology.about.com/od/skincareproducts/a/darkspotcause.html
- 14 Shape-Up Shortcuts By Caroline Schaefer; Women’s Health Magazine; url: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/how-to-get-in-shape
- Total Body Makeover Workout By Shaun Chavis and Su Reid-St. John; Health.com; url: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20448396,00.html
- Oscars Slim-Down Secrets From Celebrity Trainer Harley Pasternak By Elizabeth Siegel; allure.com; url: http://www.allure.com/beauty-trends/blogs/daily-beauty-reporter/2012/02/oscars-slim-down-secrets-from-celebrity-trainer-harley-pasternak.html
- Look Your Best for Holiday Parties By Ramona Braganza; Huffington Post Online; url: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ramona-braganza/holiday-party-diet-fitness-tips_b_1125448.html
- Seven gym-free ways to slim down quickly for a big event By Natasha Turner, MD; chatelaine.com; url: http://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/seven-gym-free-ways-to-slim-down-quickly-for-a-big-event/
- Drop 5 Pounds in a Week By Zoe Ruderman; Cosmopolitan UK; url: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/advice/a5614/drop-5-pounds-in-a-week-0509/