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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How to avoid the melt down

New cosmetics protect against summer's elemental onslaught


By TOMOMI HIGUCHI and KAREN FOSTER
Special to the Japan Times

With the weather heating up, it's time to put on more UV protection and get out those hardy cosmetics that can withstand the summer's melting sun.

New products from MAC
New products from brands such as MAC (above, MAC's Fluidline Blacktrak, below, MAC's Liquidlast Liner) combine cosmetics with protection from the sun.
New products from MAC

There is such a wealth of lotions with different sun-protection factors (SPFs) to protect your skin that it can be hard to decide which one to buy. In Japan, factor protection goes as high as 50+.

To pick the best product, first ask yourself what you want the lotion to do: Stop your skin from tanning? Halt premature aging? Filter out air pollution?

These days, most sunscreens and blocks offer both ultraviolet A and B ray protection. The sun's UVB rays are what cause the body to create melanin, which turns the skin darker. Even if you don't mind getting a tan, it's important to remember that exposure to the sun over time can cause brown age spots to appear.

The SPF number tells you how much a product protects you against UVB rays by showing how long you can stay out in the sun before the skin starts to burn. Simply multiply the amount of time you can typically stay out in the sun before your skins burns by the SPF number on the bottle. The average fair-skinned person will get a sunburn after 10 minutes in the sun, so they can stay out for 200 minutes, with a sunscreen with SPF 20.

UVA rays have a worse reputation these days because they damage skin over the long term by causing premature wrinkling. Think of what's happened to the face of the formerly sun-drenched Farrah Fawcett of Charlie's Angels. The PA factor on the label indicates how much UVA protection you will get. Measured in +s, the more, the stronger the protection.

If you live in the city, the air in the summer is a lot heavier with pollution because of higher humidity. To help protect the skin from the dirt and grime, try Sisely All Day All Year . Sisely says it cuts out 90 percent of the UVA and UVB rays and lasts 8 hours. Also try Estee Lauder Day Wearplus Multi Protection Base with SPF 30 .

Once your base is on, use just a light touch with foundation. A thick base looks much heavier than it does in the cooler months and you will be applying it in vain as it will slip off in the heat. Change your foundation to one with a more natural finish, or one that is powdery as these are easy to touch up. Some good choices are Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer , which is oil free and has an SPF 20 or Yves Saint Laurent Fresh and Pearly Powder Foundation SPF 23 PA++ . It's good to have UV protection in the foundation as it acts as another layer of defense.

If you use a concealer, it should also have SPF protection as pimples and scars are more vulnerable to the sun, which can turn them into dark spots.

To get more durable eye shadow in the summer, start with a waterproof color as the base and then add a colored liner. While these have been developed to line the eye, you can use a brush or your finger to spread it over the eyelid. Use a liner alone if you like the effect, or try putting another shadow on top to intensify the color.

MAC Gel Liner , which comes in a wide selection of colors, is a good choice. MAC Paint also stays on well. It's no longer available at MAC outlets in department stores, but you can get it in the chain's stand-alone shops, like in Tokyo's Omotesando Hills complex.

To line the eye, a waterproof liquid eyeliner will last longest. Again, MAC Liquidlast Liner is a good long-lasting eyeliner.

If you prefer using a pencil, make sure it's also waterproof. It may still bleed under the sun, so smudge the line with a small brush dipped in powdered eye shadow to help keep it in place.

Waterproof cosmetics don't go on very well on skin that is wet or oily, so wipe around the eyes so the liner will apply smoothly and give a distinct line.

If you still end up with raccoon eyes, make sure you are applying the liner directly to the skin between the lashes. When eyeliner is applied to the lashes, it smudges much more easily, creating those dark circles.

Lining the eyebrows can also be a big challenge due to oil. Oil on your skin attaches to eyebrow hairs and makes it hard for the liner to stay on. Fortunately, several companies lately have developed a pen that contains the same ingredients as artificial tanners and allows the color to adhere to the skin better.

IPSA makes one such pen. The Optimism Balance Eyebrow works well but you need to top it off with eyebrow powder as the color in it could be better.

In contrast, there have been lots of advances in mascara. The best type stays on all day but comes off easily at night. Dejayu won't come off until you use warm water. Nothing else. And you don't even have to rub your lashes very hard to get it off.

If you've got to have a tan and want to use an artificial-tanning product, try one with a sunscreen. Naturabisse's tanning cream only has SPF 10, but it creates a nice color — plus it doesn't have that nasty smell. Don't forget to scrub your body down to take off all the dead skin, it will give you an even color.

For your face, brush on a bronzing powder like Guerlain Ultra Natural Blush or Sun, Sun Kissed in Terracotta . To get a sun-kissed look, brush the powder along the cheekbones and across your nose. To make your face look smaller, brush the powder along the chin line and just under the cheekbones.

To top it all make sure you take lots of vitamin C. The sun zaps the body of this essential nutrient which protects the skin from those nasty brown spots that come with long-term exposure to the sun.

Tomomi Higuchi is a makeup artist with Various Agent (www.va-seep.com).


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