Category Archives: Beauty Tips

Temporary Color, Permanent Damages

“For me, I always thought to look attractive and healthy you needed that dark tan glow. To come to terms with being fare-skinned was rough. It’s weird looking in the mirror and seeing a lighter skin color looking at me. But what made me stop tanning was when I got cancer. People don’t think of the future consequences and how draining having cancer is. I stopped tanning because of the surgeries- the amount of surgeries and the amount of money and time. Every Friday I would have to get my skin checked and check out my stitches from surgery. Now I still have to go to the dermatologist every six months. I wish I took care of myself instead of having cancer be my wake up call.”– Joanna Confalone, 29.

Confalone’s Deadly Tanning Story

Joanna Confalone, a 25-year-old Northeastern grad student at the time, had just arrived at Wingaersheek Beach, Mass. to spend the summer weekend at her mother’s shorefront beach house where she planned to slip into her two-piece bathing suit for the next couple of days. She was excited to go back to work the following Monday with a real summer glow instead of having an artificial tan from Tanorama Suntanning Center, a Boston salon she visited about three times a week after work. But before stepping onto the beach, Confalone’s doctor called, and suddenly she decided to keep her bathing suit folded up in her travel bag for the entire weekend.

Just five days before the doctor called to break the news, Confalone had a black mole the size of a “No. 2 pencil eraser” removed from her leg, a mole she had been overlooking for months. She didn’t think it was serious but when she learned that it was, she was too shocked to respond to her doctor who was listing off what the next steps were to fighting the melanoma she had developed. All that was going through her head was, “Melanoma, melanoma, how do I have melanoma?”

“She told me that me fake tanning all these years caused my cancer,” says Confalone, who added that she regularly scheduled in a 20-minute tanning session three or more times a week in high school, and later continued her
tanning regimen throughout college. “I never thought once that I would be a cancer patient.”

Confalone explains that using tanning beds caused her skin cancer.

Like Confalone, over one million young adults in the United States ignore the potential consequences of using tanning beds because they often think they are invincible when it comes to getting skin cancer. In most cases, fake tanning is just another item to cross off on some of these fake-n-bakers’ daily to-do lists, along with going to school, work, and doing laundry. But statistcs show that, obviously, tanning is a tad bit extremely more dangerous than just folding freshly clean clothes from out of the dryer.

“Young people generally feel it’s not going to happen to them and it does,” says Deb Girard, the executive director of the Melanoma Foundation of New England, an organization that provides educational programs to raise awareness about skin cancer. “The UV rays of the tanning beds cause cancer.”

… And many studies can prove the deadly consequences of fake tanning, but still, people choose to ignore them. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent, and among people ages 18 to 29 who have ever used a tanning bed and were diagnosed with melanoma, 76 percent of those melanoma cases were attributable to tanning bed use.”

These are just a few out of hundreds of statistics that prove how dangerous tanning beds are, and I could go on and on listing them out for you, but like I said before, many people choose to ignore these facts, and I don’t think it takes numbers to make people realize these extremely real consequences… I think it takes people to realize it when it’s too late.

Unfortunately for Confalone, the consequences were real once they actually happened to her. Now, after five surgeries that left behind several four-to-seven-inch scars on her legs and back, Confalone is reminded every day of the deathly consequences of artificial tanning and is still paying for her tanning-bed ritual.

“Even though I’m melanoma free, I still have to go in for check ups every four to six months,” says Confalone who will be cancer free for five years this summer. “All the doctors appointments and surgeries are not worth it.”

Here’s a powerful video Confalone was in that was produced by the Melanoma Foundation of New England. These are real people, real stories, and most importantly, real consequences of that oh-so popular trend of fake tanning.


I first met Joanna Confalone, a 29-year-old marketing and research associate at McCall and Almy, my freshman year in college when I was writing my very first magazine-style article about “tanorexic” college students. Prior to writing the article, I, myself, was a fake-tanner and had gone twice a week for about a year. After speaking to a real melanoma survivor, I realized that I needed to stop while I was ahead. The consequences are very real, I could have been another young adult getting treated for a deadly cancer. One thing that really resonated with me while I was interviewing her was when she told me that her experience with cancer made her realize that fake tanning was selfish because of the anxiety, stress and pain she caused her family and friends while fighting cancer. It made me think, yeah, even though tanning was my own choice and it directly affected me, it could be my own choices that directly affect the people closest to me, too. It’s one thing causing myself pain, but causing pain to others is something else. I would never want my mom  to cry over the medical bills she would have to help pay for in order to keep me alive, or even worse… mourn because I’m no longer here. I stopped fake tanning because  Confalone made me realize we have one body, pale or tan, and it’s not worth damaging it for a certain look. And we have one life, and it’s our responsibility to make it a healthy one.  

Tips for Greasy Hair

For some, having freshly washed hair is a valid excuse reason to skip a gym day because they want to avoid making their hair greasy. Whether they’re running late for a meeting or they have a lengthy hair regimen, many just don’t have the time to wash, dry and style their locks every time it gets a little oily. In result, many will push their sweaty workouts aside to preserve their fresh, clean, look.

So do you ever feel like you’re left having to choose either one or the other… Having nice hair, or having no cellulite?

Well there’s no reason that beauty should interfere with your workout schedule, so if you break a sweat at the gym and can’t shampoo the hair, then don’t! But shh… Nobody needs to know!

 My secret tip for greasy hair: Baby powder

Using baby powder is a great home remedy to get rid of greasy hair. It’s a cheap alternative to pricey beauty products, such as dry shampoos or buildup removers.

Before: Working out can leave you with greasy, wet-looking hair…


Fix:  …But baby powder will absorb the oil…

Part the hair and shake baby powder onto the roots  and gently massage it onto the scalp. After rubbing in that certain area, part another section of the hair and apply some more powder. Make sure not to go overboard with the powder, you only need 2-3 shakes per part.
To make sure you don’t apply too much, try shaking the powder onto your finger tips first, and then rub it onto the scalp.

After: … And  now your sweaty dirty hair looks clean!


To sweat or not to sweat? Psht.. That’s not the question…. that’s just the excuse.

Warning: Applying too much powder can make your hair noticeably smell like a baby.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

The goal of makeup is to create an illusion of a flawless face, but even though foundations and powders seem to brush away all of the skin’s imperfections, applying makeup can actually brush on the blemishes people often try to cover up.

Many like to believe that it’s their makeup that’s causing their face acne, but in most cases it’s usually their cosmetic brushes that are doing the damage.  This is because women are putting more than just makeup onto their faces, but also accumulated bacteria that has been stored between the bristles of their brushes. Every time makeup is applied, dead skin cells and oils transmit from the face onto the brush, and dirt along with built-up makeup transfer from the brush onto the face, and this exchange of bacteria leaves the brush dirty, ultimately creating pimples and blackheads. But makeup experts say this ongoing vicious cycle of applying and creating can be stopped by simply washing the makeup brushes weekly.

“Wash them every week because bacteria can get on them,” says Natalie Saraf who is the head makeup artist and owner of Gloss Makeup and Brow Studio in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Having dirty brushes can make you break out.”

So stop brushing on the acne, and start brushing them away!

Here’s how to properly clean your makeup brushes for better skin:

1) Makeup brushes can be very expensive, so it’s important to use a gentle soap to keep them in good condition. With that being said, go to a local drug store or supermarket and buy any brand of baby shampoo.

2) Soak the brushes under warm water.

3) Make sure to wash the hands thoroughly before cleaning the brushes, or else it will defeat the purpose of cleaning the bacteria in the first place. Then pour a dime-sized drop of baby shampoo in the palm of the hand.

4) Now gently move the brush in a circular motion on the palm of the hand. You’ll notice the white soapsuds will become brownish because of the makeup.

5) Remember, it’s not just the face brushes you should be concerned about… Eyeliner and eye shadow brushes should be washed too because the bacteria could also cause eye infections.

6) After lathering the brushes with soap and rinsing them under warm running water, hang them over the counter to air dry.

Final Tip: Experts suggest using Wet Ones or any type of makeup cleanser wipe on your cosmetic brushes after every brush use to prevent bacteria from building up right away.

Q&A: How these two celebrities stay in shape

BREAKING NEWS! This just in, Johansson is in fact human, according to this tabloid!

I have no shame to admit that celebrity gossip is my guilty pleasure, but sometimes, flipping through the magazines can be a little bit of an emotional roller coaster. First I catch myself envious, muttering under my breath, “Damn you Cameron Diaz, it’s impossible to look like that when your 40!” Then I think, “Aw… I’m fat,” after that awkward moment when Scarlet Johansson’s bum on the Worst Celebrity Beach Bodies page looks better than mine in a bikini.

I don’t know about you guys, but I just don’t consider celebrities as real human beings. How are they so perfect? They have the best bodies, best hair, best clothes, best everything, and I want to be them. And then that’s when I experience another total emotional volta and think, “Hey, celebrities are just like us, but they’re just a little bit cooler. I could maybe look like them one day too.” Suddenly, I feel  inspired to get in shape and look the best I possibly can be.

So on behalf of all of us who wish they could look like a celebrity,  I sat down with two stars and got the skinny on their perfect-body secrets.

A Q&A with an American Idol Singer and a How I Met Your Mother Star.

Pia Toscano

You’ve seen her sing in front of  Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler on the American Idol stage, and you’ve heard her on the radio with her single “This Time.” Pia Toscano, 23, tells me what it’s like to always be under the lime light and how she stays fit for it. 

Q: After being on season 10 of American Idol, what was it like to go from a regular girl from New York to being a LA star getting her photo taken all the time? Is there a lot of pressure to stay thin?

A: I try not to let the pressure of this business get to me. I feel like if you are confident in yourself that shows a lot, but you know… when you’re in this business, you always want to feel and look your best, so I just take care of myself, that’s all.

I snapped this photo, thank you very much

Q: How do you stay in shape for photo shoots or special events?

I’ve been really busy lately, but I always try to get some cardio in, whether it’s just walking with my girlfriend or something. I do Barry’s Bootcamp and I just try to keep myself active because I feel like when I feel better about myself, my whole mind frame is different, my whole lifestyle is different. But I’m very conscious of my diet.

Q: What does your diet look like?

A: I basically eat really clean, I eat gluten-free. I’m a pescaterian, so I eat fish, but I don’t eat meat. I try to limit my carbs, and you know, I’m very health conscious because I’m a very curvy girl.

Q: One last question, what’s your favorite vegetable?

A: I love broccolini and I love asparagus. [They’re] my favorite.


Charlene Amoia


Most commonly known for her role as Wendy on ‘How I met Your Mother’, actress Charlene Amoia, who has also been on shows such as Glee, Castle and Days of Our Lives, let’s us in on how she stays fit under the public eye.

Q: How I Met Your Mother is a really popular show and it has a lot of viewers. Do you feel pressure to stay in shape with so many eyes on you?

A:  I don’t feel any pressure- I haven’t had any kind of attention in that direction, I know other women have. I stay in shape just because I feel better, like mentally and altogether if I’m working out a lot. I just feel better if I’m doing it.

Q: What kind of workouts do you like to do to stay fit?

A: I [alternate] between boxing and yoga and just running. Actually, my girlfriend and I are just about to start that stripping class.

Q: Stripping class? What made you get into that?

We were looking for all the promotions and deals that all these studios offer, like they offer a free week or a free month, and we found this one that’s pole dancing, so we’re going for a week at the S Factor on Wilshire. I heard it’s a really good workout.

Q: What’s a good getting-in-shape tip for people who want to look like a celebrity?

A: For me, I just have to keep switching it so I don’t get bored because if I do one thing long enough, I quit because I’m bored of it. And that’s part of the inspiration for us going around to all the free weeks of classes- to try and see what we like. I do some boxing to get the energy out and some yoga for relaxation, but I kinda just see what mood I’m in that day.

Hair Tip: Mane ‘n Tail Horse Shampoo

The past few years has been this huge journey of me trying to grow my hair back after the price my scalp had to pay from my picky eating. From starting to eat right to Youtube-searching “scalp massages that stimulate hair-growth” (don’t make fun… I was desperate), there was just one thing I was missing that would really get my hair back to its original fullness… and that was the right type of shampoo and conditioner. So I asked my hair dresser of many years now, Kelly Meador, what shampoo I should buy, what salon would sell it, and how much it would be (expecting I’d have to drop some big bucks), but to my surprise she told me to go to a pet store…


Her suggestion: Horse shampoo.

You can purchase Mane ‘n Tail at your local CVS. It’s also available in the pet section at Wal-Mart and various pet stores- and those are usually the cheapest.

At the time I thought, “Great, I’m a thin-haired freak about to use horse products to desperately get my hair back…”

But after just one month of use, I had already noticed a HUGE difference in my hair – it was the answer to my hair prayers. I started using Mane ‘n Tail religiously and my locks not only got thicker, they got stronger and shinier too.

About Mane ‘n Tail

Forty years ago, Mane ‘n Tail was an exclusive product only used by animals and their owners. Diane from Customers Affairs of Straight Arrow Products, Inc. (the company that produces the shampoo and conditioner) says the company never had intentions to make the product usable for humans, but after the product had been selling on the shelves of pet stores for a couple of years, the company was informed that horse owners started using it on themselves, and saw great results when it came to thickness and hair-growth.  So Straight Arrow Products decided to officially sell the shampoo and conditioner in local drug stores for human use around 20 years ago.

Horses have thick hair, obviously, and it’s difficult to tame, but many horse owners use Mane ‘n Tail on their noble steeds because it prevents their hair from breakage and shedding and also helps maintain  their manes and tails so it’s not rough, frizzy or tangled. Diane says that the secret ingredient in the product is hydrolyzed protein, which also helps with sealing split ends- making your hair look and feel stronger.

“In our Mane ‘n Tail product, there is hydrolyzed protein, which helps you maintain the health of your hair and your scalp,” she says. She adds that the protein in the product is successful when it comes to grooming horses, and is just as successful when used by humans.

Personally, I had doubts when it came to using horse shampoo on my hair because mine was so thin, and I figured it’d make my hair greasy since the shampoo is meant for animals with insanely thick hair… but it actually gave my hair nice texture and made it shiny.

“It’s not a very weight-heavy product and neither is the conditioner,” she say. “It’s fine for any type of hair. We have all types of hair folks and animals that use the Mane ‘n Tail product,” from thin-haired “folks,” to cats who have the most delicate hair of all.

My Experience With Mane ‘n Tail

I LOVE Mane ‘n Tail and have been using it for 2 years now. Earlier this year, I  switched to another product by Moroccan Oil (an expensive brand) to switch up my routine, but still, my hair looked and felt better with the cheap animal stuff, so I switched back. For the price and its results, it really is a great buy- it makes you have beautiful hair, it’s cheaper than the desired brands and the conditioner also works as a leave-in product!

And I’m not just talkin’ to girls, I recommend this stuff for boys too and for all thin-haired and thick-haired people.  After all, look at me now….

Nahhh (no pun intended) … Just kidding. This is me now.

This was right after a haircut Kelly gave me this year.