Beauty Ch-Ch-Changes!

Thanks to technological breakthroughs, you can look better than ever—but only if you know how to find the best new products for hair, skin, nails and teeth. Still spending an hour blow-drying? Read this right now!

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Hair Tools

OLD SCHOOL Irons and dryers that were hair-torchingly hot—yet so underpowered, styling took forever.


NOW SCHOOL Speedy, salon-quality tools that use ionic and ceramic technology to style sans sizzling.


“You can now buy the same tools pros use, which wasn’t true 10 years ago. And thanks to ceramic and ionic advancements, thetools work faster and distribute heat better than their predecessors, so they inflict less damage,” says celeb stylist Kevin Mancuso.


MORE RECOMMENDS: Salon Tech Silicone 450 Flat Iron($200;, with extra-smooth plates that glide through hair without tugging or tearing; T3 Featherweight Luxe Hair Dryer ($250;, a ceramic model that weighs just 14 ounces and dries your hair in 70 percent less time than an old-school tool.

Anti-Aging Skin Creams

OLD SCHOOL Rx retinoids that left your skin raw and red.


NOW SCHOOL Rx retinoids, as well as over-the-counter retinols, that smooth out skin without irritation.


 “The single most important thing you can do for aging skin is use a retinoid,” says Jeffrey Dover, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine. Retin-A was the gold standard when it launched 30 years ago, and its active ingredient (tretinoin, a vitamin A derivative) is still the best option today. However, when the original Retin-A’s patent expired in the early 1990s, other companies were able to take tretinoin and improve on the way it was delivered into the skin. The result has been a slew of new, less irritating prescription options: Renova, Refissa and Avita, all of which put tretinoin in anti-inflammatory bases, and Retin-A Micro, which delivers tretinoin into the skin slowly, rather than in one quick, potentially irritating burst. Another improvement: the arrival of over-the-counter retinol, which is less aggressive and typically less expensive than Rx versions.


MORE RECOMMENDS: Neutrogena’s new Rapid WrinkleRepair Moisturizer($20; drugstores), a daily treatment with “accelerated retinol,” a new form of vita-min A that delivers results in just one week.

Nail Lacquer

OLD SCHOOL Quick-to-chip formulas packed with potentially toxic additives; limited color choices.


NOW SCHOOL Eco-friendly lacquers and in-salon ser-vices that last (and last); wide range of colors.


“When I first started my collection in the 1980s, you could do your nails in red, pink—or a French manicure,” says Essie Weingarten, founder of the ubiquitous line of Essie nail lacquers (and the woman we can thank for shades that range from navy to chocolate). We’ve also seen the advent of gel formulas like CND’s Shellac ($40 and up; for locations), which go on like traditional polish but dry almost instantly under a UV lamp and last up to 14 days. OPI has a similar product,the Axxium Gel Manicure ( for locations). Finally, most lacquers are now free of potentially toxic toluene, formaldehydeand DBP.


MORE RECOMMENDS: Vegan SpaRitual Lacquer($10; is free of harmful chemicals.


OLD SCHOOL Slow-to-dry lotions that left you streaky, orange—and stinky.


NOW SCHOOL Quick-dry, unscented (or pleasantly fragranced) formulas that impart a believable bronze.


The development of new ingredients that mimic the tone of your skin’s melanin—as well as technology that dulls the stench of DHA, the active ingredient that turns skin tawny—has made sunless bronzing a lot more appealing. In addition, the application options have evolved: Thereare now sprays, mousses and pretreated wipes, all of which make it easier and faster to get the active ingredient on your skin. Finally, it’s important to note that expectations of self-tanners have shifted, says Sandy Linter, a consulting makeup artist at LancĂ´me Cosmetics. We no longer desire a deep, back-from-the--Bahamas tan. Instead, we want what Linter calls “the J.Lo glow,” a sun-kissed (but not sunbaked) effect that’s much easier to get with topical tanners.


MORE RECOMMENDS: Jane Iredale Tantasia Self Tanner($36;, a light lotion that dries in two minutes and has an agreeable citrusscent; Xen-Tan Lotion Scent Secure DailyProtection($32;, which can be layered over any self-tanner to cancel out unpleasant odor.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

OLD SCHOOL Brush-on whiteners and ill-fitting strips whose brightening results were so-so at best.


NOW SCHOOL Faster-than-ever whiteners that leave your teeth nearly as gleaming as in-office options.


Improvements in the fit of at-home devices, as well as bleach-delivery systems that work faster, have made DIY whitening
easier than ever. In fact, many dentists we spoke to admitted to using at-home options themselves—either to maintain professional results or to avoid sitting through a not-so- comfy in-office procedure. “At-home whiteners have improved vastly. They offer nearly instant results with minimal impact on your wallet,” says Michael Apa, DDS, a New York City cosmetic dentist.


MORE RECOMMENDS: Go Smile Whitening Light($198;, which combines a bleaching solu-tion and a light-emitting device, accelerating bleaching time to a mere 30 minutes; Crest 3D 2-HourExpress White-strips($55; drugstores), which fit snugly and work in just two hours.

First Published Mon, 2011-03-14 13:34

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