the experts answer
Cathrin Voss of Calgary wins March's Christian Dior prize for asking: I apply sunscreen every morning under my makeup. How can I keep from looking and feeling greasy? And is it necessary to reapply the sunscreen?
If you're spending time outdoors, use an SPF 30 sunscreen. If you're mostly indoors, however, Monique Normandeau, training and development manager at Christian Dior suggests an all-in-one foundation and sunscreen. Try: Christian Dior Teint Compact Lisse with SPF 15-a lightweight, cream-to-powder foundation-followed by Ultra- Mat, which mattifies your foundation and absorbs excessive sebum. If perspiring, reapply your SPF.
Q. I'm interested in whitening my teeth and confused by all the products that make the claim. Andrea, Burlington, Ont.
According to Dr. Edward Philips of The Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry in Toronto, there are two kinds of stains: extrinsic, from coffee, tea, red wine and smoking, and intrinsic, which are caused by aging. A proper dental cleaning should remove extrinsic stains but, for extreme cases, ask your hygienist to finish her cleaning with a prophy jet. If you still think your teeth are too dark or yellow, then, likely, you have intrinsic stains. Dr. Philips recommends treatment at your dental office. (Over-the-counter whiteners don't contain enough carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to be effective, he says.) For 'at-home" whitening, a tightly fitted, plastic mouth tray is made from a mold of your teeth, which you fill with a whitening solution. Depending on the product's concentration, you wear the trays for 2-6 hours for 5-7 days. Cost: $250-$800. For "office-assisted" whitening, the dentist starts the process at his office by using a stronger product, which cuts down on the time you have to wear the trays at home. Cost: $450-$800. Finally, a laser is the only option-though it may take a few treatments or some follow up at-home whitening-that can give you immediate results in an hour or two. Cost: $1,200-1,500.
Q. I have extremely curly hair because I'm black. I want to straighten it but no straighteners seem to work. Anonymous
Maybe you're using a styling product meant to aid straightening, rather than a chemical relaxer. Or, your salon may not be using a strong enough chemical relaxer or leaving it on long enough. According to Buster Berkeley of Toronto's Amorphous Hair Group, chemical relaxers come in regular, mild and super, and should be left on for up to 20 minutes and checked frequently. He assures us that if "super" is used, it will straighten the hair. Berkeley suggests you have a consultation first, so the stylist can examine the condition, texture and curl pattern of your hair. To minimize damage (you could affect the elasticity of the hair, which weakens it and creates breakage), Berkeley suggests that you leave a bit of cur then depend on your blow-dryer and flatiron to straighten it further.
Q. I dyed my hair blond and now it seems to take longer to dry. Does blond hair hold more moisture? Cheryl, Pembroke, Ont.
Ana Karzis, technical advisor for Aveda and technical director for Civello Salon/Spas, says it is not the blond colour, but that the hair has been made more porous due to the tinting process. "It's thirsty," she says. A chemical component such as a permanent colour (tint), Karzis explains, swells up the hair cuticle so it is open and can alter the natural state of the hair, thereby allowing the new tone to be deposited. Because the natural pigments are altered, the hair has suffered a form of damage. Due to the change in the porosity level, "it acts like a sponge," says Karzis. "It's dehydrated, so any moisture that's goes on to the hair, it holds on to longer."