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Posted by 09.28.14

Rebecca Kazin, MD, is a nationally recognized expert in the field of cosmetic dermatology. She is a board certified dermatologist at the renowned Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington D.C. Dr. Kazin is also holds a faculty position at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore where she served as Director of the Johns Hopkins Dermatology and Cosmetic Center for the past eight years. This year she received an award recognizing her clinical training of dermatology residents in lasers and cosmetics. With her extensive experience as an injector, she was selected to form a national team of physicians who train other physicians on the best techniques. Additionally, she was elected “Top Doc in Cosmetic Dermatology” by her peers for the past two years.

Through her dermatology training at Johns Hopkins, Kazin has become an expert not only in conditions of the skin, but also in the scalp and hair. She spoke with Beauty in the Bag about the evolution of her new hair care line, how men and women age and how she stays so fit and focused.

How did you meet Dr. Tina Alster and come to join her world renowned dermatology and laser practice?

Everyone in my field knows Dr. Alster! I have long regarded her as a personal role model and mentor, as she is one of the original trailblazers in dermatologic laser surgery and founded the first freestanding laser center in Washington, DC. After working at Johns Hopkins for more than a decade, I knew that her practice was the perfect fit for me as it seamlessly combines excellence in patient care with cutting edge laser and aesthetic research that continues to push knowledge in our field forward.

What are some of your special interests in the field of dermatology?

I feel fortunate to have a profession that allows me to combine my love of art with the study of medicine. When I meet a patient, I am often fascinated by how much of my exam is based on the principles of symmetry, proportion and shape. I study each person to see what will restore them to their natural beauty subtly and carefully to achieve their goals without looking obvious or artificial.

Because of my extensive experience with laser and injectable therapy, I am also able to apply my passion for teaching by training other dermatologists and surgeons in the latest proper and safe techniques.

Tell us about your special interest in hair loss and hair and scalp health?

During the past 10 years, I have been surprised about how many of my patients routinely complain about hairloss. On average, we lose 50-100 hairs day, which is a normal part of the natural growth cycle. However, when hair loss becomes more noticeable, there may be underlying causes. The causes can range from daily stress to heredity, styling damage, medications, vitamin deficiencies, and hormones.  My patients also frequently complain about scalp symptoms and voice their frustration by the lack of options available.  I realize that this is an area of great concern to women and men, and that there is a void in the market of products available to manage scalp conditions without leaving hair dry and unmanageable. Products that maintain the beauty and health of the hair regrettably do not adequately treat their scalp. So I am on a mission to help people cope with their hair and scalp health issues.

What changes do you see in practice among women and men as they age?

Much of the changes we see with aging are genetic, so it’s telling to take a long look at your mother and father! Men and women age differently but what is common is that with age there is progressive loss of the underlying bone structure, muscle mass, and collagen layers of the skin. This leads to the appearance of the ‘tablecloth being too large for the table.’ When fillers started booming with Hyaluronic Acid products, we were very focused on treatment of the nasolabial folds but what we’ve realized over time is that it’s the facial volume loss causing the prominence of the nasolabial folds that ages someone. Expect injectors now know to address the face globally to give a much more balanced, natural aesthetic result.

To add to the good news, with age comes hormonal shifts. I always joke- “as women age, they become more like men. As men age, they become like women”….This is because of the relative decrease in estrogen and testosterone respectively. These hormonal changes lead to hair loss where we want hair and hair growth where we don’t. We also see skin dryness and loss of elasticity. The collagen machinery in the skin slows down exponentially so wound healing becomes more difficult. As a dermatologist, I keep all of this in mind when evaluating my patients.

As a busy mother of three, a leading dermatologist and educator, a clinical researcher and product formulator, what are your personal secrets for looking so young and well-rested?

First- Find a babysitter and have Saturday nights out with my husband and friends!

But a close second would be trying to take a little bit of time for myself. I am kind of fanatical about scheduling and organizing, but it typically works to put a schedule in place that gives me a little time on the weekends to have what my husband calls “Me Time.” This is usually some form of exercising followed by a quick coffee with a friend.

I also have become comfortable with the fact that I cannot do it all and I live by the motto ‘it takes a village.’ I rely heavily on help from my parents and in-laws. I also have learned to say ‘No’ to many requests over time. I really try to just participate in committees and organizations that I am truly passionate about and give them my all instead of spreading myself too thin.

I have learned that it’s the quality of time with my three daughters not the quantity.

Lastly, it is a little Botox here, filler there, and maintenance laser treatments to help with the rest!

What technologies and trends are you excited about that may be coming in the near future?

  • Kythera- ATX-101 injections to dissolve focal areas of fat (double chins).
  • Topical ‘Botox’ for wrinkles and sweating (particularly palms and soles where BOTOX injections are very painful).
  • Ulthera (micro-focused ultrasound) for tightening the crepe skin on the chest.
  • Possible laser hair removal method for blond, white or grey hair.
  • Advances in cellulite treatment.


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Posted by 09.23.14

National Skincare Awareness Month’s founder Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and owner of her namesake spa and skincare line, knows a thing or two about skincare. She practices in Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles and has over 25 years of experience helping her clients achieve healthy, beautiful, glowing skin.

Renee shares some insight into her life and business, plus the importance of taking the bathroom sink ice challenge.

How did you start out in the business?
I was inspired by my grandmother, an exceptional woman who worked tirelessly in her own beauty salon. My grandmother’s passion and dedication to give her very best resonates with me to this very day. She was an entrepreneur back in a day when most woman stayed at home and raised their children while the men went off to work. Growing up in her beauty salon, I observed how a woman would come in to her salon feeling down, and would leave glowing — both inside and out. I never underestimate how powerful looking good can positively affect a women’s self-esteem. So from a young age, my goal was to get people to like what they saw when they looked in the mirror.

What made you launch your own skincare line?
I saw a gap in the marketplace for truly customized skincare. From the beginning of my career as an esthetician in 1988, I recognized that every person’s skin is unique but the skincare industry mostly relied on a one-size-fits-all approach. Product lines were (and still are!) catered to very generic categories of skin — dry, normal, and oily — so I began formulating my own exclusive high-performance products based on nine skin types to ensure that my clients achieved the results they desired. Technology continues to customize our information, allowing us to make informed decisions and enhances our personal lifestyle, so why shouldn’t skincare be the same?

Any new products you’re especially excited about?
I’m launching a new skin oil that I’m very excited about. It contains a blend of 12 oils including sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil, rosehip oil, and safflower seed oil to hydrate and replenish leaving skin softer, and more supple. It’s ideal for post-sun, post-peel, post-laser, pre- and post-flight and any time the skin needs some serious hydration and repair. One of my pregnant celebrity clients just had her baby and used it throughout her pregnancy and got ZERO stretch marks.

What’s the number 1 skincare mistake you see women making?
This biggest mistake people make is not wearing sunscreen daily and not applying it generously enough. For starters, the number one reason why your skin will get premature aging is from sunlight, daylight, and UV rays — period. And 78% of those rays come from incidental exposure. These are all the times when you don’t think you’re getting the damaging rays — like driving in the car, sitting in your home or office near windows, or walking outside on a cloudy winter day when people don’t feel like they need sun protection. If you want to prevent wrinkles, wearing sunscreen 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out, is a must. No anti-aging product can be effective if you’re not stopping the DNA damage that occurs from UV light.

Share your best anti-aging skincare tip.
In addition to the obvious which is to wear sunscreen daily, exfoliate often. The quickest, easiest way to get smoother skin is to exfoliate regularly to remove surface, dry skin cells that can cause the skin to look wrinkly and older. Literally, just one use of a facial scrub can give you instantly smoother skin. It’s immediate gratification can provide a smooth canvas for which makeup can enhance. If you want even better results, add in an exfoliating acid serum while you sleep that continues to work over time to smooth the texture of the skin, making you look younger. These are simple products that can easily be used at home and can make a world of difference with your skin. I recommend using a mild facial scrub like Renée Rouleau Mint Buffing Beads ($42.50) two to three times a week. For an added boost, you can use an at-home skin peel like Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($86.50) twice a month or BHA Clarifying Serum ($47.50) three nights a week.

Share your best beauty tip.
Get a glow! I’m really an advocate for increasing blood flow to the skin for skins that need it. When the skin ages, less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the it. For example, by the time you are 75 years old, you have about 50% less blood vessels in your face, so with less vessels, it means less blood is flowing to the skin. The result can be sluggish, dull skin. So anything that can bring nutrient-rich blood to the face is always the best tip for aging. This includes hanging your head upside down for three minutes a day, or massaging your night cream into your skin with a bit of pressure from your fingertips. It brings a glow from within. Or even wearing a brighter blush color and avoiding clothing colors that can add to sallow skin tones like olive, burnt orange, khaki, and a warm yellow.

What is your own beauty routine like?
I am extremely diligent about caring for my skin. I use Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel ($36.50) as my morning cleanser. It’s so refreshing on my skin and really wakes it up and brings a bright glow. It’s sulfate-free so it won’t ever dry out my skin. To reduce morning under eye puffiness, I fill up my bathroom sink with cold water, add in a few ice cubes and splash my skin 20 times. The cold really helps to constrict capillaries which helps reduce puffy eyes. I always follow with an alcohol-free toner such as Elderberry Toner, ($33.50),  and then my Vitamin C&E Treatment ($64.50) is a must. It has really helped to fade discoloration that I’ve gotten in my 40s, plus it gives a beautiful radiance. Daily Protection SPF 30 ($37.50) is my next product. I apply it generously to my face, neck, sides of my neck, and any exposed chest.

In the evening, I cleanse, tone and alternate nights between Advanced Resurfacing Serum (with retinol, $83.50), Skin Drink (with hyaluronic acid, $40.50) and AHA Smoothing Serum 17% (with pure glycolic acid, $45.50). Serums make all the difference for giving my skin results. I then follow with a lightweight moisturizer, Sheer Moisture ($37.50) and eye cream, Total Eye Repair Cream ($61.50). Once a week, I’ll use a facial scrub, Mint Buffing Beads ($42.50), followed by an at-home gentle peel Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($86.50) and then a hydrating mask Bio Calm Repair Masque ($51.50). I also listen to my skin. I change up my skincare routine at night a lot. Healthy, beautiful skin requires a variety of high-performance ingredients and at night is the best time to do that.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out in the business?
It is a fact that a large percentage of people who go through the effort and investment of attending and graduating from esthetics school will never end up practicing esthetics, or will do so for a short time. I believe this is because they could not find a job or if they did, the job was not the right fit for them. My best advice is to explore every option for employment, but be sure to only apply for a position that best suits your style and personality. This way you’re going into the career with a better chance of success.


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Posted by 09.21.14

“The best beauty secret is to feel confident; if you feel beautiful you’ll have a beautiful day,” says Achelle Dunaway, the creative director for the uber fun and accessibly priced e.l.f. cosmetics brand. Since joining e.l.f. in 2005, Achelle has made the process of gaining confidence through beauty easier and easier with the introduction of the e.l.f. Mineral and Studio Collections, as well as expanding into the nail and bath & body categories.

As a makeup artist, Achelle has worked on celebrities, musicians, and entertainment personalities. Here, she shares some easy-to-adapt makeup tips with Beauty in the Bag.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become a makeup artist?

I started at e.l.f. in 2005 and it has been and continues to be an exciting journey to which I feel very blessed to participate in. I became a certified makeup artist shortly after I started with e.l.f. to get a deeper understanding of professional application techniques.

Our readers always want to know how to make makeup last. Any tips?

This is a great question! To keep makeup lasting longer apply a primer as your base for your eyeshadow and foundation, this will act as a holding agent for your makeup. You can also use a setting spray that is a “hairspray” for your makeup, if you will. Also waterproof eyeliner and mascara is a great way to keep makeup lasting, as well as using a lip stain/marker to saturate your lips with color for long-lasting wear.

Do you have any other at-home makeup tips?

Always, always wash your face before bed and moisturize morning and night. This is key to helping keep skin hydrated and supple. A great trick for making sure you have the perfect look is to apply makeup by your window for the best natural light. This will give you an accurate read on how your foundation looks and how dramatic your eyeshadow colors are.

Concealing dark under eye shadows is always a challenge. What do you suggest?

A quick way to look bright eyed and well rested is to apply under eye concealer with skin brighteners. This helps to conceal any dark under-eye circles and creates a youthful glow to the face. First apply a moisturizer like e.l.f. Eye Refresh to hydrate the skin. Then use a concealer; I like the e.l.f. HD Lifting Concealer—the formula is infused with key ingredients vitamin C, green tea, and mulberry for lifting and soothing benefits, and helps improve skin texture. Afterwards, set the concealer with a powder like e.l.f. Undereye Setting Powder; this light-diffusing powder camouflages fine lines, dark circles, and imperfections with a brightening pearlized effect that attracts light for a natural glow, while the vitamin C & K infused formula helps to restore and strengthen skin for a revitalized appearance.

The mission of e.l.f. is to market makeup at very reasonable prices. How does the company keep costs down yet offer quality products?

We often ask the question, “Why do other brands overcharge?” We pride ourselves on luxury products at an affordable price. We keep costs down by not marking up with attributed celebrity endorsements and huge advertising costs. We also purchase in large quantities, which help absorb costs.

If you could create any beauty product, what would it do?

Well that’s pretty much my job ;) but if I could have super powers I would love to create a natural non-invasive way to be able to “photoshop” your face to look your ideal flawless self without needing any makeup. Sign me up for that!

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