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Photo Credit: depositphotos.com


Posted by 04.25.17

When I give a gift to the men in my family, it’s usually something sports related like tickets or gear, food or drink related such as scotch or some kind of smoked meat, or apparel related in the form of a tie, belt, robe or socks. It’s high time they get treated to luxurious, pampering, beautifying goods instead. After all, they want to look their best too and most men love grooming products, soaps and special scents as much as we do.

Here are the top contenders for the men in my life:

Van Der Hagen Luxury Boar Shave Set ($30) is an especially elegant ensemble that comes with a boar brush, acrylic stand, apothecary bowl and hypo-allergenic soap so everything he needs to get a smoother, closer, nick-and-bump-free shave is at the ready.


Hermes 4-Piece Colognes Collection Travel Set ($128) contains four perfectly sized (.50 oz) EDT sprays. Rounding out the set are Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate (with bold, crisp, rhubarb notes blended with white musks), Eau de Neroli Dore (a neroli/orange-blossom/saffron blend), Eau de Pamplemousse Rose (a sharp grapefruit-rose fragrance) and Eau d’Orange Verte (an invigorating fragrance scent made up of green, orange and woody notes). He can make one his signature and wear the others when the mood strikes.



Molton Brown Re-charge Black Pepper Body Scrub Bar ($22) will polish, cleanse and moisturize. It blends black peppercorn oil, bergamot and oak moss for an antioxidant-infused bar with a fresh, masculine scent.



Anthony Let’s Talk Dirty Duo ($39) is a set of 2 non-drying, glycolic acid-infused cleanser that gently washes away dirt, grime, oil and dead skin cells. It also prevents ingrown hair and razor bumps, moisturizes and soothes, guards against oxidation, and firms and brightens your complexion.



Sephora Favorites Cologne Sampler ($65) is a collection of 15 of the most loved modern men’s fragrances packaged in a faux leather travel bag. Unzip it and you’ll find Burberry Brit Rhythm For Him Eau de Toilette Spray, Dolce& Gabbana Light Blue pour Homme Eau de Toilette Spray, Prada Luna Rossa Sport Eau de Toilette Spray, Ralph Lauren Polo Red Eau de Toilette Spray and so many more. Enjoy sampling them all and when you’ve decided on a favorite, simply take the included certificate to any US Sephora store and you can redeem the voucher for a full-size bottle of your chosen scent at no additional cost.



Jack Black Turbo Body Bar Scrubbing Soap ($15) just might be his favorite gift because who could ever outgrow the kitschy delight of a fresh bar of soap on a rope! This one from Jack Black is suitable all skin types — from oily to dry to sensitive and everything in between — smells wonderful, and is formulated with ginkgo biloba and blue lotus to stimulate your senses, shea butters and murumuru to boost hydration and natural lava rock to gently slough away dead, dry skin cells.



Note: The Van Der Hagen Shave Set was sent for review. All other men’s grooming products highlighted were tested in store. Opinions are my own. 


Photo Credit: neostrata.com


Posted by 08.28.15

Tracy R., a 44-year-old mom in Livingston NJ, spends her fair share of time at the at The Mall at Short Hills – especially this time of year when camp is out and school has yet to begin. “My daughter and I do a lot of shopping and even more window-shopping at the Mall,” she says.

And now that NeoStrata Company, Inc. has opened its first-ever brick and mortar facility, the Exuviance Skin Lab, at The Mall at Short Hills, the real, Real housewives (teens and husbands) of New Jersey like Tracy and her daughter are thrilled that they can get their glow while on the go.

Nestled among such upscale department stores and boutiques as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Chanel, Jimmy Choo and Hermes’, Exuviance Skin Lab allows shoppers a more pampered time-out.



“Who needs a food court or coffee break, when you can get a facial or peel?,” Tracy quips.

Aestheticians at the new spa will offer personalized skin care assessments and bespoke product suggestions based on analysis with SKINsight Imaging. Guests are encouraged to use testers and play with recommended Exuviance products at the custom, fully interactive 15-foot bar. The new spa ale offers two private treatment rooms for customized peels and facials that address everything from dull, sensitive, or aging skin, to blemishes and pigmentation problems.  The signature SKINstant 15-Minute Express Power Peel offers a rapid radiance boost by exfoliating tired, dead skin cells to revitalize skin.

“The concept was created in direct response to consumer demand, bringing savvy shoppers the skincare solutions they need in a beautiful, easy-to-navigate, engaging environment,” says Mark D. Steele, CEO of NeoStrata Company, Inc.

Check it out for yourself at:

The Mall at Short Hills
1200 Morris Turnpike
Short Hills, NJ 07078


Photo Credit: ateliermanagement.com


Posted by 06.21.15

Walter Obal is one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the beauty world. He started his extraordinary career as a makeup artist in New York City when he was only 20 years old as the personal makeup artist to model/actress Jamie King for MTV’s television show House of Style. When the show ended he started working with Make Up For Ever Paris as a Senior Artist conducting training seminars before signing with an agency and booking fashion and beauty advertising and editorial work.

Obal has also been the brand ambassador and spokesperson for Esika (a major South American Cosmetics brand) and the Beauty Director for the New York City arts and culture publication, BlackBook. His client roster is full and only getting fuller. It includes prestigious editorial and advertising brands such as Anthropologie, Barneys, Elle, GQ Style, Harpers Bazaar, Hermes, L’Oreal, Neiman Marcus, Rimmel, Shiseido, Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret and many, many more.

1. What do you love most about your career? The things I love most about my work are that I am able to be creative. I love working with other like minded individual and collaborating as a team to create beautiful imagery.

2. What’s your personal beauty philosophy? My personal beauty philosophy is less in best. I love that I am able to create beautiful images for ads and editorial, but that’s not to say every trend is going to work for every woman. I think women should look at the trends as inspiration and take from it what would work best for them.

3. What beauty products do you think make the biggest difference for women? My must have products for women would have to be brow gel, Eyelash Curler and Mascara. The eyes are the window to the soul they say, so let them shine. A good lash curler can easily awaken the eyes. Mascara defines the framing of the lash line as a good brow defines the entire eye. I also love that these three items need little maintenance throughout the day but do so much to enhance your look.

4. Any secrets to get makeup to last throughout the day? The lasting power of makeup all depends on your skin type. Some faces seem to hold makeup better than others but when using color there will always be some maintenance necessary throughout the day to keep it looking fresh. That being said, a good primer underneath your makeup will give it some staying power and using long-wear cosmetic products can help.

5. Any words of wisdom for the more mature woman? The advice I would give to a more mature woman would be to create something that looks timeless and do not feel you need to follow the trends. Trends tend to be geared to younger women and tend not to be flattering on mature skin. Stay away from shimmer, glittery pigment and gloss.

6. What’s next for you? I am fascinated with product development and am presently working on a skin serum that I plan on launching in the fall.


Posted by 02.16.14

Dubai has become a focal point for cosmetic surgery thanks, in large part, to the successful rebroadcasting of such reality TV shows as Dr. 90210 throughout the Middle East. While many US cosmetic surgeons frequently make sojourns to Dubai to help keep pace with increasing demand, Hassan Galadari, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the United Arab Emirates University in Dubai, is a local dermatologist who maintains a thriving cosmetic practice together with his father at Galadari Derma Clinic in Dubai. Trained in the US, Galadari graduated from the Boston University/Tufts University dermatology program and completed a cosmetic dermatology fellowship in the University of California, San Francisco. He is licensed by the medical board of California.

Galadari spoke to Beauty in the Bag about his practice, his beliefs about beauty, and what men and women in Dubai really want out of cosmetic surgery. Here’s what he had to say:


How do you define beauty?

Beauty is not an easy thing to define. The way I look at it though, it is anything that makes you feel good, whatever senses it might entice. If a cologne makes you feel good, then its beautiful. If you’re on a vacation and you feel good, then without knowing where you have been, I can tell that you’re in a beautiful place. Beauty’s definition is different from one person to the other and I sincerely believe it is in the eye of the beholder. A computer engineer can see the code and would consider it beauty, while an architect may be fascinated by a structure such as the Burj Khalifa and see it as beautiful. There are, however, universal definitions of beauty, where a majority can see the beauty of a person, place or thing.

What is your signature procedure?

I enjoy performing minimally invasive procedures such as injectables. Fillers (and toxins to a lesser extent) have this instant gratification going for them, where patients can literally see the transformation in front of them. When done right, you can chip away time and that person looks at least five years younger. The trick is to never do too much that others can see what you’ve done. I tell patients that anyone can inject, but the right doctor will inject in such a way where no one can tell that anyone has had anything done.

So what do the people of Dubai really want when they pursue cosmetic surgery?

Women and men want to look good and naturally by doing so, feel good. The major thing that women want in this part of the world is for clear, smooth skin. Given that people here are of type 4-5 skin, there are some pigmentary discrepancies and women want to have a unified skin tone. The fair skinned individuals want to tan and the naturally tanned, want to be fairer. This is about the same anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately people are never too comfortable in their natural skin.

Do any of these ideals really come from reality shows like Dr. 90210 as the US media has alleged?

Media greatly affects people’s perceptions about beauty. Not so much reality shows, but the media in general. I have witnessed this change as time went by. At first, people ridiculed cosmetic procedures, now they have become much more accepting of them. Unfortunately, the “made up” look is still a thing. You could say it has become akin to social status. Women would assume that they wear a Rolex watch, a Hermes Birkin bag, and naturally a bit of Botox and some filler in the lips.

 What does male plastic surgery in Dubai look like?

As for men, since beards are a big thing here in Dubai and the Middle East in general, laser hair removal to define the beard line is extremely popular. From all procedures, men seem to start with this first and then perhaps move on to other procedures such as peels and neuromodulators once they’re comfortable.

A lot of US doctors fly into Dubai and provide plastic surgery. Does this affect your practice?

There is no major problem when that happens, but it does become an issue when complications arise and naturally they do, no matter how good the doctor is. Out of principle, and this is something I learned during my training, is that I never touch other people’s blunders, because patients have a way of associating you with it even though your intention is to help. In the cosmetic field, patient loyalty and satisfaction is key. There should be a lot of hand holding and TLC all the time and especially when things go wrong. Visiting doctors do not provide that. They come, perform the procedure and are gone. People are drawn in out of the allure of being injected by an American doctor, though the local talent may be better or even “American” or “Western” trained. I never consider such doctors as competition. A good doctor will draw his patients even if there are other doctors around him. Just look at NYC. There is practically a cosmetic dermatology office every other block on the Upper East Side.

How did you get started in the beauty business?

One might say I was exposed to the world of dermatology at a young age, since my father is also a very well established dermatologist here in Dubai. I’ve always had this friendly and silent competition with him. I always wanted to be a step better and only my mother realized that. I thought, what better way to do so than at his own game and his own field?

The reason why I got into cosmetic dermatology is because I enjoyed seeing the beauty in everything. I would stare at a car and attempt to get into the designer’s head and think what he or she were thinking to come up with this. The same would go for a painting, a house, even watches and bags. I always tried to make sense of the design and see the beauty there.

What sets you apart from others in your space?

I like to think that I appreciate natural beauty. I find it an extra challenge to perform a procedure on a patient and make them look good, feel good, yet not have others see them and tell that they’ve had something done. That’s the challenge and I really enjoy it. I avoid and have turned down patients who want that extra filler in their lips because I do not want to be the doctor who’s made those duck lips or high cheeks. It’s never been about the money. I’m also a perfectionist and I’m hard on myself when it comes to what I do.

 Are any procedures especially challenging?

The challenge is not really the procedure but the outcome. It’s a challenge to create something that can be looked at and considered to be natural. There are certain procedures where the margin of error is tighter and those areas involve the lips and the area underneath the eye. Being overzealous in those areas can change the person entirely.

Who is your beauty inspiration?

I would say the world. Earth. Nature. God is the most inspirational designer out there when it comes to beauty. You look at things in nature and you can’t help but feel inspired. The arid desert, the ragged mountains, the forest and the water. You look at these things and the way all the elements in a given frame gel together in harmony, you cannot help but feel in awe. I try to focus on that with my work. I want the eyes to be in harmony with the mouth and ears in the landscape of the face.

What is your beauty mantra?

“God is beautiful and He loves beauty.” Each person has a natural beauty inside them and sometimes you need to make that person look beautiful in order for them to achieve their hidden potential. This is not superficial thinking. This is the truth that has been proven many times in research in psychology and the way people view themselves. People who deny that, deny science and the human element.

Why do you love what you do?

I don’t see what I do as work. If you enjoy it so much, then it stops being that. I find it quite fulfilling. I work with my father and see him everyday so it becomes an extension of family. I enjoy interacting with people, knowing them, and helping them. What I find even more important is that imprint you leave behind when your interaction concludes. There is a saying that when a person passes on, only three things remain: an ongoing charity, knowledge where people benefit, and good people’s thought of you. I would like to leave in good graces and to touch as many people as possible.


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