We're doing a new series at the blog for readers to do either guest posts or interviews. One reader will be featured each month, and if it's a theme month, that will be the focus.
Today we are pleased to introduce Barbara Khan, who has written a guest post on the topic of beauty.
Barbara Khan is employed full time as a travel adviser, which she has enjoyed doing for the past 25 years. She is a married mom with a 20 year old daughter who is a junior in college. Barbara loves to sing and was a member of a ladies singing group for many years as a mezzo soprano. She loves Broadway musicals. She is still trying to find an outlet for singing since her move to northern Florida in 2014. Barbara is a lifelong lover of books who reads most mornings and evenings. She is the person that people turn to for book suggestions. Barbara organized a book club for many years.
You are invited to join Barbara's Facebook group, Baer Books, where she shares her love of all things literary. You can also find her at Twitter and her blogs Baer Books and beautyntravel.
SOS, Save Our Skin!
I consider myself a beauty junkie. I have eye shadows and liners that rival the color spectrum, curling mascara, thickening mascara and 32 lipsticks on display on my bathroom vanity. I carry around 3 or 4 lipsticks in my purse, along with 2 types of lip balm. I use BB's and CC's, BHA's and AHA's. I subscribed to Allure almost from its very inception. I exfoliate, hydrate, and protect. I am also a fanatic about avoiding the sun, so I definitely know my SPF's . The last time I actively tanned was 1986. My friend Jenny came to visit me in Houston, where I had moved to start my new adult life after high school in Ohio. We drove to Galveston Island and spent the whole day on the beach. I applied sunscreen exactly once, but I wasn't really concerned, because it was overcast and we were having such a good time. When it got to be evening we stopped at an old fashioned ice cream parlor and that's when the effects of my day could be felt.
The next day as got out of bed to make my way to the bathroom, I collapsed in a faint, my friend Jenny got my older sister with whom I was living to come check on me. My sister Denise is a nurse and she was sure I had sun poisoning. My whole backside was bright red, my legs felt like they were on fire, and I was in excruciating pain. I took pain relief around the clock and soaked in many tepid baths with oatmeal over the next few weeks. I risked a reprimand at work for not wearing pantyhose to my job in the hospitality industry.
This experience scared me as you can imagine. This was well before people started talking about the effects of the sun. We were all still applying baby oil to our skin, spending hours laying in the sun, trying to become bronze beauties with the St. Tropez tan, even if we were in Mansfield, Ohio or Houston, Texas!
Fast forward a year and I got my first job in the beauty industry, working on the Estee Lauder counter. I completely immersed myself in the beauty culture. I was using all the anti-aging products, educating my customers on SPF and even trying out the newest product, Advanced Night Repair, on my 20-something skin! I was hooked and still am.
I lived in Boston for 13 years after that and it was easy to steer clear of the sun. Even after starting my job in travel that allowed me to see a lot of the Caribbean I was very strict with sunscreen use. From Boston I moved to Key Biscayne in the Miami area, but I didn't spend much time at the beach and if I did I was shaded by an umbrella and slathered in SPF 50+. My dermatologist in Miami was very impressed with my skin at age 32. She said I had minimal sun damage and asked if her nurses could come into the exam room and see my skin. I felt like a lab rat!
Now, I'm coming up on 50, alright I still have two more years, but I am happy in my skin. I am not obsessive in any way. I can be as lazy as the next beauty queen and fall asleep in a full face of makeup, but I do try to be consistent with my skincare routine. I ALWAYS exfoliate, I moisturize with products that contain Retinol, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and niacinamide. I use my AHA's and BHA's at night and during the day, I layer on my products containing SPF. One of the best beauty products to hit the market in recent years is the BB cream. I love anything that makes getting ready simple. If you're not familiar with BB cream it's short for beauty balm. They contain multiple products all in one formulation. You get an anti-aging moisturizer, sun protection, and foundation all in one tube. They are available at any price point from Target and CVS to Nordstrom and Sephora.
I love cruising through the makeup counters at the department stores almost as much as I love cruising the shelves of my favorite bookstores. The beauty industry can seem like a lot of fluff, but there have been some major discoveries in the last few years. It's not just full of snake oil sales people. I like that it's products are accessible at all price levels, no need to shell out big bucks to stay beautiful. My advice to all you strong women, stay out of the sun, wear your SPF and exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!