How to Keep Healthy Holiday Habits

Does the idea of being healthy over the holidays seem laughable? The key to juggling staying fit and having fun is strategizing before the celebrations begin. Avoid derailing your efforts with a few thoughtful additions to your routine.

Start Planning
Set yourself up for success with a little forethought. Prepare healthy, on-the-go snacks for days when you're busy. Include filling, high-protein foods like trail mix, deli meat roll-ups or nut bars. Schedule each workout as if it were a doctor's appointment you wouldn't dare miss.

Before heading to a holiday party, consider your exit strategy and stick to it. The hectic season can leave you feeling drained if you don't make self-care a priority, so don't feel guilty leaving when the time comes.

Enjoy Yourself
Does "giving in" usually involve sugary sweets or your favorite cocktail? Redefine what it means to indulge. Treat yourself to quality time with friends, a luxurious bubble bath or an exciting experience you've been wanting to try. When you do go for your favorite holiday treats, be sure to eat mindfully and slowly so you fully enjoy it.

Exercise Smarter
Movement is imperative to keep you happy and healthy over the holidays. Need motivation? Try a fitness tracker for a little personal competition. Everyday tasks like cleaning and shopping may count as workouts when you realize how many steps you're taking.

If you get overwhelmed by the holiday rush, use exercise as a healthy, convenient outlet. Studies have shown that working out reduces stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, and increases endorphins, which make you feel happier and more relaxed.

4 Tips to Protecting Your Skin and Hair This Winter

Do you notice a difference in your appearance when the thermometer dips to cooler temperatures? The transition to winter doesn't have to translate into dull hair and dry skin. Read on to learn how to alter your routine for the changing season.

Get a Healthy Start
Glowing skin and hair begin with a healthy body. Make it a habit to drink plenty of water each day so you stay hydrated from the inside out. A well-balanced diet that includes healthy fats, like those found in salmon, nuts and avocado, also helps the body retain necessary moisture.

Keep Your Body Glowing
Though a long, hot shower is tempting in the cooler months, it can dry out skin and lead to discomfort later on. Instead, opt for short, warm showers when it's chilly out, use a moisturizing body wash and finish with a slather of lotion to amp up hydration. Once or twice a week, exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and follow up with a nourishing body cream.

Continue Daily Routines
Each day regardless of the weather conditions outside, make sure you're protecting your face from sun damage with a moisturizer that contains sunscreen. And don't forget your lips, which can quickly chap and suffer from windburn without a hydrating lip balm.

Care for Your Tresses
Colder temperatures result in dry air, which can wreak havoc on hair. Help your hair's natural oil do its job protecting follicles and creating shine; wash your hair two to three times a week and avoid regularly using hot tools (or if you can't avoid them, use a heat protectant). Add a little vitamin E oil to your locks to treat split ends and keep hair soft from roots to tip.

Tips for Men Growing A Mustache in November

Each November, men across the world start the month with a clean shave and spend the remaining 29 days growing out a mustache in the name of Movember. So whether you're a fan of facial hair or someone you know is taking part in this annual fundraising event for men's health, read on for essential grooming advice.

Getting a Close Shave
A clean-shaven face is where it all begins, but that requires a little preparation and technique.

Make sure you have a sharp, clean razor on hand.

Soften facial hair by taking a hot shower; the steam will help open pores and prepare the skin. Another option is using preshave oil to moisturize and protect against irritation and razor burn.

Create a perfect lather -- not too wet and not too dry -- with your favorite shaving cream.

Shave with short, gentle strokes in the direction of hair growth. Resist the urge to go against the grain, which can result in ingrown hairs.

Rinse your blade after each stroke to ensure a clean cut with each pass.

Maintaining Facial Hair
Now that you've got your shaving technique down, what about maintaining that man-stache?

Decide which mustache shape works for you. Round and square faces do well with fuller styles, while a slight triangular silhouette on an oval-shaped face is flattering.

To stay neat, use a hair trimmer to shape the 'stache during the first stages of growth. Once it starts growing over the lips, use facial scissors to keep it trim.

Avoid dandruff by exfoliating and moisturizing regularly.

Use wax to style your mustache, whether it's to master the curled look or keep it neat and defined.

Sensitive Skin Challenges — Tips for Finding the Perfect Skin Care Products for Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, you know how difficult it can be to find products that don't cause irritation. For those with more stable skin, that could change. The epidermis can develop sensitivities at any time and start reacting negatively to environmental factors, as well as ingredients in skin care products. For the optimal health of your skin, keep the following points in mind.

How gentle is your facial cleanser?
First and foremost, use a gentle, water-soluble facial cleanser formulated for your skin type. And look for fewer ingredients, which will lower your chance of having an adverse reaction. (This is a good strategy to use for all the products you put on your skin.)

Your face shouldn't feel tight, dry or greasy after washing, and it shouldn't tingle; a tingly sensation is often a sign of irritation. If you have dry skin, choose an emollient, moisturizing cleanser. Liquid- and gel-based products are better suited for oily and combination skin. And if you're fortunate enough to have "normal" skin, opt for lotion or cream textures.

Is fragrance the culprit?
Though pleasant scents are enticing, fragrance can be irritating to sensitive skin. If you're prone to redness, itchiness or sudden breakouts, you might want to look for products that say "fragrance-free" on the label, especially since many products include fragrance that isn't explicitly identified in the ingredients list.

Should you see a dermatologist?
If your skin shows signs of sensitivity even though you're doing all you can to avoid possible irritants, it may be time to see a dermatologist. He or she can determine if you're dealing with a skin disorder, such as rosacea, eczema or allergic contact dermatitis, and can develop a treatment plan that works for you.

Lip Care Tips & Lip Color Tricks

Lips are a fun and easy feature to play up. Before drawing attention to them, though, make sure they're soft, smooth and properly primed. Here are some lip care tips and color tricks to enhance that beautiful smile.

Exfoliate, Moisturize and Protect
If your lips are chapped or peeling, use a soft, clean toothbrush or a lip scrub to gently exfoliate and remove loose skin. You can make your own lip scrub or opt for one of the many available in salons and stores. Follow up with a moisturizing lip balm that contains sunscreen.

Colors and Finishes for a Whiter Smile
If you like a prominent pucker and want to try a bold shade, keep a few things in mind:

Blue-based reds will make your teeth appear whiter, while orange- and brown-based reds will make them appear less white.

Berry shades — think raspberries, purply reds and deep plums — also have a whitening effect. Slightly sheer and glossy formulas are smile brighteners as well.

Keep Color on Your Lips and off Everything Else
While long-wearing lipsticks and matte finishes often last longer than shiny ones, they can sometimes make your lips appear dry. Here are some other options that can provide staying power and keep lip color where you want it:

Before applying lip color, use a lip liner to outline your lips and then fill them in. This helps keep color from feathering into the tiny lines around your mouth, plus it stays on longer. [Note: We love Mirabella's Perfecting Lip Definer. It's a clear lip liner that defines lips, while creating a protective barrier; so lip products stay put with no bleeding or feathering. Plus, it's dye-free, lead-free, and paraben-free! Available at Cultures.]

If you're prone to getting lipstick on your teeth, try closing your lips over a finger after application. The color that comes off on your finger is what would have likely ended up on your teeth.

To prevent lip color from transferring to your drinking glass, discreetly lick the rim before touching your mouth to it and taking a sip.

Time Saving Tips to Streamline Your Morning Routine

Who has time to spend hours in front of the mirror every morning putting on makeup, styling hair and figuring out what to wear? Your morning routine shouldn't slow you down. Sleep in a little longer and use these time-saving tips to start your day right.

Prep Your Hair the Night Before
Washing, blow-drying and styling your hair every morning can take a lot of time and effort. Save precious morning time by doing it the night before. Depending on the look you're going for, you can put your hair in braids, buns, tucks or twirls before going to bed. When you wake up, you can expect a little extra volume and loose, heat-free waves.

Use Multitasking Makeup and Play Up One Feature
Many products on the market today are multifunctional. Products like BB and CC creams are intended to moisturize and prime your skin while providing light coverage and sun protection in one quick step. It's better to focus on one feature, like your eyes, and take your time than to do a full makeup application in a hurry. And besides, bold lips look stunning with natural eyes and vice versa.

Plan Your Outfit
Decide what you want to wear the night before and lay everything out. Include your undergarments, shoes and accessories. Iron or steam any items that have wrinkles. If you plan to get a sweat session in right after work, get your gym bag ready. Pack your workout clothes and shoes, and don't forget a water bottle, gym towel and hair elastic. Make it easy to just grab it and go.

Grooming Practices to Keep Men Healthy & Handsome

Women are known to embrace beauty and skin care routines, but what about their male counterparts?

The truth is both genders benefit from healthy grooming practices. The skin care tips below can help any man look and feel his best.

Cleanse — Many males make the mistake of using bar soap to wash their face. This cleansing option is often drying, though, and the ingredients used to keep the bar's shape can clog pores. A gentle facial cleanser suited for your skin type can make a big difference in how your skin looks and feels.

Exfoliate — Although commonly overlooked, exfoliation is a useful step that can help stave off blemishes and dull, dry skin. If you have facial hair, be sure to thoroughly clean and exfoliate the skin beneath the hair as well.

Shave — To avoid razor burn and ingrown hairs, shower first to help soften the skin. Then apply shaving cream and shave using short strokes in the direction of hair growth. Replace razors often to get the closest shave and minimize cuts and irritation.

Protect — One of the most dangerous skin care mistakes men make is failing to wear sunscreen. Reduce your risk of skin cancer by wearing moisturizer with sunscreen every day, no matter the season. Daily sun protection will also help slow the signs of aging, including sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

Is Laser Hair Removal Right For You? The Pros and Cons of Laser Hair Removal

Shaving is a necessary evil for many people. We love the look and feel of soft, smooth skin, but removing unwanted hair can be time-consuming and inconvenient. If you're looking for an alternative to shaving, waxing and depilatories, you might want to consider laser hair removal. Check out some of the pros and cons of this treatment and see if it makes sense for you.

How it Works
A cosmetic laser directed at the skin targets hair follicles, damaging them at the root and inhibiting new growth. Multiple treatments are necessary, generally every 4 to 6 weeks for best results. After about three months, most experience a reduction in new hair growth in the treated areas.

Depending on how many treatments you get and how responsive your hair is to the laser, regular shaving could be a thing of the past. You may have the occasional stray, but without the need to shave regularly, you're less likely to have irritation, ingrown hairs and razor burn. And, of course, you'll save yourself time and be free of the hassle.

There are a few reasons why some choose to continue using more traditional hair removal methods. Laser hair removal doesn't work as well on those with light colored hair, and some may have an adverse reaction to the laser. Discoloration, blisters, burning and scarring can occur, especially on sunburned skin. Plus, the treatments can add up. Expect to pay $60 to $300 for each area and each session. Multiply that by six for the typically recommended number of treatments. Even if your results are permanent, hormonal changes or fluctuations in weight could cause new hair follicles to develop in previously treated areas. And expect a little discomfort if you choose to try it. The feeling has been compared to a rubber band snapping on your skin. Luckily, new technologies are making it less painful and more effective.

[This article is for informational purposes only. Cultures does not offer laser hair removal services.]