It doesn't matter if your schedule is jam-packed with parties, your holiday cards pack pictures, or you're expecting a visit from a family member. This season, every woman has a reason to look her best.
But if I've learned anything about beauty, it's that how we look is a direct result of how we feel, our health, and how we take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, we are so busy taking care of others that we often forget to invest in our own health and beauty.
So to help out all of my sisters in perimenopause and menopause this season, I've collected my best beautifying secrets for the holidays in one place.
Follow these holiday beauty tips and -- trust me -- turning heads will follow:
The holidays might as well be renamed the "season of stress," and as if the anxiety, frustrations, and headaches weren't bad enough, stress causes an uptick in blemishes, according to a Stanford University School of Medicine study. So for both your mood and skin's sake, scale back a bit. Set boundaries and be willing to say no from time to time. After all, you should love the holidays, not pull your hair out over them! Put your own happiness at the top of your wish list and all of the overstressed women at your holiday parties will be wondering what your beauty secret is! Get more tips for fighting menopause stress!
The holidays might feel like the one time of the year it's OK to splurge, but not if you want your skin to look its best. Case in point: A 2012 Johannes Gutenberg University study found that when drinking wine, about 25 percent of people experience mild signs of alcohol intolerance, including flushed skin. Even worse, women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from wine allergies, according to researchers. (Learn how wine can also worsen your hot flashes.) Wine's not the only culprit, though. So are those sugar cookies everyone is passing around. According to a 2007 study from Australian researchers, people who load up on refined carbohydrates have more inflammation and more blemishes than those who nosh on a diet that's high in protein and vegetables.
Scrub Your Skin
During perimenopause, your oil glands kick into overdrive, but once you hit menopause, they screech to a halt from a lack of estrogen. Add winter weather to the mix and no wonder your skin is dry, peeling, and itchy. While moisturizing your skin each and every day is vital to your glow outlasting your holiday schedule, that lotion won't have the chance to do much if your face and body are covered with dead skin. Exfoliant creams can help. What's more, exfoliating the top, dead layers of skin sends a signal to your skin's deeper layers to become more active and produce more wrinkle-fighting collagen, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brandith Irwin, author of The Surgery-Free Makeover. The result: A softer, brighter, younger-looking complexion.
See Your Beauty
If you look in the mirror and don't like what you see, take a second look. As women, we have ridiculous and unrealistic expectations about what is beautiful. My favorite TED series ever includes a thought-provoking presentation from model Cameron Russell (who has walked runways for brands including Victoria's Secret and Chanel) on how our society defines beauty--and how that definition is constructed more in Photoshop than in reality, leading even Cameron to insecurity. She finds herself in a state of constant anxiety over how people will judge her body, just as most of us probably are. No wonder why 53 percent of American girls are unhappy with their bodies, according to the University of Washington. Hit fast-forward and 96 percent of women don't think they are beautiful, according to Dove's beauty campaign, Real Beauty Sketches. But as Dove's social experiment showed us, we actually judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else does. So take a second look and pay attention to the beauty everyone else sees in you.
Shed Your Inhibitions.
Whether it's by trying out a new, adventurous 'do or ditching the little black dress for a red "look at me!" number, letting loose is one of the quickest ways to take our beauty to the next level. As the fabulously beautiful and fashionable Miuccia Prada once said, "Women always try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones that look best are often a bit wilder. Thinking about age all the time is the biggest prison women can make for themselves." Stop being a wallflower because you think it's "age appropriate." Show the world just how beautiful you really are!
Make Over Your Makeup
This year, I was traipsing through Bloomingdale's when I sat myself down in a makeup chair. I had been using the same makeup for what seemed like a zillion years and decided it was time for a new look. Apparently I was right! That night I went to a party and received so many compliments on my makeup that I went back to Bloomies first thing in the morning to switch to Clarins for good. Why is Clarins so great, you ask? Well, the makeup is gentle, plant-based, and incredibly formulated. In fact, 80 researchers work in Clarins labs, conducting a minimum of 100 studies to release a single product, according to Clarins. If a department store near you doesn't offer Clarins products, consider an online consultation to determine the best products for your skin type.
Health and happiness are without a doubt the most beautiful qualities around. Every woman deserves to be comfortable in her own skin, full of self-confidence and the strength to live life on her terms. So, to celebrate the amazing beauty of women everywhere, this holiday season I am offering a Clarins gift basket to one lucky reader. Enter to win at EllenDolgen.com!
Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!
For more by Ellen Dolgen, click here.
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Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.
After struggling through the silence that surrounds menopause, Ellen resolved to help women reach out and end the confusion, embarrassment, and less-than-lovely symptoms that come with "the change." Her passion to be a "sister" to all women fueled Ellen's book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of her women's wellness journey, and in response to the overwhelming thirst of her ever-expanding audience for empowering information, Ellen's weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM was born.
Menopause MondaysTM allows Ellen an expansive platform from which she broadens her discussion of menopause, women's health, and life as a menopausal (and fabulous!) woman. Her weekly Menopause News Flash provides a one-stop shop for the latest menopause and women's health news and research, allowing women the access and know-how needed to take charge of their health and happiness. In addition to Ellen's ever-growing social media presence, EllenDolgen.com has fast become "the place" on the web for informative and entertaining women's menopause and wellness engagement. Ellen is #1 on Dr. Oz Sharecare.com Top 10 Social HealthMakers on Menopause. In 2012 and 2013 EllenDolgen.com was named first on the list of the "Best Menopause Blogs" by Healthline. Ellen is also a regular contributor to over a dozen leading women's health blogs. Her motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!
Ellen has appeared on the "TODAY Show," "NBC Nightly News", the "Rachael Ray Show," "The Doctors," Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR's "Tell Me More," Doctor Radio, and dozens of regional and national media outlets. In 2011 she appeared in a sold-out, San Diego production of "The Vagina Monologues." Ellen was one of the first regular contributors to debut on The Huffington Post's, Huff/Post50, which targets 116 million Americans over the age of 50.