After shaving, what should I use if my skin is dry and a little sensitive? What is the difference between after-shave lotions, colognes, skin bracers or refreshers?

There is little difference between after-shave lotions, bracer or refresher products since their formulas are similar. They may consist primarily of water, alcohol, scent etc. differing according to the use intended. An after-shave preparation is usually applied only to the face. It can feel refreshing and may soothe razor discomfort, but most men claim it stings and irritates. However, it is doubtful if these preparations have a therapeutic effect (unless the label states this) on the skin and the use of a lotion is purely a cosmetic choice. A skin bracer or refresher has a higher alcohol content than the after-shave lotion and can be used as a body refresher after a bath or shower. Cologne is the strongest form of men’s fragrance and should be applied to the body, particulary at the pulse points (chest, wrists, sides of neck, behind the knees etc.) I suggest that since your skin is a little dry and easily irritated, you should try a treatment product. A toner or lotion that has no alcohol will soothe, heal and moisturize the skin. You could also try after-shave balms which are similar in treatment to toner.

My nails have a yellow tinge though I don’t smoke, or wear colored polish. The only polish I do wear is a nail hardener that I apply several times a week. Can you suggest anything that will whiten nails? I have thought about using bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

Nails, like the hair and skin, are made from protein (keratin). If nails are dry, they can very easily absorb color from nail polishes, carbon paper, garlic, berries, bleach, suntan lotions, etc. A number of medicines, for example antibiotics such as tetracycline, can change nail color in conjunction with sun exposure. People in certain occupations are prone to nail discolorations: hairdressers whose hands are constantly in water, hair tints, chemicals etc.; florists or gardeners; dental, medical or photographic technicians, who handle any chemicals such as dyes, chromium salts, insecticides, formaldehydes etc. They are all prone to discoloration of the nails, breakage, splitting, peeling and cracking. Sometimes yellow nails can be traced to a blood disorder, lung or thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes. I do not suggest that you use bleach, but you might try a light solution of hydrogen peroxide several times a week. After the application, rinse well and apply a good nail cream. Sometimes hardeners have a high amount of formaldehydes which can discolor nails. You could try another brand, and apply it only once every week to 10 days. Use nail polish remover just once during that time, as it can be very drying and excessive use of polish remover can also cause yellowing.

Can you suggest a quick way to brighten daytime makeup for a party without taking off all the makeup and starting from scratch?

The basic difference in makeup from day to evening is an intensified look that will show up better under soft lighting. Add more cover-up if your complexion needs it, your skin should look natural with porcelain or pale bisque powder finished with a matte look (translucent powder).

With blusher use more contouring under the cheekbone. This can be done by using a darker shade or a shade with a brown tone. If you use rose, pink or red tones, apply a silver wash on top of it, to give a sparkle.

If you use corals, peach, etc. you can use gold wash. Eyes should be lined dramatically or subtly to add dimension and shape; dramatically – black or brown; subtly – purple, fawn, soft grey. Use matte eyeshadows – softer pinks, silvers, bronze, coppers.

Line eyes in gold, silver, bronze or use iridescent liners.

Lips should have vivid shades of clear red, corals, rose, etc.

Always line the lips to keep lipstick from bleeding and disappearing.

Dot some gold, silver, or bronze dust on the centre of the lower lip (after lipstick application).

If you do not use iridescent highlighters, you might like to use a pearlized powder on the cheeks, shoulders, back or cleavage.

You can also mix some silver or gold dust in body moisturizer and then apply it on the skin.

On nails, use clear reds, silvers, golds, corals, or pale nude shades.