What is the best mascara to use? I work in sales and feel the need to always look tidy and presentable, i.e. no smudges, clumping lashes etc.

Some mascaras seem to dry out rather quickly in the tube and this is annoying as well. There are many different types of mascara and you need to decide which suits you best.

Conditioning mascaras contain protein additives which counteract the dryness on the lashes.

Mascaras for sensitive eyes are those from which the most common irritants have been removed.

Mascara for wearers of contact lenses have been tested by ophthamologists.

Waterproof mascaras contain polymar products and plastic based fixatives. They have very little water and cannot be removed with water.

Mascaras that thicken and lengthen the lashes contain waxes, nylon or rayon fibres and fillers that built up the lashes.

There are various wand styles to choose from – curved, tapered and brushstyle (with the solid cake mascaras). Do not pump the wand in and out of the container as this repeated action allows more air to enter, therefore drying up the mascara. Simply slide the wand out of the tube and use the mascara that clings to it. To apply more mascara to the wand, slide it once gently into and out of the container. Allow the mascara to dry between coats to prevent clumping and the lashes from sticking together.

Consider the following features when choosing a mascara most suited to your wants and needs:

  • Does it provide good color right to the tips?
  • Does it apply easily and evenly to the lashes?
  • Does it dry or split the ends of the lashes?
  • Is it stiff and brittle looking or soft, silky and natural?
  • Is it able to darken, thicken and lengthen without clumping and smudging?
  •  Is the mascara evenly distributed along the rod when it comes out of the tube?
  • Does it tend to clump at the base of the lashes, or is there a tendency toward flaking?
  • How is it removed – with water, cream, gel or oil?
  • Is it difficult and time- consuming to take off?
  • Does it cause itching and swelling or any other type of irritation?

My hair seems to be falling out more than normally. I understand that this can happen as one gets older but I don’t think it should be this extreme. Fortunately I have always had thick hair so it’s not too noticeable yet. I’ve had it tinted for the past 13 years. I am healthy and not on any medication. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Normally we shed between 50 and 100 hairs per day. A more severe hair loss can occur on a temporary basis or be a chronic, lingering problem. There could be many reasons for such a problem although you have eliminated one of them by stating that you are not on medication – systemic drugs such as cholesterol reducees, agents used in chemotherapy, steroids, amphetamines, as well as birth control pills can lead to hair loss to varying degrees.

Other causes of hair loss could be heredity, hormonal changes, severe or prolonged emotional stress which raises the level of male hormones in women, trauma or shock to the body. The latter can include such factors as pregnancy, emotional stress, crash dieting, major illness (diabetes, thyroid imbalance.) If you have been using harsh hair dyes for a long period of time, some hair loss can result. Other hair care habits, such as excessive use of hot hair dryers, tight rollers or clips, repeated pulling and twisting into ponytails or chignons and hard brushing can eventually cause some loss of hair. Severe dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, shingles or psoriasis are other factors as are anemia and lack of vitamin B12.

First see your family doctor who might refer you to a dermatologist. We have received several letters from readers whose dermatologists successfully treated them for falling hair.

I am 18 years and still wear braces. Do you think it would still be all right for me to start using makeup even with the braces still on my teeth? I look so young with them on.

Of course you can start to wear makeup but just recember to keep the colors soft and muted. In trying to hide the braces, you may be tempted to wear heavier eye and cheek makeup and leave out the lip color all together, but this would be a mistake. Balance the makeup colors from eyes to cheeks to lips. Use lip colors such as soft corals or pinks, or pinky- beige to soften that area. Avoid dark plums, hot pink, etc. Do not use frosted lipstick as this will clash with the braces.

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