May 31, 2011

Rashida Jones to star in two upcoming movies

Television actress Rashida Jones will be getting some more big screen exposure in the upcoming year, as she's slated to begin filming on two movies this summer.

One is a romantic comedy titled Celeste and Jesse Forever, a project that revolves around a divorced couple who attempt to cohabitate while pursuing new dating adventures, reports.

In the second film, Jones will co-star with Zooey Deschanel for the indie film titled My Idiot Brother. The movie is about three older sisters who try to help out their brother who was busted for selling drugs to a police officer. Jones will play a lesbian in the movie, and told the Huffington Post what it was like to kiss Deschanel.

"'I was like, 'Oh, my God, girls are so pretty and soft. No stubble burn!'" Jones said, quoted by the news source.

Jones herself appears to have a pretty smooth complexion. She has told InStyle magazine that she keeps her ethnic skin beautiful with noninvasive laser treatments.

Additionally, she might do well to try skin care products especially formulated for African American skin.  

How to soothe scorched skin

It can be easy to get caught up in the beauty of a sunny day or the refreshing feeling of taking a dip in the water and forget to apply or re-apply sunscreen. Sunburns happen to nearly everyone, and they have a tendency to leave skin feeling hot, inflamed and painful.

Luckily, there are some home remedies that you can use to help soothe skin that has been kissed a little too much by the sun.

First, aloe vera gel is an old standby for a good reason: it cools down skin while helping damaged skin cells heal. Try putting the gel or another moisturizer in the refrigerator for added cooling power.

Also, try placing a damp towel or cold compress on the affected area or taking an anti-inflammatory medicine like aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce redness, swelling and pain, experts from St. John Providence Health System suggest.

The healthcare provider also recommends cortisone creams to soothe a burn. Use the ointment twice daily for five to seven days.

Avoid using butter - including that derived from plants - or petroleum jelly on sunburns since this may seal in heat and prevent the cells from healing. Also, don't use anything abrasive or heavy in fragrances on a sensitive burn.

An article on Yahoo! Health reports that using skin care products that are rich in antioxidants - like those made with soy or pomegranate - may help promote healing.

Finally, if sun exposure has made dark spots on ethnic skin worsen, skin care products for African American women may be helpful in lessening their appearance.  

May 25, 2011

Tyra Banks launches beauty and fashion website

In her never-ending quest to empower women and help them feel beautiful, Tyra Banks has launched a new website called in which she gives personalized style and skin care advice.

In addition to viewing regular articles, videos and postings, users will be allowed to enter their personal information to gain access to a style site and advice tailored to their needs and preferences.

"Beauty is not one shade, one size, one style, one color - YOU are beauty and is the beginning of a movement that starts with and for YOU," Banks said.

The site offers how-tos on hair care, skin care, makeup and also features the latest fashions approved by Tyra herself. Additionally, visitors to the site can view videos of fashion shows, makeup and skin care product tutorials, and hair care demonstrations.

Women who have searched the internet only to find a lack of websites that focus on ethnic skin care and issues that are unique to African American women may find just what they're looking for at  

Premiere of Beauty Culture exhibit draws in Halle Berry, Alek Wek

An exhibit at Los Angeles' Annenberg Space for Photography called Beauty Culture opened recently, attracting models, actresses and the aesthetics-conscious to view photos that demonstrate the many shades of beauty as well as the ugly side of the modeling industry.

Beauty Culture includes everything from portraits that feature glowing African American skin, to frighteningly thin models, to teens being measured at weight loss camp, according to the Vancouver Sun.

The source reports that the exhibit also offers documentary screenings to accompany about 500 photos. Beauty Culture demonstrates the wide range of beauty, including models and actresses of all ethnic skin tones, to emphasize that grace comes in all shades and sizes.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the exhibit drew in many famous faces, including model Alek Wek and actresses Halle Berry and Sophia Bush.

“I think it’s so great we’re celebrating so many different perspectives on what is beautiful,” Bush said, quoted by the news source.

Beauty Culture, which features the work of about 100 photographers, is scheduled to run until November.  

May 23, 2011

Nail salons under scrutiny for high levels of air pollutants

Researchers at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California recently found that nail salons have alarming levels of airborne volatile organic compounds, which may be toxic and pose serious health risks for nail technicians and employees.

Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study revealed that the air in many nail salons contains more than double the amount of toluene deemed safe by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

“Many workers are experiencing health symptoms related to the chemicals we measured in this study,” said lead author Thu Quach.

As a result of these findings, advocacy groups in California have begun asking legislators to implement policies that would protect the health of salon workers.

The cosmetic industry is rife with dangerous chemicals that are marketed as being safe and effective. For example, skin lightening chemical hydroquinone is still somewhat prevalent in fade creams for African Americans, despite its possibly carcinogenic effects.

This study suggests that consumers should seek skin care products made with natural ingredients in an effort to cut back on their exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, such as toluene and hydroquinone.  

UK study reveals inadequate sunscreen usage

Skincare company La Roche-Posay conducted a survey in the UK which revealed that more than one-third of Brits do not use sunscreen while in the notoriously gray-skied country.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so the company is reminding individuals of the importance of using sunscreen that contains ultra violet-blocking SPF, even on cool or sunless days.

"In countries like Australia who have hot weather all year round, high-factor sun protection is a part of life and a daily event. The unpredictable nature of British weather at this time of year means that people may not appreciate the intensity of the sun and may still get sunburned," said dermatologist Jonathan Bowling.

Results of the survey also showed that about 13 percent of Britons never use sunscreen, even when on tropical vacations. About one-quarter of the surveyed respondents reported getting a sunburn within the last year, and 9 percent said that they got burned on a cool day.

Moreover, it seems as though many are just uninformed when it comes to skin care products. About 86 percent said they were unaware of what UVA or UVB rays are, and more than half said they would ask a pharmacist for sunscreen advice, as opposed to a dermatologist.  

May 20, 2011

Sun protection is necessary, even for African American skin

The sun might be considered to be the arch-enemy of healthy, beautiful skin.

Although the sun helps humans produce Vitamin D, its ultraviolet (UV) rays can wreak havoc on the skin. According to Penn Medicine, UV rays can penetrate the body's layers and damage or kill skin cells, which can cause lesions as well as premature aging of the skin.

Due to their high levels of skin pigment, called melatonin, many African Americans do not purchase sunscreen products for black skin. A 2010 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine reveals that only about 31 percent of African American adults use at least one form of sun protection, while 63 percent of respondents said that they never use UV blockers.

There are many ways in which individuals can maintain young, healthy-looking skin. MMegi Online reports that staying away from cigarettes is important because the smoke weakens the skin's natural defenses against outside threats, such as UV rays.

In addition, the news provider said that a healthy, natural diet of fruits and vegetables provides the nutrients that a body needs to fend off wrinkles.

Moisturizers are a must for wrinkle-free skin, according to the news source. African Americans who wish to maintain their youthful glow may want to pick up some moisture-boosting black skin products. 

May 19, 2011

FDA approves new method for spider vein removal

Laser treatments to eliminate spider veins have been known to cause irritation, pain and inflammation. Moreover, the process is not appropriate for all types of skin and may not be effective on larger veins.

However, experts at JUVA Skin and Laser Center in New York have recently developed a method called Asclera, a sclerotherapy treatment that involves an injection into the vein, which causes it to die and eventually disappear.

"We have found that the arrival of Asclera has been a welcomed solution to a very common and bothersome problem for patients," said Bruce Katz, dermatologist and director of JUVA.

Since women with ethnic skin have unique cosmetic needs, it's best to seek out a dermatologist or healthcare provider who specializes in African American skin to avoid scarring.

Individuals whose spider veins are still minor may want to try using compression stockings to apply even pressure to the veins, which may help minimize their appearance.

Additionally, skin care products for black skin - especially leg bronzers with a little bit of shimmer - may help to disguise any unsightly marks instantly.  

May 18, 2011

Strengthen bones for Osteoporosis Awareness Month

May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month, and while you may have heard that African Americans have stronger bones than their counterparts of other races, this does not mean that you are not at risk.

Quite the contrary, actually, since many African American women develop the disease due to insufficient calcium intake - possibly because many people with dark skin are lactose intolerant - and vitamin D deficiency, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Moreover, the government agency reports that osteoporosis is often a condition that is not adequately treated or recognized in African American women, even though they have a much higher rate of mortality due to hip fracture than Caucasians.

Since sickle cell anemia and lupus are more prevalent among black women, this also puts them at a higher risk of the bone-weakening disease. offered some dairy-free suggestions for African American women who want to ensure their bone strength. Foods like dark, leafy greens, fortified cereals, oranges, almonds and Brazil nuts all contain calcium, and many women should consider supplements.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, so also be sure to consume foods that contain the nutrient, like fish, liver and eggs.

Eating a balanced diet has the power to promote a healthy body inside and out - from strong bones to glowing African American skin.  

First Lady gives moving speech at Spelman College

Michelle Obama recently spoke at the Spelman College commencement, offering her advice to the recent graduates of one of the country's oldest academic establishments that has educated some of the most successful African American women in the world.

The First Lady told her audience that it is their duty to do the best that they can, and to encourage others to do the same.

“It is vitally important that you all rise to the highest ranks of every industry and every profession,” Obama said, quoted by The Atlanta Journal - Constitution. “As you climb those career ladders, just remember to reach down and pull others up behind you.”

Much like her husband, Obama never fails to charm. From her words of wisdom to her glowing ethnic skin, she's become an icon of American beauty.

The First Lady's makeup artist, Igrid Grimes-Myles, told ELLE magazine that much of what keeps Obama looking fresh is healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising and getting plenty of water.

They key to flawless African American skin involves more than great skin care products, as it starts from the inside with proper nutrition and optimal physical health.  

May 17, 2011

Foods that are good for your face

It's relatively well-known that eating right and drinking plenty of water is a great way to get glowing skin. However, did you know that some of the things that you may be used to tossing in a salad can be great topical remedies for the skin?

For instance, soy is packed with protein, healthy fats and antioxidants. reports that it can also help skin appear smoother and perhaps even reduce wrinkles. There's no need to blend leftover edamame into a face mask, however, since many skin care products today contain soy extract.

If applying foods directly to your face does sound appealing, then has some good news. The website reports that a blend of avocado, honey and plain yogurt makes for an ultra-moisturizing mask.

Individuals who are looking for a more exfoliating treatment may want to try Oprah's oatmeal face scrub. In a food processor or coffee bean grinder, chop 16 whole raw almonds together with about 4 tablespoons of oats until the mixture is consistent. Combine the nuts and oats with 4 tablespoons of honey and 4 teaspoons of plain yogurt or water, enough to form a paste. Apply this to your face and leave on for about 10 minutes, following up with a moisturizer.  

Zoe Saldana getting dramatic this year

While actress Zoe Saldana is well-known for her roles in science fiction films like Avatar and 2009's Star Trek, this year she'll release action flick Colombiana and begin filming on an adaptation of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas titled The Words.

Colombiana features the mocha-skinned beauty as an assassin and a vigilante who avenges her parents' untimely death. The trailer has been released online, and the film is set to hit theaters this September.

It's not yet known what role Saldana will play in The Words, but she will co-star along Susan Sarandon, Dennis Quaid and Bradley Cooper in the movie about plagiarism and destiny. Filming begins this fall.

New movies mean premieres and red carpet fashion, especially for Saldana who has been making quite the name for herself as a style maven. At the recent Met Gala, the Dominican starlet turned heads in a simple, strapless canary yellow gown that perfectly accented her ethnic skin tone. She polished off her look with a smoky eye, pink blush and a neutral shimmery lip gloss.  

May 13, 2011

Don't neglect the feet when pampering skin

It's nearly summertime, but before you go sporting your favorite sandals it may be a good idea to get your feet in shape for flaunting.

Women's Health magazine recommends an at-home pedicure as the perfect way to beautify feet as well as give yourself a relaxing treatment.

First off, to soften dead skin and callouses, give yourself a 10-minute foot soak in warm water that has been fortified with Epsom salts or essential oils.

Next, exfoliate feet with a sugar scrub and use a pumice stone to slough off any callouses or rough spots. You don't need to buy an expensive brand of sugar scrub, since it's easy to make in your kitchen. Website recommends mixing a quarter cup of raw or brown sugar with the same amount of honey, then adding some essential oils for fragrance. Stir it together in a bowl and rub generously on feet, elbows and knees.

To get enviable toenails, shape and buff them before adding two or three coats of glossy nail polish - think bright shades for summer.

After the polish has dried, slather feet with moisturizer to soften skin and top off your at-home pedicure. When going to the beach or heading out for the day in sandals, it's also a good idea to put sunscreen on the top of your feet.  

May 9, 2011

How to identify and treat melasma

If you've noticed dark patches of skin that appear symmetrically on your face, specifically the forehead, cheeks, chin, upper lip or the bridge of your nose, you may have a condition known as melasma.

While melasma is not a sign of and does not lead to any other serious illness, it can affect a person's quality of life due to embarrassment.

The condition may be the result of overexposure to the sun - especially for African Americans or people with ethnic skin tones - or a change in hormones that occurs during pregnancy.

While pregnancy-related melasma cannot be prevented, it often does disappear after giving birth. Those who are not pregnant and want to prevent melasma or keep dark spots from worsening should always wear sunscreen, and may even want to consider wearing wide-brimmed hats while outdoors.

Mild forms of melasma may be treated using fade creams for black skin, but be sure to choose a brand that is free of hydroquinone.

Those who experience more severe discoloration should consult a dermatologist to discuss options like chemical peels, laser treatments or topical steroid creams.  

Paula Patton shines in Jumping the Broom

Jumping the Broom stars Paula Patton, Laz Alonso and Angela Basset in a romantic comedy about what happens when two families are joined by marriage despite their differences. The film has already been shown to be a hit, coming in third in its debut weekend, earning $13.7 million at the box office, according to Hollywood Reporter.

This may be in part because of the rising star Patton's appeal as an up-and-coming powerhouse after earning acclaim in 2009's Precious as the title character's inspirational teacher, Ms. Rain.

The actress spoke with Women's Health about how she maintains her glowing complexion and healthy figure.

"I know if I enrich my mind and spirit, then I'll feel good. And when you feel good about yourself, it can't help but reflect on your outer beauty," Patton said, quoted by the source.

Her regimen includes yoga and loading up on green tea, water and fruit to keep her lovely African American skin healthy. Additionally, she said that moisturizing is key - even indulging in oxygen facials - as well as getting plenty of sleep each night.  

May 7, 2011

Jennifer Hudson seems to be having a great year

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson recently made a trip to Brazil to benefit AIDS prevention efforts and has been showing off her savvy for fashion with a new, slimmer figure.

Hudson and fellow actress Claire Danes headed to Sao Paulo in late April to support the American Foundation for AIDS Research for the organization's first South American event.

While there, Hudson will show off her vocal pipes as designer Francisco Costa is honored for his awareness efforts.

At a recent event, she showed off her slimmed-down figure in a rosy pink sheath that beautifully complimented her skin tone. She was also spotted at the Met Costume Institute Gala wearing a ruched, silvery grey Vera Wang gown. Additionally, her red-orange Versace gown at this year's Oscars was as memorable as her award-winning performance in Dreamgirls.

Hudson seems to have this show business thing down - from flawless skin to smart fashion choices - and is quickly becoming Hollywood's go-to African American actress.

The singer and actress will be performing this July at the 2011 Essence Music Festival, along with Mary J. Blige and Kanye West.  

Synthetic skin may make animal testing for cosmetics a thing of the past

Animal testing causes undue suffering for many types of creatures around the world. When it comes to testing for things like skin care products, it's difficult to justify such cruelty just so that people can improve their complexions.

Fortunately, researchers at Ohio State University have developed a type of synthetic skin that may be as good as animal skin for testing skin care products. Moreover, the material may also be useful in the future for individuals in need of skin grafts.

"In addition to ethical issues, animal skin is hard to obtain, expensive, and gives highly variable results because of individual skin variability," said Bharat Bhushan, lead study author.

In a clinical trial, the synthetic skin was shown to absorb and react the same way that rat skin did when the researchers tested a skin care product on it.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reports that an estimated 100 million animals in the U.S. are killed each year in laboratory testing.

Those who are concerned with issues of animal cruelty should be sure to seek skin care products that are not tested on our furry friends.  

May 6, 2011

Cosmetic surgeons look into skin care techniques to supplement practices

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) recently put together a panel of professionals charged with the task of looking into how the industry can provide patients with better outcomes using topical skin care products and techniques like chemical peels.

Titled 'Skin Care - Lotions and Potions for Wrinkles: What Really Works?,' the panel will perform research on current and developing techniques and then educate plastic surgeons on the best products and practices.

“Skin is a living organ and is constantly changing,” said panel moderator Renato Saltz, M.D. “For the best surgical results, it is important to think about the quality of the skin and what we can do to improve it, which may mean incorporating skincare techniques into our practice.”

Focusing on medicine that has been backed up by rigorous clinical trials, the panel hopes to separate mere trends from truly effective skin care products. Additionally, they hope to develop an algorithm to help treat sun damage for an array of complexions.

The ASAPS reported that an estimated 20 percent of cosmetic surgeons currently offer spa treatments or have partnerships with medical spas to supplement their offerings.  

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

It's warming up outside, and many of you may have already bought new bikinis, some trendy sandals and a pair of short shorts. But you should consider adding one more thing to your shopping list: sunscreen.

Skin cancer is the most common form of carcinoma, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. While dark skin tones have the benefit of built-in sun protection due to extra melanin, it's not enough to keep African Americans, Latinos and Asians safe from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The government agency says that skin can be damaged in as few as 15 minutes when under intense sun rays, but that you may not feel the burn for about 12 hours after you step inside. Also, skin can burn even in cloudy or cool weather, so be sure to apply SPF even if the weather isn't beach-worthy.

People who are at an increased risk of skin cancer include those with a personal or family history of the disease, individuals who spend a lot of time outdoors, people with sensitive skin as well as those who have light skin, hair or eye color.

In addition to staying indoors whenever possible, people should be sure to wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 and avoid tanning beds.  

May 3, 2011

Makeup tips for the office

Getting ready for work often involves striking the fine balance between looking professional while maintaining a fashionable, feminine look. Makeup can be tricky, especially for those who are making a transition - whether it be from college to a career, or from a more casual office to one that requires business attire.

The following guidelines will help you put your best face forward while earning the respect of your colleagues.

If you need foundation or concealer, apply the liquid or cream with a sponge, dabbing lightly for an even tone. If you tend to be on the oily side, either skip the first step and just use some loose powder that matches your skin tone, or dust a light layer over your foundation.

When applying eyeliner, remember to keep it subtle and do not extend lines past your eyelashes. Consider trying a dark brown shade instead of black for a more natural look.

Mascara should be clump-free and not too heavy. The goal is to accentuate the eyelashes, and not to appear as if you're wearing false ones.

Tinted or neutral lip gloss gives the face a fresh, young look with the simple swipe of a wand. Also, gloss wears more evenly than lipstick and can be easier to reapply.