NEW YORK — – Peeling the layers, sloughing off, careful cleansing... the code of beauty this summer is much like shucking corn.
"If it isn't simple and neat, it isn't happening," says beauty expert Marcia Kilgore, founder and executive director of Manhattan's Bliss Spa. "Women are taking more time — and spending more money — on the basics, like monthly facials, regular trims and weekly manicures."
Building a natural, solid foundation eliminates the need for superficial foundations (bye-bye, concealer), sweaty battles with the blow-dryer and clunky baggage to lug away on weekend jaunts.
In theory, all the juice you need to enjoy the summer in style is a great haircut, sunblock savvy and freshly-squeezed pores. Here are Kilgore's trends to adopt, tips to note and traps to avoid:
Get the Yellow Out
Deep cleansing starts with the pores, and when your face is not properly cleaned, the pores fill up with what Kilgore calls rancid oil. "This turns yellow, and then your skin is yellow, and you don't realize it because it's just a lot of yellow interspersed all over your face." Her remedy: Go for a facial. It's a great summer tune-up.
Cultivate Toe Pride
Painting toenails instantly ups the ante down below, but adorning your piggies with decals and designs adds extra pomp. "One of our most popular new services is a pedicure add-on we call 'Snappy Lacquers,' " Kilgore says. "Instead of painting those toenails any random red, you can have tiger toes, zebra toes, two-tone toes, flowered toes, even Tae Kwon Toe.
Highlight Your Look
Glitter is out, but shimmer, sheen and highlighting are all the rage. Using a shimmery or shiny foundation (or mixing shimmer with your regular color) not only gives the skin luster, it makes it look younger, softer, dewy and more healthy. "A spot highlighter brushed across the top of the cheeks, over the brow and rubbed into the temples gives a beautiful lift without looking too glitzy," Kilgore adds.
Be Perfectly Arch
Fabulous eyes start with the brow. Hence brow-grooming (soon-to-be the newest dating ritual) has become the norm. "Almost everyone sports a well-placed arch," says Kilgore. Hey, it worked for Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club.
Practice your John Hancock
Signature scents punctuate personal style. "Many of our clients know what they want and how it reflects their personality," says Kilgore. Sticking with a scent (without bathing in it) is what makes it your own. Despite the wide range of new fragrances available, a return to old classics — including Fracas, Quelques Fleurs, Shalimar and Chanel No. 5 — is very popular.
Saturate in Sunblock
"It's not stylish to think that in 10 years your face will be sagging like the fur of an afghan hound," says Kilgore. Women are taking their sun-block seriously. Quick reminders:
• Put the block on 30 minutes pre-sun or you'll bake nasty
• Reapply often (you're like a turkey that needs basting)
• Try a powder with SPF: You'll get more block while abating shine
What to Avoid
• Brazilian bikini wax gone awry.
"People come in with completely lopsided [bikini] wax jobs," Kilgore says. "You try and even it out, but sometimes you have to get rid of everything, so it can be a little over the top — or under the bottom — whichever way you want to put it."
So be careful. "Quite a few salons will put their least experienced person in the waxing room," Kilgore says. "It's kind of like punishment — you have to do your time in the waxing room before you graduate to facials. But waxing is quite difficult and you need someone who is a pro waxer ... There's nothing wrong with calling and asking, 'How long has this person been working for you?' when you make your appointment." And when you actually hit the table, don't be shy about directing the process downtown: This is not the time to lie back and think of England.
• The Black and Blues
Smashed or bruised hands and feet are a popular — although not stylish — trend. Many casualties of weight room workouts and Rollerblade wipeouts need emergency attention, especially on the nails. "People really want to show their hands and feet during the summer, so this is a tough dilemma," says Kilgore, "but you can put a false nail on top of a nail that's not doing well, or use the snappy lacquers."
• Burnt Ears, Red Head, Crispy Chest
Don't get fried. Peeling skin is not attractive. The most-missed spots on the body when it comes to sunblock application?
— Tops of the ears
— The upper chest
— Back of the hands