Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...and those of us holding the mascara wand.

After two decades of covering the beauty industry, I've come to learn what makes it so alluring. Finding the perfect shade of makeup to match your skin tone, adding a swipe of eyeliner to give your tired eyes a lift, discovering an innovative new product line, or indulging in a totally luxurious spa treatment. My experiences have been documented in magazines, newspapers and websites worldwide. I've tested newly formulated products in the lab, explored hair removal options, shopped for lipstick, added shine to my hair and succumbed to massage marathons--all in the name of beauty. I've written press releases, hosted makeover events and co-authored a Do-It-Yourself Beauty book (Alloy). On this blog, I write about products and services that I come across every day as well as those that have been provided by publicists or the companies that make them. Either way, I write what I think. I hope to share some of my insights--and bring you the latest, greatest beauty news right here. Join me in the quest to find all things pretty.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

expert advice: tips for choosing a sunscreen, from Rhea Grous, La Suite Skin Care

When it comes to the sun, protection is key. Rhea Grous, beauty guru and owner of La Suite Skin Care, offers this advice for choosing the right sunscreen and using it correctly.

1. USE A BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN WITH A MINIMUM SPF of 15. It covers all the spectrum of sun rays. Look for a product that has ingredients such as transparent zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which are best for sensitive skin. (This is a physical sunscreen that reflects the sun). Some key chemical ingredients found in broad spectrum sunscreens are oxybenzone, avobenzone, and mexoryl (ecamsule). People with sensitive skin should avoid too many chemicals as they may cause irritation.

2. APPLY SUNSCREEN 30 MINUTES BEFORE AND REAPPLY EVERY TWO HOURS TO GET THE PROPER COVERAGE. In order to maintain the proper strength and coverage, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. Also, heat will deteriorate the efficacy of sunscreen, therefore reapplying is a MUST. To avoid compromising the potency of protection, don’t leave your sunscreen in hot places!

3. LOOK FOR ANTI-OXIDANTS (Vitamin C and E) - they increase protection! Many sunscreens today contain anti-oxidants to strengthen their effectiveness and to offer added protection against free radicals preserving the anti-aging process. When it comes to the face and neck areas, I recommend applying vitamin C serum separately (Skinceuticals is our favorite at La Suite), then apply sunscreen. It strengthens the immune system of the skin while making it twinkle. This layering process maximizes protection against aging, burning, and skin cancer.

4. LOOK OUT FOR ADDED INGREDIENTS THAT MAY IRRITATE SKIN - Some sunscreens may include too many chemicals (to achieve broad spectrum), fragrances, preservatives and other ingredients that may cause skin reactions, particularly for sensitive skin types.

5. WATCH FOR LABELS – Read carefully and be aware, all labels are NOT always factual! Look for water resistant products; if it says waterproof, it's not accurate as it can it can be washed off. Look for sunscreen, not sunblock – no product blocks uv sun rays, it screens harmful rays. (There is no bullet proof vest!) Watch out for all day protection. No sunscreen lasts all day – see #2 and reapply every 2 hours! (*Note - Physical sunscreen works by reflecting the sun and has less chemicals that may irritate sensitive skin; chemical sunscreen works by absorbing the sun and transferring it into heat.)

No matter which sunscreen you choose, follow these tips to sun safely for a healthy, happy summer. For more info on Rhea Grous or La Suite, go to

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