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Founder Alli Webb chats about the new locations. By Michelle Thomas
The inside of a Drybar salon. Photo courtesy of Drybar.

Blowout addicts—you know who you are—will be pleased at this news: Drybar, the California-based chain known for its blowout-only salon model, will be opening two more DC locations late this summer. The new salons, on Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle and in Penn Quarter, will join Drybar’s existing stores in Georgetown and Bethesda, which opened nearly three years ago and have since perfected the locks of countless stylish locals (including first daughter Malia Obama, who was spotted at the Bethesda Row salon in 2014).

Founder Alli Webb attributes the salon’s local success to a culture that demands a polished appearance. "There are so many women who are going to events and galas here," she told us during a recent stop at the Georgetown salon. "And it’s a professional workforce. You have to look the part—and that includes your hair."

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Posted at 11:37 AM/ET, 06/03/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Snow problem? ’S no problem. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Shutterstock/.

Are you a woman? With hair? That gets wet in the snow and flat under a hat? Jasmine Connally, chief style boss at BLO Blow Dry Bar in Dupont can help.

Connally has been styling District women on the go at BLO since the salon opened last March. An expert at creating volume and giving locks a shiny, sleek texture, she knows a thing or two about rescuing a look, even in the midst of winter’s worst. Shop Around reached out to find out what she recommends for protecting your ‘do in the midst of a downpour.

1. Get a good umbrella. Though some would say that only wimps use umbrellas in any precipitation other than rain, Connally is “100 percent pro using an umbrella in the snow.” Once the snow melts into water, your damp ‘do doesn’t have much of a chance of retaining it’s style.

2. Go for looser hats to retain volume. “If wearing a hat or hood is a must, avoid anything tight-fighting or wool—wool shrinks in the rain,” says Connally. “Try applying extra volumizing spray before throwing on your hat or hood to help avoid flatness.”

3. Pin it up. Once you’ve been through a blizzard, there’s quick and easy way back to your perfect blowout. Connally advises throwing it up in a loose bun for the day and then pin curling your hair to help revive its body for the next day. “To pin curl: Separate your hair into one-inch sections. Next, wrap each section around the barrel of a curling iron,” says Connally. “When removing hair from iron, wrap neatly around your index finger. Pin down each curl with 2 bobby pins, crossing one over the other in an ‘X’ position.”

4. Battle “blizzard head” with dry shampoo. “UNITE’s 7seconds Refresher is my go-to blizzard beauty option,” says Connally. “This dry shampoo, which is available at BLO Blow Dry Bar, not only leaves hair feeling clean and smelling great, but also adds a bit of texture and volume all around.”

5. Repair, repeat. Connally suggests helping your hair recover from winter’s dry, blustery days with UNITE 7seconds Condition. “It’s a leave-in detangler that repairs, protects and strengthens hair through harsh winter weather,” she says. “The U LUXURY Oil also gives hair that lasting moisture and shine you thought wasn’t possible in the winter. Your hair will feel alive again with these two products.”

Posted at 03:03 PM/ET, 03/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Marla Malcolm Beck’s products will soon be made available to 95 million households. By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy of Bluemercury.

Starting Wednesday, Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck’s skin-care line will be made available to 95 million households via HSN. Beck created M-61 in 2010 in response to feedback from consumers looking for skin-care products made without any parabens, artificial fragrances, or sulfates.

HSN’s 24/7 curated retail channel will give M-61 a much bigger platform for the product. “With HSN, we will be able to reach an entirely new audience of women who are savvy about their beauty products, and know a great value when they see it,” said Beck in a press release.

In celebration of the launch, M-61 is also releasing brand new sets featuring the Hydraboost Eye, a cream that aims to reduce eye puffiness and fine lines; the Perfect Cleanse, a cleanser with mandarin orange and grapefruit; and the Hydraboost Cream and Serum moisturizers.

Posted at 04:04 PM/ET, 02/24/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The manicure technology of the future hits Friendship Heights. By Rina Rapuano
Photograph by Chad Stebbins.

Imagine walking into a nail salon ready to roll up your pants and have a good foot soak before a pedicure—only to look around and realize something is missing: the tubs. Yet tubs are exactly what you won’t find when you walk into Varnish Lane, a new nail salon that opens today in Friendship Heights that hopes “waterless” manicures and pedicures are the wave of the future.

Varnish Lane’s mani-pedis are done without submerging any body part in a water-filled tub or bowl. Instead, a technician softens calluses and cuticles with a series of creams and sprays and by wrapping hands and feet in hot towels. Fans of the technique tout it as a healthier experience.

Lauren Dunne and her mom, Carolyn, along with a third Varnish Lane partner, Charles Stebbins, claim there’s less risk of infection when nails are done without water soaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency have both warned consumers in the past about infectious organisms that can lurk in improperly cleaned foot spas.

Still, the salon offers other perks: iPad Minis loaded with magazines at each of the ten chairs; some 500 polishes to choose from, including high-end brands such as Dior and Chanel in addition to Essie and OPI; and free Prosecco, coffee, and tea. First-time customers fill out a questionnaire that’s kept on file, so the nail techs can check before you sit down about whether you prefer your nails to be square or oval and if you favor unscented or lavender versions of the all-natural, locally made products they use. There’s also an app that allows users to make appointments.

Manicures range from $20 to $40, pedicures $40 to $55. The most expensive include a sugar scrub and paraffin treatment.

Varnish Lane. 5236 44th St., NW; 202-506-5308.

This article appears in the February 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 01:02 PM/ET, 02/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The latest cosmetic treatments and exercise tips that can transform your trouble spots. By Karina Giglio
Photograph of woman in bathing suit by Blend Images/Alamy.

Want bigger breasts but don’t want implants? How about a tighter tummy without liposuction?

New cosmetic treatments—many of them non-surgical—mean more options than ever for men and women who aren’t completely happy with their bodies.

Here are the latest, most effective, easiest, laziest—and sometimes craziest—procedures to transform trouble spots.

A Flatter Stomach

The midsection is prone to three frustrating but common conditions: excess fat, loose skin, and stretch marks. Some ways to address them, from most to least invasive:

Most Dramatic: Tucking It In

Only one procedure—a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty—can fix all three problems common to the belly. “It’s the only proven way to address fat, saggy skin and gaps between the abdominal muscles, which contribute to that bulging look,” says Rondi Walker, a plastic surgeon in DC. “But if you’re close to your ideal weight, have good skin tone, and just have some excess abdominal fat, you can get good results with liposuction, which only addresses the fat.”

Abdominoplasty costs $4,000 to $15,000, depending on the extent of the procedure, while lipo runs $5,000 to $10,500. With lipo, expect up to four weeks of recovery time versus up to eight for a tummy tuck (which also comes with a long horizontal scar along the bikini line).

The Non-Surgical Approach

For those who have less fat to remove—or are willing to trade dramatic results for an easier, less expensive option to lipo—a new procedure called Vanquish goes one step beyond non-invasive: It never touches your body. An applicator that hovers over the skin delivers radio-frequency (RF) energy that heats fat cells to 120 degrees, killing them.

The procedure is painless and can treat a larger area than most other RF devices. If you want to target the entire abdomen instead of just love handles, this procedure can do it.

“A patient can expect up to 60 percent of fat cells destroyed after four treatments,” says Nia Banks, a plastic surgeon in Lanham. “However, people who practice light to moderate exercise and maintain a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, have the best outcome.”

Four to six treatments are recommended, one to two weeks apart, to destroy fat cells permanently. Cost: $500 to $750 a session.

The Quick Fix

Loose abdominal skin—whether from aging, pregnancy, or weight loss—can prevent even the most toned abs from looking firm.

“Skin becomes less stretchy due to the gradual loss of collagen and elastin—like a tablecloth that is too big for the table,” says Chevy Chase dermatologist Tina West. “In the past, the only option was a tummy tuck, but you’d trade loose skin for a scar from hip to hip.”

In appropriate cases, West now recommends Ultherapy, an ultrasound procedure that stimulates collagen and elastin growth for two to three months following treatment, resulting in firmer skin. It’s the only non-invasive procedure approved by the Food and Drug Administration to lift skin that’s above the eyebrows, on the neck, under the chin, and on the décolletage, although it’s commonly used on other areas as well.

There’s no downtime, and treatment typically takes 30 to 90 minutes—just one session is needed for most patients. Those with too much excess skin might not be good candidates. Cost: $1,200 and up.

Fading Stretch Marks

A stretch mark is a scar in the skin, so it can be hard to treat. Dr. Banks says that fractional-laser treatments such as Fraxel and Fractional CO2 can stimulate collagen and elastic-fiber growth to fill them in and minimize their appearance. If the marks are pink or purplish, a laser can also diminish the color, making them less noticeable. Multiple treatments are usually required. Cost: $1,500 and up.

Prefer a less invasive approach? Some doctors recommend prescription tretinoin, or Retin-A, to fade stretch marks. It’s most effective when applied to fresh marks that are still pink or red.

Perkier Breasts

Washingtonians like big titles and big houses—but not big breasts, apparently. Women here who have work done tend to skew conservative (read: smaller) when it comes to implant size. “Women want to address sagging, the silhouette, the overall look—they’re looking for rejuvenation more than just augmentation,” says Navin Singh, a plastic surgeon with offices in McLean and Chevy Chase. “It’s about shaping as opposed to stuffing.” Here are the latest options:

The New Shape of Breast Implants

The big news in implants is that fake is going natural. “A more naturally sloped look is popular right now, especially with the new, shaped implants,” says Banks.

The idea is to appear bigger and perkier without announcing that you’ve had work done. Instead of the rounder, fuller look (and added cleavage) of traditional implants, “teardrop” versions are tapered to mimic the silhouette of an actual breast. Mentor MemoryShape silicone implant has been dubbed the “gummy bear” because it’s filled with thicker gel and maintains its shape longer than traditional implants. Allergan’s Natrelle 410 implants are designed to be softer so they feel more, well, real. The surgery is very similar to what’s done for rounder counterparts, but the price is a bit higher: $6,000 and up.

Bigger Breasts Without Implants

If you want to go up only about one cup size and prefer not to have implants, fat grafting is an option. Assuming you have enough extra fat in another part of the body, a surgeon can remove it from, say, the stomach, by liposuction, and use it to plump up your breasts.

Unlike implants, fat is a natural filler, so you’re not introducing a foreign substance into the body. There’s minimal scarring, as opposed to the larger scars of traditional augmentation surgery. It also eliminates the need to replace an implant later.

“Typically, 30 to 40 percent of the fat will be safely absorbed and flushed by the body, but the rest will survive permanently,” says Dr. Singh. “If a woman likes how her breasts looked when she was pregnant or breastfeeding, this gives the same effect of filling out the bra in a more natural-looking way—and of course, the feel is soft since every woman’s breasts are typically 70 to 80 percent fat.” Cost: $6,000 to $7,000.

One-Night Boobs

If buying a sexy new dress and a cleavage-hoisting bra isn’t enough to get you through your high-school reunion or an ex’s wedding, you can essentially rent implants for the night. InstaBreast is a procedure that involves injecting the breasts with a saline solution that plumps them up the same way an implant would. Originally developed so women could figure out what size they wanted before making a surgical commitment, it’s now being chosen by some women who want a Cinderella moment—and are willing to pay $2,500.

Alas, much like Cinderella, you’ll have to watch the clock as your boobs turn into the opposite of pumpkins. “Saline absorbs very quickly, so you’re not looking at 24 hours—within an hour, your breasts will start to deflate,” says Singh, who considers the procedure a gimmick. “They’re a great choice for a supermodel who needs to get through a photo shoot, but that’s about it.”

Side effects may include bruising at the injection site and lots of trips to the ladies’ room as the saline leaves the body through urine. Stretch marks may also appear if the skin is significantly stretched.

Possible good news: The inventor of InstaBreast is said to be developing an injectable solution that will last two to three weeks.

The Exercise Option for "Lifting" Breasts

You can also perk up your breasts by doing specific weightlifting exercises that help improve posture.

Cheryl Davis, a certified personal trainer in Alexandria, recommends push-ups, pull-ups, seated cable rows, and exercises that target the lower back to give a lifted appearance. She doesn’t suggest doing chest presses on a flat bench. “If you’re doing flat-bench or decline chest presses”—in which the bench is tilted so your head is below your waist—“it’s likely to flatten the part of the breast where you’d want fullness,” says Davis.

For working the chest, she says, stick to incline bench presses. Position the top part of a weight bench at a 30-degree incline. Lie back and put your elbows at a 90-degree angle, in line with your shoulders. Press up-ward with the dumbbells—use a weight that’s challenging—and push them slightly over your head instead of straight up over your chest. Bring your hands back down, and complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps with 90 seconds of rest between each set.

Shapely Behinds

Blame Kim Kardashian. Enlarging the backside is now an increasingly requested cosmetic surgery—though there are other ways to get a lift.

Most Dramatic: No Butts About It

One way to fill out a flat or saggy posterior is a Brazilian Butt Lift. Performed on its own or with buttock implants, it provides double benefits: A surgeon removes unwanted fat from elsewhere in the body (commonly the hips, thighs, or belly) and uses that fat to smooth, shape, and elevate the derriere.

“Unless you’re very thin, you can get a lot more volume with fat transfer as opposed to implants, and the results are excellent when performed on someone with flat buttocks,” says Banks.

The procedure is lengthy—two to three hours—because the relocated fat needs to be put in drop by drop so it can survive. Expect bruising and swelling plus four to six weeks of wearing a compression garment. Cost: $8,000 to $10,000.

The Exercise Option for a Shaplier Bottom

A round, lifted rear requires targeting all three of the main glute muscles, preferably at the same time. “Squats and lunges of all kinds—using a barbell or dumbbells, wide or narrow stance, deep, partial, and plyometric—are all great for shaping the butt,” says trainer Cheryl Davis.

Her favorite lunge is a walking dumbbell lunge with a single-leg deadlift. Start by standing in a neutral position holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lunge forward with the right foot, placing most of the weight in that heel, then bend both knees until they form 90-degree angles. At the bottom of the lunge, squeeze through the glutes to return to standing, then shift the weight into the right foot, keeping the knee straight. Lift the left leg off the ground while lowering the dumbbells and torso toward the ground until the upper body is parallel to the floor. Return to standing and repeat on the other leg. Davis suggests three sets of ten reps on each leg, using a weight heavy enough to make the last two reps on each leg a challenge.

Toned Legs

Although there are still few cosmetic treatments available to sculpt legs, these are some options for thighs, knees, and calves:

Worth the Shot?

A gold standard of fat removal continues to be laser-assisted liposuction, but there’s a new—albeit controversial—injectable that’s reported to dissolve fatty bulges in the legs, stomach, hips, and back. Aqualyx contains desoxycholan acid, a bile acid similar to what the liver naturally produces to aid the digestion of fat. The substance locks onto fat-cell walls and forces the cell to release stored fatty acid, which is then metabolized by the body.

If you’re generally fit but have spots of stubborn fat, such as outer-thigh bulges, Aqualyx can be injected into these areas, often combined with a local anesthetic such as lidocaine for a more comfortable experience. The treatment is relatively painless—patients feel a warm sensation, some itching, and slight burning. Expect some swelling and redness for one to three days.

“Most people need three to five sessions, at four-week intervals, to see a change,” says Banks. “But it depends on the size of the fat deposit, and every individual will have their own response to the solution.”

Not everyone is a fan. “Because it is injected subcutaneously, Aqualyx isn’t well controlled as to how far it diffuses, and I see the potential for areas of skin depressions,” says plastic surgeon Rondi Walker.

The procedure is said to be popular in England (where it costs the equivalent of $400 to $600), but it’s just hitting the United States and is not FDA-approved.

Quick and Easy

Age, sun exposure, and years of wear and tear can cause the skin on your legs to sag.

“Ironically, the more toned and fit you are, the more the skin on the upper thighs hangs, because there’s less fat to fill it out and support it,” West says.

Ultherapy, the ultrasound procedure, was recently shown to provide significant tightening of the skin on thighs, with improvements that continue for up to six months. A recent study also showed dramatic tightening in the knee area. Cost: $2,000 to $3,500.

Fake It

The easiest way to make legs look younger? Use both a moisturizer and a bronzer—darker, hydrated legs appear firmer.

One product to try is Murad Body Firming Cream ($45), with vitamin C, soy, and shea butter. We can’t say we saw a 40-percent increase in firmness within 15 minutes of applying it (as the brand claims its studies show), but there was definitely an improvement. Maximize the effect by applying an imperfection-covering bronzer such as Lorac TANtalizer Body Bronzing Spray ($32), which offers streak-free color.

Sculpted Arms

As more celebrities sport buff arms, the number of upper-arm lifts, or brachioplasties, has risen by more than 4,000 percent since the year 2000, from around 300 to more than 15,000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But surgery isn’t the only way to get toned arms.

The Big Fix: Clipping “Bat wings”

Upper arms are yet another area where we’d all be better off with thicker skin. Combine thin skin with age-related muscle loss—plus the fact we don’t use our triceps often during day-to-day activities—and you can develop dreaded “bat wings.”

When a large weight loss has left a lot of excess skin, you can’t get rid of that no matter how often you hit the gym. “A brachioplasty is the only way to reshape the underside of sagging upper arms due to excess skin and fat,” says Banks. The downside: The scar is noticeable—running from elbow to armpit. Cost: $5,000 to $7,700.

When arm jiggle is due more to fat than to loose skin, some physicians recommend ultrasonic or laser-assisted liposuction, which liquefies and removes excess fat—and may tighten skin by heating the tissue. Cost: $4,000 to $8,000 for both arms.

Quicker, Easier Options for Arms

For those with a mild to moderate amount of bothersome arm fat, CoolSculpting, an FDA-cleared process, freezes fat cells to eliminate them without causing damage to surrounding cells or tissue. While it reduces fatty tissue by about 20 percent, it won’t improve skin laxity. Results are visible within three weeks but most drastic after two months. Cost: $3,000 for both arms.

If the issue isn’t fat but a bit of jiggly skin, some doctors recommend Ultherapy ultrasound treatments (mentioned previously for firming loose belly skin). Radio-frequency options such as PelleFirm and Protégé Elite can also be used on arms to tighten skin; they use heat to stimulate collagen production. Ultherapy requires one treatment (at about $2,000) for both arms; the RF procedures require three to four treatments, two weeks apart ($400 to $500 each).

Fake It

For a mild, temporary skin-tightening effect available over the counter, it’s hard to beat Bliss Fatgirlslim Armcandy ($38). The product, applied with a massage applicator, includes lactic acid (which exfoliates smooth skin) and caffeine (which the company claims helps firm and tone).

The Exercise Option for Toning Arms

To sculpt arms, says personal trainer Cheryl Davis, you have to work the muscles both in front (biceps) and back (triceps). She suggests performing two exercises back to back, with no rest in between: incline bicep curls and overhead arm extensions.

Start with an incline bicep curl: Stand with your back against a wall, holding dumbbells down at your sides. Next, walk your feet forward so that only your back is against the wall and the rest of your body is at a 45-degree angle. Curl both dumbbells up, keeping your elbows and upper arms against your sides. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then return the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat 15 times.

For the overhead arm extension, stand up straight and hold one dumbbell in both hands directly over your head. Slowly lower the dumbbell toward the back of your head, as if you’re trying to touch your shoulder blades. Return the dumbbell to the starting position, squeezing through your triceps once the dumbbell is directly overhead. Repeat 15 times. After a brief rest, perform two more sets of both exercises.

This article appears in the February 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 08:00 AM/ET, 02/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Massages, cosmetic treatments, and exercise tips that will give you smoother skin. By Karina Giglio
Photograph by Josep M. Suria/iStock Photo.

Talk about a war against women: Cellulite—referred to in some circles as the “C word”—affects women but few men. Some 85 percent of women—of all shapes and sizes—say they struggle with it.

“It doesn’t matter how thin or heavy you are; all females have a certain amount of cellulite,” says Dr. Rondi Walker, who practices at Walker Plastic Surgery in DC and is a clinical assistant professor of surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine. “Female fetuses examined at four months in utero already demonstrate the development of cellulite.”

Cellulite is caused largely by three factors, says Dr. Nia Banks of the Beaux Arts Institute of Plastic Surgery in Lanham. First are the connective-tissue bands, or fibers, under the skin that are supposed to hold fat down where it belongs. In women, these fibers are arranged like pillars. As we age, the bands stiffen. This is where the second problem—fat—comes into play. When fat pockets are squeezed between these rigid bands, they’re pushed up into the skin, like quilting in a mattress. Which leads us to issue number three, the skin itself: We lose collagen, a protein that gives skin its structure, every day. As skin gets thinner, the fat pushing up through those bands becomes more noticeable.

The reason that men—even those who are overweight—tend to be cellulite-free (only about 10 percent of patients are male), is because their bands are crisscrossed, creating a mesh-like effect on the fat, like built-in Spanx. Estrogen and other female hormones have also been shown to play a role in cellulite development.

While nothing can get rid of cellulite permanently, there are more ways than ever to address the lumps and bumps that most commonly show up on thighs, hips, and buttocks. From lasers to creams, here are the most popular techniques for coaxing cellulite into submission.

Massage it Away

Besides the fat/skin/fibers conundrum, some experts believe that cellulite is due to poor circulation. As the blood vessels that bring nutrients to the skin begin to deteriorate—a process that can start as early as puberty—they leak lymphatic fluid into fat cells, causing the cells to puff up, cluster together, and push toward the surface of the skin.

Massaging dimpled areas is believed to help break apart the bumps, especially if you use the right ingredients. Some scrubs, such as Red Flower’s Lemon Coffee Blossom Olive Stone Scrub ($66), contain ground coffee—caffeine has been shown to tighten skin instantly (though mildly and temporarily). A scrub also exfoliates, a step that’s key: Dead skin cells can prevent any smoothing creams you’re applying from fully penetrating the skin.

Another form of exfoliating massage that’s been a treatment of choice in Europe is dry brushing with cactus bristles, a very fine natural fiber.

Tina West, a dermatologist at the West Institute in Chevy Chase, says any effect of body brushing is fleeting because it doesn’t address problems under the skin: “It may lead to temporary swelling, masking surface irregularities associated with cellulite.”

Still, if temporary is all you want, you could invest in a brush and do it yourself. Or consider Bliss Spa’s 75-minute FatGirlSlim treatment ($155; W Hotel, 515 15th St., NW; 202-661-2416).

Endermologie, another option offered at many spas, kneads the skin with a rolling suction device in an effort to break up cellulite, boost circulation, and stimulate collagen production.

“Supporters of Endermologie believe that increasing circulation reduces subcutaneous fat and increases blood flow and lympathic draining, so excess fluid and fat cells are eliminated,” says Dr. Banks. “But the other train of thought is that Endermologie simply causes swelling so that cellulite is less noticeable. Most patients are pleased with the results, but they require ongoing maintenance—shortly after you stop, everything goes back to how it looked before.”

Most women need multiple sessions, which cost $50 to $150 each, to maintain results.

Creams That Work

A review of multiple studies published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that cellulite creams can reduce thigh circumference, though by an average of only about 0.2 inches. While we’re not talking Heidi Klum legs in a bottle, it’s a slight improvement.

“Any effect of topical creams on the appearance of cellulite is temporary,” says Dr. West. “There’s no evidence that any of these products penetrate deeply enough into skin to confer a significant effect.”

That said, besides caffeine, topical ingredients believed to smooth and tighten temporarily include coffee berry and aminophylline. One of the most effective—and underused—anti-cellulite ingredients is retinol (what skin ailment can’t it cure?), which West says thickens the epidermis and improves skin texture.

Studies have shown that caffeine and retinol work better together. For a one-two punch, first apply a prescription Retin-A or retinol product such as Murad Firm and Tone Serum ($78), followed by a caffeine-loaded one. You might try Osmotics Cellulite Control Body Glow CC Cream ($75), which delivers caffeine and antioxidants in a slightly tinted formula that helps blur imperfections.

Bigger Guns

If massage and creams won’t budge the bumps to your satisfaction, physicians offer high-tech, in-office procedures using radio frequency or lasers, often in conjunction with suction and massage.

Devices such as VelaShape, SmoothShapes, and Viora Reaction are fairly painless and employ heat energy to shrink fat cells temporarily. The procedure feels like a deep massage. The devices knead the skin and fat while a vacuum device adds suction.

“In the majority of cases, these procedures tighten skin and improve the appearance of cellulite but don’t make it go away completely,” says Dr. Jennifer Parker Porter of Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgery.

Most people achieve the best results after four to eight 30-minute sessions, which cost $300 to $500 each. Newly firmed thighs and backsides last six months to two years or longer and may require touchups.

If you’re determined to win not just the battle but the war against those divots and dimples in one swift attack—at whatever price (in this case, $5,000 to $7,500)—a new FDA-approved treatment called Cellulaze may be for you. Like other lasers, it stimulates blood flow as well as new collagen formation. Unlike other lasers, it penetrates past skin’s upper layer to get at fat and connective tissues.

During the 60-to-90-minute session, a tiny fiber-optic laser is inserted below the skin to melt fat bulges. Next, the laser fires its energy at fibrous bands, releasing them. A local anesthetic minimizes discomfort, but expect swelling and bruising for about ten days and no vigorous exercise for a week. Results slowly materialize over three months to a year and last up to two years.

Permanent Cure on the Horizon?

Arriving in doctors’ offices this year is Cellfina, a new FDA-approved treatment that shows a long-term reduction in cellulite, according to studies.

“It employs a small needle to apply light, quick, and repeated pressure on the cellulite, penetrating through the skin and into the bands responsible for dimpling, causing them to fray and release,” says Dr. Tina Alster, whose Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, in DC, is the first in the area to offer it.

The procedure takes about an hour, and areas to be treated are numbed with lidocaine injections. Although there’s minimal bleeding, expect bruising for a few days. Within a month, there should be a noticeable reduction of cellulite, with results lasting as long as weight gain is avoided. Cost: $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the number of areas treated.

Exercise It Away

Losing weight doesn’t diminish cellulite—in fact, it can make the divots look worse because the skin can become saggier.

The key is to burn off fat and replace it with muscle to fill out the skin. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that fat oxidation increased by 36 percent after high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Participants saw results in two weeks.

The important thing is to push yourself to the limit for short bursts of time. “A true HIIT workout intersperses periods of all-out effort with periods of rest,” says Cheryl Davis, a personal trainer in Alexandria.

Here’s Davis’s favorite cellulite-busting workout:

• On a treadmill, warm up for five minutes by walking or running.

• Then run for one minute at a moderate high speed (a 6 or 7 on a scale of exertion from 1 to 10).

• Next, set the treadmill at a high incline (7.0 to 15.0) and walk for one minute at moderate speed without holding onto the handrails.

• Lower the incline and recover at a slow walk for one minute.

• Repeat the entire cycle for 30 minutes.

• Cool down for five minutes.

A Bit of Camouflage

When all else fails, do as Hollywood does: Add a bit of color to the skin to make it look better. Jennifer Lopez’s makeup artist mixes a darker shade of Lopez’s regular foundation—L’Oréal Paris True MatchSuper Blendable Makeup—with La Mer lotion and applies the mixture all over J. Lo’s legs.

Other favorites include Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF 20 ($34) and St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion ($18), which both work like a tinted moisturizer, adding color while smoothing out skin tone. They stay put all day but wash off in the shower.

Want something longer-lasting? Consider a self-tanner such as Nivea Sun-Kissed Radiance moisturizer ($8, drugstores).

This article appears in the February 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 02/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
For $300, you can have mink hairs glued to your eyelashes. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Shutterstock/Serg Zastavkin.

Let’s be clear here: These are not your run-of-the-mill faux eyelashes that you can pick up from Sephora for five bucks. No, these are eyelash extensions, and they involve an individual long, full lash being painstakingly attached, one at a time, to your natural cilium, until each eyelash has a taller, better-looking buddy glued to it.

K.P. Murray, who trained to become a licensed esthetician at DC’s Aveda Institute, noticed in 2010 that there was a growing market for eyelash extensions, but no local salons that specialize in the service. So in 2012, she opened her own: Elle Lash Bar, the only salon in the area that’s devoted to eyelash services, including extensions, perming, and tinting.

According to Murray, the trend actually dates back to 1916, when film director D.W. Griffith said he wanted an actress with lashes that “brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life." Wig makers started using human hair woven through gauze to create imitation lashes, and in the ’60s, Twiggy’s dramatic long-lashed look inspired women across the country to imitate her. Today, thanks to Jennifer Lopez’s use of red fox fur at the 2001 Academy Awards, mink hair is the fiber of choice for glossy, lighter-than-air lashes.

If you’re ready to jump on the extensions bandwagon, do note: The lash application takes about an hour and a half, and it isn’t cheap; a basic set will run you $225 to $300, and getting the mink kind adds an additional $45 to your bill. Plus, your natural lashes shed every two months, so you’ll need a 45-minute "relash" appointment every two to three weeks to maintain the look.

So why do women do it?

For one thing, no more mascara. “We get a lot of complaints about mascara. Many women feel it’s messy and a pain to deal with and remove,” says Murray. “Extensions are so popular because it provides women with a long-term alternative. It will make your lashes look like you're always wearing mascara.”

For another thing, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. “It's actually about low-maintenance beauty for women on a day-to-day basis. It seems high-maintenance, but it's really done for low-maintenance reasons,” says Murray. “Many women maintain them as an everyday addition to their beauty routine because it’s easier than mascara and makes you look absolutely beautiful.”

Elle Lash Bar. 621 Pennsylvania Ave., Ste. 2; 202-488-1444.

Posted at 10:43 AM/ET, 01/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Primping deals to help you face the wintry mix. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by One80.

$10 Off at Blo

If the snow has wrecked your ’do for the day, Blo Blow Dry Bar in Dupont has you covered with $10 off its signature $40 blowouts from 9 to 5 Tuesday. The spot is also offering coffee to accompany today’s services, making sure guests are warmed inside and out.

Blo Blow Dry Bar. 2126 P St., NW; 202-293-2256.

Hair & Nails at One80

One80 Salon has also announced a new Mani Bar. Geared toward Washington’s multitasking women, this 45-minute service doubles up beauty treatments with a manicure during your blowout. The simultaneous nail- and hair-care services are $65 total, and an additional $15 will get you long-lasting Shellac polish instead of traditional paint.

One80 Salon. 1275 K St., NW; 202-842-9113.

Posted at 11:48 AM/ET, 01/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A younger-looking face may only be a cream, patch, or laser away. By Kate Bennett
Photograph of Neotensil by Richard Pierce; Belotero by Joe Gibbs; Collagen P.I.N. by Justin Inscoe.

You want tighter skin? There’s now a patch for that. How about a little collagen boost? A laser might do it. Banish under-eye baggage? That could be as simple as applying a double dose of cream.

These days, when it comes to anti-aging, there are more quick and (relatively) painless options than ever.

1. Neotensil

The idea that a blend of topical creams could erase wrinkles and bags under the eyes in an at-home treatment sounds almost too good to be true. But with the arrival of Neotensil, a product unveiled earlier this year by Living Proof, some became believers.

The easy-to-apply Neotensil pack comes with two tubes of gel-like creams, which you apply one on top of the other. When combined, they form an invisible, firming layer, which fans have dubbed “Spanx for your eyes.” For the next 16 hours, while Neotensil is on, you’ll look well rested and free of tiny wrinkles.

A bonus is the moisturizing effect Neotensil has on this sensitive part of the skin. I slept in my Neotensil, woke up, peeled it off, and had the softest skin I’d felt in months.

Cost: About $475 for a seven-week supply, at Amazon.

2. Clear & Brilliant

While lasers such as Fraxel are often used for major skin resurfacing, Clear & Brilliant is now considered a good choice for those not quite ready to bust out the big guns.

It relies on the same concept as more intense lasers—using heat to stimulate collagen growth as well as to slough off dead cells, resurface skin, and treat sun damage—but is said to be far gentler. Some patients feel just slight discomfort after the 30-minute treatment, similar to a minor sunburn, and there’s a lot less peeling than what happens with more powerful laser treatments.

Also good news: Though dermatologists generally recommend a series of at least four Clear & Brilliant procedures—one every four weeks—the results of the first are immediate. Patients rave about an instant glow.

Cost: Approximately $300 and up for one session in a dermatologist’s office.

3. Belotero Balance

One of the newer dermal fillers on the market, Belotero Balance promises a significant reduction in nasolabial folds, the lines that can extend from the outer edge of the nose to the mouth, as well as other deep to very deep wrinkles around the mouth.

Unlike popular filler injections such as Juvéderm and Restylane, Belotero Balance is also able to penetrate shallower surface areas and very fine lines—so wrinkles that present a “feathering” pattern can be tackled with more precision.

Doctors also say that the gel consistency of this hyaluronic acid means it’s less apt to form lumps under the skin, which can be one of the unpleasant side effects of fillers. Results last about six months.

Cost: About $600 and up per syringe; one syringe is usually enough to achieve the desired effect. Available at most dermatologists’ offices that offer filler treatments.

4. Micro-Needling

Most of the newer treatments in anti-aging are based on the idea that gently damaging the skin causes it to create new cells in order to heal—resulting in a fresher, more youthful face. This is the notion behind micro-needling, in which a dermatologist uses an instrument, often the Collagen P.I.N.—or percutaneous induction needling device—to make tiny wounds or pricks in the skin’s surface in an effort to stimulate new growth. Doctors sometimes call this practice “controlled injury.”

While it might seem counterproductive to visit a physician’s office to be “injured,” many dermatologists now offer micro-needling to combat the signs of aging.

Cost: About $500; patients generally get a series of procedures.

5. Furlesse

If having a dermatologist micro-needle or laser your face isn’t your idea of a good time, you might consider Furlesse—patches designed to smooth skin and keep it taut.

First, you use your hands to smooth out wrinkled areas—around the mouth, under the eyes, above and between the brows. Then, while the area is smoothed, you peel off a patch and apply it to your skin. The patches are translucent but not invisible, so nighttime use is suggested—you can sleep with them on.

Fans claim that, over time, their skin becomes smoother where the patches are applied, but there’s no good science to back up that assertion.

Cost: $19.99 for a box of 30 patches, at Amazon.

6. Roloxin Lift

Roloxin Lift is a new cream-to-powder treatment that comes in packets and promises to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and pores. Allure magazine gave Roloxin Lift a 2014 Beauty Breakthrough Award for innovation in quick-fix, youth-inducing skin care.

Users massage one of the packets for ten seconds, then open it and apply the contents to the face. At first it feels like a lotion, but the thin layer morphs into a drier, powdery substance. You leave it on for about seven minutes and rinse off. Skin should feel tighter, thanks to a blend of silica and glycolate. Alas, the results, like Cinderella’s, wear off—in this case, in about 12 hours.

Cost: $110 for a box of ten packets, at

7. Contours Rx Lids by Design

There are several new tape-based, anti-wrinkle products now out—one of them, Contours Rx, is marketed as “instant eye-lift tape.”

You carefully apply a tiny strip of contoured, medical-grade clear tape, with included tweezers—generally to the upper crease of the eyelid—ostensibly taping smooth any sagging or drooping. The strips keep the excess skin taped into the crease, which creates the appearance of a more youthful, tighter eyelid. While the tape isn’t invisible, it is hard to detect. You can also apply makeup over the strips for extra camouflage.

Cost: $29.99 for a box of 80 strips, at

This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:07 AM/ET, 12/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
When you're an expert on every treatment on the market, what do you choose for your own face and body? By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Hongqi Zhang/Alamy.

Photograph by Robert Jason Moore.

Cheryl Burgess, 56

Medical director and dermatologist

Center for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, in DC

Reducing Sun Damage

In addition to using anti-aging products such as an antioxidant-loaded sunscreen and oral sun-protection supplements such as Heliocare, Burgess uses a retinol—she likes Avène’s Rétrinal—at night to help even out her complexion.

Targeting Wrinkles

“I have had dermal fillers in areas where my natural facial fat is wasting away with age and neuromodulators—Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin—in my frown lines to prevent etched-in lines or creasing of my forehead,” says Burgess, who is careful about the application: “It is very important for me to appear natural in my expression when I am appearing on my weekly news segment on NBC4.”

Tighter Skin

Burgess gets Vanquish and Pellevé treatments to keep the skin taut on her face, neck, and abdomen. Both nonsurgical procedures use radiofrequency waves to heat the skin, resulting in fat-zapping and skin-tightening.

Attacking Cellulite

Burgess relies on her Vibra Therapy device—a machine that uses full-body vibration to tone and firm muscles—daily to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Softer Lips

To combat dry, chapped lips, Burgess injects small drops of Juvéderm into her lips to keep them moisturized. “Juvéderm is a hyaluronic-acid filler that draws water to the sites of injection,” she says. “Therefore, it rejuvenates the lips without enlarging them.”

Photograph courtesy of Philip S. Schoenfeld.

Philip S. Schoenfeld, 52

Facial plastic surgeon Renu by Dr. Schoenfeld, Chevy Chase

Smoother Skin

“I have excellent estheticians who work for me at Renu—they are constantly on me about skin care,” says Schoenfeld. “I have microdermabrasions performed with the SilkPeel machine. It is relaxing, and my skin feels great afterwards.” He follows up with Neocutis eye cream to help soften fine lines caused by sun damage, Obagi Medical Hydrate facial moisturizer, and Elta MD sunscreen.

Shots to the Brow

Schoenfeld routinely injects Botox or a similar wrinkle reducer, Xeomin, to his glabella—the area between the eyebrows—to eliminate vertical frown lines. “I am not concerned as much about the wrinkling as I am about the emotion those lines convey,” he says. “My family would ask what was wrong while I was thinking, and I didn’t understand their question. Then I looked at those frown lines and knew that I had to do something.”

No More Love Handles

Schoenfeld decided to test out Slim-Lipo—a body-sculpting technology that uses lasers in a less invasive surgical liposuction technique—before he invested in it for his office. “I played sports in college and work out routinely,” he says. Still, “I had these small love handles since I was in my teens and figured, ‘Why not?’ It was extremely effective and a simple recovery. I was back at work the next day.”

Photograph courtesy of Samantha Toerge.

Samantha Toerge, 37

Dermatologist Chevy Chase Dermatology Center

Lip Service

Toerge uses Restylane, an injectable filler, in her cheeks and lips: “I’ve used small amounts to replace volume in my cheeks where I’ve lost fat pads as I’ve aged. I’ve also used Restylane to add volume to my lower lip. The most important part is to maintain the natural proportions, which is a one-third-to-two-thirds ratio for the upper-to-lower lip. When this isn’t obeyed, there’s an unnatural look.” The injection is with a small needle. “There’s risk of swelling and a bruise for about a week, but this can be covered with makeup.”

Shots to the Brow

“I have a hyper-dynamic forehead,” says Toerge, who relies on a temporary muscle paralyzer—Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin—to prevent the “etching of lines” in that area. “I also use this between my eyebrows and around my eyes to decrease movement-associated lines.” The injections are done with a small needle, and she says there’s “minimal to no downtime.”

Getting the Red Out

“I have rosacea, which periodically flares,” says Toerge. “In addition to using topical creams, I use a Vbeam pulsed-dye laser to reduce redness and eradicate broken blood vessels. I also use this laser to get rid of small vessels on my legs. This produces a bruise that lasts about one week. The laser feels like a flash of light and a rubber-band snap.”

Smoother Skin

For a nice glow, Toerge occasionally gets a chemical peel: “Usually the peeling starts about 48 hours after the procedure and lasts about a week, but this is dependent on the type of peel.” She usually goes for either a mild salicylic acid if she’s having acne breakouts or a modified trichloroacetic acid peel when she’s hoping to minimize fine lines.

Hair No More

To rid herself of leg hair, Toerge underwent multiple sessions of laser hair removal. “It is great to not have to shave my legs,” she says.

This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 09:11 AM/ET, 12/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()