Beauty & Style

Best Home Manicure Kit

Sometimes we just can’t get to the salon. Sometimes we need to polish those nails ourselves. (Imagine that!)  How? For those who didn’t perfect the art during all those teenage slumber parties, local pros suggest the must-have home tools to help nail the perfect manicure.


Photo by John O’Donnell

Fingernails grow about .02 inches a week, or nine inches a year: Nine Inch Nails, indeed! They also split and peel and crack. That’s where your nail file comes in. You want one to gently pare the nail down while shaping it. Oddly, the hardest material—diamond—turns out to be the gentlest on nails, proving once again that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Lorraine Frustace, owner of Shine Salon and Spa in Ossining, swears by the Diamencel file: “It doesn’t split or crack nails like inexpensive emery boards can, and it lasts forever.” Diamancel File $60; available at Shine Salon or through

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First things first: you have to take off the old polish. It’s important to use real cotton balls instead of the synthetic “cosmetic puffs,” which don’t absorb the remover. Sadly for the environmentally conscious, polish remover has to contain acetone to dissolve the old polish; otherwise, fuggedaboutit. Frustace of Shine Salon likes the Spa Ritual Fluent Conditioning Lacquer Remover because, in addition to acetone, it contains essential oils to counteract acetone’s drying effect.
Spa Ritual Fluent Conditioning Lacquer Remover $8 for 4 oz; available at Shine Salon or through


“You run the risk of splitting
your nails right down to the quick if you use clippers,” Frustace says. “You should only use a file to shape your nails.” But for hangnails and messy cuticles, she recommends high-quality nippers. “Good nail tools are to a manicurist what good knives are to a chef, so it’s worth
it to invest in professional-grade cuticle nippers,” Frustace advises, “and hands-down, Mehaz are the best.” They’re pricey, but have a lifetime guarantee and offer free sharpening. Mehaz Cuticle Nippers $50; available at Shine or through

Whether you decide to polish your nails or go au natural, your final step in a home manicure is to buff your nails. “A buffing block is something that no manicure kit can go without,” says Angela DeAngellis, who owns Angelface Day Spa in Yorktown Heights. “It smoothes out ridges in nails, then buffs them to a natural shine for those who prefer not to wear polish.” Buffing Block $5 at Angelface Day Spa; $8 at Shine
Quick Paint Job
We didn’t hear about this from the pros, but when our senior creative director showed us how easy this absolutely mistake-proof nail-polish pen was to use for a quick gloss of color, we became instant fans. Sally Hansen Color Quick Pen $5; available at most major retailers.

Pretty in Pink

Finally—environmentally conscious cosmetics! The Protected Paradise Eyes and Face compacts are as pretty as they can be, but carry one heavy message: as you sweep the pouf over the sweet little fishies swimming through sea grass, you’re to consider over-fished and endangered sea creatures and habitats. Five percent of
proceeds from sales will be donated to the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.

Chantecaile Compacts  $90 each
SpaceNK, 24 Harwood Ct, Scarsdale, (914) 472-1214,


Beauty Foods

What we put in our bodies can have a greater effect on our skin than all those expensive creams, serums, and lotions we slather on. Here are some natural—and delicious—beauty boosters.


A red pepper has twice as much vitamin C as an orange; you’d have to drink 16 ounces of OJ (200 calories) to get the same amount of vitamin C as in one red pepper (37 calories). And what role does vitamin C play in beauty? According to a recent study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the more vitamin C you consume, the fewer wrinkles you’ll get. “Vitamin C is essential in the production of collagen—the substance that keeps skin looking young—and needs to be replenished constantly,” says Joshua S. Fink, MD, a private-practice physician in Mount Kisco who also is a supervising physician for Laser Cosmetica in White Plains.


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The next time you dip into some spicy guacamole, take solace in the fact that all those calories (about 250 per avocado) contain essential oils and B-complex vitamins,which are not only good for your heart but your skin. One avocado gives you about a quarter of your daily requirement of niacin (vitamin B3), an anti-inflammatory that calms irritated, blotchy skin, says Diana Hurwitz, MD, a dermatologist at the Westchester Medical Group in Rye. Anti-inflammatories work by constricting blood vessels, making them look less red.


With all the hoopla about eating brightly colored fruits and veggies, poor, pale mushrooms may be left on the plate, without good reason, according to Elizabeth DeRobertis, a registered dietician in White Plains.  “Mushrooms are rich in selenium, copper, and other antioxidants and can be an important source of B vitamins, especially for people who don’t eat meat,” she says. It is also rich in potassium. A diet lacking in potassium would cause skin to become dry. Mushrooms also are one of the best plant-based sources of niacin—essential for healthy skin. Lack of niacin can cause dermatitis; severe deficiencies can lead to pellagra, a vitamin-deficiency disease. With only 15 to 20 calories per cup, mushrooms can be added guilt-free to any meal or snack for some extra healthful benefits.


Vitamin A maintains and repairs skin cells (a deficiency—or excess—will leave your skin dry and flaky) and a single mango will give you 80 percent of your daily requirement—at only 70 calories. “Most signs of aging on the skin are the result of sun damage, which is caused by free radicals from ultraviolet radiation,” Dr. Hurwitz says. “Vitamin A is an antioxidant that counteracts the free radicals.”



Naturally Gray

This is what no one tells you when you begin to color your hair: at some point—the point at which your hair begins to turn gray—you won’t be able to stop. Most people, of course, don’t want to stop. But what if you tire of coloring your hair and just want your natural gray?

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Got a year? “It takes about a year to make the change, unless you choose to cut your hair very short,” Kathleen Troy, a colorist at Paulo’s Atelier Hair Salon in Bedford Hills, says. “Blondes have an easier time of it than brunettes; you just do a lot of highlighting to lighten the hair, then let the grays come in around the face and go from there. With darker hair, there is more of an awkward transition. We can add low lights, but at some point, you are going to need to cut your hair to get rid of all the solid color at the ends. I find that only five percent of my clients who try to go gray stick with the challenge. One woman who did came back to me saying her husband and kids hated it!”

If you do decide to take the challenge, Martha Clemence, a stylist educator for nationwide chain Fantastic Sams Hair Salons, advises: “There is no specific cut that looks best with gray hair, but flatter your face shape and use your gray as a highlight. Update your hairstyle; if you’re older and your cut is dated plus you have gray hair, you’ll just look old!”


Saving (Up For) Face

The $500 (and up) facial has come to Westchester. What’s more, it even comes to you. There’s a catch: you need to install a dedicated facial room in your house; price tag $2,000 (and up). Lorraine Hoy, one of our longtime favorite aestheticians and multiple “Best of Westchester” winner, is now taking her pampering show on the road, traveling to her “really high-end” clients’ homes. When asked who they might be, she demurred, confiding only that there was a mix of actors, celebs, and business types. “I help them design a spa setup in their homes, then come to give them facials. It’s the ultimate in convenience and privacy.”

And price. Yikes. To contact her, call (914) 523-2807.



pint-sized fashion trends // Togs for Tots

When Laurie O’Neal couldn’t find fashionable clothing for her two children nearby, she didn’t whine but opened a kids’ clothing shop in her hometown of Rye Brook. O’Neal, who ran a high-end layette business from her home, launched My Lily Pad a year ago. We chatted with her recently for her insider¹s take on kids’ fashions.

What do new parents ask for most?
Sleep! It would be nice if we could sell it to them. Many come in looking for good, stylish socks that will actually stay on their baby’s feet. Trumpette makes great trendy baby socks that stay on and come in an assortment pack of six cool designs for either boys or girls for $24.

What layette item should no new mom be without?
A fabric baby-wipe holder ($40), personalized with her baby’s name, to throw into the diaper bag; we offer lots of great fabrics to choose from.

What are the coolest girls wearing this summer?
Submarine bathing suits‹a trendy line with really fun styles and designs, like a fake leather, two-piece with boy shorts and a tankini top ($72) – and pink or black Rhinestone Roxy flip-flops customized with letter charms spelling out a child’s name ($15+). Also big are custom airbrushed hooded sweatshirts and pants ($56 each) that are personalized with the name of the child’s camp or school.

And the hippest little guys?

JB Original Vintage¹s two-toned, screen-printed T-shirts ($52) and vintage jeans ($55).

What won’t you carry in your shop?

For girls, I won’t carry anything too revealing, like tops that bare the midriff, skirts that are too short, or backless dresses. And I don¹t carry clothing for boys past about age seven because, when they are older than that, all they want to wear are the sports brands like Adidas and Nike and that’s not what I want to focus on.

What hot new clothing trends are on the horizon for fall?

Everything you love in women’s fashions is shrunk down for girls: bright, vibrant colors and belted or long, heavy knit sweaters with big buttons worn with leggings or jeans. Stripes are big and so are purples and grays. For boys, it¹s denim in all kinds of funky washes, and ripped jeans.

What’s the one item every sleep-away camper shouldn’t leave home without?
The Boo brand of shampoo and spray-on conditioner – it helps prevent lice ($12 each). And kids really like the Made With Love & Kisses brand pillows with the soft “camp” appliqué ($42). They come in all different colors and are very comfy.

Who are kids’ popular fashion idols?
Hannah Montana for girls; there’s not even a close second. Her style is funky, casual, and trendy. There’s really no comparable celebrity for boys; anything with a superhero logo is trendy for them.

What’s your favorite item?
I love the Cool Kicks Birkenstock-like sandals ($60) for summer and clogs ($70) for fall; they come tie-dyed in bright colors or shades of denim.

How have kids’ fashion trends evolved over the years?

They’ve evolved from clothes that were more sweet-looking and doll-like to grown up fashions shrunk down for little kids. It’s so much fun now because you can dress your kids like you dress yourself, where the son and daughter can now mirror mom and dad.

What looks are big with your own kids?
My seven-year-old daughter, Lily, after whom the shop is named, will wear anything and everything in the store; she looks at it as her own personal closet. My four-year-old son, Brayden, loves the cool Lola & James T-shirts ($68) made from fabric from actual vintage rock ‘n roll band T-shirts.

Do you ever dress your kids in hand-me-downs?

Extended Interview
What’s the fashion credo guiding your choice of merchandise?
Fashion forward and trendy comes first, with great quality and great price points. We don’t carry any imported lines so we can keep our average price point around $40.

Who is your favorite kids clothing designer?
I like the Vince line. It specializes in sweaters—wool, blends, and cashmere—in every conceivable style: cardigans, long, belted, even sweater dresses. They’re pricey, though; about $250 on average.

What kids’ fashion trends would you like to see fall out of favor?
Kids fashion is constantly changing so I really don’t get tired of anything.

Do kids’ fashion trends mirror or mimic those of adults?
They definitely do, one hundred percent—especially like trendy styles for fall such as belted or long sweaters with leggings.

Who are kids’ popular fashion idols?
Hanna Montana for girls—there’s not even a close second. Her style is funky, casual, and trendy. There’s really no comparable celebrity for boys; anything with a superhero logo is trendy for them.

How do you respond to parent concerns that younger and younger kids are looking more and more like Britney and Paris?
It’s really not a concern for me because I don’t buy like that; I won’t carry anything I wouldn’t put my own child in. The styles are trendy but nothing is too revealing—no bare midriffs or really short skirts and dresses.

What labels and styles would you steer parents to who are looking for a more innocent look?
This fall sweater companies like Fast Forward are doing a lot of classic styles and their knits appeal to every body and personality type.

How have kids’ fashion trends evolved over the years?
They’ve evolved from clothes that were more sweet-looking and doll-like to grown up fashions shrunk down for little kids. It’s so much fun now because you can dress your kids like you dress yourself, where the son and daughter can now mirror mom and dad.

How has our celeb-obsessed culture affected kids’ fashion trends?

My business focus only goes up to size seven boys and size 12 in girls, so the moms still have much more of a say, as opposed to junior sizes where kids exert more of their own opinions.

What’s your all-time favorite baby gift?
I love the custom fabric-trimmed chenille baby blanket embroidered with the baby’s name ($80) from Shoots & Ladders.

Let’s say a friend’s twins—a boy and a girl—just turned one. What would you recommend getting them for their birthday?
Staying under $50 each, I’d choose coordinating Junk Food T-shirts, selecting from such sayings as Little Miss Giggles or Little Miss Chatterbox for the girl and Little Mr. Mischief or Little Mr. Happy for the boy. I’d pair it with leggings ($22) for the girl and mesh shorts ($22) for the boy.

What are the least and most expensive items you carry?
Our croc shoe charms are $2.50 each; a four-piece crib bedding set from House, Inc. is $450.

What’s your shop’s biggest-selling item?
Right now it’s our personalized camp tank tops.

How would you describe your own fashion style? And what do you usually wear when you’re at work?
I’m definitely trendy. And I usually wear jeans, a sweater, and ballet slippers, or a dress and leggings, when I’m at the store.

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