Looking Younger: Facial Contrast Changes Perception

Clinical studies have concluded that women whose faces have high contrast are perceived as younger. High contrast is when facial features have bold delineations and color distinctions as compared to the surrounding skin. Contrast decreases with age so it is natural that the perception of youth increases with artificial contrast created with make up. Conversely, the perception of youth decreases when the color and distinctions among facial features are weak.

For this reason, I prefer to use make up to significantly delineate eyes and lips as well as fill-in lips with color. I clearly define and fill in eyebrows, and create significant contour of the face (consisting of darker shades for areas to recede and lighter shades for areas to highlight.) Enhanced eyelashes also add to youthfulness as they open and widen the look of eyes. So, I use eyelash extensions.

The face below was artificially enhanced with increased contrast on the left, and left natural on the right. See for yourself which side looks older and which younger.


Following are two before and after photos of mature women whose “before” shows them natural – with no make up, and the after with make up creating significant contrast.

blogpic10-25-16bKnowledge is beautiful.

To Immediately Improve the Way You Look (and feel!) Change Your State-of-Mind

THE MOST most important beauty tool is attitude. Call it a positive state-of-mind, or joyful outlook on life, it beats beautiful skin, hair, gorgeous eyes, long eyelashes and a great body in its impact. An unhappy or angry internal state shows on your entire being. There really is no faking. Every bit of your physiology is negatively affected: shoulders slump, posture and facial muscles sag, eyes cast down, lips void of smile, eyes void of smile contractions – these are just a smidgeon of ways your body presents your state-of-mind.

To immediately improve the way you look (and feel!) change your state-of-mind. How? Act “as if” you were happy and care free. Interestingly, acting and moving “as if” you feel great, actually creates the positive feelings we are pretending to have. Physiology can truly create psychology. Regardless of you initial mood, act “as if: you have love in your heart, compassion for every living being and gratitude for all that is yours. You will be amazed at how quickly you feel these good feelings and the resultant postures will come naturally.

As I am in the second half of my life, I INSIST on controlling my thoughts – resisting negative thoughts such as resentment, envy, anger and fear and directing my attention towards what I am grateful for, like the beauty and joy of life for life’s sake, the grandeur of nature, the brilliance of a specific artist, author, or gymnast, the quiet moment of sitting silently with my little son. You get the point. We have 100% control of our thoughts and thought patterns. Directing our thoughts toward the positive, brings about the positive feelings and vastly improves your life.

A wonderful byproduct of this mental discipline is that you look fabulous. Your whole demeanor and presence are positive and attractive. Give this a try for just one week and see what kind of results you get. A week of continuous re-setting your thoughts to positive ones, means when you slip into negative thoughts, catch yourself (do not berate yourself!) and gently move your thoughts towards gratitude and positivity. You will be amazed at the impact on your entire life and on your overall looks.

If you would like to explore this further, check out “The Seven Day Mental Diet” by Emmet Fox:



For the best hair, make sure your scalp is healthy.

A healthy scalp is a big deal when it comes to the look and texture of your hair. Hairs spend about two weeks bathed in the tissue of the scalp before they break out into the world. If your scalp is not healthy, your hair will already be compromised. Then brushing, washing and processing – especially with heat and friction, begin to degrade it further. Some conditioners can help fill in the gaps of damaged hair with specific proteins and fibers, and can replenish moisture with humectants, and gloss with specific oils, but giving hair the chance to be as healthy as possible from the beginning is the greatest advantage you can give your hair.

How do you take care of your scalp? Use a gentle cleanser for your hair. There really is no reason to use foaming shampoos that have detergents. It’s too much for hair and scalp. Try a conditioning hair cleanser for a few weeks. You will notice a significant difference in the feel of your scalp. It will feel soothed, not irritated. There are many conditioning hair cleansers on the market today.  Try one that has proven safe ingredients.

Some men have flakey hair from dry scalp and believe they have dandruff – yet no dandruff shampoo works for them. This is a sign of an unhealthy scalp. Using a gentle, moisturizing, hair cleanser will often eradicate dry scalp, which means no more flakes and fuller hair with more body. Take great care of your hair beginning with great care of your scalp!

Stay healthy and beautiful, Nikki Z


I went to a medical hair specialist about a year ago to try to discover if there was a way to regain some thickness to my hair. I am 54, and the glorious locks of my youth have become thin and frail. I was hoping the doctor would recommend some simple hair implantation that would restore the look of thick youthful hair (without a receding hair line).

No such luck. Apparently my hair is in too good a shape for surgical intervention. But he recommended that I try monoxidil 5% (the kind made for men). He emphasized that the foaming formula is a superior product to the other formulations. I bought the foaming minoxidil 5% and tried it. It took about three months to see a difference, but I did indeed see an improvement in my hairline and the thickness of my hair. My hair colorist definitely noticed an improvement as well.

I continue to use 5% minoxidil daily to maintain the improved look and I cleanse my hair every few days with a conditioning hair cleanser. My hair looks pretty darned good! However, I use the liquid formulation of the minoxidil now – as it leaves far less residue on my scalp and is less disruptive of my hair style on a given day than the foaming kind. The improvement is mild to medium – my hair is not back to the look I had when I was in my thirties and younger. But it is noticeably better than it was before I used the minoxidil. The minoxidil 5% solution worked for me. If you are considering giving this a try, as I did, please consult with a doctor to ensure that it is safe and right for you.
Until next time, stay Healthy and Beautiful

Nikki Z.

Timeless Make-up, Not Trendy


What? The Joan Collin’s uber-glamorous make-up from  Dynasty is out of style?

It took me a while to figure that out. I was in a time-warp for a while when I was in my thirties (which was the decade of the ‘90s). I still wore make-up in a very flashy, bold and glitzy way – truly like Dynasty and all other soap operas of the ‘80s. I loved putting make-up on because the Dynasty look gave me permission to virtually draw my face to whatever proportions I wanted. I am an artist who specializes in drawing beautiful faces, which has given me an advantage in make-up application to enhance a woman’s beauty (as opposed to making her trendy or fashionable). I was “schooled” by a very young lady. when I was out with a friend of similar age to me, at a night club, We both thought we looked fabulous, until the young lady said “you’ve really got the ‘80s look going on.”

Oh. It’s out of style? Does that mean I have to get rid of the leg warmers I wore down by my ankles to the gym every day? That was the first time I realized make-up styles change as do hair and clothes. It was one thing to make fun of my mom’s friend who wore a buffant and go go boots in the 1980’s (if you recall, that was popular in the 1960s). But now it is I who am embarrassingly out of place. Shit.

I always thought of make up as strictly to enhance my beauty – making my good features great, and minimizing any not-so-good features. It worked – and still does. However I keep myself apprised of how make up is worn at any given era so that I do not violate the trend, while working to make myself or another woman look more beautiful.

There are certain traits about a woman’s face that our society has, in general, agreed upon as beautiful. For instance, wide large eyes are considered beautiful. Look at Disney’s princesses – they all have exaggerated wide eyes. High cheek bones are another “beautiful” trait. Well –defined lips with a bow on the top are another. And always beautiful clear and smooth skin is a quintessential hallmark of beauty. Consider Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Deneuve, Jacklyn Smith, Heather Lochlear, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Alba. They all fit the beauty bill.

I am not saying we all must fit into a cookie-cutter one size fits all look. These faces and their features work as a template to help each of us gently contour our appearance to move towards  “classic” beauty. That has been my method in helping women look fabulous. Great make-up is art. I am an artist and classic beauties are my guides

The List of Active Anti-Aging Ingredients

Knowledge is power. Below is THE list of active ingredients to look for in anti-aging skin care products. Each of these have clinical and/or scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness.  I personally use each and every one of these – staggered strategically throughout the day and throughout the week.

Retin A or Renova (or over the counter Retinol if can’t get Retin A – which is available in the US only by prescription) – a powerful anti-oxidant. It causes more rapid turnover of new and fresh skin cells so that skin is continuously renewed more rapidly than it would without the treatment. By far the most potent topical anti-aging treatment available.

Matrixyl 3000 – a combination of peptides that reduce facial muscle contraction that causes wrinkle formation (similar to, but milder than botox), but also can nearly double the amount of the protein collagen in our skin, which is necessary to give skin elasticity

Ubiquinone – a powerful anti-oxidant, naturally produced in the body, but decreases significantly as we age. It reduces lines and wrinkles and educes a reduction of roughness and dryness.

Vitamin C – an anti-aging superstar. It is an antioxidant that slows the rate of free-radical damage – free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. It also has been proven to reverse DNA damage. Furthermore, when used in combination with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, in specific measure, there is a multiple boost of the effects of Vitamin C. These pure natural low molecular weight antioxidants provide meaningful synergistic protection against oxidative stress (base damage to cells) in skin and is useful for protection against photoaging and skin cancer.

Glycolic Acid – An Alpha Hydroxy Acid with the smallest molecule and therefore the greatest skin penetration, glycolic acid deeply exfoliates to remove skin that is dry, coarse, or dead, revealing fresh new skin. It also promotes the production of collagen for firmer, more youthful skin.

Niacinamide – a vitamin that, when applied topically, has been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

This is not an exhaustive list of anti-aging instruments, but these actually do have reparative properties – turning back the clock so to speak. Many of these also double as having protective powers. In a further posts, over the next few days, I will be going into more detail, as well as presenting other anti-aging agents and why they are helpful in creating a more youthful appearance.


Beautiful, Youthful Skin

Hello gorgeous. You want to be as beautiful as you can be, right? I know I do. The stark truth is – you need your skin to look as beautiful and youthful possible to look your best. There is no getting around it – especially as we get older. Dry skin, wrinkles and fine lines are the sign of neglected skin. The best way to keep your skin beautiful and young looking is to take care of it to the highest level possible.  This means your skin care routine has to become a ritual. Having gorgeous young skin for the long haul requires scrupulous daily care.

I want to look great regardless of my age – and I have the knowledge and tools to do it. I’ve been studying skincare for 30 years, so I know what truly works. I am on top of the newest anti-aging agents and know how and when to use them and in which order and combinations. I perform my skincare routine obsessively and have my entire adult life. I know it works because I get lots of compliments on my skin.

So I’m eager to share this bank of knowledge with my friends – not keep it to myself.  It is never too late to start turning the clock back and enjoy your best-looking skin.

Here is an outline of my morning drill: In the morning I gently cleanse my face (including my neck and decollate). Next I apply serums and creams with very specific ingredients in a deliberate order. I always always always top it off with a good sunscreen. . In previous blogs I have explained some of the nuts and bolts of my skin care routine. Check these out for more details. I will continue to add information in the future.

Make a commitment to yourself today to take the utmost care of your skin. If you do nothing else today please add a high-quality moisturizer to your morning and evening routine. Infusing your skin with moisture will have an immediate dramatic affect. The real secret is applying a cream or lotion that have Hyaluronic Acid and at least one of these: Dimethicone, Cocoa Butter, Mango or Shea Butters, or Mineral Oil in the ingredients list.

Hyaluronic Acid is a powerhouse humectant (water carrying molecule) small enough to penetrate you’re skin’s first layers and bring moisture in with it – plumping your skin so that lines and wrinkles fade and disappear.

Dimethicone, Cocoa Butter, Mango or Shea Butters, or Mineral Oil, called occlusors, are agents which  form a barrier on your skin that keep moisture in your skin, and keep pollutants out.

The combination of these ingredients in any one moisturizer is a huge shot of beauty for your skin. Start it TODAY.

Excellent over-the-counter moisturizers with this combination of ingredients are:  Cera Ve Moisturizing Cream; Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting Cream Moisturizer; and Clinique Moisture Surge™ Extended Surge Extended Thirst Relief