Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

Face and Figure



...Avoid Plastic Surgery and Botox! 


Shade Your Face from the Sun


M-J's Latest Tips  for Face and Figure

Hatred Makes You Ugly

By M-J de Mesterton

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Have you ever noticed that the more resentful and jealous a woman is, the more wrinkles she has? The most important age-preventing measure for your face is being a member of the Clear Conscience Club--you know, the one whose members get a good night's sleep. When people carry around the burdens of hatred and envy, resentments and greed, these destructive inner elements inevitably manifest themselves on their faces.

Here is a quote from an interview by Linda Holmes with elegant, ageless singer Darlene Love, whose work in the 1960s with music innovator Phil Spector catapulted her to fame and made her into the exploited victim of a megalomaniac who was ethically-challenged, and for whom loyalty was a foreign concept:

"I have no reason to hate him," she says, "and I never did, because I always found that hate makes you ugly. Makes you have wrinkles. Which I don't have." Here, she laughed. "But you know what? That has a whole lot to do with your insides. When you hate people, it not only makes you hate that person, it gives that vibe off for everything around you. I really do believe that. So I really did try hard not to dislike him and always be the good guy, and say what I say about him and nothing bad. 'Cause it doesn't help."

Categories: How to Be Lovely, How to Carry Yourself, Elegant Survival


Ingredients that Make You Wonder

My husband and I were looking for summer face-creams. The first thing I consider when shopping for such a product is the list of ingredients. One of the moisturising creams, by a famous old American brand, contains paraffin. That's wax. Talk about a pore-clogger! And some creams include petroleum. Thanks to the internet, we are able to look up such things a priori instead of trying to figure it all out in the crowded stores. And if there's an ingredient that we have never heard of, we just look it up now, though it is sometimes difficult to cull the truth from all the conflicting information available on the web.  We finally decided upon the Garnier gel moisturisers.


Potentially Dangerous Ingredients
in Personal Grooming Products

M-J de M. Says,
"Check It and Chuck It!"

Where to Look for These Chemical Additives

The Likely Risks Posed by These Unnecessary Poisons
ParabensParabens are very frequently  used as preservatives in soaps and cosmetics. Your skin is the largest and most damage-prone organ of your body.The three commonly-used parabens are associated with the development of cancers; they cause hormone-imbalances. Look for the three wicked sisters: Poly, Ethyl and Methyl Paraben--and give them the heave-ho!
Petrolatum, Paraffin, and Mineral Oil Found in many "high-quality" lotions and skin-creams.These petroleum derivatives coat the skin like plastic – clogging pores with toxins and causing premature ageing. Petroleum-containing products can disrupt one's endocrine-system--their hormones--in negative ways. Paraffin is wax, and is just about the most comedogenic substance you can apply to your skin.
Sodium Laurel or Lauryl Sulfate --It's also Known as Sodium Laureth Sulfate This chemical causes skin to weaken and age prematurely; it makes the skin more thin and porous thus prone to absorbing other dangerous substances.Sodium Laurel/Sodium Laureth Sulfates can combine with other chemicals and form "nitrosamine" which is a known carcinogen usually found in preserved meats such as bacon.

Propylene GlycolFound in many cosmetics as an emollient, and is also used in fragrance-olis.Propylene Glycol can cause dermatitis and skin irritation. It may inhibit skin-cell growth. Propylene glycol is associated with kidney and liver problems.
Phenol-Carbolic AcidFound in some lotions and skin creams.Can cause circulatory corrosion, neuroligical damage, coma, and respiratory failure.
AcrylamideA common ingredient in many face-creams and liquid facial foundations.Acrylamide is associated with the development of tumors in the breast.
TolueneFound in most nail-polishes and some fragrance-sprays.Chronic exposure to toluene has been linked to anemia,  liver and kidney damage, and may adversely affect the unborn baby.
Click Here to Read M-J's Main Website, Elegant Survival



November, 2010 

Try Rebounding on a Mini-Trampoline for Better Health:

an Editorial by M-J de Mesterton



September 30th, 2009: Facial Yoga Exercises are Better than Botox

The classic hula-hoop is great for maintaining your figure, and can help you lose extra kilos. It's low-tech, lightweight, and easy-to-store.

The old-fashioned jump-rope is inexpensive, compact, and packable for travel; jumping rope is still the most effective cardiovascular exercise. We are jumping rope daily, and playing tennis. Tennis keeps us running round picking up balls, and jumping into the air to return lobs. Jumping rope will make your legs and heart strong!

Shield Yourself from the Sun

To maintain the flower of youth, ladies often use parasols. They are much more reliable than sunscreen creams, and safer for your skin.

Alternatively, a  wide-brimmed hat is perfect for guarding against the sun's harmful rays.


Lead in Lipstick, Makeup Hazards
Elegant Survival Skin-Care and Makeup

 Elegant Survival Discovery:

La Roche-Posay Medical Skin-Care Products,

for when your skin needs extra attention. Dr. Zeff's site is the best place to order these skin-care creams. He ships lightning-fast.


Thursday, July 17, 2007

M-J on Maintaining an Elegant Countenance

 Skin-Care and Beauty

Skin-Care Tip for Summer and Hotter Climates: When the weather is hot and humid, acne can plague even the most mature and clean faces. The scientifically-advanced product advertised heavily on TV and internet by a starlet and other gals costs about 70 dollars US before shipping charges. Meanwhile, at Sam's Club, an analogous acne-treatment regimen-in-a-box costs about 30 dollars US. It contains a big bottle of facial scrubbing lotion, a large bottle of toner, a cream, and a tube of acne-zapping ointment. I estimate that the bottles and tube in the Acne-Free set will last approximately six months. It works!
Skin-Care for Winter, 2008: Drink plenty of water and use a moisturizing cream, preferably an oil-free one. You don’t have to hurry to the cosmetics counter at a mall-based department store (where it's easy to be taked into buying one cosmetic line's whole set of offerings)-- just go to the supermarket and look for Olay’s affordable products. They are on the cutting edge, or the vanguard of skin-care research and development--they have to be. L'Oreal has some high-quality, low-priced skin-creams as well. In our house, my husband and I use both brands.
Makeup: The Less You Use, the Less You Need Two lovely, elderly ladies in my life told me years ago to never use foundation makeup, and I have never forgotten their advice, nor used the wretched stuff. One of them was my Swedish grandmother, who, at the age of eighty, had baby-soft skin on her face. We usually do remember what our elders tell us, even though when they are doing it we couldn't care less. I'm so grateful to her, and to Loulla, the other elder bearing great advice about keeping a bare face. Come to think of it, I have never seen a liquid makeup that looked natural in daylight, where all facial embellishments become apparent. The best thing to do is to scrub your face well with a microfiber cloth and Cetaphil, a wonderful liquid cleanser made in Fort Worth. It is so mild that soldiers in the desert use it to cleanse their faces when there's no water available. This cloth/cleanser combination will exfoliate your skin, which is key to keeping the new, fresh skin-cells at the fore. After washing and drying my face, I like to use just a little pink blush on my cheeks. Try to find one that is non-comedogenic (doesn't clog the pores).
What is it about liquid foundation that is deleterious to the skin? It usually contains oil, which doesn't mix with water, and can dry the skin. I once tossed out a bottle of Clinique face-lotion because I discovered that it had linseed oil in it. Also, liquid makeup, whether or not it contains oil, can clog the pores. Less is more, and of course, choose a sunscreen that won't clog pores or irritate your skin. I use Baby Magic sunscreen when going out for tennis.
Makeup: the less you use, the less you need--because it can damage your skin, thus making you want to cover it up, which is what's known as a "vicious cycle". Keeping one's skin in good condition is not expensive! Copyright 2006 M-J de Mesterton
Enhancing the Face that Nature Gave You, and Creating a Beautiful Visage
 Drawing by C. Wirgman, English Correspondent in 1800s Yokohama
Eyebrows ought to help create an expressive face. Pluck them from underneath only, not above them, and aim at getting the stray hairs out of the design. Tweezerman makes the most reliable, accurate tweezers that I've ever used. Eyebrows, eyes, undereyes, cheeks, jowls, lips: I believe that any woman can look lovely if these areas are treated properly. After you have achieved a satisfactory brow-line, you can fill-in spots where the shape is weak--I prefer an ashy, light blonde eyebrow pencil (I use Maybelline, under two dollars US), which doesn't show. Darker pencils can look orange on your skin in the daylight. A well-shaped brow, either thin or strong, if that is your natural growth pattern, can be a great facial asset.
Eyes ought to be the focus of your face. Skip the lipstick and wear a gloss or moisturizing balm. That way, the rest of your face is softened by the beauty of your eyes. Mascara can look hard and harsh in the daytime; it can flake, crumble and smear. I need to accentuate my eyes, so rather than mascara, I use a thin, brown-black eyeliner pencil with built-in sharpener by Revlon. To reduce the stark line that it creates, I soften with just a bit of eyeshadow over it. Restrict use of eyeliner to the upper lid, because any eyeliner at the bottom of your eyes brings down your face and can make you look old. After lining the upper eyelid, I add a little light brown eyeshadow in the most concave area above the eye, tipping it upward towards the outer edges. A little dab of lighter color in the center of the eyelid can have a nice finishing effect.
Never put liquid foundation or powder under your eyes, unless you want to look like you have two crinkle-cut potatoes resting there! It dries the most delicate skin on your face so badly that it may never recover. And speaking of cover, if you really have a dark circle under your eye, don't touch any baggage with concealer; put it only in the very darkest area. Less is more, especially in this area of the face.
Sometimes in the evening, I put the lightest, most skin-friendly pink blush on each cheek, applied very delicately. It brings the focus up from the jowls, and makes you look a bit cheerier. Darker skins can use peach or bronze, but very lightly. Any color added to the skin during the daytime can make one look older. Even translucent powder is drying and can make skin look heavy, so I restrict the use of it to hot summer nights when I am sure that I'm going to have hot flashes and I need something to absorb the excess moisture I exude. I avoid getting any powder or blush on the jowl area, since that can really accentuate the negative!
My husband always tells me not to wear lipstick, since he thinks it makes women look silly, cheap, and old. And if I must wear it, he says to wear a very light pink frost. All right, I cooperate because the fellow has great taste! According to him, his ol' pal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, with whom he body-built at Venice Beach back in the 1970s, won't let "his woman" wear either lipstick or trousers. My husband has the same demands. Well, I only wear pants when riding my bike or a horse, so no problem there, but wearing lipstick is a tough habit to break!
Jawline and Neck
For glamorous evening occasions, here is a device that can give you the illusion of a slim neck and tighter jawline. Under the jawline there is an area which can be brushed lightly with a shading tone of blush. Make sure you don't touch the jawbone with it, but go just underneath it. This is best done at night, since, again, daytime exposes a multitude of sins. This shading technique is especially helpful if one has a bit more "flesh" under the jaw than they desire. Again, this must be done very delicately and with a rather fluffy brush to avoid creating stripes. To avoid an orange-ish effect, I find that a very light pink blush mixed with a very pale frosted brown works well. I will even mix in a little translucent loose powder to facilitate the flow, and then lightly blend downward around the neck. This prevents a line of demarcation. This stuff is awful to remove from one's clothing, so it is best used when wearing a low-necked evening gown. This is advice that you can take or leave, and perhaps some of it will be useful. I learned these techniques and more in Manhattan, New York, when I spent six years working with a fashion and head-shot photographer. We worked with opera singers, Elite models and Broadway stars. Each subject had to visit a particular professional makeup artist before his or her photo-shoot. I was in charge of retouching, with an etching knife, the final product on black and white 8X10" photographs--that's what we did in the old days. It wasn't easy, but I found it much easier and produced more realistic, natural-looking  results than the modern method (digital may as well be painting), which I have never used.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006 
Maintaining the Flower of Youth
Check It and Chuck It! 

Look at the labels on your makeup products. If they are "made in China", they are likely to contain lead, which is a carcinogen.

Check all makeup, lotion, and deodorant products for the ingredient, "aluminum". Aluminum is known to cause a breach in the blood-brain barrier, an anomaly to which Alzheimer's disease is attributed.
A well-preserved blood-brain barrier is required to protect brain cells from being damaged by neurotoxins, which accumulate and poison brain cells.

Another source of aluminum is the non-dairy creamer, Coffee-Mate. I found the Canadian version to be aluminum-free, however. Check the labels on all such products before buying. Some of the less-expensive store brands of non-dairy creamer, such as Wal-Mart and Sam's, are free of aluminum additives (I think they are called flow-agents).

If a product contains one or both of the aforementioned ingredients, chuck it!

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008




Elegant Survival Exercise

Elegant Exercise: Low-Cost, Low-Tech and Low-Stress


Try Rebounding

Bounce your way to better health with this ideal mini-trampoline. As long as your feet are in fair condition and you’re able to stand, this mini-trampoline is easy to use, and its cardio-vascular benefits are similar to those acquired by jumping rope. And “rebounding” on a trampoline is easier than jumping rope, because there is nothing on which to trip. It seems like all the rage right now, but those in the know were using mini-trampolines in the 1990s. The svelte and intelligent character Charlotte Cavendish in the series Lovejoy, for example, used to bounce fifty times on her mini-trampoline in the morning,and another fifty in the evening. 

©M-J de Mesterton 

  • Build cardiovascular fitness, tone your legs, abs, buttocks, and back
  • Low-impact aerobic workout at home

The Health-Benefits of Rebounding

Elegant Face and Figure, 2007:
I am currently using three exercise implements or machines that use no electricity and occupy little space. Each of them is easy to use, and I have seen clear results from their use lately. 1) The Gazelle by Tony Little: available at Wal-Mart for around a hundred dollars. This low-impact machine is great for those with knee and joint pain, because you can do fast-walking without touching the ground. Assembly required (men seem to be able to do this without using the instruction manual; beware of four-letter words).2) The Ab Lounge by Fitness Quest: Available at Wal-Mart for about a hundred dollars. It's so easy to flop onto it once a day and do ab-crunches. I find it so much more conducive to ab-work than getting down on the floor--and more fun than sit-ups, which are a colossal bore. 3) The Thigh-Master, by Suzanne Somers. I have been using it for at least ten years! It's fun to pick it up and do chest exercises and a few thigh-squeezes just before bed. Here's an oldie-but-goodie for high-impact cardiovascular exercise: jumping rope!
And now, I would like to introduce Joyce Vedral. She is not only extremely competent in body-shaping instruction, but a natural comedienne. Instead of going to an unsanitary and exceedingly loud health-club (more on my experience with those later), why not stay in your own controlled environment and work out with Joyce? A video or DVD of your choice ordered from her website will keep you toned and happy. ~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2007

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Video of Abdominal Exercises 


Miscellaneous Health & Beauty Topics
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sophia Loren: Women and Beauty

I've had this book since it was launched in 1984. I still remember the fashion and beauty advice given in it by one of the world's greatest beauties. Here are some of Sophia Loren's philosophical entries:

Beauty: In my opinion, there are two things you must recognize about beauty in order to achieve it: first, that it is within your reach, and second, that it is worth working for.

Exercise: Contrary to what most women think, exercise will decrease your appetite and help you burn more calories even hours after you have stopped. To me this is almost a miracle. I have always noticed that after I exercise, I am not hungry, but just imagine--not only does your appetite decrease, your body continues to burn more calories than ever for hours afterward. It is as if you started a fire that continues to burn long after the kindling has gone out. This means that your body's increased metabolism is working to keep you trim and firm far beyond your exercise time. What a wonderful dividend that is.

Self-Confidence: When I began my career, my nickname was "Giraffe" because I was so tall and awkward. No one thought I was especially beautiful, but everyone knew right away that I was proud. In the beginning people were impressed with my confidence, and gradually they came to see it as beauty. On the other hand, I know a woman who is convinced that she is too tall; she is so self-conscious about it that most of the time she looks as if she would like to disappear. All she thinks about is her height and that is all you notice about her. Unless her attitude changes, the sad fact is that although she is very pretty, she has no chance of being thought attractive.

You can build self-confidence by knowing yourself. That is not just a matter of counting your strengths. You must know your weaknesses as well. Self-confidence doesn’t grow from perfection...if you know your weaknesses, you can control them, not vice versa.

Clothing: Spend your fashion budget where you spend your time: if you are in an office most of the week, then office clothing should take the lion’s share of your clothes budget...remember also that you should make an effort to look attractive in the evening for the man in your life, even if you are only going to be watching television together.

Decide on what you really need and buy the best. Every woman has had that dark night of the fashion soul when she stands in front of her closet and cries to the heavens, “I haven’t a thing to wear!”
Living: ...don’t postpone living until you reach the perfect size.
Self-confidence has to do with the way we face the world, while tranquility reflects the way we face ourselves.

~~Sophia Loren, in her book,
Women and Beauty William Morrow and Co., Inc. 1984

Reducing Puffiness under the Eyes

Peel and slice a potato very thinly, and put the slices in the freezer, in a waxed paper or plastic bag. The potato slices will freeze quickly.

Put the chilled potato slices under eyes while lying down, and remove them when they turn brown. If this doesn't work right away, fetch the other frozen potato slices from the freezer and repeat the process.

Another method is to use chilled cucumber slices. I don't know why it works, but it does.

Botox, an Unhealthy Poison

Botox, an unhealthy poison, is used to freeze people's faces. This insanity has consequences. Article in the Telegraph U.K.

Gayelord Hauser's Low-Impact, High Results  Exercise Routine

Excerpt from "Mirror, Mirror, the Book by Gayelord Hauser

Give Yourself Seven Minutes A Day

Now here is some more cheerful news about exercise: it does not have to be a long, complicated, strenuous routine.  All the women - and men, too - who have told me how the successfully made exercise a part of their lives have confirmed my own experience.  A few well-chosen, basic, simple exercises make the best routine.  they can be gone through in a few minutes as part of the getting up, bathing and dressing ritual that begins your day.

I have studied countless exercise routines, American, European and Oriental, for every country has its favorites.  The best ones have been developed out of natural body movements and do not demand a contortionist's or an acrobat's abilities.  Let me give you here my seven basic exercises.  You can do them well and thoroughly in no more than seven minutes of your day, and they will keep you trim and fit all your life.  Remember, we not only exercise to keep slim; we exercise because it helps us to feel so much better and it keeps our "instrument" in tune:

  • Stretch:  Rise up on your toes, arms up, with your hands try to touch the ceiling.  Drop arms.  Relax.  Do ten times.
  • Bend:  Down, down, from the waist, hands reaching for the floor.  Stretch, stretch, until you can touch the floor with the palms of your hands.  the best vitalizing and backache exercise.  Do ten times.
  • Torso Stretch and Twist:  With arms outstretched to the sides, reach to the left, to the right; twist at the waist and reach backward to the left and to the right.  A wonderful and easy twist for keeping waistlines.  Back and forth.  Do ten times.
  • Hip Roll: With hands on hips, rotate the middle, holding shoulders still, first to the left, then to the right.  Do ten times slowly in each direction.
  • Bicycle: For beautiful legs, lie on the floor on your back, legs up, pedal slowly and rhythmically.  The more you breathe the better it feels.  Do for two minutes and relax.Tummy Lift: Pull your abdominal muscles in, hard, harder.  Hold tight for about 30 seconds or until muscles start to quiver, then relax.  Do just once a day, but regularly.
  • Shoulder Shrug: Important for neck, face and scalp.  Lift the shoulders to the ears and hold for ten seconds.  Relax a repeat ten times.

Now shake yourself all over, take a few breaths, and off to your shower or tub.  You have done your muscle work for the day.  Any other exercise, sport or physical work you do will be so much gravy.  Try and make these easy and lazy twists a daily habit.~~Gayelord Hauser, 1895-1984



M-J's Miscellany


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