Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A farewell to milk | Lactose-free lifestyle

Growing up I didn't hear much about lactose intolerance. There were occasional mentions on TV, but I never really given much attention to the subject.

My grandma used to say that she had trouble digesting milk, but I just thought "must be an elderly issue"... Plus, she always pourred a dash of milk in her tea.

In my early twenties, I experienced my first symptoms. I could swear my appendix had bursted. It was such a sharp pain and I looked overly bloated all of a sudden.
Most of the times I just felt sick and bloated. The pain fluctuated, depending on what I ate and how much. After a few months, I discovered that I had lactase deficiency, a.k.a. the enzyme that digests lactose.

Let's just say that cheese and ice cream are a no-no. They're the worst! Of course, besides the obvious dairy-based products, I found out that lactose was in most processed foods and "hidden" in a lot of dishes — just think about Italian food!
What I am able to digest is natural or greek yogurt. I believe the probiotics help with lactose digestion.

Luckily, there are lactose-free alternatives nowadays: milk, cheese, cream, ice cream, butter and yogurt. Other alternatives are based on soy, oats or almonds. I suggest testing a little bit of everything.
Pay attention to what you can actually digest (some people just have trouble with milk) and try new products, until you find something  you like. And if you just can't live without the real deal, there's always Lactaid Fast Act!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

MAC concealers

The first trip to a MAC store can be an overwhelming experience. A lot of friends tell me they're still intimidated by the huge selection of products, the myriad of shades and the similar black packaging.

MAC Select Moisturecover  |  MAC Mineralize Concealer  |  MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer
MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer  |  MAC Select Cover-Up

I believe it's important to do your own research, at home, before going out and searching for a specific product.
Take concealers, for example. There are so many textures, finishes and levels of coverage to choose from. Also, the packaging can be quite important, depending on your method of application. Do you worry about bacteria? A squeezy tube would be the ideal choice. Want to save up time? A doe-foot applicator will be your bestie. The key is to make a list of your priorities and check which product ticks more boxes.

If it's essential to keep the skin looking fresh and healthy, more than a totally opaque coverage, go for Mineralize Concealer — or Select Moisturecover, if your skin is really dry. I love wearing this under the eyes during winter months. Being more emollient, you'll need to touch up after a few hours.

When looking for a perfectly opaque, matte coverage for dark circles, blemishes or even tattoos, try Studio Finish SPF35. The formula is a bit waxy, so you'll need to warm it up a bit on the skin, in order to blend it perfectly. It does dry matte, so looks a bit darker afterwards — do test it in the store to check if the shade matches, as you should anyway. Prepare to be amazed by the lasting power and the level of coverage.
Another good option would be Select Cover-Up, a liquid camouflage that looks very natural on the skin. The ideal method of application (for most concealers, but specially this one) is patting or stippling on the desired area and blending outwards, to create a flawless finish.

This post reminds me that I need to sort out my concealer drawer. It's fair to say I have too many concealers...