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Why you need different lotions for your hands and body

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It seems like a big ole waste. At this very moment, your bathroom medicine cabinet is probably filled with various creams designed to protect your skin — there's a cream with SPF, a night cream with retinol, a body lotion that smells like vanilla and a hand lotion because... hold on a minute, your hands are a part of your body — can't you simply kill two birds with one stone (and save money) by using one lotion for everything below your neck?

Well, actually, no — not unless you're satisfied knowing you'll be short-changing your poor hands, which are incredibly susceptible to dry, tight skin, particularly during the winter months.

More: 7 steps to the ultimate home facial for glowing skin

"Although one cannot generalize, most hand lotions are thicker and more emollient than body lotions," says Dr. Christine Choi Kim, a board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist. "There are certainly 'body butters' and thicker body lotions as well. Hand and body lotions, for the most part, could be used interchangeably."

There is one exception to the rule — a caveat that should inspire you to carefully read labels before using your hand cream on your body.

"One exception is that some hand lotions may also have keratolytic (peeling) ingredients such as lactic acid to gently exfoliate as well as moisturize rough skin," Choi Kim says. "Although these formulations could also be used on rough elbows, knees and the bottom of your feet, they may be irritating if used all over the body. Both hand lotions and body lotions may include sunscreen, which is great for daytime protection."

More: What exactly is happening under your skin when you pop a pimple

Some say you can avoid lotion confusion by sticking with what they consider the best product that can add moisture to any part of your body — one you can find in the grocery store: coconut oil.

Miki Spies, a spiritual care giver, credits her soft skin to just that. "I am 48 years old and my skin has never been softer," she says. "A jar of coconut oil costs around six bucks and lasts a long time. When you get out of the shower, lather it on. Apply again before bed."

Bottom line: If you're using natural moisturizers like coconut oil, you may be able to get away with applying them all over your body — hands included. But it isn't recommended that you use hand lotion on the body, nor should body lotion cross over into hands territory unless you've already been blessed with baby-soft hands. On a positive note: You haven't been wasting money all this time — hurray for that!

'Men prefer women with less makeup' tweet gets smackdown it deserves

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More: Teen who posted half-makeup selfie is stunned by the nastiness of strangers

Men prefer less makeup

Men prefer less makeup

While it's not clear what "studies" the tweet is referring to, it would seem that it's referencing research carried out by a team from Bangor University and Aberdeen University in 2014, which found that men like women who wear less makeup, while women like women who wear more.

During the research, women were given different types of foundation, lipstick, blush and mascara and instructed to apply their makeup as if they were going on a night out.

Photographs of the women were altered to produce a range of 21 different images, with the women wearing varying amounts of makeup in each one. The men and women were asked to select the image they found most attractive.

While the women preferred a heavier application, the men chose the models with 40 percent less make up on their faces — a fact that women in 2016 are clearly finding just as interesting as they did back in 2014.

More: Men's perception of beauty isn't what you think

"So if I cake on my makeup stupid a** men will leave me alone?" one woman commented, while another retorted, "Studies show that women don't care."

"Whelp, time to put on more makeup," quipped someone else.

While Google Facts shouldn't be thought of as the fountain of knowledge — this is the account, after all, that provides Twitter followers with such gems as "A chicken named Mike lived for a year and a half without his head" and "All of the Rugrats were voiced by women" — it's easy to understand why this particular tweet has women so riled.

It's just another example, another little corner of the Internet, that puts women down by imposing ridiculous standards of beauty on them.

Quite simply, we can't win. On the one hand, the mainstream media and relentless army of vindictive social media trolls are at the ready to highlight lumps, bumps, wrinkles and blemishes should anyone — celebrity or non-celebrity — dare to "go bare," whether that's by way of a no-makeup selfie or a holiday snap of a bikini bod that doesn't have "perfect" curves and/or abs you could crack ice on.

Then, when women try to cover up what they have been convinced are flaws with makeup or fake tan, they're immediately criticised for caking it on. Because, remember — and this appears to be the most important thing — men don't like women who wear too much makeup.

The researchers behind the 2014 study concluded that women are putting on makeup for a perceived standard of beauty that may not actually exist. "Taken together, these results suggest that women are likely wearing cosmetics to appeal to the mistaken preferences of others," the authors wrote. "These mistaken preferences seem more tied to the perceived expectancies of men, and, to a lesser degree, of women."

Sorry, but no. Whether women put makeup on to feel more confident, simply out of habit or because they love makeup, the response to the Google Facts tweet makes one thing perfectly clear.

Women wear make up for a wide range of reasons, and seeking the approval of men isn't one of them.

More: 11 things that happen when you go makeup-free in public

The Kardashians are being sued for not plugging their own beauty line

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According to Us Weekly, investment group Hillair Capital Management is suing the sisters for $180 million after they put up the money to help "their struggling Kardashian Beauty makeup line after former distributor, Boldface, went belly up amidst legal and financial troubles."

More: "Men prefer women with less makeup" tweet gets smackdown it deserves

"The essence of the parties’ bargain was that Hillair would put up millions of dollars to fund the continued distribution of the Kardashians’ line, and the Kardashians would continue to be the faces of the line, and actively promote, market and support the line…" according to the documents.

Hillair says that the sisters stopped marketing products like the Lip Plumper Shimmer Gloss, Pure Glitz Hairspray and Glimmer Faux Lashes — among dozens of others — after the ink dried on the contract. The reason, the group alleges, is that they were looking for a better offer.

More: Photographer celebrates natural hair with breathtaking project

Hillair is seeking a jury trial to recoup their investment and the value of their equity interest in the beauty line — "between $64 million and $180 million."

Meanwhile, the sisters continue to promote other products. Most recently, Khloé Kardashian was announced as the new face of Kybella, an injectible known to eliminate chin fat.

Why Kybella? She wants injectibles and fillers to be "treated more like makeup" in that it's just a tool in a woman's beauty arsenal. "I'm allowed to contour my face, I have nose contour and cheek contour on, highlighter on, I'm overdrawing my lips, and nobody really says that's crazy," she recently told Glamour.

More: Woman's allergic reaction to hair dye is an important lesson for us all

The 'ideal beauty' model photo proves we have a long way to go

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What do you think is beautiful? So much of the answer to that question depends on how we grew up and what we were exposed to as children.

Canva is a design firm and they took a look at faces in various advertisements and constructed a vision of "ideal beauty" for ads. How it works: These are 10 faces frequently featured in campaigns. Put together, they equal this:

More: Photographer celebrates natural hair with breathtaking project

ideal beauty
Image: Canva

So this is beauty, eh? And they didn't stop with beauty alone. They also looked at car ads and clothing ads and electronic ads, and what they found is that "beauty" really just means uniform. And Caucasian. According to Canva:

"Aesthetics is a major component of advertising (probably the most crucial element of all ads across all forms of media, aside from those obnoxious jingles you hear on the radio), and brand models comprehensively represent the companies in a very important way. When you look at the face of a specific brand, you want to think to yourself, 'I trust that person. I like that person. That person is like me, and I want to buy whatever it is that they are so gosh darn enthusiastic about.'”

More: Woman's allergic reaction to hair dye is an important lesson for us all

Sometimes we can look at pop culture and movies and advertisements and think we are getting more diversity in skin color and body shapes, but then we see something like this and realize how far we still have to go. Trustworthy still means white in many places. This campaign is so important in terms of changing not only beauty "norms," but also in terms of how we view our fellow citizens. Do we automatically trust only people who look like us? And if so: How can we change that so we have a more inclusive society? In the end, that is really good for all of us.

5 at-home anti-aging hacks you can get online

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I'm a big online shopper. You'll find me on Amazon, HSN, Truth in Aging, Overstock, eBay and Dermstore (just to name a few), and I know all our UPS drivers by their first name. I'm admittedly addicted.

More: Injectables might be the latest way to improve your sex life

I can't help but think of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. as I search through the different items, Frownies plastered between her eyebrows as she desperately tried to preserve her looks.

Well, we've come a long way, baby! Now you can find just about anything to improve whatever imperfection you feel needs improving — and it's all online!

1. A solution for droopy eyes

Two-sided tape is the answer. It has been used in Asia for years to lift the upper lid and make the eyes appear more open. It's simple to use and difficult to detect once you apply the rest of your eye makeup. I've made this part of my daily routine. But use it just on one eyelid because it is naturally droopier than the other.

2. Tighten a saggy jawline

Surgical tape use to be the most popular fix for this. However, there are now kits that incorporate tape and plastic wands that hook together under your hair. You can attach the tape to the temple, jaw and/or neck and then strategically style your hair around it. Brilliant!!

3. For all-over facial sagging and wrinkling

The trend has moved toward products you can smear onto your face and under eye to "tighten" the skin as it dries. Most are only good for the day and don't always look perfect, but hey, we're talking about a liquid product and not plastic surgery!

More: 5 simple tips for getting better skin — no matter what your skin type

4. Hilarious — but compelling — Japanese anti-aging trends

Japan's version of Amazon, the Japan Trend Shop, has its own selection of anti-aging devices, and some are downright hilarious yet somehow compelling.

  • There's a plastic "flower" you put into your mouth to do daily facial exercises that looks like it should probably be in the adult-toy section!
  • Another device will either turn up the end of your nose or straighten it, depending on which you prefer.
  • There are contact lenses in every color — or even Hello Kitty. Can you imagine? I don't know if I could stop staring at cute little cats forming a circle around someone's pupil!
  • You'll also find face expanders, face-lifting beanies, tongue-turning facial-exercise devices, a breast-gymnastics night bra, eye-wrinkle vibrators, a wrinkle vacuum and an ear scope with a camera so you can clean your ear while you watch. OK, I love my Q-tips, but that's a bit much!

5. At-home skin-tightening equipment

I've ordered a couple of skin-tightening devices over the years, even though I have stronger, more effective equipment at work. There's just something about being able to treat my skin while catching up on missed shows or watching a football game (something else I'm addicted to)!

My first device came from an American supplier but was made in Korea and not FDA anything. I knew what I was getting into and just loved how effective this device was — until it started giving me nasty shocks during my treatments!

My current device is FDA cleared, and while it's not as effective, I can definitely see a difference in my skin when I use it regularly.

When I tell my patients about great finds online, at first they look at me in that strange way, not quite sure how to take me. After all, telling them about anti-aging devices and products might seem detrimental to my career, but I don't see it that way. I see it as information shared among those of us who enjoy improving our looks. Besides, until there's a Fraxel laser, Botox and Restylane dermal filler for sale on Amazon, I think my job security is just fine.

More: How Lady Gaga helped to cure my driving anxiety

Asking a woman to remove her clothes is not empowering

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Pictures of naked ladies go back at least as far as cave paintings (and probably before then, too). And although the style and standard of beauty may have changed over the millennia, the basic portrayal of butts and boobs has remained a constant. People have been using women's bodies as art, titillation, propaganda, pornography and, my personal favorite, ad campaigns for many, many years.

More: Startling new video shows how women are used as props in ads

There's this new idea that a woman should want to take sexy selfies or pose nude as a way to "empower" other women. Nude, sexy pictures in advertising are many things — and if you enjoy taking them, then more power to you — but they aren't empowerment propaganda for everyone.

A few years ago, I was contacted by a friend of a friend through Facebook who was putting together a retro '50s style photo shoot and asked if I would model. (For the record, I'm not a model, just a girl who collects vintage clothing and loves playing dress up.) I was flattered and immediately said yes.

On the day of the shoot, I showed up with many options of nipped-waist dresses, kitten heels, soft sweaters and red lipstick. The photographer quickly narrowed it down to... the heels and the lipstick. When I balked, the photog pulled out this standard line: "Don't worry. It will feel so empowering! This will be so inspiring for women!"

"How?" I asked. And this is where I should tell you that the photographer was a woman. She stopped for a second, seemingly confused that I didn't agree that flaunting my body was the highest order of feminism.

It seemed to me that taking off my clothing and posing provocatively is a) great for (straight) men and business and b) the opposite of powerful.

More: Kim Kardashian has the perfect (naked) response to slut-shamers

Miranda Kerr, supermodel and Victoria's Secret Angel extraordinaire, made headlines not long ago when she posed in the buff for the cover of Australia's Harper's Bazaar and stores yanked all of the copies off the shelves after people complained about her provocative picture.

Defending the cover, Harper's Bazaar Editor-in-Chief Kellie Hush released a statement saying the image was "artistic" and "empowering" to all women:

“We’re now living in an era of Victoria Secret Angels, stolen nude photos and attempts to break the Internet with reality stars in provocative poses,” Hush said. "Harper’s Bazaar has long celebrated the daring woman — someone with vision, commitment, style — and a total lack of fear. Miranda may be naked, but she’s a trailblazer, and this cover celebrates this.”

I respect Kerr's right to pose however she chooses, and I understand the magazine's drive to make money, but my eyes rolled back into my head so hard when I read this that you could hear them clink. A young, pretty, thin, white lady posing sexy blazes trails for... whom exactly? Other pretty, thin, white ladies posing sexy. That trail is so blazed it's practically a 16-lane superhighway. So naked! Much brave! (I would like to point out that it wasn't Kerr saying these things, just the magazine trying to sell product off her bare back.)

I have seen beautiful nude images of women that are incredibly powerful. They just generally aren't the ones selling things. They're images such as those on The Shape of a Mother — the ones taken for us, by us. The ones that show the beauty and raw power of women of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages doing the things that only women can do.

More: 'Perfect imperfections' photo series celebrates moms beautifully

There's a real danger in teaching girls and women that the best, or only, source of our feminine power is our sexuality. Because that depends on other people finding us sexy, which gives away our power. Telling someone to take off her clothes is not the ultimate compliment, and it's this narrow definition of power that has people questioning whether Hillary Clinton is hot enough to be president of the United States.

We are so, so much more than our possession or lack of conventional beauty. We are sisters, mothers, daughters, lovers, friends and caretakers. We are engineers, presidents, homemakers, astronauts and chefs. We are tall and short; brown, black and white; fat and thin; old and young. We are amazing creatures, and it's those images of women — naked or clothed — that are trailblazing and empowering.

Quadriplegic woman's makeup video shows off her amazing skills

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Meag Gallagher is a comedian, actress, singer and producer who loves makeup; she also happens to be quadriplegic.

More: Makeup giant accused of "neglecting" black British customers

She was unable to use her hands after her 2005 injury, but she regained the use of her hands — which she affectionately refers to as paws — to put on her favorite thing: makeup.

"After my spinal cord injury 10 years ago, it wasn't easy learning to do makeup again, but I figured it out. If I can do it with my Barbie paws, you can, too," she says.

And she's not kidding: Gallagher recently posted a makeup tutorial that demonstrates how she uses a variety of makeup to create a flawless look.

meag gallagher makeup vlog

meag gallagher makeup vlog

"This is not just any makeup tutorial," she says in the YouTube video. "I got special paws, but who cares? I can still make my face look beautiful, thanks to makeup."

More: New chroming trend proves lipstick isn't just for lips (PHOTOS)

The witty vlogger takes viewers through each step by using her "wonky fingers" with some serious humor.

"I thought people would be interested in seeing how I put myself together and maybe that could inspire someone else with their look, whether they're disabled or able-bodied," she told Mic of her inspiration for the video.

And for those with something negative to say? "Get over it," she instructs in the video. "Sometimes I have to put brushes in my mouth to make stuff work."

But her hands can do many things no one thought she'd be able to do after her accident. "I can hold my own wine glasses, apply my makeup with ease and pen nasty notes to my enemies with no trouble."

Please come do my makeup, Meag.

More: Vlogger creates a lipstick robot, but it doesn't exactly work like we hope

Horse fat hand cream caused me to question my life choices

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For a minute, standing there, staring at the bottles of hand cream with real-life horse fat in the ingredients, I waded deep into ethnocentric territory. I spent 60 full seconds frowning upon any company that would take the fat from an innocent, beautiful animal and dump it into a moisturizer.

Then, as I felt the comfortable caress of my leather high-heel shoes, and swapped my plastic shopping bag from one hand to the other so I could reach into my snake-skin purse, I had a moment of clarity.

It turns out I’m also an asshole who uses animal products for beauty and convenience. The truth is, many of us, whether we realize it or not, are using products daily that are derived from animals. Our plastic grocery bags, car tires, perfume and even colored crayons probably have animal byproducts in them.

More: Beauty bloggers are bringing the '80s back with neon makeup

In Asia, eating horse meat is as normal as eating beef in the U.S. In Asia, using the remaining fat is not much different than using rendered beef fat (tallow) or pork fat (lard), which we do here in the United States. When we get down to the matter, it’s easy to see that our love of horses and abject horror of eating them is more about what is normalized within our own culture. Horses are pets; they aren't dinner, and that's what makes it so strange for us.

So — I found a way to compartmentalize my disdain and test this hand cream. I should actually say hand creams, because, for the sake of journalism, I purchased two different brands.

The first time I tried the hand creams, I was out of town and in the midst of a snowstorm. Locked away in a lodge next to a warm fire, I lathered one cream on my left hand and the other on my right.

Within 10 seconds, my right hand felt tingly and irritated. I told myself it was the dry air or the altitude and thought nothing more of it. I noticed that my left hand smelled like plain, regular unscented lotion, a smell I often associate with hospital-grade creams.

More: Why hyaluronic acid could be your ticket to better skin

The ingredients listed on the bottle of lotion I used on my left hand (read: the hand that wasn’t stinging) were: water, stearic acid (which, I just learned is often obtained from animal fat), a long list of things I can’t pronounce, horse fat (12th ingredient) and more ingredients I can’t pronounce. I also noticed that the cream was made in Japan.

Japanese horse fat hand cream
Image: Bryanne Salazar

My right hand (still stinging and now itching a bit) smelled a littler nicer — like white bar soap and day-old potpourri. I don’t know what the actual scent was, though, because the ingredients were written in a foreign language. There was, however, a warning in clear English that read: Be sure that there are no abnormal conditions on the skin when using this product. Stop using if the product is not suited to your skin.

Notice how they made it seem like it was my skin’s fault for the slight tingling and itching?

Important note: I realized while examining the back of the bottle that this hand cream was made in Vietnam. This is remotely concerning because up until now, I have loved just about everything I’ve ever tried from Vietnam. Possibly that’s because it’s always been food related.

Vietnamese horse fat hand cream
Image: Bryanne Salazar

Later that night, I started playing Cards Against Humanity and drinking shots of Fireball (not my finest hour) and fell asleep forgetting that I had hands and horse fat hand cream on them.

The next night, back at home, I decided to try the creams again with my son’s girlfriend. I should note that she did not require any extra encouragement when I disclosed that the hand creams had horse fat. I should also mention that she is part Japanese and always eager to make me happy. I really enjoy this part of our relationship.

With clean, dry skin, we tried the Japanese hand cream on our left hands and the Vietnamese hand cream on our right ones.

hand models trying horse fat hand cream
Image: Bryanne Salazar

Unfortunately, my prior experience with the Vietnamese horse fat lotion wasn’t a fluke. Within seconds both of our right hands (and forearms, I accidentally squeezed too much from the bottle) were red, itchy and burning. My son's girlfriend gave me an accusatory glance before I took the following picture of her mildly rashy arm.

slightly rashy arm
Image: Bryanne Salazar

Our left hands, while not burning, felt tight and unmoisturized. I am a chronic hand-cream applier and feel that I know a thing or two when it comes to soft hands. The cream honestly felt like it did nothing to moisten my just-washed skin. There were still visible lines where my skin was thirsting and begging for something to hydrate it.

More: Adele's iconic eye makeup look broken down, step by step

To top it all off, it came from horses. OK, I know I said I could compartmentalize, but I think I lied. Maybe had the products yielded super soft, supple skin, I would have been able to rationalize it the same way I do a juicy steak or hair products that were probably tested on adorable monkeys, and I love monkeys.

But the thing is, the creams didn’t work, and at the end of the day I had to look at my grossly under-moisturized hands and know that horse fat was on them.

Horse fat hand cream, therefore, does not get my vote. For now, I’ll continue my search for unique, awesome beauty products — and stay far away from ones that have pretty horses in them.

The cute (and affordable) dress Malia Obama wore in Cuba is still available

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It looks like her daughters are following in her well-heeled footsteps. Malia Obama was spotted wearing an ASOS dress during the first family's historic trip to Cuba. The ASOS Dity Floral Skater Dress features a contrasting floral top and skirt for the affordable price of $48.

More: Old Navy is making it possible to wear white jeans and live life

And it's still available — as of now — but you'll have to act quickly as only a couple of sizes are left.

Asos Malia Obama
Image: ASOS

Malia paired the dress with some cute white platform sneakers — a totally on-trend (and '90s throwback) look that's an example of how she's evolved fashion-wise as she's grown through her teenage years in the White House.

She's had a great teacher; the FLOTUS' personal style has been closely watched over the years, all starting with the white Jason Wu gown she wore during the 2008 Inaugural Ball. It's easy to argue that she's the most fashionable first lady ever — even more than Jackie O — thanks to her approachable style.

More: 12 '90s fashions you can wear with modern flair

"We get the very strong feeling that if Michelle loves a dress it isn't because it comes with a high price tag - it's because it makes her happy or feel good," Mandi Norwood, author of Michelle Style, told Marie Claire. "For so many years, women have felt that they have to spend a lot of money and wear designer labels to be truly stylish. Not so, says Michelle Obama, who proves you can dress from Talbots, Gap, J Crew, White House Black Market and look completely on point fashion-wise."

More: The most extraordinary styles at Tokyo Fashion Week (PHOTOS)

Now it's Malia's time to turn heads sartorially — and she's off to a fabulous start.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

obama daughters
Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images ; Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Now you can braid hair in Nebraska without getting arrested

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Business was so big that she eventually contacted the state of Nebraska to find out the licensing requirements to open her own studio. That's when everything came crashing down.

More: Photographer celebrates natural hair with breathtaking project

"She answered that I needed a cosmetologist’s license," McMorris told the Omaha World Herald of her conversation with the state official. "She told me, ‘You’re breaking the law and need to stop.’"

So, the Omaha woman did just that. "I didn’t take one red cent from anyone from the day I got off the phone with her." The reason: Nebraska law required a cosmetology license for hair braiding, something that costs nearly $20,000 and two years to obtain.

Instead of waiting around, McMorris worked with a Nebraska state senator to introduce a bill that lifted that requirement.

More: Canadian woman sent home from work for not wearing her hair straight

"For somebody who is a young single female, potentially a young single mom, who doesn’t have a lot [of] resources and is already struggling to make ends meet, cosmetology in the state of Nebraska is expensive," Senator Nicole Fox told The Daily Signal.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed it into law earlier this month, making the state one of 16 that doesn't require cosmetology degrees in order to braid hair. Fifteen U.S. states still require the specialty license in order to braid hair legally, while the remaining states (and Washington, D.C.) require 1,000 hours of cosmetology training to be legal as a hair braider.

Lifting the barrier helps entrepreneurs like McMorris make money without going through an arduous and costly process, Fox said.

More: Woman's allergic reaction to hair dye is an important lesson for us all

"It’s the pursuing of the American Dream," she told the website. "I think when you start taking risks and accomplishing things, it kind of makes you, the entrepreneur, set the bar higher and try to accomplish more."

The latest all-black tattoo trend is not for the faint of heart

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Singapore-based tattoo artist Chester Lee has gained quite a following on Instagram for his all-black tattooing work that he refers to as "blackout" tattoos.

More: 13 chic finger tattoos that will make you want to head to the parlour immediately

The blackout tattoos are pretty much what you'd imagine them to be: blocks of ink that cover large portions — or even whole sections — of the body.

blackout tattoo 1

blackout tattoo 1

"I had been suggesting the blackout tattoos for massive cover-ups, and slowly letting people see the beauty in black work," the tattooer told People. "It's an acquired taste."

Plus, you need a pretty big tolerance for pain. Take the most painful tattoo you've had inked on your body and multiply that by a billion.

blackout tattoo 3

blackout tattoo 3

"Slowly the new generation is appreciating the cleanliness of this kind of work, and the art of looking at just shapes and lines that emphasize the contours of the body," Lee added.

More: 11 best places to get a tattoo you can hide

He's not just a provider of the tattoos; he's also a fan. Lee told People that he has his full arm and portions of his face and eyes blacked out. He also has the whites of his eyes tattooed black.

blackout tattoo 2

blackout tattoo 2

"It does not appeal to everyone," Lee continued. "But maybe one day the common crowd will appreciate the beauty in the lines of black work."

I believe we should all have the right to adorn our bodies as we see fit — and many of the designs he posts on Instagram are gorgeous — but I'll be sticking to my basic flower and butterfly tattoos. Those are about as intense as I get.

More: 13 gorgeous tattoos inspired by female writers

Finding my personal style with dwarfism meant breaking all of fashion's rules

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I'm a little person who loves clothes, but being an adult woman at the childish height of 4'10" and defining my own personal style unlike that of a 9-year-old is a lot like running a marathon in a pair of Alexander McQueen jellyfish stilettos — impossible and ridiculously painful. The truth is, fashion isn't a little matter for little people.

As the only person in my family with diastrophic dysplasia, one of the rarest forms of dwarfism, I spent my childhood enduring joint pain, muscle stiffness and undergoing multiple corrective surgeries to fix my bowing bones. Sure, there were times I enjoyed the mall with my friends, but as a teenager I felt banished and bound to stores geared toward tiny tots. I frowned within the Limited Too and other juniors' departments while my peers enjoyed The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Delia's (a popular store in the '90s). Floral baby doll dresses, mixed prints, layered plaids, oversized Keith Haring and graphic tees, angora cropped sweaters with miniskirts and thigh-high stockings (Thank you, Alicia Silverstone) — I envied not so much the styles but the ability others had to choose that style should they want to.

More: My dwarfism made losing my virginity a battle against myself

At 15, I left high school to undergo the bone lengthening surgery. Determined to gain independence, I lengthened my bones an amazing 14 inches — the most anyone with diastrophic dysplasia has ever obtained. It was grueling, and during the process I could wear nothing but men's XL boxers, fluffy soft socks for my swollen feet and loose tank tops. These items made tasks like using the toilet easier, but they made me feel ugly.

During the hot summer days of my rehabilitation, my best friend Mike drove to my house in his beautiful black truck. He always dressed nicely and was known to create fashion movements of his own. While I healed in my Posturepedic bed, he'd throw mulch chips at my second-floor bedroom window.

"Babes! Open the garage door and let me in!" he'd yell. Embarrassed by my clothes, I refused. One time I even pretended not to be home — a decision I'd later regret. I was dressed nothing like the girls he was accustomed to being around — freshly painted toenails to match their pretty flip flops, denim shorts that hugged the butt and fitted tanks. No. I had to hold up my boxer shorts with safety pins for Christ's sake. My appearance, I was certain, would mortify him.

More wood chips struck my window. "Fine!" he yelled louder, getting the hint. "Be this way!" Then he drove off. He called that evening and hit me with a barrage of expletives. Even though he was my best friend, there were things he didn't understand.

Yes, the lengthening procedure gave me a sense of independence. At home, I could see over the kitchen counter, reach my own juice in the fridge and grip and unlatch window locks to let in a warm breeze. Out in town, I could see over the clothing racks, push elevator buttons and scan my card in Square credit kiosks at the cashier, but none of it mattered. I didn't feel comfortable enough to buy a thing. So, I tried to make what I had work.

More: 15 disabilities you can't see with the naked eye

"What are you doing?!" my mom demanded one day when she entered my room and found me using a razor blade to scrape the decal "Cute" off the chest of my shirt. There were daisies and glitter tulips surrounding the letters that had to go, too. Frustrated, in that moment and for the first time, I wondered, "What exactly is my style?" As a woman with dwarfism, were there specific fashion rules I had to adhere to? Even after limb lengthening, could I pull off wearing stripes? Patterns? No patterns? And what about colors like oranges and greens? Or no, because regardless of my surgeries, I'll remind others of an Oompa Loompa?

I spent so much time flipping through magazines like W, Allure and Glamour that I noticed I gravitated toward these things: edgy accessories that were structured and hardcore like the wires and rods that once strung through my body. I wanted to evoke that androgynous femme fatale rebellious attitude as Marlene Dietrich had done in her day. To me, it embodied all I had endured. At the same time, I wanted to be playful with color and lots and lots of sparkle. Think Katy Perry but without all that candy stuff.

Back in the mall, when it came time to finding these pieces and trying them on, the clothes didn't fit me as I had envisioned. A reality I was unprepared for. Again, I developed confidence through surgery but lost it through the double doors of Macy's.

One Thursday night in the summer of 2001, I grew tired of perseverating around the issue. I just wanted to go out to dinner with my mom. We ended up at T.G.I. Friday's in Marlborough, Massachusetts. I pulled an outfit out of my closet I felt comfortable in — pink denim jeans cut at the bottoms and frayed (with three perfectly cut and frayed holes in the knees to match), Timberland boots and a bold tan-and-white striped short-sleeved top. I let my brown hair fall freely and completed my look with a Swarovski headband. I even plastered on some lip gloss and glitter eyeshadow.

To my horror, just before our appetizer was served, Mike walked in. Of all the restaurants in all of Marlborough, he had to walk into mine. And with him, his entourage of stylish "it" girls. I hid behind my menu as he headed in my direction with his squad. "You look great, babes!" he shouted. I blushed. He continued, "You need to dress this way more often." I asked, "Why?" His answer sent me figuratively across the room. He replied, "Because it brings out your smile."

That outfit was the last ensemble I'd see him in alive. Mike committed suicide about a week later.

After a time, I gathered the courage to enter the double doors of Macy's again. I looked at all mannequins decked out in outfits I adored. Then I finally said it: "F*** it!"

I gathered every item of clothing I loved but was always too insecure to try on — sheer quarter-sleeved tops with sequins sewn in, tank tops to wear underneath and denim shorts. And not just black combat boots but pink ones, blue ones and platform glitter sneakers. Leather jackets and, damn it all, even leopard prints. I experimented with it all. Before I could dress myself in anything, I had to strip down and embrace that which made me unique — big butt, wide hips, even my scars.

More: Models with disabilities just took over Fashion Week (PHOTOS)

Truth is, there are many challenges women with dwarfism face when it comes to shopping for clothes. There's not much of a selection. We do have to pay careful attention to the direction we go with our style. We damn near have to become our own seamstress and designer just to look presentable. Even our shoes have to be specially made — Project Runway has nothing on this community.

Here's another truth: Women of all shapes and sizes face challenges shopping for clothes. Having dwarfism or being handicapped doesn't make us special in this arena. In 2012, for the release of my memoir, Dwarf: How One Woman Fought for A Body — and a Life She Was Never Supposed to Have, I had the honor of doing a photo shoot for one of the very magazines I used to study — Allure. And I was dressed by one of the most talented teams of stylists in New York City. Together, they mirrored what Mike tried to convince me of — the journey to finding one's style is about playing with trends and figuring out what makes you feel comfortable.

For me, puffy-poofy or pleated skirts, tunics, boxy tops, oversized layering with matching oversized bags and hats, shirt dresses, Bermuda shorts these are all major fashion no-nos. Then again, if I really love one of those aforementioned items, screw the rules. The color green or orange, loud crystal embellishments and those looks from strangers? Yeah, I'll take those, too.

Mike's death proved we all have insecurities — some you see and some you don't. Fashion is not just about clothes. It's about showing the world who we are. It reflects how we feel on the inside. I still have that outfit from T.G.I. Friday's. It reminds me that style cannot be found by sifting through the racks. Rather, style is defined by attitude. And being a fashionable person is always about risks and taking what is, changing it and making it your own.

Thigh gap jewellery exists — but it's not what it seems

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More: Thigh gap to finger trap: We are measuring beauty all wrong

To hold the thigh gap up as some kind of beauty standard is damaging because it's simply impossible for some people to achieve it — and those who have one naturally while being perfectly healthy and not at all interested in social media trends shouldn't have to justify the shape of their bodies.

My first reaction when I first saw TGap Jewellery's thigh gap jewellery was disbelief. For about five seconds before I remembered that this is the Internet and everything is not always as it seems.

Thigh gap jewellery
Image: TGap Jewellery
thigh gap jewellery
Image: TGap Jewellery

Sure enough TGap's range of bronze-based, 18 karat gold-plated, adjustable chains, designed to be worn around the thighs, isn't actually a real jewellery collection. TGap itself is a fictional company that has been created to "catalyze a debate on [the] unrealistic body image social media portrays."

More: Why calling out thigh gaps in ads hurts more than it helps

"Thigh gap represents one of the first few trends regarding body ideals the media has popularised," TGap Singaporean designer Soo Kyung Bae told Dezeen. "It clearly demonstrates media's power on influencing one's perception of body image [sic].

"The jewellery pieces take the thigh-gap trend to another level, the pieces are created in hopes of sparking questions. If we let the media to keep popularising such unrealistic body ideal, will this eventually become reality? [sic]"

After the website was launched last week Bae received a lot of shocked, enraged and confused comments. But, as the truth behind the website was revealed, she said people were "appreciative" of her attempt to bring awareness to the issue.

"By using outrageous products, I hope to bring a provocative jolt that leads us to ponder and reflect upon what we are like as a society and the absurd things we value and obsess over — as well as how this creates unnecessary pressure for women and girls," she said.

Bae makes valid points and her concept is clever. But is spoof thigh gap jewellery the way to bring awareness to the issue? Do we really need to ask any more questions?

Instead of continuing to talk about thigh gaps or whatever ridiculous new body comparison trend is going viral, couldn't we simply celebrate the fact that all bodies are different — and beautiful in their own right?

Those who take dieting to the extreme in order to achieve a completely unrealistic notion of beauty need professional help, not pretend jewellery.

If you've been affected by any of the issues in this article please contact Beat or Mind for information and support.

More: New "highbrow" hashtag craze could be new "thigh gap"

MAC is making Star Trek makeup for the nerd in all of us

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Prepare yourselves, Star Trek fans. MAC just announced it'll be celebrating the iconic show's 50th anniversary with an exclusive Star Trek-inspired makeup line. You know how awesome those space-age ladies looked? Well, now you can master their intergalactic beauty secrets yourself. However, you will have to wait till September before you can set your phasers to stunning, because that's the month the show officially premiered all those years ago.

More: Thigh gap jewellery exists — but it's not what it seems

Even if you're not a Trekkie, this news is pretty exciting. Star Trek was not exactly known for its conventional beauties, so MAC's new line shows it's all for propelling strong, diverse women into the spotlight.

Star Trek is an iconic pop culture phenomena whose storylines pushed gender and racial boundaries,” said MAC senior vice president and group creative director James Gager in a press statement. “For its 50th anniversary, we celebrate each of Star Trek’s powerful women in a transcending, transformational makeup collection.”

Image: Mac/Star Trek

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Check out that diversity! So far the collection will feature 25 makeup pieces, which will include nail polish, lipsticks and eyeshadows. Hopefully it'll also have some skin tinter in there for the ladies who are bold enough to go full Vina, the Orion Girl:

Image: Star Trek/Paramount Television

Needless to say, Trekkies everywhere have been going nuts over this news. If you too are chomping at the bit for your own Deanna Troi eyeshadow pencils, you can officially start buying them online on Aug. 25 — a full five days before they go on sale in stores. Die-hard fans can get their hands on products at MAC Gaslamp in San Diego on July 21, which is unsurprisingly not far from the San Diego Comic-Con.

In the meantime, feel free to go nuts with anticipation by following #MACStarTrek and studying Star Trek-inspired makeup tutorials on YouTube.

More: Quadriplegic woman's makeup video shows off her amazing skills

New pubic hair beauty oil is appropriately named Fur

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Ah, pubic hair — the enemy of women the world over. We spend so much time, money and effort on landscaping our intimate area because we were once told it was unsightly and even unhygienic. But is it really either of those things?

It's certainly not unhygienic, according to science. In fact, part of its evolutionary purpose is to protect us from bacteria-borne diseases. As far as being unsightly, I suppose that's a judgment call, but riddle me this — did you ever look at a Renaissance nude with pubic hair and go "ew"? Yet for some reason our modern culture has developed such a strong stigma around it (especially on women) that we feel it's our obligation to regularly exorcise those dark, nether region curls.

More: Now you can braid hair in Nebraska without getting arrested

I'm ready for the trend to be over. I'd like to put down my razor and embrace my pubes again. If you feel similarly, there's a new product on the market that will help you welcome back your pubic hair in style and make it feel softer than it ever has before. It's called Fur, and it's a luxurious hair oil specifically for your bush.

The brand's tagline says is all: 

"Few things in life are certain, but pubic hair is one of them. Fur is the first line of products that cares for pubic hair and skin. Our products give your pubes a chance."

Fur

Fur

The best part is, unlike the rest of the world, the brand doesn't discriminate against people who still want to remove their hair down there. Instead, they offer a specific product to help them with their stubble.

More: Women banned from Instagram for being too hairy down there

However, they do want to encourage you to let your pubes grow free again. The creators, like me, are tired of this all-bare trend that's been going on for far too long. It's time for us to return to our roots and remember why our bodies created pubes in the first place.

The company was founded by two sisters — Laura and Emily Schubert — who fervently believe we need to change how we treat the most delicate part of our bodies. "Our pubes are handled as a problem, and removal as the primary treatment," Laura told Fader. "[However], there is something supremely elegant in accepting and caring for what comes naturally to you."

If we change how we look after our downstairs areas (I'll stop with the euphemisms), perhaps our attitude toward our natural, furry state will change too. I, for one, welcome a product that would teach us to treat our pubes like men treat their beards — with respect.

So far the Schubert sisters have had a lot of positive reinforcement from the press but a lot of divided opinions from the average consumer. "I find people either love it or they hate it," said Laura. That's to be expected considering it's a totally new concept. However, the girls are not discouraged. It means Fur is intriguing enough to spark debate, which usually indicates that a change in perception isn't too far behind.

I, for one, will be ordering a bottle just as soon as my pubes grow back, although it might take a moment, as they've endured more than a decade of shaving, waxing and depilatory-ing.

Swim leggings make it possible to wear your fave pants to the beach

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Target's upcoming design collaboration with the Finnish design brand Marimekko will include super-cute swim leggings. The Marimekko for Target line will include a black and white floral "Paprika" print and a blue and white "Lokki" print.

More: New pubic hair beauty oil is appropriately named Fur

It might seem a little strange at first glance, but swim leggings aren't exactly a new thing. Traditional wetsuits — used for surfing and other ocean activities — are basically swim leggings, albeit in a heavier material.

And that's exactly what Target is going for.

marimekko swim leggings
Image: Target

“A majority of the apparel focuses on swimwear as it ties back to the idea of creating an eternal summer,” Target said, according to Yahoo! Style. “The swim leggings are a different take on the traditional full body wetsuit and can be paired with the long-sleeve rash guard tops that are part of the collection as well.” 

More: Asking a woman to remove her clothes is not empowering

A quick search on Google nets dozens of other options for swim leggings from a variety of brands in a variety of cute patterns — some cut as full-length pants, others in a more capri-like style.

The real reason we love these swim leggings? They give those who want a more conservative look another option when hitting the pool or beach. Some people want to rock bikinis; others don't. The most important thing is wearing what makes you most comfortable.

The Marimekko for Target swim leggings will retail for $25 when the collection launches on April 17.

More: Thigh gap jewellery exists — but it's not what it seems

10 starter beauty products for glitter virgins

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Over the years, glitter has gotten a reputation for being slightly tacky, something that should be reserved for Halloween, nights at the club, or in the case of one very puzzling social media trend: beards. But all that’s changing, thanks to the fact that high-fashion runways are embracing glitz in a very real way.

More: The glitter eye makeup tutorial for grown-ups

Just look at the most recent round of shows: For Fall 2016, Marc Jacobs had models take the catwalk with their hair covered in a dark glittery film, Opening Ceremony smeared silver sparkles across ears and cheekbones, and Kenzo experimented with a shiny cat-eye. Even Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry—two typically subdued labels—saw makeup artists experimenting with glitter-accented eyes and cheeks.

MAC Glitter eye makeup

MAC Glitter eye makeup

Personally, I’m of the mind that glitter can be worn anywhere, at any time of day. My bedroom floor always has a trail of sparkles from the amount of shiny, sequin-flecked shoes I own, and I’ve long integrated shine-friendly products into my beauty arsenal–whether it’s a glitter hairspray or embellished polish.

More: 10 no fuss, "it" girl-approved hairstyles for short hair

But if you’re not sure how to take on the beauty trend, I suggest you start small by lining your upper lid with a liquid glitter liner. A little goes a long way–and you might be surprised at just how wearable it actually is. Shop 10 more options above to help you get the look.

Glitter product guide

1. Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner (Sephora $20)

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner
Image: Sephora

2. Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer - Glitter Nail Polish (Sephora $20)

Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer - Glitter Nail Polish
Image: Sephora

3. Lime Crime Zodiac Eye Glitter - Aquarius (Amazon)

Lime Crime Zodiac Eye Glitter - Aquarius
Image: Amazon

4. Joico Pink Dust Shimmer Finishing Spray (Loxa Beauty $7)

Joico Pink Dust Shimmer Finishing Spray
Image: Loxa Beaity

5. Make Up For Ever Glitters (Sephora $15)

Make Up For Ever Glitters
Image: Sephora

6.Glitter lipstick (Stargazer $4 GBP)

Glitter lipstick
Image: Stargazer

7.Sally Hansen Big Top Coat Treatment, Glitter - Blue Moonlight (Drugstore.com $6)

Sally Hansen Big Top Coat Treatment, Glitter - Blue Moonlight
Image: Drugstore.com

8. Major Moonshine Hair Glitter (Urban Outfitters $28)

Major Moonshine Hair Glitter
Image: Urban Outfitters

9.Wet n Wild Color Icon Glitter Single, Spiked (Drugstore.com $6)

Wet n Wild Color Icon Glitter Single, Spiked
Image: Drugstore.com

10. Pressed Glitter: Out of this world (Glitter Injections $13)

Pressed Glitter: Out of this world
Image: Glitter Injections

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14 skin care oils for every kind of beauty need

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We get it.

While it's true that oily skin isn't usually a good thing, there are tons of oils out there that can do everything from moisturize and revitalize to protect and heal your skin. There are even some natural oils that actually work to reduce the oil in your skin.

Not everyone's skin is the same, so it's important to try a few different oils and see what works best for you. And as is true when trying any new skin product, try a small amount on your arm or someplace inconspicuous before attempting a large application.

Dove oil info

Dove oil info

This post was sponsored by Dove.

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High-fashion footwear finally realises that 'nude' comes in all shades

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More: Makeup giant accused of 'neglecting' black British customers

For too long, "nude" has been used in fashion to refer to lipstick, underwear, tights and shoes to match one skin tone only — no prizes for guessing what the default "nude" is. But things are slowly changing.

Over the last couple of years, more lingerie and hosiery brands have expanded their ranges to acknowledge the fact that skin comes in more colors than sand, and in March the BBC announced that ballet shoes will soon be available for non-white dancers. A collaboration between ballet shoe manufacturer Bloch and Royal Ballet soloist Eric Underwood has led to the production of what they claim is the world's first black flesh-tone ballet shoe, coined "Eric Tan."

And now, French designer Christian Louboutin has launched a collection of ballet flats (for non-dancers, this time) in shades to suit all skin tones.

The beautiful, pointed-toe Solasofia ballerina flat is available in seven versatile shades of nude to "ensure every woman can meet her match."

Nude loubs 2

Nude loubs 2

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In 2013 Louboutin launched his "Nudes For All" collection of heeled pumps with the signature red sole, and the new range includes two more shades: "Porcelain" and "Deep chocolate."

Nude loubs 3

Nude loubs 3

The news of the new shades has been well received by Louboutin fans on social media.

Twitter user @historyinpearls wrote: "I’ve never really been a Louboutin fan but I kind of love him for making his line of nude shoes in seven different shades," while @Jaxsapreincess tweeted: "I don't need food coffee or sleep to get me through this week but I NEED a pair of the nude Christian Louboutin flats."

Another commenter pointed out that Louboutin is "the only luxury brand that does this," adding, "They may 'only’ be shoes but you’re making a difference by designing and retailing inclusiveness and diversity."

The new nude Loubs are excellent news for women who have struggled to find skin-tone shoes darker than beige, ivory or sand. However, not everyone sees the range as being for "every woman." At $595 a pair, the Christian Louboutin Solasofia ballet flat certainly doesn’t suit all budgets, and the "Señora" open-toe pump and signature "Pigalle Follies" stiletto are even pricier.

Come on high street, let’s see you follow in those inclusive, red-soled footsteps.

Nude loubs

Nude loubs

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How to get rid of yellow nails — the downside to being a true polish junkie

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If your natural nails have seen better days, they may be crying out for some TLC. Yellow, stained nails are more common than you think (and are pretty easy to hide with another coat of nail polish), but they could also be a sign that your nail health is in trouble.

More: Opal nail trend will turn your nails into precious gems

So what causes yellow nails?

Most commonly, yellow nails are caused by our beloved nail polish. The darker polishes especially take a toll on your nails, leaving them stained with leftover dyes. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by always using a clear base coat. Not only does a base coat increase the life of your nail polish, but it also seals and protects the nail plates from staining. We love Salon Manicure Smooth and Strong Base Coat (Sally Hansen, $9).

Holly L. Schippers, CND Education Ambassador and Empower Nail Art Lead Educator at FingerNailFixer®, agrees that the best anti-yellowing tip by far is prevention, saying, "Using a base coat with polishes that need them and the daily application of a high-quality nail oil containing jojoba or squalene will protect the nails from staining."

The next biggest cause of yellow nails is the tar and nicotine from cigarettes. If you are a smoker, the best way to stop the yellowing of your nails is to stop smoking! OK, we know quitting is difficult, but we can't change the facts.

More: The icicle nails trend is taking over Instagram

If none of these shoes fit, there could be a medical factor at play, meaning that you may need to get yourself to a dermatologist posthaste. RealSelf Contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains, "Fungal infection is one of the most common causes of yellow nails. Other symptoms include flaking and peeling of the nail, along with an unpleasant odor. As the infection worsens, the nail bed could retract, causing nails to thicken and crumble." He adds, "A change in the color of your nails can also be a sign of something more serious. Thyroid, liver and lung diseases can all cause yellowing of the nails, as well as nutritional deficiencies like low iron or zinc."

While there are over-the-counter treatments for yellow nails caused by fungal infection, Dr. Schlessinger recommends visiting your dermatologist first of all. Prescriptions are far more effective than OTC, he says, "Plus, by seeing a medical professional, you’ll get a proper diagnosis and the best treatment for your needs."

How to fix your yellow nail problem

Besides ditching the cigs and using a base coat, keep these tricks up your sleeve:

  • Lemon juice: Soaking your nails in lemon juice will get rid of those yellow stains. Soak your nails for 10 to 15 minutes each day until you are happy with the results.
  • Peroxide and baking soda: Mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 2-1/2 tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab, cover your entire fingernail with the paste. Leave this mixture on for three minutes, then rinse. This treatment should be repeated every six to eight weeks. If you don't have baking soda on hand, Dr. Schlessinger says water can work just as well: "You can try mixing one part hydrogen peroxide in three parts water to whiten nails. Place the mixture in a small bowl and soak your nails for 10 minutes. Be sure to rinse your nails really well afterward and apply hand cream or cuticle oil."
  • Whitening toothpaste: In order to get rid of immediate nail stains such as pink nails from wearing red nail polish, try scrubbing a whitening toothpaste on your nails using a nail brush. Remember, this is not for long-term stains.
  • Light buffing: The top layer of your nails is where the yellow stains are. By buffing your nails you will get rid of the top layers, removing some of the stains. While this method may work, buffing your nails is not recommended because it can lead to weaker nails. "This removes layers of the nail plate and can lead to splitting and peeling," says Schippers. If you choose to buff your nails, try using a clear strengthening polish after. We recommend OPI's Nail Envy Nail Strengthener Original Formula (Ulta, $18).

And when all else fails and you can't get those yellow stains to budge, consider this the perfect excuse to get a professional salon manicure (as if you needed a reason to treat yo' self). Schippers says, "Usually, there's a thin film of transparent tissue covering the nail plate, this is the cuticle. Most times, simply having a great salon manicure in which the tech knows the difference between cuticle and eponychium can solve the problem, as when they remove the cuticle the stain goes with it." She advises, "For at home, a soft manicure brush or old worn toothbrush with some soap and water can lighten the stain."

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 3/24/2016