For body and texture, look inside your bathroom cabinet

Fashion magazines in the past year have encouraged women to look beyond the traditional uses for dry shampoo, mainly to zap oil and odor in dirty hair, to a variety of styling options that add volume and texture.
“One of the best things about dry shampoo is not that it cleans hair, but rather that it gives it that dirty, day-old texture stylists love,” wrote Danielle Pergament in a June issue of Allure.
These products comes in both spray and powder form and cost from a low of about $5.50 for the Tresemme brand to more than $20 for a Rene Furterer.
There’s no need to invest in either. Whether you’re seeking a means to tide over dirty hair until your next wash or add some body to hair that’s one degree too flat, the solution is probably sitting idle and unused in your bathroom cabinet. Simple baby powder will mimic dry shampoo.
I have turned to my $1 bottle of lavender-scented baby powder on days when sleep was more important than washing my hair or when I’m running late for a coffee date with a friend. In addition to rescuing me from that icky, unwashed feeling, it adds body and texture to my heavy hair. My hair often falls flat, especially when it’s well-washed and conditioned, and the powder provides a lovely matte texture. Just be cautious not to use too much, as it will quickly give you an 18th- Century powdered hair look, probably not what you’re going for. Also, beware of getting the powder on your clothes. I usually apply it by flipping my head is upside down. I shake a small amount of powder in my palm and apply to my roots with my fingertips, then even it out with a brush or comb. You can always add more if it’s not enough.
Powder is especially conducive to updos. Apply the powder uniformly to roots to give hair substance and to help secure bobby pins, said Chris McMillan, owner of Chris McMillan, The Salon in Beverly Hills in the Allure article. It’s also great for loose pony tails and braids, which are all the rage.
Here are two other dry shampoo/powder ideas from McMillan:
- Add dry powder to your bangs to prevent them from falling flat.
- For a full look, add mousse or a volumizing spray to damp hair and blow-dry. Then, flip your hair upside down, divide hair into two three-inch sections and apply dry shampoo (or powder) at the scalp. Let it set for a few minutes before standing upright.

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Diet and exercise habits of an Oscars Designer Challenge model

Ashland High School graduate Melinda Rader, now a Los Angeles-based model, has proportions many women, including myself, dream of having. She stands 5-foot-10 and has a circumference of 34-26-36.

On Wednesday, I interviewed her over the phone about her job as a model in the Oscars Designer Challenge for an article published today. A prequisite for the job wearing an Octavio Carlin gown was the ability to carry a water bottle, presumably about the weight of an Oscar statuette, with a steady hand. When she told me some models don’t have the arm strength to hold a water bottle without shaking, I couldn’t resist asking her about her own diet and exercise habits.

Prepare yourself for a severe case of envy. I already had a spell of it yesterday.

Rader, 22, apparently doesn’t need to restrict her diet to fit into a Size 2 nor does she have a regular exercise routine.

Sure, she grew up on the standard Ashland fare of organic food and did gymnastics as a teenager. But in the past year, the only diet change she’s made is to cut out foods with gluten, a protein composite found largely in wheat products.

“When I turned 21, I started having stomach problems, and I found out I’m allergic to gluten,” she said. “Other than that, I have a normal diet, no crazy dieting.”

That’s good to hear, or is it? I had to pause to consider.

It’s refreshing to know a model who doesn’t have to starve herself to maintain her physique and hence, her career. On the other hand, there’s a part of me that yearns to believe that if I eat the perfect diet and exercise daily, one day I will be able to wear a pair of skinny jeans without causing my thighs to resemble encased sausages.

There is something I could do to combat the sausage illusion: I could stop using weights when I’m exercising my legs and try one of the Victoria-Secret-model routines to tone my legs.

But as Rader said, most of her looks come from genetics. That’s actually a liberating thought. It doesn’t free me or anyone else from the responsibility of being our personal best, but it does provide the first step toward accepting that which we cannot change. After all, even after three to six hours of yoga per week, I still haven’t stretched myself past 5-foot-4 ¾, but I have eliminated once-chronic lower back pain.

While you’re working on your own process of self-acceptance, you can find out at 4 p.m. Sunday on the ABC Television Network, local channel KDRV 12, whether Rader and her gown’s designer, Carlin, won the Designer Challenge. The winner gets to hand out the Oscars at the Academy Awards at 5 p.m. the same day. You can also try some of the Oscar snack ideas in the Mail Tribune’s food blog.

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‘Haute economics’ is now a fashion staple

Fashion on a shoe-string budget is nothing new to me. As a journalist, I survive on an anorexic salary.

What has changed is frugal fashion is now the rage due to the recently-departed recession. The economic slump has been so bad that even haute couture designers have had to adapt. You’ll see models fluttering across catwalks with floral summer dresses thrown over long-sleeve winter tops and cozy tights. Breaking out or buying a whole new wardrobe for each new season is, for now, an idea of bygone days.

In celebration of the ongoing trend of “haute economics” (as “T Magazine: The New York Times Style Magazine so appropriately called it) finally falling into step with what I and others have been doing for most of our lives, I debut this blog.

The trend testifies to what I’ve always believed: fashion is a symptom of the human situation. Economics, politics, culture, society, history and globalization are the main forces that affect designers’ decisions and our choices for what to wear.

Last week’s New York Fashion Week, where next fall’s collections were unveiled, reinforced that “haute economics” is going to be hot for a while longer.

Sally Singer, editor in chief of “T Magazine”, outlined in an interview last Thursday with NPR’s Morning Edition how the economy and the growth of the fashion industry in the Middle East and Asia have influenced upcoming fall fashions.

“Ten years ago, 15 years ago, designers thought a woman throws out her whole wardrobe at the beginning of the season and buys full looks,” Singer said. “Overdone. No one has the money. You have to have a look, and you have to add it with a special piece.”

“Everyone shops in a high-low way and saves the best pieces from the seasons and brings them out again,” she added.

Next fall, you’ll see more long sleeves attached to dresses, Singer said. Why? Designers are starting to cater to women in the Middle East, where culture dictates that women cover their shoulders. Dubai, where I recently visited, has become a shopping and fashion center. For example, fashion maestro Giorgio Armani opened up his first hotel in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai about a year ago. There, he sells items from his Privé Collection.

“Long sleeves used to be seen as a very expensive detail to put in a dress,” Singer said. “Now, you’re seeing more sleeves. I love that there are more sleeves, but that probably means that it’s cultures where you need a sleeve that are dictating that to a certain degree.”

Designers also brought down skirt hemlines for next fall, she said. You will see hemlines extending down to mid-calf.

My blog picks up where New York Fashion Week left off by keeping you up to date on the world of fashion. More importantly, I’ll share tips on how to score the best finds at boutiques, thrift stores and department stores, how to modify or accessorize clothes you already have, simple sewing projects and do-it-yourself beauty advice.

While Southern Oregon isn’t a fashion Mecca, we have an adequate ensemble of local boutiques, stylists, costume designers and natural cosmetic makers to contribute to our wardrobe. I’ll talk about local fashion news and Southern Oregon natives off in other places following their dreams of modeling or designing. In tandem, I’ll look outside the valley to national and international trends and how they may manifest here.

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    Paris Achen

    Paris Achen writes stories about fashion and education with the motto that a frugal fashionista must be a well-educated one. Her blog weaves together commentary on fashion, beauty and fun, frugal tips on how to net the looks on the catwalk. You ... Read Full
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