Dance Health

It’s Back to School! Are you ready?

How to start the new season looking and feeling your very best.

By Christine Dion of Mode Dion.

Back to school means more demands on your time. Planning a busy schedule and finding time to keep your looks up can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the busy season ahead.

Get organized: As seasons change so do your clothing choices. Put away clothes you’re not planning to wear for the next few months. Have front and center clothing combinations so it’s easy to look your best. Now is the time to mend, wash and repair clothing and shoes so they are ready to go!

Mode DionTime to toss: Go through your makeup and throw out anything that doesn’t look good on you. Why hold onto colors that don’t help you look your best and that you risk applying when in a hurry?  Throw out old products that are starting to get old, smell funny or separate.  It’s not always easy to know when the time has come, so here is a time line of expiration dates on your favorite basic cosmetic must haves:

Foundation and Moisturizers:  Up to 2 years, but most last only about a year. Increase the last by dipping a Q-tip into the bottle instead of fingers that can easily introduce bacteria and cause spoiling. When products start to separate, change consistency or smell funny, then it’s time to toss them.

Concealer/Cover up:  Up to 2-5 years, until product smells or separates.

Face Powder:  Loose powder can last up to 3 years or more if it doesn’t begin to smell bad.  Compact powder can harden and change color from your skin oils getting onto the surface.  Bacteria can build up easily on these as well.  Refresh compact powder, reduce bacteria and increase the last, by scratching off the surface layer with a clean toothbrush. Replace compact puff regularly and wash compact sponges weekly to increase last.

Cheek Color: Like a compact powder, bacteria can build up and powder can harden.  Treat with the toothbrush technique and keep for 2-3 years.

Eye Shadows: Keep top layer clean and these should last up to 3-4 years.  Look for color changes, bad smells, and itchy eyes to point the way to the trash.

Eye liners and Lip liners:  These can last a long time if you keep them well sharpened.  For lip and eye pencils, look for moldy build up and a change in texture as a signal they’ve gone bad.  Liquid liners last about 1 year because of a higher risk of bacteria build up.  To keep fresh longer, use a separate clean brush to apply instead of the one that goes back into the container.

Mascara: 4 months after it has been opened, mascara begins to harbor bacteria build up that can cause infection and eye irritation.  Pumping mascara will push air into the chamber causing a faster dry out time.  Instead, stir the wand in the chamber before applying.

Lipstick: After 2-3 years, color and texture change and bacteria starts to build up. Wipe lipsticks clean regularly to keep fresh.

Face Masks (creamy): 6 months to 1 year.

Nail Polish:  2 years, give or take.

Fragrance: Keep your fragrance out of sunlight in a dry cool place.  Most people keep their fragrance in the bathroom, which is the worst place of all. Fragrance should last from 3-6 years if cared for correctly.

How to care for your products, keep them fresh and help them last.

  • Store products in a cool dark place like the fridge (cold is a bacteria inhibitor) or a box.  Keep out of sunlight and warm humid places such as the bathroom.
  • Shake up liquids every once in a while.  If pigments separate and don’t shake back together, toss the product.
  • Avoid touching products with your fingers (bacteria).  Use sponges, brushes and Q-tips whenever you can.
  • Keep lids closed tightly.
  • Never share products.

Keep makeup brushes clean! These tools not only need to be washed once a week to  control bacteria and prevent breakouts but also to keep the makeup products you use them on clean for a longer last.  Here’s the best way to wash your make-up brushes:

1. Fill bowl with warm water.

2. Add one squirt of dish washing liquid or baby shampoo.

3. Swish brushes into water and gently work soap through hairs.

4. Empty water and fill bowl again with fresh warm water.

5. Repeat until water is clear and brushes have no trace of soap.

6. Pat on to dry towel and lay flat on dry towel until dry.

Tip: Never soak brushes, as the wood will expand and the hairs will fall out. Never dry brushes standing up as moisture can pool at the base where the hairs are glued, start to cause rotting and the hairs will fall out.  Good makeup brushes can bring you many years of wonderful use with proper care.

Be prepared: Pack a tote bag with extra’s you might need through your busy day. Be sure to have healthy snacks like raw nuts or seeds for protein and energy, quality meal replacement bars so you can avoid junk food temptations, fruits and other healthy choices to keep you on track. Have water always available to remind you to drink fluids. Include band-aids, safety pins, feminine products, aspirin, Tums, breath mints, deodorant, extra pair of tights, paper and pen, scotch tape, socks, nail clipper/file, little scissors and tweezers. Round up your small travel bottles, clean them out and create a skin care set (wash, toner, moisturizer, body lotion) for on the go.  Always rehearse in clean skin. Be sure to have a plastic sandwich bag filled with cotton squares and Q-tips for quick clean up from school to the studio. A hair brush, hair spray, hair tie/band/clips are a must to keep your hair away from facial skin to prevent forehead and back breakouts.

Be rested: Make sure to sleep in a cool room, on clean linens and with a good pillow. It can help to bathe at night before bed as the cooling down affect on your body can increase relaxation. Try to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night so you can better handle stress and fatigue. Eating a banana before bed can help you sleep, Melatonin in a dropper is helpful with mint tea as well as sniffing the scent of Lavender.  Make sleep a priority as this is a valuable time for your body to repair and restore for the next day.  Tip: If you have long hair be sure to sleep with your hair up in a soft cotton tie to avoid back and shoulder acne. Hair oils cause break outs and irritation on these two acne prone places while you sleep. Not rinsing hair conditioner off completely from your back can be a culprit too.

Face the day: Put your best face forward every day. Just because you only have a few minutes to look your best doesn’t mean you throw out your beauty regime. Properly cleanse and moisturize so your skin is protected and can stay healthy. A little foundation to even out skin tone in problem areas, concealer under the eyes, light powder to set (and add color), mascara to enhance lashes, a little cheek color and lip gloss can go a long way to look polished and fresh. Be sure to define eye brows if needed too.

Here are a few ideas to help you achieve a natural fresh look for your day:

Back to school is a time of year filled with exciting new opportunities and experiences. Embrace it looking and feeling your very best!

Christine Dion is an international Makeup Artist,  Speaker, Columnist and Author well known in the dance industry. Her cosmetics collection, Mode Dion Cosmetics, have been custom designed for the special needs of performers both on stage and on camera.  Her products are featured on all of her models/starlets in her publications, workshops, monthly newsletter, youtube channel, in her book “High Performance Beauty and her numerous beauty columns.

Check out to see all of the professional product collection, training videos, articles, how to tips and more. Mention Dance Informa at checkout when shopping and get 20% off your next Mode Dion Cosmetics order! (retail products only)  Be sure to LIKE Mode Dion Cosmetics & Training on Facebook for more helpful tips and specials. *Offer expired Nov 30 2014.

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