Photo: Bisayan lady
Like beauty itself, beauty treatments are the stuff of dreams.They promise va-va-voom lashes, frizz-free hair and flawless complexions.
But are they worth your money?
Not if you value your natural good looks—and your wallet.
We spoke to renown New York City dermatologist Bruce Kratz and Total Beauty‘s executive editor, Meghan Rabbit, to get the scoop on what trendy beauty services to reconsider if you’re on a budget and love the “real” you.
Cost: $30-$90, depending on your city and salon
Gel manicures give the old-fashioned manicure a run for its money by lasting up to three weeks. In the past year, the market has 'exploded' among women trying to cut down time at the salon.
But the fuss-free perks come at a price: ravaged nails and the risk of skin cancer, said Rabbit.
A gel manicure starts with a layer of base coat, then up to four layers of a whole lotta polish in between drying sessions under a UV heat lamp. If that last part raised your antenna, it should: Slather on some SPF hand cream.
To remove the teflon-like polish, you'll pay $10 to $25 to have a professional scrape. it. off. But that's not all--before the cringe-inducing scrape session, you'll be wrapping your digits in foil and soaking them in acetone to get them prepared.
'If you try to take off the polish, you could do some serious damage,' warned Rabbit. 'If it's done properly by a professional, your nails should be OK, but talk to a friend to get a referral before you get it done.'
Lusting after Kim Kardashian's doll-like lashes?
Lancome mascara is one way to get them, but a lot of women are trying lash dips, a treatment that curls the lashes with a hot comb, then lacquers 'em up with a semi-permanent solution.
The result is Kim-like fringe that doesn't last very long. 'That's a huge expense for two weeks of lashes,' said Rabbit.
One Total Beauty editor tried the treatment and couldn't open her eyes the next morning when her top and bottom lashes got stuck to each other.
'She paid $300 not to open her eyes the next morning,' said Rabbit, 'and she felt that her lashes were thinner and weaker. It took a month for them to feel normal again.'
The promise: sleek, silky strands and less one-on-one time with your blowdryer.
The result: a fabulous coif for the first couple months, followed by years of lifeless locks.
'One reader told us her naturally curly hair became stick straight,' said Rabbit, adding that others complained the treatment had turned their hair 'flat' and 'lifeless.'
After the straightening product is applied, it's sealed with a hot iron to trap in the moisture and create a glossy finish. The smelly process came under fire last year when Oregon authorities cited several instances of nosebleeds, breathing problems and eye irritation, reported the Times.
The Federal Drug Administration doesn't approve hair-straightening treatments, so there's no telling what's seeping into your scalp, much less your stylist's nostrils.
Cost: $75-$300, depending on whether you get the treatment at a Medi Spa or dermatologist's office
Complexion perfection--few lines, no pores--is highly sought after among women, with some even applying it to themselves in their own bathrooms or having it done in an aesthetician's hotel room, said Katz.
But like lasers, these peels come in different concentration and the wrong one can turn up the heat fast, leaving your face drastically burned.
'We've seen problems with people getting burned and scarring,' he said. 'To treat them, we'll provide burn ointments; sometimes we'll have to use lasers to treat the burns to improve them or prescribe antibiotics in case there's an infection.'
Make sure your dermatologist or facialist has done several of these treatments before you book an appointment, and ask to see before and after photos to get a glimpse of his handiwork.
Cost: $300-$1,000 and up
Again, it sounds fantastic: fuzz-free hair with the swipe of your credit card.
But as Katz warned, dark-skinned customers need to know the risks and ask plentiful questions to make sure they're not getting a dermatologist who 'only took the two-day weekend course in laser treatments.'
Ask to see photos, how many patients he/she has treated and then give him the real clincher: Do you own this laser? If not, that should raise a red flag that there's not enough demand to warrant buying one. A good laser can cost between $80,000 to $100,000.
'Clearly they won't have much experience,' Katz said.