• The Beauty Treatments You Should (and Shouldn't) Get While Pregnant

    Expectant mamas know that back pain and swollen ankles come with carrying a baby for nine (almost 10) months. So when it comes time for a little pregnancy pampering, all moms-to-be wouldn't mind a relaxing massage or a fresh manicure. Before indulging in a little spa action, however, most moms will want to know which beauty treatments are safe for baby. Read on to see if you can still keep your monthly facials or waxing sessions.

     

    1. Manicures and Pedicures: Being pregnant does not mean you have to forgo your mani and pedi treatments. While the nail polish fumes can sometimes cause moms-to-be to feel nauseous, the brief exposure you're receiving in salons from the products themselves won't harm your baby. Mothers should, however, avoid brands that use chemicals like dibutyl phthalate and go with ones that don't such as Jin Soon and Nars.

     

    2. Facials: Basic facials are a great way to pamper your skin, especially as your hormone levels change during pregnancy. Not all treatments, however, are safe for moms-to-be. Aromatherapy, chemical peels, hot stones, and electric stimulation should be avoided until the arrival of your baby.

     

    3. Waxing: Your skin will become more sensitive during pregnancy, but getting a wax is considered safe. Thanks to your hormones, hair will likely grow at a faster rate!

     

     

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    4. Hair Dye or a Perm: According to experts, chemicals found in semipermanent and permanent dyes are not highly toxic and are safe to use during pregnancy. The small amounts of dye that would be absorbed by the skin also aren't enough to reach the baby. For worried moms, however, some doctors recommend waiting at least until the second or third trimester to dye your hair.

     

    5. Tattoos or Piercings: Little is known about the effects of chemicals in the tattoo dye during pregnancy. The main concern of getting a tattoo is the risk of contracting infections such as hepatitis B and HIV. Because of all these concerns and uncertainties, you should probably hold off on getting that new ink.

     

    6. Tanning: Doctors discourage women from soaking up the sun, whether naturally or in a tanning bed. The high temperatures can raise body temperatures to dangerous levels that can harm your baby.

     

    7. Massage: Studies have shown that massage therapy during pregnancy can reduce anxiety and depression in addition to relieving muscle and joint pains. Many spas offer prenatal massages, but you'll want to make sure the person is certified in working with pregnant women.

     

    8. Teeth Whitening: Professional whitening and over-the-counter products are not recommended during pregnancy. For moms-to-be who want a brighter smile, the better alternative is to make a strawberry (they contain malic acid, a natural substance that breaks down stains) and baking soda paste. Let the paste sit for five minutes before rinsing.

     

    9. Botox Treatments: Botox use by pregnant women hasn't been largely studied, but it's recommended to avoid any injections until after you give birth.

     

    10. Body Wraps: Body wraps involve placing heated towels and wraps on specific areas of the body to melt away fat. The process is not considered safe during pregnancy because it can raise a mother's body temperature to dangerous levels for the baby. The core temperature of a pregnant woman should not go above 102.2ºF.

     

    11. Saunas and Steam Rooms: Avoid saunas and steam rooms when you're pregnant, because like tanning and getting body wraps, saunas can cause hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature), which can lead to an increased risk of birth defects during the first trimester.

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  • Can you guess which of these women spends £1,000 a time at the hairdresser and which spends nothing at all?

    New research reveals the average woman spends £40,000 over her lifetime on her crowning glory. But does what you spend really make much of a difference? Here, Sadie Nicholas asks five women how much they pay for one visit to the salon.

     

    I have never seen the point of spending vast amounts on haircuts.

     

    It has always seemed like a frivolous thing to do when that money could be spent on time with my friends and family.

     

    So, every six weeks, I do it myself. I tip my head upside down over the bathroom bin, brush my hair forward and fasten it into a ponytail. Then, I take a pair of Ikea kitchen scissors and snip a couple of inches off the ends. I chop into the remaining ponytail to do away with any telltale blunt edges — and voila!

     

    Four minutes is all it takes and, though my method sounds terribly haphazard, it’s served me well for six years, ever since I discovered it online in a video tutorial.

     

    Far from looking ‘homemade’, people frequently compliment me on my stylish locks — not suspecting in the least that I have done it all myself.

     

    It’s saved me a fortune on hair salon bills. I’d far rather pocket the £60 and spend it on doing something memorable with the people I love.

     

    Last month, for example, I went to Barcelona with friends and then took my son, father and aunt to Rome for Dad’s birthday.

     

    In my 20s and 30s, I flitted from one hairdresser to the next in search of a stylist who would do something other than chop it into long layers and charge me £25 to look no different than I did when I arrived. But in the end, I gave up, realising that, actually, I could do a better job myself.

     

    I used to cut my son’s hair, too — until I saw his first school photo when he was five and realised I was doing him no favours at all and he’d benefit from going to a boys’ barber instead. I can only do my own hair, it seems.

     

    I can’t help but see women who spend a fortune on hair as shallow — and more than a little wasteful.

     

    Surely there can’t be many women who pay less for a haircut than their other half? But at £10 a trim, mine comes in cheaper than the £12 Neil pays for his short back and sides.

     

    It’s all thanks to my mobile hairdresser, Lynne, who’s been cutting my hair at home since I was two, after meeting my mum at an aerobics class.

     

    Her prices only reached double figures a few years ago and, in 33 years, I have ‘cheated’ on her just twice at High Street salons. The first time, I was tempted in a moment of weakness by the promise of a squishy chair and a range of glossy magazines; the second, I walked in off the street on a whim to have my hair put up for my brother’s wedding.

     

    Riddled with guilt afterwards (she, of course, knew instantly the next time she cut my hair), I vowed never to let anyone else’s scissors touch my locks again. The idea of leaving her is unbearable.

     

    Now in her early 50s, Lynne was a young woman when she started cutting my hair.

     

    I vividly remember her getting married and even setting her first baby down in a car seat next to me in Mum’s kitchen one day while she got out her scissors.

     

    Countless times I’ve sat before her and said: ‘I don’t care what you do, just please, do something different!’ because I trust her so much. Now, she even cuts my daughters’ hair, too — £15 all-in for the three of us.

     

    I’m sticking with her for life.

     

    Many women stop colouring their hair in pregnancy as they become nervous about suggestions the chemicals may get into their bloodstream. But I couldn’t go that far.

     

    I felt that maintaining my highlights was essential to my sense of self-esteem at what was an otherwise vulnerable time.

     

    My body expanded and I could no longer wear the feminine dresses or fitted clothes I love. But at least I still had some control over my naturally fine, mid-brown hair. Having vowed not to let myself go, I continued to have it cut and highlighted blonde every three months.

     

    I don’t feel any guilt about spending the money; on the contrary, I believe it’s important for a woman to look after herself.

     

    Lisa Marley, 41, (pictured) goes to the hairdresser every four months and spends as long as four hours each time having her hair cut by a celebrity stylist

     

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    Yes, up to £100 is expensive for a hair appointment — but you can’t put a price on self-confidence.

     

    Like most men, my husband pays about £20 for a haircut and is perplexed by the prices I fork out. When I emerge from the salon thinking I look well-coiffed, his standard comment is: ‘It doesn’t look that different — and why have you been in there for three hours?’

     

    What he doesn’t understand is that it’s become a little oasis of calm to savour, and all the more important to me since having a baby. It revitalises me as much as it does my hair.

     

    That alone is worth the price.

     

    Nothing beats leaving a salon with my long hair freshly cut, coloured and blow dried. Knowing my locks look swishy, shiny and groomed makes me walk a few inches taller.

     

    Though £200 is a lot of money to spend on my hair every 12 weeks, I consider it a treat for working hard day and night.

     

    Thick and unruly, my hair has a mind of its own and needs daily straightening at home. I’ve had some laughable hairdos over the years, including short styles in my teens that made my head look like a mushroom.

     

    For the past couple of years, I’ve been having a three-quarter-head of highlights at each appointment to see off the grey hair that first appeared at the young age of 25.

     

    Although I have been loyal to a salon in Wimbledon for the past year, I endured a few disastrous hair appointments before a friend recommended it to me.

     

    There was one stylist who hacked my hair so badly when I’d asked him to thin it out ‘a little’ that, even now, two years on, if I lift up the longer top layers, there are short tufts underneath.

     

    On another occasion, with hair like straw after two weeks in the Mediterranean sun, I booked in for a cut and colour. An astonishing five hours later, I was still in the chair. I joked that the stylist would have to charge me rent if he kept me there much longer.

     

    At £200 per appointment, I’m already paying the top end of what I think is reasonable for a haircut. People who pay much more must be out of their minds.

     

    Some may call me vain for spending £500 per hair salon appointment, but I see my hair as an investment. In my pressurised City job, it’s essential to look the part — so my hair has to look groomed and expensive.

     

    My appearance is intrinsically linked to my confidence and plays an important role in how I present myself in the boardroom.

     

    However, a year ago, my hair resembled sun-parched straw — a legacy of having blonde highlights for the previous 20 years.

     

    Even though I have it cut and coloured religiously every six to eight weeks in a salon, occasionally paying as much as £300 a time, the healthy, shiny, bouncing locks I aspired to eluded me.

     

    There were times I turned down after-work drinks with friends because my hair looked unkempt, and I considered missing a black-tie dinner because my hair had flopped and frizzed within minutes of leaving the house.

     

    I was seriously contemplating wearing a wig when, a year ago, a friend recommended I visit Vixen and Blush salon in London for subtle hair extensions instead.

     

    Initially, I baulked at the idea, convinced they would make me look brash, fake and too ‘done’.

     

    But I was desperate, so booked a visit. Five hours and £500 later (£405 for the extensions and £95 for a half-head of highlights), it was a revelation to see my scraggy hair had been transformed into healthy-looking tresses.

     

    Full of body, my new do is thicker, shinier and just a few inches longer than my real hair. I can curl it, wash it, put it up — and it behaves exactly as I want it to.

     

    Now, I enjoy stepping out of the front door with my hair on show, instead of wishing I could hide it under a hat. And, for the first time, I get compliments about it — friends often ask what the secret is to my healthy hair.

     

    So, while £500 may seem a lot, I see it as an essential investment, rather than a luxury. I only wish I’d had it done sooner.

     

    a hairdresser so, when I was growing up, we lived above the salon. She was for ever whipping out her scissors to give me a trim over the bathroom or kitchen sink.

     

    She used to chopped my dirty blonde hair really short, yet I dreamed of one day growing it long like a princess.

     

    Aged 17, I fled Mum’s scissors in search of a salon experience. She gave me a piece of advice, which I have heeded ever since: always dress up when you go for a hair appointment — it shows you’re serious about your appearance.

     

    Fast forward 25 years, and I now pay around £1,000 a time at a salon in London’s Fitzrovia. I go every four months, and an appointment lasts up to four hours.

     

    It’s a jaw-dropping amount of money, but my stylist, Inanch, is one of the most coveted in the world. Her celebrity clients include actress Mischa Barton, model Abbey Clancy and Strictly Come Dancing’s Ola Jordan.

     

    Some women think nothing of spending £1,000 on designer shoes or a handbag — but my hair is my luxury of choice. Women in the know can tell I spend a lot: the even curls at the bottom and the subtle way the dye warms up my skin are telltales it’s expensive and that I look after myself.

     

    Hairdressing has come a long way since I was a little girl and, although my mum is now in her 60s and retired, she also loves my extensions.

     

    She still goes to her own hair stylist every few weeks for a cut and blow dry — and always wears her finest clothes.

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  • fashion

    You know faux fur is on the rise when animal activist and fashion designerStella McCartney is proudly showcasing it on her runway.

     

    McCartney surprised many earlier this year when, after years of eschewing faux fur, the lifelong vegetarian unveiled fake fur coats at her fashion shows in Paris and New York.

     

    You know faux fur is on the rise when animal activist and fashion designer Stella McCartney is proudly showcasing it on her runway.

     

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    “We have been looking at fake furs for years, but never felt it was the right message for us to promote the look of fur,” McCartney told Women’s Wear Daily. “But moreover, the material and fabrics that we kept seeing as a substitute were just not great nor inspiring enough to really be able to make a statement about it. Then after seeing probably over 200 hundred different kinds of fake fur, we finally saw the right ones we wanted to work with. We found something that looks great and is consistent with our philosophy on luxury and cruelty-free fashion; so it felt like the right time.”

     

    She wasn’t the only designer who thought so. Faux fur has seen a recent uprise in the high-end fashion industry. From Julie de Libran for Sonia by Sonia Rykiel to Kate Spade, faux fur has been making frequent appearances for the upcoming fall season. (EvenKesha started a faux fur line a few years back.)

     

    The designers’ motivation for faux fur vary. Some, like McCartney and Hannah Weiland are working with it for ethical reasons, while others seemingly don’t have an opinion about it.

     

    Hussein Chalayan, who included faux fur in his fall collections, doesn’t adhere to a strict ethical compass about the issue, though “I would find it more difficult to be part of a cycle where animals would have to be killed constantly”

     

    He went on to say that buying faux fur is a complex issue for consumers, too. “There are definitely women who only care about the look, others who have ethical issues and won’t touch real fur, and some who won’t condone the use of real fur, but would not mind having a vintage piece as a one-off,” Chalayan says.

     

    Most designers like faux fur because it’s easier to work with, and aesthetically pleasing. Technological advancements have also helped with designers adopting the trend. And the price value doesn’t hurt, either.

     

    However, McCartney’s furs still fetch upwards of $5,000.

     

    “We had a really positive reaction for the Fur Free Fur in general and it has been very encouraging and supportive, too,” she says. “And some people don’t care if it’s not the real thing as long as it looks and feels great.”

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