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by Gail Kavanagh

It is said that the eyes are the mirrors of the soul – and there is little doubt that a pair of beautiful, sparkling eyes can be a real asset.

Improve your general eye health

Include more fish and green vegetables in your diet, and cut down on white flour and sugar. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston found that so-called `bad carbs’ like refined sugar and flour can raise the risk of poor eye health in later years. On the other hand, fish oils and antioxidants can keep them sparkling!

Deal with those dark circles

If they are caused by late nights and too much coffee, you need to change your habits, for the sake of your eyes. Get some more sleep (they don’t call it `beauty sleep’ for nothing!) and switch to herbal teas. Bilberry was used by British and US pilots in WWII to improve night vision and has long been recognized as beneficial for eyes. Chamomile tea will help you sleep, and the cooled tea bags can be used as relaxing eye compresses.

Open up the eye area

Get your eyebrows professionally plucked. It’s amazing what a different this will make. The whole eye area will become lighter and brighter, the better to show off your make up!

Use a good eye cream

This doesn’t have to be expensive. Choose an eye cream that works for you, designed to concentrate on your areas of concern, such as puffiness or lines. It must be applied very gently, never rub or drag the cream onto the eye area. Just gently pat it on, avoiding contact with the eye itself. Even the best cream will sting and make your eyes water if you get it into the eyes. Cooled chamomile tea bags or slices of cucumber will help reduce puffiness, while egg white will tighten the skin around the eyes.

Do simple eye exercises

You can do these when you are waiting in traffic, or any other time when you have time to kill. They strengthen the eyes and help with the burning and itching of `computer eyes’. Just look up, and then down, right and then left and roll your eyes. You need to do each movement around ten times, looking as far as you can in one direction.

Use a light hand with make up for day

In daylight hours, you want to enhance your eyes. Use a light concealer to mask dark shadows, and powder gently over the eye area so make up does not run or cake into creases. Use a light powder shadow in a color to tone with your eyes. Don’t use dark or heavy eye brow pencils or eye liner, as these will age your eyes in daylight. Use eye shadow in the correct brown tone, applied with a brush to your eyebrows, as this will look more natural. Eye shadow can also substitute for eye liner and will look softer.

Sparkle at night

Evening is the time to add shine to your eyes with iridescent or metallic eye shadows. Gold tones look sumptuous and silver stands right out, but don’t overlook the possibilities in other glowing shades. A trick for soft but glamorous evening eyes is to use a darker tone of your eye shadow as eye liner. Use an eye lash curler to give definition to your lashes and apply thickening mascara. Use a light colored concealer to make your eyes stand right out.

Clean off make up thoroughly

It’s time worn advice, but no less essential for that. Eye make up left on while you sleep will irritate or even damage the eyes. Use a gentle cleansing pad and remove all traces of make up before you go to bed. Apply an overnight cream to hydrate the eye area.

Protect your eyes in strong sunlight

Sunglasses are not just from hiding from the paparazzi! Get the best sunglasses you can afford and make sure they wrap around the sides of you eyes. UV rays will damage your unprotected eyes and give you lines that have nothing to do with smiling, and be impossible to eradicate. Protect you skin and eyes from the sun and you will not need expensive creams or surgery in the future.

The last tip is attributed to Audrey Hepburn, whose eyes were legendary: “for beautiful eyes, look for the good in others.” Attitude can count for a lot – smile lines are better than frown lines, eyes that shine with hope and compassion will always be beautiful.

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Sun Protection 101: Hair, Eyes, Skin & Nails

Being out in the sun all day is often unavoidable. Most people are well aware of the possible skin damage, including wrinkles, burns and premature aging. Fewer people are aware that the sun can damage other parts of the body too, from your nails to your hair.

Overexposure to the sun can cause your hair to become dry, brittle and discolored. UV rays permeate your nails, which may eventually become yellow with raised ridges. Your lips also feel the wrath of the sun — they have almost no melanin, so they’re not protected against sunburn. Excessive UV rays can also cause eye diseases such as cataracts.

Prevention is key when it comes to sun damage, so follow these tips for thorough protection.

Skin & lips

Sun protection is especially important during summer months, but even cloudy days can damage your skin and lips. Young people are particularly vulnerable, though the damage doesn’t show up until later. In addition to arming yourself with a high-quality sunscreen to prevent burns, wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide all-day shade. Use a chapstick that contains SPF, and apply it regularly throughout the day.

Hair

To prevent hair from becoming brittle or discolored, you can use a conditioner that contains sunscreen or simply run sunscreen through your hair. A more practical solution, however, is to wear a hat or scarf when you’re outside for long periods of time. This protects your scalp as well as your delicate hair.

Nails

Nails are one of the most-often neglected areas of the body when it comes to sun protection. Excessive sun isn’t any more healthy for your nails than it is for your skin. Luckily, the solution is simple: protect your nails with an opaque nail polish. There are also top coats on the market that are specifically designed to handle extra UV rays.

Eyes

You may already be doing everything that you need to do to protect your eyes from the sun –wearing sunglasses. To reduce the risk of eye damage even further, however, make sure to choose sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV rays. The lenses should be dark, as well as large enough to shield your entire eye. Make sure to wear your sunglasses whenever sunlight is reflecting into your eyes, even if the sun isn’t high in the sky.


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