Style + Ask The Edit

Quick Beauty Queries: Vol. II, No. Five

Hi Belle,

I have hyper pigmentation on my face.  Do you have a good product for that?  Preferably something that works fast, I have a wedding (not my own) in five weeks.


The only product that I recommend for this is Murad’s Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightning Serum.  If you already know you love this product, I recommend buying the two-pack at QVC, which lowers the price from $60 a bottle to $48.

This serum is the only thing that took the dark acne scars off my cheeks.  And I.tried.everything.  Everything, I tell you.

If you need a cheaper option, you’re searching for a product with hydroquinone in it.  The only other one that I would even consider would be this $27 Paula’s Choice Resist.  Her products are generally good, and it has the same active ingredients.

Dear Belle,

I just turned 40 and my hair is thinning and losing shine.  You mentioned some time ago that a friend of yours had experience with this same problem.  Any solutions, helpful tips?  I’d prefer not to be bald by 50.

Moulting Like a Parrot

Sadly, I too am losing my hair.  One of the wonderful joys of aging.  I’ve had good luck adopting one of Kate Middleton’s hair tricks, always brush your hair with your head flipped over.  Brushing it from the underside helps take the strain of the front of your hair, which is usually brushed, dried, curled, and handled more often than the rest.

The friend you mentioned swears by Strivectin’s Restoring Haircare line, which promises to strengthen the hair and scalp to reduce breakage.  She loves their Densifying Foam.  I liked the product line a lot when I tried it, but I’m acne prone and it caused a breakout on my shoulders.

She also recommends Pantene’s Minoxidil treatment to help stimulate new growth.  She swears that this treatment plus scalp massage (because it stimulates blood flow) is what is bringing some of her hair back.

Another tip, is to make sure you’re eating right.  If your diet is good, you might want to ask your doctor if it’s safe to take a hair vitamin like Nature Made Skin and Hair.  It contains biotin, vitamin-C, and other ingredients that increase collagen production.


It’s cold and flu season and campaign season.  Shaking hands sucks right now.  This might be a weird question, but do you have a favorite hand sanitizer?


The CDC still recommends thorough hand-washing with soap and water as the best way to prevent the spread of germs.  But you’re on the trail, and the rope line is a different matter entirely.  There’s no way hand-washing could keep up.

The most effective hand sanitizers are alcohol based and have 60% alcohol in them.  You also need to use at least a teaspoon of sanitizer, making sure to get the tips of your fingers and the webbing, for good coverage.

When I travel, I only carry Honest Co. Hand Sanitizer sprays.  They’re 62% alcohol with no triclosan or formaldehyde, and they don’t dry out my skin.  Also, the spray ensures good coverage.

I also recommend carrying a travel size pack of Clorox Wipes or a travel size Lysol spray.  I spray toilets, desktops, chairs, etc..  I wipe down communal coffee pot handles, phones, steering wheels in campaign cars, etc..  Why you ask?  Because I’ve had the swine flu and I am forever changed by the experience.


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  1. Rory says:

    If anyone is thinking about using a shampoo with Minoxidil in it, be sure to learn about it first. There is a shedding period that happens shortly after you begin using and people start to complain it’s made their hair loss worse. It gets better but it takes some patience. Another issue with the Minoxidil is that you will lose all results if you stop using it. If you want lessen hair loss but don’t want to use chemicals, look into buying a laser comb, I think the cheapest I’ve seen them is around $200. Both it and the Minoxidil work the same way by stimulating the blood flow to hair follicles which is needed for hair growth. When you stop using either product the blood flow slows back down to said follicles and the hair loss starts again.

    Vitamins that promote hair growth (or strengthening) will make facial hair worse if that’s an issue for you.

    Sorry that was so long, but in full disclosure I’m a former Hair Club employee and know way too much about this stuff.

    September 26, 2016/Reply
  2. Emily says:

    HI Belle,

    Loved your comment about Honest hand sanitizers. I LOVE the Honest Company. Have you tried their bundles?
    The Essential Bundle is described as :
    Choose from a growing line of personal care & home cleaning essentials
    Mix & match 5 items every month
    Save up to 35%!
    Recurring monthly, cancel anytime

    I buy almost all of my soaps, cleaners, and vitamins from this company! Love it!

    September 26, 2016/Reply
  3. Kate says:

    Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is stubborn–it is an unrealistic expectation to except any over the counter treatment to fade it within 5 weeks. Prescription hydroquinone is stronger than the over the counter products, and comes in several different % strengths, but even that is still slow and takes patience. And most importantly, without strict photoprotection and minimum SPF 30+ reapplied every 90-120 minutes, it will continue to darken/recur. Laser therapy is another option but should be pursued cautiously with an experienced practitioner (dermatologist) as someone unfamiliar with appropriate settings can cause inflammation and in fact worsen the pigment alteration. I find it quite frustrating how often people dispense inaccurate advice on the internet with conviction and certainty, and how often it is wrong and mis-informed.

    September 26, 2016/Reply
    • anon says:

      Thank you, Honest Company!

      September 26, 2016/Reply
  4. Addie says:

    My dermatologist recommended Lytera skin brightening complex by SkinMedica for my hyperpigmentation (from sun damage, not scarring). It’s more expensive than the Murad option Belle suggested ($130) but I’ve been using it twice a day for almost 7 months and have yet to run out. It has worked wonders on my skin, although I am using it in conjunction with SkinMedica’s 1% retinol.

    September 26, 2016/Reply
  5. Katy says:

    Do a laser.

    Seriously. Do it.

    Don’t waste your money trying creams. I tried them all. Expensive ones. Cheap ones. Retinol. Hydroquinone. Rodan and Fields. Prescription. Over the counter. All of them.

    A laser works SO WELL. You will have dark spots for about a week and then they will go away.

    September 26, 2016/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Which laser did you do?

      September 26, 2016/Reply
      • Katy says:


        I just finished my third and final treatment (although I may go for a touch up after a couple of years). With creams, I was always thinking, I think that may be a little lighter, hmm, I think it’s worth it. With a laser, it was IMMEDIATELY and IMMENSELY better (well, after the week it took for the spots to fall off). I sure wish I could show you the before and after photos I took.

        It is pricey, but I think if I had saved all of that money on creams over the years, I would be about even.

        September 26, 2016/Reply
        • Mandi says:

          Katy, did you have sun spots? IPL is a wonderful option for many people with photodamage or vascular conditions, but there is also evidence that it can worsen other dark marks, such as melasma, on many patients, especially those with darker skin tones.

          For what it’s worth: I have had melasma for 3 years and have tried Permea Clear and Brilliant, Laser Genesis, Picosure Focus, and laser toning with Spectra by Lutronic. None of these 4 lasers have worked unfortunately but I will NEVER use IPL on my face. Also, I tried the SkinMedica Lytera that another commenter mentioned… it did nothing for me either. Best thing I have tried is Rx Triluma but you have to take periodic breaks from it and it is contraindicated in breastfeeding or pregnant women.

          September 26, 2016/Reply
          • stephanie says:

            I have a melasma blotch under my eye– it’s been there since my 12 year old was born. Nothing works and I keep hearing that lasers, etc., may make it darker. I’m going with concealer/color corrector. What’s funny is I kind of want laser/IPL/whatever for the rest of my face– freckles, etc. But I would almost want to NOT do the melasma for fear of making it worse.

            September 26, 2016/Reply
          • Katy says:

            I had sun spots/melasma. It worked like a charm. Obviously it was under supervision of a dermatologist who I trusted. I took Triluma for a while and it had no effect.

            September 26, 2016/Reply
  6. Lisa says:

    So I have a comment about the hair loss question – I spent the summer in Paris for work and about halfway through started to notice just TONS of hair falling out every time I showered (I’m about 30 btw, so no reason for that to be happening yet!). I otherwise felt completely normal, was eating and living really healthily (besides all the wine). I tried a ton of different things, shampoos, argan oil, giving my hair washing a break and only washing 2x a week, buying a nice quality multivitamin, adding in an iron supplement, and nothing really helped. I had lost about 1/2 my original hair volume when my mom (a nurse practitioner) suggested I do a hair analysis to look at vitamin/chemical levels in my body. Well, turns out that my copper levels were really off the charts, which actually can cause hair loss (and also depression if too high!) and after doing some online research I discovered that eggs actually slow copper absorption. And, guess what I’d substituted croissants for while in France? My normal morning ritual of eggs. Upon adding them back into my diet I’ve seen my hair loss nearly completely stop almost immediately and everything is now regrowing.

    So, long story short, what I’m saying is – if you’re seeing a lot of hair loss that you are having trouble controlling I’d suggest having a hair analysis run (most doctors can do them, I think, for about $150) just to check that everything is where it should be. 🙂

    September 27, 2016/Reply
  7. Annie Q says:

    If you want quick results, I would schedule a couple of laser sessions. I had a series of six that definitely lightened them considerably. They did not, however, go away completely. I have a couple every year now to keep the brown spots as faded as possible. They will make very dark little dots appear where the brown spot is, but these will go away within two or three days of appearing. Give yourself five days just to be sure before your wedding.

    Read about hydroquinone before you use it to make sure you’re comfortable with it. It has been identified as a carcinogen and can also thin the skin. That said, I used it very faithfully for about eight months once, dabbing a little on my brown spots and acne scars. It made a big difference on the brown spots, but it took a long time. It did not do anything for my acne scars.

    October 3, 2016/Reply