Of course we all want to be footloose (and fancy-free,) but sometimes nature has a different idea. Answer Angel Ellen tackles some tough tootsie questions …
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have these very dry feet, and the heels are always rough and get cracks even during summer but more especially now in winter. Can you suggest a good moisturizer that would heal the heels!
Dear Val: First of all, much as we'd like it to be so, there are no overnight miracles. I've tried a variety of heel creams, even a dermatologist's Rx. But either they smell or are horribly greasy or both, so I always give up after a few days.
Do not follow my example. I've heard good things about Kerasal One Step Exfoliating Moisturizer Foot Therapy ($12.99) and (As Seen on TV) Heel Tastic ($9.99), both widely available at drugstores and online. But whatever you use, you have to stick with it, preferably applying it a couple of times a day and again at night. Be sure to wear socks so the gunk doesn't get on the carpet, sheets, floor, etc. Podiatrist Stephanie Wu says using a pumice stone in the shower or callus-
removing pads also helps. Because your problem (and mine) is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, made worse by arid winter air, you will want to stay away from any lotion that contains alcohol, which is drying, the opposite of what you need.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What do women who have a toenail fungus problem do if they would like to go get their toes all done up at a nail place? Skip it, and just do it themselves with a can of house paint?
Dear T.: I'm sure your question is merely hypothetical, right? If you're asking if having this ailment means you have to wear a scarlet "F" on your chest that bans you from all nail salons forever, the answer is no! "You can get a pedicure if you have a nail fungus," says podiatrist Wu, associate dean of research at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. But be upfront about your condition when you book an appointment in case the spa has a policy for dealing with this condition. Wu says you need to be sure that the salon you choose has a strong instrument sterilization and foot tank-cleaning protocol so you're not passing along your problem to others ("cross-contamination"). Best would be to bring your own pedicure tools, but, Wu says, "Unless you sterilize or sanitize them after use, they may not necessarily be better than professional salons that use sterilized instruments." And bring your own polish (again because of cross-contamination).
Nail fungus is difficult to treat, so prevention is the key, Wu says. "Don't be shy about asking the nail salon for proof of sanitation." If you already have the fungus, nail polish can help conceal it. (No house paint needed, T!) Mild toenail fungus cases can be treated with a medication that looks like clear nail polish, but, Wu says, "more severe cases can be treated with oral antifungal medications."
Now, can we move along to some questions with less of an ick factor?
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm looking high and low for a bathrobe. Not a plush one, not a flannel one, nor a soft one, just a real "towel material, cotton bath robe" that absorbs water! I already feel relieved that I finally asked you for help.
Dear VQV.: I've been happy with products I've bought from overstock.com, and they have a terry robe in many colors for $46.79. And Lands' End (landsend.com) has an absorbent one for $65. (If you drink a lot of coffee, experience tells me you should stay away from white.) I'm guessing you were looking in department stores, where the robe selection is usually pathetic. Online is the way to go on this one, even though I prefer to shop bricks-and-mortar (like the reader in the next question), so I can try it on right there and avoid all this shipping-and-handling business.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: While shopping at the mall, I noticed that the stores that sell primarily to women my age (35) have clothes that are business casual or just casual. Then there are stores geared toward younger ladies that sell clothes seemingly made for streetwalking. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. Do you have any suggestions on where I can find sexy but not trashy clothes that are age-appropriate? Preferably bricks-and-mortar, so I can try things on.
— Jenny W.
Dear Jenny: You'll need to shop around, but you will find what you want with a little looking. Start with department stores, and check out these labels: Ralph Lauren's well-priced Lauren line, NYDJ, Vince Camuto, Karen Kane, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors' Michael line.
I suggested blond Maybelline eye pencil to fill in a reader's skimpy eyebrows — for everyone, not just blonds. Readers shared their solutions to the same problem. Ann S. says she used to use those blond pencils until she discovered Benefit's "Gimme Brow" gel ($22, benefitcosmetics.com): "WOW — great for filling in spots you didn't know were bare!" L.L. consulted Cosmetic Cop Paula Begoun's excellent beautypedia.com that tests and rates beauty products, where she learned of RapidLash's Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum ($49.95, ulta.com): "This serum, brushed on my old and overplucked eyebrows, regrew brow hair in a relatively short time (three weeks). It really works!!!" Rose Ann loves Wonderbrow Brow Wax ($10.99) applied with the Deluxe Brow Duo Crown Brush ($9.99), both at rosshighlandpark.com. Finally, M.G. writes, "I use Godefroy Instant Eyebrow Tint. It's pretty easy to use once you get used to it, and there is even a YouTube video that shows you how to do it. You can get it on amazon.com for $8.73 for four applications. I love it!"
John has a beef "about shopping in general." He asks, "Did you ever buy a gift for someone and have a H#LL of a time removing that gall-blasted price sticker that is nearly impossible to remove and leaves a sticky mess on the object? I swear, I always mean to request that the sticker be removed in the store when I buy it (but I always forget). Thanks for listening."
Dear John: I'm with you. How many fingernails have been sacrificed to the chore of scraping off those H#LLish stickers? Nail polish remover usually works (and will take off your nail polish, too, so be careful). I'm not impressed with Goo Gone, the product sold for this specific problem. Wouldn't it be swell if all retailers cared enough about their customers to use easy-to-remove stickers?
Shop, drop, get help
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