Tried and True Beauty Tips: Women tell what works for them

Want to look and feel your best? Follow a plan of good eating habits, skin care treatment and exercise, and your whole body will thank you.

Ask San Antonio women for their beauty routines, and you may be surprised by their answers. I certainly was.

For starters, the No. 1 beauty trick cited didn’t involve the face or hair. It focused on the feet. The tip was slathering feet with Vaseline before bed or a workout and then donning socks. With time at a premium for most women, I was perplexed why feet took priority.

“It’s more about what my feet look like than pampering myself, says one busy working mother. “Sandals are popular in San Antonio, and my feet look terrible if they’re not moisturized.

Working mothers are masters at multitasking, and they expect the same from beauty products. In addition to using Vaseline on dry feet, tips were also offered on using it to groom brows, moisturize cuticles and target wrinkles.

Other skin care tips involved products found in the medicine cabinet or pantry. For example:

The second surprise involved hair care. Some of the most well groomed women I interviewed wash their hair only two to three times per week. Other hair care secrets included:

Do these tips really work? We passed the information on to experts for their advice. But first, learn more about what keeps three San Antonio women looking great.

Toothpaste applied to blemishes.
Preparation H, tea bags or cucumber slices to remove puffiness around eyes.
Oatmeal masks for oily skin.
Sprinkling baby powder on a brush to freshen hair between washes.
Rinsing hair with apple cider vinegar to eliminate residue from styling products.
Using conditioner as a styling product in a pinch (for example, when traveling).
Almost 50 and fabulous

Attend a Pilates class at Bally Total Fitness and you’re likely to encounter Dawn Unruh’s bright smile. At first glance, you would assume she’s in her 30s, but she’s turning 50 this year. She swears by at-home microdermabrasion treatments every other day, plus daily Pilates and yoga workouts.

“Microdermabrasion removes dead skin cells, allows for repair and minimizes pores and fine lines, Unruh says. “I never realized your face generates so much extra skin that needs to be exfoliated. After exfoliating, she uses a filler to smooth over any remaining lines on her face and applies a mineral-based foundation.

The mind-body connection from daily Pilates and yoga translates into other areas of Unruh’s life, including how she manages stress and what she chooses to eat.

Super fit mom

Carolyn Hoffmann jogged, walked, lifted weights and kick boxed (modified to low-impact) until the day before both her children were born. Thanks to continued daily physical activity and diet tricks she’s willing to share, Hoffmann still fits into the clothes she wore pre-kids.

Here are her tips for maintaining her figure:

Carry a water bottle everywhere. Hoffmann carries a 64-ounce mug (a workout in itself) and refills it at least once a day.
Always take the stairs.
Never eat a heavy breakfast or you will feel heavy all day.
At Mexican restaurants, don’t eat a chip until after you order.
Ask for a to-go box when ordering your meal and save half for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner before you start eating.
Preventing weight fluctuations not only benefits your figure, but also keeps skin firm since your face and neck are not stressed by weight gains and losses.

Consistency is key

Kara Sagebiel is the director of network services at SATAI (San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative) Network and the mother of two grown daughters. She saw firsthand the results of a lifetime of consistent skin care.

I met one of the first Avon ladies, Sagebiel says. “She was 92 years old and followed a skin care regimen most of her life. She looked much younger than her 75-year-old son. Sagebiel adheres to a similar approach herself and passed it down to her daughters.

“I believe in having a clean face morning and night, she says. “This includes using a cleanser, toner and moisturizer twice a day. Over time, Sagebiel used products in a variety of price ranges and believes the consistency of following a routine outweighs the sporadic use of expensive products.

Sagebiel also protects her skin with SPF 30 sunscreen and a hat when golfing. For her hair, she believes in consistent care, a good quality shampoo and a modern hairstyle.

Advice from the experts

Two local skin care experts and one hairstylist weighed in on the beauty tips. They agreed with many of the approaches, offered some words of caution and provided new tips of their own.

Exfoliation and microdermabrasion

Let’s start with the favorite tip regarding at-home foot treatments. Dorothy Hill, a local makeup artist who has advised women on skin care for 21 years, has a suggestion to boost results.

“Always exfoliate any part of the body before applying a moisturizing treatment, she says. “Exfoliation keeps you looking younger and is good for your health. Getting rid of excess skin cells helps release toxins and allows products to penetrate the skin more effectively.

Hill agrees with Dawn Unruh that exfoliation can keep your face looking young, but cautions microdermabrasion treatments may be too harsh for people with sensitive skin. Hill recommends using common sense when trying a new facial product. “If it burns or stings, it’s too harsh for your skin type, she says. In this case, use a gentle exfoliant or glycolic acid instead. Always use sunscreen or avoid the sun when using microdermabrasion or glycolic acid as they increase sun sensitivity.


As much as San Antonio women like Vaseline as a multipurpose product, Ruth Kloza, owner of Essential Skin, warns against using it on your face or lips.

“Vaseline is a petroleum-based product that creates a barrier, preventing skin from breathing, Kloza says. Petroleum products are found in many lip balms, and they actually dry the skin and deprive it of its natural moisture. That feeling of dryness is what prompts us to reapply lip balm so frequently. For very dry skin, use sweet almond oil or wheat germ oil.

Puffy eye treatments

Both Kloza and Hill agree Preparation H should be used only occasionally on puffy eyes. Over time, it will cause more wrinkles because the delicate skin around the eye can’t stand up to the continual expansion (puffiness) and shrinking. For a more gentle approach, Kloza suggests using a Lipton tea bag steeped briefly in hot water to release the tannic acid and then chilled. Cucumber slices also work.

Blemish Treatments

Kloza agrees toothpaste can work to dry blemishes and offers other tips for occasional breakouts. Mix a plain crushed aspirin with water to form a paste and apply it to the blemish for 10 minutes. The salicylic acid in aspirin and toothpaste kills bacteria.

To reduce the redness of a blemish, apply redness-reducing eyedrops to a cotton swab and hold it on the pimple for one minute. For chronic acne, see a dermatologist.

Shampoo frequency

Fonz Beltran, owner of Fonz Salon and a hair stylist for 18 years, echoes the hair care secrets of San Antonio women.

“It’s excellent to wash your hair only a couple of times per week, especially for curly or chemically treated hair, Beltran says. “This allows the natural oils to come out and makes styling easier. The astringent in shampoo fades colored hair with every use.

A reverse tip if you get your hair colored and it turns out too dark is to use a high-PH shampoo like Prell to fade it more quickly.

Beltran agrees baby powder on your brush can keep your hair smelling fresh and absorb excess oil between washes. “Just be careful if you have dark hair because it might show, he recommends.

Beltran also agrees apple cider vinegar removes buildup and keeps hair shiny. Every other week, work the vinegar through wet hair and then shampoo and condition. You can also add a little vinegar to your shampoo to combine two steps.

Dry hair avocado treatment

Consider deep conditioning dry hair weekly using mashed avocado, a little mayonnaise and a few drops of olive oil. Apply to wet hair, wrap your head in plastic wrap, and use a hair dryer to add heat.

Keeping your look fresh

Beltran agrees with Kara Sagebiel on keeping her hairstyle modern. He recommends evaluating your look every six to 12 months. Beltran also wants women over 40 to know they are not limited to short haircuts. “If your hair looks good long, wear it long, but with an updated cut and color, he urges.

The next time you meet someone who looks great, don’t be afraid to ask about her beauty routine. She will probably be more than happy to share it with you.

Author: Akexis Eidson

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