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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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7 Amazing Health and Beauty Finds

7 Amazing Health and Beauty Finds

Your Health

Because I write about health, beauty, nutrition and fitness, I'm privy to many expert opinions and products. Sometimes I'll try a product once and never use it again. Other times I'm amazed to have found something I never knew about—and delighted when I love it and grant it a permanent place on my shelf.

A surprising off-shoot of this is how often someone—be it a friend, acquaintance or stranger—will ask me what I use, what I like, what I think about this or that. It happens a lot.

I tell them what I think, and then they'll buy it—or not.

I feel a lot of pressure, going on and on about something I love, because, after all, isn't the satisfaction all in the eye of the beholder/user? What one person loves another might loathe.

But then I get an email that makes me smile and feel like my advice does count for something. Maybe that feeling of gratification is why I originally thought I'd be a psychologist. But being a writer will do just fine. I can still dole out advice and make people happy. At least some of the people, some of the time.

Here's an excerpt from an email I received from someone I'll identify as "your fuzzy pal."

"Sheryl—I wanted to thank you for your facial hair post from a while back about facial hair removal. I bought the product and used it the first time this weekend; I had just burned myself too many times waxing my upper lip to get rid of my little mustache. I remember trying mineral make up for the first time at a store—the girl applied it for me, and I broke into tears because the minerals clung to every little patch of fuzz. And, that was back in my 30s. I was horrified, but I didn't really know what I could do. BUT, now that I'm getting older and hairier, I had to try something. We'll see how it goes."

So, here goes … I'm sharing some things I've tried and believe in, in no particular order. (Note: I get a lot of things sent to me; I don't get paid to review any of them. I only write about/share the things that I think are really special. The others go without mention. But I must disclose that if you do choose to purchase via Amazon, I will receive a teensy tiny payback from them, because I'm an Amazon Affiliate. No pressure at all—honest!)

Here are some of my favorite things I've tried—and stuck with. (All prices are approximate, based on current Amazon listings.)

Latisse (prescription only). If you crave thick luscious lashes, this is it. (Face it, they do thin out with so-called age.) Since starting it, my lashes are now so long they hit the lenses of my sunglasses. They're darker, too (a plus for me, since they're pretty light-colored). It's not cheap, and you do need a prescription—but it works. I hesitated for years because a disclaimer says it could change your eye color, and I didn't think brown eyes would suit me. But I still have my what-I-was-born-with blue eyes.

Ozery Bakery's"Morning Rounds" ($34 for a pack of six). YUM. Love these. (I'm a sucker for bread, but I won't waste it on just any bread. It has to be great bread.) Fabulous for breakfast or a snack, these "buns" resemble small pita rounds. There are no artificial preservatives; they're made from whole grains, with pieces of real fruit. They're great toasted or used for French toast or just plain old snacking. My favorite variety is date and chia, spread with peanut butter and banana. (I packed this to bring on the plane with me for my recent trip to the West Coast. Beats airline food every time.)

JeNu Ultrasonic Infuser ($249). People have used superlatives like "game changing" and "amazing" to describe this skin care device, which uses ultrasonic energy via a hand-held wand to infuse your skin care products into the deeper layers of your skin to help treat fine lines, wrinkles, dryness—all those pesky things related to aging. You know all those expensive skin care products you spend money on, hoping for a miracle? According to some studies, most of the products never even get absorbed into the skin; instead they rest on the surface of your skin, doing little to help. I guess we all need a little push now and then.

ThinOptics($25). Chances are by now you are using reading glasses (most of us begin around our mid-40s)—and chances are you're losing, misplacing or forgetting them when you need them most. These have been lifesavers for me so many times, because they're so small, so thin and so lightweight that you can stash them anywhere—even in your wallet or on the back of your cellphone case. (If you're like me and are never without your cellphone, you will always have your reading glasses with you, too.) Every time I take out my ThinOptics, someone asks me where I got them. My favorite use for them: When I'm getting my hair colored (uh, oh, now the secret's out). Because they just pinch onto the sides of my nose, I never have to worry about getting the sides of my glasses covered with gunk

Panasonic Facial Trimmer ($17). Fabulous for removing pesky facial hairs (see email note above) that make you say "yikes!"—or worse. It even works on hairy toes and hands and feet and just about anywhere else you can think of that sports fuzz.

Jane Iredale Playon Lip Crayon ($18). I've tried many Jane Iredale cosmetic products, and I especially love these lip crayons for various reasons. Most importantly, they go on smoothly and you can't mess up around the lines of lips (an all-too-common error for me, hence my husband's nickname for me: "Clown Mouth." Need I explain more?)

Aveeno Baby Lavender and Vanilla Lotion ($8). The scent of lavender and vanilla practically sends me into a trance. It (almost) makes me feel like I've meditated. But wait—my children are grown, so why am I buying baby products? I stumbled upon this one and decided to try it on my delicate baby-like skin (not really, my skin is more crocodile-like, especially in the dry winter months). But somehow, between its scent and the "baby" designation, I feel like someone has wrapped me up in a soft blanket and is cuddling me. (Maybe it's time for that therapy session after all.)

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